« Tech Week | Main | Memorial, iirc »

Mix for a Rough Crossing

Your Humble Blogger thought that this Playlist was going to be easy. The play is set among musical comedy folk on an ocean liner in the 1930s, and I have a reasonably extensive collection of music from the 1930s and of songs from musical comedies. In fact, I wound up having some difficulty because I had too many choices. I was afraid I was on the road to making a generic Great Music of the 1930s album, or a Guy Bolton’s America album—which wouldn’t be bad, but wasn’t what I was looking for, either.

So. I started over, concentrating on songs about the sea. Well, mostly about crossing the ocean, ideally, although in many of the songs the sea is either metaphorical or tangential to the lyric. Still, it’s a pretty good mix.

  1. “Reckless Night On Board an Ocean Liner”, Raymond Scott. This is the only instrumental on the mix, and makes a nice mood opener.
  2. “Bon Voyage”, from the 1962 Broadway Revival of Anything Goes. This seemed to be a requirement, pretty much, hitting the time period, the setting and also jokes about the French language that play a minor role in our play.
  3. “Hold Tight, Hold Tight”, the Andrews Sisters. This song has the subtitle (Want Some Seafood, Mama), and is evidently actually about cunnilingus.
  4. “Beyond the Sea”, Rod Stewart vocals. No really, Rod Stewart.
  5. “A Ship Without A Sail”, Dave Frishberg vocals and piano.
  6. “My Ship”, Judy Garland vocals. Lyric by Ira Gershwin, music by Kurt Weill for 1941’s Lady in the Dark, but evidently written to be old-fashioned; it’s a song the Gertrude Lawrence character remembers from her childhood.
  7. “Home By The Sea”, Mel Torme vocals. I have no idea where this song comes from, but it’s catchy.
  8. “I Threw A Kiss In The Ocean”, Peggy Lee vocals, an Irving Berlin song and the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Obviously a WWII song, but still worth sneaking on to the list.
  9. “Like a Ship in the Night”, Jean Eldridge vocals. Technically the Johnny Hodges Orchestra with Duke Ellington on piano, but it’s a Duke Small Group.
  10. “Sail Away”, the Noel Coward recording. This is originally from a show called Ace of Clubs that I have otherwise never heard of.
  11. “Little Boat”, the Cleo Laine recording. Bossa Nova, originally titled “O Barquinho”
  12. “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea”, George Harrison vocals and ukulele. No really, George Harrison.
  13. “I Cover The Waterfront”, the Sam Cooke recording, amazingly upbeat and wonderful.
  14. “How Deep is the Ocean”, Eric Clapton vocals and guitar.
  15. “Slow Boat to China”, Bing Crosby & Peggy Lee vocals.
  16. “There’s A Boat That’s Leaving Soon For New York”, George Kirby from the bizarre 1956 Bethlehem Records recording of Porgy and Bess.
  17. “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat”, Stubby Kaye in the Original Broadway Cast recording of Guys and Dolls.
  18. “Sea Fever”, Flanders & Swann. Not actually a great song, but sufficiently entertaining to claim a spot.
  19. “Seaside Rendezvous”, Queen. Oh, how I love this song.
  20. “I Saw A Ship A-Sailing”, Natalie Merchant vocals and setting of the Mother Goose rhyme.

Yes, I’ve gone pretty far afield stylistically from the 30s. Listening to it through, it doesn’t sound jarring to my ears. It’s a mix I enjoy listening to straight through, which not all of them have been; the Higgins Archive coming to mind. So that’s all right.