Friday, July 9, 2010

The Road to Mandalay

My father used to sing this song when I was little; it's the famous setting of the equally famous Kipling poem, written by American composer Oley Speaks in 1907.  We were singing it today just for fun, and I decided (inevitably) to look for some versions on Youtube.  The first one I listened to was the one I expected to be the perfect performance, sung by matinée-idol baritone Lawrence Tibbett, a paragon of baritonal virility; and it is great, but his fake Cockney accent just gets silly after awhile:

And then I found this.

Could anything be hipper?  I love the "exotic" arrangement, and the fact that Sinatra changed "Burma girl" to "Burma broad," and, of course, Sinatra himself.


Honeybee said...

Thanks for that interlude of smooth, suave Sinatra; I just loved it.

Otepoti said...

The dawn comes up like thunder over China 'cross the bay.

That's a wonderful line for a male singer.

Peter Dawson is the man for this song. On National Radio, Saturday nights.

Thanks for the memories. This is another piece of heritage we share.

Isn't it a bit Raj for Americans, though?

otepoti said...

The two versions seem to refer to two completely different episodes of foreign venturism, and both are completely persuasive.

Loved the ending of Ol' Blue-Eyes' version.

Pentimento said...

The few Americans who still know this song are probably among the only Americans who have a notion what the Raj was.

Pentimento said...

Yes, it's very cool, isn't it, Otepoti? Funny enough, Lawrence Tibbett was also American, I think from Kansas.