Too Good to Be True (Clay Boland song)

Last updated

"Too Good to Be True" is a popular song composed by dentist-songwriter Clay Boland and published in 1936. It has since been recorded by many jazz and swing musicians including Benny Goodman and Roy Eldridge.

Contents

Composition and notable recordings

Clay Boland, while studying dentistry at the University of Scranton and University of Pennsylvania, taught himself to play piano and worked in dance bands. In 1936 he started work as a writer/director for Penn's Mask and Wig show. One of his first compositions for the production Red Rumba was "Too Good to Be True", for which Boland wrote the lyrics and music. [1] The song, which became a favorite of the swing era, recalls the proverbial expression "it seems too good to be true," and alludes to the singer's presumed love interest. [2] Musician-author Warren Vaché called the song "a little gem" that was "promptly slated for immortality with an outstanding recording by the Benny Goodman Trio featuring Helen Ward on the vocal." This version, originally released on a Victor 78 rpm record in 1936, was later included on The Complete Benny Goodman, Vol. 2 (1935-1936) compilation album. [1] [3]

Trumpeter Roy Eldridge also released a version of the song in 1936. The recording features the Teddy Wilson Orchestra, which included a rhythm section consisting of Wilson (piano), Sid Catlett (drums), and Israel Crosby (bass). Musician-writer John Goldsby noted that "Too Good to Be True" is among the songs that exemplified Crosby's early playing. "You can hear the seeds of Israel's melodic style, especially in the eighth-note countermelodies he plays behind Chu Berry's saxophone solo." [4] Trumpeter-writer John Chilton described Berry's solo as "a ravishing interpretation of the 32-bar theme" and suggested it was reminiscent of Coleman Hawkins' saxophone playing on the 1933 song "The Day You Came Along". [5]

Other versions

The song has been recorded many other times, and can be considered a standard. Among the recordings are versions by:

Related Research Articles

When My Baby Smiles at Me is the name of a popular song with music by Bill Munro and words by Andrew B. Sterling and Ted Lewis, that was published by Harry Von Tilzer Music Publishing in 1920. It was interpolated into the Broadway show The Greenwich Village Follies (1919) and was the first big hit for clarinettist, vocalist and comedian Ted Lewis (1892–1971). Ted Lewis's jazz band recording in 1920 for Columbia Records, became his signature tune, and spent 18 weeks on the charts. Ted Lewis re-recorded it several times over the years and his 1938 version for Decca also charted briefly. The tune was also covered by other artists of the time.

Roy Eldridge

David Roy Eldridge, nicknamed "Little Jazz", was an American jazz trumpet player. His sophisticated use of harmony, including the use of tritone substitutions, his virtuosic solos exhibiting a departure from the dominant style of jazz trumpet innovator Louis Armstrong, and his strong impact on Dizzy Gillespie mark him as one of the most influential musicians of the swing era and a precursor of bebop.

Coleman Hawkins American jazz saxophonist

Coleman Randolph Hawkins, nicknamed "Hawk" and sometimes "Bean", was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. Berendt explained: "there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn". Hawkins biographer John Chilton described the prevalent styles of tenor saxophone solos prior to Hawkins as "mooing" and "rubbery belches." Hawkins cited as influences Happy Caldwell, Stump Evans, and Prince Robinson, although he was the first to tailor his method of improvisation to the saxophone rather than imitate the techniques of the clarinet. Hawkins' virtuosic, arpeggiated approach to improvisation, with his characteristic rich, emotional, loud, and vibrato-laden tonal style, was the main influence on a generation of tenor players that included Chu Berry, Charlie Barnet, Tex Beneke, Ben Webster, Vido Musso, Herschel Evans, Buddy Tate, and Don Byas, and through them the later tenormen, Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, Ike Quebec, Al Sears, Paul Gonsalves, and Lucky Thompson. While Hawkins became well known with swing music during the big band era, he had a role in the development of bebop in the 1940s.

Leon Brown "Chu" Berry was an American jazz tenor saxophonist during the 1930s.

Sing, Sing, Sing (With a Swing) 1936 song by Louis Prima

"Sing, Sing, Sing " is a 1936 song, with music and lyrics by Louis Prima, who first recorded it with the New Orleans Gang. Brunswick Records released it on February 28, 1936 on the 78 rpm record format, with "It's Been So Long" as the B-side. The song is strongly identified with the big band and swing eras. Several have performed the piece as an instrumental, including Fletcher Henderson and, most famously, Benny Goodman.

"I Want to Be Happy" is a song with music by Vincent Youmans and lyrics by Irving Caesar written for the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette.

"The Gypsy in My Soul" is a popular song written for the 50th anniversary of the University of Pennsylvania Mask and Wig show in 1937 by two Penn graduates, Clay Boland and Moe Jaffe. Boland wrote the music and Jaffe the lyrics. Although both men had long since graduated, it had become the practice at the time for professionals, rather than students, to compose songs for the show.

"Moonglow", also known as "Moonglow and Love" is a 1933 popular song. The music was by Will Hudson (1908–1981) and Irving Mills and the words were by Eddie DeLange.

"Somebody Loves Me" is a popular song, with music written by George Gershwin, and lyrics by Ballard MacDonald and Buddy DeSylva. The song was published in 1924 and featured in George White's Scandals of 1924.

Lars Erstrand was a Swedish vibraphonist.

Dinah (song)

"Dinah" is a popular song published in 1925 and introduced by Ethel Waters at the Plantation Club on Broadway. It was integrated into the show Kid Boots. The music was written by Harry Akst and the lyrics by Sam M. Lewis and Joe Young. Hit versions in 1926 were by Ethel Waters, The Revelers, Cliff Edwards, and Fletcher Henderson.

Teddy Hill

Teddy Hill was a big band leader and the manager of Minton's Playhouse, a seminal jazz club in Harlem. He played a variety of instruments, including drums, clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone.

Bye Bye Blues (song)

"Bye Bye Blues" is a popular and jazz standard written by Fred Hamm, Dave Bennett, Bert Lown, and Chauncey Gray and published in 1925.

"I Can't Get Started" is a popular song. It was introduced in Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 by Bob Hope and Eve Arden.

<i>Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944</i> 2001 box set by Billie Holiday

Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 is a box set 10-disc compilation of the complete known studio master recordings, plus alternate takes, of Billie Holiday during the time period indicated, released in 2001 on Columbia/Legacy, CXK 85470. Designed like an album of 78s, the medium in which these recordings initially appeared, the 10.5" × 12" box includes 230 tracks, a 116-page booklet with extensive photos, a song list, discography, essays by Michael Brooks, Gary Giddins, and Farah Jasmine Griffin, and an insert of appreciations for Holiday from a diversity of figures including Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Marianne Faithfull, B.B. King, Abbey Lincoln, Jill Scott, and Lucinda Williams. At the 44th Grammy Awards on February 27, 2002, the box set won the Grammy Award for Best Historical Album of the previous year.

Joel Edward Helleny was an American jazz trombonist.

<i>Hecklers Hop</i> 1995 compilation album by Roy Eldridge

Heckler's Hop is a 1995 compilation album collecting work from the mid- to late-1930s by jazz trumpet-player Roy Eldridge. Released by Hep Records, the album is listed as one of the "Core Collection" albums in The Penguin Guide to Jazz and, by Allmusic, "essential for fans of Jazz trumpet."

Christopher Columbus is an American jazz song composed by Chu Berry with lyrics by Andy Razaf. Pianist Fats Waller turned the tune into a 1936 novelty hit which was subsequently recorded by numerous other artists and became a jazz standard. Jimmy Mundy wrote the lead into a medley with "Sing, Sing, Sing" for Benny Goodman

<i>A Study in Frustration</i> 1961 box set by Fletcher Henderson

A Study in Frustration: The Fletcher Henderson Story is a box set compilation surveying studio recordings of the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra from 1923 to 1938, released in 1961 on Columbia Records, CXK 85470. It initially appeared as a four-album set produced by Frank Driggs and assembled by John Hammond, both of whom also wrote the liner notes. The set was part of a Thesaurus of Classic Jazz series on Columbia which included King of the Delta Blues Singers also worked on by Hammond and Driggs and released in 1961, the first album reissue of songs by blues legend Robert Johnson.

"This Year's Kisses" is a popular song written in 1936 by Irving Berlin for the musical film On the Avenue (1937) and introduced by Alice Faye. Popular recordings in 1937 were by Benny Goodman, Hal Kemp, Shep Fields and by Teddy Wilson with Billie Holiday.

References

  1. 1 2 Vaché, Warren (2000). The Unsung Songwriters (1st ed.). Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. pp. 33–4. ISBN   978-0810835702.
  2. Brunvand, Jan Harold (2002). Encyclopedia of Urban Legends . New York: W. W. Norton & Company. p.  275. ISBN   978-0393323580.
  3. Pareles, Jon (30 April 1998). Helen Ward, 82, Who Sang Hits With Goodman's Band in the 30s, The New York Times
  4. Goldsby, John (2002). The Jazz Bass Book - Technique and Tradition. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. p. 54. ISBN   978-0879307165.
  5. Chilton, John (2002). Roy Eldridge, Little Jazz Giant. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 320. ISBN   978-0826456922.
  6. discography of Melotone Records 1936 releases
  7. Mosaic Records discography of Chu Berry
  8. Description of "Lars Erstrand and Four Brothers" album Archived 2011-02-24 at the Wayback Machine
  9. The Keith Ingham New York 9, Vol. 1 at Allmusic
  10. Julie Is Her Name, Volume II on Allmusic.com
  11. Manhattan Moods: Outstanding Live Recordings at Allmusic
  12. Brunswick Records 7500-7999 discography