Blame It on My Youth
Notes from Berri It takes a life to realize what life is all about! That profound observation is not only the opening line of the last song in this collection of ballads, it also seems to sum up my personal life as well as my career, and affected my choices in the songs I've been singing for fifty years. I'd have to say that my most important vocal influence came from Frank Sinatra, so ultimately my taste stems from that same wonderful source. Not a bad beginning, seeing as how I was a bobby-soxer born into an era of talented composers and lyricists who kept topping themselves every time they'd write a new song. What a wealth of material I had to choose from!! The title song, 'Blame it on my Youth' (a wry observation to say the least) written by Ed Heyman & Oscar Levant, was recorded by Old Blue Eyes for the album Close to You on April 4, 1956, and released a few months later. I purchased and learned that wonderful song on the day of it's release. 'Through a Long and Sleepless Night,' the melody of which was allegedly inspired by an old. French hymn, was written for the film Come to the stable. Also from films are Irving Berlin's lovely 'Better Luck Next Time', sung by a very young and vulnerable Judy Garland in Easter parade, and 'You Keep Coming Back like a Song' from Blue skies and sung by another wonderful crooner, Bing Crosby. In the forties Sinatra recorded Cole Porter's 'Why Shouldn't I', and I still own the original 78rpm of that record. Only sensational! In 1948 when the film biography of Rodgers &. Hart, Words and music, was released, I became so enamored of their genius I went on a musical tear and virtually inhaled nothing but R & H songs for a year, and what an education that was! 1 have taken a little liberty in combining the verse of 'The Nearness of You' with the poignant 'You're Nearer,' as suggested by Christopher Gines. And speaking of Christopher our collaboration on 'My Best Girl' (his choice) and 'You Wonderful You' (my choice) was a natural progression from professional to friend. To duet. A lovely mix from film and Broadway. Thanks Christopher, for your glorious talent and generous input. Once again motion pictures were my source for 'Ev'ry Time,' though the film was originally a Broadway show titled Best foot forward. In the early 1940's there was this night club called Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe, which subsequently became the title subject for a delightful musical in which Dick Haymes sings 'The More I See You' to the prime pin-up of WWII, Betty Grable. And speaking of WWII, which was so much a part of my history, I've included a song written by Frank Loesser in 1943, 'Spring will be a Little Late this Year.' How many wives and lovers of servicemen must have lingered over the telling lyric, 'you have left me and where is our April of old, you have left me, and winter continues cold.' I was so touched by that simple poetry that when I became a professional singer-pianist (1947) I decided to start the song at the bridge, and it's that same arrangement that you'll hear on this recording. 'Memories of You' and 'I'm Stepping out with a Memory Tonight' were two songs I was asked to learn 'in my youth' by a couple of 'Goodfellas,' employers who made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Needless to say I learned them, and in retrospect, gratefully so! While appearing at a wonderful bistro on motel row in Miami Beach I met someone who besides being the love of my life had more of an impact on me musically (the emotional part goes without saying) than anyone other than Sinatra. 'Easy Living'', 'It Amazes Me,' 'I Can't Get Started,' 'Talk to Me' And 'If I Love Again' are so much a part of this man who helped create my warmest memories and I'm so grateful that we're still friends. When you listen to the last track, John Wallowitch's lovely song 'This Moment', you'll hear these words; 'I bring my song to sing my song for you, until the end.' If you pay close attention you'll be hearing my life and my career, and you'll be listening to my heart. ENJOY! ! !