LIKE your fingertips!
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


It's been a victorious week: after winning contests at Molars and I (Heart) Music (enter now for a chance to win the new Bell Orchestre record), I am in a competitive mood. So here is a Said the Gramophone contest. A very modest one, where the prize is more modest still. Really it's just a request, a question, with a smile and a handshake at the end.

What is the best version of "My Funny Valentine"?

Chet Baker Rodgers & Hart's "My Funny Valentine" is my favourite jazz standard. I am looking for the world's best recorded version, something that will hold a candle to the interpretation I heard by a small man at a piano in a Latvian basement bar.

Send me the best version of "My Funny Valentine" in existence, instrumental or non, vintage or contemporary, by either Dropload or email, to:

The deadline is Midnight EST on Sunday, October 23.

I'll (almost certainly) post the winner on here, with words too.

The prize? A little Said the Gramophone soapbox - you'll get to choose any one song (<10meg), with comments, here on the blog. It can be any track you like - pimp your own band, a friend's, U2 or (better still) something no one knows but everyone will love. Heck, you can even post a band I dislike - GG Allin, Rilo Kiley, the Arctic Monkeys... basically anything's fair game.

A silly prize, sure, but it's a silly contest.


Ok, now onwards --


The Cardigans - "In the Round". To be a Great Song isn't like being a Great Man. Julius Caesar had to win respect, cross the Rubicon, fight off assassins, and eventually get killed. Einstein had to learn some real tough math, to stick his tongue out on camera. And Harriet Tubman was given a very hard time.

A Great Song, though? Capital G, capital S? Well look how close "In the Round" comes, and all because of a guitar and bass - a golden guitar-line, a beat-copper bassline, - and, of course, an engineer who could record them. They're musical circles, bracelets, and yet in such perfect sympathy that the song begins to float, fly and hum.

Nina Persson helps, of course. The way she holds a note a little longer than You might, letting the pitch stay steady for an unexpected moment - a lingering thought. Cat Power after taking lessons from Kathleen Edwards. She asks people to clap their hands but we hear only dry computer claps, like someone who knows to only do as he's asked and no more. A robot who knows what he's good for.

It's not quite a Great Song, though. No. It's missing the chorus that would make it so. But look how close it comes - with guitar, bass, robot, singer, engineer. Look how close. Then stop looking and just listen again.

[From the Cardigans' new album, Super Extra Gravity, which is at least a lap-steel away from the light country of Long Gone Before Daylight, an edging back toward pop. -- uh, BUY.]


They Live By Night - "Truth or Dare". Dirty drums rattle under They Live By Night's bending neon guitar and everything's a glad Killers-style garage-disco until the chorus comes along and things get a little complicated. Not too complicated, mind, just a swirl of M83 synths and "da-da-da" vocals that seem ripped from an old Camera Obscura LP. It's grungey garage with a twee girlfriend, the Mr Tough Guy who goes home and listens to The Pastels, a bully who's gone head-over-heels for the girl in the Belle & Sebastian jacket.

[more info on these Swedes]


Elsewhere -

Mirah has released a download-only charity single for the victims of Katrina.

The ever-wonderful You Ain't No Picasso has the late Elliott Smith covering Big Star's "Thirteen".

Also at YANP, check the marvel that is the "Do They Know It's Halloween?" music video.

Let Son House's voice shake the blues out of you at Tuwa's Shanty. (my pick: "Walking Blues")

A big welcome to Musings of an Indie Kid.

Posted by Sean at October 19, 2005 1:45 PM

I don't know, I think that Cardigans song just might be a great song. The whole new album is pretty good, but that song definitely stood out. It's funny how quickly it's gone from being "What was the name of that really good song off the new album?" to "When is that damned CD going to come out because that song is always, always stuck in my head?"

I got nothing for you on the "My Funny Valentine" front, however.

Posted by caley at October 19, 2005 1:54 PM

Hey Sean, do you mean Chet Baker did your favorite version of it? Because I think it's a Rogers & Hart song.

Posted by Katie at October 19, 2005 4:22 PM

Katie - ha! I guess what I meant is "I'm an ignorant boob!" I thought I had read that Chet wrote it... I guess I was really very wrong. Thank you for the correction.

Posted by Sean at October 19, 2005 4:44 PM

Chet and that song are inextricably linked in their trajectories of fame, and people talk about them ambiguously all the time. I think there's a lot of room for confusion.

Posted by Katie at October 19, 2005 5:01 PM

Thank you for the warm welcome, Sean. It's an honor getting plugged by you, and I hope that I can introduce you to one or two new things. Keep up the awesome work!

Posted by caley at October 20, 2005 1:50 AM

Unrelated question for Said The Gramophone:
Do you guys have any idea what the guys from Atlas Strategic are doing nowadays (except for Dan, whom I think I've heard about now and again in some band called "Wolf Procession" or some such name)? That Atlas Strageic album is amazing. I tried to find the EP, but Dan never returned the blank CD I gave him to copy it for me. Oh well. Anybody got it? Know what the rest of the band is doing? I'm curious

Posted by Sam at October 20, 2005 10:00 AM

You can't top the Miles Davis version of MFV.

Posted by helicon1 at October 20, 2005 8:34 PM

How is this even a contest? Chet Baker, obviously... I guess the question is which recording of MFV by Chet Baker?

Posted by JKelly at October 21, 2005 2:36 AM

Oh and while we're editing one another, it's Rodgers and Hart, not Rogers and Hart.

Posted by JKelly at October 21, 2005 2:42 AM

Damn you! Now I've spent two hours I should have been sleeping searching for good "My Funny Valentine"s!

Posted by JKelly at October 21, 2005 4:12 AM

What's wrong with G.G. Allin? Aside from the obvious, I mean? He's a rapest (sic)!

Posted by Ash Karreau at October 24, 2005 11:47 AM

Does anyone here know how i could find a list of different versions of "MY FUNNY VALENTINE" ? Im working on a play,and i need it as background music.

Posted by S-R at November 22, 2005 6:05 PM

Hi all, I have been frantically looking for a backing/instrumental version of 'My Funny Valentine' in the style of Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald i.e the slower, more romantic, chordal version. Hope someone knows where I can find one!? Ideally if there's a site where I can download the track or rather have it sent via email to me. Thanks.

Posted by David at June 12, 2007 5:59 PM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

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Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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