Monday, April 20, 2009

“You Told Me I Was Too Plebian…”

A few days ago, Exile on the Wing left a link in the comments to the rediscovered CD on which Susan Boyle sings “Cry Me a River”.

If you’re not familiar with it, this was written for Julie London by a friend. Beginning in 1955 it became her signature song.

“Cry Me a River” has been a standard ever since. I think Marilyn Monroe also had a film version of “Cry” but I can’t find it. Diana Krall does a smoky, modern version, accompanying herself on the piano.

The version here was put up by the UK’s Daily Record.

They interviewed the man who made the charity CD on which Ms. Boyle appeared:
- - - - - - - - -
It’s all a far cry from 1999, when Susan recorded her track for the charity compilation CD at Whitburn Academy, where X Factor winner Leon Jackson went to school.

The Millennium Celebration disc, which was partly funded by Whitburn Community Council, was the brainchild of local newspaper editor Eddie Anderson.

He launched a search for unsigned acts to take part. And as soon as he heard Susan at the auditions he knew he had found something special.

“I was amazed when she sang,” Eddie said. “It was probably the same reaction as everyone had last Saturday.

“Susan was exactly the same then as she is now. She has a fabulous

and unique talent.”

For a whacked-out version, here’s Joe Cocker.

As if you couldn’t tell, this is one of my favorite songs. Though there have been many interpretations, from Barbra Streisand in 1959 (very New York-ese at the age of 21. She later developed it into a 'cooler' nightclub version) through Ella Fitzgerald and on down the years to Ms. Krall. Among these, Susan Boyle still stands out. As near as I can tell, she listened carefully to Julie London’s version many times before metabolizing it and making it her own.

Boyle’s voice isn’t as sultry as the Julie London version I’m so familiar with. However, to my ear, Boyle has given the song more color and depth.

When we finally get a compilation of Ms. Boyle's songs, they will no doubt be her own quite original renditions of old favorites. I hope she doesn't stray too far from that genre.

"Cry Me a River" contains one of my all-time favorite lyric rhymes:

You told me I was too plebian,
You told me you were through with me an’
Now you say you want me…

Cole Porter never did it any better than that.


Gregory said...

Come on Susan....Lets hear, "Under the Boardwalk" or "Dust in The Wind" or, how about.."Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher".....

blogagog said...

No offense intended towards this lady, but I'm getting pretty sick of hearing about her. She did a quite good rendition of a very bad song.

Whoop de doo! It's time to move on.

Charles Martel said...


If you're tired of this wonderful story and this magnificent rendition of "Cry Me A River" I would suggest you simply not read the post and, better, yet just keep your cynical opinion to yourself.

I agree with Dymphna, this rendition is marvelous. Densely textured and nuanced - honestly, I find it hard to believe that this is actually Susan's voice.

IF it is indeed, she will enjoy a very successful career and we will get to enjoy her for years to come.

no2liberals said...

I listened to this version by Ms. Boyle, late the other night, and was impressed. I closed my eyes and sat back and listened, and as with her now record youtube one week view, I still am incredulous that this voice is coming from this unassuming woman.

I know I'm not the only one who likes a 'under dog makes good' story.
I just hope this new found fame will bring her much happiness.