Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sassy Sings

I named my tiny cat Lola after the
gender-bending Kinks classic, but if I
had to do it all over again, I'd credit
"Whatever Lola Wants, " the slinky
number from
1955's Damn Yankees
(Richard Adler and Jerry Ross), be-
cause I find her as "irresistible" as the
lady in question, the devil's assistant

Whatever the sleek, grey Lola wants--food, water, a rub on the
tummy--she gets. It doesn't matter what I'm doing at the time.
She looks up at me with those pleading eyes, and I'm a goner.

Vaughan and Ray Davies offer but two examples; Lola appears in
various guises throughout entertainment history, like the cabaret
entertainer Marlene Dietrich plays in von Sternberg's The Blue An-
(Der Blaue Engel) or the central figure in Barry Manilow's 19-
78 hit "Copacabana" ("Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl...").

As a rule, she's a femme fatale; lovely to look at, but hardly trust-
worthy, i.e. "You can't win" against one. Sounds like a cat to me!

And here's another one of my favorite performances from the Div-
ine One (1924-1990), who was at her best in noir mode. Plenty of
other ladies have tackled this 1948 Sonny Burke and Paul Francis
Webster composition, but Vaughan trumps them all (dig the way
the burst of brass at the end adds a caffeine-like kick). According
to Wikipedia, she "charted with this song in 1949 on Columbia."
I also enjoy the smokey renditions by Peggy Lee and k.d. lang.

Endnote: Image from the PBS site for Jazz: A Film
by Ken Burns
(courtesy of Frank Driggs Collection).

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