Monday, January 26, 2009

Kaerlighedens Melody

Back to the 1959 European tour for a brief posting as I just realized today was a 50th anniversary at 7:40 in the evening! It's still the 26th so I'm safe...

About ten days ago, I did a massive posting on the 50th anniversary of Armstrong's mammoth 1959 European tour which began in Sweden on January 16th. While there, Armstrong was approached to appear in a film with the popular act Nina and Fredrick (last name van Pallandt).

The film would be Kaerlighedens Melodi and would feature Pops doing "The Formula For Love" with Nina Fredrick, as well as singing "Struttin' With Some Barbecue" with regular All Stars vocalist Velma Middleton. Armstrong recorded a dopey vocal version of the tune with Gary Crosby for Decca in 1955 but he had never sung the tune live. Knowing the film was approaching, Armstrong began featuring it in the All Stars's many concerts in Sweden and Denmark (usually two a day). The day before the filming, Armstrong and Velma did it live during a concert in Copenhagen. Here's how it came out:

It's a fun vocal and the band sounds great at the end, playing it in the standard All Stars way. In the film, which was shot in color, it's just as much fun to watch but alas, it's not on YouTube so I cannot share it. However, Armstrong's big number with Nina and Fredrick, "The Formula For Love" is on the web and I'd like to share it right now:

Isn't that a charming clip? Pops sounds in peak form (though he's clearly playing to a pre-recorded track) and it's a pretty catchy tune. There will be more footage from the 1959 tour in the coming months but tomorrow, I'm going to focus on one single performance: a live "Tiger Rag" from Copenhagen on January 21, 1959 that is one of the highlights of Armstrong's later years and truly must be heard to be believed. Til then!

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