Friday, October 10, 2008

Take the azure in the dome, boy

Writing the other day about Lionel Hampton’s lyric on “Vibraphone Blues” got me thinking about other lyrics I especially like. The first one that came to mind wasn’t a lyric, per se, but a set of responses.

One of Frank Sinatra’s early hits was “Blue Skies,” with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Sinatra was still a band singer then (though an increasingly popular one), part of the ensemble. The performance of this version of the song called for him to sing the lyric straight, but for the band to come in with chanted, almost mocking, elements behind him. The result is anything but the usual Sinatra ballad of the era. It’s the band’s wise-guy lyrics I love. It goes like this (band in parens):

Blue skies (look up, look up) smilin’ at me (take the azure in the dome, boy)
Nothin’ but blue skies (it’s mellow, fellow) do I see (blue skies, blue skies)
Bluebirds (did you ever) singin’ a song (hear the bluebirds singin’…)
Nothin’ but bluebirds (you won’t say no) all day long
(The happy little birds, flap, flap happy, sunshine everywhere, and everybody’s happy as a square at the fair. Hoy! Hoy!)

All the days are hurryin’ by
When you’re in love, my how they fly
Blue days (talk about blue), all of them gone (makes no misery hmm hmm)
Nothin’ but blue skies (overhead) from now on (Mister Elman, go ahead, go ahead)

“Mister Elman” is trumpeter Ziggy Elman (“And the Angels Sing”), who comes in to take a solo.

“Everybody’s happy as a square at the fair” makes me chortle every time. Hep cats, these boys.


Anonymous said...

This is by far my favorite version of the song, and you can hardly find information about it on the internet. I, too, love the jocular intervention on the part of the band. Thanks for a great post!

Mark Alvarez said...

You're reading some old stuf!! Glad you enjoyed it!

Mark Alvarez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

I can't believe I found this. Just goes to show that there's at least one other person out there with the same interests.
I was listening to the song again - just love the smooth Dorsey trombone - and if I may, I think I might have some insight into the band's lyrics:
"hear the bluebirds singing the blues"..."You won't! They don't!"
“Cuz they’re happy little birds, slap slap happy…”
I would have never gotten “take the azure in the dome, boy” without this blog though.Thank you also for the Mr. Zelman reference!

Mark Alvarez said...

Cheers, Christine! Glad you got something out of this old post.