Sunday, April 3, 2016

Doris Day

Artist: Doris Day
LP: You'll Never Walk Alone
Song: "I Need Thee Every Hour" 
[ listen ]
Song: "Scarlet Ribbons" 
[ listen ]

I bet Doris Day often gets asked to sing at her Sunday morning church service in Carmel. It's hardly fair to all the other would-be singers in the congregation. The planning committee: "Okay, we need a musical selection for next Sunday's service. We've asked Doris Day to sing "I Need Thee Every Hour" again, but Betty McPherson says she's also got a number prepared that she'd like to let's take a vote." Doris' version of "I Need Thee Every Hour" from her 1962 religiously-themed LP is especially nice when she pulls a Patti Page and starts harmonizing with herself. 

And then "Scarlet Ribbons" is terrific for all sorts of different reasons. The premise of the song is that, after overhearing her daughter's quiet prayer-request for some scarlet ribbons (for her hair), the girl's mother flies into a frenzied panic and goes out roaming the streets all night trying to find some (clearly, the girl is not accustomed to having to go without; the song doesn't indicate what consequences the poor mother suffered the last time her darling daughter didn't get exactly what she wanted, but it's implied by the all-night ribbon hunt that it was bad, real bad). But mom is too late! All the streets are empty and all the stores are closed. (I can just see the mom in a fur coat, banging on the glass doors of Woolworth's at 2:30 in the morning and screaming at the janitor: "Open up, you! I need some goddam ribbons! Scarlet ones! They're for my daughter's hair!") The mother, dejected, finally goes home when the sun starts coming up. When she peeks into her daughter's bedroom, she finds it's full of scarlet ribbons! Not just some scarlet ribbons, but "a gay profusion," so I think we can assume we're talking over-the-top drag-queen amounts of ribbons here. 

I'm fascinated by the troubling message of this song! "I'm sorry God wasn't able to save Grandma, Peggy, but if you pray real hard, you may get some ribbons!" God and his wacky priorities.

Another thing I like about the song is that Doris sings, "If I live to be 200..." She's nearly halfway there, since today is her 92nd birthday! Go here to listen to a warm birthday greeting from one of the loveliest ladies around.

[ Happy Birthday, Doris Day! ]

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