01/8/2015 5:17 pm  #1

Skitch Henderson

Skitch Henderson appeared on many of Bing's radio shows, accompanying Bing on the piano.

He had a wonderful technique.

Here he is in conversation with Marian McPartland and playing piano on "Piano Jazz".

He mentions Bing, James Van Heusen, Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Sinatra and many others. 58 minutes of interesting material from 1992.



02/8/2015 2:41 pm  #2

Re: Skitch Henderson

The recording is worth the listen, both because of the piano performances of "Skitch" solo and duetting with Marion McPartland, and their discussion. I like the reference to Hoagy Carmichael and his friend Jack Daniels  - (one of very few characters with whom I have had a passing acqaintance and who mingled with the musical greats !)

There is also fair amount about Jimmy Van Heusen with whom Skitch shared accomodation. 

Amongst other things they discuss the song "These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You)", one of the great 1930s hits, and speculate about it's origins, displaying a certain lack of knowledge.

They say it was written by Jack Strachey. Half correct - he wrote the music.  The words are credited to "Holt Marvell" which was a pen name used by Eric Maschwitz, who worked for the BBC in various capacities. He later wrote the lyrics for many other hit songs including 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square'.

It seems that it was thought to be a conflict of interest to combine his work at the BBC with song writing so he hid his identity, though references I have seen suggest it was an "open secret". 

The song was written for a BBC radio revue in 1936, but it was not published and thereafter and it could have been forgotten except that it was then included in a London West End revue "Spread It Abroad"  and heard or "discovered" in some way by the singer-pianist Leslie A Hutchinson, known as "Hutch" and very popular in the late 1930s and 1940s in England. He recorded it and it became wildly popular with many other performers taking it up.  It  is surprising to discover that "Hutch's" first recorded version omits the verse which includes the line "A cigarette that bears a lipsticks' traces", but his later re - recording includes it.

Many later record issues also credit Barry Link but quite what he had to do with it is unclear.  Maybe he tweaked a few notes to claim royalties! One site mentions that he might have written the middle eight. Some claim it was a three way collaboration but the chronology clearly disproves this. Whatever he added came later. 

Bing clearly liked it. He sang it several times on radio between 1936 and 1953, sometimes as a duet (with Trudy Erwin, Frances Langford,  Dorothy Kirsten, and Rosemary Clooney) and recorded it in 1944 - with Harry Link credited.

Some sites mention Eric Maschwitz writing it because he was pining for his absent love Anna May Wong, the film actress, though in fact it was a commissioned piece. His feelings might be reflected in it but he wrote the words on commission, read them over the phone to Jack Strachey who then wrote the music.

Culled from a variety of sources, some of which have fairly obviously become distorted. "Hutch" is said in one to be "Indian".  He was not - he was from the West Indies, born in Grenada.

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