Friday, 17 June 2016

WORDS FOR THE MUSIC #6: Dave Frishberg


Blizzard of Lies 
from the 1984 Original Jazz Classics LP, Live at Vine Street


We must have lunch real soon
Your luggage is checked through
We've got inflation licked
I'll get right back to you
It's just a standard form
Tomorrow without fail
Pleased to meet you, thanks a lot
Your check is in the mail 

Marooned, marooned, marooned
In a blizzard of lies
Marooned, marooned, marooned
In a blizzard of lies
Your toes and knees 
Aren't all you'll freeze
When you're in it up to your thighs
It looks like snow
But you never know
When you're marooned in a blizzard of lies 

You may have won a prize
Won't wrinkle, shrink or peel
Your secret's safe with me
This is a real good deal
It's finger-lickin' good
Strictly by the book
What's fair is fair, I'll be right there
I am not a crook  

Marooned, marooned, marooned
In a blizzard of lies
Marooned, marooned, marooned
In a blizzard of lies
Better watch your step
When your old dog Shep
Can't even look you in the eyes
You're cold and lost
And you're double-crossed 
When you're marooned in a blizzard of lies 

We'll send someone right out
Now this won't hurt a bit
He's in a meeting now
The coat's a perfect fit
Strictly fresh today
Service with a smile
I'll love you, darling, till I die
We'll keep your name on file 

Marooned, marooned, marooned
In a blizzard of lies
Marooned, marooned, marooned
In a blizzard of lies
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you're in for a big surprise
When you're marooned, marooned, marooned
Marooned in a blizzard of lies
A blizzard of lies


© 1984 Original Jazz Classics

The Songwriter:  The following biography by SCOTT YANOW is taken from the AllMusic website.  [It is re-posted here for recommendation purposes only and, like the material displayed above, remains its author's exclusive copyright-protected intellectual property.]
Arguably the top living lyricist, Dave Frishberg has written more than his share of witty (yet insightful) classicism, including I'm Hip, Peel Me a Grape, Dear Bix, The Underdog, Saratoga Hunch, Slappin' the Cakes on Me, Z's, My Attorney Bernie, Blizzard of Lies, Another Song About Paris, You Are There, El Cajon, Can't Take You Nowhere and Let's Eat Home.

A fine swing pianist and a world-weary sounding vocalist, the multi-talented Frishberg (born 23 March 1933) moved to New York in 1957.  He worked early on as a pianist with Carmen McRae, Kai Winding, Gene Krupa (1960-1963), Wild Bill Davison, Bud Freeman, Ben Webster, the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims Quintet and Bobby Hackett, among others, and cut an album with Jimmy Rushing. He recorded a commercial record for CTI (1968) that generated a surprise hit in Van Lingle Mungo.

However, it was not until Frishberg moved to the West Coast in 1971 and started recording for the Concord label as a vocalist/pianist that he began to make a big impression.  Frishberg has since cut albums for Omnisound, Fantasy, Bloomdido and a purely instrumental duet set with Dixieland trumpeter Jim Goodwin (1992) for Arbors.  Many of his originals have been recorded by other vocalists, including Mel Tormé and Rosemary Clooney.  On top of his highly successful jazz career, he has also written Just a Bill and other favorites from ABC's popular Schoolhouse Rock cartoon series. In the 1990s Frishberg also branched out into musical theater and continued recording for Arbors.  He currently resides in Portland, Oregon.

Dave Frishberg is a deceptive kind of artist –– by turns witty, scathing, tender and ironic and frequently displaying all these qualities within the same catchy, well-crafted tune.  In addition to being a fine composer and a lyricist whose work can be judged alongside the best that Cole Porter and Ira Gershwin had to offer, he's also a gifted pianist whose style seems perfectly matched to female vocalists like Connie Evingson and his fellow Portland resident, the supremely gifted but grossly underrated Rebecca Kilgore.

It will be a sad day for American songwriting when Dave Frishberg finally leaves us.  He remains the last living example of the jazz-focused, self-accompanied balladeer whose roots stretch back to the heady days of Fats Waller and the cabaret tradition exemplified by such groundbreaking artists as Sophie Tucker and Mabel Mercer.  The 1991 compilation Classics (which contains Blizzard of Lies and many of his other most iconic songs) is an excellent place to start exploring his work.

Click HERE to visit the website of pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, vocalist and writer DAVE FRISHBERG.  (I urge everyone interested in the history of jazz to read the entries listed under Written Word on the left of screen.  They're a treasure trove of information for anyone curious to know what it was like to be a working jazz musician in the music's heyday between 1945 and the mid-1960s.)

Special thanks to everyone who takes the time to upload music to YouTube.  Your efforts are appreciated by music lovers everywhere.

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