1. I GOT RHYTHM: BSU's first Gerswhin song was inspired by the Gene Kelly performance from the Hollywood Musical Film, American in Paris." Ed Waesche introduced the quartet to Gerswin's original verse with his fine arrangement. The verse had never been recorded by a pop artist to our knowledge. m-George gershwin, w-Ira gershwin, a-Ed Waesche, p-Warner Bros. Music Inc.
2. SLAP THAT BASS: This first cut of the twelve Gershwin tunes we selected for our tribute to the great composer was originally performed by song and dance man Fred Astaire in the musical film, SHALL WE DANCE. It proved to be a fresh, lighthearted piece, which our contemporary audiences enjoyed immensely, in spite of the fact that the song was unfamiliar to them. m-GG, w-IG, a-WL, p-Gershwin Publishing Corp.
3. A FOGGY DAY: Inspired by Frank Sinatra's recording, this song is a must for a Gershwin tribute. Walter's introduction does not give away the title, and his eerie duet makes appropriate use of "parallel fifths," which are repeated in the tag; unheard of in barbershop music, until now. m-GG, w-IG, a-WL, p-Gershwin Publishing Corp.
4. LIZA: Our primary inspiration for the interpretation of this song was provided by contemporary performer Michael Feinstein, whose father was a barbershopper from Columbus, Ohio. Michael served as musical secretary to Ira Gershwin for several years, and went on to record tribute albums to many great American songwriters. He graciously shared with us that Gershwin's LIZA had been the inspiration for the name bestowed upon the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincent Minelli, who grew up to become Michael's good friend, Liza Minelli. Although originally introduced by Al Jolson, the song had also been performed in the barbershop style by the Thoroughbred Chorus in 1962, when its membership included the fathers of seven-year-old Allen and six-year-olds Kenny and Danny. We knew Ed Waesche wouldn't mind when we included some of Bill Benner's "Thoroughbred" tag at the end of Ed's fine arrangement. m-GG, w-Gus Kahn/IG, a-EW, p-Warner Bros. Music.
5. I'VE GOT A CRUSH ON YOU: Linda Ronstadt's "WHAT'S NEW" album included a cut of this song which we greatly admired. Although the lyric is slightly different when men sing it, the charm of the piece communicates similar mood with Allen on the solo. Also, "How glad the many millions" rhymes better with "Annabelles and Lillians," than with "Toms and Dicks and Williams," don't you think? m-GG, w-IG, a-WL, p-Warner Bros. Music Corp.
6. THEY ALL LAUGHED: Another Fred Astaire performance inspired us to choose this song, and we were tickled with Walter's new introduction, using "laugh" words like "hardy-har" and "yuck." This number has a great message for grownups, but kids really seem to enjoy it. m-GG, w-IG, a-WL, p-Ira Gershwin Music
7. SWANEE: "Jolie's" big song was a must for our recording project, but we couldn't begin to imitate his unique style. Ed's barbershop arrangement included an original second verse lyric, which our coach, Don Clause, liked a lot. Don switched it with the first verse, and asked us to sing it "very freely," in order to disguise the song until the first chorus. This collaboration made it sort of a "hit" for us too, but no one will ever take the place of the late Al Jolson as "the world's greatest entertainer." m-GG, w-Ralph Hermann/Irving Caesar, a-EW, p-Irving Caesar Music Corp.
8. PORGY AND BESS OVERTURE: This was our most ambitious project ever, for several reasons. In order to do justice to Gershwin's classic American opera, we would have to sing longer without stopping than we ever had before. Also, the work was only a mild success, at best, for Gershwin and principal lyricist Du Bose Heyward when it debuted originally. The largely white audiences of the 1930's seemed uncomfortable with the rare African-American cast, setting and tragic storyline. We must admit that contemporary audiences still seem somewhat uneasy with the theme, but "PORGY AND BESS" was a labor of love, both for Gershwin and for the BSU. We recognized Gershwin's empathy with the characters, and we believe acceptance of his fine work will continue to expand with ever-evolving social attitudes. Our arranger Ed Waesche had asked our other favorite arranger, Walter Latzko, to arrange this for Ed's own quartet, "The New Yorkers," showing his great respect for both Walter and Mr. Gershwin. We couldn't resist. m-GG, a-WL SUMMERTIME: w-Du Bose Heyward, p-Ira Gershwin Music. I GOT PLENTY O' NUTTIN': w-Du Bose Heyward/IG, p-George Gershwin Music/Du Bose & Dorothy Heyward Music BESS YOU IS MY WOMAN: w-Du Bose Heyward, p-Ira Gershwin Music/Du Bose & Dorothy Heyward Music IT AIN'T NECESSARILY SO: w-Du Bose Heyward and IG, p-Ira Gershwin Music/Warner Bros. Music THERE'S A BOAT DAT'S LEAVIN SOON FOR NEW YORK: w-Du Bose Heyward/IG, p-Ira Gershwin Music/George Gershwin Music/Du Bose and Dorothy Heyward/Warner Bros. Music Corp.
9. LOVE IS HERE TO STAY: It is widely known that this was the last song ever written by George Gershwin before his untimely death in 1937, and that long-time collaborator, Ira Gershwin, wrote the lyric after George's death as a tribute to his brother. Our inspiration for this rendition, including the replacement of the lyric with an "oo" at the start of the second chorus, was the Gene Kelley performance in the 1950's musical film, “AMERICAN IN PARIS”. m-GG, w-IG, a-EW, p-George Gershwin Music/Ira Gershwin Music/Warner Bros. Music Corp.
10. BACK IN BUSINESS: This song was commissioned by film maker Warren Beatty to acclaimed Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim for the 1990 movie, "Dick Tracy." It was appropriate for a comeback by BSU after several years of sabbatical, so they asked renowned arranger David Wright to create the quartet version. m/w-Stephen Sondheim, p-Rilting Music Inc. - Touchstone Pictures Music & Song.
11. TRAVELIN' MAN: The Ricky nelson 60s pop hit was always so adaptable to the barbershop style, but had never been adapted. Kenny and Danny asked pal Brian Beck to arrange this for a teaching expedition to China with Boston Common quartet pals Terry Clarke and Kent martin. The resulting arrangement was learned by a Qsinghua University quartet in beijing, who eventually performed it for the BHS International Convention in Portland, OR. BSU recorded it for fun, and it turned out nicely. w/w-Jerry Fuller, a-Brian Beck, p-ATV/Sony Acuff Rose Music Corp.
12. DESAFINADO (SLIGHTLY OUT OF TUNE): Brazilian songwriter Antonion Carlos Jobim was introduced to the American listener by Frank Sinatra. Years later, a recording of Jobim singing his own songs caught the ear of the "Bluegrass. " The English lyric of this tune carries an emotional message that can strike many a musician as autobiographical. Walter Latzko wrote the seven-part arrangement for this introspective piece, to which recording engineer Phil Stirgwolt's work was extra-important, since a quartet has only four voices. m-Antonion Carlos Jobim, w-Newton De Mendonca,