Every song on my new album “Pickpockets and Loose Women” has a story behind it. All of these songs had a huge impact on my when I first heard them, and I promised one day I would record them all. So here, for your amusement are the stories behind the songs.
I Want to Be Evil;
The “newest” fascination for me. I first heard this in the movie Kinky Boots in 2005. I loved it. I mean, Eartha Kitt made it famous first, so what’s not to love? It took a long time for me to track down sheet music for it. It wasn’t until Kinky Boots the musical came around that I found it. Of course they don’t use the song in the musical… but it did spark interest in the original.
This is a song from a Canadian musical called “Girls in the Gang” written by John Roby and Raymond Storey. We did a production of it in theatre school and John Roby was our Music Director. Up until this point, I had always loved jazz music, but was strictly ‘classical’ in my singing. I didn’t know how to ‘belt’. I was amazed that I was cast in the show. I spent a great deal of time figuring out how to get something that sounded jazzy, belty and strong, and not blow out my voice. When I asked John Roby if I could do this song, he gave me his blessing (and the score arrangement) but said “I’ve had a lot of people ask me if they could record my music…but no one ever has.” It has taken me 10 years to get to it, but I’ve finally done it!
Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love?
This one is from the Marilyn Monroe/ Jane Russel movie “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”. This reminds me of my days performing with my ‘little sister’ Elizabeth Griffin at the “Big Creek Boat Farm” when we were in theatre school. Marilyn may have gotten the attention, but Jane had all the best lines! Incidentally while researching album artwork, I discovered the orginal story was from a pulp novel… much like the style of my cover!
Slowly (Langsam, immer Langsam)
This song was from an album I bought when I worked as a DJ for Radio Herz, a German language radio station. Yup, I had a brief stint as a DJ. I played jazz and music theatre (no surprise there!) I found a store on Lakeshore that had imported CD’s and I came across the Kurt Edelhagen orchestra featuring Caterina Valente singing this song. I loved the way the slowed the recording down at the end letting it get all distorted and slow. With the help of my cousin Claudia in Germany we came up with a translation of the lyrics.
An Occasional Man
I had never heard of this one before. It’s from a film called “The Girl Rush”. It’s just so summery and fun, and the girl gets to be in charge for a change.
The Masochism Tango
My first year at Theatre School I went to a recital. I was not expecting the pretty girl on stage to pull out a whip and sing this! I needed to find out all I could about Tom Lehrer after that. I’ve had the chance to perform this a few times and it’s such fun to do!
Orange Colored Sky
The Muppet Show was a big favourite of mine. In 1980 Linda Carter was the guest start and sang Orange Colored Sky. Muppets in superhero costumes were thrown at her, things exploded. It was glorious.
Fast forward a couple decades and I finally came across sheet music for this gem. What luck! I feel like it coincided with meeting my darling hubby, whose favourite colour just happens to be Orange. Let’s say that’s how it happened. This one is for him.
Why Don’t You Do Right?
Who Framed Roger Rabbit came out in 1988. When Jessica Rabbit stuck her leg out from the curtain and sang this song, I knew I needed to find this song. I’ve sung it many times since then, but this recording definitely is the closest I’ve come to having a real Jessica Rabbit moment!
Minnie The Moocher
I used to spend a fair bit of time at the Reservoir Lounge listening to some great jazz. I’m not sure who was playing this song, but I loved the audience participation. And it’s a Betty Boop cartoon too!
Swinging On A Star
Well, this is the last track on the album and possibly one of the oddest ‘first hearings’ of a song. I was completely distracted by this song the first time I heard it. It was quirky and funny. I heard it in bits and pieces, sung by my about-to-be-ex-boyfriend. He explained why we could no longer be together (because I was too good for him) and then he’d sing a bit of this song while I tried to understand what his problem was. It was certainly a memory that stuck with me.
It’s a fun song to sing… especially when you aren’t breaking up with someone during it.