If you are just tuning in, Mark and I are in the middle of rewrites for Love Finds Judy Garland, our radio-style theatrical music show. A recent project on my piano rack was “After You’ve Gone,” based on a 1946 Bing Crosby recording with Eddie Condon and his Orchestra. Although our show takes place in April of ‘44, the style is close enough — and much more in the groove than Bing’s 1929 recording of the same tune with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.
Why “After You’ve Gone”? Well, we’ve got to give our radio host, who is modeled after Bing and played by Mark Flanders, something to sing occasionally for variety — and to give me a few moments of vocal rest — and “After You’ve Gone” was one of Judy’s signature songs. She sang it on the Shell Chateau Hour in 1936 and in the 1942 film For Me and My Gal, and it clearly wore well because she was still delivering it with gusto well into the ‘60s.
And why this arrangement? Well, Mark’s idea was that pianist Jason Aquila and I could do a 4-hands accompaniment, and he found a marvelous recording of Dick Hyman & Ralph Sutton playing the tune on two pianos. True, that recording was made much more recently than 1946, however, those guys were around playing with bands right after the war, and Ralph Sutton even played in Eddie Condon’s Club in Greenwich Village — the same band that Bing had recorded the tune with. So I transcribed part of their improvisation to use as an interlude, and then fit it onto one keyboard — rather a tight squeeze! (You can hear their whole dazzling performance here, and you can buy the CD on Amazon. )
Here are a couple of short features about the process and modern technology involved in transcribing/arranging from vintage recordings. Mark made the video and also narrates. We hope you enjoy them!