I'd forgotten how sad were the lyrics.
was when I was still in high school:
Tennessee Waltz, Redd Stewart and Pee Wee King, here in Louisville. They were regulars at my father's golf course, Seneca GC, anong with Redd's brother Gene.
Actually I was in the house and sat at the dining room table where the lyrics to the HOF tune was written. Actually Redd was more responsible for the words but since Pee Wee was the leader of their band The Golden West Cowboys he got most of the credit.
Redd was a very good singer in his own right and his version of the TW was on the charts before Patti's huge version. RIP Patti, I love you.
for other singers.
The second song on that video was a big hit for Jo Stafford in that same general time frame.
The Tennessee Waltz is not only a beautiful song, it also brings a sharp echo of childhood because it was among my mother's favorites and one the earliest memories I have of her is her strollling through her day singing it. She had a fine singing voice, but more of that in a minute.
As usually happens at times like these, I went to YouTube and discovered the wide range of artists who sang Patti's great hit, from Leonard Cohen to Tom Jones to Norah Jones. Then I hit upon a group of Japanese videos and that intrigued me because my son now lives in Tokyo and tells me how great the Music scene is there, especially for Jazz and the American Songbook, two loves of mine. So, I started up the linked version of the song by a Japanese singer. Yes, it is a beautiful and soulful rendition but what made me stop dead in my tracks is how similar her English singing voice is to my mother's. My heart made the connection before the brain did because tears welled up before I realized why.
My story. As I've posted here on numerous occasions, Brooklyn was a unique experience for childhood. Our high school prom was held at the Waldorf Astoria! No, we were not rich, but Brooklyn proms are like Brooklyn weddings, over the top, with expenditures justified by a Brooklyn "what the f*ck" sort of artitude. We worked, saved our money for the tux, the limo, the works. After the prom, the thing to do was to go to a nightclub and see a show, and then go dancing at dance club.
At the dance club, my girlfriend, Patty, decided to go powder her nose and took a posse of her girlfriends with her, leaving one, Maria, behind. Maria asked me to dance to Brown Sugar, and I said to myself, "sure, why not?" Shortly, Patty returned. I vividly remember happily and idiotically waiving to her from the dance floor and wondering why she looked so stern. I soon found out when we returned to the table and all hell broke loose about Maria and me dancing. I didn't understand the fuss but Patty treated me like I just killed her cat. As a result, I bear the singular distinction of bringing one girl to the prom and coming home with another.
I was perplexed. Somehow, my mother found out the story. Not from me, but probably from the neighborhood. remember, this was Brooklyn. Things got around. But for weeks she would walk around the house singing The Tennessee Waltz with this big grin on her face, looking at me. I wasn't annoyed. I was clueless. Being a young Brooklyn tough guy, I was too dense to get the reference.
See link. A beautiful rendition. In my mother's voice. Amazing how someething can trigger a flood of memories.