SUMMERTIME

Latest update on 02/05/2017

Artist: Abbie Mitchell
Author: George Gershwin/Du Bose Heyward
Label: Musicmasters
Year: 1935

Casted as Clara in the initial version of Porgy And Bess. Rehearsal recording for this Gershwin opera, introduced by George Gershwin himself (on cd Gershwin Performs Gershwin: Rare Recordings 1931-1935). The première in Boston, September 30th 1935, was not recorded. First recording: white Helen Jepson (10.23.1935 - Victor). It's all in the book about Summertime by Jimmy Tigges and Paul Groenendijk: Moed Gevraagd Bij De 834ste Versie (Panta Rhei). Marie's lullaby (Eia Popeia) from Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck influenced Summertime's hazy chords. Gershwin was a fan.

Covers:

1935:

Helen Jepson [first recording]

1936:

Billie Holiday [hit US]

1937:

Bob Crosby

1938:

Paul Robeson

1938:

Bing Crosby

1939:

Sidney Bechet [first hit for Blue Note]

1940:

Anne Brown [Bess in the original opera cast for Decca; frequently regarded as the original]

1943:

Duke Ellington

1944:

Mildred Bailey

1944:

Eddie Condon

1944:

Tommy Dorsey [vocal: Frank Sinatra]

1945:

Dick Haymes

1945:

Geraldo & His Orch.

1947:

Ravens

1949:

Charlie Parker

1949:

Count Basie

1952:

Dizzy Gillespie

1953:

Drifters [vocal: Clyde McPhatter]

1955:

Chet Baker

1956:

Mahalia Jackson [in medley with Motherless Child, her graceful way to commemorate Emmett Till, murdered one year before and also from Chicago]

1956:

Art Blakey

1957:

Sam Cooke

1957:

Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

1957:

Del Vikings

1957:

Charles Mingus

1957:

Armand Mestral [as C'est l'été]

1958:

Miles Davis

1958:

Gene Vincent

1959:

Loulie Jean Norman [in film Porgy And Bess]

1959:

Wes Montgomery

1960:

John Coltrane

1960:

Beatles [in Hamburg with Lu Walters from The Hurricanes as singer and with Ringo Starr, drummer from The Hurricanes, instead of Pete Best on drums; first recording of the real fab four; only 9 copies pressed and only one survived, probably in Paul's private collection; in '68, during sessions for the white double album, another attempt was made]

1960:

Nina Simone

1960:

John Williams [als C'est l'été]

1961:

Hank Ballard

1961:

Toots Thielemans

1961:

Marcels

1961:

Herbie Mann [Live At The Village Gate]

1962:

Rick Nelson [with a riff repeated by Deep Purple in Black Night]

1962:

Atmospheres [instrumental demo with Robbie Van Leeuwen]

1963:

Sonny Rollins

1963:

Gerry & The Pacemakers

1963:

Memphis Slim

1963:

Ray Barretto

1963:

Albert Ayler

1963:

Sandra Reemer [as Sluimer Zacht]

1964:

Clarence Gatemouth Brown

1965:

Booker T. & The MG's

1965:

Kiri Te Kanawa

1965:

Chambers Brothers

1965:

Zombies

1965:

Big Mama Thornton

1966:

Billy Stewart [novelty hit version]

1966:

Sonny & Cher [B-side of Little Man]

1966:

Chris Farlowe

1966:

George Benson

1966:

Walker Brothers

1966:

Shake Spears [hit B; reissued in '78 when it entered the local top 10 (top 20 NL)]

1967:

Lonnie Johnson

1968:

Toy Factory

1968:

Love Sculpture

1968:

Ten Years After

1968:

Big Brother & The Holding Company [vocal: Janis Joplin; J.S. Bach-intro by Sam Andrew]

1969:

Brainbox

1969:

Al Green

1969:

Burt Blanca

1970:

Cathy Berberian

1971:

Dexter Gordon

1971:

Herb Alpert

1972:

Dionne Warwick

1974:

Chris Barber

1976:

Ray Charles

1976:

Big Joe Turner

1977:

Tradition

1977:

James Brown

1978:

Ekseption

1979:

Waso

1979:

Willie Nelson & Leon Russell

1979:

Rick Wakeman

1982:

Flying Pickets

1982:

Fun Boy Three

1983:

David Essex

1984:

Residents

1987:

Barry Manilow

1987:

Paul McCartney [on Choba b CCCP]

1988:

Kelly Family

1991:

Patricia Kaas

1992:

Chet Atkins & Jerry Reed

1992:

Link Protrudi & The Jaymen [ex Fuzztones]

1993:

Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom

1993:

Boom Big Band

1994:

Peter Gabriel

1994:

Courtney Pine

1995:

Howard Armstrong

1995:

Wayne Hancock

1996:

Sublime [as Doin' Time, small hit US; holds a Herbie Mann sample while also using Summertime's opening line and melody; remixed frequently]

1997:

Joe Henderson

1998:

Shirley Horn

1998:

Herbie Hancock [vocal: Joni Mitchell; sax: Wayne Shorter]

1998:

Hubert Laws & Morcheeba [on Red Hot + Rhapsody]

1998:

Bobby Womack & The Roots [idem]

1999:

Me First & the Gimme Gimmes

2002:

UFO [based upon a Sarah Vaughan version]

2003:

Aaron Neville

2006:

Leslie West

2006:

Jacqui Naylor

2008:

Don Cavalli

2008:

Elbow [outro The Bones Of You]

2016:

Willie Nelson [title track lp]

Vaudevilles, musical theatres, movie theatres, concert houses, George Gershwin had left his mark everywhere when in 1935 opera houses were added to that list. That was the year he and his brother Ira adapted black author Edwin Du Bose Heyward's novel Porgy for the opera stage. Porgy discribes the life and times of a black fishing community along the Carolina coast. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II had also showed intrest in that same script. They wanted to adapt it for a musical and it was this plan George Gershwin wanted to top. His opera idea teased author Heyward and he even helped writing the libretto. To work himself into the project, Gershwin went to live for months on Folly Island before the South Carolina coast, in the midst of an Afro-American Gullah community, searching for rootsy musical inspiration. Blacks on these coastal islands lived less integrated than the ones on the main land. They didn't even speak English properly. Their language was more of a mixture with Angolan elements, which helped accentuate the opera's authenticity. Porgy And Bess, that's what we're talking about, is the story of a cripple in love with a beautiful woman, but it all turns out sour: she gets hooked on cocaine and follows her dealer to New York, leaving Porky clueless behind. Not an evident story line, certainly not in mid thirties America, when segregation was still the name of the game. Blacks starring in an opera was at least hard to swallow for the average opera buff. Othello at least had his face shoeshined, but these Porgy & Bess blacks were real! What's more: Gershwin was known for his merry musicals, and so one expected a Gilbert & Sullivan kind of approach. But he came up with a serious opera and that's why it wasn't an overnite success. It wasn't a failure either, but reactions were not overwhelming at first. That didn't bother George Gershwin, who knew sooner or later his opera would hit. He was right, although he didn't live to see that day. George died two years after the première. Neither did the individual songs from Porgy & Bess hit at any time; very strange that is. Opening song Summertime for instance, known throughout the world in thousands of versions, made the US top 10 only once, with novelty act Billy Stewart; his rolling R gimmick kept all the big names in showbusiness behind, and the lesser one's too.

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

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