Oh, Captain! | Femininity Abbe Lane on her 1958 album The Lady in Red
Music & Lyrics: Jay Livingston and Ray Evans Book: Al Morgan and José Ferrer
Note: Abbe Lane starred in the original Broadway production, but her recording contract prevented her from being on the show’s cast album; Eileen Rodgers appeared on the album in her absence. Lane later recorded her songs onto this solo album.
I was looking for this recording on my blog today and couldn’t find it (although there are two other recordings of it featured on itsdlevy—oddly, neither from the original cast recording). Anyway, posting now to remedy. something something international women’s day something something.
The first Best Original Song Oscar of the ’50s went to “Mona Lisa” - a second win for Livingston & Evans. The song was from the film Captain Carey, U.S.A. but I can’t find the clip or any reference to how the song was used in the movie. It’s not even clear to me if Nat “King” Cole’s vocal version of the song was in the film or just on the soundtrack album. Regardless, it’s a great song.
Incidentally, as I’m typing this, Billy Crystal is singing a Livingston & Evans melody (to the theme of Mr. Ed) on the Oscar telecast.
Bob Hope so successfully branded himself as a comedian in the second-half of his career that it’s easy to forget he was a musical actor first. This song, “Buttons and Bows” from The Paleface, won statuettes for Livingston & Evans, one of my favorite under-appreciated songwriting teams. The song was a bigger hit when Dinah Shore covered it.
(Several years later Livingston & Evans tried to recapture their success with this song by writing "Satin & Spurs" for a Betty Hutton TV musical.)
Also discovered on LivingstonAndEvans.com: “Tel Aviv,” which is presented on the site without any context except for a 1988 copyright date. This recording is Jay Livingston’s demo. I imagine it’s intended for a female singer, although there’s something fun about imagining it’s actually about a straight male Republican who finds his sexuality challenged by a hot Israeli tour guide.
The Leonard Feather / Dick Hyman All Stars featuring Marilyn Moore,
OH CAPTAIN! The First Show-Tune Album With Vocals
While obsessing over Oh Captain! last night, I went into a mini frenzy of looking for material from and about it online (as one does) and discovered that the songwriters Livingston & Evans have the most incredible website, with a huge archive of full mp3s of their music - demos, cast recordings, singles, covers…. all there, all free. It’s not complete, but there’s much to enjoy.
This track is a jazz cover of my favorite song from the show, Femininity, by Leonard Feather / Dick Hyman All Stars, with vocals by Marilyn Moore.
And speaking of Donna Theodore, here’s a crazy video of her performing my favorite song from Oh Captain! (Friends from my days as Adams House drama tutor may recall my own drag night performance of this song.)