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Any Major Cole Porter

October 31st, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Any Major Cole Porter

Today something quite different: A collection of songs by Cole Porter; not covered with post-modern irony — as if many of Porter’s lyrics weren’t full enough of that already — but delivered straight by vocalists treating the songs as Porter envisaged them, with humour or emotion, or both.

The music is, of course, glorious, but it’s the lyrics that give the performers so much room for interpretation. I need not sell Porter’s wit, but it often is overlooked that among the endless bon mots and sharp turns of phrase, Porter was also a romantic poet.

“Why the gods above me, who must be in the know, think so little of me, they allow you to go….”

Of course, Porter denied being a poet of romance by way of his opening verse to “De-Lovely”:

At words poetic, I’m so pathetic
That I always have found it best,
Instead of getting ’em off my chest,
To let ’em rest unexpressed,
I hate parading my serenading
As I’ll probably miss a bar,
But if this ditty is not so pretty
At least it’ll tell you
How great you are.

Pure self-deprecation by a man who knew his worth, of course. Even when Porter’s lyrics were obsessive and creepy, they sounded rather sweet, as they did in “All Of You”:

I’d love to gain complete control of you
And handle even the heart and soul of you
So love, at least, a small percent of me, do
For I love all of you

So, here are 26 Cole Porter tracks, recorded between 1933 and 1965. Includes covers. PW in comments.

1. Cole Porter – You’re The Top (1935)
2. Anita O’Day – It’s De-Lovely (1959)
3. Benny Goodman Orchestra with Peggy Lee – Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall In Love) (1941)
4. Billie Holliday – You’d Be So Easy To Love (1952)
5. Tony Bennett and Count Basie & his Orchestra – Anything Goes (1959)
6. Mel Tormé – All Of You (1956)
7. Sarah Vaughan – Ev’rytime We Say Goodbye (1961)
8. Lena Horne – What Is This Thing Called Love (1952)
9. Jo Stafford – Begin The Beguine (1950)
10. Ethel Ennis – Love For Sale (1955)
11. Eddie Fisher – So In Love (1955)
12. Julie London – I Love You (1965)
13. Frank Sinatra – You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To (1956)
14. Chris Connor and the Stan Kenton Orchestra – I Get A Kick Out Of You (1953)
15. Louis Prima and Keely Smith – I’ve Got You Under My Skin (1959)
16. Louis Armstrong and his All Stars with Velma Middleton – Don’t Fence Me In (1956)
17. Sammy Davis Jr – In The Still Of The Night (1961)
18. Ella Fitzgerald – Too Darn Hot (1956)
19. Dinah Washington – I Concentrate On You (1961)
20. Mabel Mercer – Ace In The Hole (1955)
21. Fred Astaire – Night And Day (1934)
22. Marlene Dietrich – You Do Something To Me (1957)
23. Bing Crosby – Just One Of Those Things (1945)
24. Ray Noble and his Orchestra with Al Bowlly – Experiment (1933)
25. Artie Shaw and his Orchestra with Helen Forrest – Do I Love You? (1939)
26. Carol Burnett – Blow, Gabriel, Blow (1960)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    October 31st, 2013 at 07:58 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. stuc
    October 31st, 2013 at 09:07 | #2

    There are quite a few versions here I have never heard before, a treat. Many thanks!

    p.s. I am still getting so much enjoyment out of the History of Country and the German ’38-’45. Great collections!

  3. JohnnyDiego
    October 31st, 2013 at 15:29 | #3

    Thanks for another great collection. It surprised me that I have only a few of these on my iPod, although with just short of 30,000 songs its not always immediately evident. When I saw you had done an Any Major Cole Porter I thought perhaps this collection would be a contemporary one in soul or rock n roll and was happy to see what you had compiled. Its cool to now have Carol Burnett.
    But wouldn’t a soul or rock n roll Cole Porter be a great idea?

  4. halfhearteddude
    October 31st, 2013 at 21:13 | #4

    I’ve been thinking of a pop Cole Porter mix, though the AIDS charity mix in the ’90s sort of took care of that. I can’t think of many soul acts doing Cole Porter. Though I’d pay a lot of money to hear Isaac Hayes doing “De-Lovely”…

  5. dogbreath
    November 1st, 2013 at 00:21 | #5

    De–lightful. Many thanks!

  6. November 1st, 2013 at 17:48 | #6

    When I was a freshman in college, I spent a week during a quarter break helping to reshelve books at the college library. One of those that ended up in my stack was a collection of Porter’s lyrics. I checked it out and – being an aspiring lyricist myself – spent the next couple of weeks shaking my head in amazement, boring my friends by reading lyrics to them, and becoming more and more depressed because Porter was better than I had any hope to be. Great post!

  7. Rhod
    November 2nd, 2013 at 02:25 | #7

    What a great share.

    Great work highlighting Porters genius.

    Regards

    Rhod

  8. Matt
    November 7th, 2013 at 06:22 | #8

    I’ve been a fan of your website for a long time (especially your wonderful Christmas compilations) but I don’t think I’ve written until now. This set really strikes home to me just what a magnificently eclectic collector you are. I’m a big Cole Porter fan, and I though I had a decent collection of his songs, but about half of these are new to me. Thanks so much! I’d love to see a Porter II sometime.

  9. halfhearteddude
    November 7th, 2013 at 07:35 | #9

    Thank you so much, Matt. And great story, whiteray.

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