Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Joining Jolie in Show Biz Heaven

There's no question but that singer Norman Brooks, who just died and was still something of a star north of the border, sounded EXACTLY like AL Jolson. His obit prompted me just now to drag out my old singles of his on the superfine Zodiac ("The Sign of the Stars") label ("501 Madison Ave. NYC"). Here's a coupla couplets from his "3-D Sweetie" (Stillman - Allen).

"Theda Bara wouldn't see no one but Rudolph Valentino. Please forgive me. . .double neg-a-tive."

"Each time she passes, get the special glasses. You gotta pay attention to each heavenly dimension"

Sure don't write 'em like that anymore.

As for the "double neg-a-tive" line, I was twelve when I first heard that song; at which time I didn't even know what a SINGLE negative was. What Brooks was actually singing struck me---walking down the street minding my own business one day---like a scrambled epiphany out of the blue after I'd not heard the recording for a couple of decades. Strange how potent cheap music can be!

Little known fun fact: Brooks was original choice for the role that Johnnie Ray eventually played in No Biz Like Show Biz.

To hear Brooks sing a French language version of Jolson's Toot Toot Tootsie, go here.

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