Various Artists | Chip Deffaa's an Irving Berlin Travelogue

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Chip Deffaa's an Irving Berlin Travelogue

by Various Artists

Twenty-nine Irving Berlin songs celebrating all different locales--selected by the foremost authority on Berlin's music, and performed by an all-star New York cast. The album mixes famed numbers with never-before-recorded rarities!
Genre: Easy Listening: Nostalgia
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  Song Share Time Download
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1. I Lost My Heart in Dixieland
Seth Sikes
2:53 $0.99
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2. There's Something Nice About the South
Clark Kinkade
2:29 $0.99
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3. When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam'
Seth Sikes, Michael Townsend Wright & Jonah Barricklo
1:43 $0.99
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4. When You're Down in Louisville (Call on Me)
Analia Heredia & Tyqaun White
2:44 $0.99
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5. Virginia Lou
Michael Townsend Wright
3:28 $0.99
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6. In Florida Among the Palms
Rayna Hirt
2:29 $0.99
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7. There's a Girl in Arizona
Dylan Adams
2:24 $0.99
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8. I'm Down in Honolulu
Erich Schuett & Giuseppe Bausilio
1:36 $0.99
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9. I Want to Go Back to Michigan (Down on the Farm)
Ryan Muska & Mariah Hill
2:55 $0.99
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10. I've Gotta Go Back to Texas
Seth Sikes
2:42 $0.99
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11. San Francisco Bound
Charlie Franklin
1:55 $0.99
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12. I Was Aviating Around
Alec Deland
2:16 $0.99
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13. I Want to Be in Dixie
Rachel Hundert
2:28 $0.99
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14. The International Rag
Emily Bordonaro & Michael Kasper
2:58 $0.99
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15. Araby
Jack Corbin
3:40 $0.99
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16. Harem Life
Rob Maitner
3:18 $0.99
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17. Montmartre
Jack Corbin
2:54 $0.99
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18. Come to the Land of the Argentine
Ellis Gage
2:59 $0.99
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19. Hurry Back to My Bamboo Shack
Jenn Spottz
3:28 $0.99
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20. Spanish Love
Keith Anderson
2:43 $0.99
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21. Oh How That German Could Love
Matthew Nardozzi
2:27 $0.99
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22. From Here to Shanghai
Keith Anderson
2:37 $0.99
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23. I'll See You in C-U-B-A
Tyler Duboys
2:58 $0.99
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24. There's a Girl in Havana
Ellis Gage & Analise Scarpaci
2:21 $0.99
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25. Homesick
Erich Schuett
3:53 $0.99
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26. I Beg Your Pardon, Dear Old Broadway
Jackson Demott Hill & Alex Dreier
2:33 $0.99
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27. When I Get Back to the USA
Jon Peterson & Lynelle Johnson Steffan
2:41 $0.99
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28. Home Again Blues
Charlie Franklin
3:14 $0.99
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29. Homeward Bound
Seth Sikes
2:44 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Chip Deffaa’s "AN IRVING BERLIN TRAVELOGUE" -- A Few Notes from the Producer....

On this unique album, we’ll be taking you on a musical journey. In his long career, Irving Berlin (1888-1989) gave us songs celebrating many different cities, states, countries. And we’ll be sampling his rich output here.

We’ll first visit, via spirited songs Berlin wrote, the sunny South--with stops in such places as Kentucky, Virginia, Florida, and Alabama.... We’ll then travel West, via numbers dealing with Michigan, Texas, Arizona, California, Hawaii.... We’ll take to the air (“I Was Aviating Around”) and head overseas, with Berlin songs about Arabia, France, Argentina. Japan, Spain, Germany, China, Cuba, and more.... before feelings of homesickness (”Home-Again Blues” and “Homeward Bound”) finally pull us back to the USA....

* * *

The remarkable Irving Berlin–who came to America from Russia as a young boy--had little formal education. He taught himself to play piano “by ear”–and in one key only. He could not read music or write music. Throughout his career, he required musical secretaries to set down on paper the songs he created–songs that he would play and sing for them.

And yet, Irving Berlin became the most successful single songwriter in history. He wrote more hits–and made more money–than any of his so-called competitors in the Golden Age of Popular Music. He composed the scores for 18 Broadway shows and 19 Hollywood musicals. He wrote countless memorable pop songs.

And Berlin could find inspiration seemingly anywhere. It didn’t matter if you asked him to write a song about “Araby” or “Alabam’”--he prided himself in being able to create something satisfying; that was part of being a true professional.

Berlin has always been–along with George M. Cohan, the Gershwins, Cole Porter, and Jerome Kern–one of my favorite songwriters. And my appreciation for him has only deepened with time. Over the years, I’ve carefully gone through every song in the Berlin archive–more than 1,200 in all. And it’s astonishing how many very good songs he wrote, besides the mega-hits that everyone knows, like “White Christmas,” “Always,” “God Bless America,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business....”

Most of the songs on this album will be brand new to most listeners. Some of these numbers have never before been recorded. Others may have been recorded once or twice a century ago, but have essentially gone unheard since then. Oh, I’ve mixed in a few familiar favorites, just for the sake of variety. But most of these numbers are very rare items. And there are some real finds.

Berlin was so extraordinarily prolific–turning out so many songs, one after another, flooding the marketplace –that he was often competing with himself. Some very good songs simply got lost in the shuffle. Many of the songs on this album were written for Broadway shows. Some were cut before the shows opened, and were set aside and forgotten. Berlin was always eager to move on to the next song, the next show.

You will find some real delights on this collection–little-known Berlin songs that are filled with life and joy. Some wonderful surprises. And I’ve gathered a complement of terrifically personable singers to put these songs across.

We have pros, both young and old, from the worlds of Broadway, Off-Broadway, nightclubs, and concert halls–like Jon Peterson, Seth Sikes, Clark Kinkade, Charlie Franklin, Matt Nardozzi, Keith Anderson, Michael Townsend Wright, Emily Bordonaro, Analise Scarpaci, Jackson Demott Hill, Alex Dreier, Rob Maitner, Lynelle Johnson Steffan, Rachel Hundert.

And we have some rising younger artists with great potential, who give me hope for the future–singers like Eric Schuett, Analia Heredia, Tyqaun White, Jack Corbin, Alec Deland, Ellis Gage, Jenn Spottz, Jonah Barricklo, Michael Kasper, Rayna Hirt, Ryan Muska, Dylan Adams.

I’m proud of all of them. They sing with zest and feeling, and commitment. I’m very glad to have them recording these intriguing Irving Berlin rarities and rediscoveries.

And if you enjoy this album, I hope you’ll check out other albums that I’ve produced in this series--such “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” and “The Irving Berlin Songbook”-- aimed at bringing to light little-known numbers by this one-of-a-kind songwriter.

And now, let our musical journey begin....

* * *
THE SINGERS AND THE SONGS...

1. “I LOST MY HEART IN DIXIELAND.” The late George Burns taught me that in putting together an album--or a concert or an act--you want to have a really strong start and a really strong finish. I’ve chosen to have this album open and close with performances by Seth Sikes because he’s about as strong a singer as anyone I know. Oh! I just love what he can do with a number he likes!

Sikes is the hottest male singer in the nightclubs these days. A favorite of the critics, his shows at New York’s noted supper club Feinstein’s/54 Below always sell out quickly. And he’s won fans in club appearances everywhere from Provincetown to Fire Island, to London. He likes big, strong numbers that he can sing with aplomb. And when I found the intriguing Berlin rarities that open and close this album, I knew at once that he was the singer for them. (And he took to these songs right away. He’s very particular; he won’t record songs he doesn’t like.) He sings with great elan, and his rendition of “I Lost My Heart in Dixieland” gets this album off to a rousing start.... and provides a perfect set-up for the next few songs, all which deal with Southern locales. This is such a fun song, it deserves to be better known.

2. “THERE’S SOMETHING NICE ABOUT THE SOUTH”–a timeless number from 1917--is a good showcase for the dapper singing and tap-dancing of Clark Kinkade. The song was originally written for a midnight revue–back when such late-night shows were popular in NYC–that was presented in a rooftop nightspot atop the Century Theater.

Clark Kinkade–who’s another of my favorite singers--is a member of the popular vocal group “RANGE a capella,” which has sung everywhere from Radio City Music Hall to the red carpet of the Emmy Awards. (Their recent video of songs from “Hamilton” has gotten more than five million YouTube hits!) He acts in musicals, too. (He originated the role of “Bryan Foy”–which I wrote specifically for him–in my musical comedy “The Seven Little Foys.”) You can hear more Clark’s engaging singing on such albums of mine as “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “Gay Love,” “Mad About the Boy: the Festival Cast,” and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.”

3. “WHEN THE MIDNIGHT CHOO CHOO LEAVES FOR ALABAM” is one of Irving Berlin’s greatest–and most enduringly popular songs. It’s been sung with gusto on screen by Judy Garland and Fred Astaire (in “Easter Parade”), by Alice Faye (in “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”), and by Ethel Merman (in “There’s No Business Like Show Business”).

Seth Sikes and Michael Townsend Wright (who first worked together in my musical play “Yankee Doodle Boy,” published/licensed by Drama Source) get well into this song’s irresistible vaudeville spirit. I love their energy. They have a great rapport. And Jonah Barricklo, one of my favorite tap-dancers–it would hardly be a Chip Deffaa album without a touch of Barricklo’s magic--takes the dance break. Lots of joy here!

Master wit George S. Kaufman wrote memorably in “The New Yorker” about Berlin’s song “When the Midnight Choo Choo Leaves for Alabam’”: “It swept the country. Irving’s lyric glorified the enchanted moment when that choo-choo pulled out of the station for Alabam’.... I turned up in Pennsylvania Station at a quarter to twelve one night for that wonderful and glorious departure. The first thing I found out was that there was no midnight choo-choo for Alabam’; the choo-choo for Alabam’ left at twelve-nineteen.....” And instead of finding the platform filled with southerners yearning nostalgically to return to their homeland, Kaufman wrote: “The platform was crowded with songwriters, slapping each other on the back and uttering shrill cries in praise of Alabam’, ‘where the rhyming is easy.’” The songwriters, Kaufman confided, took the train only as far as Newark, New Jersey, then rushed back to Manhattan--“where they were safely in Lindy’s by one-thirty.... Ever since then I have not quite believed everything I heard in a song lyric.”

4. “WHEN YOU’RE DOWN IN LOUISVILLE (CALL ON ME)” showcases the buoyant singing of rising artists Analia Heredia and Tyqaun White, who also created the vocal arrangement. (I admire their gifts in both fields.) This is their first recording for me; I hope we get to make many more.

Both artists are currently studying theater in college (Heredia is at Muhlenberg College, White is at Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts.) Both are graduates of New York’s famed Professional Performing Arts School, where I first saw them shine on stage. They have bright futures!

5. “VIRGINIA LOU” (lyrics by Irving Berlin, music by Earl Taylor) is a major find. It’s a gorgeous, little-known Berlin number, unheard in over a century. And it is sung with consummate artistry--tenderly, movingly–by Michael Townsend Wright. A veteran of stage, screen, and television, Wright has recorded for me often, and has starred in such shows of mine as “The Seven Little Foys” and “Irving Berlin’s America.” (Indeed, I wrote those shows specifically for him. I love his theatrical instincts, and his wonderful oldtime showmanship.) This recording represents Wright at his best and is, I think, one of the high points of this album.

This song, incidentally, was originally conceived by vaudevillian Eddie Leonard (lyrics) and Earl Taylor (music); Berlin saw possibilities and, with their permission, created new lyrics. This number was copyrighted March 20th, 1911--just two days after Berlin’s huge hit, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.” (Indeed, it was the first song Berlin completed after “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”) And–like other fine songs released right after “Alexander’s Ragtime Band”–it wound up being overlooked. “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” was one of the biggest successes in the history of popular music. For months, it so thoroughly dominated the marketplace–it was all one heard in vaudeville theaters, cafes, music halls--that songwriters and music publishers complained it was impossible for any other songs to gain traction.

6. “IN FLORIDA AMONG THE PALMS”–which Irving Berlin wrote for the Ziegfeld Follies–is sung here by Florida’s pride, the multi-talented Rayna Hirt. She’s sung and danced in shows of mine (“The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” “The Seven Little Foys”); she’s helped choreograph shows of mine (“Mad About the Boy,” “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue”); and she’s recorded for me (“The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” “Mad About the Boy,” “The Irving Berlin Songbook”). Raised in Florida (where she won an award, when I first knew her, as an outstanding dancer in the state), she’s toured the U.S. and Canada as a performer. You may also have seen her in commercials. And she’s currently on the faculty of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA).

7. “I’M DOWN IN HONOLULU” is a light-hearted ditty that Berlin wrote in 1916. Al Jolson, then Broadway’s king, recorded it. And a not-yet-famous pianist/aspiring songwriter named George Gershwin recorded a piano roll of it, as well. (If you owned a player piano, you could have bought the roll and had George Gershwin, in effect, playing the number on your piano.) Gershwin, incidentally, auditioned in this period for a job as Irving Berlin’s musical secretary--but Berlin turned him down, telling Gershwin that he was too talented to work as anyone’s musical secretary. And before long, of course, Gershwin broke through to great success as a songwriter. Berlin always admired his work.

On this recording of “I’m Down in Honolulu,” Erich Schuett sings the verse; Giuseppe Bausilio sings the refrain; and both spirited singers join in on the final tag. I love their voices–just naturally brimming with good will.

Schuett was featured in the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound Music.” His motion picture credits include “18 to Party,” “Evil Intentions,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turles,” and “Dolphin Tale 2.” His TV credits include “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “ A Crime to Remember,” “Homicide for the Holidays,” “Shattered,” “Clarissa’s World,” and “Outdoor Wild.” He’s sung popular music at the West End Café and classical music at Carnegie Hall.
And I’ve greatly enjoyed seeing him sing on Harry Connick’s television show, “Harry.”

Bausilio first gained notice starring in “Billy Elliott” on Broadway. Since then, he’s enlivened one Broadway show after another: “Newsies,” Aladdin,” “Cats,” “Hello, Dolly!” (sharing the stage with both Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters), as well as being featured on the TV series “The Next Step” (The Family Chanel). He co-starred with Michael Townsend Wright in my show “Irving Berlin’s America,” and may be heard on our cast album, as well as on such albums as “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “The Irving Berlin Songbook,” and “Irving Berlin Rediscovered.”

8. “THERE’S A GIRL IN ARIZONA” (lyrics by Clarke & Leslie, music by Irving Berlin) gets its first-ever recording here. Dylan Adams, singing with characteristic earnestness and purity, is an invaluable member of my theatrical family. He has been featured previously on such albums as “The Irving Berlin Songbook,” “Gay Love,” “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” and “Irving Berlin Revisited.” And he also recently made his debut as a theatrical producer.

9. “I WANT TO GO BACK TO MICHIGAN (DOWN ON THE FARM)” was sung charmingly by Judy Garland as a solo number in Irving Berlin’s classic film musical, “Easter Parade.” Our duet arrangement brings together two winsome younger members of my theatrical family, Ryan Muska and Mariah Hill. I’ve been eager for quite a while to get these two together on a number.

I like the wide-eyed, youthful spirit of Ryan’s singing. I’ve relished seeing him in productions of “Urinetown,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “How to Succeed in Business...,” and “Pippin.” (He was about as perfect a “Pippin” as I could ever hope to see.) He’s sung on such albums of mine as “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “The Irving Berlin Songbook,” “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” and “Irving Berlin Revisited.” He always brings a good vibe to the recording studio. Mariah Hill--who, appropriately, sounds a tad more knowing and self-assured on this number than Ryan--has helped enliven such albums of mine as “Irving Berlin Rediscovered” and “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities.” Currently enrolled in UCLA, she’s a veteran of Wingspan Arts productions in NYC, working with music-director Brett Kristofferson. And her voice and personality–she’s enjoying teasing Ryan a bit--complement Ryan’s nicely.

10. “I’VE GOTTA GO BACK TO TEXAS” .... Who better to revive this exuberant “lost” Berlin ode to the Lonestar State than my own favorite Texan, Seth Sikes? I was lucky enough to meet Seth shortly after he moved to New York City from his home town of Paris, Texas--which he proudly notes is “the second-biggest Paris in the world.” (He can wax quite eloquent on the many virtues of Paris, Texas.) Seth Sikes has put down strong roots in New York. (Besides being a singer, he works as a director, off-Broadway and on Broadway–most recently serving as Associate Director on the new Broadway hit, “The Band’s Visit.” And he previously was Assistant Director on the Broadway show “The Nance.”) But his affection for home state is still there, too. And he has fun with this unknown Berlin song.

Irving Berlin had never been anywhere near Texas when he wrote this song (anymore than he’d been anywhere near most of the places he wrote about in the songs on this album; he was quite happy staying home in his beloved NYC). But the song has spirit. The highly prolific Berlin added this song to the score of his musical “Watch Your Step” in its post-Broadway national tour.

11. “SAN FRANCISCO BOUND”–another strong “unknown” Berlin song– is sung by one of my favorite younger performer’s from today’s Broadway community, Charlie Franklin. His Broadway credits include “The Book of Mormon” and “Bridges of Madison County.” And he’s recently co-starred in a regional production–out in Tecas--of “The Secret Garden” that I’m hoping may come to Broadway. He does a great job with “San Francisco Bound.” Although he’s only in his 20's, he has a real feel for these older songs. He really loves them, and it shows. Charles Franklin may also be heard on such albums of mine as “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” and “The Irving Berlin Songbook.”

12. “I WAS AVIATING AROUND” (lyrics by Vincent Bryan, music by Irving Berlin) gets its first-ever recording by Alec Deland. And he has fun singing this song written at a time (1913) when flying was all so new and glamorous. Deland has sung on such albums of mine as “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “Gay Love,” “The Irving Berlin Songbook,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” and “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities.”

Currently attending Princeton University, Deland is a member of Princeton’s signature a capella vocal group, the Tigertones, and is busy making his mark in theater, following in the footsteps of Princeton actors from Jimmy Stewart to Stephen Bogardus. He’s appeared on stage at Princeton in such shows as “Next to Normal” and “The Last Five Years.” He has a fine voice, an essential likeability on stage, and great enthusiasm–all assets for an actor.

Incidentally, the prolific Irving Berlin wrote “I Was Aviating Around” under a pseudonym. It was one of two songs he co-authored that year under the pen name of “Ren G. May”–which is an anagram for “Germany” (the letters in “Ren G. May,” rearranged, spell “Germany”--whose capital, of course, is “Berlin”).

13. “I WANT TO BE IN DIXIE” (lyrics by Irving Berlin, music by Ted Snyder) .... This was a huge hit in 1912; the sheet music sold a million copies. Berlin said he wrote this number in 15 minutes at the Friars Club, while waiting for a couple of his colleagues--Ted Snyder and Tom Penfold--to finish up a game of pool. (He was glad, he added, that the Friars Club had a piano he could fool around at.) When Snyder finished playing pool, he helped work on the song a bit with Berlin. And they soon had an unexpected international hit.

Entertainer Rachel Hundert–who plays such New York Clubs as Feinsteins/54 Below, the Metropolitan Room, and the Duplex–sings this song in both English and French. (She’s Canadian, and is as fluent in French as she is in English.) On my album “The Irving Berlin Songbook,” she gave us a taste of “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” in French! I love hearing that crystaline voice of hers in any language. When not busy singing, Hundert also directs. And she’s directed work of mine. I cherish people who put all of their talents to good use.

14. “THE INTERNATIONAL RAG” is a perfect example of Irving Berlin’s extraordinary gifts–which he himself didn’t fully understand. In 1913, on his first trip to London, he woke up at 4 a.m. with an idea for a song. He stuffed towels into his piano to muffle its sound, so he would not disturb other guests at the hotel. He worked out the melody of “The International Rag” and jotted down the lyrics for the first verse. He then went back to sleep for a while, completed the song in the morning–and introduced it from the stage of the London Hippodrome that very afternoon. It became a hit in England. Vaudevillians Sophie Tucker and Belle Baker introduced it to audiences in the US, where it duplicated its success. Four decades later, Ethel Merman revived the song in the film version of “Call Me Madam.”

Berlin, incidentally, tended to scoff at those who said he wrote songs quickly. He insisted that for him most songs required a lot of hard work. (He added that George M. Cohan–his original idol and role model–was a much faster writer than he was.) But some songs–like “The International Rag”--he acknowledged, seemed to practically write themselves.
He just “reached up,” he said, and they were there.

I’m delighted to have Emily Bordonaro and Michael Kasper sing this number. They’ve often worked with me, together or separately. They have a wonderful rapport, and it’s always a treat to get them together, whether it’s in a rehearsal room, recording studio, or theater. I wrote the parts of “Emmie” and “Michael” in my show “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue” specifically for them, and they were with me on every step of the development process, from the first reading of the show, to the first full production at New York’s 13th Street Theater (where we broke box-office records), to the original cast album. They perform with such zest.

15. “ARABY”–a beautiful, little-known early Berlin ballad–was a favorite of a not-yet-famous Eddie Cantor, who featured it in vaudeville in 1915, a couple of years before he made the big time. Cantor never recorded it.

“Araby” gets a tender, sympathetic interpretation here by Jack Corbin. This is Corbin’s first recording for me; it certainly won’t be at last. I like the timbre of his voice and the feeling. He’s performed in New York at the Knitting Factory, the Galapagos Art Space, the Metropolitan Room, and Carnegie Hall. His film credits include “Stewart” and “Early Learnings.” His television credits include HBO’s “How to Make it in America” and “Last Week Tonight,” Adult Swim’s “The Jack and Triumph Show,” and NBC Universal’s “Mr. Robot” (playing “Young Elliot” in the pilot).

16. “HAREM LIFE” was written by Irving Berlin for the star-studded “Ziegfeld Follies of 1919"–which many believed was the greatest edition of Ziegfeld’s long-running series of famously lavish Broadway revues. (That was the same year, incidentally, that Berlin wrote the song that became the theme song of the “Ziegfeld Follies,” “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody.”) The musical number “Harem Life” provided Ziegfeld with an excuse to bring 23 of his gorgeous “glorified girls” on to the stage of the New Amsterdam Theater, to demonstrate what life was like (or at least what Ziegfeld imagined it might be like) in a Middle Easter harem.

When I dug up this rare number–which has basically gone unheard since the “Ziegfeld Follies of 1919"–I thought immediately of a seasoned New York-based performer, whose comic timing and showmanship have delighted me for 20 years, Rob Maitner.

I first saw him in the Off-Broadway show “Fairy Tales.” (He was wonderfully–and unforgettably--funny.) He originated the role of Mr. McQueen in the world-premiere production of the quirky musical comedy “Urinetown” at the New York International Film Festival. He’s sung at Feinsteins/54 Below and has taught at the New Yor k Film Academy. He’s performed on stages all across the country. His most recent credits include the Off-Broadway show “A Better Place”; the TV movie “Freak Me”; and the web series “Conversations with My Ex.”

17. “MONTMARTRE” is a gorgeous “unknown” Irving Berlin song, which deserves to be better known. Berlin wrote it in 1922 for one of his famed Music Box Revues, but the song was cut from the show before opening night. Sometimes very good songs wind up getting cut from shows, for various reasons. The show may simply be too long. Or a song might need to be eliminated for reasons of pacing or emphasis. And the song goes back in the songwriter’s trunk. But Berlin knew this was a good song. And 35 years after he wrote “Montmartre,” he was polishing up the lyrics, trying to revise/refine the song for a proposed TV special that never came to pass. The singer here is Jack Corbin. He sings from the heart, which I like very much. And he certainly comes to the recording studio well-prepared. He sang this song as beautifully as anyone could--with a wonderful openness of spirit--in just one take.

18. “COME TO THE LAND OF THE ARGENTINE” has never before been recorded. Berlin wrote this number for a Broadway show, “Watch Your Step,” but it was cut prior to the show’s opening, and then forgotten about. IRNE Award-winning singer/actor Ellis Gage has the honor of making this song’s first recording. Gage starred in the world-premiere production, at Goodspeed Opera House, of the musical “James and the Giant,” with a score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. (How many people can say they’ve helped introduced songs by both Pasek & Paul and Irving Berlin?) Ellis Gage has sung at Joe’s Pub in New York City. And has guested on Seth Rudetsky’s radio program. His film/TV credits include “Chasing Life” and “The Earth Rejects Him.” He was most recently heard on my album “Gay Love.”

19. “HURRY BACK TO MY BAMBOO SHACK” is rendered with conviction by Jenn Spottz. I love Jenn Spottz’s singing. She’s enhanced such albums of mine as “Irving Berlin: Ragtimes Rarities,” “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Irving Berlin &Co.,” and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.” And I’ll record her, any chance I get. She’s studying at Northwestern University, part of a remarkable group of theater students they currently have there, including Maxwell Beer, Michael Herwitz, and Gabriella Green. She’ll go far.

20. “SPANISH LOVE” is a fascinating song--artfully constructed and rich with drama. Keith Anderson, a virtuoso singer, gives a superb performance. “Spanish Love,” I might note, is not an easy song to sing. It’s a quality song (a “high-class song,” as Mr. Berlin would have put it)–but it’s also a most challenging one. The average person could not sing it–and that no doubt limited this song’s popularity. In his long career, Berlin wrote all kinds of songs; his imagination was unbounded. And he liked trying all different things. But he noted correctly that his most popular numbers–the ones that would appeal to the most people--were usually ones that the average Joe could easily sing.

When I found “Spanish Love,” I knew I wanted Keith Anderson to be the one to record it. I love the golden sound of his strong, flexible voice. I’ve enjoyed seeing him on stages ranging from the intimate old WPA Theater in New York City to the huge Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. In his career, he’s done a bit of everything–from singing “The Star Spangled Banner” for the Cubs, to narrating “Billy Idol” for TV’s Biography Channel, to touring with Perry Como. In regional theaters, he’s done shows ranging from “Forever Plaid” to “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” He may be heard on such albums as “Gay Love,” “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “Irving Berlin & Co.,” “Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast....,” “Fairy Tales,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Theater Boys,” and “The Johnny Mercer Jamboree.”


21. “OH HOW THAT GERMAN COULD LOVE”–a light, “period” novelty number–was added to the score of a 1909-10 Broadway show, “The Girl and the Wizard,” late in its run. And in January of 1910, “Oh, How that German Could Love” was recorded by none other than songwriter Irving Berlin himself. It was his first recording! (And copies of that original record are scarce; if you own one, you have a real collectors’ item.) Berlin–who was self-conscious about how he looked and sounded–noted that he much preferred writing songs to performing them. More than 30 years would pass before Berlin would release another record.

“Oh, How that German Could Love” is performed here with characteristic good cheer by Matthew Nardozzi. And oh, I always love working with Matt. He’s a pro, with assorted credits, both on Broadway (“Dracula,” “Inherit the Wind”) and in Hollywood (“Derek and Lucas,” “Chapter 27,” “Relish”). And he’s got a wonderfully likeable quality on stage–he’s that All-American “boy next door.” He was featured in my “Seven Little Foys” at the York Theater in New York City; and he co-starred in the first New York-area production of my show “Irving Berlin’s America.” He’s on the cast album of that show as well. He recently won the national Young Entertainer Award for his work on “Irving Berlin’s America.” (And–in his acceptance speech, out in Hollywood–he was kind enough to dedicate that award to me, which touched me.) Matt may be heard on other albums of mine, as well, including: “Theater Boys,” “Irving Berlin & Co.,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook.”

22. “FROM HERE TO SHANGHAI” is sung with aplomb by Keith Anderson, who’s got about as fine a tenor voice as anyone on the current scene. I was knocked out by his voice the first time I heard him, in the Off-Broadway musical “Fairy Tales.” I bought the original cast album of that show, just to hear him again–never knowing that we’d eventually get to work together. It’s always a treat to work with Keith Anderson.

Incidentally, Irving Berlin’s “From Here to Shanghai,” which was introduced by Al Jolson, dates back to 1916.

23. “I’LL SEE YOU IN C-U-B-A” was originally introduced, in 1920, in the “Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic.” It was also featured that same year by Ted Lewis in the “Greenwich Village Follies.” In 1946, Bing Crosby sang the song in the classic Irving Berlin film musical “Blue Skies.”

“I’ll See You in C-U-B-A” gets a sincere reading here from Tyler DuBoys. I always like the purity of his singing. He’s sung and/or tap-danced on such albums of mine as “Gay Love,” “The Seven Little Foys,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “Irving Berlin’s America,” and “Irving Berlin Rediscovered.” He’s worked with me not just as a singer and dancer, he’s also choreographed shows for me. I think the world of this widely-traveled NYU-trained artist.

24. “THERE’S A GIRL IN HAVANA” is great good fun for Ellis Gage and Analise Scarpaci. I’ve appreciated both of these young pros’ work on stage and on YouTube videos, and I’m always happy when I have a chance to get them into the recording studio. Analise Scarpaci’s Broadway credits include “A Christmas Story” and “Matilda.”). She may be heard on the album “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities.” Ellis Gage may be heard on the album “Gay Love,” and will be featured prominently on an album now in preparation, “The Boy Next Door.”

25. “HOMESICK” is sung by one of my favorite younger performers, Erich Schuett.
I love that warm voice of his. He’s been busy racking up an impressive number of credits on stage and screen, and in clubs and concert halls. He spends Saturdays studying at Manhattan School of Music. He studies and performs both classical and popular music. And appears to enjoy every bit of the process. He’s going places!

26. “I BEG YOUR PARDON, DEAR OLD BROADWAY” .... This rousing ode to the greatest street in the world is sung with eclat by two of my favorite younger Broadway veterans, Jackson Demott Hill and Alex Dreier. Although they’re just teens, they’ve come of age on Broadway and it’s home to them. They both added great life and color to the hit Broadway musical “Finding Neverland.” (They played brothers on stage, and developed a brotherly spirit offstage as well.) Alex Dreier’s other Broadway credits include “Billy Elliot” and “The Assembled Parties.” He’s also a show-stealing alumnus of my musical “The Seven Little Foys.” And he did the first reading of my show “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue” (playing the role of “Alex,” which I’d written with him in mind). He wasn’t able to do the actual production of that show because by that time he was busy with “Finding Neverland.” (He was in “Finding Neverland” from its first workshop, to its out-of-town tryout, and then throughout its entire Broadway run--about three years in total! ) And another actor wound up playing “Alex” in my “Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue.” But I’m glad to have Alex Dreier singing this wonderful Irving Berlin rarity here now–teamed with his great good friend Jackson Demott Hill. I’ve always enjoyed Hill’s work–he just shines, whether he’s appearing on the New York stage in a drama like Tina Howe’s “Singing Beach” or doing a commercial for Brooks Brothers. And their fondness of one another give the track and added zest.

27. “WHEN I GET BACK TO THE USA” is a counterpoint number (or “double song,” as Irving Berlin liked to call them)–and Berlin was the master of that form. Some other examples of Berlin counterpoint numbers include “Simple Melody”/”Musical Demon,” “Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil in Hades,” “The Call of the South,” and “You’re Just in Love.” In this case, Berlin has crafted a fresh main theme (sung here by Jon Peterson) and set it against a pre-existing song, serving as the counter-melody, “America” (sung here by Lynelle Johnson Steffan). Berlin’s love of America certainly was genuine. And when traveling abroad, he often grew homesick for America (and for New York in particular). But he was enough of a realist to know that such a “rah-rah-America” type of song might have limited appeal in England. So the ever-practical created a British version of this song–“When I Get Back to London Town”; the counter-melody was “God Save the King” (which has the same melody as “America”)–which was featured in his London musical production “Follow the Crowd.”

I’m so glad I was able to get Jon Peterson and Lynelle Johnson Steffan on this number. I really like how they sound together. (You can hear recordings of them together on my albums “The George M. Cohan Revue” and “The Chip Deffaa Songbook”). Jon popped into the studio on a day off from the national tour of “Cabaret.” Lynelle was making a whirlwind visit to New York in the midst of a European concert tour.

For my money, Jon Peterson is as fine a song-and-dance man as anyone working in the theater today. Originally from England, he first made his mark on the West End in such musicals as “Cats,” “A Chorus Line,” “The Sound of Music,” and “Sophisticated Ladies.” He has starred as the Emcee in two U.S. national tours of “Cabaret,” and has covered that demanding role on Broadway. He’s starred, too, in shows I’ve written expressly for him–“George M. Cohan Tonight!” and “Irving Berlin: In Person.” I love that vibrant voice of his. You can hear more of him on such albums as “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” “Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “The Johnny Mercer Jamboree,” “Skidoo,” “Mad About the Boy: The Festival cast...,” “Mad About the Boy: The 13th Street Theater Production,” “Gay Love,” and the original cast recording of “George M. Cohan Tonight!”

A former “Miss U.S.O.,” Lynelle Johnson Steffan is one of the most versatile singers I know, comfortable performing musical theater, opera, or the Great American Songbook. I’ve watched her sing classic American popular music on a nationally televised New Year’s Eve broadcast and in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She’s sung swing music at Birdland Jazz Club, performed in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas at New York’s City Center, and has starred regionally in such beloved musicals as “The Music Man” and “The Sound of Music.” You can also hear her singing–and even scat-singing a bit–on my album “Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast....”

28. “HOME AGAIN BLUES” was co-authored by Irving Berlin and Harry Akst, as the credits on the sheet music noted. Akst would eventually go on to become a successful songwriter, helping to turn out such great hits as “Baby Face,” “Dinah,” and “Am I Blue?” But at the time that he co-wrote “Home Again Blues,” Akst was just a young “unknown,” working as Berlin’s musical secretary. Ordinarily, Berlin’s musical secretary simply had the job of setting down on paper songs that Berlin alone created. But in this unique instance, Berlin–who was scrupulous about giving credit where credit was due–listed Akst as an equal collaborator, as the co-creator with him of both lyrics and music. And that launched Akst as a songwriter. This was, incidentally, Berlin’s last collaborative song; from this point on, all of his songs would have music and lyrics solely by Berlin.

“Home Again Blues” enjoyed considerable success when it first came out–but initially, to Berlin’s surprise–simply as an instrumental! The highly popular Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the number as a hot jazz instrumental–no vocal! Ted Lewis’ Band and Harry Raderman’s Jazz Orchestra did likewise.

Singers Fank Crumit and Aileen Stanley made fine recordings that included some–but not all–of this song’s lyrics. Crumit skipped the “patter” section. And entertainer Ailenn Stanley sang lyrics much different from those on any editions of the published sheet music, giving the song a very “Southern” feel.

The recording on this album is, to the best of our knowledge, the first recording of Berlin and Akst’s complete original lyrics–including the little-known “patter” section–for “Home Again Blues.”

One of the brighter lights among today’s younger Broadway performers, Charlie Franklin, has the honors of performing “Home Again Blues.” It’s always a treat to have Charlie in the recording studio. And he’s got a real connection with these songs; he was born to sing them. I might add, he comes from a highly musical family. Both his brother George and sister Julia–accomplished performers in their own right–have recorded for me, as well.

29. “HOMEWARD BOUND” is a find–a good, strong, catchy, never-before-recorded Irving Berlin song. Berlin added “Homeward Bound” to his hit Broadway musical “Watch Your Step” almost five months into its run. If Berlin thought it might strengthen a theatrical production, Berlin was happy to add or replace a song, long after a show had opened. (Berlin enjoyed writing for Broadway more than he enjoyed writing for Hollywood. And one reason he preferred Broadway, he said, was that he liked the way he could see, rather quickly, how audiences liked his songs.

We have Seth Sikes–none better!–taking us home with this spirited song. A terrific way to conclude our musical journey.
And that’s it, till next time.

– CHIP DEFFAA
June 2018

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CHIP DEFFAA (producer/writer) is the author of 16 published plays and eight published books, and the producer of 24 albums. For 18 years he covered entertainment, including music and theater, for The New York Post. In his youth, he studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He is a graduate of Princeton University and a trustee of the Princeton "Tiger" magazine. He wrote and directed such Off-Broadway successes as "George M. Cohan Tonight!" and "One Night with Fanny Brice." His shows have been performed everywhere from London to Edinburgh, to Seoul. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Stage Directors & Choreographers Society, NARAS, and ASCAP. He’s won the ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award, the IRNE Award, and a New Jersey Press Association Award. Please visit: www.chipdeffaa.com.

RICHARD DANLEY (music director/pianist) is Chip Deffaa's first choice among music directors and has worked on many shows and/or albums of Deffaa's, including "Irving Berlin's America," “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” "One Night with Fanny Brice," "The Seven Little Foys," "George M. Cohan Tonight!," “Mad About the Boy,” “Irving Berlin: In Person,” “The Irving Berlin Songbook,” “Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” and "Theater Boys." Danley has performed everywhere from daytime dramas on television, to cruise ships, to clubs, to Carnegie Hall. He is on the faculty of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA).

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Chip Deffaa has written six different musical plays celebrating Irving Berlin. All are available for licensing. “Irving Berlin: In Person” is a one-man play. “Irving Berlin’s America” is a two-character play. “Say it with Music” is written for three actors. “Irving Berlin & Co.” is a biographical musical written for 12 or more players. “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” featuring more than 40 ragtime songs, is a revue written for 10-14 players. “The Irving Berlin Story” is a full-sized biographical musical, written for 24 or more players.

Playwright/director/producer Chip Deffaa is represented by The Fifi Oscard Agency (attention: Peter Sawyer, President), New York City, NY, Email: psawyer@fifioscard.com, tel. (212) 764-1100.

For additional information on any of Deffaa’s shows, please feel free to contact Chip Deffaa Productions LLC, 50 Quartz Lane, Paterson, NJ 07501-3345, telephone: 973-684-3340; Email: Footloose518@aol.com; www.chipdeffaa.com.

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Our thanks for the help provided, in various ways, by Carol Channing, Lee Roy Reams, Oscar Williams, Don Brown, Stephen Bogardus, Matthew Broderick, Cole Patnos, Jeffrey Sewell, Jeremiah Cruz, Jed Peterson, Yunis Alibrahimi, Adam Barki, Deborah Deffaa, Max Deffaa, Louis Deffaa Sr., C. Hernandez, Josh Schaller, Ava Schaller, Logan Saby, Lawson Saby, Victor Calatayud, Adrian Carbajal, Brick Greenbean, the late John Wallowitch, the late Jack Gottlieb, the late Bob Dahdah, and Prince Julius Taibor, Connecticut Department of Inspiration. Public relations assistance by Ibby, Abraheem, and Cinnamon Abdelhaq. Music preparation by Donald Brown and Richard Danley; graphic design by Frank Avellino; all work completed for Chip Deffaa on a work-made-for-hire basis.

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Chip Deffaa’s “An Irving Berlin Travelogue” (p) and © 2018 by Chip Deffaa.

If you’ve enjoyed this album, you might also enjoy these other Chip Deffaa albums (available from Amazon.com, CDBaby.com, iTunes, etc.): “Gay Love,” “Mad About the Boy: 13th Street Theater Production,” “Mad About the Boy: The Festival Cast,” “Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin: Ragtime Rarities,” “Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin Rediscovered,” “The Chip Deffaa Songbook,” “Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin Revisited,” “Chip Deffaa’s Irving Berlin Songbook: Rare and Unrecorded Songs,” “The Irving Berlin Ragtime Revue,” “George M. Cohan Tonight!,” “Irving Berlin’s America,” “One Night with Fanny Brice,” Irving Berlin: In Person,” “The Seven Little Foys” “Theater Boys,” “Presenting Fanny Brice,” “George M. Cohan: In his Own Words,”“The George M. Cohan Revue,”Irving Berlin & Co.,” “The Johnny Mercer Jamboree,” “George M. Cohan: Rare Original Recordings.”

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Chip Deffaa’s "AN IRVING BERLIN TRAVELOGUE " -- Musical Numbers (Richard Danley is the musical director/pianist on all tracks) ...

1. “I LOST MY HEART IN DIXIELAND” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Seth Sikes

2. “THERE’S SOMETHING NICE ABOUT THE SOUTH” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Clark Kinkade (vocal and tap-dancing)

3. “WHEN THE MIDNIGHT CHOO CHOO LEAVES FOR ALABAM” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Seth Sikes and Michael Townsend Wright, (with tap dancing by Jonah Barricklo)

4. “WHEN YOU’RE DOWN IN LOUISVILLE (CALL ON ME)” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Analia Heredia and Tyqaun White

5. “VIRGINIA LOU” (lyrics by Irving Berlin, music by Earl Taylor) ... Michael Townsend Wright

6. “IN FLORIDA AMONG THE PALMS” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) .... Rayna Hirt
7. “I’M DOWN IN HONOLULU” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) .... Erich Schuett and Giuseppe Bausilio

8. “THERE’S A GIRL IN ARIZONA” (lyrics by Clarke & Leslie, music by Irving Berlin) .... Dylan Adams

9. “I WANT TO GO BACK TO MICHIGAN (DOWN ON THE FARM)” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Ryan Muska and Mariah Hill

10. “I’VE GOTTA GO BACK TO TEXAS” ... Seth Sikes

11. “SAN FRANCISCO BOUND” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Charlie Franklin

12. “I WAS AVIATING AROUND” (lyrics by Vincent Bryan, music by Irving Berlin) ... Alec Deland

13. “I WANT TO BE IN DIXIE” (lyrics by Irving Berlin, music by Ted Snyder) ... Rachel Hundert

14. “THE INTERNATIONAL RAG” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Emily Bordonaro & Michael Kasper

15. “ARABY” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) .... Jack Corbin

16. “HAREM LIFE” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Rob Maitner

17. “MONTMARTRE” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Jack Corbin

18. “COME TO THE LAND OF THE ARGENTINE” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Ellis Gage

19. “HURRY BACK TO MY BAMBOO SHACK” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Jenn Spottz

20. “SPANISH LOVE” (lyrics and music by Vincent Bryan, Irving Berlin, and Ted Snyder) ... Keith Anderson

21. “OH HOW THAT GERMAN COULD LOVE” (lyrics by Irving Berlin, music by Ted Snyder) ... Matthew Nardozzi

22. “FROM HERE TO SHANGHAI” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) .... Keith Anderson

23. “I’LL SEE YOU IN C-U-B-A” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Tyler DuBoys

24. “THERE’S A GIRL IN HAVANA” (lyrics and music by E. Ray Gortz, Irving Berlin, and Ted Snyder) ... Ellis Gage and Analise Scarpaci

25. “HOMESICK” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Erich Schuett

26. “I BEG YOUR PARDON, DEAR OLD BROADWAY” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Jackson Demott Hill and Alex Dreier

27. “WHEN I GET BACK TO THE USA” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Jon Peterson, Lynelle Johnson Steffan

28. “HOME AGAIN BLUES” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin and Harry Akst) ... Charlie Franklin

29. “HOMEWARD BOUND” (lyrics and music by Irving Berlin) ... Seth Sikes

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This album is dedicated by the producer, with appreciation, affection, and respect, to my wisely-traveled friend, Julius Taiber, whose joyous dancing–one, two, three!–has had quite an impact on me. Thanks for the inspiration! Here’s to a star of the next generation!

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Chip Deffaa's "AN IRVING BERLIN TRAVELOGUE" with an all-star New York cast:

Seth Sikes, Clark Kinkade, Jon Peterson, Michael Townsend Wright, Charlie Franklin, Keith Anderson, Matthew Nardozzi, Tyler DuBoys, Emily Bordonaro, Erich Schuett, Alec Deland, Jonah Barricklo, Analia Heredia, Tyqaun White, Michael Kasper, Rachel Hundert, Jack Corbin, Rayna Hirt, Rob Maitner, Jenn Spottz, Lynelle Johnson Steffan, Ellis Gage, Analise Scarpaci,
Alex Dreier, Jackson Demott Hill, Mariah Hill, Ryan Muska, Dylan Adams

Produced by CHIP DEFFAA; Musical Director: RICHARD DANLEY

Associate producers: Alex Delgadillo, Steve Garrin, Peter Charney, Oscar Williams;
music preparation: Don Brown, Richard Danley; graphic design: Frank Avellino;
historical consultant: Jessee D. Riehl; public relations: Ibby, Abraheem and Cinnamon Abdelhaq;
assistants to the Producer: Sukhee Jun, Max Galassi, international advisors: Gabriel Beer, Byeong hyo Son; recording engineer: Slau Halatyn/BeSharp Studios, NYC; aides-de-camp: Max Beer; Michael Herwitz

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Chip Deffaa Productions
Garret Mountain Records CDP AD 0604
“An Irving Berlin Travelogue” (P) and © 2018 by Chip Deffaa

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