Wednesday, July 19, 2006

GRETA KELLER - She was the Wan

A sweet sorrow will comfort you hearing the voice of Greta Keller (1905-1977). Like viewing a daguerrotype of a beautiful woman, listening to Greta's singing brings a sense of a past that must have been glorious. Too bad you, or she, was born at the wrong time.

Rather than wax melancholic over the wax, discover for yourself the nostalgic niche occupied, perhaps to waning interest, by the interestingly wan Greta Keller. Perhaps it's Keller's lingering German accent that makes her interpretations bittersweet, the tremulous attention she gives toward interpreting the lyrics, or just the aura she presents as a world-weary and aging chanteuse on a dreary tour through smoke-filled nightclubs.

Madame Keller's private life, as her voice suggests, included a variety of traumas. The worst was the murder of her husband David Bacon, apparently while he was patronizing a gay brothel. He was vaguely known at the time for portraying The Masked Marvel in a movie serial. Pregnant at the time of the tragedy, Greta's child arrived stillborn.

In 1940 she opened "Chez Greta" at New York's Algonquin Hotel. Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Tallulah Bankhead, Greta Garbo, Cole Porter and Maurice Chevalier all toasted her as one of the best. In 1947 she opened a new "Chez Greta" in St. Moritz Switzerland and in 1960 returned to New York for two years at the Waldorf Astoria. She continued to tour the world through the 60's and early 70's, evoking nostalgia and stoking libidos. Her rendition of "Married" can be heard in the 1972 film "Cabaret."

Yes, that's her grave. The floating saucer with Greta's portrait has been added, along with the notes on the grave behind hers. Dietrich was more theatrical, Hildegarde evinced more humor, but the tender Greta Keller has a way with a sad song, and here are some of her most uplifting downers.

These are recordings from the 30's and 40's:

These Foolish Things
I Apologize
Blues In My Heart
All of Me
Just Friends
Did You Mean It?
They Can't Take that Away from Me
Thanks for the Memory
Once in a While
You Leave Me Breathless
So Little Time
Lights Out
Mine Alone
Remember Me
The Very Thought Of You
and even more.
Poignant stuff...and it'll be yours quick-as-Rapidshare. Download Keller...
You Won't Re-gret-a It.

Update: this one died due to Rapidshare's infamous "inactivity" purge in mid-October. But here's one song, at least. Instant gratification and no wait via upload:
They Can't Take That Away From Me (or you)

1 comment:

julioxo said...

Muchas gracias Ill Folks