August 18th, 2008

caillebotte_the orangerie


Swaths of cirrus clouds didn't prevent the evening from cooling quickly again. There was even enough of a breeze to slightly bend the tips of the pines as the sun was setting. A solitary crow was perched near the top of one pine, slowly swaying with its movement. Small birds (finches, most likely) again fluttered about, arranging themselves on the utility wires. I noticed that a few of them were not facing the sunset, but were looking down at me where I stood on my front porch. It made me slightly nervous. I wonder if they are Hitchcock fans?

Anyway, I'm hoping some of the clouds will hang around tonight so the moonlight can play across them. There was a bit of cloudy moonlight last night, and its always enjoyable to watch.

I had no idea that the nearly-forgotten 1930s crooner Gene Austin (aka "The Voice of the Southland") was the co-composer (with Nat Shilkret) of that mournful staple of country blues singers (which also became a favorite up-tempo number for swing bands and pop singers and even jazz musicians for decades), "The Lonesome Road". Here he is singing it, with Shilkret and the Victor Orchestra backing him up. This is the original version, and quite fetching, but it's been recorded by everybody from Louis Armstrong to Dave Brubeck to Van Morrison. Asked to guess who had written it, I'd probably have said Hoagy Carmichael. Gene Austin?! Just goes to show, I suppose.