Why's it part of the "Rome, Italian Style" playlist?: It's a cover of Quincy Jones' classic Sanford & Son theme that I was recently made aware of by The Smartest Man in the World podcast host Greg Proops' funny reenactment of two different Ella Fitzgerald concerts he saw: first in the '70s, when the Sanford & Son theme was part of her and the Count Basie Orchestra's set list, and then about a couple of decades later, when Proops and his wife watched the audience of predominantly "75-to-80-year-old women who are wearing hats" chew out Fitzgerald's security guard for being too slow to help the frail singer sit more comfortably in her chair onstage. "The people in front of us who haven't stood on their own in 14 years are standing now!," recalls Proops, who then busts out his best cranky old New York lady complaining-about-the-prices-at-Talbots voice. "'She's not comfortable! Get her a seat!'"
|I wish Greg Proops would occasionally have guests on his podcast because I'd like to hear him verbally spar with his old Whose Line Is It Anyway? host Clive Anderson again.|
The dynamic between the Basie band and jazz singers like Sinatra and Fitzgerald is on display in Fitzgerald's live cover of "The Streetbeater" from her Jazz at Santa Monica Civic '72 album. "Minger's on trumpet!," says Fitzgerald, who's referring to trumpeter Pete Minger during his solo. I like the way Fitzgerald, Minger, saxman Jimmy Forrest and the other band members play off of each other here, and the musical dialogue Fitzgerald carries on with the band's guest soloists is even doper during their electrifying rendition of "C Jam Blues" at the end of the same album.
Aunt Esther: This old heathen want me to pay him for comin' in here!
Fred: He oughta tip me just to look at you!
Aunt Esther: When I was born, my body was blessed by Mother Nature, honey!
Fred: And as you got older, it was cursed by Father Time!
Aunt Esther: Fred Sanford, I have the feelin' of Christmas!
Fred: And the face of Halloween!
Aunt Esther: Woodrow and I are going to have a baby.
Fred: Well, somebody better call the zoo!