By Strauss

Reviewed by mojo

Just a short while ago I reviewed this song's CD neighbor, Just Another Rhumba, and I referred to it as being somewhat "gimmicky". And I warned you--didn't I?-- that we were in for a rush of gimmicky songs, with By Strauss being next in line. And here it is.

According to Wikipedia--if anything this massive project is forcing Mojo to learn all sorts of vaguely interesting things; if she were ever one to enter a trivia contest (and trust me: she's NOT) that somehow focused on popular music of the Thirties and Forties, she'd have a fighting chance--the Gershwins used to noodle out this little number at private parties. I assume after having one too many, at the point when you become convinced that Slightly Drunken You is some sort of genius hitherto unknown and definitely unappreciated in this cold, cruel world.

Indeed, I can't help but think this whole thing stinks, just the tiniest little bit, of the cast party in the Minnelli film The Bandwagon, where all the partying youths get the elder statesman Fred Astaire to drink a beer and sing "I Love Louisa" which begins thusly:

How I love a glass of beer--More beer! / Beer goes very good with beer--More beer! / As I'm drinking beer I'm thinking ach, life is beer / But there's someone I love even more than beer...

Or perhaps I am only reminded because Vincente Minnelli, according to Wikipedia, was the first to take this song from rich drunks staggering around a piano to sticking it in a movie. Which is your fact of the day, compliments of Mojo. (Mojo thinks you should always be perpetually learning new things, even if it's stupid, useless trivia.)

Anyway, it's a waltz. So it's happy, and the lyrics skip in a happy fashion. The opening bit is the cheesiest part of the song, but also the most interesting, for the Gershwins manage to trash themselves and all of their contemporaries in a brief line or two. But c'mon, when you are confronted by the lyric "Give me that free-'n'-easy waltz that is Viennesey" you just want to groan and smack your forehead with your hand.

Not the Gershwin's best effort. Ella does what she can, with that lilty sort of laugh in her voice, so it's charming enough. but it's not going to win you any points at any parties Mojo attends. Which are, like, um, none. But that's beside the point.

By Strauss (1959)

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

From Wikipedia:


"By Strauss" is a 1936 song composed by George Gershwin, with lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

Performed by the Gershwins at private parties, Vincente Minnelli included it in his 1936 revue The Show is On, where it was introduced by Gracie Barrie and Robert Shafter. It was then performed by Gene Kelly and Oscar Levant in Minnelli's 1951 film An American in Paris [1]. .

 Notable recordings