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Jerome Kern / Dorothy Fields: Pick Yourself Up

I once said that one of my favorite singers was Fred Astaire. Steve Blier muttered, “that explains a lot”. You’ll have to ask him what it explained, but it might have been that I like things simple, unaffected, and with good diction. In the 1936 film Swing Time, Fred pretends that he can’t dance, so Ginger will spend time with him in a lesson. He learns real fast. Jerome Kern’s song from the movie comes down to us as an inspiration to not give up after something makes us fall — like two left feet, or a global pandemic.  There have been many standout recordings of this classic, from the likes of Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall… the list goes on. I’ll offer Ella Fitzgerald (in Nelson Riddle’s arrangement).

For a chaser, watch Fred and Ginger from the film, after Fred gets the hang of dancing.

Nothing’s impossible I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off,
And start all over again.

Don’t lose your confidence if you slip,
Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
And start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired,
Till the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you’ll be a man, my son!

Will you remember the famous men,
Who had to fall, to rise again?
So take a deep breath,
Pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off,
And start right over again!

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