Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We'll have Manhattan

The other day I found myself randomly humming the song Manhattan. It's an old Rodgers and Hart tune written in 1925 for Garrick Gaieties and God only knows how it lodged itself in my head because I hadn't heard the tune in years. I had no idea what the words were so headed over to itunes which had versions by Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Dinah Washington and many others but the version that got me was Lee Wiley's.

A few years ago two of Wiley's songs (Looking at You and Oh! Look at Me Now) were featured on the soundtrack to LA Confidential but other than that I rarely hear her name mentioned. She had moderate and sporadic success from the 1930s-1960 and sadly today is underappreciated as a vocalist. While not as technically skilled as the other singers there is such a sweet sincerity in Wiley's voice that I immediately connected with her version. The song was featured on the album Night in Manhattan (1951) which also features the finest version of Oh, Look at Me Now! ever recorded (Wiley will forever own that song).

For whatever reason I was reintroduced to Lee Wiley and I am thankful. Night in Manhattan is one of the best albums I have ever heard

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