The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (166): When only Gershwin will do

The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (166): When only Gershwin will do


norman lebrecht

August 28, 2020

But who’d have thought Kate Bush?

Sensationally musical.


  • Thank you! Kate Bush is so great, and underrated in some circles.

  • PaulD says:

    Nicely done. I note that one YouTube commentor thought that this is a “lesser known” song.” Ooops!

    I like Lena Horne’s wartime performance on Armed Forces Radio. Knowing she’s singing to the men in the field on gives it great impact:

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Acceptable, but would still much prefer recordings of these songs from 1920’s and 30’s. When popular music of the past are rendered by contemporary singers and musicians, something of the authenticity of the content tends to be lost. Perhaps popular music is much more time specific than so called classical, when it is adopted by musicians of a later age, it loses something of its original spirit.

  • Larry says:

    When was this recorded? Was that Larry Adler on harmonica?

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    With, if I am not terribly mistaken, Larry Adler himself, no less!
    Truly splendid.

    However, one must condemn the acceptance, by a privileged white woman, of the heteronormative monogamous model as the only worthwhile aspiration.
    Furthermore, the song is yet another composition by a dead white privileged male. Its jazz elements are a blatant display of cultural appropriation.
    Finally, the instrumentalists were callously selected for mere ability, competence, and affinity with the main performers. The utter disregard for gender and ethnic diversity is appalling. The production cannot hope to fend off the added accusation of ageism by forcing one token old gent, in what must be his eighties, to play the harmonica in order to complement his Social Security and Medicare.

    • ira says:

      this is sarcasm i hope

      • Le Křenek du jour says:

        Now, is it sarcasm?
        In this day and age, when The Onion and Andy Borowitz are outdone by stultifying reality on an hourly basis, can you ever be sure?

        The trouble with Woke fulminations, as with Trump cultists’ glossolalia, anti-vaxxers’ elucubrations, and assorted tin foil hattery, is that they are always one outrageous step beyond satire. One can at most mimic them, one can no longer outmatch, outmad or outdumb them.

    • Edgar Self says:

      Sounds great to me. As for a bit of the other, there’s Earl W ild’s concert piano arrangement, or Mihael Feinstein.

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Who’d have thought Kate Bush? Well, why not? Gershwin was a supplier of popular music. His brother was a superb wordsmith. Between them they wrote some of the greatest songs of the 20th, or any other century, and the interpretation of their oeuvre stands comparison with songs of the 20th, or if you wish to be more recondite, of earlier centuries. Ms Bush. adds to the ‘Songbook’ and as such she is deserving of more than a ‘who’d have thought?’ The work shines through as much as Bush’s rendition and her serious approach to her own output.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I don’t know….I guess I just don’t understand the appeal of Kate Bush. One of my friends suggested it’s just something we Americans don’t get. I absolutely understand that she is adored in the U.K. I don’t begrudge her success…I guess I just don’t understand it. I find her voice to be difficult to listen to…I don’t think her material is that great and I don’t find her to be a compelling songwriter…I guess I’m at a loss to understand why she is so revered. But for sure, she is. That’s OK, taste is individual. And I definitely know people whose taste I respect who think she is compelling. I wish I could “get” Kate Bush.

    • V. Lind says:

      I have a feeling you are not alone. When I moved for a time to London in the late 80s, Kate Bush was a big deal. Now I have never claimed to be the most knowledgeable of pop music fans — I gave it up at Abbey Road so by then was almost two decades behind — but I am out in the world, had been at university, where everything was discussed (that dates me!) and I had never even heard of her. I had heard, for instance, of Bruce Springsteen, though I could not have named or recognised, let alone hummed, a song of his. Same for The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac — I had at least heard of them.

      I can only assume that she did not get much change out of Canadians either. I will have to check her out to see if that seems strange, because I thought this clip was very pleasant and that it showed a fine voice for popular music.

    • William Safford says:

      This is not a direct answer to your question, but she worked with excellent musicians. Just one example is bassist Eberhard Weber.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      To my ears, Kate Bush is the anti-Gundula Janowitz. They’re two opposite ends of the same pole.

  • Dave says:

    That was a 1994 recording from a Larry Adler tribute album to the Gershwins. Kate Bush would have been around 36 years old at that time.