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> This Week's Selection, Phil Harris
gregoryagogo
post Oct 21 2005, 08:09 PM
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Is the same Phil Harris that did the voices in Disney's "Jungle Book" and recorded such songs in the '50's as "Smoke, Smoke, Smoke that Cigarette", and "The Thing"?

Gregory huh.gif


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laughland
post Oct 21 2005, 09:37 PM
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Yes, that is the same Phil Harris! Ol' Baloo the bear himself.

Now I have "The Bare Necessities" going through my head...



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Ed Vasicek
post Oct 22 2005, 12:44 AM
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Besides his band playing at the Coconut Grove, he was on the Jack Benny radio program for about 15 years! He also had his own radio comedy show, "The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show." wink.gif Great comedian, singer, and band leader! He also was in some of Jack Benny's movies.
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gregoryagogo
post Oct 22 2005, 09:21 PM
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Befor your reply, I listened to "I Got The Ritz From The One I Love" a few more times, and I could hear a modest, younger Phill Harris! I've always loved his deep voice. There is another guy who has a similar voice on Lawrence Welk (does anyone know his name?)





Gregory


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Gart
post Oct 23 2005, 04:16 AM
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I've always loved Phil Harris. And that song re Ritz is rich. I heard another version of if by someone else and I couldn't make out what she was saying. Phil's clear voice booms the words. And in the song regarding the box on the beach, in my much younger days I would try to hear past the music to what he was seeing. Weird me!!

Might be as good a spot as any to request a song: Ray Noble and Al Bowlly with "My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes." This was a favorite of the late great Chronicle columnist Herb Caen. Terrific upbeat song. DJ Rick Wagstaff, who played it when I first heard it on a San Francisco radio station (now long gone) said it was by somebody and his Waldorfians. Wished I had more info at hand. If needed, I can look into it. Anyone, consider that a request.

Best, Gart
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Ian House
post Oct 23 2005, 06:14 AM
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Oh, I LOVE that song! ...And I would also like to hear any other versions of it -especially one by Al Bowlly... The recording that I am familiar with is the delightful and charming 1931 version by Marion Harris that can be found on David Garrick's website:

"My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes"

I really like the way she sings the word "circles" each time in this song... What a great tune :-)


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Gart
post Oct 23 2005, 05:15 PM
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Ian, you are truly remarkable! I don't know how you find these songs. Thanks! I love the Marion Harris version. It's much more of a torch-singer's lament with totally different lyrics and many more of them. And, yes, I love the way she enunciates "circles." A great version. Can you tell me more about her? So many thanks, Ian (and for a lot of other stuff you've helped me with!)

I looked at what I wrote down about the verison I have, taped repeatedly when I could catch it, off radio. It was recorded in 1931 by Al Bowlly singing with, it was said, Howard Godfreys (sp?) and his Waldorfians. Written by Ted Kollner. However, I picked up an LP at the fabulous White Elephant Sale (which benefits the Oakland Museum--I work in the Books section), featuring Ray Noble and Al. The cover song is My Canary. The music and words are exactly what I've recorded. So I'm wondering if the DJ was mixed up or I didn't hear him correctly. The versions I have must be by Ray Noble's orchestra.

As a former newspaperman, who worked with Herb Caen, I think one of the reasons we liked this version so much is that it starts out: "Mister Pressman, here's some news; you can print if you choose; just to prove that times have changed a lot. Though it may sound strang to you, it is absolutely true, you can believe it or not."

I hope Dismuke, with his vast library, can come up with the peppy Al Bowlly version.

Best and thanks! Gart
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Ian House
post Oct 23 2005, 07:58 PM
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This message board owes many thanks to Bob, who consistently reaches deep into his personal archives and comes up with the goods! ...Once again, he has saved the day by fulfilling Gart's request.

Here is Al Bowlly's recording of "My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes"

Thanks Bob!

_ _ _

In regard to Marion Harris: The best bio page available is on David Garrick's site ( Click here ) There's even a video available...


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Jarred
post Oct 24 2005, 02:36 AM
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The only other version of "Ritz" I know of is by Jack Teagarden, another powerful voice, although much more mumbled than Harris!
I really like the "Circles" song as well, the Noble version is pretty hot, good trombone and clarinet.

Also...
This may sound a little strange but I think I've figured out why Al Bowlly's voice has sounded so familiar to me since I first heard him. Unfortunately, my brain automatically, unconciously associated his high voice with the guy that does the Winnie The Pooh voice, and this is why I'm never able to take his ballad singing very seriously. Ain't it funny how the mind works sometimes? Those early cartoon memories slip in at the strangest moments.

By the way, when I first heard of Phil Harris being a big band leader and singer in the 30s and 40s, I was overjoyed, because I once again recognized his voice from cartoons. I especially enjoy getting to hear the voice of Balloo the Bear sing with a hot jazzy 30s band on "I Got The Ritz From The One I Love"! Two worlds collide!


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Jarred
post Oct 24 2005, 02:54 AM
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One more note.
I heard the term "Snake Hips" used in the Marion Harris recording.

Man, "Snake Hips", "Bees' Knees"! What was with this insane trend of naming songs after animal body parts that don't exist?! I wonder if the term "Buffalo Wings" came about in that era as well.


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Ian House
post Oct 24 2005, 04:17 AM
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Having eaten there before, I can tell you for a fact that the term "Buffalo Wings" originates from the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, NY where the tasty tidbits were invented in 1964. Click here to drool (although I realize that your question was likely a facetious one :-)

_ _ _

Now, the term "Snake Hips" was more of a mystery to me. I googled it up a found a page that attempts to describe it. It seems as though it may have been made famous by one particular Harlem entertainer who was nicknamed "Snake Hips" (read below). Perhaps not. Does anybody have any more info? It sounds very strange indeed!

_ _ _



"Snake Hips became a fixture in the show at Connie's Inn, dancing at the Cotton Club later to Ellington's 'East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.' (Ellington also composed the 'Snake Hips Dance' for him.) He wore a loose white silk blouse with large puffed sleeves, tight black pants with bell bottoms, and a sequined girdle with a sparkling buckle in the center from which hung a large tassel. Tucker had at the same time a disengaged and a menacing air, like a sleeping volcano, which seemed to give audiences the feeling that he was a cobra and they were mice."

"When Snake Hips slithered on stage, the audience quieted down immediately. Nobody snickered at him, in spite of the mounting tension, no matter how nervous or embarrassed one might be. The glaring eyes burning in the pock-marked face looked directly at and through the audience, with dreamy and impartial hostility. Snake Hips seemed to be coiled, ready to strike.
"Tucker's act usually consisted of five parts. He came slipping on with a sliding, forward step and just a hint of hip movement. The combination was part of a routine known in Harlem as Spanking the Baby, and in a strange but logical fashion, established the theme of his dance. Using shock tactics, he then went directly into the basic Snake Hips movements, which he paced superbly, starting out innocently enough, with one knee crossing over behind the other, while the toe of one foot touched the arch of the other. At first, it looked simultaneously pigeon-toed and knock-kneed.
"Gradually, however, as the shining buckle threw rays in larger circles, the fact that the pelvis and the whole torso were becoming increasingly involved in the movement was unavoidably clear. As he progressed, Tucker's footwork became flatter, rooted more firmly to the floor, while his hips described wider and wider circles, until he seemed to be throwing his hips alternately out of joint to the melodic accents of the music."


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Gart
post Oct 24 2005, 04:21 AM
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Bob and Ian,

What can I say but thank you, thank you. Yes, that's the "My Canary" recording I so fondly remember from the radio and the one I recorded on cassette tape as often as it was played for fear one of my tapes would go back and I wouldn't have. You guys are super!! Bob, you've got one heck of a song bank. You and Dismuke should join forces. It's 9:30 PST now. I want to write more and gather some facts about this song and Al.

Jarred, thanks for your input, too. It's all invaluable information.

Thanks, guys, I sincerely appreciate your efforts.

Best, or after seeing the tremendous well done move: "Good night, and good luck"

Gart
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gregoryagogo
post Oct 24 2005, 08:36 PM
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I love it when you post songs to support you little blurbs! I've never heard "Canary" before, and now I've heard it twice by two artists!



Thanks,
Gregory wink.gif

Ps. Here's another song about a Canary by Paul Weston!
http://www.jazz-on-line.com/ram/CAP15373x.ram


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dismuke
post Oct 26 2005, 03:27 AM
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QUOTE(Gart @ Oct 23 2005, 11:15 AM)
I hope Dismuke, with his vast library, can come up with the peppy Al Bowlly version.

Unfortunately, I don't have it and it was one that I had never heard until Bob and Ian posted it. Wow. What a great recording. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
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Ed Vasicek
post Oct 27 2005, 12:55 AM
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The Royal Society Jazz Orchestra did a recording of "My Canary Has Circles Under His Eyes" in the late 70's and has since reissued it on CD. They claim it was their most requested song for years. They also say that the original versions of the song fared much better in England than in the U.S. Don Neilly does a good job with the Lyrics.
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