Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Desi Arnaz and His Orchestra -Jitterumba

A longish (15-minute+) video that will give Desi Arnaz fans (of which I'm one) a pretty good taste of what his nightclub act was like before the I Love Lucy days. Desi gets in a dig at his old boss, Xavier Cugat, while introducing the beauteous Dulcina, who flies out onto the stage into a wild rumba and I kept expecting that crazy red-head who always wanted to break into show business to show up instead.

The short from Castle Films was originally released in 1947 as Jitterumba and then re-released in 1949 for the home 16mm film market in 1949 as Melody Masters #5. Apparently nobody at Castle could be bothered to correct the misspelling of Arnaz's name over the intervening two years. But, as Mark Evanier reports, Arnaz himself once let an entire season of Lucy go by with his name misspelled in the credits.

Full info on the short can be found here.

Cathie Ryan: The Back Door

Immigration comes up for political comment often this campaign season. Here's a musical exploration of one view of the subject, which. although written some years back, is still timely.

Cathie Ryan sings the powerful song she wrote concerning immigrants, especially dedicated to undocumented Irish, with Joanie Madden on flutes and whistles and other members of Cherish the Ladies along as well. From the early 1990s, part of a television special with Tommy Makem and Friends.

This song was title track of CTL's first recording with the then members of the regular touring band.

The Back Door really established the unique character of the band and their approach to music for those who had not yet seen them play live. The collection, includes jigs. reels, and songs, among them Coal Quay Market, a fast paced playful tale, and Roisin Dubh, a powerful sean nos song from the heart of Irish history. There's a post here at Music Road with more about The Back Door CD, and a later one about Cherish itself, those early concerts, and further adventures of the band. More about Cathie Ryan at her website.

Cherish the Ladies reunion gig: Ryan, who is a dozen years into her own solo career now, sings The Back Door in 2007, a one minute clip from the Milwaukee Irish festival.