The song is blue.
Blue Moon of Kentucky shining from My Blue Heaven. Bluebirds Over the White Cliffs of Dover and Blue Bayou. Blue Skies, Blue Bossa. Blue in Green, Blue on Blue. Pink Turns to Blue and Crystal Blue Persuasion. Blue Velvet on a Blue Christmas. Blue Monk, Blue Trane, Blue Rondo a la Turk. Why so blue? The song is you.
There is so much more blue than green in life. So much more losing than winning. Blue is sorrow, lament, regret. Blue is also camaraderie in sorrow, lament and regret, and the optimism of dawn. It’s always darkest before the dawn.
Image Source: Seattle Times
Blue is the narrative thread of Old Blue Eyes. Sinatra’s In the Wee Small Hours may be the most perfect nod to blue noir in the zeitgeist. The cover is a striking blue. Track two, after the title, is Ellington’s “Mood Indigo.” Then “Glad to Be Unhappy,” “I Get Along Without You Very Well,” “Last Night When We Were Young,” and “I’ll Never Be the Same.” The mood is black and blue; a guy down and out and feeling blue about it. Melancholy blue. If ever a record were a color, In the Wee Small Hours is blue.
Same year, 1955, Mel Torme captured the light blue. Where In the Wee Small Hours is the darkest blue, It’s a Blue World is buoyant blue. The record is lush: large strings, major tonalities and, front and center, the pipes of the man known as The Velvet Fog. The opening track is “I’ve Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” but Mel sounds like he doesn’t have his heart in these blues. Too much joie de vivre. Later tracks include “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” and “I Found a Million Dollar Baby (In a Five and Ten Cent Store),” further lightening the shade of blue of this world.
But both albums are blue, and so are we. Let’s put them on the hi-fi. Set up a round, and maybe another. Talk to me. Tell me about the one that was and the one that got away. Let’s embrace the blue. Let’s stay up until the wee small hours and swap stories about our blue worlds. Without the blue, we would be without a song.