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It Seems to be Spring

     Well, this week’s tune is something different!  I expect you’ve never heard it before but the story behind it is interesting.  Our song found  its way here today – in a circuitous way – via Patty Leswing in Philadelphia from the California home of the songwriter Hugh Martin.

      Patty Leswing’s name may ring a bell to NPR listeners since she is an associate producer of WHYY’s Fresh Air radio program.  And Hugh Martin’s name you will know as the songwriter who, collaborating with Ralph Blane, wrote, for example, The Boy Next Door, The Trolley Song and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, all sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM movie Meet Me in St. Louis. Those songs in themselves might suffice as a passable contribution to popular culture but Martin’s credits go on and on, as songwriter, vocal arranger and even as a performer.  He is now, if his dates and my arithmetic are correct, approaching 93.

     Anyway, Terry Gross, host of NPR's Fresh Air first interviewed Martin with his writing partner, Ralph Blane in 1989. Blane died in 1995. The interview, according to Martin, inspired him to release his album "Hugh Sings Martin" in 2006 www.psclassics.org. Gross interviewed Martin for a second time in December 2006 and he told her he had an old favorite he would send to her. Patty edited the 2006 interview and when the sheet music of It Seems to Be Spring, written in 1930, arrived at the show, she took it home and wanted to breathe life into it.  It should be noted to Martin's modesty, that this favorite of his is not one of his own, but by Richard Whiting (who wrote Too Marvelous for Words and many others).

     Patty, who has a fine voice which I think has something of that 1930's and '40's sound to it, showed me the tune at Cascamorto a couple of weeks ago and we thought it would be fun to give it a whirl.  I confess at first I was not bowled over by the song, but as we did it we both got to like it more and more.  Who knows, if the Fates had overslept, it might have been a hit.  Anyway, here it is sung by Patty for you, the happy few.  The lyrics are below.  They were written by George Marion Jr. who, let us say, might not have been having his best day at the escritoire.  Click on the title in red here to hear it.

It Seems to be Spring 

Verse:

It’s a January morning,

We two meet without a warning

And I hope my eyes will say for me

That you made the day like May for me.

From now on ‘twill be my failing

Not to know when it is hailing,

Ev’ry storm is unavailing,

Now you’re a part

Of my heart.

Refrain:

It seems to be spring

Little songbirds form in quartets.

This calendar thing nature forgets;

The snow must have felt

It was rather wise to melt

The warmth of your voice

Had left it no choice.

It seems to be spring

Little larks are larking about.

Come closer and cling,

Not a person parking about;

Those cold loves

All my old loves from me I fling

It seems to be spring

In my heart.


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