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Come Rain or Come Shine

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Written: 1946

Music by: Harold Arlen

Words by: Johnny Mercer

Written for: St. Louis Woman
(Broadway show, 1946)

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A Cafe Songbook Main Stage Twofer

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Frank Sinatra
with Vincent Falcone Jr. conducting the Buddy Rich Orchestra

"Come Rain or Come Shine"
(arrangement, Don Costa)

(Concert for the Americas, August 20, 1982,
Altos de Chavón Amphiteater,
La Romana, Dominican Republic)


Nora Jones and Wynton Marsalis
Norah Jones -vocal, Wynton Marsalis - trumpet, Walter Blanding - tenor sax, Mickey Raphael - harmonica, Dan Nimmer - piano, Carlos Henriquez - bass, Ali Jackson - drums

"Come Rain or Come Shine"

(from the Concert Willie Nelson and Wynton Marsalis
Play the Music of Ray Charles
-- Lincoln Center, New York City
February, 2009 )


More Performances in the Cafe Songbook Record/Video Cabinet

Cafe Songbook Reading Room

"Come Rain or Come Shine"

Critics Corner || Lyrics Lounge

Other songs written for the show St. Louis Woman currently included in the Cafe Songbook Catalog of The Great American Songbook:

1. Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home

2. I Had Myself a True Love

3. I Wonder What Became of Me (cut from show)

About the Show St. Louis Woman

St. Louis Woman opened on Broadway on March 30, 1946 and closed July 6, 1946: music by Harold Arlen; lyrics by Johnny Mercer; book by Arna Bontemps and Countee Cullen; directed by Rouben Mamoulian; based on the novel God Sends Sunday by Arna Bontemps. The original cast included Robert Pope (Badfoot), Harold Nicholas (Little Augie), Fayard Nicholas (Barney), June Hawkins (Lilli), Pearl Bailey (Butterfly), Ruby Hill (Della Green), Rex Ingram (Biglow Brown), and Milton J. Williams. (for more information about the show see Wikipedia article.)

"Come Rain or Come Shine" was introduced in St. Louis Woman by Ruby Hill and Harold Nicholas playing Della Green and Li'l Augie.

Critics Corner

book cover: Skylark The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer by Philip Furia
Philip Furia, Skylark The Life and Times of Johnny Mercer, New York: St. Martins Press, 2003

book cover: Sinatra The Rough Guide by Chris Ignham
Chris Ingham.
The Rough Guide to Frank Sinatra.
London & New York:
Rough Guides, 2005.

book cover: Harold Arlen: Rhythm, Rainbows and Blues by Edward Jablonski
Edward Jablonski
Harold Arlen: Rhythm, Rainbows, and Blues, Boston: Northeaster UP, 1996
(paper bound ed. 1998 shown).

book cover: Gene Lees, Portrait of Johnny [Mercer]
Gene Lees, Portrait of Johnny The Life of John Herndon Mercer, New York: Pantheon Books, 2004.

book cover: David Lehman, A Fine Romance, Jewish Songwriters, American Songs
David Lehman. A Fine Romance Jewish Songwriters, American Songs. New York: Next Book/Schocken, 2009.

Book cover Wilfred Sheed "The House That George: Built"
Wilfred Sheed, The House That George Built: With a Little Help from Irving, Cole, and a Crew of About Fifty, New York: Random House, 2007 (paperback edition, 2008)

Book Cover: Joel Whitburn, "Pop Memories 1890-1954"
Joel Whitburn,
Pop Memories 1890-1954: The History of American Popular Music
, 1986

Book cover: Alec Wilder, "America's Popular Song"
Alec Wilder, American Popular Song The Great Innovators, 1900-1950, New York: Oxford University Press, 1972.

book cover: Max Wilk, "They're Playing Our Song"
Max Wilk, They're Playing Our Song: Conversations with America's Classic Songwriters (originally published 1973 as They're Playing Our Song: From Jerome Kern to Stephen Sondheim—The Stories behind the Words and Music of Two Generations), New York and Stratford, CT: Easton Studio Press, 2008.

DVD/Documentary cover: Somewhere over the Rainbow: Harold Arlen
Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Harold Arlen,
Documentary Film (DVD) Director/Producer Don McGlynn, 1999.


Composers and lyricists have said many things about the nature of their collaborations. Harold Arlen told Max Wilk that with Ted Koehler, one of his first lyricists ("I've Got the World on a String," "Stormy Weather," "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" etc.), "you had to sit at the piano and play for days and days. Sometimes all night." He commented about Leo Robin, with whom he wrote "Hooray for Love" and "For Every Man There's a Woman," "He's never sure. He tightens up. Comes back and hands you a lyric." Arlen claimed that Robin would make all kinds of excuses for his work, even though it was often the very lyric that would finally be used. And as for Ira Gershwin, he "tightens up before he starts. He seems to hate writing ballads. Absolutely loathes them. And he's the guy who wrote 'Love Walked In' and 'They Can't Take That Away from Me' and 'Embraceable You'" (Wilk pp. 161-162).

With Johnny Mercer, Arlen wrote many great standards: "Blues in the Night," "My Shining Hour," "That Old Black Magic," "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home," just to mention a few. When Wilk asked Arlen about Mercer, Arlen threw up his hands and said, "You trust him. That's all. You have faith. He takes your melody away and comes back with the words" (Wilk, p. 162). Apparently it didn't play out exactly that way with "Come Rain or Come Shine." Shortly after Arlen and Mercer signed on to write the score for the Broadway production, St. Louis Woman, Mercer, who had just finished collaborating with Harry Warren on MGM's The Harvey Girls, dropped by Arlen's Beverly Hills home. In Gene Lee's account:

Arlen played a little figure for him, a repeated note dropping a major third, then rising a minor third. It had something of a recitativo quality to it, and it elicited a phrase from John: 'I'm gonna love you like nobody's loved you. . . .' To which Arlen, always a witty man said, "Come hell or high water." "Of Course," John said, laughing. "Come rain or come shine" (Lees, p. 236).

Philip Furia points out that Mercer had probably drawn upon his "fertile subconscious memory" having previously used a similar phrase, "come shower or shine," in another lyric, the one for "Dearly Beloved," which he wrote with Jerome Kern in 1942. Furia goes on to note that "for the more earthy sound of Arlen's melody Mercer fastened upon the the more colloquial 'come rain or come shine'" (Furia, Skylark, p. 161).

St. Louis Woman, the Broadway show for which "Come Rain or Come Shine" was written, was not a success. Alec Wilder in his classic book American popular song writes, "I was lucky enough to see a performance of St. Louis Woman in 1946. It was one of the loveliest musicals I've ever seen--costumes, scenery, lyrics and music. An it failed. Why, I shall never know" (Wilder, p. 282). The show featured, along with the Arlen-Mercer score, a book by the distinguished Harlem Renaissance writers Arna Bontemps and Countee Cullen, an all Black cast including Ruby Hill, Rex Ingram, the wonderful dance team of The Nicholas Brothers, and Pearl Bailey, who won best newcomer of the year, in a supporting, but important role. Many reasons have been cited for its failure (It closed after 113 performances.). Lena Horne, after being pressured by the NCAA, refused to play the lead because of what they and eventually she felt were the show's negative stereotypes about African American life. Many felt the book was weak. And there was the recurring phenomenon of Mercer's apparent inability to write lyrics that integrated well into a storyline, a characteristic that dogged him throughout his career as a lyricist for Broadway. As Wilfred Sheed put it, "Mercer's songs were private worlds, complete unto themselves, and they never seemed comfortable as parts of plays" (Sheed, p. 265). After the example of Oklahoma in 1943, songs pretty much had to function as parts of the plot, not as stand alone entertainments. Nevertheless, the score for St. Louis Woman, separate from the show, was and remains highly regarded. Along with "Come Rain or Come Shine," the score contained one other song that has become a Standard, "Anyplace I Hang My Hat is Home."

Two early recordings of "Come Rain or Come Shine" made the charts in 1946. One by Margaret Whiting reached number 17 on June, 15, and the other by Helen Forrest and Dick Haymes got to number twenty-three on July, 6 (Whitburn, pp. 454, 163). Mercer (a founder of Capitol Records), banking on "Come Rain or Come Shine" becoming the big hit of what he hoped would be a hit show, arranged for Margaret Whiting to record it for Capitol before the show opened. Whiting, who was the daughter of the late Richard Whiting with whom Mercer had collaborated on songs like "Too Marvelous for Words" and "Hooray for Hollywood" recalls that both Arlen and Mercer were present in the control room of the studio while she was making the recording. Furia quotes her reflections on the songwriting pair:

They made the most unlikely wonderful team. Johnny was a true son of the South, and Harold a true son of a cantor from Buffalo. Harold wrote songs with a marvelous blues chord structure that was sensuous and sophisticated and also primitive. Johnny's lyrics blazed with originality and an American earthiness. (Furia, Skylark, pp. 161-62)
Whiting went on to describe how even though her father had instructed her not to take liberties with what a composer wrote, she was inspired on the last note, on "shine," to "just let it wail. Well Johnny burst through the door, mad as hell: 'What in God's name are you doing?' He was followed by Harold, who shouted, 'No, leave it, leave it! That's the way I should have written it.'" (Furia, Skylark, pp. 161-62).

One of the ways Harold did write it was to incorporate a series of repeated notes in the first two measures of the song. Alex Wilder had, in his own word "pontificated" that Arlen was not given to using repeated notes but then acknowledges,

the laugh is on me . . . . I say that it is a superb ballad which could never be so great unless the device of those repeated notes was the principal single element in the melody. The second section is without them, providing an essential contrast. The third and fourth sections continue to use them, interrupted twice by the most apt and satisfying octave drops (Wilder, 283).

David Lehman also points out Arlen's use of repeated notes but to a different end. He sees the music of "Come Rain or Come Shine" with "its unsettled tonality, going back and forth between major and minor keys, and it's emphatic use of repeated notes" as characteristic of "Jewish music," prompting Mercer, the non-Jewish member of this writing team, to write "a Jewish lyric—to write against the grain of his assertions" (Lehman, p. 85). Lehman explains the contradictions that constitute a subtext in Mercer's words:

This musically demanding song makes "I Love You" sound real though shot through with anxiety: There is resolve here, and sincerity . . . but there is little euphoria or jubilation. What is affirmed is a love greater than circumstance, and what it implies is that the circumstances don't look good. The song offers a quotation from Cole Porter. When we started our romance we thought "it was just one of those things." But—the song keeps saying "but"—this is for always. There is skepticism to overcome, and consequently equivocation here as well as affirmation . . . "We're in or we're out of the money" [which as Lehman points out is an allusion to Al Dubin's lyric in his and Harry Warren's "The Gold Diggers' Song"]. (To read the lyric in a separate window, click here.)

Finally, the lyric, from Lehman's point-of-view, is also contradictory with regard to the social context of its time. Whereas Dubin and Warren wrote their song in the heart of the Depression (for Gold Diggers of 1933), their work is unequivocally positive. Ginger Rogers and her chorus (who sing it in the movie) have no doubt that they will over come all adversity in a particularly adverse time. Arlen and Mercer, writing in 1946 after the Depression is over and America has won the war, reveal the uncertainty that remains within the realm of private lives, even in the midst of circumstances that look pretty good. (Lehman, pp.. 85-86).

One of the criteria for calling a song an American Standard is its persistent inclusion in the repertoire of singers and musicians over the generations. As many as 102 albums of vocals contain "Come Rain or Come Shine." Artists on this list range from Ruby Hill in the original cast album of St. Louis Woman to Marlene Dietrich, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Lamott and scores of others. Jazz instrumental versions include recordings by artists such as Clifford Brown, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, and Bill Evans. A Rufus Wainwright concert recording and a B. B. King /Eric Clapton duet are among some contemporary versions.

At the very top of the iTunes list, however, is the 1959 Ray Charles version arranged by Frank Burns, a recording that became one of Charles' trademark songs and a classic version of "Come Rain or Come Shine." As Chris Ingham points out it certainly influenced the 1961 Sinatra recording arranged by Don Costa (the first Sinatra/Costa collaboration). Ingham states, "With Costa's dramatic and musical skills and the force of Sinatra's personality a whole new masterpiece was created; Costa conjures up an intoxicating mixture of barroom blues, concert hall strings and fresh modern harmonies and Sinatra delivers a forceful vocal with a hint of R&B holler" (Ingham, pp. 261-2).

In a performance early in his career, Tony Bennett introduced "Come Rain or Come Shine," saying, "Here's a song by my very favorite composer" (Harold Arlen Documentary film), and in 1985, Frank Sinatra during a concert in Japan declared before singing "Come Rain or Come Shine," "I like this song almost more than any song I've ever sung."


Lyrics Lounge

Click here to read the lyrics, as sung by Ray Charles, to "Come Rain or Come Shine."


Click here to listen to Michael Feinstein's account of how the title of
"Come Rain or Come Shine" came about.

The complete, authoritative lyrics for "Come Rain or Come Shine" can be found in:

Robert Kimball, Barry Day, Miles Kreuger, and Eric Davis,
The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer,
New York: Alfred A. Knoph, 2009.

Click here to read Cafe Songbook lyrics policy.

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The Cafe Songbook
Record/Video Cabinet:
Selected Recordings of

"Come Rain
or Come Shine"

Albums shown below include a track of this song and are listed chronologically by original recording date of the track.
Wherever possible a YouTube music video with either the same performance of the song or another performance of it by the same artist is included.

Performer/Recording Index
(*indicates accompanying music-video)

Dinah Shore

Album: The Dinah Shore Collection: Columbia and RCA Recordings

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The Dinah Shore versions of "Come Rain or Come Shine" have been included on several CD collections of her recordings. For a selection of them beyond the album noted above, Click here.

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Maxine Sullivan

Album: The Very Best of Maxine Sullivan

Amazon iTunes

Notes: Maxine accompanied by the wonderful Ellis Larkins Trio: Ellis Larkins (piano), Everett Barksdale (guitar), Beverly Peer (bass).

Sarah Vaughan

Album: Sarah Vaughan in Hi-Fi

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Even though Sarah Vaughan recorded for Columbia between 1949 and 1952, only 2 LPs were culled from the many tracks she produced during this period: the strings-only AFTERHOURS and SARAH VAUGHAN IN HI-FI, a more jazz-oriented collection featuring a young Miles Davis and tenor player Budd Johnson among others. These are among Sarah's finest recordings - the stellar accompaniment reminiscent of the Teddy Wilson small groups backing Billie Holiday on her Columbia recordings of the 30s. Here the still youthful Sarah applies her technical mastery to jazz classics like "East Of The Sun," "Come Rain Or Come Shine" and "The Nearness Of You," complete with startlingly elastic phrasing and sheer loveliness of voice. Sarah at her sassiest! These early (1950) Columbia sessions feature a young Miles Davis on trumpet among other luminaries, and this reissue includes a full eight unreleased tracks. Among the 21 songs: 'East of the Sun'; 'Ain't Misbehavin''; 'Come Rain or Come Shine,' and more" (from CD Universe product description).

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Sinatra and
"Come Rain or Come Shine" --
a mini-tour

1.) 1953: Sinatra performing "Come Rain or Come Shine" (as part of a medley of Harold Arlen tunes that also includes "I've Got the World on a String" and " That Old Black Magic," Nov. 29, 1953, on The Colgate Comedy Hour. And in case you don't recognize the accompanist, it's Harold Arlen, the composer himself.

Sinatra's biographer James Kaplan informs us that this particular moment in Sinatra's life was fraught with difficulty. Preceding him on the TV show was the singer Eddie Fisher who had recently eclipsed him in popularity, and within the previous ten days Ava Gardner had made it so clear that their marriage was over that Sinatra had attempted suicide. That he performed so magnificently on the show was, for Kaplan, Sinatra miraculously pulling himself out of the depths of despair to the point where he was "quite simply [able to give] a master class in American popular song, and Fisher . . . --who was always deferential to Sinatra's infinitely greater gift -- stood open-mouthed in the wings" (Kaplan, p. 672).

James Kaplan. Frank: The Voice. New York: Doubleday, 2010.

2) 1961: Album: Sinatra and Strings
(arranged by Don Costa)

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Sinatra & Strings [is] beautifully arranged by Don Costa in his debut association with Sinatra. The album drew its title from a popular segment on disc-jockey William B. Williams’s radio program on WNEW (1130 on your AM dial, [NYC]). Just as some of Sinatra’s songs lend themselves to brass (“Birth of the Blues”), a completely different mood can be evoked with strings. Albums like the underrated Great Songs from Great Britain come to mind. While brass and woodwinds are not excluded from this album, the string arrangements by Costa make it special. “Come Rain or come Shine” is a song in the “You Can Count on Me” tradition. In my selection of “Birth of the Blues,” I discussed how the young Sinatra learned from Tommy Dorsey to use his voice as an instrument. In “Come Rain or Come Shine,” listen how Sinatra runs around the melody when he sings the final pass at “you’re gonna love me like nobody’s loved me,” and takes off from there, building to the ending, “but I’m with you baby, I’m with you rain or shine,” bending the notes on the final shine like a trumpet. The phrase “jazz singer,” was often applied to Sinatra, something which was a high compliment. I believe one of the reasons Sinatra (like Ray Charles) wanted tightly constructed arrangements, was so he could work his way around the melody. Listen to “Come Rain or Come Shine,” and you’ll hear a jazz singer at the top of his game" (from John Sprung, "A Selective Sinatra Retropective, Part 2," Stereo Times.)
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3) 1986: Live at the Meadowlands (New Jersey), March 14, 1986--arranged by Don Costa.


Amazon iTunes

(View on Cafe Songbook Main Stage above a live performance with the Costa arrangement from four years earlier, 1982, at the Concert for the Americas in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.)

4) 1993: The electronically created duet with Gloria Estevan from The Duets album. The Sinatra part is lifted from the Don Costa/Sinatra and Strings arrangement just above.

Amazon iTunes

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Billie Holiday

album: Music for Torching

Amazon iTunes

Notes: This album has some special characteristics that are worth mentioning:  It's content is that of the first 12 inch Billie Holiday Long-Play and it contains only tracks never previously released. Down Beat magazine reviewed it in November, 1955 and gave it the maximum 5 stars:

"'Music For Torching was recorded on the west coast in August of this year with the tasteful, relaxed backing of (the Band). As for the singing, I suppose that the nostalgic will repeat automatically that this isn't the Billie of 20 years ago. Of course it isn't. (...) This is a Billie who has experienced a lot of pain and some joy in the years between. (...) She sings more reflectively and less hopefully but with no less depth and warmth. When she's right - and she's absorbingly right on these sides - no one yet is able to touch Billie as the most emotionally striking singer in jazz, 20 years ago or today. Totally recommended.'" (from The Billie Holiday Discography, currently unavailable on-line)
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Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

Album: Moanin'

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "The Rudy Van Gelder Edition of MOANIN' includes an essay by Bob Blumenthal. Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers: Art Blakey (drums); Benny Golson (tenor saxophone); Lee Morgan (trumpet); Bobby Timmons (piano); Jymie Merritt (bass). Digitally remastered using 24-bit technology by Rudy Van Gelder (Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey). This is part of the Blue Note Rudy Van Gelder Editions series. This is truly one of the great classics of hard bop, with drummer Art Blakey leading arguably his greatest Jazz Messengers lineup through a driving program that never lets up. Tenor saxophonist Benny Golson (whose composition "Along Came Betty" is heard here, subsequently becoming a jazz classic), brilliant trumpeter Lee Morgan, and funky pianist Bobby Timmons (who wrote the hit title cut) each take some of the best solos of their great careers, and Blakey was never greater. No jazz record collection should be without this disc. It remains one of the premier items in Blue Note's catalog, and rightfully so. As part of Blue Note's 1999 60th anniversary celebration, original session producer Rudy Van Gelder's done a smash job remixing Moanin' , adding warmth in the low end and far greater color across the spectrum. And the booklet opens like a gatefold LP with vintage black-and-white photos of the original session. --Skip Heller Recorded at the Van Gelder Studio, Hackensack, New Jersey on October 30, 1958. Originally released on Blue Note (4003)" -- from CD Universe product description.

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Bill Evans Trio

Album: Portrait in Jazz

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The live performance below features Evans on piano, Chuck Israels on bass and Larry Bunker on drums-- dating from March 19,1965 in London. According to Ken James, "Evans' first (and greatest) trio featured the irreplaceable Scott LaFaro on double bass and Paul Motian on drums. After LaFaro's tragic death in a car accident in 1961 (at age 25), Evans was so overcome with grief that he didn't play again publicly for almost a year. In early '62, he reformed his trio and hired Chuck Israels to replace LaFaro. Motian departed the trio in 1964, and was replaced by Larry Bunker."

1965 live
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Ray Charles

Album: The Genius of
Ray Charles

Amazon iTunes

Notes: The music-video above is the same track as on the album The Genius of Ray Charles. From the CD Universe product description for the album: "Neither pop nor jazz, once again Charles is hard to categorize even though many of the musicians have strong jazz credentials; Paul Gonsalves, Clark Terry, Zoot Sims and Bob Brookmeyer, for example. The album's strength (in addition to Brother Ray) lies in the choice of classic songs matched with lush orchestration. Ray's soulful voice will break hearts on 'Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin", 'Just For A Thrill' and the ultimate song for hopeless romantics, Johnny Mercer and Harold Arlen's starry-eyed 'Come Rain Or Come Shine'."

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1958 -1961
Ella Fitzgerald

Albums: 1) Live at Mr. Kelly's 2) Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook 3) Twelve Nights in Hollywood

Live at Mr. Kelly's (1958)

Amazon iTunes

Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook (1960)

Amazon iTunes

Twelve Nights in Hollywood (1961)

Amazon iTunes

Notes:Between 1958 and 1961, three excellent recordings of Ella performing "Come Rain or Come Shine" were made. Two were live, club performances with small group accompniments in intimate settings. One was a studio recording with full orchestra.

The 1958 Live at Mr. Kelly's (the Chicago "jazz mecca") track is Ella's first recording of "Come Rain or Come Shine" on which she is accompanied by Lou Levy (piano); Max Bennett (bass guitar) and Gus Johnson (drums).

The 1960-61 studio performance with Billy May's arrangement and orchestra is from Ella's Norman Granz produced Songbook series (here Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook, recorded At Capitol Records and Radio Recorders Annex, Hollywood, California in August 1960 & January 1961).

The 1961 Twelve Nights in Hollywood live performance was recorded at the Crescendo, a club in Hollywood, in May, 1961, with Lou Levy (piano), Herb Ellis (guitar), Wilfred Middlebrooks (bass), and Gus Johnson (drums). These recordings were made but not published until 2012.

Various Ella performances of "Come Rain or come Shine" can be found on several Fitzgerald albums. See list at Amazon. (Please complete or pause one
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Judy Garland

Album: Judy at Carnegie Hall

Amazon iTunes

Notes: From the famous Carnegie Hall concert, April 23, 1961. This album "was first released as a single CD in 1987 with more than half of the original album edited off. Capitol has now restored the full 2-LP set on 2 CDs with some on-stage dialogue that was not included on the original album. . . . This souvenir of that remarkable occasion includes the complete concert, during which Judy Garland sang 26 songs and mesmerized the audience with her sensational all-round performance. The album won Grammys for album of the year, best female vocal performance, best engineering and best cover. . . . The orchestra is conducted by Mort Lindsey" (from CD Universe Product Description)..
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Johnny Mercer

Album: My Huckleberry Friend

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Recorded in London just two years before his death, My Huckleberry Friend includes nearly an hour and half of singer Johnny Mercer updating his own compositions. The American musical giant is accompanied by the Pete Moore Orchestra and the Harry Roche Constellation. Mercer's voice is solid throughout this 25-track record that marries his Tin Pan Alley lyrical style with diverse pop arrangements. The song 'It's Great to Be Alive' says it all about this release: 'It's great to be alive, to work from nine to five.' Fans of Mercer will enjoy this record, while purists may prefer his earlier (and more traditional) recordings. . . ." (from CD Universe product description). Mercer, who wrote the words for "Come Rain or Come Shine," it should be noted is one of the few songwriters of The Great American Songbook who was also a professional singer. Interestingly, one of the others was Harold Arlen, who wrote the music, though Arlen did not have the lengthy career as a singer that Mercer did.

Nancy LaMott

Album: Come Rain or Come Shine

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "As an interpreter, Nancy LaMott shunned extremes . . . . And so her tribute to lyricist Johnny Mercer typically avoids emotional extremes, exploring instead subtle in-betweens . . . . Her minimalist approach reaps maximum rewards on "P. S. I Love You" and "On the Atchison, Topeka & the Santa Fe," on which she basically engages in duets with carefully selected instruments (an acoustic guitar and a stand-up bass, respectively)" --Elisabeth Vincentelli, Amazon Editorial reviewer.
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Kenny Rankin

Album: Here in My Heart

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Come Rain or Come Shine is pretty much the only standard on this album and it receives a treatment that is unexpected if not ineffective. A couple of years before this one, Rankin did an album consisting of all standards entitled Professional Dreamer.

B. B. King and
Eric Clapton

Album: Riding with the King

Amazon iTunes

Notes: "Although Eric Clapton and B.B. King's long friendship originated during a chance meeting and subsequent jam session at New York City's Cafe Au Go Go in 1967, the idea for a collaborative album only crystallized during the sessions for King's 1997 album DEUCES WILD. The resulting record, 2000's RIDING WITH THE KING, is a stellar event, thanks to a wealth of rich material and a solid supporting cast including Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Sample, and Steve Gadd.B.B. King's extensive catalog provides a wellspring of inspiration, including signature songs such as the smoldering "Three O' Clock Blues," alongside lesser-known numbers like the ribald shuffle "Days Of Old" and the LIVE AT THE REGAL chestnut "Help The Poor." Elsewhere, King and Clapton look to guitarist Big Bill Broonzy (an acoustic "Key to the Highway") and Chicago pianist Maceo Merriweather (the slow-rolling "Worried Life Blues") for inspiration. Even the non-blues numbers are delivered with a rich subtlety befitting these guitar icons' consummate musicianship. John Hiatt's title track becomes a mid-tempo exchange between old friends, while the pair's honeyed vocals on the standard "Come Rain or Come Shine" are worthy of Ray Charles's 1959 version. RIDING WITH THE KING won the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album" from CD Universe product description.
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Mary J. Blige

Performed at Genius: A Night for Ray Charles, October 8, 2004, Staples Center, Los Angeles


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Barbra Streisand

Album: Live in Concert 2006

Amazon iTunes


Notes: "Barbra Streisand has now released six live albums / CDs during her prodigious career, each one unique in representing her at specific times in her legendary journey as an entertainer and artist. This new recording is a more casual and nostalgic affair than anything she's done live, and is much the better for it" (from Amazon customer reviewer Music Man).
Barbra live in concert 2006, North American tour, Ft. Lauderdale show

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Rufus Wainwright

Album: Rufus Does Judy
at Carnegie Hall

Amazon iTunes

Video below: Rufus does "Come Rain or Come Shine" live at the London Palladium, 2007.


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Willie Nelson

Album: American Classic

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Notes: "When Willie Nelson took the unexpected step of releasing STARDUST in 1978, many predicted that the album of popular standards would severely derail the outlaw country singer's career. Confounding the critics, the disc became Nelson's best selling effort, and spawned a whole sub-genre of modern singers covering the classics. Nelson revisited the format with 1994's orchestral HEALING HANDS OF TIME and to varying degrees on several other records, but it wasn't until 2009's AMERICAN CLASSIC that the red-headed stranger delivered an album billed as the true follow-up to STARDUST. Released on the venerable Blue Note label, the disc features guest appearances by superstar jazz singers Norah Jones and Diana Krall, but the focus is always placed squarely on Willie's famously idiosyncratic vocals. AMERICAN CLASSIC does not feature Willie's veteran band, but rather a core group of first-call studio jazz cats including Christian McBride on bass, Joe Sample on piano, and Lewis Nash on drums. The resultant sound is smooth, classy, and subtle-a sonic horse of a different color from the exquisitely ramshackle earthiness that made STARDUST so appealing and unusual" (from CD Universe product description).

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