Friday, 1 March 2013

Chicken Skin: 1: Frank Sinatra: I've Got You Under My Skin

I had a brief chat with Seamus over on Vapour Trails recently.
He'd chosen Frank Sinatra's 'Songs for Swinging Lovers' on his 'Best 102 Albums' and talked about his love of 'I've Got You Under My Skin'.
I love the song too; it brings back so many memories:
- My young Dad mugging the trombone and drums in the solo section, me and my siblings playing along.
- Our beloved Corsican (first) friend Antoine doing the self same thing on our roof terrace in Corsica.
- Ditto our neighbor Des at our first BBQ at Denny's when we first moved into Lisa Cottage out here in the sticks.
It's a magical musical moment that seems to liberate even the most self conscious; they should precede every therapy session with the playing of it...
Whenever I hear the song I brace myself in anticipation for that highlight; it never fails to deliver. Indeed the line that Sinatra sings after the break 'Don't you knoooow little fool...' is cited by Elvis Costello as the single most exciting sung moment in popular music...
With that in mind I've decided to waste even more of my life by starting a new series: 'Chicken Skin'.
These will be magic moments that elevate me or bring me to tears; inspired flashes of brilliance that induce the tingling feeling that the French call “chaire de pole” (hen's flesh)
Why not play along with your comments and suggestions.
But first; why not just play along... trombone anyone?
Here it is, it HAS to be the brilliant Nelson Riddle arrangement from 'Songs for Swinging Lovers', not the later, more polite version that turns up on the many 'Best Of' albums...
The chicken skin fun starts at around 2.10.


  1. This is like being asked to pinpoint and catch an specific individual mosquito while a swarm of them bite you.
    My first thought was the culmination of Tom Waits Kentucky Avenue:
    "Take the spokes from your wheelchair
    And a magpies wings
    And I'll tie em to your shoulders and your feet
    I'll steal a hacksaw from my dad
    And cut the braces off your legs
    And we'll bury them tonight in the cornfield
    Just put a church key in your pocket
    We'll hop that freight train in the hall
    We'll slide all the way down the drain
    To New Orleans in the fall"

    1. You are fecking' joking right?
      'Kentucky Ave' (and specifically the 'magpie's wings' section) was to be my Chicken Skin 2... Toronto Tim keeps doing similar things to me... weird, weird, weird.
      I went to bed last night to the strains of 'Rain Dogs'; struggling to decide which Tom will be on my list. Talk about cross eyed children! If compilations were allowed it would surely be 'Asylum Years' but... my pile is currently down to 'Swordfish' 'Rain Dogs' 'Alice' and 'Mule Variations' having dismissed the wonderful 'Blue Valentines' as inconsistent.
      But, of all the gin joints...this is a weird coincidence Seamus...

    2. Strange coincidence indeed! Maybe these moments are easier to pick out, and fewer, than I first thought. Although in around five seconds I've just thought of three further 'moments'.

      I've a soft spot for Small Change (my first Waits album- bought secondhand) and The Heart of Saturday Night? I've chosen one from your shortlist but it could change at the last minute.

    3. By the way, glad to see plenty of the Beefheart influenced Waits in there, even if you have a deaf spot for the Captain himself!

    4. Funny, I was thinking the same thing half way through 'Big Black Mariah' after dissing the capt.

  2. Small Change (Grapefruit Moon) and Heart of are both cracking but 'easy', he shifted to a different, more challenging level with Swordfish and beyond.

    1. Wouldn't consider Small Change over easy (no Grapefruit Moon, that's on Closing Time). Tom Traubert's Blues; Bad Liver and a Broken Heart; Small Change. You can hear him getting dissatisfied with the more traditional jazz with Step Right Up a sort of predecessor of Frank's Wild Years. Still very much beatnik but pushing the envelope he was to burst with Swordfishtrombones, when he subsumed Beefheart, Bernelle and Partch (amoung others) into his work.

  3. Sorry, confusing Small Change with the debut which produced an Eagles cover 'Ol 45'. I know he hated that. When Heart Attack and Vine inspired a Springsteen cover 'Jersey Girl' I think that Tom decided that he needed to change his pants...

    1. Only for Rod Stewart to do Downtown Train!

    2. 'Do' being the operative word.
      Please don't mention TT's Blues...

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