Song Of The Day 3/7/2014: Ethel Merman - "Everything's Coming Up Roses" (Disco Version)


Errant Disco Decisions: You knew this was coming. You can't do an extended think-piece on disco conversions without The Ethel Merman Disco Album as the centerpiece. This sacred scroll was dropped towards the surface of the earth in 1979, landed in a dumpster behind the August Wilson Theatre and got released by A&M Records. It went out of print somewhat swiftly. According to Wikipedia, but not confirmed with more esteemed sources, Ethel sang all her best-known songs to more traditional arrangements in one take. Then über-arranger Peter Matz took her vocals and slapped them over disco-style studio tracks. Given the set-up I sometimes like to fantasize that Merman was tricked into thinking she was just doing a normal, non-disco album. I don't think, however, that Ethel Merman got fooled very often by anything.

The best -- I use that word liberally -- track on TEMDA is "There's No Business Like Show Business." However I already featured a version of that song not three weeks ago, so today's selection is "Everything's Coming Up Roses," the dope Sondheim/Styne joint from the musical Gypsy. The phrasing's a little awkward in an effort to fit the renewed tempo, especially noticeable in the verse: "You'll be swell!... (pause) (pause) (pause)... You'll be great!... (pause) (pause) (pause)... Gonna have the whole worrrrrrld on a plate!"And Matz gets a little freaky with the instrumental break... well, no, I take that back. He doesn't get freaky in the least. But it gets tense there for a second.

(Remind me sometime to tell you the great story Stephen Sondheim once told me about Ethel Merman and "Rose's Turn." Well, he didn't tell me directly, but I was in the room. Okay, it was an auditorium. But he doesn't get out much.)

For the hell of it, here's "There's No Business" as well. I'm feeling generous.





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