Sunday, 25 March 2012

Moon rivers and sing songs

This is a bit of a soppy one - to those times long ago and little when I lay in bed soothed to sleep by sing songs on the piano from the dining room below.   Somewhere in our house there's a legacy of dog-eared sheet music with wonderful illustrations on the fronts from films.

And when I read Bob Dylan's amazing Chronicles One (2004) and learned that Moon River was one of his favourite songs I loved him even more.  On p81, talking about early pop songs, he says;   "I loved songs like "Without a Song", "Old Man River", "Stardust" and hundreds of others.  My favourite of all the new ones was "Moon River".  I could sing that in my sleep.  My Huckleberry friend, too, was up there, waiting 'round the bend maybe on 14th Street".

Seems to tie in with what he says later (p108), returning to his home town in Duluth for his father's funeral and remembering how "growing up, the cultural and generational differences had been insurmountable - nothing but the sound of voices, colourless unnatural speech" and " It seemed I'd always been chasing after something, anything that moved - a car, a bird, a blowing leaf - anything that might lead me into some more lit place, some unkonwn land downriver".  I like to think this is another reference to the roaming spirit of Moon River - 'wherever you're going I'm going your way'.

and on Youtube I found this incredible clip from Breakfast at Tiffany's with Audrey Hepburn singing Moon River - you'll never want to hear another version, believe me:

. . . although there are loads of Youtube raves on the Joe Cocker recording and even Bob himself singing it live once!

and while on the subject of Joe Cocker - when I was a first year student we used to go down the road to the unrenovated Ranmoor Inn where an old dear played the piano on Sunday nights to an imprompu sing song of songs long before our era.  We often spotted Joe Cocker in the corner in the tiny snug singing along!  Some of our favourites on those nights were:

On Mother Kelly's Doorstep, Bye Bye Blackbird, Side by Side, My Old Man Said Follow the Van, On The Sunny Side of the Street, The Lady is a Tramp  . . . .

I'll leave you with a few to dip into and you can imagine those balmy nights in bed with the songs drifting up the stairs and thinking of "the free fresh wind in my hair, life without care"!

Ringo singing Bye Bye Blackbird lovely and I prefer it to Paul's new version:

The wonderful Bing singing Swinging on a Star with cute chorus:

This version of Side by Side should make you smile ......

and the amazing Ella on the Sunny Side of the Street - another piano cluster!

 fabulous 2008 Lily Allen version of The Lady is a Tramp:


  1. My son used to sing Moon River when he was very small - so beautifully that older relatives used to give him money after performances!

    1. Ahhh I bet that was really beautiful . . .