Just Another Rhumba

Reviewed by mojo

If you Google the phrase "Just Another Rhumba" you know what you get? Mostly lyric sites for Ella's version, which seems to be the only version out there. That, and Google Ads for Roombas, those little robotic vacuum cleaners. Oh, but further down there's sheet music for a string quartet. Gosh, I'd like to hear that! Well, sorta.

Naturally, when you're creative enough to write a gazillion songs that all become pop and jazz standards, you might end up with one or two that are, well, not exactly "clunkers", but sort of "gimmicky". I am the first to give the Gershwin Bros props for exploring different musical styles, even if their efforts sound suspiciously more like parodies than homages. Just on this first disc alone we will eventually be treated to their Straussian waltz ("By Strauss") as well as their tip o' the hat to Scott Joplin (another composer Mojo likes) called "The Real American Folk Song". Homage or parody? It can be a tough call. Brother George gets the music down perfectly, but Ira sticks enough jokey subversion in the lyrics to give one pause.

But they're awful fun songs, regardless of how they're meant, and Ella of course has fun with this one. It's definitely on the hokey side--I have long lost count of the many words that sort of rhymes with "rhumba", which is the main joke of the song, so you groan and laugh at the same time--but our boy Nelson pulls it off by throwing the whole orchestra into it, including an excellent flute that really goes to town as well as the requisite conga drummer who gets his chance to shine in the middle instrumental part. This is one of the few songs where they really let the orchestra cut loose, and it's rather a shame it's such a fluffy gimmicky song, but they make the most of it.

Even though I don't sound all that wildly enthusiastic about it, I actually like this song, when all is said and done. I think it's a bit long, but it's fun, and funny, and everyone plays their parts exceedingly well. I suspect Ella really makes it because she always sounds like she's having so much fun when she sings, and all the fun does a good job hiding any flaws.

So that's your assignment this weekend--go have fun!

Just Another Rhumba (1959)

Click below to hear a sample--or scroll down for associated media: 
Disc Number: 
George Gershwin
Ira Gershwin


From Wikipedia:

"Just Another Rumba" is a 1937 song composed by George Gershwin with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

Most likely written for a A Damsel in Distress (1937) it was never included in the final production, and although the song went into rehearsal for The Goldwyn Follies (1938), it was never included in the final film.

 Notable recordings