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  • Writer's pictureMichele Brourman

Up is Down: Eine Kleine Trunk Musik

I had the privilege of working as Marshall Barer’s musical director in his later years.

He was eccentric, funny, frustrating, and a marvelous singer, very Clifton Webb-ish.

His phrasing and delivery were pitch perfect and elegantly articulate. I fell in love with his songs, written with some superb composers, including David Ross, Dean Fuller, Joseph Thalken and  Mary Rodgers. (They co-wrote “Once Upon A Mattress” in one week at a resort in the Catskills!)

I’d heard that he often gave the same lyric to several different composers at once, so that he could choose  the version he liked best.  But I’m pretty sure that I’m the only composer who got to put music to this one.Marshall would explain our song thus: “My Uncle Josh Ferbludgnik used to say, ‘Not only are things seldom what they seem – they are most often the exact OPPOSITE of what they seem.” (btw, Marshall loved to say that anyone whose initials were MB were part of a very exclusive club he named “Marvelous Brilliants.” I liked that.)

This recording is arranged, played, and sung in multiple voices by the wonderful Billy Stritch, from his eponymous 1991 CD. I met Billy in Houston 37 years ago, with his group Montgomery, Mayes and Stritch. He was already a young genius, with a heart

as enormous as his musical talent. You can tune in to “Billy’s Place” every Thursday Night on FB and Youtube -  it’s a total treat!!


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