Patrick von Wiegandt

SONG INFO


Story

Produced and Arranged by: 
Patrick von Wiegandt

Engineered and Mixed by:
Al Schmitt

Recorded at: 
Capitol Studios, Hollywood: 
Al Schmitt, Engineer
Rendezvous Recording, Manoa, Hawaii: Pierre Grill, Engineer
The Bunker, El Segundo, California:
Patrick von Wiegandt, Engineer

All songs mixed by Al Schmitt
at Capitol Studios except: 


Brother Can You Spare A Dime,Honolulu &

Blue Skies mixed by Patrick von Wiegandt at The Bunker

Mastered by: Pierre Grill at Rendezvous

Assistant Engineers: Steve Genewick and Chandler Harrod, at Capitol Studios, Hollywood

Cover Photos: Nirav Solanki
Inside Photos: Georgiana Lotfy, Duane Padilla

Special thanks to Julia VW, Bill Svarda, Georgiana Lotfy, Brian Messner Paula Salvatore and the terrific staff at Capitol studios for all the help and support. 

Lyrics

PUTTIN ON THE RITZ

Patrick VW - vocals
Lee Spath - drums
Adrian Rosen - bass
Pierre Grill - piano
Tommy Davy - guitar
Duane Padilla -violin
Rusty Higgins - soprano sax
Nick Mancini - vibes
Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

I've always loved this song. It just makes me feel good. I listened to the Bing Crosby version and basically stole the arrangement from him (well, without the huge orchestra.)

I wanted the CD to have a certain sound that featured piano, clarinet and violin on a bunch of the songs - and this one was perfect for the orchestra lines.

We really got into a fun groove when we recorded this. It was the first song of the afternoon session and it just flowed. Pierre Grill went into his Fats Waller trance and Duane Padilla took off on violin and rhythm section just cooked - so they made it really easy for me to sing it. After a few takes we nailed it.

We added Rusty Higgins on clarinet and he doubled the lines with Duane and did a great solo. We had 3 terrific solos in that song - violin - piano - clarinet. Wow.

We added Nick Mancini on vibes and he had a blast with it. He could have been the 4th solo- but we had plenty already. He played terrific licks and pads all through the song. He also does a James Bond type of chord progression after the solos. You'll have to listen to find out.

I also am glad that this song starts the CD. I have been having fun getting dressed in the old clothes and they do look classy -so it's appropriate that PUTTIN ON THE RITZ is the first song on SWANKY.

Yes….. I've gone down the rabbit hole. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A DIME

Patrick VW – vocals
Pierre Grill – piano, bass, drums
Gary Halopoff - trumpet
Emmett Mahoney – guitar
Recorded by Pierre Grill, Patrick VW 
Mixed by Patrick VW

This is another one of those great old songs that I’ve heard my whole life.

My favorite version was done by The Hot Club of Hulaville a few years back. I was recording one of their concerts and they did a terrific version. I knew I had to sing it after I heard them do it. This is not the first song I’ve stolen from them, and probably not the last. Sonny Silva picks great songs and players – and has been a huge inspiration to me to play this type of music.

I had always loved the old stuff and it has been a joy to work and play with other musicians who really love these classics too.

I went into Pierre Grills studio and we did a piano and vocal version and built on it. It felt right. We added bass and drums and then I brought it back to L.A. and added Gary Halopoff on muted trumpet – and it just felt right. We added Emmett Mahoney on acoustic guitar and it was done.

When I mixed it – I added the megaphone sound – which really took it back to the 1920’s. I also did a few goofy, contemporary ad libs at the end. You’ll have to listen to find out.

A number of people have told me that this song is so appropriate for now – given the economic conditions of the country. The song was written in the middle of the great depression of the 1930’s and it was a huge hit for Bing Crosby. Maybe I can get a hit for Bing VW.

=========================================================

DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME

Patrick VW – vocal

Bill Champlin – bg vocals

Ginai – bg vocals

Lee Spath – drums

Richard Simon – bass

Harry Donahue – piano

Fred Sokolow – guitar, ukulele

Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 Who doesn’t love this song ?  Mama Cass really nailed it and set the standard for all of us. This is another one of the songs that I would sing with my sister, Noela, at family parties and my mom would sing along too.

One of my thoughts when I was recording this – and the other songs too – was that I had to make it my own version – and not try to imitate Mama Cass and The Mamas and The Papas.

I had been using ukulele on a few songs recently and thought it would work on this.  I had played it a few times at events and people liked the ukulele version. When we went to Capitol to record, I asked guitarist Fred Sokolow to bring his ukulele and see if we could make it work. We cut the track using the acoustic guitar and the full band and then he quickly added the uke. I loved it.

My dear pal, Harry Donahue played the piano and made the song swing. He did his sort of ragtime – rolling piano licks and just lifted the song to a magical level. It was better than what I had imagined. 

I had been worried about recording this track because I was not sure that I could get it right. The band played so nicely that it really made it much easier to sing it. Once they cut the track I knew it would work.

 I loved what the Mamas and Papas had done with this and I really wanted to add background vocals – but not try to cop them. So….. I asked the great Bill Champlin to come in and do his magic on it.  I knew he would get what I was trying to do and put his own special sound to it.

This was another part of my dream come true. I had wanted my friend, great singer and supporter, Ginai, to get to sing with Bill. I knew they would sound great together and I knew that it would light her up. Having experienced many vocal sessions with Bill over the last 35 years – I have a good idea of how he works. It was a great treat to include my Hawaii friends – and especially Ginai to join in on the vocals and the Bill Champlin style of recording - especially with Al Schmitt engineering the session. His voice has graced hundreds (maybe millions) of famous recordings and I knew the two of them would hit it off.

 They stacked about 10 tracks of background vocals and added a few doo wops at the end. This was better than anything I could have asked for.  

 I wanted my sister Noela to sing the song with me and swap verses – choruses – but, because of the low key I had to sing in – it would not work with her. She was very gracious and we decided that we’d do it again – it her key – so we can get a great recording for her too.

 We still sing it together at family parties and it never gets old.

YOU DO SOMETHING TO ME

Patrick VW - vocals
Pierre Grill - accordion, drums
Alika Lyman - bass
Emmett Mahoney - guitars
Duane Padilla - violin
Rusty Higgins - clarinet
Recorded by Pierre Grill, Patrick VW
Mixed by Al SchmitT

Although this is an old song, I don't recall hearing it until I hear the terrific version done by Bryan Ferry, the glam crooner from Britain. Although he was a famous rocker from the 1970s on, he loves jazz and made a great record in the 1990s that included this song. It is too cool.

So. Being a wanna be Bryan Ferry junior I started singing this song. I could not sing it in the key he did and so dropped it a few octaves (well, steps) and got comfortable singing it my way.

One of the great joys that I have been having in singing these songs has been to find the key that works for me and then crafting the song to fit my vocal range and style. It has been an interesting exercise - and I've been learning a lot.

I recorded a few versions of this and knew that it was getting better each time. I really wanted this song to be on SWANKY because it fit so well. So, after we had recorded all the songs and all the overdubs - I decided to give it one more try.

I went into Pierre Grills studio with Emmett Mahoney on guitar and Alika Lyman on bass and Pierre on accordion. We messed around with it for a while and - bingo - we got a pretty neat version that I liked and thought sounded like my own.

I met Emmett through Sonny Silva and the Hot Club of Hulaville and had wanted to record with him for a few years and we had always missed each other on the last few CDs. I have played and sung with him many times, along with the Hot Club and at various jams. He played a great hot club sound and we doubled it right away.

Alika Lyman is another wonderful musician from Honolulu and he plays bass, guitar (and many other instruments.) He nailed the bass and made it lock in.

Pierre took us to France on the accordion and we were set. I then called the maestro Duane Padilla to play violin on it. Before he played I told him that I was going to add Rusty Higgins on clarinet - so please leave a little space for him. Pierre laughed and said I had my own klezmer band and I did.

Duane did a few tracks that fit right in with Pierres accordion. I pieced a nice track together and then brought it back to California to record Rusty on clarinet.

Now, here's another treat. Rusty is a seasoned L.A. studio cat who plays beautifully and he listened once or twice and then laid down the perfect track that really glued this whole thing together. He added little harmony licks and pads that complimented the other guys. I was blown away. When I played it for Pierre and Duane - they flipped and loved how it came out.

So now I had the final song for the CD. When Al Schmitt mixed it - he made it sound wonderful - like it belonged on the CD. It was the last mix of the day and a great way to finish.

VWPC-13-004-M.mp3: You Do Something To Me; 3:03

 

 IF I DIDNT CARE

  Ginai – vocals

 Patrick VW – vocals

 Lee Spath – drums

 Richard Simon – bass

 Harry Donahue – piano

 Fred Sokolow – guitar

Nick Mancini – vibes

Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 This is another song that I don’t remember growing up with but I fell in love with it the moment I heard it. I was watching the fun movie about the 1930s called Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day and the song is the climax of the love scene between the girl and the guy.

Amy Adams sang it beautifully and it made me cry…… (well, maybe I got a little misty.)  I knew I wanted to sing this and record it.

So….. I did my usual and listened to a few versions, including the Ink Spots great version and started messing around with it. I wanted to do it faster than Amy Adams version. Don’t laugh – I know our version is slow – but her version is really slow. She does a duet with the piano player (who loves her) and they get lovey dovey and all weepy. It’s pathetic and totally sappy but wonderful.

 I knew that I wanted to do a duet with Ginai. We have a “beauty (her) and the beast (guess who) type of duet style and I knew it could be magical if we got into it.

 I brought the song to Harry Donahue and knew that he would take it to dreamyville – or something like that. I think the song was new to him also and he loved it and captured the feeling I was trying to get. We rehearsed a few times before we recorded and felt that we had a good grip on it

 I then rehearsed it with Giani the day before we went into Capitol and we both loved what we were doing.

 So… the next day…… we were cutting the tracks at Capitol and it was fun, festive magical day with lot’s of friends and musicians in the studio and control room. Ginai was there and was loving all of it and very supportive. She flew in from Hawaii for this session (along with Pierre and Duane) and said there was no place that she’d rather be. I was blown away and could not believe my luck.

 We had just cut 2 songs and then I asked her to join me on this one. Al Schmitt put us both in the same vocal booth and we faced each other as we sang. The band played it a few times and we were all in a trance. I have recorded many sessions and have never quite had the feeling that we had while we recording this. Bassist Richard Simon and drummer, Lee Spath gave the song this hypnotic pulse and Harrys mesmerizing piano and Fred Sokolows guitar just had us all floating. It felt wonderful. We cut about 3 or 4 versions and got a great take. Al said come in to the control room and listen. I could have stayed out there and recorded it a few more times it felt so good.

 We all went in and listened and loved it. Ginai and I were very happy with our vocals. It was a dream to sing to her and have her sing to me

I then added Nick Mancini on vibes and he really took us into a deeper trance. This song just floats.  He does the first half of the solo and then lets the piano take over.

I had tried a sax on it at one point because the song was so sexy and I was hoping that we could make it sound really sensual with the sax – but it seemed to intrude on it and so we left it with the vibes and piano doing the solos and that worked well.

 Another wonderful part of this song is the interplay between Fred’s guitar and Harry on piano. They were complimenting each others lines throughout the entire piece. . I can listen to this song over and over and I’m still not tired of it. Wow.

 

BLUE SKIES

Patrick VW – vocals

Lee Spath – drums

Richard Simon – bass

Harry Donahue – piano

Fred Sokolow – guitars

Duane Padilla –violin

Recorded by Al Schmitt

Mixed by Patrick VW

 

I've played this song for as long as I can remember. My friend Gerry and I used to play this while we young and I've never gotten tired of it. Almost every version I hear I like. Willie Nelson really nailed it and I have to remember not to mimic him when I play this.

I had not played or thought of this song for many years and then I heard it one night on an old time radio show while I was driving home. It was the original version with Al Jolson singing. The song was written in 1925 or 26 by Irving Berlin and Al Jolson had a huge hit with it. His version is very uptempo and full of the Al style.

When I got home, I just started playing a simple, almost country, style. It reminded me of the descending guitar line in the Beatle song, Michelle. I slowed it down a bit and found the key for me and fell in love with it all over again. I recorded it right away and sent it to some friends and got great responses. I knew it would fit for the CD.

At the session, I played my style for the guys and showed Fred Sokolow what I thought sounded neat. He did a similar line on the acoustic and the song locked right in. We used my friend Michael Powers' Taylor guitar and it sounded lovely.

Harry and I had been playing this and he did a great lick on the B section where he doubled the voice. It worked and it lifted the song.

Duane Padilla was playing live and I asked him to play long, slow, flowing lines on his violin rather than licks or solos. Just give it color and depth. He got the idea and just floated along. On the B section he did a harmony to Harrys piano and it was really sounded unique to me.

Fred played an electric guitar track later and added another harmony to the piano and violin. What fun.

I added a double voice to the chorus section and was happy with that.

For the last year or so - Harry and I had been playing this song on his B3 organ and me on guitar and voice so I though a B3 might sound good. We tried it a few times but it cluttered it up - so we left it with the band and Freds melodic guitar lines and solo.

VWPC-13-006-M.mp3: Blue Skies; 2:30

 

MAKIN WHOPPEE

 

Ginai - vocals
Patrick VW - vocals
Lee Spath - drums
Adrian Rosen - bass
Pierre Grill - piano
Tommy Davy - guitar
Duane Padilla -violin
Rusty Higgins - clarinet
Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 

I'd heard this song since I was kid and always thought it was kind of goofy. I think I saw the video clip with Eddie Cantor singing it and making big goofy eyes. It was not a song that I thought I'd ever sing.

 Then, I got a call from Sonny Silva one day and he asked me if I'd like to sing with the Hot Club of Hulaville at a gig called COTTON CLUB. I said I'd love to and he said go rent a tux and come and rehearse - so I did.

 He said I would do a few songs solo and then sing a duet on MAKIN' WHOPPEE with this great Hawaiian singer named Mihana Souza. I quickly downloaded the great version by Dr John and Riki Lee Jones and started singing along for the next few days - but never with Mihana. Our first time singing this together would on live on stage.

 

When we performed it, I got pretty nervous because I still wasn't too solid on it. Mihana was great, Sonny and the band were great and I think I just got by. I was afraid that I was slipping into Aint Misbehavin. Well, I really wanted to learn the song then - just in case I ever got another chance to do it. So I would sing along with it a lot and finally felt like I knew it.

 When I was choosing songs for SWANKY, I had thought of it but it was not high on the list. I had wanted to do another duet with Ginai and I was thinking of I'M CONFESSIN.

A few days before we recorded Harry and I had listened to the Eddie Cantor version and it sound really fun. We played it a few times and I decided to do it. I knew that Pierre Grill was going to play piano on it - and that he'd give it the 30s flavor.

 The day before we went into Capitol, Ginai and I rehearsed it and added the line at the end "I think you should keep me cause I know you need me." We also changed some of the tense of the song and we liked it.

 At the session, we were down to the last hour of the day and only had enough time for one more song. I asked Giani if she wanted to do this and she quickly agreed. We had just struggled a bit on the song before this and I wanted us to end on a good take.

 The band played it a few times and locked in. Pierre and Duane did a great intro, basically taking the Eddie Cantor intro and making it an instrumental. I love the wedding march dirge that starts the song. I think that was Duanes dreary contribution. We also did the wedding song at the end to finish it off.

 Ginai and I were having fun goofing off with each other and the lyrics while we were recording. We left in the laughs at the end. It felt right.

 After a few takes we got it right and Al said come in and listen. We were all very happy with the track. It was the end of a very long day and I was thrilled. We added Rusty Higgins on clarinet the next day and he fit in perfectly with the track. The way that he and Duane compliment each other is gives this whole record a very special sound. I was hoping it would work with them trading clarinet and violin licks and I think it did. I hope you enjoy it too.

VWPC-13-007-M.mp3: Makin'Whoopee; 3:54

 

HONOLULU I'M COMING BACK AGAIN

Patrick VW - vocals

Ginai - bg vocals

Dennis OHanlon - guitar
Fred Sokolow - ukulele
Lynn Shipley Sokolow - bass
Mike Couchois - drums
Greg Sardinha - Hawaiian steel guitar
Recorded by Patrick VW, Pierre Grill
Mixed by Patrick VW

 

I first heard this song in the mid 1970's when I recorded a Hawaiian singer named Ginger Johnson. I fell in love with it as soon as I heard it. She had a flowing fingerpicking guitar style and her voice was like an angel. I sang along for 35 years and played the song live, with the Hot Club of Hulaville and on solo dates.

I thought it would be a good fit for the SWANKY album - since it was an old time song. I thought of calling Ginger, who lives on Maui and still plays great music - but I thought I should do my own version.

I had given the song to my pal, Dennis OHanlon a few years ago and he loved it. I asked him if he would play the acoustic and I'd get his pal Fred Sokolow to play ukulele.

We had a great session with Fred, his wife Lynne Shipley on bass and Dennis on guitar as I sang it live. We played it a few times and got a take that we all liked. I added Mike Couchois on drums and he gave it a nice simple rhythm and flavor.

I then brought it to Hawaii and asked the amazing Hawaiian steel guitar player, Greg Sardinha, to add his magic. He did and it really took us to the south pacific. Ginai came in and added some ooohs and aaahs and it sounded even more dreamy.

This song is about my hometown and I really do relate to it - it's fun to sing "right back to Diamondhead" since I live there. I hope you enjoy it.

VWPC-13-008-M.mp3: Honolulu, I'm Coming Back Again; 2:43

 ANYTHING GOES

 Patrick VW - vocals, cowbell solo

The Ginai Sisters - vocals
Lee Spath - drums
Adrian Rosen - bass
Pierre Grill - piano
Emmett Mahoney - guitars
Duane Padilla - violin
Rusty Higgins - clarinet
Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 

I'd heard this song my whole life and most versions didn't really impress me. They were always too Broadway sounding for me. (Yes, I do realize that it's a song from a Broadway show - called Anything Goes)

I was watching the movie Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day - and there was a really swinging version played in the movie by the Lew Stone Radio Orchestra, from the 1930's. I was blown away. I could not stop playing it. The arrangement was too cool and just made me want to swing and sing.

So.. I stole it. Well, appropriated it. I loved the whole arrangement and asked my pal, Bill Svarda, to grab the main horn lines and write them into the chord chart for the guys. My plan was to have the clarinet and violin do the same lines that the horn section had done in the Lew Stone version. So it wasn't total theft.

This was the hardest song for us during our tracking session. The intro was done old style - meaning a full verse and chorus and then the song would start about a minute and a half into it. It wasn't jelling and we were all getting tired of it after a while. I almost scuttled the whole thing but pushed them to do a few more takes. (by this time, anybody left in the control room, other than the engineers, were ready to run.) The band played on and got it. We were so worn out over the song that we barley listened to it - and quickly moved to the next one.

By the way, this is one of the downsides of recording and putting an arrangement together on the spot. Most times - like 99 % of the time - the players get into a groove and the whole thing comes together nicely and magic happens. I love when that happens and I always try to set up a session so that the guys have a good chart to work with - but are free enough to make it their own. I am rarely disappointed. Most of the musicians I know like playing this way too since I am not pounding them to play an exact arrangement. It gives them room to play and be creative.

Anyway this was not one of those sessions. It was just a struggle. I was trying to make something happen and I wasn't clear enough and was just hoping that they'd hit the magic jackpot. Oh well, I learned. We got a track.

We added Rusty Higgins on clarinet the next day and I let it sit. I did not want to touch it for a long time. I did not like my vocal and was going down the bad rabbit hole until I finally asked Ginai to come in and sing on it. She came in and did the Ginai sisters - old style background vocals. It was very cool and gave the song a new life. It sounded like the 30's. I re-did my vocal and it worked.

Now - I was still dreading mixing it because it still did not feel right.. until. I woke up around 3 in the morning and had a flash - cut the long intro down. I knew exactly where to edit and I went to the computer, loaded the track and edited it. It worked and saved the song. When I brought it into Al Schmitt to mix it - he didn't have any problems with it and it flowed and sounded better than it had for the last few months. I was very relieved because I really wanted the song on the CD. I hope you like what we have done with this.

Btw.. this is the second song that I lifted from the Miss Pettigrew movie. We also did If I didn't Care. So thanks guys.. good choices.

VWPC-13-009-M.mp3: Anything Goes; 2:30

 

I REMEMBER YOU

 Patrick VW - vocals

Bill Champlin - bg vocals
Ginai - bg vocals
Lee Spath - drums
Richard Simon - bass
Harry Donahue - piano
Pierre Grill - accordion
Fred Sokolow - guitar
Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 

This song has been around for a long time, but I think the version that everybody relates to is the 1960's recording by Frank Ifield. We used to play this at parties and my old pal, Lary Diaz would sing it and have us all in a tizzy with his yodel. It was fun.

I would play this and try to sing it and I could never hit the high notes until I dropped the key - way down - and could finally get it - without the yodel part. We recorded it in E. Go ahead and try to sing down there it's a lonely place.

Harry Donahue played his rolling piano and Fred Sokolow did a great jazzy type guitar while Lee and Richard held it together on drums and bass. It worked and made it easy for me to sing.

I knew I was going to add Bill Champlin and Ginai so I was feeling comfortable with it. Just before they sang, Pierre Grill wanted to add his accordion (which had not occurred to me.) it really made the song special - as only an accordion, played by a Frenchman can do.

Bill and Ginai recorded about 10 tracks - including the high notes "you who whooooo" that everybody knows and it sounded wonderful. They then added an extra track on the last phrase and it gave it a 1950s choral sound. I loved it.

Every time I play this live - people start singing along and weaving back and forth (no, not from being drunk.) it just makes people feel good. I love the opening line "you're the one who made my dreams come true..a few kisses ago." WOW. Who writes stuff like that anymore ?

VWPC-13-010-M.mp3: I Remember You; 2:10

 

A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON

Patrick VW - vocals
Lee Spath - drums
Richard Simon - bass
Harry Donahue - piano
Fred Sokolow - guitar
Rusty Higgins - clarinet
Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 

Well, I think I was a little nuts to attempt this song - but I really liked it - so I gave it a whirl. Who really wants to cover a Louis Armstrong song ?I first remember hearing it about 30 years ago by the great Louis Armstrong and I was hooked.

Harry Donahue and I have played it for about 10 years and I've always loved how he played it. He just made it sound so easy. When I met up with Fred Sokolow, before our recording date, he told me that he also had recorded it - so I knew that I would be in good hands with these guys playing.

This was the first song of the day and I told Fred to not start singing along. We recorded a few takes and it felt nice. We added Rusty Higgins on clarinet solo and it was done.

I thought that we should just do it simply and not try to get too fancy. It worked.

VWPC-13-011-M.mp3: A Kiss to Build a Dream On; 2:57

 

WE'LL MEET AGAIN

Patrick VW - vocals
Bill Champlin - bg vocals
Ginai - bg vocals
Lee Spath - drums
Adrian Rosen - bass
Harry Donahue - piano
Pierre Grill - accordion
Duane Padilla -violin
Tommy Davy - guitar
Fred Sokolow - guitar solo
Recorded and Mixed by Al Schmitt

 

The sentiment in this song just pours out from the opening few bars. I always loved the Vera Lynn version that had such an impact on the soldiers and families from World War 2. When I heard the Ink Spots version, I really fell in love with it.

I played the song on ukulele a few times and it really felt like I should put it on the CD. I knew that it would be the closer. I also use it as my closer during live shows and people really like it. They sing along.

This was the first song of the afternoon session and we had Harry on piano and Pierre on accordion along with Duane on violin and the terrific rhythm section. We did a few takes and it felt great.

We then added Bill Champlin and Ginai and stacked their vocals up. Wow. Better than the Ink Spots and Vera Lynn. I was blown away. I even added a low part on the background vocals.

As we were mixing the song I kept thinking that I'd like the CD to sound like an old radio show (I'm delusional this way) - so we put together a little ending that sealed this recording as a corn ball trip down memory lane. You will have to listen to find out.

Although none of these songs are from my generation directly - they all have a special place in my heart. These are really from my parents generation and I'm so glad they kept playing them and singing them to us.

They are truly classy - swanky.

I hope I did them justice.

VWPC-13-012-M.mp3: We'll Meet Again; 4:05