quinta-feira, 22 de abril de 2010

Dick Haymes - The Very Best of Dick Haymes - Volume 2

  1. It Might As Well Be Spring
  2. I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  3. Slowly
  4. Oh! What It Seemed to Be
  5. In Love in Vain
  6. For You, For Me, For Evermore
  7. How Are Things in Glocca Morra
  8. Mam'selle
  9. Ivy
  10. I Wish I Didn't Love You So
  11. And Mimi
  12. Teresa
  13. Little White Lies
  14. You Can't Be True, Dear
  15. Nature Boy
  16. It's Magic
  17. Room Full of Roses
  18. Maybe It's Because
  19. The Old Master Painter
  20. Count Every Star
The Very Best - Vol. 2
Vocal Accompaniment:

Track 13 & 19 with Four Hits And A Miss
Track 14 & 15 with The Song Spinners
Track 18 with The Tafflers

Orchestral Accompaniment:

Tracks 1 & 3 under The Direction of Victor Young
Tracks 2, 4 & 5 under The Direction of Earle Hagen
Tracks 6-9, 11, 13, 16 & 18 under The Direction of Gordon Jenkins
Track 12 under The Direction of Vic Schoen
Track 19 under The Direction of Sonny Burke
Track 20 with Artie Shaw and His Strings and Woodwinds

In the liner notes to the first installment of this two volume Dick Haymes retrospective, we reviewed the path that Haymes followed to lead him through the ranks of the big band era until, when he decided to launch his career as a soloist in 1943, he was instantly transported to the rarefied heights of superstardom. So pervasive was his influence that a number of imitators soon appeared, but we might do well to pause before considering their merits and dwell for a moment on the forces which helped to shape the Haymes approach in the first place.

Like his contemporaries Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, he started out under the inescapable sway of Bing Crosby, the singer who virtually defined the modern popular vocal. In time, Haymes narrowed the focus of his admiration to one of Crosby's ablest disciples, band singer Bob Eberly. "There wasn't a boy singer in the business who had a better voice box than Dick Haymes - not even Bob Eberly, whom Dick worshipped so much", noted George Simon, former 'Metronome' writer and author of "The Big Bands". Simon also recalled that Dick was shocked to witness his idol smoking on the job, a habit he considered unprofessional (though it is sadly ironic to remember that Haymes overcame this aversion, and that lung cancer contributed to his premature death). The early vocal training that Dick received from his mother Marguerite left him acutely aware of all the potential hazards, such as cigarette smoke, improper breathing, and an incorrect stance while performing, that lay in waiting to sabotage a singer's best efforts. This accounts in large part for the technically flawless nature of his mature performances.

Haymes's additions to the Crosby tradition include a strikingly masculine virility and a deep, seamless baritone voice so peculiarly "throaty" in its resonance that members of bandleader Bob Crosby's outfit facetiously nicknamed him "Phlegm". "I remember vividly the impact he had on women in our audiences - and the reactions of their escorts", recalled Dick's former accompanist Bobby Scott. "It created situations of true danger". No one ever caressed a romantic lyric with more warmth and conviction, but before long there were any number of "would-be Dicks" willing to try. The two most prominent graduates of "the Haymes school" were Bob Manning, who scored hits for Capitol Records in the early 1950s, and David Allyn, who stretched the boudaries of the Haymes approach in collaboration with such progressive jazz figures as Boyd Raeburn. Less well-remembered today are singers like Billy Usher, who waxed some fine sides with Sonny Dunham and Randy Brooks (with whom he went so far as to record his own derivative version of "That's For Me") before launching a solo career that failed to catch fire. Genetic happenstance also relegates Dick's younger brother Bob to this group. Bob Haymes, who later changed his professional name to Robert Stanton, made some fine sides with several bands, including those of Bob Chester and Freddy Martin, before abandoning a solo career to concentrate on his songwriting, a move that produced, among many other sensitive compositions, the lovely standard "That's All".

Our present anthology opens on a high note with Dick's definitive reading of "It Might As Well Be Spring" from the soundtrack of Fox's 1945 film musical, 'State Fair'. Another Haymes film, "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim" from 1947, is represented here by the tender duet "For You, For Me, For Evermore" (contractual conflicts prevented his co-star, Betty Grable, from making the record with Dick, so Decca label-mate Judy Garland was pressed into service as a most delightful substitute). "Slowly", though a hit for both Haymes and Kay Kyser, is today a forgotten song that was taken from a 1945 Fox film entitled "Fallen Angel". "Mam'selle", a continental charmer from the Fox film "The Razor's Edge" that topped the charts for both Sinatra and Art Lund in 1947, has proved much more enduring. This winning Haymes performance peaked at #3 (it is interesting to note that later in the same year, Art Lund was again Dick's main competition for chart honors with the similarly Gallic-flavored ballad "And Mimi").

The remaining movie music collected here includes "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" from 'The Perils of Pauline (Paramount, 1947)', and "It's Magic", the musical highlight of Doris Day's screen debut, "Romance on the High Seas (Warner Brothers, 1948)". "Ivy" was the title track of a Unviversal-International picture, and there is acharming story connected with this 1947 Haymes recording. One of Dick's idolaters, Bob Manning, had waxed his own competing version of the tune on the MGM label as boy vocalist with the Ziggy Elman band. When he finally came face to face with his hero backstage at the Steel Pier in Atlantic City, Manning was awestruck to learn that Dick was familiar with his recording. "One of us", Haymes jokingly told the newcomer, "had better change our style".

"I'm Always Chasing Rainbows" from 1945 is the first of three duet performances with Helen Forrest collected here, including "Oh! What It Seemed to Be" from the same session, and "In Love in Vain" from 1946. Dick's early admiration for Bob Eberly makes it worth noting how these recordings parallel a similarly successful collaboration that Eberly enjoyed with Helen O'Connell when both were employed by bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. "Bob Eberly was bigger than all of us, you know, with Jimmy Dorsey", Haymes once gushed to interviewer Fred Hakk. "I mean, hell, when he was singing "Amapola" and "Green Eyes"...and all those things with Helen O'Connell...he was the hottest thing". A significant difference between the pairings, however, is that Haymes and Forrest both explored the same arrangement, while Eberly would typically croon his assignment with Dorsey, to be followed by Helen O'Connell gleefully treating her part as an up-tempo romp.

By the mid-1940s, on both records and the radio, Haymes had embarked on a mutually rewarding collaboration with arranger and conductor Gordon Jenkins. A gifted songwriter and popular recording artist in his own right, as an arranging talent Jenkins had few peers. "Gordon wrote such lovely countermelodies", commented singer John Gary recently, "that you can take the vocal away his arrangements would still stand on their own merits". The 1946 performance of "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" from Broadway's "Finian's Rainbow" and "Maybe It's Because" from 1949 are perfect illustrations of the always tasteful Haymes-Jenkins partnership. The two men scored their greatest triumph in 1947 with Dick's recording of "Little White Lies". "The truth of the matter is that 'Little White Lies' was an afterthought", Haymes later recalled. At the end of a recording session, with an hour of studio time leftover, Jenkins suggested that the assembled group take a stab at this simple ballad, which had first been popularized by Fred Waring in 1930. He quickly sketched our parts for Dick, the musicians, and the accompanying vocal ensemble, Four Hits & A Miss. To compound matters, legend has it that Haymes was suffering from a bad cold that day, and was anxious to wrap things up. The result was a smash hit that quickly turned gold. "I'm still not in love with the record", Haymes later confessed, "but I must respect it. It was just an accident".

"Teresa" is a pleasant 1947 duet performance that teams Dick with The Andrew Sisters, who later joined forces with Haymes on the 'Club 15' radio program. Four months after this session, the recording ban of 1948 forced Dick to return to the 'a capella' format that brought him his initial Decca success in 1943, and he re-teamed with the Song Spinners to record "You Can't Be True, Dear" and "Nature Boy". "Room Full of Roses" from 1949 is a nice change of pace, with Haymes sounding surprisingly at home on this country classic from the pen of The Sons of The Pioneers' Tim Spencer. "The Old Master Painter" is a rousing novelty that enjoyed quite a vogue in 1950, when no less than six different major label recordings battled for recognition. Our final track, "Count Every Star" from 1950, is a return to the more traditional ballad format. It found Dick paired with Artie Shaw just a few short years before the clarinetist began his self-imposed retirement.

"The peak years were 1946-47", Dick Haymes once reflected. "It was averaging up to $25,000 a week just on record royalties, radio, movies - without even personal appearances. They were paying me as much as $300,000 per movie and I made at least two a year". by the early 1950s, it started to fall apart. Problems with alcohol and a series of high profile divorces took their toll, and the coming of rock and roll certainly didn't help matters. Haymes parted company with Decca and turned out a pair of brilliant albums for Capitol in 1955, but the sad truth is that his visits to the recording studio grew increasingly sporadic in the last two decades of his life. His magnificent voice withstood the tests of time practically unblemished, however, and it is hard to imagine that future generations won't judge us harshly for not making a more concerted effort to capture it for posterity. The shortsightedness of it all makes one shudder (it's like keeping Norman Rockwell from his paints, or depriving John Steinbeck of pen and paper). His final recording efforts in the late 1970s were financed by members of his appreciation society (bless their souls!). When Dick Haymes died in Los Angeles on March 28, 1980, he left behind a legacy that has thrilled millions, and is sure to bring joy to countless more in the future.

Enjoy these recordings, and revel in the ease with which this great artist somehow manages to revive such discarded concepts as romance, chivalry, and innocent, old-fashioned, wide-eyed love. Forget the cares of the moment, and let your imagination run free. After all, whenever you're lost in the special magic of Dick Haymes, it might as well be spring...

(Joseph F. Laredo, from the original liner notes)

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