A Workmanlike Tribute To One Of America's Great Songwriters
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 04/09/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Hoagy Carmichael was one of the leading songwriters during the great period of the American popular song, roughly from the early Thirties to the end of the Forties. His career started in the Twenties and he stopped writing at the beginning of the Sixties. He simply felt there was no longer an audience for his kind of music. Like all the other great songwriters, he was original, distinctive and a superb craftsman. And he was probably right. Beginning in the late Fifties and the Sixties, an audience which could appreciate craftsmanship was evaporating, and the number of songwriters coming along who cared about craftsmanship was increasingly low. He wrote the music for such wonderful songs as Stardust, Georgia on My Mind, Lazy River, The Nearness of You, Riverboat Shuffle, Skylark, How Little We Know and many, many others.
As far as I know, this narrative production of Carmichael's life is the only one around. It''s useful, but it has drawbacks. In 58 minutes it spends a lot of time telling us about Carmichael's life but gives us just tastes of his music...and it is his music that we need to appreciate his life. The production is professional and workmanlike, and that's the major problem. It's workmanlike and not inspiring.
The production is filled with interviews with his sons, other relatives and friends, and with news and movie clips. It uses a linear narrative that appears to draw heavily from the Hoagy Carmichael archive at Indiana University. The narrator has a light, almost British accent which comes across as precise and a bit mannered, so unlike Carmichael's personality and musical style as to be a little off-putting. If you are a Carmichael fan and want to know about his life, this might be something to add to your library. Hoagy Carmichael, however, still needs a major retrospective of his music, and why his songs are as good as they are. Here's one of his great songs. Try to hear the music as you read Johnny Mercer's lyric...
have you anything to say to me?
Won't you tell me where my love can be?
Is there a meadow in the mist,
where someone's waiting to be kissed?
have you seen a valley green with Spring,
where my heart can go a journeying,
over the shadows and the rain,
to a blossom-covered lane?
And in your lonely flight,
haven't you heard the music in the night,
faint as a will o' the wisp, crazy as a loon,
sad as a gypsy serenading the moon.
I don't know if you can find these things,
but my heart is riding on your wings,
so, if you see them anywhere,
won't you lead me there?
Songwriting doesn't get much better than that.
Carmichael did NOT write the song Thanks for the Memory
Gregg Culling | New York, NY United States | 02/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hoagy Carmichael did not write the song "Thanks for the Memory." That song was written by Ralph Rainger (1901-1942) and Leo Robin (1900-1984) and was introduced in the film "The Big Broadcast of 1938" by Bob Hope (in his film debut) and Shirley Ross. Bob Hope used it as a theme song throughout his career. It won the Academy Award as best song.
Awf'ly glad I met you, cheerio, and toodle-oo...
Hoagy did write "Two Sleepy People" for a film called "Thanks for the Memory." But even that film did not include the song "Thanks for the Memory."
~ Gregg Culling