Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday to WILL HOLT

Two of Will Holt's most famous songs are in the download below. One of them you'll recognize by title: "Lemon Tree." The other, "One of those Songs," you might remember if you hear the complete opening line and imagine Jimmy Durante singing it: "It's just one of those songs that you hear now and then..."
Will Holt hits his 80th birthday today, April 29th. Naturally, the illfolks blog salutes him for more devious achievements...being the first one to record "The M.T.A. Song" (which led to the Kingston Trio cover version), performing his Kurt Weill cabaret act with Martha Schlamme (an album was released) and teaming with Dolly Jonah for the aptly titled album "On the Brink," featuring the brilliant Weill-inspired mini-musical "The Rise and Fall of the City of Movieville." Hopefully more on all of that, some time in the future. (Parenthetical mention should be made that Holt may be better known in the Broadway world for "The Me Nobody Knows.")
Holt did record "Lemon Tree" but he was a fairly stiff performer. He put out a pair of albums for Stinson, and one album of folk and Weill for Elektra, but his lack of warmth chilled interest in him. His mainstream songs worked best when covered by sloppy, friendly types like Jimmy Durante and Trini Lopez. Durante's version of "One of Those Songs" is easy to find, so the illfolks choice is Brenda Lee. The Lopez "Lemon Tree" isn't exactly rare either, but most other versions are even more annoying. Thanks to lyricist Will Holt, a Latin tune and a French ditty became big English language hits.
Here at Illfolks, hear two Will folks:

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