Monday, April 13, 2009

#89: Rhode Island Is Famous For You

Minnows come from Minnesota
Coats come from Dakota
So why should you be blue
'Cause you, you come from Rhode Island
Don't let 'em knock Rhode Island
It's famous for you

Called "a punning inventory of the most famous products of almost every state in the Union," this ode to the home of Providence and Newport came from the pen of Howard Dietz, clearly a diligent student of Gilbert and Sullivan. Dietz and Arthur Schwartz collaborated on the 1948 Broadway revue, "Inside U.S.A.," which featured this cheeky geography lesson ("New Jersey gives us...glue!") sung by Jack Haley, perhaps best known for being the Tin Man in "The Wizard of Oz." Dietz and Schwartz would go on to write "That's Entertainment," which is third fiddle only to "Hooray For Hollywood" and "There's No Business Like Show Business" as one of the classic actors' anthems.

While legendary chanteuse Blossom Dearie is in a league of her own with "Rhode Island," I do like Erin McKeown's version with her raucous band on her recent "Sing You Sinners" CD. Listen to a subdued version of Erin on YouTube.

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