My son the ham radio operator sent me this video today, and it’s my new favorite song. How can they look so relaxed that high up in the air?? Other than the fact that I would never, ever climb, I think the song (and video) is inspiring.

My hometown. It takes energy to live there, and energy to sing this song. This song is energy. And who is more energetic than Liza Minelli? Well, don’t answer that.

Here, for your listening pleasure, is a unique version by Liza and (drumroll) Pavarotti. It’s energetic, it’s affectionate (love that city!), and it’s fun.

And don’t forget: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. Of course, “making it” is an ambiguous term.

Oh, boy. Helen is definitely going to have to wait tilll she gets home to listen to this one.

I’ll offer you two videos. Both feature Chet Baker with vocals by Elvis Costello, and both include the equally beautiful and haunting “I’m a Fool To Want You.” Here’s the 8-minute version, which begins and ends with “You Don’t Know What Love is,” and here’s the shorter version, which consists of the latter third or so of the first.

I recommend the longer one. It’s worthy of Helen’s best wine or IB’s martini straight up.

Baby, do I feel high,
oh me, oh my
do I feel high

I haven’t drunk Scotch in years, and I never drank it with soda, but I’ve always loved this song. Sung by Dave Guard and the Kingston Trio, it instantly conjures up young males . . . beaches . . . boats . . . sexy, witty, ardent young males . . .sigh. You get the picture. I had a big crush on Dave when this song was a hit for them. (I’m sure he could have been witty and ardent, given half a chance.) But I’ve moved on. Fully aware of how useless it is to conjure up young males these days, I’ve instead turned my attention to the wonderful nuances of Laurel Masse’s version. If I could sing vicariously through someone, Laurel would be it.

Billy Strayhorn. He made such rich, complex, lush music. I even like his name. Say it: Billy Strayhorn. Now drop your voice a couple of notes and say it again: Billy Strayhorn. Lush.

All of which is a lot easier than singing this song. Someday I’ll work on it until I’m confident enough to sing it in front of someone other than my dogs and cats. Here’s a cool version by Laurel Masse, one of the founding members of Manhattan Transfer. She does it in true “jazz to cocktails” style.

Ah, Dylan! Ah, Baez! Ah, me . . . all these years I thought the lyric read, “Outside a rambling storefront window . . .” I knew a storefront window couldn’t actually ramble. But maybe if it sort of went on and on? Then Deloney introduced me to this video and I discovered that the window rattles, not rambles. Duh . . .

It’s a great video for other reasons, too. Joan Baez, Earl Scruggs, his son, her living room. You’ll want to be there.

Sad deserted shore,
your fickle friends are leaving.

If I had to name one song that I’ve sung more than any other over the past 35 years or so, it would be this one. The same is true today . . . If want to just relax and let the music out, I sit down at the piano and listen to some G chords and then some C chords and then begin, “Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving . . . ”

Here’s my favorite version, by Judy Collins. Cool visual—the opening of a Patricia Neal movie.

The song was written by Sandy Denny, another talent who died young. You can read about her here.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.