Remember Deborah Kerr, that elegant lady who really should be remembered for more than that beach scene with Burt Lancaster?
She died Tuesday, age 86.
Remember Teresa Brewer, that bouncy, brown-eyed tiny lady with the huge voice? (Bing Crosby called her the Sophie Tucker of the Girl Scouts.)
She died Wednesday, age 76.
Remember Joey Bishop, the "mouse" of the Rat Pack, top-flight comedian and excellent actor? (In recent times, he claimed a drug store where he lives has enabled him to "stay alive legally.")
He also died Wednesday, age 89.
In a manner of speaking, I grew up with these people and I really hate to see them go. Of the three, though, I miss Teresa Brewer the most. Her life was more remarkable than I had realized. Didn't know she was a musical prodigy who has been performing since the age of two. Didn't know she had never taken music lessons and was unable to read music. But you can, if interested, get a much fuller picture at her fan site, the Teresa Brewer Center.
What always impressed me about Teresa was that fantastic voice. She could go from Betty Boop to Bessie Smith without blinking a lash. Never a false note. No matter whether she was doing a ballad or a blowout, every note was under perfect control. She could sound like delicate liquid crystal and switch effortlessly to an earthy Harley-Davidson power rumble.
To illustrate that last statement, I'm going to share a video of Teresa doing a couple of Hank Williams songs. Even if you don't "do" country, listen to what she does with that voice. Personally, I think this is the most beautiful cover of "Your Cheatin' Heart" I've ever heard. Enjoy ... And thanks, Tessie.
Aw gee, I can't resist one more. I think this one was done in the seventies and, regretfully, can't find any information about the gentleman tickling the ivories. This was a single, released on RCA's Signature label. As often happens with these videos, the quality of the picture isn't great but you can certainly enjoy the sound!