Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy Heaven Gone Missing

"Fifty Million Frenchmen" happens to be one of the rare, old shows that has been recorded from start to finish with its original orchestral arrangements. Being a geek, I noticed that the medley overture included a catchy tune that is never sung on the recording.
Since recordings of shows like these are typically highly archival affairs, with their producers dredging up every scrap with the obsessiveness of the Simpsons' Comic Book Guy, it is peculiar that there is not a word in the liner notes about what this mysterious melody even is. I knew what the issue must be.
That melody must run up against some taboo, and in our America that would have to be race. All I had to do was consult Robert Kimball's anthology of Porter lyrics, and wouldn't you know, one from this show was "The Happy Heaven of Harlem." Apparently Harlem is a place where "You're never blue, 'cause all you do is eat, sleep and make love."

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