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Sammy Fain/Paul Francis Webster: Christine

This week I’ll be sharing a new song each day that features NYFOS artists making music in their homes. 

What’s in a name?

From their Chicago apartment Hugh Russell and Craig Terry have been entertaining us and keeping us sane on a daily basis. From their vast selection of quarantine serenades, I chose this one, because the gesture is the most personal and particular. There is a story and a specific reason why this song was selected – another hallmark of NYFOS programming. Craig and Hugh introduce the song.

“Christine” from the musical Christine
Lyrics by Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984)
Music by Sammy Fain (1902-1989)


Bonus: I listened to a lot of jazz all through high school and still feel the need to listen regularly. I still have a Fats Waller cassette that starts with this rag. I hadn’t heard this song in years, thank you for bringing it back to me…and your neighbors.

“Handful of Keys” by Fats Waller (1904-1943)


Burke/Webster: Black Coffee

“Love’s a hand-me-down brew” in these blues. Who would spurn Peggy Lee when she sings so languorously? Born Norma Deloris Egstrom in North Dakota, Peggy Lee had a voice that to me could do just about anything. But be sexy. At least to me. Not even in “Fever”, fun as it is, does she sound truly sexy. I’m used to the good-girl voice she projects in “Till There Was You”, or in “Fools Rush In”, replete with harp accompaniment. But in “Black Coffee”, where she so artfully mimics the inflections of Billie Holliday so that it sounds natural to her, Peggy Lee is on fire.

Peggy Lee singing “Black Coffee” (1953)
music by Sonny Burke, lyrics by Paul Francis Webster (1948)

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