Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who Sang "Mr. Melody"?

In the unlikely event that my friend and patient Melody Smith reads this post, I am happy to inform her that I finally have the answer to the decade-old question as to who sang “Mr. Melody”. I would always sing the first few bars of the song whenever I would see her at the clinic or in WalMart and she would always ask me who made the song popular.

Last night I watched Natalie Cole in Manila and she looked as regal as ever, never mind her well-publicized health issues emphasized by the venous access port jutting over her right chest wall. She opened with a signature song of the Chairman "Come Rain or Come Shine" and went on to sing for about an hour, intermission-free, selected favorites from her well known repertoire.

She had performed in Indonesia 3 days earlier after canceling her engagement in Thailand, presumably for reasons of health which could account for her less than sunny disposition throughout the performance. Three times, she interrupted her singing by warning some unknown persons in the vast audience in total darkness in front of her to refrain from recording the show. She acted like a Diva even if she no longer went all-out for the high, acrobatic notes that younger singers routinely go for with total abandon. Her voice is still smooth and sultry but she had to increasingly rely on phrasing and technique that only come with long experience.

Her selections were tailor-made for the Filipino audience: heavy on the sentimental love songs and easy on the R&B which can be delivered much better by legions of talented, struggling singers. When she sang “Starting Over Again”, “I Live for Your Love”, “Miss You Like Crazy”, “Someone That I Used To Love, “Inseparable”, songs she herself admitted she had not sung for some time, the audience went wild and sang with her, even if at times, Ms. Cole needed to refer to the lyric sheet.

Midway through the performance, she reprised her duet with her father, Nat King Cole “Unforgettable” complete with homemade movies and sepia stills. And then she sang the song Charlie Chaplin wrote for her father “Smile (though your heart is aching)”. My mother, next to me thought the best song of the evening was "When I Fall in Love".

She allowed only one encore, a supremely worthy one however, finishing with an over-the-top duet with her trumpeteer. Good show.

1 comment:

azron said...

sounds like you had a wonderful time - are you in Manila?