Thursday, March 25, 2010

After Midnight: Green Door

Cannonball Adderley with Ernie Andrews : Green Door


I usually tell my mother-in-law about our new theme every week. She often has suggestions for songs, and I almost never take them. But we have fun with it. She has a remarkable memory for hit songs from the late 50s and early 60s, songs she often has barely heard since then. This is one of those, sort of.

Green Door was a #1 hit for Jim Lowe in 1956. His version, in the way it is performed, is a plea from an innocent teen who wonders about a party at a club he isn’t old enough to enter. But I went looking to see who might have covered it. It turns out that the song has become a signature tune for Chrystal Gayle. There are also versions by Shakin’ Stevens and The Cramps. But I was most intrigued by this jazz version by the great Cannonball Adderley, with Ernie Andrews. In these hands, the song depicts a man who doesn’t have the password to enter a speakeasy. Not a word of the lyrics has been changed, but Adderley and Andrews have given the song a completely new meaning just because of how they perform it. This flexibility probably explains why the song endures.

Cannonball Adderley was one of the best known jazzmen of the 1950s. Ernie Andrews is not nearly so well known, but he is still at it.

I hope I may be permitted a brief moment of self-promotion. If you enjoy this music, you should know that I just launched jazz singers week on my blog, Oliver di Place.

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