ON THE RECORD: Rebecca Luker Sings Kern on "I Got Love," Plus the Digital Release of No Way to Treat a Lady

By Steven Suskin
03 Feb 2013

Rebecca Luker
Most surprising, perhaps, is "The Folks Who Live on the Hill," from the 1937 movie "High, Wide and Handsome." We have always appreciated this one as a heartfelt and perhaps self-inspired piece of Hammersteinian poetry. Here, the song floats along as if on a rope swing, high atop said hill — thanks, in good part, to bassist Dick Sarpola and pianist Joseph Thalken.

Thalken's arrangements throughout the collection are especially good, respecting the composer's musicality while avoiding the trap of sounding politely antiqued. Let us also note that while this collection was assembled for a nightclub act — written and directed by the singer's husband, Danny Burstein — it sounds so much better because PS Classics took it into the studio.

Lyrics come from Hammerstein and Wodehouse, of course, with delicious contributions from Johnny Mercer (on "I'm Old Fashioned") and Yip Harburg (on "Can't Help Singing"). There are also two special-but-little-known songs from Dorothy Fields. The bubbly "I Got Love" serves as title song of the collection, and should not be confused with the song of the same name from Purlie. The set closes with "April Fooled Me," a lovely piece which Fields pulled out of the composer's trunk a decade after his death. Maybe if we buy lots of copies of "I Got Love," Rebecca and her pals at PS Classics will take a second foray into the still treasure-laden Kern songbook.

Read the summer 2012 Playbill interview with Luker, who spoke about her 54 Below cabaret of Kern songs, and her love of the composer's work