On YouTube, I post videos of myself as I analyze songs, answer student questions, and give presentations — or simply document my thoughts.
I have several YouTube channels, some of which I will mention below.
This first video is of a face-to-face book talk given at the Lambs Club, New York City, in May 2023. The Lambs are the oldest theatrical club in the United States. It was co-sponsored by the Tin Pan Alley American Popular Music Project. The talk draws from My Melancholy Baby: The First Ballads of the Great American Songbook. I focus on three waltzes of the period from 1905-1912 that set the stage for the more well-remembered waltzes of the 1920s through the 1960s.
The following video is of a remote lecture I gave in March 2021 for the University of Winchester Research Seminars, “Women Songwriters of the Great American Songbook.” This presentation offers some general background of this research project and analyzes five specific examples. A discussion follows of myself, the session chair (Dr. Millie Taylor), and the attendees.
My YouTube channel, “Listener’s Guide to Classic Pop,” features my comments on songs from Tin Pan Alley and the Great American Songbook.
The following video is a commentary on an obscure song, by Shanker, Singer, and James: “April, Give Me One More Day,” in a rendition by Sarah Vaughn recorded early in 1957 – probably about the time the song was written. It was released on the B-side of Vaughn’s single of “Poor Butterfly,” and I know it from an an old scratchy LP with very poor graphics on the album jacket.
Student question: What are some examples of how the music of a song illustrates the words?
Student question: Why don’t we buy sheet music like people used to do?
My YouTube channel called “Songwriters of Tin Pan Alley Who Were Women” has a playlist: “Tot Seymour and Vee Lawnhurst – The Top Female Songwriting Team of Tin Pan Alley.”
Tot Seymour (b. 1889) wrote lyrics for vaudeville acts and then for hit songs starting in 1930 with “Swingin’ in a Hammock.” Vee Lawnhurst, about sixteen years younger than Seymour, was one of the most active pop pianists of the late 1920s and 1930s, whose last hit composition was “Johnny Zero” (1943). Teaming together, they had an outstanding run of seven hit songs in 1935 and 1936. Their work was sophisticated and usually bouncy, cheerful and blithe. “Accent on Youth” is their strongest standard, especially with jazz instrumentalists.
Another playlist I created on YouTube, for my channel”Songwriters of Tin Pan Alley Who Were Women” is “Bonnie Lake – Songwriter in the Big Band Era.”
Bonnie Lake (1916-1992) was a songwriter, writing music or lyrics or both at different times, and a singer. She was one of the talented Lake sisters: Harriet Lake became a Hollywood star under the name Ann Sothern; and Marian Lake was a journalist. Bonnie Lake was a prolific songwriter from the Tin Pan Alley era through the 1960s and beyond. (I have also seen her works credited to the pseudonym Betty Smith.) This playlist focuses on her songs of the Big Band Era of the 1930s and 1940s. She herself is heard with Nat King Cole and the spoken intro to Mark Carter’s rendition of a song she co-wrote with her husband, bandleader Jack Jenney, and lyricist Eddie DeLange — “The Man with a Horn,” her strongest standard and major contribution to the Great American Songbook. From the dozens of renditions, I have chosen but two, to whet your appetite.