Why I Own a Robert Goulet Album
Darius de Haas's new CD includes two rare musical theater songs; Filichia pounces.
I'd heard about this project for years but didn't know the plot--until de Haas filled me in. "It was to be a fable on how people look at things, then perceive them, but find out they really are different," he said. "Strayhorn and Henderson created a character called Brother Big Eyes who ground out rose-colored lenses, but [the lenses] didn't have the usual properties that people associate with rose-colored glasses. These caused people to see realities they didn't want to see." Then de Haas admitted that the two didn't get very far with the show. Perhaps that's why one song, "House on a Hill," only lasts 1:24, while "Got No Time" clocks in at a mere 1:10. But, hey, at least there are two cuts from Rose-Colored Glasses; over the years, I've bought many an album just because it contained one song from an unrecorded Broadway show.
When new friends come to my apartment for the first time, their necks are quickly craned and their torsos immediately shifted to the right because they're checking out everything I own, placed on my myriad of shelves. This inevitably leads to value judgments along the lines of "Robert Goulet! Why would you own an album by Robert Goulet, of all people?!" Because, I tell them calmly, that particular record--Robert Goulet on Broadway, Vol. II--contains "Ciao, Compare," a song that was written for and eventually cut from Holly Golightly, later known as Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Today, if you want the score to Breakfast at Tiffany's, all you have to do is go into a store and buy or order the wondrous two-disc set that Original Cast Records released last year. But back in 1966, when the show abruptly closed before opening, true musical theater enthusiasts had to go out and collect as much of the score as they could through recordings on various albums. A John Gary disc, for example, programmed "You've Never Kissed Her," while a Lana Cantrell record had the decency to include two numbers from the score: "I've Got a Penny" and the title tune--meaning "Breakfast at Tiffany's," not "Holly Golightly." To get "Holly Golightly," I didn't have to buy a whole album but a mere 45 (know what that was?) by a guy named Frankie Randall, who, from the way he sang, thought he was Frank Sinatra but wasn't. (I also have Frank Sinatra's My Kind of Broadway, for no other reason than that it contains "Golden Moment" from Hot September--another show that RCA Victor was supposed to record but passed over once the musical closed in Boston.)
That Randall, Gary, and Cantrell all recorded songs from Breakfast at Tiffany's made sense, for they were all RCA Victor recording artists and that company had the rights to the cast album. But Goulet was with Columbia at the time, so I infer that he recorded the song simply because he liked it.
"Sergio Franchi?!" I hear when a newcomer visits my place. "What are you doing with a Sergio Franchi record?" Well, "Maybe It's Time for Me" is on that disc because Franchi was also recording for RCA Victor at the time and that label had the rights to do Sherry!, from which the song came. I used to own a Marilyn Maye album just because she recorded the title tune to Sherry! on it--but, once I happened on a 45 of her doing that number, I parted company with the album. In a way, I'm surprised that I haven't discarded the Gary, Goulet, and Cantrell's LPs now that I have the Breakfast at Tiffany's two-CD set, but I guess I've become a bit more sentimental over the years. (I must be; my turntable hasn't worked for many months.) As for the Franchi, it still can live in my house, because the studio cast of Sherry! that we've been promised for some years--with Nathan Lane as Sheridan Whiteside, Carol Burnett as Lorraine Sheldon, and Bernadette Peters as Maggie Cutler--hasn't yet materialized. The last I heard, all of the orchestra tracks were in place but the vocals weren't.
Oh, I got a million of 'em. A Kate Smith album with the title song from Smile, Smile Smile. A Bobby Sherman album with a song from Prettybelle. A recording by the "Living Voices" (who are not the living end) of four songs each from three 1961 shows: How to Succeed..., Let It Ride, and Kean. (Included from the last named show was "Inevitable," which meant that it was inevitable for me to have the record.)
But these albums with one or two obscure cuts really aren't the most marginal. My collection is littered with albums like Lester Lanin Plays "I Had a Ball", Lee Konitz Plays "Chicago", Oscar Peterson Plays "Fiorello", Bobby Hackett and Ronnie David Play "Sweet Charity"--because each contains a cut that was cut from the respective show and/or its cast album. The problem with these, of course, is that they're done by instrumental artists, so you get no lyrics. But the biggest stretch of all is Cannonball Adderley Plays "Fiddler on the Roof", which I have because it contains "Chavaleh." It's not just that you don't get the lyrics here; you don't really get the melody, either. Adderley was a jazz artist who riffed and improvised all over Jerry Bock's tune, making it impossible to hear the actual melody of the song. (Believe it or not, "Chavaleh" was actually released as a single, too. I later found it, but I've kept the Adderley Fiddler because it's a pretty good jazz disc for its own sake.)
And so it goes. "Ed Ames! Why would you own an album by Ed Ames, of all people?!" Because it has two songs from The Student Gypsy, or the Prince of Liederkranz, another musical RCA Victor said they'd record but didn't. I also own a Sammy Davis album with two songs cut from Golden Boy; a Michele Lee album with one song from Kelly; a Lena Horne album with the title tune from Pleasures and Palaces; a Tony Bennett album with one song cut from Do I Hear a Waltz? Oh--and I have an album, Salome Bey Sings "Dude", that contains 12 songs completely different from the 14 recorded on the made-after-the-fact cast album of Dude. And guess who Bey's nephew is? Darius de Haas. Nice to know that he's continuing the family tradition of giving us obscure Broadway material.