Vladimir Dukelsky entered this world in 1903 and is certainly one of the most underrated composers in all of The Great American Songbook. Of course, he changed his name to Vernon Duke and for someone who had some very huge hits over the years, mention his name to most people and they won’t know who you’re talking about. But anyone who wrote with such luminaries as Johnny Mercer, Ira Gershwin, Howard Dietz, Ogden Nash, Sammy Cahn, E.Y. Harburg is not exactly chopped liver.
His shows included Walk a Little Faster (which produced the classic “April in Paris”), Ziegfeld Follies of 1934 (which included “I Like the Likes of You”), Thumbs Up! (“Autumn in New York”), Ziegfeld Follies of 1936 (“I Can’t Get Started”), Cabin in the Sky (which featured the amazing “Taking a Chance on Love”), Banjo Eyes, The Lady Comes Across, Jackpot, Sadie Thompson, Sweet Bye and Bye (which had a book by S.J. Perelman and Al Hischfeld!), Two’s Company, and, of course, Ben Bagley’s The Littlest Revue. And his little-known classical output included three symphonies, a piano concerto, a cello concerto, a violin concerto, several ballets, including two used in the film The Goldwyn Follies.
For Vernon Duke Revisited, Bagley assembled a truly eclectic cast: Tammy Grimes, Anthony Perkins, Blossom Dearie, Gloria De Haven, Jack Haskell, and, in true Ben fashion, Rex Reed and Joan Rivers. The wonderful arrangements and orchestrations are by Norman Paris. The rarities included are all gems and wonderful discoveries and we really do have to be grateful to the self-described “incurably insane” Ben for giving this gift and its subsequent volumes to us. As we’ve done for all these releases, we’ve considerably spruced up the sound for this new release. And the cover art is, of course, by the great Harvey Schmidt.
VERNON DUKE REVISITED is limited to 500 copies.
1. The Theatre Is a Lady Jack Haskell and chorus
2. Low and Lazy Blossom Dearie
3. Now Tammy Grimes and Anthony Perkins
4. Sugarfoot Blossom Dearie, Tammy Grimes, and the Keiffer Twins
5. Just Like a Man Joan Rivers
6. Water Under the Bridge Tammy Grimes
7. Spring Again Anthony Perkins and the Ladies
8. Life’s a Funny Present Joan Rivers and the Keiffer Twins
9. Lady Anthony Perkins
10. Words Without Music Gloria DeHaven
11. If You Can’t Get the Love You Want Tammy Grimes
12. Roundabout Anthony Perkins and Tammy Grimes
13. I Cling to You Anthony Perkins
14. That Moment of Moments Jack Haskell and Chorus