27 March 2011

My Dad's 98th birth anniversary and his love of 'a good tune'.

My late father, known as 'John' to his side of the family and his workmates and as 'Joe' to my mother, Mary, and her side of the family - his baptismal names were 'John Joseph' - loved a good tune and I often heard him sing bits of songs around the house, though I don't recall him having a 'party piece'. The songs he sang were always melodic. This morning I looked for Till We Meet Again on YouTube, one of the songs I associate with my Dad. Later I realised that today is the 98th anniversary of his birth. The song was written in 1918 by Richard A. Whiting (music) and Raymond B. Egan (lyrics).

Dad was a great fan of Bing Crosby. One of the recordings I came across was by Bing Crosby and Patti page, made in 1952. I have never been a great fan of Patti Page, though I am of Bing Crosby. But I like their version (below). Above is a video of Gordon MacRae and Doris Day singing it, from a movie made in 1951, On Moonlight Bay, but set at the time the song was written, when the USA was already involved in the Great War. Gordon MacRae refers to 'The Doughboys', the nickname used for US soldiers at that time. In World War II they became 'GIs'.

Duets with a male and female singer were very popular when I was a child in the late '40s and early '50s. Gordon MacRae recorded many with Jo Stafford. These songs were all tuneful.

Smile the while you kiss me sad adieu,
When the clouds roll by I'll come to you,
Then the skies will seem more blue,
Down in lovers' lane my dearie,
Wedding bells will ring so merrily,
Every tear will be a memory,
So wait and pray each night for me,
Till we meet again.

My parents grew up with great songs!

Dad died suddenly in the early evening of 11 August 1987, having been at Mass that morning, as he had been every morning of his adult life. Please remember him in your prayers today.


Crux Fidelis said...

When I was a teenager my dad used to listen to a Saturday morning programme on the local Glasgow radio station (Radio Clyde). The DJ - Frank Skerrett - would play evergreens by Bing, Ella, Frank, Glenn Miller, Al Bowlly and more besides. In my intolerant youth I would gladly have consigned that radio to the bin. Nowadays I love all that old stuff while much of the music I listened to then is anathema to me now.

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Though rock 'n' roll hit the scene as I was entering my teens I was never hooked on it and my taste in popular music was always closer to that of my Dad. I didn't know Al Bowlly's name until I was well into adulthood, though I realised when I discovered him that I was familiar with some of his recordings. I hear him quite often on a number of programmes online similar to that of Frank Skerrett. (Just as I type this I'm hearing him on 'Sweet and Swing', a weekly programme from Manx Radio).

Al had one tenuous connection with the Philippines in that one of the many bands he recorded with was that of Fred Elizalde, a member of a wealthy Spanish-Filipino family in Manila who had a band in London in the late '20s and '30s.

Many an 'intolerant youth' has come to appreciate a much wider range of music as he got older! I remember one friendly tea-time discussion between my Dad, my brother, three years younger, and myself, when we were teenagers, about the merits and demerits of Bing, Elvis, etc. In the middle of this, as my Dad was defending Bing, one of his very old recordings, when he was with the Rhythm Boys, came on air. It was so corny that the three of us burst out laughing.

My brother and I are big Bing fans and I'm astonished at the fact that I still hear recordings of his that I had never heard before.