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Don't Blame Me

    I received a request this week from Jim Hunt, a singer (and my occasional computer guru) for the tune Don’t Blame Me, written in 1932 by Jimmy McHugh, who also wrote, among other standards, I’m in the Mood for Love, and Where Are You?  Click on the title in big red letters below this commentary to hear my version; the lyrics are printed beneath it.

      Alec Wilder, in his book American Popular Song notes how simply compelling are the first three notes of the melody.  And their lyric “Don’t blame me” grabs your attention (don’t blame me for what?).  I like the way too that the lyrics continue in the manner of so many standard tunes, with a mixture of self-deprecation and irony.   This is unlike so many of today’s lyrics which are frankly pretty much about the first person singular.  (These days, even songs that try to praise the Other usually can’t manage to do so without promoting the singer at the expense of, so to speak, the singee. The breathtakingly patronizing Wind Beneath My Wings comes to mind. But I digress)

      In my version of Don’t Blame Me below, there is one chorus out of time and one in tempo.  I usually try to play the melody exactly as written at least the first time through, but this time I took the liberty in the first line on the words “with you” to play g d, instead of e d.  After the chromatic interesting start to the bridge (“I can’t help it etc.”) Wilder confesses to some disappointment at its simple ending: “you (Dm7) to (Fm6) love(G7)”. I tried to make this a little more interesting, for you harmony geeks, by making it: “you (Em7 A7) to (Eflat m7 A flat 7) love (Dm7 G7).  In a similar vain, most jazz players play the opening “don’t blame me” phrase thusly: don’t (C) blame (Fm7 Bflat7) me (Em7 A7).

      If you have a request for a weekly tune, please let me know via the contact page!  By the way, you can hear Jim Hunt at www.mocym.com  

 Don't Blame Me

Don’t blame me

For falling in love with you.

I’m under your spell

But how can I help it?

Don’t Blame Me.

Can’t you see,

When you do the things you do

If I can’t conceal

The thrill that I’m feeling

Don’t Blame Me.

(Bridge):

I can’t help it if that doggoned moon above

Makes me need someone like you to love.

Blame your kiss,

As sweet as a kiss can be.

And blame all your charms

That melt in my arms.

But Don’t Blame Me.


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