Monday, October 09, 2017


 The old German song, "Der treue Husar" aka “The Faithful Hussar,” became a favorite via Vera Lynn. The translated lyrics are about a soldier who sent his girlfriend a love letter every day (maybe even sealed with a kiss):

A soldier boy, so brave and gay
With head held high, he marched away
His sweetheart wept, but every night
He'd think of her and he would write:
Don't cry, my love, while I am gone
Don't sigh, my love, just carry on...

     "Carry on" was a big catch-phrase during the war. So was "Stay calm." But "Carry On" not only anticipated that better things were ahead, it predicted the popularity of a risque movie series that always had a riotous moment when a gay guy stares at a woman's breasts. Not Vera Lynn's, though. That would be unseemly. 

      Vera's upbeat song didn't leave things in limbo, like "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when." In this fable, re-named "Don't Cry My Love," the soldier and his girl are reunited. Too sappy? You'd prefer a version without singing at all?
      Below, is the Ted Heath 1956 instrumental. It swings a lot more than the oom-pah of the German originals, or some other big band copies. In fact, it has a particular loping type of syncopation that you'll instantly recognize as a grand-cat to "The Pink Panther." The stalking bass Henry Mancini used for the movie theme (and subsequent animated shorts) was probably familiar to him as a tool used in many a gentle boogie, but it's very prominent in this Heath item. In fact, the only thing that makes this stupid, redundant melody interesting is the beat.

    What do we learn from this, students? We accept that there are some shades to “plagiarism.” One of them involves taking a familiar concept and doing something unique with it. The story in the lyric ain't new. There have been dozens of books, poems and songs involving a guy corresponding when he can't be fornicating. As for the music, most songs rely on a familiar beat, whether it's a cha-cha, twist, waltz or oom-pah march. Only a few songs have the magic to transcend a cliche story concept or a familiar beat, and become a hit. Posthumous kudos to Henry Mancini. And a "nice try" to...ah ah, Mr. Heath! 

The Faithful Hussar    Instant download or listen on line. No Zinfart egomaniac passwords, and no malware or spyware anywhere.

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