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Thursday, August 10, 2023

They can't take that away

 I've been listening to my songs in order, starting at a random place. On the way back from taking B to airport, I was on "These Foolish Things." I have quite a few of those, Monk and Sarah Vaughan among others. I love that lyric "The winds of March that make my heart a dancer / A telephone that rings, but who's to answer?"  

Then, when I got to "They can't take that away from me," I noticed something very interesting: I don't have any instrumental versions of it. For some reason it didn't become a standard for blowing over, just for vocalists (and I know you'll say that there are some instrumental versions, too, but my jazz library on iTunes is, just say, sizable, and I will have Body and Soul by Sinatra, Ella, Armstrong, Coltrane, Lester, etc...). There is not reason why you couldn't improvise over the changes, and people do when accompanying singers. There are other songs that are sung often not played as jazz standards otherwise. 

Both of these lyrics are essentially lists.  Things that rhyme remind me of you; things that rhyme they can't take those away from me.  So you could write new lyrics to either one: 

The way you don't complain 

The way we went to Spain

The memory of all that 

They can't take that away from me.


A country fair with rural lads and lasses

A nerdy teacher with those horned-rimmed glasses

A hornet's nasty stings

These foolish things

Remind me of you... 

Doing this makes me realize it is easier to fit the metrical pattern of "They can't take that away" than of "These foolish things." 

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