Posted on July 14th, 2010 14 comments
The kid from Canada, Michael Bublé (Pronounced ‘booble’ at the Tiki bar) has been swingin’ it up on the scene for a few years now…you’ve probably heard his tunes somewhere, at the mall, in Starbucks, in Canada, or on TV. He dresses vintage, looks like he stepped out of the early ’60s, can croon in the style of Dino and Frank and is just as laid back singing an R&B or corny modern pop tune. The kids like him, the grays like him, and the swingin’ kats and kittens in between like him.
Remember a kid named Bobby Darrin?
In the ’50s Bobby Darrin made a big splash with hits across the charts, from swingin’ tunes like Mack the Knife and Beyond the Sea to Rock ’n’ Roll hits like Splish Splash. One of the original “crossover” singers of pop music, anything Darrin touched (for most of his career) turned to gold.
Bobby Darrin’s Mack the Knife vs. Michael Bublé’s Mack the Knife
Bobby had class, he had style, he knew when to throw around a joke and knew when to get serious and not goon up the act.
We retro kats are always looking for someone to fill the openings left by the Rat Packers, Jazz giants and kids like Darrin. We’ve got Harry Conick, Jr. who fits nicely into the crooner slot. We’ve got chicks like Diana Krall who can sing and swing with the best of them and show them a thing or two. Even Natalie Cole has done her part to keep the old fires burning. So what about this Booble kid?
Requirements: In order to really, truly swing with the big boys you’ve got to have the main ingredients for the swinger’s cocktail.
1. Real Talent
2. A smooth, kool style.
3. Must be a hit with the ladies.
4. Must be funny, in an easy, off-the-cuff way.
5. Gotta look the part and look good doing it.
6. Gotta live the part.
7. Have to find that perfect blend of swinging the standards while maintaining that oh-so-important originality.
8. Gotta have a hat.
I’m not so sure about the hat, but I think the kid has many of the requirements needed to be accepted into the retro crowd. I’ve seen him sing live on SNL (not lip syncing) and he sounded good. He was also in a skit and was pretty damned funny, better than I expected. The only thing that will keep this kat from attaining Sinatra-esque status is his choice in songs. For every standard he croons, he adds some new, popbage (pop+garbage=popbage) to his act. Sure, that’s what he has to do to bring in the bigger crowds, get the kids’ attention, make the big bucks. I understand completely…Hell, I’d play a few crap tunes on the tenor if it made me the clams to be able to play the stuff I want, too. But you won’t catch me at a Booble concert, ’cause I just ain’t hip to the neo-jive the kat lays down for the 13-year-olds.
So the real question is, does he have the style?
Of course no one could take Bobby’s place. But some kats come close. I’ll ask you kids…yay or neigh on Booble? Can he really pull it off? Does he make the cut as a real, happinin’ retro-swinger, or is he just another pop music kid trying to be slick and falling short?
You at least have to give the kid credit for getting this famous on 60-year-old songs in the age of hip-hop fever and pop-tart mania.
Comments welcome, let’s hear what you have to say.
Posted on December 28th, 2009 5 comments
What better way to ring in the New Year than with the greatest New Year’s Eve movie to ever hit the silver screen,
Ocean’s 11, the first (and quintessential) Rat-Pack flick.
The characters in this movie define cocktail-era cool better than anyone…and they should, as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop practically invented the essence of mid-century coolness, and pretty much play themselves in this liquor-soaked tale.
Enter Danny Ocean, the cocky, live-for-the-moment cat who gets a crazy idea in his head to get his old army buddies together to knock-over five Vegas Strip casinos for fun and profit. Using his charm, he talks his (otherwise mostly straight-up) pals into embarking on this rather ballsy scheme. They make the plan over billards and drinks, and make ready to pull it off on New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight. I won’t give any more away, in case you ain’t seen it for yourself as of yet.
Here’s some Trivia (More here at IMDB):
This flick combines the best the cocktail era has to offer: On-location shots of Vegas, plus cool cars, lots of booze, broads, and songs by Martin and Davis. (But funny enough, not Sinatra)
It is rumored that when Peter Lawford brought the idea to Sinatra, Ole Blue Eyes said, “Forget the movie, let’s pull the job!”
Shirley McClaine ad-libbed her entire cameo. Her payment was a new car.
Vegas ‘law’ at the time mandated African Americans could not stay in the major hotels. When they tried to make Sammy Davis Jr. stay at a “colored only” motel, Frank stepped in and strong-armed the casino into letting him stay there. This pretty much led to the end of segregation in Vegas Hotels.
Dean Martin’s movie version of “Ain’t That a Kick in The Head” , featuring Red Norvo on vibes, was much different (but just as cool) as the swingin’ big band version released on vinyl.
PS: For those of you who are thinking of the remake with George Clooney and Brad Pitt…Hey, I think Clooney is just great…but he ain’t no Sinatra. See the original.