Saturday, September 5, 2009

#69: Honeysuckle Rose

When I'm takin' sips
From your tasty lips
Seems the honey fairly drips
You're confection
Goodness knows
Honeysuckle rose

Harlem's famed stride pianist, Fats Waller, earned a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame with his 1928 recording of sweetness syncopated. Written with Wallers' frequent collaborator, lyricist Andy Razaf, this bouncy, sassy number is one of the big duets in the Broadway musical honoring Waller's trunk of hits, Ain't Misbehavin', and is the title of a 1980 movie starring Willie Nelson and Amy Irving. Here's Fats himself serenading one of the Cotton Club girls in an up-tempo version (his eyebrows alone are worth the watch), and then Betty Grable (at about 1:45) with a whitewashed, Ziegfield-like version that reveals, if nothing else, how versatile this song proved to be. For a more modern take, check out American Idol's Ruben Studdard and Frenchie Davis (channelling the unbelievable Nell Carter) from a recent touring production.

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