Ray of Sunshine
Okay, we're going to round out our Three Days of Ray, with a couple more songs by the wonderful Ray Jessel. I'll probably post more from time to time, but for now I want to post two very different songs on a similar theme. That theme would be "getting old." (Though it might seem reasonable to think that that was a topic Ray was well-suited to writing about a lot, he didn't. He was sprightly and impish and a smart, sharp observer, and wrote about all manner of topics. And wrote about them with great craft, surprise and intelligence. When he did write about getting old, though, he of course did so wonderfully... as will become clear.
This first number is a video of Ray singing his "Short Term Memory Loss Blues." As the Wizard of Oz might have said -- Pay no attention to the man with the camera. Near-impossible as that might be.
The second song is another of his beautiful ballads, as far from his comic repertoire as one can get.
As I'm mentioned in the past, Ray wrote a couple of Broadway musicals, and was continually writing new ones and trying to get them mounted, though without luck. This particular song is from a show he co-wrote whose topic might surprise you, but you'll probably be able to see it being a reasonable subject. It was based on the comic strip, Dennis the Menace.
Though I'm sure it was a generally comic show, this specific song is actually quite wistful and a bit sad. And beautiful. In fact, as he says in the introduction, though the show never got produced, the song had an afterlife and has been recorded by several singers, including Michael Feinstein. In the stage musical, it's sung by the old crotchety neighbor, Mr. Wilson, looking back on life, and called "Whatever Happened to Melody?"
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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