Flashback Friday – Sarah Vaughan – “Live At Mister Kelly’s”

Sarah Vaughan - Live At Mister Kelly's

“Sometimes I’m happy | Sometimes I’m blue | My disposition depends on you | I never mind the rain from the skies |As long as I have the sun in your eyes | Sometimes I love you | Sometimes I hate you |When I hate you | It’s because I love you | That’s how I am | So what can I do | I’m happy when I’m with you” – Sarah Vaughan

In 1925, when Irving Ceasar, Clifford Grey, and Vincent Youmans wrote the gem “Sometimes I’m Happy“, little did they know that it would later be recorded by The Divine Sarah Vaughan in 1957 on her “Live At Mister Kelly’s” album. I first heard this melancholy tune on a compilation a few years ago and fell in love with its indecisive lyrics. I later learned that Sarah originally recorded this song on the “Live At Mister Kelly’s” album which I was introduced to a few years ago by RG. Not only is this a quintessential Sarah Vaughan album but it is truly a quintessential live album. Live recording does not get much better than this. “Live At Mister Kelly’s” was recorded on August 5, 6, and 7, 1957 at the famous Mister Kelly’s Nightclub located at 1028 N. Rush St. in Chicago which is where the Gibson’s Steak House is now located. I asked some family members about Mister Kelly’s and they said it was definitely the place to go for good music back in the day.

Now let’s talk about the music….

Thou Swell“, “Willow Weep For Me“, “Dream“, “Embraceable You“, “Poor Butterfly“, “Honeysuckle Rose“, and “Stairway To The Stairs” are just a few of the jewels included on this magnificient album. Sarah is sensual, playful, funny, warm, and powerful. She sings like a sparrow but we know that already. It feels like she is recording the album in your living room and though it was made 45 years, it feels fresh and new. Imperfect is perfect here. The loud clinks of glasses, Sarah asking them to turn up the sound, and even the pianist finding the right key for a song are all a part of the magic. A record like this would have never happened today without retake after painstaking retake in the endless quest for the perfect recording. Listen carefully for there is a musical story told here. The orginal LP album only had 9 songs and the CD has 11 extra gems on it. I love it from the announcer’s opening remarks to Sarah’s naughty comments before the closing song “I Cover The Waterfront.” Just sit back, relax, and enjoy music at its best….live and uncensored!

Whilst (my 50 cent word of the day) I was researching this album, I found a great article, “Masterful Sarah Vaughn boxed set shows her range, artistry” from the Oakland Tribune on a recently released box set on Mosaic Records covering the many years of her wonderful music.

2 Responses to “Flashback Friday – Sarah Vaughan – “Live At Mister Kelly’s””

  1. Robert Goins says:

    If you don’t have this one, you don’t know Sarah Vaughan. She is sassy! I am wondering about those sips from those tasty lips–“Honeysuckle Rose”.

  2. Donald says:

    [ I’m so late posting this … ]
    My first jazz love was Ella Fitzgerald. I was into Cole Porter at the time and I bought Ella’s Cole Porter Songbook … but then I bought this one and heard Sassy for the first time, doing “It’s Delovely”. I was blown away! That tone, that technique – so sophisticated, so precise – so raunchy! I’d discovered utter vocal excellence! To this day, I continue to devour anything even associated with Sarah Vaughan. She was genius, with a seemingingly limitless access to creative improvisation – her musical integrity was nothing less than genius.
    Now, I know that there are men (sometimes white and sometimes gay) who want to call her a diva. And yeah, she gave you diva – you KNEW she was on that stage. She gave presence and … that voice! She learned how to get dolled up in gowns, hair and jewels but, like Sylvester said of Martha Wash & Izora Rhodes, “They don’t need these dresses, they don’t need them jurrries, they don’t need that hair – these women can sing, y’all!” Diva doesn’t even begin to describe the artistry that is Sarah Vaughan.

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