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Little Wow, Tell Me Now

Continuing our little diversion into bearers of the American standard other than Frank Sinatra, here we meet an old favorite of this humble page, Dean Martin, and pair him with the magnificent Ella Fitzgerald. The two in tandem comprise something very special. Ella was probably at her sweetest singing with her friend Louis Armstrong. Both she and Satch had a permanant bashful streak—Ella less so than Louis. So when the two sang, one feels Lady Ella tugging, nudging Louis—yet herself a touch red in the cheeks. It makes for wonderful music.

Here, as you will see, it is Ella who’s lifted by the unfailingly “on” Dean Martin.

This particular medley rives with the some of best lighthearted love songs ever composed—which is to say, those composed by George and Ira Gershwin. Ella and Deano begin with the Gershwins’ “S’Wonderful” from An American in Paris, and shuffle into the brothers’ “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” composed for another film almost twenty years ere. And from there? Falling another decade back, Lady Ella reaches for the Gershwins’ high mantle, the yearning, votive ballad “How Long Has This Been Going On?” from Rosalie. Dean Martin can’t hold back a word of praise before launching into “They Can’t Take That Away From Me.” (Neither sings off-key.) Next is “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” with which Ella plays a bit, slurring the words. A spot of “They All Laughed” is thrown in for good measure, before the return to “S’wonderful.” It’s wonderful.

See previous editions of Sunday Morning Sinatra here.

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