Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|BOBBY SHORT At the Cafe Carlyle|
Actors: Bobby Short, Beverly Peer, Gene Gammage
Director: V.I.E.W. Video
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
This renowned singer/pianist, with his legendary repertoire from the greats of Tin Pan Alley, is now closing in on his 40th year of packed performances at the Café Carlyle in New York. This DVD lets you join Bobby at the C... more »
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Bobby Short Doing What He Did Best, Singing In A Saloon
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 07/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a performance film of probably America's greatest saloon singer, and it deserves some love. Bobby Short died just a couple of months ago at 78. He'd been a long-time fixture at New York's posh Hotel Carlyle, performing nightly six months of the year in the Cafe Carlyle. He had announced his retirement at the end of the season but was still packing them in. I suspect he knew he was dying of leukemia and simply refused to make a big deal of it. It wouldn't have been in his character. As a singer, he was the epitome of style and sophistication without any pretension.
"I think of myself," he says on the DVD, "as a saloon singer, and a good saloon singer must come with everything. He's got to play some jazz and fool around with a ballad and sing a waltz and be a tiny bit risque sometimes and sing a tired old barroom song or sing the song of the day. And I've always liked jazz. I grew up with jazz."
Short played piano and was usually backed up by drums and a bass. He sang songs that were grown up and sophisticated, many of them the great "American Songbook" songs by Porter, Gershwin, Rodgers and the other giants. He found forgotten songs and polished them like jewels. He performed many songs by black composers like Razaf, Ellington and Johnson, some well known, some which had languished in obscurity. This performance DVD, in addition to a good interview, shows him performing one night at the Cafe. He covers a lot of ground, always with style; songs like Why Shouldn't I, Honeysuckle Rose, Four Walls and One Dirty Window, Too Marvelous for Words, Streamlined Lulubelle from Tennessee, The Best Is Yet to Come, Dancing at That Moving Picture Ball, How's Your Romance?, Everybody's Truckin', Old Man Harlem, and many others. The audience in the small room eats it up.
"One of the first lessons one learns in any kind of performance," Short says, "is to get his performance up to a certain level no matter what level the audience is at. They call that professionalism, I suppose. Anything above that is gravy and anything below that is not very good."
Bobby Short was not just a cabaret legend, he was an American treasure, for his style and good spirits, for his talent, and, most of all, for the songs he sang. As far as I know, this is the only significant filmed recording of him in action. The performance is intercut with a well-done interview with him. Short made a fair number of records, and if you're interested I'd recommend the CDs "Mabel Mercer and Bobby Short at Town Hall," "Bobby, Noel and Cole," "My Personal Property," "50 by Bobby Short," and the collections of songs he did on Gershwin, Porter and Rodgers & Hart.
The DVD presentation of the performance is good. The recording of the interview is a little soft. The sound is good."
One Happy Night
Louis Tyrrell | New York, NY USA | 06/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bobby Short was a wonderful guy. A great performer and a stellar personality. Leah Jay and I produced this program on a cool evening in 1979. We were loving denizens of the Cafe Carlyle and wanted everyone in the world to Appreciate the Bobby Short we knew and loved. Since, after all, I was a TV producer and owned mobile TV trucks why not drive over and put Bobby on tape, the way Leah thought it should be done. So I made a deal with Bobby and got together a crew and brought 3 cameras and a hand held into the Cafe Carlyle. The lighting was tough trying to keep that wonderful look of the cafe for our TV audience. Well, we did it and we loved it and it played to great plaudits on the defunct CBS cable channel. So I made a deal with a VHS distributor to sell the product and recoup some of the $38,000 I spent. Bobby is wonderful, he comes alive now that he's gone to the big show in the sky and everyone who loves music should see it. Even though VIEW Video who made the DVD doesn't pay me for my work, you should buy this great show because Bobby deserves your adoration."
Toby R. Madison | FL USA | 09/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD shows Bobby Short at his best. He is really the last of the great "cafe society" entertainers. The songs selected are terrific and the fact that his audience is shown around the piano makes the whole event quite wonderful. You have the feeling that you are actually in attendance."
A Priceless Treasure
Paul Rawlings | 03/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bobby Short was a favorite performer of mine since I moved to New York in 1955. A friend had his LP with "At the Moving Picture Ball" on it and I insisted she play it whenever I dropped by for coffee, which I did every morning when I was between jobs. I always intended to splurge and go see him at the Carlyle but I was too poor and then too populist for a night club and then too stingy. And there were always the great, great records. And suddenly, after only half a century, he was gone. Thank god for this DVD of a wonderful performance at the club. The ebullience, the superb artistry and the glow of his personal niceness make it a marvelous experience to treasure over and over. And he does "Moving Picture Ball" and other personal favorites, "On the Amazon" and "Why Shouldn't I?"
Bobby fans won't need prompting but this great treat should also be a key discovery for anyone interested in popular song styling of the civilized pre-wail-and-whine era, in Manhattan high life, in the triumph of individual striving and dedication, in... Oh hell, in anything that's fun. -- Paul Rawlings, Bayport, N.Y.."