The Godfather: Peter Corris on YouTube #1
Last year I wrote a column about our meagre CD collection and gave an account of some of my favourite recordings and their significance to me. These days, of course, it’s no longer necessary to own the discs because the works are available through YouTube and streaming services. With time on my hands, I often resort to songs on YouTube, sometimes to recall my extreme youth, sometimes to remind me of things I no longer own. When I thought about some of the stuff I play I was surprised by some of the items and why I chose them. Here’s a list of some of the old stuff I click onto with my aged but so far trusty Mac:
‘The Donkey Serenade’ by Alan Jones – this novelty song from way back which I first heard as a child on the wireless has stuck in my head ever since. A silly song but it has clung on like a limpet.
‘Pedro the Fisherman’ by Richard Tauber. This is the story of a love affair overcoming obstacles and I’ve always been a sucker for a story. I also fancied, probably wrongly, that I could sing it myself.
‘Here in my Heart’ by Al Martino. This was a huge hit in 1952 and dominated the few hit parades playing on radio in Australia. Its full-chested tenor bravado appealed to me as a skinny 10-year-old and I play it now and again as a personal time machine device.
‘Some Enchanted Evening’ by Giorgio Tozzi. My parents had the soundtrack of the musical South Pacific and played it often. The very essence of romance, its extravagance amuses me.
‘The Desert Song’ by Gordon Marcia and Kathryn Grayson. Another LP from childhood. I saw the 1953 film of the same name when I was about 11 years old and was carried away by the swashbuckling drama of it all. The song, a fantasy, is given its all by the singers and, as with ‘Some Enchanted Evening’, its swelling excesses amuse me. But it also makes me think of the innocence of that time, and how differently we regard the desert sands now.
‘I’ll Build a Stairway to Paradise’ by George Guétary. Another LP we owned was the soundtrack of An American in Paris. I hated the film; I could never stand Gene Kelly as an actor, although I know he was a good leftie, but this piece of camp choreography appealed to me as a kid as the last word in glamour.
‘The Road to Mandalay’ by Peter Dawson. I can’t remember when I first heard this but it must have been when I was an adolescent and it struck me as the height of manliness and made an impact that lodged with me. I know now that the lyrics are, as with much of Kipling, macho and racist, but the voice and the music overwhelm that for me. I can hear it in my head as I write. I swear I can hear the paddles chunkin’.