Saturday, December 19, 2009


I miss Bobby Cole, and this date is the anniversary of his death.

I can also say that I don't miss Bobby in such a painful way, because he is always with me. We were such good friends that I don't have to think "what would Bobby have said..." I know. I can hear his voice.

It must be a lot worse if you're lost without that deceased person, or the amount of time was way too short to fully explore that loved one's gifts and personality. If it works out right, while you wish you had more time...the time you had is enough.

What is still painful, is that Bobby himself is not around to enjoy life. His is over and done. In mourning, we like to say that the deceased "is still alive in our heart," and as long as we remember that person he "will never die." Well that's a crock of shit, because the person actually is dead, and being alive in somebody else's thoughts is not the same.

OK, now to the song in the download. It's not one that Bobby ever recorded. It was not on his lone solo album (or the early Columbia album with his trio) and it's not among the private demos or the tapes of his nightclub performances. I don't quite remember if he said that he wrote it specifically for Nancy or not. He probably wrote it at a time when weighty and dramatic "message" songs were in vogue, everything from Jimmy Webb's "Macarthur Park" to Roy Orbison's "Southbound Jericho Parkway."

"Flowers" is a true cabaret item, opening with moody jazz piano, the strings seeping in, and then the production jumping into movie soundtrack territory. Pretty damn adventurous back then, and even now. "While you've been learnin' to love I've been learnin' to hate. You think your silly little flowers will hide the smell of old hallways?'re wrong. Like always."

Bobby, when he and his trio were in Vegas and also the hot act at the "Ali Baba" nightclub in New York, was a close friend of the Chairman of the Board himself, and he told some wild tales of life with Sinatra, Jilly Rizzo and the rest of the gang. Frank was able to get Bobby into the door at Capitol Records, but Bobby being Bobby, refused the label's ideas about grooming him for success and chose his own thorny path. But here, years later, was Frank's daughter Nancy giving Bobby a shot on one of her records. A perfectionist in his own way, he felt that the production could've been better. Perhaps the song would've benefited by a more hysteric performer, a Streisand or Minelli, but the song wouldn't bear repeating too many times that way. It does, with Nancy using her restraint and her hot brand of cool.


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