Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Lena Horne/Gabor Szabo - Rocky Raccoon
Ex-Cotton Club chorus dancer, and the first black performer to get signed to a long term/vehicle contract with one of the big studios, Horne fought hard to fight against the antipathetic tokenism of a studio as happy to play the race card, as withdraw it for the Southern audiences. Cast in a succesion of "window dressing" roles, she baulked at neat stereotypes of overtly pigeonholed, demographic-enhancing race roles, and during the war refused to play to segregated army troops - where German POW's sat in front of black US servicemen.Unable to announce her second marriage to Lennie Hayton for fear of miscegenist retaliation, Horne struggled, and eventually won.
This fine version of The Beatles' Rocky Raccoon is outstanding for it's smoky grandeur, elegantly underpinned by Gabor Szabo. And I'm convinced that's Bernard Purdie laying down the drop-on-a-dime backbeat