Skip to main content

R.I.P. Jo Stafford

Wednesday evening, Jo Stafford died.

She was one of the first people signed to Capitol Records after singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra for years. Jo was a member of the Pied Pipers, a vocal ensemble that backed up Dorsey and Frank Sinatra. Her beautiful, pure voice and her innate connection with the lyrics she sang made Jo Stafford one of the finest singers of her time.

Jo Stafford's other career was as part of a duet, Jonathan and Darlene Edwards. "Jonathan" was Paul Weston, Jo's second husband and a noted pianist and arranger. Jonathan and Darlene were created as casual entertainment for cocktail parties. Jonathan played piano with great gusto and lots of flubbed notes and timekeeping while Darlene sang off-pitch, usually within a quarter-tone sharp or flat of the written melody. They tackled (literally) so many standards on their albums that it's hard for me to hear "Dizzy Fingers" or "I Love Paris" without cringing in anticipation. They won a comedy Grammy award in 1960, sadly the only Grammy that Jo Stafford was ever awarded.

Years later, Paul and Jo revived Jonathan and Darlene, and we have wonderful versions of "I Am Woman" and "Stayin' Alive" to immerse ourselves in.

Here's a link to their myspace tribute page where you can sample some of this stuff. Words cannot do it justice.

I'm not sure that something as subtle and annoying would go over very well in 2008, but luckily Paul and Jo left us an incredible wealth of nearly unlistenable joy. Godspeed, Jo.


Gil said…
Very nice tribute. I've had the pleasure of many dealings with her son, Tim Weston, at my workplace. I've worked for this particular music distributor for 25 years, and her label (Hanover Records) has been a staple with us the whole time. Very nice family owned label, and good people to work with.
Thanks for the tip. I have never heard of this.
The Ellington tunes had my wife and I rolling.
Being the Jazzers we are the changes were so incredible on Don't Get Around Much that we were in hysterics. Not to mention the vocals.
I love Paris brings chills of horror. Love it.
She was such a great singer it's just amazing to hear her do that.
senormedia said…
I have the two "Greatest Hits" CDs, and they're just - wow, I'm not sure how to describe them.
They are definitely something else. I put them on a lot of mix cds.

Popular posts from this blog

Back in the saddle again -- new shows and updates from Peter H

  Outside The Hit Shed, Durham NC Hi everyone, Getting ready to start back up again, after a year-plus out of action onstage. I have five shows opening up for  Tommy Prine (son of John) coming soon:     August 6 - Georgia Theater (Athens GA)     August 7 - Cat's Cradle Back Room (Chapel Hill NC)     August 8 - The Grey Eagle (Asheville NC)     September 3 - 118 North (Philadelphia PA)     September 4 - Rams Head (Annapolis MD) I'm also going to open for the Connells , whose new album Steadman's Wake is superb:     September 18 - The Eastern (Atlanta GA) You all probably already know about Our Back Pages  (by Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey) being released on LP and CD via Omnivore Recordings, but if not, here's a link to the new video for "Today Could Be the Day." The songs on OBP are from the catalog of The dB's but given new and interesting treatments by Chris and me. I've been working in The Hit Shed, my home studio, over the months, writing a

Jungle gym

Day before yesterday, after school, I got to watch the five-year-old put hand after hand on the overhead ladder and get himself from one side to the other. It seemed like only days ago that he'd been struggling, worried about how to get from one rung to the next, how far down he would fall and how badly he'd be hurt if he did fall. Now he boldly traversed the ladder with me ten feet away, hearing "watch this, Daddy" and looking on, gapemouthed and amazed. I remember having that feeling about ten years ago, out at the lakefront park in New Orleans, watching my daughter struggling the same way for weeks of her trying and dropping to the sand, sadly defeated for all her effort. Until one day, she swung herself to the next rung, stayed attached then did it again with a look of intense exhiliration in her face. She was incredibly proud of her victory, as was I, and she has excelled at gymnastics and physical education ever since. There's one more child that I get to

"Back yet again!" says the Infrequent Blogger

(photo by Bill Reaves) I am inevitably confounded by the amount of time I let go by between posts here. My last post was February of last year (2022). You may ask yourself "what was he doing that prevented him from posting again?" and the answer is, of course, "nothing really." I forget I have this place to write my thoughts down for a waiting world to read, which would be helpful for me as well to empty my chaotic mind and make a little space. But since you're here and may be wondering what I'm up to, I'll try to fill you in. Mostly, I'm tending to home stuff. I do laundry and pick up groceries and a lot of domestic engineering that involves a broom, dustpan and mop. And sometimes that sweet shower glass cleaner recipe I found a while ago that makes it so you can see out again. We have a new junior at UNC-W and a new junior at Riverside High School, and they've been navigating their lives outside the nest. The high schooler just got her drivers&