Pin It
Favorite

CD Review 

by Ted S. McGregor Jr.


Who would you rather hear sing the standard "It's De-Lovely": Robbie Williams or Ella Fitzgerald? I thought so. The soundtrack for the new Kevin Kline/Ashley Judd film De-Lovely, which documents songwriter Cole Porter's life, features his songs covered by a variety of modern artists like Elvis Costello (an odd choice), Diana Krall (getting better) and Alanis Morrisette (huh?!). On the very day the soundtrack was released in June, however, Capitol Records cool Ultra-Lounge series released a counterattack: Cocktails With Cole Porter, which features the artists who made them the classics they have become.


Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole had perhaps the two best voices in American music history, and they are featured here with four of the CD's 20 tracks. "It's De-Lovely" is the highlight, with Porter's characteristically self-aware intro and its unforgettable refrain. Although Ella is perfect on the song, she manages to top even that performance on the live version of "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)," which is backed up by the Duke Ellington Orchestra.


While Porter's sexual orientation makes up the subtext of the new film, there was no hiding the fact that this guy knew how to live. Back in the 1930s and '40s, he wrote songs from his Manhattan penthouse, generally with a cocktail in hand, surrounded by the glitterati of New York every night. So it's fun to see the liner notes sprinkled with cocktail recipes. The guys at Ultra-Lounge have made repackaging classic American music into an art form. (Their Christmas CDs are particularly great.)


Of course, they're working with some great material, so it's hard to go wrong. Dean Martin pumps his own alcohol-fueled attitude into "Anything Goes," and Louis Prima and Keely Smith will rattle your cage on "I've Got You Under My Skin." Peggy Lee, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr. and Sarah Vaughn are also featured on these crisply remastered tracks.


But this is Cole Porter's show, and with his name back in the pop culture lexicon because of the film, here's your chance to hear what all the fuss is about. Most of these songs are from films or Broadway shows. His wordplay is exquisitely smart -- his wit is as dry as a good martini -- and his scores are perfect for Big Band interpretations, allowing for all the musical flourishes that a 10-piece demands. So if you want to get to know Cole Porter's music, skip the cheap imitations and go straight for the real deal.





Publication date: 08/26/04
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Children Will Listen
  • Children Will Listen

    How art speaks to life in this particular moment
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • So Here We Are
  • So Here We Are

    Here's hoping the new president fills the office with the grace and sense of tradition it requires
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Get Big Money Out
  • Get Big Money Out

    Letters to the Editor
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Women's March on Spokane

Women's March on Spokane @ Spokane Convention Center

Sat., Jan. 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Ted S. McGregor Jr.

  • The Watch List
  • The Watch List

    You'll learn a lot by watching some key people who could make or break Trump's presidency
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Fake-News Nightmare
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • BOOKS
  • BOOKS

    From Twin Peaks to the darkest reaches of our galaxy, there's a new book for everyone on your list
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • Positive Protest

    Why peaceful action should be understood as a point of national pride
    • Dec 22, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


scandal


scandals


Briefs


green zone


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Falsenomics
  • Falsenomics

    Shedding the lies we've heard about the state budget will help make a tough problem more solvable
    • Sep 24, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation