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 Post subject: These Foolish Things.
PostPosted: Sat Mar 20, 2021 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 1428
Fanatical Ferryistas,

W2 has been reflecting on the phenomenal influence that our hero’s rendition of TFT has had on modern music.

When released in ‘73, his interpretation of this Marvel/Strachey/Link song exposed a whole new generation to the beauty of the ‘30s classics. Windswept remembers being simultaneously amused, stimulated but ultimately completely seduced by Ferry’s treatment.

Of course, some hair-suited Roxologists were shouting ‘sell-out’, ‘Ferry’s gone soft’ (whatever that might mean) or even worse ‘He’ll be appearing on Cilla Black soon’ (which he did).

For Windswept and his thinking band of likeminded taste tarantulas, it simply oozed glamour and started a trend.

Initially the furrow was ploughed only by our hero who followed up with versions of ‘Smoke Gets In Your Eyes’ in ‘74 and ‘You Go To My Head’ in ‘76.

It wouldn’t be ‘till ‘85 before another rock artist would enter the Jazz ring, when the late, great Robert Palmer followed in Ferry’s wake and recorded a beautifully haunting version of the Donaldson/Kahn classic, ‘Riptide’.

Ironically, it would be Palmer who would go on to beat Ferry to the punch when, in 1992, he became the first ‘Rock Artist’ to record a full album of classic jazz standards when he released ‘Ridin High’.

For ‘Ridin High’ Palmer picked some great songs to interpret. Particularly notable were another Donaldson/Kahn classic ’Love Me Or Leave Me’, Cahn/Heusen’s ‘Love Is A Tender Trap’ and Ellington/Russell’s terrific ‘Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me’.

In addition to gems from the golden era, Palmer also re-recorded three songs from his ‘Don’t Explain’ album and inserted them into the mix. The result was a stunning LP that featured lush, Nelson Riddle, style arrangements and intimate vocals.

The album was a relative commercial and critical success and expectations for his November RAH showcase concert were high.

Unfortunately reactions to the show were mixed. Although the band, the music and Palmer were beyond good, the set polarised the audience. His only concession for those who had come to hear ‘Addicted To Love’ and his other hits was a midway rendition of ‘Every Kind Of People’. The rest of the show was devoted uniquely to ‘Ridin High’. Consequently the loos were full of the great unwashed pronouncing that they hadn’t come all this way to listen to this crap.
W2 often wondered if Ferry was in the audience storing up information for the future ? The Windswepts were there and thought it a fabulous soirée .

Seven years later, when our hero offered his comprehensive take on the era with the release of ATGB, the only track in common with ‘Ridin High’ was ‘Love Me Or Leave Me’. Ferry’s album featured other favourites from the era and was more Cole Porter centric. The arrangements made in conjunction with Colin Good were remarkably close to the originals but were shot thru’ with that unique Ferry style. The musicianship was off the Richter scale and the whole thing immediately seduced with its casual elegance.

At a stroke he’d asserted himself as a highly credible Jazz musician. Furthermore when the tour came, he didn’t fall into the Palmer trap. He seamlessly wove new arrangements of Roxy and solo classics into the mix. Whilst remaining thematically true to ATGB, he succeeded in keeping everybody happy. The shows were a triumph and succeeded in being new, different and better.

As well as kick starting a new career chapter for out hero. ATGB triggered a whole new interest in the Jazz era and provoked a tsunami of imitators.

True, some were pale. ‘Rod The Mod’ succeeded in becoming the scourge of every dinner party, he croaked his way through umpteen ‘American Song Books’ and trousered a fortune en route.

But there was also some excellent stuff. Bozz Scaggs made two fabulous albums, ‘But Beautiful ‘ and ‘Speak Low’ both of which took a unique approach to the classics and are absolute must listens for any thinking Ferryista.

Ferry himself rested his interest in recording more Jazz until he returned with his fabulous ‘Jazz Age’ album, the AEWBF tour and the recent ‘Bitter Sweet’ LP. All of which served to show his passion for the genre.

Who would ever have thought his ‘73 take on ‘These Foolish Things’ would have lead to all of this ?

Windswept can think of few moments in popular music that have been so influential. He and millions of others have doubtless been seduced by Jazz as a result of Ferry’s foray into the genre and it all started with that one song !

Salutations a tous and hopefully we’ll all soon be getting ‘An Airline Ticket To Romantic Places’

Windswept


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 Post subject: Re: These Foolish Things.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:38 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:18 pm
Posts: 212
Dear W2

I remember booking for the Royal Festival Hall show on the ATGB tour. In those pre-internet days I rang up the box office and got offered front-row - luck or what? - but although I'd got and enjoyed the album I had no idea what the show would be like or whether it would also contain material from the Roxy/Ferry back catalogue. That it did and that those songs were embraced and interpreted with such panache by all concerned is why that tour remains such a high water mark for me and a foretaste of all that has come since.


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 Post subject: Re: These Foolish Things.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 21, 2021 12:14 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 29, 2011 7:23 pm
Posts: 1428
True2Life wrote:
Dear W2

......I had no idea what the show would be like or whether it would also contain material from the Roxy/Ferry back catalogue. That it did and that those songs were embraced and interpreted with such panache by all concerned is why that tour remains such a high water mark for me and a foretaste of all that has come since.


Cher True2Life,
W2 saw the show in Paris and like you, had no idea as to the set list.
The fact that Roxy classics were arranged in such a way that songs like ‘Casanova’ sounded like they could have been written by Cole Porter was a masterstroke. What’s more, the way they were seamlessly integrated into the set created a real ‘Stork Club’ vibe and added to the frisson of the whole thing.
Windswept always wonders if Ferry learned from Palmer’s RAH outing in this regard ?
W2 loved the ‘Ridin High’ show but could understand some fans disappointment at the purist nature of his approach. Perhaps he was a little arrogant in ignoring their obvious expectations?
Ferry was a lot more canny than that and one could easily imagine the conversation in ‘Studio One’ : “Let’s give them what they want but let’s do it our way”.
It’s the stories behind the big artistic moves that would make for a fabulous biography.
Salutations a tous,
Windswept.


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 Post subject: Re: These Foolish Things.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2021 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:25 pm
Posts: 517
Location: Kempten
Yes, it was Bryan Ferry who from 1973 on got me acquainted with a lot of swing jazz and Great American Songbook tunes. Palmer's version of Riptide had an electronic touch - a real gem! And then Ridin' High by Palmer, the album of Robbie Williams (more in a Frank Sinatra or Sammy Davis style - Mr. Bo Jangles was brilliant) and Boz Scaggs But Beautiful. Rod Stewart's approach to this genre didn't show too much positive outcomes IMHO. There are further Swing-CDs from Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton. But the most stylish album for me is and will be As Time Goes By. Some outtakes that allegedly exist should be published as long as everybody involved is still healthy and alive ...

- pianoman -


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