The song of the day for Saturday, May 2, 2015 is “Thou Swell.”
About This Song
“Thou Swell” was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart for the 1927 musical A Connecticut Yankee, based on the Mark Twain novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. “Thou Swell” is one of more charming songs from the musical, as the lyrics feature a combination of modern and medieval language: “thine eyes are cute too” and “I’d feel so rich in a hut for two.”
About This Version
Tony Bennett recorded “Thou Swell” in 1973 for Tony Bennett Sings More Rodgers and Hart, released in 1977. It was the second of two albums of Rodgers and Hart standards that Tony Bennett released on his own label, Improv. He was backed by the Ruby Braff-George Barnes Quartet, with Braff on cornet, Barnes on guitar, Wayne Wright on guitar and John Guiffrida on bass. No drums, no piano. The arrangements and the sound are astoundingly good. I absolutely adore both of these albums of Rodgers and Hart songs.
The lyricist of today’s song, Lorenz Hart, was born 120 years ago today on May 2, 1895 in New York. He met Richard Rodgers when they were both college students at Columbia University, where they wrote songs for various college productions. They continued working together up until Hart’s death in 1943. Together they wrote many of the greatest songs in the American Songbook: “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Falling In Love With Love” and many, many more. He stands today as one of the great American lyricists and his lyrics sound more contemporary today than ever.
“Thou Swell,” as well as The Complete Improv Recordings, is available from iTunes.
Since it’s YouTube Saturday here at The Year of Tony Bennett, we leave you a video from Tony and his new touring partner, Lady Gaga … “The Lady Is A Tramp.”