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[whitespace] Mel Tormé at the Movies

Mel Tormé
Mel Tormé at the Movies
Turner Classics

Twenty songs by the late mellifluous singer, who went from appealing callowness to full ripeness without a trace of rot. The first half includes many exuberant college-musical tunes (five alone from the 1947 picture Good News). The second half features a yearning cover of "Blue Moon" and a rendition of "Puttin on the Ritz," in which the 1930 standard is given the big film noir treatment--Shorty Rogers and his Giants pour on the manic saxophones backing Tormé up. The way-obscure exotica-oddity "Walk Like a Tiger" exhorts the tough guy within you to "spit like a sidewinder rattlesnake." The album is recommended for any tiki-party mi. Another weird pleasure: Tormé singing (smooth as ever) "Monsters Lead Such Interesting Lives" from a 1988 Daffy Duck cartoon. (Richard von Busack)


Pearls in the Snow

Various Artists
Pearls in the Snow: The Songs of Kinky Friedman
Kinkajou/BMG

Kinky Friedman's humorous songs were un-radio-friendly scandals in their time, especially "The Ballad of Charles Whitman," a heroic hillbilly anthem about the Eagle Scout turned sniper. For some reason, this selection of covers doesn't include that moralist-baiting classic. But Pearls in the Snow does have Willie Nelson's lissome cover of "Ride 'Em, Jewboy," in which Friedman celebrates his life both as a Texan and as a man of the Jewish persuasion. In a more serious vein: "Sold American," with Lyle Lovett singing the verses about a "faded, jaded" rhinestone cowboy, and Lee Roy Parnell's plaintive rendition of "Nashville Casualty and Life," Friedman's song about a Music City reject playing on a sidewalk to passersby "too cold to listen/and too white to sing along." (RvB)

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From the July 22-28, 1999 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 1999 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.




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