Cool And Swinging, With Great Songs, A Great Performer, Adeq
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 11/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Nice girls don't stay for breakfast
And you're a nice girl, as sweet as a lamb.
If you're impressed with these words I've professed, may I make one small request,
Pass the jam, pass the jam..."
Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast is one of 15 songs written by Bobby Troup on this DVD. Troup is one of the great and now largely unknown jazz composers from the Forties, Fifties and Sixties. In most cases he wrote the words and music. He also was a first rate jazz pianist and a distinctive singer. This performance DVD was taken from a television program designed to showcase and honor Troup's talent. Johnny Mercer shows up to introduce us to Troup and Stan Kenton tells us about Troup's impact as a song writer. That great jazz stylist June Christy sings three of his works. Troup sings the rest. He's accompanied by bass, drums and guitar. He does the piano.
Troup's work is characterized by a cool, hip, even light sophistication. Early on, I think he had as a singer more mannerisms than he needed, but this worked its way out. He always was a singer with a distinctive style. Although his songs were grabbed up by artists such as Nat Cole, Kenton, Tommy Dorsey, Crosby and other A liners, Troup was probably the best interpreter of his own stuff.
Troup was a big, handsome guy, a captain in the marines during WWII, who wrote his first hit, Daddy, while he was in college. He headed for Los Angeles after he was discharged, and wrote Route 66 in 1946 while he was driving there. Troup never had big success as a performer, but he built a first-rate reputation as a distinctive, sophisticated jazz songwriter and an effective behind-the-scenes specialist. He was married to Julie London for over 40 years and was the architect of her great success as a singer.
Troup died in 1999 when he was 80. He stopped writing in the Seventies when, he said once, there just wasn't an audience anymore for the kind of songs he preferred to write. It may sound a bit snobbish, but his songs require you to listen to them. They're literate and they swing. They can even be delicate. The humor is often indirect. On this DVD you'll hear some of his best, from sad and reflective (It Happened Once Before, Baby Baby All the Time, The Meaning of the Blues, Lonely Girl, Their Hearts Were Full of Spring) to eccentric and funny (The Three Bears, I'm Such a Hungry Man, Jack 'N Jill) to cool and swinging (Route 66, Girl Talk, Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast, Daddy and one of the best, and largely unknown, jazz songs around, Lemon Twist). It closes the DVD.
"Here's a word to the wise the top dieticians in town insist,
The best source of vitamin C that can be found is a lemon twist.
Even the skeptic replies that here's a suggestion you can't resist,
A cool drink with ice is improved with some slices of lemon twist..."
The audio on the DVD is okay by my ears, but the picture lacks quite a bit. It's very soft with some red and orange bleeding. Still, it's watchable if you're not a perfectionist, and it's probably the only chance on DVD to see this outstanding and now hazily remembered great jazz writer and performer."