quarta-feira, 21 de abril de 2010

Dick Haymes - The Very Best of Dick Haymes - Volume 1

  1. It Can't Be Wrong
  2. In My Arms
  3. You'll Never Know
  4. Wait for Me, Mary
  5. I Never Mention Your Name
  6. I Heard You cried Last Night and So Did I
  7. Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey
  8. For the First Time (I've Fallen in Love)
  9. Long Ago (And Far Away)
  10. How Blue the Night
  11. It Had to Be You
  12. Together
  13. Laura
  14. The More I See You
  15. I Wish I Knew
  16. I'll Buy That Dream
  17. Some Sunday Morning
  18. Till the End of Time
  19. Love Letters
  20. That's for Me
The Very Best - Vol. 1
Vocal Accompaniment:

Tracks 2-8 with The Song Spinners

Orchestral Accompaniment:

Track 9 under The Direction of Camarata
Track 10 under The Direction of Lionel Newman
Track 11-16, 18-20 under The Direction of Victor Young
Track 17 under The Direction of Gordon Jenkins

If you love the great American songbook, and sincerely believe that the efforts of our finest writers have produced musical compositions every bit as valid and timeless as the masterworks of Verdi and Puccini, then chances are you hold in your heart the same amount of affection and respect for Dick Haymes that others might reserve for names like Caruso and Gigli. In the 1940s, Dick Haymes emerged as a master balladeer with the most impressive set of pipes since Bing Crosby, and an incredible degree of warmth, control, and technique that can still provoke sighs of admiration today, more than a half-century after some of his finest recordings were made. "I have had uncountable conversations with singers about singers", wrote critic Gene Lees, "and Dick Haymes' name would be on the most-admired list of almost every one of them".

He was born Richard Benjamin Haymes in Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 13. Though numerous reference works list 1916 as the year, our good friends at the Haymes Society insist that this is a long-standing misconception, and the actual year was 1918. His father was a cattle rancher of Scottish and English descent named Benjamin, and his mother was a lovely and accomplished vocalist of Irish stock named Marguerite. The couple divorced after Benjamin was bankrupted by drought, and shortly thereafter Dick and his younger brother Bob (about whom we'll speak more in the notes to Volume II) embarked with their mother on a series of travels that took them to Europe. Contrary to the all-American, boy next door image bestowed on Haymes by his Hollywood musicals, the youngster received quite a cosmopolitan upbringing, studying for a time in Paris and becoming fluent in both Spanish and French. As for his budding vocal talent, the only formal training he ever received came from his mother. This proved a sore point in later years when Marguerite opened a studio and set up shop as a vocal coach, publishing a pamphlet entitled "The Haymes Way" which Dick felt overstated her influence on his development.

Settling in New York in the early 1930s, young Haymes began singing with various local bands at country clubs and New Jersey shore resorts. At the age of 17 he thumbed his way to Los Angeles, where he briefly headed a musical combo dubbed The Katzenjammers, but mostly kept body and soul together with stunt work at various Hollywood studios, falling off horses in B Westerns and such (he reportedly took a seventy-five foot leap from a masthead for the 1935 M-G-M production of "Mutiny on the Bounty"). By age 19 he'd returned to New York, where he decided to impress upon bandleader Harry James the worthiness of his songwriting talent. James was unmoved by such original Haymes compositions as "Lovingly Yours" and "River Road", but he was thrilled by the newcomer's vocal ability and hired him to replace the departing Frank Sinatra. After two years with the James Band, a period which produced such marvelous Columbia recordings as "You've Changed" and "I'll Get By", Haymes worked briefly with Benny Goodman (scoring a hit with "Idaho" in 1942), before he again replaced Frank Sinatra, this time with Tommy Dorsey. Regrettably, a recording ban prevented Haymes from entering the studio with the Dorsey band, and our only significant souvenir of their association is an air check recording of an excellent 1942 rendition of "Daybreak".

Haymes decided to embark on a solo career in 1943, and a major breakthrough soon came his way in the form of a pivotal engagement at New York's La Martinique night club. "All hell broke loose out of there", he later recalled. "I stayed for three months...got a coast-to-coast radio show, got my 20th Century-Fox contract out of there, got my Decca contract out of there". Haymes was signed to replace Buddy Clark on the CBS radio program "Here's to Romance". When he started to record for Decca, however, the lush orchestrations that accompanied his work over the airwaves had to be left behind. The recording ban that had hampered his stay with Dorsey was still in progress (it was the first of two protracted strikes, prompted by a dispute over broadcast royalties, ordered by the American Federation of Musicians' formidable president, James Petrillo). With musicians refusing to enter the studio, Haymes vocals were instead backed by the choral support of a singing group known as the Song Spinners. It was an interesting sound that had yet to be proven commercially viable. Expecting a relatively modest start in such uncharted waters, both Decca and Haymes were delighted when their initial effort, "You'll Never Know", became a number one, million-selling performance. The follow-up, "It Can't Be Wrong", was similarly successful. The first eight sides of this collection were all performed in the 'a capella' style, and in 1943 they were combined to form the A and B-sides of four highly successful singles.

"Long Ago (And Far Away)", a #2 hit from 1944, is the first of eighteen magnificent duet recordings that Dick Haymes made during his Decca years with Helen Forrest, an old friend from his days with Harry James. Miss Forrest also performed with Artie Shaw and Benny Godman, and her warm, melodic vocals left an indelible imprint on the big band era. Her partnership with Haymes was an inspired coupling based on mutual affection and respect. "God, I loved that man!", she recalled in her conversational 1982 autobiography "I Had the Craziest Dream". In my mind, no one ever sang a love song better than Dick, not Sinatra, not anyone". From 1944 to 1947 this partnership was showcased, along with Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra, on a series of hugely popular radio programs sponsored by the Auto-Lite spark plug company. This collection contains and additional four Haymes-Forrest duets: "It Had to Be You" and "Together", the A and B-sides of a hit single from 1944, and another double-sided success from the following year that joined "I'll Buy That Dream" with "Some Sunday Morning" on the flip side.

" 'How Blue the Night' was a pretty song", is how Dick recalled the lilting Jimmy McHugh-Harold Adamson composition that was featured in "Four Jills In a Jeep", a pleasant cinematic trifle about a U.S.O. tour of Africa that constituted his debut effort for Twentieth Century-Fox in 1944. Haymes soon moved on to grander productions, and the recordings of "The More I See You" and "I Wish I Knew" collected here were featured in an elaborate Fox musical from 1945 entitled "Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe". The production paired him for the first time with Betty Grable, the studio's top musical comedy star. Accompanied by Victor Young and his orchestra, Haymes made both titles big hits. For years afterward he employed "The More I See You" to telling effect as the closing song of his nightclub act, setting the scene of youthful innocence for his audiences in which his hopelessly smitten character warbles the tune to Grable, and then delivering the romantic lyric in all its glory.

"Laura" is another memorable piece of film music, though at first it was merely a haunting instrumental theme penned by David Raksin for a 1944 Fox film of the same title. After Johnny Mercer graced the melody with a lyric, it was introduced over the radio by Capitol artist Johnnie Johnston, and provided Woody Herman with a gold record for Columbia in 1945. "Love Letters" is also a movie tune, borrowed from a 1945 Paramount production of the same name. After Haymes made the song a hit that same year, it somehow fell out of the popular repertoire and was seldom heard from again until Kitty Lester revived its tender sentiments in a 1962 recording for Era. "Till the End of Time" followed "Tonight We Love", "My Reverie", and other popular successes in the time-honored tradition of revamping classical music for more contemporary use. the theme was based on Chopin's "Polonaise in A-flat major, Opus 53", which had recently been popularized by Columbia's 1945 film biography of the composer, "A Song to Remember". Ted Mossman retooled the music, while Buddy Kaye added some words. The result was a stirring piece of material that brought Perry Como a #1 RCA hit, while Dick's equally impressive rendition peaked at #3.

The final track in this collection, "That's For Me", comes from what is considered by many admirers to be Dick's finest moment on celluloid, the 1945 Fox adptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "State Fair". It remains, in the phrase of movie historian James Robert Parish, "one of the loveliest of film musicals". "It's ironic", Haymes confided to jazz critic Leonard Feather in 1973, "but that wound up being so much my movie that people associate me with performing that entire Rodgers and Hammerstein score. I did "It's A Grand Night For singing" and "Isn't It Kind Fun", but "That's For Me" was introduced by Vivian Blaine, and "It Might As Well Be Spring" was dubbed by Louanne Hogan for Jeanne  Crain". The entire score became indelibly linked with Haymes, however, when Dick's Decca recordings of those numbers assigned to the other performers in the film were paired as both sides of an enormously popular single release in 1945. His renditions of "That's For Me" and "It Might As Well Be Spring" are quite simply the definitive performances. If by now you've decided that this sort of peerless balladeering is indeed for you, then you will be pleased to learn that the latter title has been chosen to open Volume II of the Taragon's label's Dick Haymes retrospective. selected from a stunning array of brilliant performances, there are an additional twenty musical treasures that await your listening pleasure.

(Joseph F. Laredo, from original album notes)

"Faultless" would be a good word to describe this 20-song compilation, which contains every one of Dick Haymes' Top 20 hits from the start of his solo career in 1943 to the fall of 1945, a period when he was one of the most successful recording artists in the U.S. His biggest hit of the period was the gold-selling chart-topper "You'll Never Know," but he also waxed the most popular versions of the Top Ten hits "It Can't Be Wrong," "In My Arms," "Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey (I Never Knew Any Girl Like You)," "I Wish I Knew" and "The More I See You" (the last two from the film Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe, in which he starred), and a clutch of duets with Helen Forrest including "Long Ago (And Far Away)," "Together," "I'll Buy That Dream" and "Some Sunday Morning." All are included here in their original Decca recordings. Due to the musicians union recording ban, the first eight tracks were recorded a cappella with a vocal chorus, but with any backing Haymes' smooth voice delivers the songs' romantic sentiments beautifully. There are excellent liner notes by Joseph F. Laredo. Volume 2 is also recommended. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide

Dick Haymes was one of the most splendid ballad singers of his era, the near-equal of Crosby and Sinatra on classics of the form like "It Can't Be Wrong," "Till the End of Time" and "It Might as Well Be Spring." Though he was unable to cash in during the '50s golden era of adult-pop (due to alcoholism, troubles with the government, and a few tempestuous relationships), Haymes continued performing and recording until his death in 1980.

Born in Buenos Aires in 1918, Haymes was the son of British parents, who at the time were living on the cattle ranch they owned in Argentina. After they separated, he was reared by his mother in Paris before the Depression crippled their finances. He spent the rest of his formative years in the United States, where his mother performed as a singer. Haymes made his own professional debut at the age of 15, singing with a hotel band in New Jersey while on summer vacation. He left school in 1933 to move to Hollywood, and worked as a stuntman or extra on several films during the mid-'30s. After writing a few songs in 1939, he approached Harry James with hopes the bandleader would buy them; though James wasn't very impressed with his songwriting skills, he hired Haymes one year later, to replace Frank Sinatra as his leading male singer.

During 1941-42, Dick Haymes recorded a few hits with James, including "A Sinner Kissed an Angel" and "The Devil Sat Down and Cried." (His biggest hit with James, "I'll Get By (As Long as I Have You)," hit number one in 1944, three years after its recording.) Haymes also sang with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey before signing to Decca in 1943. One of his first singles, "You'll Never Know," hit number one in July 1943. Another, "It Can't Be Wrong," was also a substantial hit at the same time. He moved from extra to starring roles in Hollywood, most notably appearing in 1945's State Fair, and scored a Top Five hit with the Oscar-winning "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the film. Though he never again scored another number one hit, Haymes spent much of the mid-'40s near the top of the charts with the songs "Put Your Arms Around Me, Honey," "Laura," "Till the End of Time" and "That's for Me." He also hosted a radio show with Helen Forrest, and starred in several more films after the success of State Fair.

Though the hits continued until the end of the decade, both Haymes' professional and personal life began to decline. He divorced his wife, actress Joanne Dru, began drinking heavily, and mishandled his finances. Many of his film appearances were panned and he was eventually dropped from his movie and recording contracts. A whirlwind romance and two-year marriage to Rita Hayworth hardly settled things down; when added to immigration and tax troubles, it made for a very obvious low point in the singer's life.

He began a professional comeback in 1955, thanks to a contract with Capitol Records, the foremost label for adult pop. Haymes recorded two LPs for Capitol, Rain or Shine and Moondreams, but continued to be plagued by alcoholism. After moving to Ireland in the early '60s, Haymes finally kicked his drinking habit and returned to recording with 1969's Now and Then, which alternated Haymes classics with more contemporary material. He moved back to America in the '70s, performing numerous club dates and recording a live album at Cocoanut Grove. He last recorded in 1978, and lost his long bout with cancer two years later. ~ John Bush, All Music Guide

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