No Strings

by No Strings

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about

Lyrics + Music by:
Kander/Ebb
Suesse/Heyman
Irving Berlin
Fritz Loehner-Beda
Paul Simon
Dr. Arthur Colahan
Walter Robinson
Harry Woods
Cole Porter
Rodgers/Hart
Shearing/Forster
George + Ira Gershwin
Seiler/Marcus/Benjamin/Durham
Sidney Carter

No Strings is a Mother/Son duo playing a wide variety of jazz standards + rock/pop/country/folk songs.

credits

released August 22, 2014

Voice by Harriette Wagner
Voice + piano by Matthew Embry
Edited/produced/arranged by No Strings
Song notes by Harriette Wagner
Recorded live in California
Mastered by Steve McDonald at the Octagon
Cover art by Elaine Callahan (It's Complicated #8)
Site wallpaper by Bonnie Jean Primbsch


see lyrics, visuals, and/or liner notes by clicking on individual tracks.
for seamless play, please download.
<name your price> is the digital equivalent of <no one turned away for lack of funds>, sliding scale $0-?

A Work In Progress Records is an independent record group concerned with do-it-yourself releases distributed on an anti-profit/donation basis.

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No Strings

Upcoming Shows:

August 20, Saturday, 8PM @ Fulton 55, Dark Side of the Moon Live, Friend Or Faux, Matthew Embry + 1

November 3, Thursday, 6PM, ArtHop @ Chris Janzen Studio w/ Matthew Embry + 1

matthewembry.bandcamp.com
clatterboxx.bandcamp.com
www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ18kMHIDZhmqWEMIj-0Yyg
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Track Name: Willkommen
Willkommen! bienvenue, welcome!
Fremder, etranger, stranger
Gluklich zu sehen, Jesuis enchante,
Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay
Willkommen! bienvenue, welcome!
Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret!



Welcome to Tin Pan Alley! Although "Wilkommen" is from "Cabaret", a seductive 1966 Broadway musical about Berlin during the rise of the Nazis, I thought this might be an appropriate time to uncover the enigma of the phrase Tin Pan Alley, as most of the following collection of songs is from that now figurative, but longtime literal, place and time. Anecdotally, it goes like this.
On a typical steamy summer afternoon around 1885, a writer for the New York Herald, Monroe Rosenfeld, was walking down 28th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. In those days long before air conditioning, every window in the offices of the burgeoning music publishing business was open and song pluggers were at their trade. Rosenfeld later wrote in a series of articles that it sounded like "hundreds of tin pans being banged in an alley" and the phrase Tin Pan Alley caught on. The actual addresses shifted over the years but the phenomenon of the creation and marketing of American popular music, a defining component of American culture which went 'round the world, from the late 19th century well into the 1950's, remained. The phrase The Great American Songbook arose as part of Tin Pan Alley, referring primarily to songs which became Standards from the 1920s into the 1950's, when rock and roll arrived.
Track Name: You Oughta Be In Pictures
You oughta be in pictures,
You’re wonderful to see,
You oughta be in pictures,
Oh what a hit you would be!
Your voice would thrill a nation,
Your face would be adored,
You’d make a great sensation
with wealth and fame your reward;
And if you should kiss the way you kiss,
When we’re alone,
You’d make ev’ry girl and man
A fan worshiping at your throne.
You oughta shine as brightly
As Jupiter and Mars;
You oughta be in pictures,
My star of stars.
And if you should sing like Bing,
You know, nonchalant
You'd be more than Barrymore.
What do you want?
You oughta dress like Gable
And ride in fancy cars
You oughta be in pictures, my star of stars
You oughta be in pictures...



One of the few women credited by Tin Pan Alley, Dana was called by the 1930's press "the girl Gershwin". A child prodigy, as a vaudeville piano player she would ask the audience for a theme and proceed to weave it into a full length piece. She graduated to classical concerts at Carnegie Hall. An accomplished, recognized songwriter, composer, lyricist, playwright in her day, Dana's name, for reasons I don't understand, is not a household word. She wrote numerous popular hits, collaborating with other well-known songwriters and lyricists, which became part of The Great American Songbook, along with concerti and other "serious" opuses (I hate the word "serious" here, as if popular music isn't serious, but I lack a better one).
Track Name: The Song Is Ended
The song is ended
But the melody lingers on
You and the song are gone
But the melody lingers on

The night was splendid
And the melody seemed to say
"Summer will pass away
Take your happiness while you may"

There 'neath the light of the moon
We sang a love song that ended too soon

The moon descended
And I found with the break of dawn
You and the song had gone
But the melody lingers on.



Irving Berlin, writer of both music and lyrics, with over 1500 songs to his credit, was considered the embodiment of American music. When asked what place Berlin has in American music, Jerome Kern answered, "Irving Berlin has no place in American music; he IS American music." In one case, however, the lyric was not his. Fritz Loehner-Beda, a famous Austrian composer, lyricist, librettist and writer, put words to Berlin's melody in 1927. Beda was very sought after in Vienna and wrote several librettos for Franz Lehar's operettas. In 1938 Beda was arrested and sent to Buchenwald, later transferred to Auschwitz. Lehar's operettas continued to be played and in 1940 Beda was listed in the Nazi's Encyclopedia of Jews in Music as having written songs for Lehar but no mention as a librettist. He hoped for intercession from Lehar but none came. He became ill, couldn't work and was murdered by the Nazis in 1942 at age 59. Today, sadly, his name is nearly forgotten.
Track Name: The 59th Street Bridge Song
Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobble stones
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy

Hello lamppost what you knowing?
I've come to watch your flowers growing
Ain't you got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' do-do feelin' groovy

Got no deeds to do, no promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you all is groovy.



Having returned from England in 1965 after a year's stay and feeling a little unsettled, Paul Simon's 6 am jaunt across the Queensboro Bridge led to one of the few truly happy songs he's ever written. Although one of Simon and Garfunkel's most popular, it never was technically a hit. Simon sued The Kroffts for using it in the theme song in their children's TV show HR Pufnstuf and won. The studio version featured Joe Borello, drums and Eugene Wright, bass, of the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Track Name: Galway Bay
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland
Then maybe at the closing of your day
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay

Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream
The women in the meadow making hay
And to sit beside a turf fire in the cabin
And watch the barefoot gossoons at their play

For the breezes blowing o'er the sea to Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as they blow
And the women in the uplands diggin' praties
Speak a language that the strangers do not know

For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way
They scorned us just for bein' what we are
But they might as well have tried to catch a moonbeam
Or light a penny candle by a star

And if there is going to be a life hereafter
And somehow I am sure there's going to be
I will ask my God if I can make my heaven
In that dear land across the Irish Sea.



A large bay in western Ireland between County Galway and County Clare, Galway is famous for its fishing boats, the Galway Hookers. Black with red sails, they are uniquely designed to weather the strong seas in the bay. Bing Crosby popularized Dr. Colahan's song with a huge hit in 1947.
Track Name: Medley: Harriet Tubman/River, Stay 'Way From My Door
Lyric + music by Walter Robinson (1977)

One night I dreamed I was in slavery, 'bout 1850 was the time
Sorrow was the only sign, nothing around to ease my mind
Out of the night there came a lady leading a distant pilgrim band
"First mate!" she yelled, pointing her hand
"Make room on board for this young woman"

Come on up, mm-mm, I got a lifeline
Come on up to this train of mine
Come on up, mm-mm, I got a lifeline
Come on up to this train of mine
She said her name was Harriet Tubman
And she drove for the Underground Railroad

Hundreds of miles we travelled onward gathering slaves from town to town
Seeking every lost and found, setting those free that once were bound
Somehow my heart was growin ' weaker, I fell by the wayside sinking sand
Proudly did this woman stand, she lifted me up and took my hand

Come on up, mm-mm, I got a lifeline
Come on up to this train of mine
Come on up, mm-mm, I got a lifeline
Come on up to this train of mine

Who are these children dressed in red?
They must be the ones that Moses led
Who are these children dressed in red?
They must be the ones that Moses led

Come on up, mm-mm, I got a lifeline
Come on up to this train of mine
Come on up, mm-mm, I got a lifeline
Come on up to this train of mine
She said her name was Harriet Tubman
And she drove for the Underground Railroad.



Born circa 1820 into slavery in Maryland, Harriet became the most famous conductor on the figurative Underground Railroad, basically a series of safe houses from the South through non-slave Northern states and into Canada. On foot when necessary but primarily in wagons, she made 19 trips over a decade, saving some 300 slaves, none of whom were recaptured. Clever, resourceful, determined, she would dose crying babies with perigoric to quiet them, issue orders like a military commander and threaten those who panicked and wanted to go back with a pistol, saying, "You'll be free or die." Suffering recurring blackouts throughout her life after being struck in the head as a child by an overseer, there was a $40,000 price on her head. When the Civil War came, she joined the Union becoming a spy and leading an expedition, likely the only woman to do either. She became an active abolitionist, suffragist and in her later years founded a home for indigent elderly. These are only the highlights of the life of a woman who amazed all those who knew her, who helped John Brown arrange the raid on Harper's Ferry and would have been there were it not for illness. She died in 1913 of pneumonia and only after her death did the country begin to acknowledge her greatness and the unique role she played in our history Composer/lyricist Walter Robinson did a superb job in capturing the essence of this extraordinary human being in his opus "Harriet Tubman". I am still dismayed that she wasn't mentioned in my history books; not until my children came home with her story did I learn of her. Oh well, a woman, a black woman at that - should I be surprised that it took awhile for her to appear on the radar?




Lyric + music by Harry Woods (1931)

You keep goin' your way, I'll keep goin' my way
River, stay 'way from my door
I just got a cabin, you don't need my cabin
River, stay 'way from my door

Don't come up any higher, I'm so all alone
Leave my bed and my fire, that's all I own

I ain't breakin' your heart
Don't start breakin' my heart
River, stay 'way from my door

Don't come up any higher, I'm so all alone
Leave my bed and my fire, that's all I own

I ain't breakin' your heart
Don't start breakin' my heart
River, stay way from my door



Harry Woods, pianist,composer and lyricist of several well-known songs, sometimes collaborating with the biggest names in the music and movie business - I'm Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover, Try A Little Tenderness, When The Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along, Paddlein' Madeleine Home, etal, was an interesting, if not altogether pleasant, fellow. Born without fingers on his left hand, his mother, a concert singer, insisted he learn to play. He did and earned a living at it! He obtained a Bachelor's from Harvard and began composing, too. He was a practicing alcoholic, violent and, considered by some, dangerous. Once, while fighting a man in a bar, holding him down with his good right hand and pummeling his face with the stump of his left hand, a woman asked, "Who is that horrible man?". A friend of Harry's answered, "Why, that's Harry Woods; he wrote "Try a Little Tenderness."
Track Name: From This Moment On
From this moment on,
You for me dear,
Only two for tea dear,
From this moment on,

From this happy day,
No more blue songs,
Only hoop-de-doo songs,
From this moment on

You've got the love I need so much
Got the skin I love to touch
Got the arms to hold me tight
Got the sweet lips to kiss me goodnight

From this moment on
You and I babe
We'll be ridin' high babe
Every care is gone
From this moment on.

You've got the love I need so much
Got the skin I love to touch
Got the arms to hold me tight
Got the sweet lips to kiss me goodnight

From this moment on
You and I babe
We'll be ridin' high babe
Every care is gone
From this moment,
From this moment,
This very moment on.



There were two of the top five Tin Pan Alley songwriters who wrote both music and lyrics - Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Cole Porter had, for the most part, a wildly successful career from 1928 to 1958. "From This Moment On" was used in "Kiss Me, Kate", based on Shakespeare's "Taming Of The Shrew". It was Porter's only show that ran over 1,000 performances and his first that tied songs closely to the story line and won the first Tony award.
Track Name: My Romance
My romance doesn't need to have a moon in the sky
My romance doesn't need a blue lagoon standing by
No month of May, no twinkling stars
No hideaway, no soft guitar

My romance doesn't need a castle rising in Spain
Or a dance to a constantly surprising refrain
Wide awake I can make my most fantastic dreams come true
My romance doesn't need a thing but you.



First to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) and also collecting a Pulitzer, Richard Rodgers was prolific and enormously gifted. After collaborating for nearly a quarter century with Lorenz Hart, he went on to partner with Oscar Hammerstein II from 1943 to Oscar's passing in 1960. He couldn't have chosen two more disparate lyricists had he tried but both partnerships were supremely successful, providing the world with a plethora of beloved songs and book shows He went on to write both music and lyrics for a hit show, No Strings, in 1962. My Romance was written in 1935 for show "Jumbo", subsequently recorded by an extraordinary number of artists and considered by some to be one of the most beautiful love songs ever created.
Track Name: Lullaby Of Birdland
Lullaby of birdland, that's what
I always hear, when you sigh
Never in my wordland could there be ways to reveal
In a phrase, how I feel

Have you ever heard two turtledoves
Bill and coo when they love?
That's the kind of magic music we make with our lips
When we kiss

And there's a weepy ol' willow
He really knows how to cry
That's how I'll cry on my pillow
If you should tell me farewell and goodbye

Lullaby of birdland, whisper low
Kiss me sweet and we'll go
Flying high in birdland, high in the sky up above
All because we're in love

And there's a weepy ol' willow
He really knows how to cry
That's how I'll cry on my pillow
If you should tell me farewell and goodbye

Lullaby of birdland, whisper low
Kiss me sweet and we'll go
Flying high in birdland, high in the sky up above
All because we're in love.



Charlie (Bird) Parker, was the sax player, the jazz icon, who was the seminal influence on bebop in the 1940's and the source of other musical inventions throughout his career. The story is that on tour early in his career, the car accidentally ran over a chicken. Charlie insisted they take it to the house they were heading for and have it prepared for dinner rather than waste it; thus, the nickname which lasted the rest of his life - Bird. An addiction to morphine following a car crash in his teens led Charlie to heroin. Mental illness and heavy use of drugs and alcohol all contributed to a chaotic personal and professional life, leading to his early death at 34; the medical examiner thought he was looking at the body of a man between 50 and 60. Although he wanted to be buried in New York and was an atheist, his mother insisted on a Christian burial in his midwest home town. The jazz club, Birdland, in New York honoring Charlie opened in 1949 and is now in its third incarnation.
Track Name: Medley: Love Walked In/I Love A Piano/I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire
Lyric by Ira Gershwin (1937)
Music by George Gershwin (1930)

Love walked right in and drove the shadows away
Love walked right in and brought my sunniest day
One magic moment and my heart seemed to know
That love said hello
Though not a word was spoken

One look and I forgot the gloom of the past
One look and I had found my future at last
One look and I had found a world completely new
When love walked in with you.



Melody was written in 1930 but lyrics not until 1937 for the film Goldwyn Follies of 1938. Ira had some reservations. He didn't like inserting the word "right" after "walked" and deleted it from the title when it was sent to the publisher. He also said, "Despite the fact that the song was one of the top of the year, the tune which my brother considered "Brahamsian", it deserved a better lyric." George collapsed and died of a brain tumor on July 11, 1937 and Vernon Duke was called in to finish the score for what was to be an unsuccessful film. The song, however, went on to be recorded by numerous artists over the decades; Dave Brubeck loved it.




Lyric + music by Irving Berlin (1915)

I love a piano, I love a piano
I love to hear somebody play
Upon a piano, a grand piano
It simply carries me away

I know a fine way to treat a Steinway
I love to run my fingers o'er the keys, the ivories

And with the pedal I love to meddle
Not just music from Broadway
I'm so delighted if I'm invited
To hear that long haired genius play

So you can keep your fiddle and your bow
Give me a P I A N O, oh, oh
I love to stop right beside an upright
Or a high toned Baby Grand!



Israel Isidore Baline, a Russian-Jewish immigrant escaping the tsar's pogroms at the age of five, plying his trade singing the popular songs of the day in the dense streets and dingy bars of the Lower East Side at 13 to help feed his mother and seven older siblings, the year 1901. He never learned to read or write music, beginning as a lyricist and having others arrange the melodies he sang to them; he could play piano in F sharp only (just black keys) yet went on to become the towering presence, the icon of American popular music in the 20th century, Irving Berlin. "White Christmas", "Always", "Puttin' On The Ritz", "Easter Parade", "God Bless America" and some 1500 others are his contribution to The Great American Songbook. His first big hit came in 1911 with "Alexander's Ragtime Band". "I Love A Piano" came as ragtime was giving way to jazz. His career ended in 1966 with a song written for an Annie Get Your Gun revival. He became an agnostic and an outspoken supporter of civil rights, which kept him under J. Edgar Hoover's watchful eye for several years. He died at 101, acclaimed decades before by none other than George Gershwin as "the world's greatest songwriter".




Lyric + music by Seiler, Marcus, Benjamin + Durham (1941)

I don't want to set the world on fire
I just want to start a flame in your heart
In my heart I have but one desire
That one is you. No other will do.

I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim
I just want to be the one you love.
And with your admission that you feel the same
I'll have reach the goal I'm dreaming of believe me

I don't want to set the world on fire
I just want to start a flame in your heart.



This 1941 song is inextricably tied to The Ink Spots, a seminal quartet from 1934 to 1954 which set the stage for rhythm and blues, rock and roll, even doo-wop. They developed, with their lead singer, tenor Bill Kenny, what they called "The Top and Bottom Format". Bill would sing the first chorus, a bass would "talk" the second chorus and the tenor finish out with the third. They might include instrumentation of guitars, ukelele and stand-up; sometimes there would be some dancing in conclusion. Their rhythms, their vocal phrasings, their all-around musicality kept them at the top of their game. The song I remember best hearing as a child was "If I Didn't Care" with Bill Kenny's soaring high tenor. There have been numerous groups usurping the name Ink Spots since 1954 but none with legitimacy to do so.
Track Name: My Funny Valentine
Behold the way my fine feathered friend
His virtue doth parade
Thou knowest not, my dim-witted friend,
The picture thou hast made
Thy vacant brow and thy tousled hair
Conceal thy good intent
Thou noble, upright, truthful, sincere
And slightly dopey gent

You're my funny Valentine
Sweet, comic Valentine
You make me smile with my heart

Your looks are laughable
Un-photographable
Yet, you're my favorite work of art

Is your figure less than Greek?
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak, are you smart?

But don't change a hair for me,
Not if you care for me

Stay little Valentine, stay
Each day is Valentine's Day.




Hart loathed his body. Just under 5', with a large head, he was almost dwarf-like. Gay when the closet was obligatory, through the years alcohol became his refuge. His lyrics with Rodgers melodies elevated the Tin Pan Alley output of the day, beginning with 1925's "Manhattan", the song which launched both brilliant careers. Known as a generous, sensitive, compassionate man, for 24 years he wrote urbane, witty, poetic rhymes, sometimes with the poignancy of his personal unhappiness barely concealed. After he was gone, Rodgers said of the day they met, "In one afternoon I found a career, a partner, a best friend and a permanent irritation." Having drunk himself into oblivion, Hart died of pneumonia, acquired through exposure to the bitter cold of a New York city street, on November 22, l943 at age 48.
Track Name: Cheek To Cheek
Heaven, I'm in heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek

Heaven, I'm in heaven
And the cares that hung around me through the week
Seem to vanish like a gambler's lucky streak
When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek

Oh, I love to climb a mountain and to reach the highest peak
But it doesn't thrill me half as much as dancing cheek to cheek
Oh, I love to go out fishing in a river or a creek
But I don't enjoy it half as much as dancing cheek to cheek

Dance with me
I want my arms about you
The charms about you
Will carry me through

To Heaven, I'm in heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek.



In 1935 Fred Astaire choreographed this song for him and Ginger Rogers to dance to in "Top Hat". He was the star, she was the newbie and he was in charge of everything. Unbeknownst to him, Ginger and her mother, Lela, had the costume mistress make a dress of fancy feathers. Fred saw it for the first time when the scene was to be shot and he wasn't happy. As they started to dance, feathers began to fly everywhere, in Fred's eyes, up his nose, all over his suit, he went ballistic and began yelling at Ginger, then at Ginger's mother. Ginger yelled at Fred for yelling at her mother, who then yelled at the seamstress, who began to cry. It was mayhem, with the director trying in vain to get some control. Eventually the dressmaker tightened up the stitching and the dance was filmed. However, Fred began singing this, to the tune of Cheek To Cheek: "Feathers, feathers, I hate feathers and I hate them so that I can hardly speak and I never find the happiness I seek with those chicken feathers dancing cheek to cheek." Watch the film and in this scene you'll see small feathers wafting through the air from time to time!
Track Name: Lord Of The Dance
I danced in the morning when the world was young
I danced in the Moon & the Stars & the Sun
I came down from Heaven & I danced on Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:

Dance dance, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced for the scribes & the pharisees
But they would not dance & they wouldn't follow me
I danced for the fishermen, James & John
They came with me & the Dance went on:

Dance dance, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced on the Sabbath & I cured the lame
The holy people they said it was a shame!
They whipped & they stripped & they hung me high
And they left me there on a cross to die!

Dance dance, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body & they thought I'd gone
But I am the Dance & the dance goes on!

Dance dance, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the Life that'll never, never die!
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me -
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!

Dance dance, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!



A hymn based on the Shaker tune "Simple Gifts", this was written by English lawyer and songwriter Sidney Carter in 1963. Early Christians danced in their churches as joyous expressions of their spirituality and Carter wanted to extend that aspect of Christianity in this song. He was somewhat doubtful that more rigid Christian sects might not take to dance as religious activity and likely they did not. But many more Christians did than he anticipated. He had a fondness for the American Shakers and felt that their tune stated very well what he wanted to convey. It's come to be known as an Irish hymn simply because the Irish have done such an inspired job of interpreting it, in the persons of The Chieftains, The Dubliners, among others.