Today, being Saturday and most things that needed to be done being so done yesterday, there was some time in which to do not much, so HBO was tuned to and a movie called “The Last of the Blonde Bombshells” caught my attention. A simple musical I thought… easy to pass the time. Well, it was a musical -of sorts- with a top cast, including Dame Judi Dench and a singer I had not thought about for quite some time, albeit one of my years ago very favorites: Cleo Laine.
Mind you, I didn’t know she was on the cast, it just happened along the way to a happy finish. The storyline is about an all-female (plus a male drummer with blonde wig and all) English swing band (“swing” as it pertained to those times) which had become famous during WWII. The movie is taking place in the present, so that long past story had taken place some 50+years ago, the plot switching back and forth between then and now. The main character somehow meets up again with drummer-boy (another story-within-the-story) and they set out to bring whatever is left of the band together again.
When they got to the singer, there was this older lady (well… we all get there sometime, don’t we?) who began to belt this number with an incredible low/mid-range voice. My little man brain (the one sitting somewhere back there inside my head) kept closing out the visual and concentrating on the sound part.
- “I know that voice!! It kept on repeating…”
- “But I don’t know that face, I kept answering…”
The sound just kept coming and being enjoyed… Eventually, the movie came to its end and, out of total curiosity, I stayed on to watch the credits roll by…
OMG!!! You fool!!! Her name appeared on the screen and in my memory banks… Cleo Laine… to me, one of the great jazz/blues singers/voices of all time.
Along with her voice came memories of sitting by a pool somewhere, sipping a cool drink and listening to a cassette (Yes, a cassette, what of it???) with her voice trailing over the pool waters unto the sea and the sunset, skipping over a few palm trees along the ways … “the little ordinary things every one ought to do…” from Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You”…
I did a lot of long winded travel in the late 70’s into the mid 80’s. But it wasn’t all work… Once in a while, there were sublime moments when the world would graciously allow itself to fall away and there was only a drink, the whisper of the water, the sunset and the glorious sounds of Cleo Laine cleansing my soul.
There are memories and then… there are memories…
Be Well … Be Back!!!
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