Sunday, 11 October 2009

“Paper Moon” – A Review of the 2009 Cherry Red/El Records CD Reissue of the rare 1973 Soundtrack LP on Paramount Records - A Review by Mark Barry...



"…I Found A Million Dollar Baby In A Five And Ten Cents Store…"

Peter Bogdanovich's 1973 movie "Paper Moon" was based on Joe David Brown's Depression Era novel "Addie Pray".  The character "Addie" Loggins was played in the film by Tatum O’Neal (then only 10-years old) while her very famous dad – Ryan O'Neal – played the bible-selling hustler Moses "Pray" - who is forced to take on this mouthy but winning orphan after her hooker mum has passed away. 

Filmed in Black and White and featuring a wonderfully evocative Soundtrack of Dust Bowl Ballads and Chorus Songs - the movie's old-timey nostalgia appeal tapped into "The Sting" audience and rewarded the irrepressible Tatum O'Neal with an Oscar nomination for best Supporting Role (the youngest actress to ever receive such an accolade - which she won). It also received three other nominations - Madeline Khan as best Supporting Actress, Best adapted screenplay by Alvin Sargent and Best Sound. The soundtrack even troubled the lower regions of the American charts in August 1973 and has become a celebrated piece ever since. And that’s where this little CD peach comes in…

UK released March 2009 - "Paper Moon: Original Recordings Featured In The Soundtrack" on Cherry Red/El Records ACMEM170CD (Barcode 5013929317031) is a CD compilation offering up fans the original 15-track LP with 11 Bonus Cuts from Django Reinhardt and plays out as follows:

1. It's Only A Paper Moon - PAUL WHITEMAN & HIS ORCHESTRA
2. About A Quarter To Nine - OSSIE NELSON & HIS ORCHESTRA
3. (It Will Have To Do) Until The Real Thing Comes Along - LEO REISMAN & HIS ORCHESTRA 
4. Flirtation walk - DICK POWELL
5. Just One More Chance - BING CROSBY
6. One Hour With you - JIMMIE GRIER & HIS ORCHESTRA 
7. I Found A Million Dollar Baby - VICTOR YONG & HIS ORCHESTRA & THE BOSWELL SISTERS 
8. The Object Of My Affection - JIMMIE GRIERE & HIS ORCHESTRA [Side 2]
9. Georgia On My Mind - HOAGY CARMICHAEL & HIS ORCHESTRA 
10. A Picture Of Me Without You - PAUL WHITEMAN & HIS ORCHESTRA 
11. On The Banks Of The Ohio - THE BLUE SKY BOYS 
12. My Mary - JIMMIE DAVIS 
13. After You've Gone - TOMMY DORSEY & HIS ORCHESTRA 
14. Let’s Have Another Cup Of Coffee - ENRIC MADIGUERA & HIS HOTEL BILTMORE ORCHESTRA 
15. Sunnyside Up - JOHNNY HAMP’S KENTUCKY SERENADERS
Tracks 1 to 15 make up the original LP "Paper Moon" released July 1973 on Paramount PAS 1012 in the USA and October 1973 on Paramount SPFL 290 in the UK

BONUS TRACKS:
16. Limehouse Blues
17. Are You In The Mood?
18. You're Driving Me Crazy 
19. When Day Is Done
20. Leieberstraum No. 3
21. Mystery Pacific 
22. Improvisation
23. Minor Swing
24. Swingin’ With Django
25. Echoes Of Spain 
26. I'll See You In My Dreams 
Tracks 16 to 26 are new remasters of DJANGO REINHARDT 78’s (with his group The Quintet of the Hot Club of France) ranging from 1936 to 1939

The 12-page accompanying booklet features affectionate and informative liner notes by CHRISTOPHER EVANS; better still, however, is the song-credits which are now extended to give you more detailed information on the recordings (something you didn’t get on the original LP sleeve). The sound is hardly audiophile (1929 to 1941), but that doesn't matter, because the music is timelessly charming. 

Speaking of genius – when you listen to these postcards of bygone days, you realise that the magic of the songs lay in the brilliant arrangements and words. The orchestra would saunter in with a trumpet and a violin setting up the jaunty melody – this would go on for a minute or even a minute and a half (unheard of nowadays) - until the vocalist and lyrics kicked in to genuinely magical effect. 

The words were so clever and skilfully written that they seemed to just roll off the tongues of the singers like it was the most natural thing in the world. "A Picture Of Me Without You" is a good example – check this out…
"...Picture Henry Ford without a car…picture the firmament without a star…
Picture Paul Revere without a horse…picture a Hollywood marriage without divorce…" – brilliant! 

One of my favourites is "I Found A Million Dollar Baby" which features THE BOSWELL SISTERS on vocals (lyrics are the title of this review). The only clinker for me is the genuinely bizarre and seriously sinister "On The Banks Of The Ohio" sung by THE BLUE SKY BOYS. It's an old-timey murder song where a woman gets her throat slit and then drowned because she won't marry some smuck! It's probably there to offset the relentlessly upbeat wistful feel of the other songs (the dark underbelly etc) - but to me it's out of place… The additional songs (restored 78's) by the two-fingered guitar-playing genius Django Reinhardt compliment the set really well – very clever choices - ending on that most nostalgic of tunes - "I'll See You In My Dreams"... 

So there you have it - "Paper Moon" won't be everyone's cup of Darjeeling for sure - but I suspect if you succumb to its many charms – this rather cool little CD reissue will win its way into your heart big time. Nice one Cherry Red/El Records… 

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