Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tracking Down Old Songs

One of the pieces the group was playing last night was by Walter Donaldson, who had a slew of hits in his writing career. He died in 1947. The piece was "If I Can't Have You (I Want to be Lonesome, I Want to be Blue.)

So I decided, I'll just zip onto the net and collect those lyrics -- the chords are simple and  I can work those out. 

Ah, but here's the rub: Google "If I Can't Have You" lyrics, and you get a slew of stuff by such folks as Yvonne Elliman, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, and the Bee Gees. 

Seems the title was coöpted by others, and these songs have nothing to do with the Donaldson version. And getting specific doesn't much help. The lyrics per se? Couldn't find 'em.

So after some poking around, I came across a cut from a 1929 Vitaphone film, with Gus Arnheim and his Ambassadors, who did a kinda jazzy ragtime 20's version of it, and from that, I was able to collect the lyrics. 

Amazing thing, the web ...

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