The song of the day for Sunday, July 8, 2018 is “Trav’lin’ Light.”
About This Song
“Trav’lin’ Light” was composed in 1942 by Trummy Young and Jimmy Mundy, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer. The song was first recorded by Paul Whiteman with Billie Holiday on vocals. It’s a wonderful, classic Mercer lyric and the tune is lovely. In addition to this recording, this song has been recorded by Anita O’Day, Peggy Lee, Queen Latifah, Shirley Horn and Sonny Rollins.
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Trav’lin’ Light” in 1996 for his album of songs sung by Billie Holiday: Tony Bennett On Holiday. Mr. Bennett painted the portrait of Billie Holiday that appears on the album cover.
A reader on our sister site, The Interactive Tony Discography, sent me this comment, which I think of often:
I was surprised to discover that Tony Bennett’s tribute to Lady Day rang truer than all of the other attempts to politicize her, racialize her, or use her as a self-promotional “career stepping stone.” Tony captures the Lady of the Gardenias that struck Sinatra to the core when he first heard her in the late ’30s, causing him to list her as chief among all his inspirations and influences.
“Trav’lin’ Light,” as well as Tony Bennett On Holiday, is available from iTunes.
Billie Holiday’s 1942 version from with Paul Whitman is just wonderful.
Yes, I absolutely adore this song. I may be one of the few people who has a Trav’lin’ Light playlist in iTunes, with a dozen or so different recordings. But Tony’s and Billie’s 1942 version are my touchstones.