Speaking of documentaries, don’t miss Who Is Harry Nilsson? I love Harry Nilsson, and Van Dyke Parks is in this film—what could be better?
“How I Got Over” is my favorite Mahalia Jackson song; it was sung as an amazing incantation before Dr. Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech at the 1963 March on Washington. The video and audio are not high def here, but I am hoping it will inspire you to look for the documentary on her. Aretha Franklin recorded my favorite version of this song on her live gospel album.
Kitty Daisy and Lewis. I love their voices. I love their interest in old music. Though I heard some of the Top 40 radio growing up, I was always listening to old jazz and would borrow records from the library to find new old music I hadn’t heard. I hope they are still playing when they are 80!
Here are the Nicholas Brothers dancing in Stormy Weather. Check out the big finish. I can do the splits, but not while jumping down stairs. I am tempted to try this. When I was little, I saw a woman on a local TV dance show jump down into the splits and get stuck. She kept smiling with her hands in the air, trying to bounce up to her feet, but couldn’t make it happen. The host of the show had to pull her up out of the splits and take her off camera. I hope she kept trying that move until she got it.
Steps on steps: Bill “Bojangles” Robinson! I started taking tap dance lessons when I was three and stopped at 14 when I started writing songs. I learned music through movement and listening. My ear was, and still is, much quicker than my ability to read music. I think the great Mr. Robinson is making beautiful music with his feet here—the envy of any drummer.