Rosemary Clooney sings “Do You Miss New York?”

Written by Alex Mansoori

Tenor

November 12, 2018

Hi NYFOS Blog readers and Happy Monday! I’m so thrilled to spend this week with you, and to share some songs that I love and hopefully you will too!

When you are tasked with coming up with “Songs of the day”, it’s a little like being asked “Which child is your favorite?”. I wouldn’t have an immediate answer, but probably several clarifying questions. Which genre? What mood am I in? For the first day, I then turned to my trusty iTunes library and was completely overwhelmed. So, I turned to the one singer who has never let me down, for some guidance: Rosemary Clooney.

I fell in love with Rosemary Clooney when I was 18. She had just passed away (I know. Not great timing on my part). To impress a girl I was keen on, I bought a two-disc set of Rosemary’s entitled “Songs of a Girl Singer” and spanned her entire career. Born in Kentucky, she first started singing on the radio with her sister Betty, and soon, they were touring with a big band as a duo. After her sister retired, she launched her solo career and signed with Columbia Records, where she recorded her first hits such as “Come on-a my house” and “Hey There”. Soon followed her feature film credits including the holiday favorite White Christmas. Her career went downhill in the 60’s and she had a mental collapse, which she would spend years recovering from. She started performing again in small clubs and jazz venues and then signed with the newly formed Concord Jazz Label. She toured and recorded with Concord for the rest of her life until she passed away in 2002.

I played that two-disc set over and over. I couldn’t get over her natural phrasing of words and. the way she could change the mood with a simple shift of dynamics. I would later learn that she never learned to read music and preferred to learn by just hearing it. She felt this gave her a more natural delivery of the text of the song. I seemed to favor the selections that recorded later in life on the Concord label. Her voice is a little more smoky, exciting and juicy to my ear. Here is my favorite tune from that collection, Dave Frishberg’s “Do You Miss New York?”.

Alex Mansoori

Called “Outstanding” and “Hilarious” by critics, tenor Alex Mansoori has been hailed as “solid and convincing” and “smartly characterized” by The New York Times. Specializing in character tenor roles, Mr. Mansoori’s varied repertoire runs the gamut from Handel and Mozart to Bernstein and Sondheim. Some of his credits include appearances with Seattle Opera, Opera Colorado, Chicago Opera Theatre, Glimmerglass Opera, Ravinia Festival and the Tanglewood Festival. He has had a long relationship with New York Festival of Song, appearing with them since his Juilliard days, and will return in A Goyishe Christmas to You! this December.

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1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    One of the greatest “girl singer” recordings of all time. The lyrics are astounding, no cheating on the cadence and meter whatsoever, and her voice…one of my favorites of hers. Loved her since I heard her on the radio as a child.

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