Friday, April 29, 2005

More Than I Can Barer

To follow up on my previous post on the lyricist Marshall Barer, here are a couple of lyrics that demonstrate his compulsive over-rhyming and retro style. One is "Beyond Compare," written in the '70s with composer David Ross, and Barer's attempt to revive the style of the romantic list song a la Cole Porter or Larry Hart. Note the internal rhymes in almost every line (e.g. Baba au rhum or summer's day):

Shall I, my love, compare thee to
Baba au rhum or summer's day?
Handel chorale or Malibu?
Rubens, Ravel or Mel Torme?
Is there a better metaphor
For how I melt
Beholding you?
Or shall the glow I so adore
Only be felt
Enfolding you?
Racking my brain for fitting praise!
Seeking in vain the perfect phrase!
Poring through piles of poems and plays!
Haunting the aisles at Doubleday's!
I might convey
The state I'm in
If I could play
The mandolin;
Since I cannot, I'll just declare
You are beyond compare
And leave it right there.

Another Barer song that's been taken up by cabaret artists is "Here Come the Dreamers," another rhyme-packed song from the unproduced musical he and Hugh Martin wrote for Jeanette MacDonald:

Please hang a moon up and tune up the cellos,
For here come the dreamers.
Tell all the fellows to varnish their trumpets,
Butter the crumpets and garnish the Jell-Os,
Let us get to it and do it up right,
Welcome the dreamers with all of our might.

Here come a few of the true punchinellos,
The beautiful dreamers.
Here comes a clown in a motley of yellows
Made from a gown of Dolores Costello's,
Giddy and gaudy and bawdy and bright,
Here come the dreamers to light up the night.

They may arrive in a sleigh
Or the ghost of a gay painted steamboat,

What does it matter who scatter confetti
And string up the streamers,
Cover the table with strawberry satin,
Put out the platinum sugar and creamers,
Tell ev'ry sorrow to slip out of sight?
Here come the dreamers to put them to flight.

Finally, an excerpt from Barer's mock Noel-Coward song "Shall We Join the Ladies," a surprisingly successful attempt to spin a rather long song out of one very old joke:

Shall we join the ladies?
Yes, do, let's join the ladies
And make one big lady!
Taken separately, the girls can be confusing,
But as a whole they might, I think, be quite amusing.
I'd rather have one enormous lady with two tremendous eyes
Than twenty with forty of ordinary size.

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