We had a lovely evening yesterday, as we walked through the rain to the local arts centre to listen to a duo of jazz musicians, Bancroft and Lyne, offering up standards and newer songs. One of the numbers that Sophie Bancroft sang, Tom Lyne accompanying on double bass, was On the Sunny Side of the Street.
We’d listened, all through the rainy afternoon, to their Monday Nights album live-streamed from their website, and when we got home after the gig, rather than having purchased a CD from their merchandising table, and never playing it, I bought the digital audio from BandCamp which seems to be the serving platform of choice for independent musicians. I wouldn’t know this, except for the fact that one of our favourite musicians, Kirsty McGee, also serves her music through BandCamp.
Anyway, ‘Sunny Side of the Street‘ is a really old favourite from the Great American Songbook, written in 1930 by Jimmy McHugh with lyrics by Dorothy Fields. But I first internalised the song when the Toronto singer Mose Scarlett came through Allendale to perform at the King’s Head back in our promotions days. I remember we were particularly impressed, as we chatted with Mose later in our home (we put a lot of touring musicians up, back in the day), to hear that one of his contemporaries in cafés and other venues in Toronto had been Raffi, our children’s favourite singer-songwriter. Mose remarked, with some ruefulness, that he too should have gone into children’s music, but as he sipped his whisky, he clearly didn’t begrudge Raffi his world-wide success.
All of these memories swirled around in our heads as we listened to the duo last night. We had such fun, doing the promotions of live music, back when we were younger and much, much more vibrant than we are now. But we can still enjoy the music, even if we’re just sitting back and listening. I think I’ll have to see if I can download the Monday Nights album into my phone, so that we can play it on our commute back to the hills later today, through the little Fiat’s sound system. I’m especially looking forward to the last track, Tom Waits’ Grapefruit Moon (one star shining).
We may find ourselves in brilliant sunshine, or later, experiencing a clear crisp night among the stars, under a grapefruit moon.