Driver Quartet: Night Time Was My Mother
[out of print]
For a few years in the late '90s, Driver Quartet were making interesting sounds in downtown NYC. Bandleader David Driver's mannered vocals were the obvious focus of the group, but the rest of the band were all master musicians, so the backing by keyboardist Fil Krohnengold, woodwind/accordion player Peter Kiesewalter, and bassist Adam Bernstein (yes, him again) was always more interesting than simple backing.
They specialized in digging up obscurities from the American Popular Songbook, and sprinkling them with originals (often from bassist Bernstein), as well as a few more well-known songs. (There reworking of "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard" is sublime.)
"Night Time Was My Mother" is one of the obscurities. Written by Connie Pearce and Arnold Miller, the liner notes to the Driver Quartet CD Night Time state that the song was "[o]riginally recorded by June Christy in 1958, in an arrangement by her longtime collaborator Pete Rugolo. We have yet to find another version." (I've recently discovered that another artist has since recorded it.)
The band must have really liked the song. They only released one EP (Big and Strong and Lonely) and one full-length CD (the aforementioned Night Time), yet both discs took their titles from its dark lyrics. Both discs also open with a version of the song. I've chosen to share the slightly longer second version, from Night Time.