Still My Nature
More Tales of Love from the Great American Songbook
Wayne Rudolph Davidson aka Way-nee Dee Still My Nature: More Tales of Love from the Great American Songbook
Working with a Band that can Play The current project “Still My Nature” is an extension of the first release “Its’ My Nature” and its theme of Tales of Love from the Great American Songbook. The album is a romantic recital of jazz, popular and Broadway songs. The new release “Still My Nature” continues with More Tales of Love from the Great American Songbook as its theme packs a little more heat presented in the medleys and classical piano because of the skill level of my band “Never Too Late!” The band makeup is that Detroit area musicians who have been friends throughout the popularity of jazz and all have the DNA of the Motown sound. The band’s name “Never Too Late!” infers that it is never too late for me to take my melodious vocal style to another level and join a group of musicians with a celebrated portfolio as executive producer and kick out good music. The album is filled with diverse music from different era all enhanced by superior production. The foundation genre of the band comes from their rich jazz heritage that is parallel to the Rhythm & Blues and Soul first learned at Detroit Southwestern High School years before. Under the vision of Producer Francisco (Frank) Garcia II, Detroit music legend and musicologist, along with the music director, his brother and fellow Detroit artist, Dennis Maurice (Reecy) Garcia helped the band to bring their unique experience and special techniques, such as “call and response” bantering that takes place between instruments creates a special sound to both familiar songs and material not previously on their playlist: Wichita Lineman, That’s Life and None but the Lonely Heart. As the vocalist, I have always enjoyed the evolution of jazz, showtunes and operas performed in the classic backdrops of the 20th century. It was quite natural for this second album to present more tales of love from the Great American Songbook recorded at Rust Belt Studio and Terry Herald Studio in the Detroit Metropolitan Area. The Greek language recognizes four diverse ways as to how the word, love, can be used. In the Ancient Greek, those diverse ways are identified by four distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē. Agápe or Agape is generally defined as the love of God for man and of man for God; Éros or Eros is generally defined as the intimacy of lovers fueled by sexual passion; Philía or Philía is generally defined as an exchange of love between brothers, family, friends, or activities and passion for another; Storgē or Storgē is generally defined as a natural affection of love for country or even a favorite sports team. The niche audience for this music is broad as the themes of love songs in this album are conveyed through different genres; jazz, R&B and Soul, Country and Classical. You can pick what Greek form is associated with the song you like.
- Agent Double-O-Soul, Charles Edwin Hatcher (Edwin Starr) & Bill Sharpley Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC Espionage is on the rise. There is always potential for mayhem in the game of love but our hero “Double-O-Soul” in the name of brotherly love aims to save the day. This version of the song, Agent Double-O-Soul, is another thrill ride in the lifestyle of the “James Bond” fictional character fightin’ and lovin’ girls around the globe during the Cold War Era to the extent that the meek could only dream about adventure. In the new millennium, it is the elusiveness of the “Jason Bourne” fictional character who has lost his way we are all fascinated by. This song was also the first of an exhaustive list of popular hits by Edwin Starr, ranking number 25 on the US pop charts and number 8 on the R&B charts. This is an important song for several members of the band “Never Too Late!” as they were mentored by musicians of the original recording group in the mid-1960s heavily influenced by improvisation in the Motown sound. Be aware this veteran band is on the attack and this jam session brought to a crescendo led by the solo swagger of tenor saxophone master, Skeeter C. R. Shelton, and the vigorous percussion performances of Frank Garcia II and Richard Simpson.
- Medley Uno: My Funny Valentine, Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers IMAGEM Music Inc.; & Embraceable You, Music George Gershwin & Lyrics Ira Gershwin The album opens with classic ballads that speak to special relationships. Let's cuddle in a secluded hideaway and feel the evolution of jazz. My Funny Valentine was a 1937 show tune that became a popular jazz standard. This song is Number 6 on the greatest list of jazz’s vocal standards. The song has been covered by many artists but it is the version of Chet Baker featured in the Gerry Mulligan Quartet that was inducted with honor into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry in 2015. Way-nee Dee’s approach was to perform this song a capella followed by piano, violin and standup bass that help breathe mystic into the songs. Now stay cuddled, the segue of the medley into another stage song performed in 1928 that also became a jazz standard, Embraceable You. George Gershwin wrote the music and his brother Ira Gershwin wrote the lyrics. This song is Number 56 on the list of Greatest Jazz Vocals standards put there by distinct vocal performances, like Sarah Vaughn and Nat King Cole. However, it is Billie Holiday’s 1944 version of the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2005.
- Wichita Lineman, Jimmy Webb, Universal Music Publishing Group It is tough working on a lonely stretch of country lane and yearning for the love a woman, whose voice is heard somewhere through a hard wire telephone pole or a wireless network by a working man. This 1968 country and popular song was written by Jimmy Webb and performed by country music star Glen Campbell. The song was listed on the U.S. pop chart, Top 100, for 15 weeks reaching Number 3 and was atop of the American country music chart and the adult contemporary chart for several weeks. The song, also, did exceptional well in Canada and the United Kingdom. In addition, this song is universal and is listed as Number 195 on Rolling Stones magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Everybody can get lonely as noted in the soulful presentation by The Dells in 1969. This rendition goes well beyond its country-and-western roots. It is the floating guitar riffs, of another Detroit favorite Randy Catchings and the exceptional horn arrangement of Maurice (Reecy) Garcia that wails and ascends against the whine to ignite the violin of Pittsburg native Mike Saxon into top-flight toward the stratosphere in a yearning cry of lonesomeness.
- Medley Dos: You Go to My Head, J. Fred Coots & Haven Gillespie, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC; Warner/Chappell Music, Inc; Memory Lane Music Group & Serenade in Blue, Mack Gordon & Harry Warren, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. These melodies are comprised of romantic music tones with hypnotized and quotable lyrics that emanate from the bandstand to that special person. Again, in the evolution of jazz, You Go to My Head was a 1938 torch song that became a hypnotic and popular jazz standard. The song has been covered by many artists to include Billie Holiday, later Marlene Dietrich’s nocturne rendition. This song registered as Number 76 on the list of jazz vocal standards considered to be great. The medley transitions to a song from the Big Band Era. Serenade in Blue is a strolling song in which a question of love is being asked. The song has been covered by the bands and orchestras with Glenn Miller’s version reaching number 2 on the Billboards pop singles chart in 1942. The voice, piano, violin and standup bass croon to capture a musical time gone by in both tunes.
- Open the Door to Your Heart, Darrell Banks & Donnie Elbert, Universal Music Publishing Group; Carlin America Inc, BMG Rights Management US, LLC The love proposition here was turned up a notch. The pace is picked when you climb aboard the emotional rollercoaster found in this remake of a R&B classic, Open the Door to Your Heart. It was hit record for Darrell Banks who died in 1970. The record reached number 2 on the R&B charts and number 27 on the US pop charts in 1966. This was another important song for members of the band “Never Too Late!” as several members knew and worked with the original artist, Darrell Banks, during the late-1960s. Richard Simpson’s tight drum set, Frank Garcia’s funky bass guitar, Maurice (Reecy) Garcia’s imposing baritone sax, in addition, another Detroit artist Gregory (Frog) King’s throbbing solo alto sax performance allows us to remember another beloved artist gone too soon.
- Sometimes a Man, John Blair, Jazz Musician International Production, Inc. It is inevitable man makes mistakes. The love interest here was lost so from the perspective of an imposed exile or solitary confinement, a man reflects upon his faults and regrets the choices he made in relationship with his woman. This simple composition, Sometimes A Man, is a haunting jazz classic written and performed solo by violinist and guitarist John Blair in 1971. I first heard it in the 1970s on a Detroit jazz radio station heading out to the suburbs with my friend’s family. The essence of the song has stayed with me for many years. This rendition is filled with full orchestral accompaniment, to include, doo-wop background vocals. In affairs of the heart, Frank Garcia’s bass guitar is the pulse while Richard Simpson’s drums provides the pounding. Randall Catchings’ spurts of guitar provide an extra treat in the presentation of this song along with the tingling keyboard chords of blue collar Walter Blaney and Robert Jones, the wild card. The standout horn arrangement is accentuated by Maurice (Reecy) Garcia’s improvisational tenor sax solo conveys the excruciating pain of lost love previously expressed by the late John Blair. John Blair’s creativity also shines in the original version of the song as he invented the “vitar” a combination of the violin and guitar. Sadly, John Blair reportedly died in a state of homelessness in 2006.
- Medley Tres: As Times Goes By, Herman Hupfeld 1931 WB Music Corp & (At)The End (of The Rainbow), Sid Jacobson & Jimmy Krondes 1958, Criterion Music Corp A set of treasured melodies of love that convey realistic and painful message of “that is just the way it is, baby!” Aside from the melodrama, this final medley is comprised of As Times Goes By, a 1931 Broadway song that was voted No. 2 on the American Film Institute list of 100 songs after appearing in the 1942 film Casablanca sung by Dooley Wilson. It is also a jazz vocal standard and is still popular as many artists have covered it over the years. The medley shifts to a US Top 40 hit song of 1958 by army veteran Earl Grant, (At)The End (of The Rainbow) which also became very popular on the German music charts. Tragically, Earl Grant was killed in a traffic accident on Interstate 10 in Lordsburg, New Mexico traveling to his next gig in Juarez, Mexico in 1970. Another artist gone too soon on a stretch of highway I am familiar with from my own military days.
- None but the Lonely Heart, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky & L.A. Mey Love is lost once again. The classic experience of abandonment and the sadness that follows because she is gone and he pines. This melancholy song is written by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and dedicated to Alina Khvostova, a Russian soprano and singing teacher. It was the last of a set of romances for voice and piano completed in 1869. A trio of vocal expression, the graceful piano touch of Alexandra Zetye and Michael Saxon’s tender violin adds color and flavor to the loneliness of Tchaikovsky’s loss.
- That’s Life, Dean Kay & Kelly Gordon, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.; Universal Music Publishing Group; IMAGEM Music Inc.; Shapiro Bernstein & Co, Inc. This song is relative, love is everywhere and it does not matter what happens I am going to get back up again. That is the essence of this 1963 traditional popular song written by Dean Kay and Kelly Gordon. It was recorded first by Marion Montgomery, and later by OC Smith. Of course, the most famous cover version was made by Frank Sinatra that reached Number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. This lively rendition presents another standout horn arrangement, drums and bass guitar. Randall Catchings’ strum on lead guitar is invigorating in harmony with the keyboards variations of Walter Blaney and Robert Jones. As previously mentioned, the first release “Its’ My Nature” Tales of Love from the Great American Songbook is an album of romantic recital of jazz, popular, Broadway and classic song of America. In its limited audience, it has received warm reviews. It is Way-nee Dee and the band’s hope that we continue to play music that global audiences will enjoy listening to.