Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Fragile…Musical Weep


What do experts say? No dogs on the furniture….hahahaaaaa. Our Harley just does not understand or care to:)). I decided to join Monday Music Moves Me which Curious As A Cathy co-hosts and it’s about music that can make you feel fragile. I decided to go with 3 women who were fragile themselves and sang, often with that fragility in their voice. Here they are…


This song was written by Harry Akst with lyrics by Grant Clarke back in 1929  and was originally sung by the great Ethel Waters but I went with Libby Holman who always sounded sad to me. This gal led quite the life which involved loss of riches, sex on both sides although she considered herself more of a lesbian, a lengthy affair with Montgomery Clift who was 20 yrs her junior, alcoholism and murder. After losing her son, many of her friends,  Monty etc…she ended her life by carbon dioxide poisoning at the age of 67.


This is a very famous song by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Ted Koehler written back in 1933 and a film was made  with the same name back in 1944. I loved this song when I heard it sung by Lena Horne and I adore the rendition by Judy Garland but Billie just had a style that really brought a sadness to it. This gal also led a very sad life starting in a brothel before making a name for herself as a great singer of blues and jazz. Unfortunately, she was an addict of both alcohol and heroin. She died at the young age of 44 from cirrhosis of the liver.


We all know this song from the Wizard of Oz also written by Harold Arlan with lyrics by Yip Harburg. It’s sung by the young Judy, aged 17, with magic and hope in her voice. This tv version is the only one showing how she always ended her many stage performances with this song. She is only 33 but she sings as if she has lived 100 years. You can tell that she no longer believes the magic but rather wishes it was this way and yearns for something she can no longer see. It always makes me cry and I wish I could hug her. She died of an overdose at the age of 47 …such a shame.

Now, am I not full of fun today?! 

Any songs make you feel fragile?


  1. Hi, Birgit!

    Thanks for posting that Bloggy Award winning picture of my buddy Harley with his belly open for business. Wouldn't it be nice to be like Harley and not have a care in the world... except where his next skunk is coming from? The first day our Toto joined the family, I tried to train her to keep off the sofa, the piece of furniture she immediately chose to be her snoozing spot. The spirited pup growled, snapped and bloodied my arm in defiance of the rule! :)

    I remember the song "Am I Blue," but can't remember where or when I first heard it. I was not familiar with Libby Holman and enjoyed her rendition. I read with great interest details you shared about her wild and tragic life. Doing some research on the side about the suspected murder in which she was involved, I further read that the victim was her husband of less than a year, R.J. Reynolds tobacco company heir Zachary Reynolds, who was shot to death during or immediately after a boozy party the couple hosted. Such a troubled and tragic life had Libby!

    A cover of "Stormy Weather" is the signature song of our hometown heroes The Magnificent Men, the Central PA-based white soul band about which I have posted many times over the years. The song was introduced by Ethel Waters at The Cotton Club in Harlem in 1933. I enjoyed Billie Holiday's version. It certainly does evoke sadness. I trust you have seen Diana Ross in her film debut playing the troubled jazz great in the 1972 film Lady Sings The Blues. I saw the movie with Mrs. Shady #1 upon its release in theaters.

    Boy oh boy, that 1955 Judy Garland performance is hard to watch, but it is nevertheless essential viewing if we are to know and understand the singer and actress. At the start of 1966, Philadelphia singer Patti LaBelle and her gospel-tinged vocal group The Bluebelles released a version of "Over The Rainbow" that was well received in my neck of the woods.

    There are two deep soul masterpieces that make me feel fragile whenever I listen to them. Described as "possibly the best female vocal ever," "Stay With Me" was famously recorded by Lorraine Ellison in 1966. It will tear your heart out, as will Linda Jones with her version of "Your Precious Love" released in early 1972 only a few weeks before she slipped into a diabetic coma and died. The pain comes through in Linda's vocal. Those two are considered by many music historians to be the ultimate "Deep Soul" recordings.

    I enjoyed the songs and history lessons, dear friend BB. Please motorboat Harley's eager tummy for me and have a wonderful Wednesday. I'll be back to see you tomorrow, sitting in the balcony-- "At The Movies!"

  2. Hi Birgit - love that photo of Harley - they know how to live don't they ... animals are so much fun ... melancholic songs ... I don't know Libby but she sounds like she lived life to the full - til 'the end' ... Happy Easter - cheers Hilary

  3. Wasn't Monty Clift gay? Oh well. Over the Rainbow always makes me cry. I always thought it would be a good song to hear at funerals. I also cry when I hear The Days of Wine and Roses.

  4. I've never heard of Am I Blue, but have heard Stormy Weather and of course Over the Rainbow. Certainly NOT like Garland sang it in the movie. Great synopses and lovely songs.

    Harley is a couch dog!

  5. Hi Birgit!

    Quite the misery buffet you've served up! All three are great songs and these versions are inimitable, though none have brought tears to my eyes.

    Am I Blue is full of melancholy but also has bit of hopefulness lingering at the edges. I read a bio of Libby Holman and she was often her own worst enemy. A very complex woman, which of course goes for all three of these ladies.

    It's not that I can't see Billie Holiday's talent or dislike her but she's never been someone that I gravitate to when I think of listening to torch singers. She definitely could feel the music in her bones though and Stormy Weather, much like Strange Fruit, was right in her deepest zone of understanding.

    If ever a song belonged to one performer, no matter how many others have sung it, it's Over the Rainbow and Judy. I think the difference between her version in Oz and this one is that the earlier one was full of yearning and this is wistfulness for chances gone by. Both captivating.

    I'm not a crier but the first song that popped into my head is the brutal and haunting "Don't Explain" sung by Dinah Washington. It's not as well-known as your picks so here's a link to hear it.

    Someone else mentioned "The Days of Wine and Roses" and that is another wonderfully mournful song full of pathos.

    Your pup is a cutie!!

  6. What a cute pic of Harley! ♥ Who says dogs aren't allowed on furniture? Zoey owns the couch, the loveseat and the bed, as it should be. ☺ Your song choices are all familiar and I especially enjoyed Billie Holiday's performance. I remember seeing the bio pic starring Diana Ross years ago and it left an impression. She did have a sad and hard life.

  7. Birgit,

    What tragic stories each of these women! I couldn't remember the cause of Judy Garland's death. I wonder if the overdose was accidental? Before I read what you shared about her, I thought Judy's recording was done after The Wizard of Oz. Her voice definitely is missing her once hopeful younger self singing these lyrics. The first song, I didn't recognize the title but by the time the chorus kicked in I knew it. You did great coming up with your song picks. Thanks for joining the 4M party, my dear. Have a boogietastic week!

  8. Good to see Harley making himself comfortable! Hadn’t heard of the first song or singer, but all good choices.

  9. You did go old school. I knew the last one.
    It should be illegal for anyone to be that comfortable!

  10. Go for it, Harley. I wish Franklin could still get up on the furniture. Penelope can be on any piece of furniture except the new couch in the family room. I want one piece of furniture without dog hair. She probably hops up there the minute I leave the house and lets me think that any dog hair floated there. Your musical choices are great. My first choice is Liar by Three Dog Night (1971). I'm going with Liar because I played it over and over with the volume up every time my husband (now ex) was in the house after I found out what a lying, cheating bastard he was. Alanis Morisette music sometimes makes me feel fragile, too, because of the pain it invokes before the speaker/singer finds healing and power. My favorite is her first big hit from 1995, You Oughta Know. Another one that's not as well known is Perfect: "If you're flawless, then you'll win my love." That really gets to me.


  11. I love it! I always tease my nieces, asking them why they don't have "playlists of music to listen to while crying alone in the dark." (I call them "slit your wrists" music when I'm not talking to 14-year-olds.) I grew up listening to the Cure, the Smiths, Nine Inch Nails, etc. Kids these days don't know how to mope.

    Love Judy Garland. And she really did live 100 years crammed into her short life.

    These days if I want some good malaise I put on Phoebe Bridger or Catie Turner... or certain Rufus Wainwright songs.

  12. Songs that make me feel fragile? Harry Chapin had a pair of them. "Taxi" and "Cats in the Cradle" still resonate with me powerfully.