Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Older Man

      I am pleased to offer this helpful bit of information to help you sparkle at the next cocktail party.  Just drop a casual: "Gee, that Carol Sloane is a really fine jazz singer, isn't she?".  This will no doubt produce the predictable response: "WHO?"  Well, now you can refer him or her to the Carol Sloane web site which is fully restored thanks to designer Steve Albin.  New York photographer Eric Stephen Jacobs took that really flattering picture which is also the cover of "Dearest Duke" on the Arbors Label, a CD devoted to Ellington's music with the fine musicians Brad Hatfield on piano and Ken Peplowski on reeds.  It's available at Amazon.  

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I don't know about you, but I hope not to see another tennis ball flying across the net until next year when it
will start all over again.  This year, I watched every televised match, beginning with the Australian in January, through to The French, and on to Wimbledon, only to finish on Monday, September 10 at the US Open with a five-setter which gave Andy Murray his much-coveted Grand Slam title.  If only Federer and Nadal had been in the hunt.  Like many of the athletes, I'm exhausted. 

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 I received a telephone call over the weekend from a West Coast acquaintance who said he'd heard a recording of mine on satellite radio while driving along Santa Monica Boulevard.  He liked the song so much, he asked me to describe its genesis and to provide the lyric. 

     The song is titled "An Older Man Is Like An Elegant Wine", and was written by a woman named Lee Wing.  I met her when I lived in North Carolina during the 1970's.  She was the wife of a faculty professor at Duke University, lived in a lovely home in Durham, raised two handsome sons, was active in Democratic politics, and wrote songs.

     I was a frequent dinner guest (her husband was a gourmet chef), and after feasting, we'd gather around the piano, sipping night-caps and singing songs.  On one occasion, I met her father, a courtly, attractive Southern gentleman in his late 70's who beguiled us all, especially the ladies.  I told Lee that he'd made a strong impression on me since I've always been partial to older men . Several weeks later, Lee told me that my reaction inspired her to write the song. 

     Here is the lyric:

Verse:

     Some things are worth waiting for
     Some things improve with age
     Like a vintage wine
     Growing mellow and fine
     As you let it reach the proper stage

     Well, wine is not alone in getting better with the years
     A man is at his greatest
     When he's graying 'round the ears

Chorus:

     Yes, an older man is like an elegant wine
     He's had the time to mellow and refine
     A youth I'd say is a Beaujolais:
     Attractive but light
     While a man who's mature
     Has the powerful allure
     Of a robust Bordeaux
     With a sumptuous glow

     So that's why the man whom
             I would like to call mine
     Will be an older man who's like an elegant wine

     He'll be strong but smooth
     Just right to soothe my troubles away
     And he'll be warm like the glow
     That you feel head to toe
     When you savor the sock
     Of a grand Armagnac

     And so that's why the man
            With whom I'd like to combine
     Will be an older man who's like an elegant wine

     And when I meet him
     I'll enchant him
     Hug him, kiss him
     Then I'll decant him

     And every night when we're home
    And it's time for us to dine
    There'll be that beautiful older man
    Who's like an elegant wine


Lee and I debated whether a man could actually be "beautiful", but decided in the end that older men we'd known were indeed beautiful in mind and body.

My recorded version of "An Older Man Is Like An Elegant Wine" is included on "Sweet & Slow", Concord Records CCD-4564, available at Amazon. 

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