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    I was playing a job with the fine guitarist, Pete Smyser (www.smyser.com) awhile ago and he happened to have a chart of a song whose title I recognized but never really learned.  It was Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry, written in 1944 by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn for a Broadway-bound Show called Glad to See You that I gather never made it out of Philadelphia.

     It’s one of those classic torch songs and, though I’m happily not carrying a torch for anyone, it somehow got into my head and fit my January mood so I thought I’d give it a go ‘round.  Interestingly, the highest note of the song is the first one and the melody just descends inexorably and sadly from there.

     It’s not a great song – the bridge is pure boiler plate – but somehow it works.  It’s been recorded by many people including Frank Sinatra and Diane Krall.  Both of them did the odd verse.  At first I thought the verse too lugubrious and weird (the allusion to the lady in the harbor escapes me, unless it had something to do with the play), but it grew on me, so I include it here too.  Unfortunately, it required me to sing some sustained notes, which is not a pretty thing.  I should have redone it frankly, but it’s over in a hurry, and then you’re on to the more forgiving, classically miserable, refrain.  Click on the title in red to hear it.  Cahn’s lyrics are below.

Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry 


The torch I carry is handsome;

It’s worth its heartache in ransom.

And when the twilight steals,

I know how the lady in the harbor feels.


When I want rain, I get sunny weather.

I’m just as blue as the sky.

Since love is gone,

Can’t pull myself together.

Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry.

Friends ask me out; I tell them I’m busy.

Must get a new alibi.

I stay at home

And ask myself where is she? {alternately, “who is he”)

Guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry.


Dry little teardrops, my little teardrops,

Hanging on a string of dreams.

Fly little mem’ries, my little mem’ries,

Remind her of our crazy schemes.

Somebody said just forget about her.

I gave that treatment a try.

Strangely enough,

I got along without her.

Then one day she passed me right by,

Oh well,

I guess I’ll hang my tears out to dry.

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