A Wink and a Smile
A couple of weeks ago at the Four Seasons with bassist Robert Campbell, a couple came up and requested A Wink and a Smile, the tune sung by Harry Connick, Jr. in the movie Sleepless in Seattle. (I assumed at first he wrote it because of the media’s annoying habit of attributing, through the use of the preposition by, a song’s composition to the recording artist. As a result people come up and say things like, “Can you play I Get a Kick Out of You by Frank Sinatra?” Well, no. I also object to the use of the term “artist” for "singer" or "player", in fact for pretty much anyone who is not dead, but I digress.)
In any case, A Wink and a Smile, for the record, was written by Marc Shaiman and Ramsey McLean, words and music respectively. It’s a cute song, but I had completely forgotten about it and it was a pleasure to have it recalled. Since then, I couldn’t get it out of my head and so I thought, as a sort of purge, I’d do it as a weekly tune.
I downloaded the Connick recording and, as a challenge to myself, tried to copy it as faithfully as I could. This was technically challenging – trying to learn how to better manipulate my recording program – but also musically interesting. Like a painter trying to copy a master, you’re forced to attend to the details. Ah, here’s the trombone popping in again, and well, there the strings are doubling the horns, etc.
I didn’t get the notes and voicings perfect by any means. The mosaic-like quality of putting this together makes it hard to get a good swing going and then, there’s my singing which is pretty bad here. But it was fun and instructive to try it.
It is, as the lyrics admit, “a simple song”, but it’s catchy and what catches you right away is the first chord change, from C major to A flat 7: bluesy like an F7 but different! Click on the title in red to hear it. The lyrics are below.
I remember the days
Of just keeping time
Of hanging around in sleepy towns forever
Back roads empty for miles.
Well you can’t have a dream
And cut it to fit
But when I saw you I knew
We go together
Like a wink and a smile.
Leave your old jalopy
By the railroad track.
We’ll get hip, double-dip tip-toppy
Two seat Pontiac.
So you can rev her up
Don’t go slow
It's only green lights and all right,
Let’s go together
With a wink and a smile.
Now my heart is music
Such a simple song
Singing again, the notes never end
This is where I belong.
Just the sound of your voice
The light in your eyes
You’re so far away from yesterday
Together, with a wink and a smile
We go together, like a wink and a smile.