So it’s Thursday. (Is it really only Thursday? It should be Friday. It feels like a Friday, doesn’t it?) We know you’re tired; we know you wish this week would end already. We aren’t psychic; we are just right there with you riding the struggle bus. A rough week like this one, or rough couple of weeks, can make you wish you were from a simpler time. A time when people communicated on old-fashioned rotary telephones, read newspapers in trench-coats on park benches, and went out swing dancing for fun.

 

Here are a few low-key golden oldies to make your Thursday a bit more bearable:

 

1. “East of the Sun (And West of the Moon)” – Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday's 1950 album "Billie Holiday Sings" (billieholiday.com)

Billie Holiday’s 1950 album “Billie Holiday Sings” (billieholiday.com)

Billie Holiday is one of the iconic female jazz singers of the 40s and 50s. Her signature jazzy vocals drift over the romantic sound of the trumpet and piano trills. The song originally appeared on the 1950 album, “Billie Holiday Sings,” and borrows from the Norwegian folk tale about a woman in search of her lost love, “East of the Sun and West of the Moon.” It is a nice, soft ballad to add to your oldies repertoire in the jazz category and to ease your mind on a hectic day.

 

 

 

 

 

2. “Smile” – Nat King Cole

Nat King Cole's 1956 album "Ballads of the Day" (eil.com)

Nat King Cole’s 1956 album “Ballads of the Day” (eil.com)

Nat King Cole is the perfect cure for a bad day. The soft croon of the sweet lyrics in every one of his songs are sure to cheer you up. This song, in particular, is a personal favorite. His vocals are light yet rich, as always, and the message is simple but wonderfully put: “smile, though your heart is breaking/ smile even though it’s aching./ If there are clouds in the sky,/ you’ll get by…” Listen to more songs off of the same album “Ballads of the Day” for more lovely low-key Nat King Cole comfort.

 

 

 

 

3. “La Vie En Rose” – Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong "Master of Jazz, Vol.1" (allmusic.com)

Louis Armstrong “Master of Jazz, Vol.1” (allmusic.com)

Louis Armstrong’s rendition of this famous French song is essential to any oldies playlist. Although the lyrics were adapted from the original French version, they fit the melancholy tone of the song perfectly, and are only bolstered by Armstrong’s trademark soulful growl. The song will make you happy and sad all at once, but in the end, you will be glad to have heard it.

 

 

 

 

 

4. “Jeep’s Blues” – Duke Ellington

Duke Ellington, "Live at the Blue Note [1959]" (allmusic.com)

Duke Ellington, “Live at the Blue Note [1959]” (allmusic.com)

This sultry jazz number, “Jeep’s Blues,” was originally recorded in 1938 and appeared on Duke Ellington’s 1959 album, “Live at the Blue Note,” and then again in 1960 on “Hot Summer Dance.” The tune gets its soul from the many layers of wind instruments: soprano and baritone saxophones, muted trumpets, and trombone, with a mellow bass-line, and heavy-handed drums. The song is a full-sounding, intoxicating blues masterpiece and a musical triumph that was also used effectively as a prominent theme in the movie, “American Hustle,” directed by David O. Russell.

 

 

5. “Fools Rush In” – Frank Sinatra

"The Voice of Frank Sinatra" 1947 (allmusic.com)

“The Voice of Frank Sinatra” 1947 (allmusic.com)

“Fools Rush In” is one of the most famous songs from 50s heartthrob Frank Sinatra. His iconic, rich-as-velvet vocals rise over the winsome sound of the strings swaying in the background and almost put you to sleep in the way only Sinatra can. In fact, you can listen to any of his classic songs for the exact same effect; he will either make you fall in love or fall asleep… Or maybe both.

 

 

 

 

 

Do you love music from the 40s and 50s? Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter @JenksUOhMeASoda