Thursday, February 23, 2012

SONGS I LIKE: One More For My Baby (Frank Sinatra)

This torch that I've found
Must be drowned or it soon might explode

I'm not a big Frank Sinatra fan, but everyone has to respect the guy's career and determination. Several times over decades he became popular and became square and unpopular. Several times he had a comeback and was huge. He was so poor at times he had to borrow money to pay rent, then within years had hit singles and lived large. By the time of his death, Frank Sinatra was such a respected icon in singing and American music he was finally given his due, but there were some hard times along the way.

Sinatra by the end wasn't really that great. In live shows, supposedly he'd forget some of the lyrics and fill them in with jazz scat. He was a much better singer when young, but he got comfortable and perhaps a bit lazy and his later stuff was not very dynamic or even that great. But he put out some amazing music over the years, and this song is one of them.

Sinatra can really belt them out ("My Way" being the usual example) but for "One More For My Baby," he's very low key and subtle. He sounds meloncholy and contemplative, a man sitting on the barstool, slowly putting them back as he feels his pain seep through his whole body. You can almost see the bartender listening quietly as he tells his story, waiting for the place to close so he can finally go home, alone.

Originally recorded in 1947, the music is very simple; just a piano and a bass, played low and quiet. You get the impression they're somewhere else in the bar, not really even related to the song. "One More For My Baby" was used in the film Young at Heart, and the video accompanying this was probably from his TV show, but its perfect: exactly how I imagine it.

It's quarter to three
There ain't no one in the place except you and me
So set 'em up, Joe
I've got a little story you ought to know

Were drinkin', my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

I got the routine
So drop another nickel in the machine
I'm feeling so bad
Wish you'd make the music pretty and sad?

Could tell you a lot
But you've got to be true to your code
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

You'd never know it
But, buddy, I'm a kind of poet and I got a lot of things to say
And when I'm gloomy, you simply gotta listen to me
Until its talked away

Well, that's how it goes
And Joe, I know you're gettin' kinda anxious to close
So thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn't mind my bendin' your ear

This torch that I've found
Must be drowned or it soon might explode
So make it one for my baby
One more for the road
The long, its so long, the long....

This is part of the Songs I Like series.

1 comment:

Alex VanderWoude said...

I'm also not a big Sinatra fan, but I've got to give him his due for songs like "It Was a Very Good Year".