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It's a Mystery to Me

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December 7, 2004

This week, music about crime and mystery in honor of the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis' production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (which runs through 12/31/2004), along with some birthday observations.

Selection Source Performer(s) Comments
Public Service Announcement Bob and Ray Bob and Ray Once again: that recipe was for ground hog meat, not groundhog meat...
Heigh Ho (The Dwarfs Marching Song) Stay Awake Tom Waits Here's a typically dark take on this cheery tune from Snow White. Walt Disney was born on December 5th, 1901.
The Gods Love Nubia Aida (OC 2000) Heather Hadley, Schele Williams Aida and her fellow Nubians sing defiantly of their lover for their conquered land. Originally titled Elaborate Lives, this version of Aida has music by Elton John, lyrics by Tim Rice and a book by Linda Woolverton. It opened March 23, 2000 (after a pre-Broadway run in Chicago) and is still running. A national tour played St. Louis in May of 2001.
The Circle of Life The Lion King (OC 1997) Tsidii Le Loka, Lebo M., Faca Kulu, Ensemble In adapting the hit film to the stage, the original Elton John/Tim Rice score was augmented with more authentically African sounds. This number is a good example. A giant hit, the show opened November 13, 1997 at the New Amsterdam Theatre and is still running. A national tour played St. Louis in October of 2003. The staging that accompanies this music is nothing short of spectacular.
Mickey Mouse March Stay Awake Aaron Neville and Dr. John This is a surprisingly laid-back version. But then, most of this CD consists of unexpected interpretations of songs from Disney films.
Mickey's Son and Daughter Gorilla The Bonzo Dog Band The song, as far as I can tell, is real. The performance is typically Bonzo silly.
Marijuana Helper Somewhere Over the Radio Stevens and Grdnic It really, really works. Man.
I Wan'na Be Like You (The Monkey Song) The Jungle Book (OS 1967) Louis Prima, Phil Harris The king of the apes (voiced by Prima) demands that Mowgli make good on his promise to deliver the secret of fire. Harris is the voice of the friendly (and very hip) bear Baloo. Louis Prima was born on December 7th, 1911
Jump, Jive and Wail Wild, Cool & Swingin': Louis Prima Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Sam Butera and The Witnesses I've always thought of this as a kind of quintessentially Louis Prima song.
Banana Split for My Baby The Wildest! Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Sam Butera and The Witnesses This one is featured in the 1959 film Hey Boy! Hey Girl!, which starred Prima, Smith and Sam Butera's band pretty much playing themselves.
Oh Marie Capitol Collectors Series: Louis Prima Louis Prima, Keely Smith, Sam Butera and The Witnesses Prima gets back to his Italian roots with this upbeat version of an old classic.
The Morones Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre It's a cappella punk. Or something like that.
Lemon Car Give Us a Break Proctor and Bergman It's a word from Rastaford Motors, where you should be smokin', not your car.
Both Sides of the Coin The Mystery of Edwin Drood (OC 1985) Howard McGillin and George Rose The slightly schizophrenic John Jasper and Mayor Sapsea mull over their mutual confusion in the Gilbert and Sullivan-style patter song. The surprisingly sophisticated score is by Rupert Holmes, as is the book.
Settling Up the Score The Mystery of Edwin Drood (OC 1985) Betty Buckley, Cleo Laine and Company As Act II opens, Princess Puffer and the mysterious detective Dick Datchery arrive at the Cloisterham railway station, intent on solving the mystery of Edwin Drood's death. The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood runs through December 31st.
It's So Simple Baker Street (OC 1965) Fritz Weaver, Peter Sallis, Patrick Horgan, Daniel Keys Sherlock Holmes amazes Watson, Lestrade and a client with his powers of deduction - until he explains how they work. The song derives from a scene in a Holmes story in which Watson does, in fact, remark on how simple a complex deduction seems in hindsight.
McCavity Cats (OC 1982) Company T.S. Eliot was an admirer of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and this poem is an obvious homage to the infamous Professor Moriarity.
Onion Radio News - NASA Baffled by Failure of Straw Shuttle The Onion's Finest News Reporting Doyle Redland And it was the very best straw, too!
Prologue Sweeney Todd (OC 1979) Len Cariou and Company The chorus and (towards the end) the ghost of Sweeney Todd set up the story. Stephen Sondheim's Sweeny Todd ran for 557 performances and has been produced since by both theatre and opera companies.
Epiphany Sweeney Todd (OC 1979) Len Cariou Denied his chance to kill Judge Turpin, Sweeney Todd vows to take out his hatred on the world as a whole.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Chapter 2 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Cyril Ritchard, New York Woodwind Quintet Alice changes size yet again, gets confused as to who she is, and offends a mouse. This 1957 recording features one of the great British actors of the previous century. Although best known in the USA for his role as Captain Hook in the musical version of Peter Pan (1954), Ritchard had a long and distinguished stage and screen career.
Movie Spots Give Us a Break Proctor and Bergman They're rated "O" for Over Rated
The Continental / Let Yourself Go Ladies Of The Silver Screen KT Sullivan, James Followell These tracks are all from a live recording made in 2001 at the Grandel Theatre in St. Louis. KT Sullivan completed an appearance at the Sheldon last week. As the album title implies, the program consisted of songs associated with classic film stars such as (in this case) Bette Davis, Alice Faye and Shirley Ross.
No Love, No Nothin' / You'll Never Know
Alice Faye / Bette Davis
They're Either Too Young Or Too Old
Captain Oh Wow The Bill Cosby Radio Show Bill Cosby He may not want to remember it now, but back in the 1960s Cosby was pretty hip.
Our Lady Give Us a Break Proctor and Bergman A revised motto for the old French statue in the harbor.
Say It Young Blue Eyes - Birth of a Crooner Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Recorded June 12th, 1940, this Jimmy McHugh/Frank Loesser ballad is from the film Buck Benny Rides Again. Frank Sinatra was born December 12th, 1915.
There's No Business Like Show Business The Best of the Columbia Years 1943-1952 Frank Sinatra Irving Berlin's unashamed hymn to show biz is from Annie Get Your Gun.
Falling In Love With Love The V-Discs Frank Sinatra This one is from Rogers and Hart's The Boys from Syracuse, a musical based on Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors. This recording is from a collection of V-Discs made for the armed forces in World War II.
Begin the Beguine Super Hits Frank Sinatra One of Sinatra's big hits, this Cole Porter song was originally written for the show Jubilee (1935), but it also made its way into the 1939 films Night and Day and Broadway Melody of 1940 (where it was used for a dance number by Fred Astaire and Eleanor Powell).
One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) [Alternate Take] The Essential Frank Sinatra (The Columbia Years) Frank Sinatra As the title says, this is an alternate take from the better-known version of the Sinatra classic. The song is by Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen.

Acronyms and other mysteries defined:

OC: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Cast recording of a Broadway show, along with the date.

OS: Unless otherwise indicated, the Original Soundtrack recording of a film, TV show, etc.

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