The popular Daytime Talks at 92Y has added a new series to its monthly line-up, “Will Friedwald’s Clip Joints: Scenes from the American Songbook” presenting videos of rare performances of the past.
by Linda Amiel Burns
Journalist, author and music critic Will Friedwald has a huge collection of rare videos on amazing performances of the past, featuring great singers, songwriters, orchestras and anything else you can think of. He has been showing these films around town at various locales calling them his “Clip Joints” and they have been very popular for the past few years. You can now find Will at the 92Y Daytime Talks with a new series of film clips that began in January and has gained enormous popularity. The talk I attended on Thursday, April 27 at noon was his tribute to the music of Harold Arlen and the room was packed. Will’s expertise is obvious as he introduces the films, and relates interesting facts about the subjects and what the audience is about to see.
The afternoon featured great clips of Tony Bennett and Lena Horne singing Harold Arlen’s music on various TV shows in the 1950’s and 60’s. Arlen was born in 1905, the son of a cantor, and wrote many of the great standards of the American Songbook with various lyricists. The opening clips had Burt Bachrach at the piano with Lena singing “Ill Wind” and Tony belting out “I’ve Got a Right to Sing the Blues,” and together they all sang, “Any Place I Hang my Hat is Home.” Arlen wrote for the Cotton Club in Harlem and met Lena there in 1934 when she was 16 years old. Her rendition of “Stormy Weather” is a classic.
Will showed a rare clip of Tony in the Recording Studio singing “Goodbye Big Time” with Arlen leading the orchestra. What a thrill to hear these great performances of “Come Rain or Come Shine, “ “The Man That Got Away” and two different renditions of “One For My Baby,” with Lena, as a slow dramatic ballad and Tony swinging it. A real treat was Frank Sinatra and Lena singing a medley of Arlen hits on a TV Show in 1960 celebrating Arlen’s 55th Birthday with standards like “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” “As Long As I Live,” “Get Happy” and “The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.” It doesn’t get better than that!
May 23 – Sheldon Harnick and Fiddler on The Roof
June 20 – Clips from My Fair Lady
To order tickets for this series and any of the Daytime Talks: call 212 415-5500 or visit the box office. www.92Y.org