To The Depth of Jazz

by Billy Butler

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about

January 2015 started with a commission to write some tunes for "Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic," a brand new immersive 1920s show in New York City. I ended up in the show playing all the songs I wrote, knee deep in jazz, blues, and burlesque! I was always the punk, the so-called rocker, so I thought it would take me a bit to fit in. Didn't take much time at all actually, my mother used to sing all those great old tunes to me growing up, I was right at home. It was a great three month run. Met some amazing dancers, strippers, musicians, and artists. I will always think of them with such deep fondness and love. How we took over a small piece of the center of the universe, led by a Valkyrie to the bazaar of 42nd street, there in the back of a shotty diner we made magic, with glitter, champagne, jazz, and stardust! The show may be over but a light shines for all of us.
"We’ll bring down the house
We’ll be all the rage
And we’ll shine with the ghosts of Broadway"

This record is a collection of songs from Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic; a mix of my ditties, covers, and a few extras just because.

Thank you Paula, Mum, Lowell, Syrie and Heather, Fink, Ari, Jack and Purl, Stuart and his beautiful sax, and Manny's

credits

released September 8, 2015

recorded at Good Ship Studios
pianos/guitar/organ/vocal - Billy Butler
bass and drums - A.I.
sax on People Are Strange - Stuart Matthewman
violin on Ghosts of Broadway - Kenny Butler

All songs by Billy Butler except:
People Are Strange by John Densmore, Robert Krieger, Raymond Manzarek, and Jim Morrison
Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway, Irving Mills, and Clarence Gaskill, Copyright Emi Mills Music Inc and Emi Entertainment
World Obo Hi­De­Ho Man Music
When I Get Low, I Get High by Marion Sunshine, Copyright Bughouse Music Obo Fred Ahlert Music Group
2015 all rights reserved

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Some rights reserved. Please refer to individual track pages for license info.

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Track Name: Fame 1920
So you wanna join the Follies
Leave your ordinary life behind
Become a Ziegfeld dolly
And dance a can-can line
You have got a pretty face
And you can hold a little tune
But there is more to being a star
Than sitting on the moon

There will be loss and pain
But without risk there is no gain
Rely on skill and charm, not some guy with a hat-on
There are better ways to reach… fame!

Can’t you see this girl is thirsty?
Someone get her drink, and quick
If you didn’t know, this is Olive Thomas
Ziggy’s latest pick
She the contest winner of
New York’s Beautiful-est Girl
Every artist wants to paint her
Dressed only in diamonds and pearl

There will be loss and pain
But without risk there is no gain
Rely on skill and charm, not some guy with a hat-on
There are better ways to reach… fame!

Here’s a tragic example
Of a showgirl who had it all
Now down and out on skid row
That’s a pretty long way to fall
She was once a Broadway starlet
Life was but a dream
Now she’s hawking chachkies
And chorus girl cold cream

She met a wealthy banker with six kids and a wife
He showered her with gifts and all the comforts of life
She didn’t have a clue he was a gambling man
Now she’s busted flat and selling all she can
She says, there’s work waiting for me
If I can just get to Paris

The showgirls make a solemn pact
To meet at the diner in twenty years or so
They’ll be rich and famous in fact
Everyone will know their name

There will be loss and pain
But without risk there is no gain
Rely on skill and charm, not some guy with a hat-on
There are better ways to reach… fame!
Track Name: Pianotown
Isms and schisms were gettin on me
Got to comfy in complacency
Then New York City called
I packed up my Uhaul
And headed down I-93

So I'm movin to Pianotown
Pulling my roots right outa the ground
Movin to Pianotown
Uptown, downtown
Yes, I'm moving to Pianotown
Pulling my roots right outa the ground
Movin to Pianotown
Uptown, downtown
Yes, I'm uptown and downtown
Down, down, down, down...

Six months later still lookin for dough
Watching it all fly out the window
You might think it's strange
Slinging an ax for spare change
I'm selling a song, not selling my soul

So I'm provin in Pianotown
This white boy knows how to get down
Provin in Pianotown
I'm diggin in and gettin down
Yes, I'm provin in Pianotown
This white boy knows how to get down
Provin in Pianotown
I'm diggin in and gettin down
Yes, I'm diggin in and gettin down
Down, down, down, down...

Take the 6, the 5, or the 4
First stop in The Bronx
Then south to my door
Half a block from parole
Half an ounce for a c-note
And a view of the Harlem shore

So I'm groovin in Pianotown
Diggin my roots right into the ground
groovin in Pianotown
I'm diggin in and gettin down
Yes, I'm groovin in Pianotown
Diggin my roots right into the ground
Groovin in Pianotown
I'm diggin in and gettin down
Yes, I'm diggin in and gettin down
Down, down, down, down...
Track Name: Minnie the Moocher
Folks, here's a story about Minnie the Moocher
She was a lowdown hoochie coocher
She was the roughest, toughest frail
But Minnie had a heart as big as a whale

Hidee hidee hidee hi
Hode hode hode ho
Hee dee hee dee hee dee hee
Woah, oh oh oh oh oh oh

She messed around with a bloke named Smoky
She loved him though he was cokey
He took her down to Chinatown
And he showed her how to kick the gong around

Hidee hidee hidee hi
Whoah
Hee dee hee dee hee dee hee
A hidee hidee hidee ho
Woah, oh oh oh oh oh oh

She had a dream about the King of Sweden
He gave her things that she was needin'
He gave her a home built of gold and steel
A diamond car with platinum wheels


Hidee hidee hidee hi
Whoah
Hee dee hee dee hee dee hee
A hidee hidee hidee ho
Woah, oh oh oh oh oh oh

He gave her his townhouse and his racing horses
Each meal she ate was a dozen courses
She had a million dollars worth of nickels and dimes
She sat around and counted them all a million times

Hidee hidee hidee hi
Hooh whoaa oh oh whoa
Hidee hidee hidee hi

Poor Min, Poor Min, Poor Min
Track Name: The Musical Tragedy of Olive Thomas
The Ritz Hotel, Paris, France, 1920
Young Jack and Olive married far too soon
Life on the stage kept them far apart
So they engaged to renew their hearts
A second honeymoon
A first wedding bed
Impending doom
Someone will be dead

Jack was once in the Navy
He brought something back with him too
No, it’s not a trinket
Or a Sailor Jerry tattoo
A doctor prescribed blue coffin-shaped pill
To crush, mortar and apply to his dill

Restless, Olive decides to write to her mama back home: ‘Mama dear: I’m well and having a nice time. Leaving here on the 11th of September. I will cable you from the boat and will tell you all the news when I arrive. Love to all. Olive.’

Tonight, Olive took it all too far
She drank too much alcohol at all those bohemian bars
A bottle of champagne at Cabaret de l'Enfer,
At Cafe du Néant, two Black Deaths, one Yellow Fever
"Drink, Maccabees!" the bartender cried
“My deadly drinks will get you high!”
And drink she did!

There on the dresser what does she see?
Perhaps Jack’s flask of favorite Whiskey
A little hair of the dog that bit, they say
Keeps the pink elephants away

‘My God, what have I done,’ she cried.
Jack rings the front desk terrified
“Help, my wife’s gonna die!”
The bellhop rushes in
With milk and water they begin
To nurse her, induce her
But nothing is working.

She clung to life for five long agonizing days
Then the bright shining star sadly faded away
Rumors sailed faster than the steamer
That brought her dead body back to the USA

The American Hospital, Paris, France, Nineteen Twenty
A young lady’s life ended far too soon
Take heed if you love fame and booze
This could be your fate if you so choose
A last honeymoon
An empty wedding bed
Impending doom
Olive now is dead
Yes, she’s dead
In case you weren’t paying attention
Olive’s Dea…………d!
Track Name: I Am Alone by Lydia Deetz
Spider webs, squeaking floors
Dust bunnies and creaking doors
Listen closely you can hear it moan
I love this house, I love this home
But alone, I am alone, I am alone
No, no, no, I am utterly alone

My life is one big dark room
I’m a negative, string up on gloom
Underdeveloped under a red light
A ghostly outline of black and white
But alone, I am alone, I am alone
No, no, no, I am utterly alone

I know things you never thought could be
I see things that no one will ever see
People who have died
More alive than the living
I can’t wait to die
I won’t bide my time
And yet, I bet I die alone
I am alone
Alone
No, no, no, I am utterly alone
Track Name: Cynthia
Cynthia, oh Cynthia
Queerest lady I know
Makes music swing
and the birds all sing
Cynthia we love you so

Have you seen
The Manhattan Queen
She’s a Bowery beauty
Eyes of blue
Her hair sometimes to
She’s a downtown cutie
Cynthia, oh Cynthia
Gershwin should write you an aria
I am so hysteria
For sweet Cynthia

(piano solo - chorus)

Cynthia, oh Cynthia
Queerest lady I know
Makes music swing
and the birds all sing
Cynthia we love you so

She once played
A lovely mermaid
Swam the sea top to bottom
Obscure as her art
She left her heart
With the Women of Sodom
Cynthia, oh Cynthia
Sees us all for the dolls we are
She is so mysteria
Sweet Cynthia

No one holds a candelabra
To sweet Cynthia
Track Name: When I Get Low, I Get High
My fur-coat's sold, oh, Lord ain't it cold
But I'm not gonna holler 'cause I've still got a dollar
And when I get low, oh, I get high

My man walked out, now you know that ain't right
Well, he better watch out if I meet him tonight
I said when I get low, oh, I get high

All the hard luck in this town has found me
Lord only knows how these troubles have found me

I'm all alone with no one to pet me
But old rocking chair ain't never gonna get me
When I get low, oh, I get high

All the hard luck in this town has found me
Lord only knows how these troubles have found me

I'm all alone with no one to pet me
My old rocking chair ain't never gonna get me
When I get low, oh, I get high

My man walked out, now you know that ain't right
Well, he better watch out if I meet him tonight
I said when I get low, oh, I get high
When I get low, oh, I get high
Track Name: Ghosts of Broadway
Dinner for one
Is not much fun
Can’t share a laugh
Or clever conversation
A bottle of champagne
Just doesn’t taste the same
Without you

The grand drape falls
On the final curtain call
The show is over
For the belles of the ball
The houselights are trim
Footlights have dimmed
At the end of the play
A single light center stage
Shines for the ghosts of Broadway

We’ll meet again
In heaven my friend
Dance all night long
The song will never end
Cole Porter will play
Night and Day forever
We will dine
The finest food and wine
Our cups runneth over
With a buzz divine
When it’s time to play
We’ll take our place center stage
We’ll bring down the house
We’ll be all the rage
And we’ll shine with the ghosts of Broadway

We’ll bring down the house
We'll be all the rage
And we’ll shine with the ghosts of Broadway