Listening To: Take It Off

Take it Off

No one’s practicing strip tease moves here or planning on a career in burlesque. But compilation CD’s often make for the best background music when you’re writing period noir (which I am…y’know: ‘The Stiletto Gumshoe’) and Take It Off – 50 Essential Striptease Classics is ideal listening for that kind of work. Sure, there are a few cliched stripper tunes, but there’s also film and retro TV theme songs and soundtrack music from Peter Gunn, 77 Sunset Strip and Dragnet as well as some utterly perfect smoky jazz that can easily make you imagine yourself perched at the bar in a 1950’s cocktail lounge or roadhouse, or engaging in something naughty or nefarious (or both) in a run down hot sheet hotel or roadside motor court…just close your eyes for a moment and listen. Billy Vaughn, Buddy Johnson, Nelson Riddle, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein’s Studio Orchestra…man, this one’s perfect.

Listening To: Love For Sale (1959)

Love For Sale LP

Technically, not listening to, but still waiting for: Pioneer jazz pianist Cecil Taylor (1929 – 2018) and his fifth album, Love For Sale from 1959, the year I’m fixated on with my own writing work. Vinyl’s been ordered, and back-ordered since forever. Suitable background music’s a must when I’m pounding the keyboard. The Mac keyboard that is. I’m not tinkling any ivories here. Love that album cover, though. The photo could be a scene right out of ‘The Stiletto Gumshoe’.

 

Listening To: Dido

Dido Montage

Dido (say Dai-doo): Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O’Malley Armstrong (and there’s a mouthful), the UK musician/singer/songwriter is Saturday’s go-to listening-to while I schedule some blog posts for the next few days and then return to the keyboard for a weekend with no intrusions foreseen, and oodles of productivity expected. Here in the vinyl and disk-only zone, there’ll be No Angel (1999), Life For Rent (2003), Safe Trip Home (2008), Girl Who Got Away (2013) and Still On My Mind (2019).

1 - No Angel2 - Life For Rent3- Safe Trip Hime4 - Girl Who Got Away5 Still On My Mind

The Noir Chanteuse: Ute Lemper

Ute Lemper

Broadway actress and recording star, or is she really a cabaret chanteuse at heart? German singer (and so much more) Ute Lemper just seems to have a way of evoking a decadent Weimar era German basement nightclub when she’s singing or merely posing for a photo. Maybe it’s her association with roles like Lola in The Blue Angel, Velma Kelly in Chicago (publicity photo in that role below) or Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Then there’s that whole Kurt Weill songbook thing.

Ute Lemper: The Noir Chanteuse.

ute lemper as velma kelly 1998

Listening To: Ute Lemper

The Very Best Of Ute Lemper

The icy winds roared all day and night on Sunday, ‘gale force’ according to the TV news, and enough to rattle the windows, no exaggeration. But comfy behind the keyboard once back home (had to work Sunday AM, several stops on the way back), I felt like I was ensconced in some dark little Weimar era Berlin café.  The soundtrack for Sunday’s writing desk sessions: Ute Lemper on CD and vinyl, the German chanteuse and stage star’s eclectic mix of pop, cabaret, jazz and show tunes all suitably moody, some not even in English so I wouldn’t get too distracted.

Crimes Of The Heart - Ute LemperBerlin Cabaret Sngs - Ute Lemper

 

Listening To: Ellen Foley’s Night Out

Night Out

Listening to last night: Actor/singer Ellen Foley’s debut album Night Out, more pop than I’d typically have playing while working, but this one’s special. Most folks remember Foley not for her own solo projects, but as the incredible voice on Meat Loaf’s mega-selling Bat Out Of Hell album (though another singer toured with the Loaf, Foley doing a co-star stint on NBC’s sitcom Night Court).

Jazz Noir

jazz noir

As if there could be something better to listen to when you’re writing noir-ish crime fiction, circa 1959?

I’m a CD and vinyl person myself. Old fashioned? Maybe. The Jazz Noir 3-CD set includes 60 pieces of jazzy 1950’s film noir themes and background tracks. A couple television series themes snuck in there too, but that’s cool. Touch Of Evil, The Man With The Golden Arm, Anatomy Of A Murder, 77 Sunset Strip, The Asphalt Jungle and so much more. Pure inspirational mood music, and I swear, it makes my fingers dance across the keyboard.

Listening to…

lush life

Listening to: Might not all be period perfect, but right now at the keyboard, my head’s stuck in 1959, and I’m going with The Very Best Of Etta James, and Lush Life: Linda Ronstadt with the Nelson Riddle orchestra.

etta james

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑