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mmilovan

Johnny Mercer - superb jazz vocalist. Yeah!

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In his post on "Lucky Thomspon, brownian motion observed something that was so interesting:

"But his one vocal effort on Louis Jordan's "She Dyed Her Hair Chartreuse" sounds so much like Johnny Mercer, who I think is a superb jazz-pop vocalist"...

I will add my votes to that. Mercer certainly was one of my favourite song writers anytime, but his vocal attempts was jazz oriented. I refer to Columbia Billi Holiday set where he sings alongside with Lady Day, Leo Watson and female Goodman vocalist on live date. It is full of jazz oriented phrasing, and good in intoantion as well as clear diction.

I have a few other dates, mostly with Benny Goodman Camel Caravan sessions, and he is great there, too.

Anyone shares ours oppinion about famous songwriter, Johnny Mercer?

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Johnny Mercer's singing always seems very hip. He's from that era where Jazz and Pop interelated. His lyrics were humorous and clever and the catalogue of songs he wrote speaks for itself.

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(B ) Paul Whiteman - LA June 12, 1942

Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra: same as above except omit Butterfield, Willie Rodriguez (d) replaces Paino and add Harry Azen, Sol Blumenthal, David Newman (strings) -1, Billie Holiday, Johnny Mercer, Jack Teagarden (vcl), Jimmy Mundy (arr)

30 Trav'lin' Light (vcl-BH, arr-JM) -1 116, M-11035

31 The Old Music Master (vcl-JM & JT) 137

note: Mx. 32 I'm Old Fashioned by Martha Tilton and Mx. 33 You Were Never Lovelier by Larry Neil, both with this orchestra and strings, have no jazz context and is not included here.

(L) Wingy Manone - LA March 7, 1944

Wingy Manone's Dixieland Band: Wingy Manone (tp, vcl), Jack Flores, Floyd O'Brien, Abe Lincoln (tb), Matty Matlock (cl), Stan Wrightsman (p), Nappy Lamare (g), Phil Stephens (B), Zutty Singleton (d), Johnny Mercer (vcl)

215-3 The Tailgate Ramble (vcl-WM & JM) 15285, T793

215-5 The Tailgate Ramble (vcl-WM & JM) 10024

216-2 Besame Mucho (vcl-WM) 347

217-2 Paper Doll (vcl-WM) 347, H213, W2137

218-2 I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate(vcl-WM) 10024, TBO1970

(M) Wingy Manone - LA January 10, 1947

Johnny Mercer with Wingy Manone and the Pied Pipers and Paul Weston and his Orchestra

1586-3 Tuscaloosa Bus (cvl-WM, JM & PP) 15285

note: Mx. 1587-2 Avalon and 1588-2 I Do Do Do Like You, by Johnny Mercer from this session, are pop arrangements without Manone and are not included here.

(P) Wingy Manone - LA May 23, 1947

Wingy Manone And His Orchestra: Wingy Manone (tp, vcl), Charlie Griffard, Zeke Zarchy, Ray Linn (tp), Bill Schaefer, Allan Thompson, Carl Loeffler (tb), Heinie Beau (cl), Fred Stulce, Leonard Hartman (as), Herbie Haymer, Ted Nash (ts), Moe Weschsler (p), George Van Eps (g), Jack Ryan (B), Nick Fatool (d), Johnny Mercer (vcl)

1945-2 Box Car Blues (vcl-WM & JM) 442

note: Mx. 1943-5 Just Plain Love and 1944 The Riddle Song, both by The Pied Pipers, are pop arrangements without Manone and are not included here.

Q) Johnny Mercer - LA March 27, 1950

Johnny Mercer, The Skylarks, Ben Pollack and His Pick-A-Rib Boys: Dick Cathcart (tp/cor), Moe Schneider (tb), Matty Matlock (cl), unknown (ts), Walter Yoder (B), Ben Pollack (d).

5658-3 At The Jazz Band Ball 982

5659-4 She's Shimmyin' On The Beach Again 982

5660-2 Thirteenth Street Rag unissued

5661-3 Royal Garden Blues unissued

note: This personnel is based on the band Pollack led in a Los Angeles club that spring. Although Ray Sherman was the pianist in Pollack's band at this time, no piano is audible on this session.

(WW) Cootie Williams - WMCA, NYC January 29, 1946

Cootie Williams and His Orchestra: Cootie Williams, Bob Merrill (tp, vcl), E. V. Perry, George Treadwell, Billy Ford, Clarence "Gene" Redd (tp), Ed Burke, Edward Johnson, Bob Horton (tb), Rupert Cole, John Jackson (as), Sam Taylor, Everett Gaines (ts), Bob Ashton (bari), Arnold Jarvis (p), Sam "Christopher" Allen (g), Norman Keenan (B), Butch Ballard (d), Johnny Mercer (vcl).

907-1 Stingy Blues (vcl-BM) 15164, M11057

908-3 He Should'a Flip'd When He Flop'd (vcl-JM) unissued

909-1 Echoes Of Harlem 266, M11057

910-1 That's The Lick M11057

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Milan, this is taken from the (Online) discography of the Mosaic Capitol set. It's been some time since I listened to these sessions, but there is some good-natured fun and some good vocals among these!

Thought it might be interesting to you.

ubu

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Johnny Mercer was a fine jazz/pop vocalist and of course a superb writer of lyrics (or music and lyrics). We wrote about 1.500 songs, among them everlasting classics such as Autumn leaves, Come rain or come shine, Day in day out, Laura, That old black magic, Trav´lin´ light or I remember you.

From the sessions Flurin lists, I only have the Cootie Williams date (included in CW Classics 1945-46) and Johnny Mercer is OK.

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Anyone cares to comment this ASV/Living Era release, that is supposed* to be the best available compilation of Johnny Mercer singing?

f39127lpzf2.jpg

* AMG has spoken

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Don't really know that much of Mercer's singing, but what I have heard has always gone down smooth.

Besides being a great songwiter, the guy was a co-founder of Capitol Records. Think about the impact that label has had, directly or indirectly, over the last 45-50 years.

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Jim,

Very much jazz content in his singing, indeed! The way he changed melody of "Jeepers Creepers" on that BH live recording is marvelous.

Oh, that 1942. Whiteman date and first appearance of "Travellin' Light", with powerfull Billie singing! It is usually said that Pres was in sax section (he takes no solos, anyway).

Jihnny Mercer was co founder of Capitol records, really. I think I've read somewhere that Nat Cole was indulged in that, too.

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Milan - do you have the Capitol stuff?

I'll send you an email probably tomorrow - thanks a lot for yours!

ubu

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Jihnny Mercer was co founder of Capitol records, really. I think I've read somewhere that Nat Cole was indulged in that, too.

I don't know that Cole was an actual founder of the label, but he was certainly an early signee.

I've read that Capitol actually began as an "Artist's label", that is, the label was to serve as an outlet for the talents and desires of its talent, not to endlessly produce annonymous but profitable "product". I think they succeeded pretty well overall, at least for their first decades or so. Contrast the handling of Sinatra at Capitol with the mis-handling at Columbia for a prime example. And as far as I know, nobody REALLY pressured Nat to "go pop". I'm sure the label was more than happy to accmodate him when he did, but I get the impression that it was his call, not the result of record label pressure.

HERE'S a capsule history of Capitol. I'm sure that you can find better. As well, Gene Lees wrote a very nice portrait of Mercer in the later edition of "Singers And The Song", including an anecdote where Mercer went to visit Capitol Tower in L.A. and was greeted by a receptionist who was COMPLETELY unaware of who Mercer was. A bit sad (but predictable), that one is.

And check out Ella's Mercer Songbook on Verve (w/arrangements by Nelson Riddle - not his most imaginative work by any means, but damn, there are moments!). I didn't know that Mercer had written lyrics to "Early Autumn", but here they are, and darn fine ones they are indeed!

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