29 March 2015

Blossom Dearie - Discover Who I Am/ The Music Played

Label: Fontana
Year of Release: 1968

Blossom Dearie was a hugely respected jazz singer and pianist from New York who never really broke through to mainstream success either at home or in the UK, though she did have a hit in France with her version of "Lullaby of Birdland". Very much a musician's musician and friendly with the likes of Scott Walker, her club stints in London, France and the USA were all highly acclaimed and her back catalogue is impressively deep.

This B-side is, if I'm not mistaken, an absurd curveball in her catalogue, being a piece of reflective, gentle and almost psychedelic pop. Without wishing to make obvious comparisons within her social circle, there are shades of Scott about it, from the arrangements through to the considered, introspective lyrics. It swells, fades and swells again, relaxing in its own melancholia and never reaching for an obvious hook. That may turn some listeners off, but for people who like their pop to be subtle and considered, it's an absolute plus - it's a track to wallow in rather than ride or cling to.

So who was the mysterious "Wollawitch" (suspiciously aligned to Blossom Dearie Music Ltd) who wrote this? I can find no other songwriting credits listing the name online, which either means it was a one-off contribution from a hopeful Dearie decided to devote a B-side to, or someone adopting a pseudonym, perhaps even Dearie herself. I smell a rat here, and I'd be interested to know if anyone has any answers.

Sadly, Dearie passed away in 2009 after a long illness, so we may never quite know the truth.

(Except, lo and behold, within minutes of me posting this Sean Bright came up with the answer in the comments below. Blimey!)


Soobie Mennym said...

Appears to be John Wallowitch - who wrote a couple of other things for Dearie.

Great song.

23 Daves said...

Thanks Sean, that was quickly and simply resolved! God knows why I wasn't managing to pull up any links on that one.

Anonymous said...

Superb posting Sean

Many thanks


Andrew said...

What a sad,sad song. I remember a version of The Music Played - sung by the great Matt Monro. On Y*utube it has more than 1.6 million views. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiNQehY2VZk