Monday, 25 January 2010

A Very Glamorous Cocktail

Bobby Short

Cole Porter


Elsie de Wolfe

Cole Porter wrote a wicked song about legendary interior decorator, socialite and ‘factory of chic’* Elsie De Wolfe.  Sending up her black and white period (characterised by the zebra skin look)  he wrote ‘That  Black and White Baby of Mine’.  Here it is perfomed by the elegant, utterly charming Bobby Short, whose career over many years at Manhattan’s Café Carlyle made him in an icon of the cabaret scene.  His impeccable musicianship and his devotion to the classic American song made it a heady mix indeed.

Now, the quality of this clip isn’t brilliant but the fact that it was taped live at the
The State Theatre in New Brunswick, NJ in 1995 by a member of the audience gives
it an immediacy and authenticity you can’t get from a studio recording.  Persevere with the introduction and be tickled pink by That Black and White Baby of Mine.

Chin Chin! Bottoms Up!

* in the words of Cecil Beaton


  1. That might just be the perfect cocktail of talents and styles!
    For a rendition of that song that does justice to it, see Bobby Short
    at Town Hall (1968). No rambling introduction on that recording.
    Perhaps by 1995 Mr Short felt compelled to give a history lesson,
    given the deterioration of Society as it had been known when the
    song was written.

  2. So sorry to disappoint TW. Can I play the Town Hall 1968 version on my blog? If so, I will.

  3. Delightful, what a combination--Bobby Short, Cole Porter, and Lady Mendl. I heard BS as a youth at the Carlyle (dear Auntie treated) and used to see him at Swifty's years later. I am working on a posting about LM and my great grandfather having lunch in Paris during WWI, a fact I only recently became aware of when I stumbled upon it in her autobography.

  4. Reggie Darling, I do welcome eye-witness accounts on my blog!

    And I look forward to hearing about Lady Mendl and your great grandfather. Seems such a long time ago she flourished.. I was amazed to read that as a young woman she had been presented at the Court of Queen Victoria. A fact which doesn't seem to chime with the woman Cole Porter celebrated in song.

  5. Lovely stuff, Rose. I'm more of a Jellyroll Morton/Fats Waller freak. That hasn't kept me from trying to summon Cole Porter from the spirit world on occasion. However, my interpretation of him may err a little too much on the Hobbesian side.


  6. now rurritable! easy on the philosophers . . I can't even pretend to
    know about Hobbes. But you do lend distinction to the banality of my blog so I shouldn't really complain! Anyway, thank you for your kind words.

  7. Thank you,
    For this great post, it made my day.
    I remember Short, he was talented.
    I miss the Dinner shows they used to have.
    Saw many a show at the Eden Roc. A lot of the Entertainers I knew from Club dates in
    Houston. That was the late sixties..

  8. La Petite Gallery, I am so glad you liked this post and it resonated
    with your glamorous life!


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