Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Robert Ronnow writes

To Go On

If you see a hawk
on a bough at field's edge
beyond the corner you should have turned
maybe it's a sign to go on.

Such as during an improvisation on
Flamingo or I've Got You Under My Skin
you play in the wrong key or mode completely
maybe it's a sign to go on, in the wrong key.

Or when my sons cry not wanting
to be alone, I'm upstairs writing
or just enjoying trees in every direction
it too may be a sign to go on alone.


  1. "Flamingo" is a jazz standard written by Ted Grouya. According to Herb Jeffries, who was performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, “I was going out for dinner and this little guy stops me at the stage door. He says, in a French accent, ‘Monsieur Jeffries, I am Ted Grouya. The doorman would not let me in. Please, show my song to Monsieur Ellington.’ I said, `All right,’ and I put his music in my pocket. Later, I set it on my dressing-room table.” Arranger/pianist Billy Strayhorn saw the music, took it over to the piano and began playing it. Ellington heard him and said, “Whatever you’re playing, make a chart of it.” Edmund Anderson added lyrics, and it became the last song Ellington needed for his 28 December 28 recording session for RCA Victor. It became Ellington’s 1st number to hit the charts in 1941 and one of his favorite recordings, claiming it was "the renaissance of vocal orchestration. Before then, an orchestration for a singer was usually something pretty tepid, and it was just background --that’s about all. But now, this had real ornamentation, fittingly done, supporting the singer and also embellishing the entire performance of both the singer and the band.” Jeffries once remarked, “Most people come to this world by stork. I came by Flamingo, and Duke Ellington delivered me. And it’s flown me all over the world.”

    Flamingo, like a flame in the sky
    Flying over the island
    To my lover nearby

    Flamingo, with your tropical hue
    For it's you I rely on
    And the love that is true

    The wind sings a song to you as you go
    The song that I hear below
    The murmuring heart

    Flamingo, when the sun meets the sea
    Say farewell to my lover
    And hasten to me

    Ah, oh, ah, oh, oh, oh

    Flamingo, when the sun meets the sea
    Say farewell to my lover
    And hasten to me

    Ah, oh, oh, oh, oh, ah

  2. Cole Porter wrote "I've Got You Under My Skin" in 1936 and was introduced by Virginia Bruce in the movie "Born to Dance." A decade later Frank Sinatra performed a Nelson Riddle-arranged version on his weekly radio show; he later recorded it for his 1963 album "Sinatra's Sinatra," "Sinatra at the Sands" (1966), and "Duets" (1993).

    I've got you under my skin
    I've got you deep in the heart of me
    So deep in my heart, you're really a part of me
    I've got you under my skin

    I tried so not to give in
    I said to myself, this affair never will go so well
    But why should I try to resist when, darling, I know so well
    I've got you under my skin

    I'd sacrifice anything, come what might
    For the sake of having you near
    In spite of a warning voice that comes in the night
    And repeats and repeats in my ear

    Don't you know, silly fool, you never can win
    Use your mentality, wake up to reality
    But each time I do, just the thought of you
    Makes me stop before I begin
    Cause I've got you under my skin


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