Thursday, May 26, 2011

For a Song: Blitzkrieg Baby

Blitzkrieg Baby poster

Una Mae Carlisle: Blitzkrieg Baby


I want to stay with jazz singers for just a while longer, to lead into my next album review. So here is Una Mae Carlisle singing her hit Blitzkrieg Baby, with, I believe, Lester Young and his band. This song has been collected in a number of places, and I would usually give a purchase link for an album by the artist. But this one is for a various artists collection with the somewhat misleading title of Ladies Sing the Blues. The music isn’t blues at all, but the album is a great introduction to classic jazz singers and their art. So, if Oliver di Place is the first place you ever heard a jazz singer, this album would be a great next step.

I mentioned that Blitzkrieg Baby was a hit in its time. Can you imagine a song like this about a current war? It wouldn’t work. The song belongs to my parents’ generation, and is specific to World War II. The Vietnam War forever changed how Americans feel about the wars we fight. The attack on the World Trade Center might have changed things back again, but the sense of a nation united against a common enemy was squandered in the handling of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now we are back to questioning the motives of our wars again. While this is probably healthier for us as a nation, something is lost as well. Blitzkrieg Baby reflects a time when the nation as a whole believed that it had an important job to do. I have never lived in a United States that felt that way, and I can’t help wondering how it would feel.