Cover Photo: The Lincoln Horse at Jim Miller Hall in Louisville, Home of the Thoroughbreds
The Louisville Thoroughbred Chorus has lived a storied history of performing excellence. Over a period of 65 years this ensemble has created a loyal following and a reputation for support of its community, its parent organization— S·P·E·B·S·Q·S·A, now the Barbershop Harmony Society,—and its beloved Cardinal District. The group held the record for winning gold medals in BHS chorus competition for many years before certain competing choruses “raised the bar” to exclude average singers whose individual performance ability no longer met their standards. Nowadays, the Thoroughbreds are content to perform with the same degree of enthusiasm and pursuit of excellence, and with continuing focus on brotherhood, still accepting for membership “all men of good character
who like to sing.” They have counted among their ranks many “Kings” and “Vagabonds,” each of whom has contributed to the noble legacy that is the Thoroughbreds.
To that end, the chorus has enjoyed leadership by many talented Music Directors over the years. This recording includes live performances of two songs; “This is My Lucky Day / Sing Hallelujah Medley” and “Danny Boy” led by Thoroughbred Director Emeritus, Jim Miller, at the 2008 “reunion” show at Louisville Memorial Auditorium. As this work is released, we await the memorial service dedicated to this revered leader of men, who passed away just a few weeks ago, in October of 2011. We are keenly aware that this recording shares with you the memory of the final time James King Miller “waved his arms” in front
of the Thoroughbreds.
This release also coincides with the retirement of Music Director Dave Duncan after six years at the helm. Dave has provided needed continuity for the Thoroughbreds, and his passionate efforts resulted in improvement of the chorus’s overall performance. Highlights include participation in the Kentucky State Fair opening ceremonies with Kentucky governors, and the recent (first) celebration of surviving recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, not to mention “most-improved” status in competition. Those achievements and Dave’s inspirational manner with the “troops” are brought to the minds and hearts of audience and Thoroughbred alike by the songs included here. They represent the “Dave Duncan Era” in the history of the Thoroughbreds, as we look forward to a bright future, thanks to his leadership and love.
The Thoroughbreds are grateful for the efforts of our leaders and fellow-singers, and for the support extended by friends, families and fans. Enjoy!
Dave Duncan, Music Director 2005–11
1. I’mSitting on Top of theWorld: ©1925, words by Sam M. Lewis & Joe Young, music by Ray Henderson, arrangement by The Boston Consort, published by EMI Feist Catalog, Inc. / This chart was “woodshedded” by the Boston Consort quartet, and was “covered” by Second Edition, the 1989 International Champion quartet that emanated from the Thoroughbreds. It fits the criteria of the traditional Thoroughbred “opener,” which is to say, “Pitch ‘em high, and sing ‘em fast and loud!”
2. Can You Feel the Love Tonight: ©1994, words by Tim Rice, music by Elton John, arrangement by June Dale, published by Wonderland Music Company, Inc. /
This familiar song from “The Lion King” is more contemporary than most vehicles for barbershop quartets and choruses, but it includes all the elements associated with good songs for a cappella ensembles; emotional lyric, rich chords, tasteful melody and interesting chord progressions. The singers’ love for the work is reflected in their performance, and we take our title, “Kings & Vagabonds” from its insightful lyric.
3. Lullaby in Ragtime: ©1959, words and music by Sylvia Fine, arrangement by Boston Common, et al, published by Dena Music, Inc. / The gentle performance of this tune by Danny Kaye and Barbara Bel Geddes in the Hollywood film, “The Five Pennies,” about the life of trumpeter Red Nichols, no doubt inspired the
barbershop arrangement by Billy Mitchell and subsequent performances by The Boston Common and Keepsake quartets. A little-known fact is that the songwriter, Sylvia Fine, was the wife of singer-actor-comedian Danny Kaye.
4. Danny Boy: ©1910 (Public Domain), words by Frederic Weatherly, music traditional (Londonderry Air), arrangement by Renee Craig. / This tune was arranged by Cracker Jills lead and renowned Sweet Adeline arranger Renee Craig for the 1970 International Champion Oriole 4 quartet. It was performed by the Thoroughbreds throughout the 70s and 80s, and this live performance is from the 2008 reunion show at Louisville Memorial Auditorium. It was the last time
famed director Jim Miller conducted the chorus.
5.When I Lift UpMy Head: ©1967, words and music by Dottie Rambo, arrangement by David Wright, published by John T. Benson Publishing Co. / Prolific
arranger David Wright paid homage to late songwriter Dottie Rambo with his stirring version. The 1993 International Champion Gas House.Gang quartet introduced this gospel number, and it’s been a good fit for the spiritual ambiance of the Thoroughbreds.
6. You RaiseMe Up: ©2002, words by Brendan Graham, music by Rolf Lovland, arrangement by Jon Nicholas, published by Peermusic III Ltd. & Universal-Polygram International Publishing, Inc. / This song features Thoroughbred soloists Eric Hunstiger and Kevin Bowling. Its arranger, Jon Nicholas, also was a
Thoroughbred and a fine baritone with chapter quartets Class of 84 and The Sensations. Jon now directs the Lexington Kentuckians Chorus, and remains a friend of the Thoroughbreds. The singers love and respect his work, which is evident in their reverent rendition.
7. Fun in Just One Lifetime: ©1981, words and music by Joe Liles & Frank Marzocco, arrangement by Joe Liles, published by the Barbershop Harmony Society.
Co-written and arranged by former BHS Executive Director Joe Liles. / This piece has been performed by many barbershop ensembles. It’s really two songs in one that are performed simultaneously the third time through, in the style of Irving Berlin’s “Won’t You Play a Simple Melody.” Thoroughbred audiences have enjoyed Joe’s wholesome song.
8.My Old Kentucky Home: ©1961 by the Louisville #1 Kentucky Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, words and music by Stephen Foster, arrangement
by Bob Bohn. / The official song of the Commonwealth of Kentucky has undergone some lyric changes over the years, due to evolving racial sensitivity. Regardless, it stirs the nostalgic and patriotic hearts of Kentuckians each year just before the running of the Kentucky Derby. This arrangement has been in the Thoroughbreds’ repertoire since 1961, and their audiences and the singers will never grow tired of it.
9. The Trolley Song: ©1949, words and music by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, arrangement by Walter Latzko and Ken Hatton, published by Leo Feist, Inc. /
Driving-tempo songs like this Judy Garland favorite have proven to be wonderful fodder for barbershop renditions. The arrangers began their version with
an existing chart by the late Ed Gentry, long-time coach of the Thoroughbreds. This version is quite different, though inspired by Ed, and was written for
the top-twenty Exchange quartet in 2002. The Thoroughbreds sang this tune to earn “most-improved” status in the 2010 Cardinal District contest.
10. Come Go withMe: ©1957, words and music by C.E. Quick, arrangement by Tom Gentry, published by Gil Music Corp. & Dimensional Songs of the Knoll. / This
doo-wop song was made popular in 1957 by the Del-Vikings, of which the songwriter was a member. The Tom Gentry arrangement has been widely used as repertoire for BHS’s Harmony Explosion camps and by Youth Choruses, as it has an enduring appeal to young listeners and singers. The Thoroughbreds have found that older folks like it too.
11. Lucky Day / Hallelujah! Medley: “Lucky Day” ©1926, words by B.G. DeSylva and Lew Brown, music by Ray Henderson, published by Warner Bros., Inc.;
“Hallelujah!” ©1927, words by Clifford Grey and Leo Robin, music by Vincent Youmans, published by Warner Bros., Inc., arranger unknown. / This medley of two
tunes, written in the 1920s and made popular by the late Judy Garland, served as the Thoroughbreds’ opening song for a decade, and was revived for the
2008 reunion show. It featured Director Emeritus Jim Miller on the emotional evening of his final performance with the Thoroughbreds.
12. God Bless the USA: ©1984, words and music by Lee Greenwood, Songs of Universal, Inc., Universal Songs of Polygram, Inc.. arrangement by Brian Beck. /
This Lee Greenwood tune has become a contemporary anthem for patriots, with impact similar to that of “God Bless America,” the World War II song by
Irving Berlin. The Thoroughbreds often use the former to close their performances, and this Brian Beck arrangement, originally sung by the 1990 International Champion Acoustix quartet, presents the a cappella performance with no notice of the absence of instrumental accompaniment.
Musical Direction by Dave Duncan / Graphic Art, Layout and Design by Dick Johnson
Photography by John Zehnder and Miller Photography
Remote Recording, Mixing and Editing by Don Ernst
Production and Liner Notes by Ken Hatton
This recording is the sole property of the Louisville #1 Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society (aka “The Thoroughbreds”).
To purchase performance/broadcast rights, please visit www.thoroughbredchorus.com for current contact information.