Saturday Single No. 695

Well, it’s Independence Day, or as they may refer to it in Great Britain, Treason Day.

(Admission: I get mightily peeved in the weeks leading up to today’s holiday when folks who should know better – writers, reporters both print and broadcast, and editors – refer to the holiday as only July Fourth or the Fourth of July. That’s a date, folks. It’s an informal way of referring to the holiday, but the name of the holiday is Independence Day. Use it. Look, I know “independence” is a long word, but deal with it. Be pros. Get it right!)

Rant over.

I’ve long had in my collection of 45s an Everest release, “Independence Day Hora/Like A Young Man,” and I’ve wondered about it ever since it showed up in the early 1960s in one of those “thirteen records for a buck” bags that my sister used to buy at Dayton’s in downtown Minneapolis. I’ve never bothered to look it up until today.

Turns out that the songs come from a 1961 Broadway musical, Milk and Honey, the tales of two American widows touring Israel. The book and music were by Jerry Herman, and the musical earned several Tony nominations (but won none).

The tune on the A-side of the record, it turns out, is one that helps the characters in the musical celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. Given the perfidy of numerous Israeli actions in recent years, there’s a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth as I proceed, but the musical was set in 1961, so we’ll go on. After all, in 1961, neither Herman nor those involved in producing the musical nor the musicians who recorded the 45 in my collection had any idea how Israel would lose its way in the years to come. (Had that nation already lost its way in 1961? I don’t know.)

Beyond all that, it’s the musicians who recorded the Everest single that make it more interesting this morning: Wild Bill Davis, a pianist, organist and arranger; and trumpeter Charlie Shavers. Each has an impressive list of credits at discogs.com and Wikipedia. I imagine I should know more about the two of them than I do. Maybe I’ll take the time to do so, but I fear that like so many other musicians about whom I learn a trifle, their names will fade and I will forget.

The duo also released “Independence Day Hora” and “Like A Young Man” on the 1961 album The Music From Milk & Honey. From what I can tell with a fairly cursory search this morning, neither the album nor the single made any charts.

Anyway, leaving behind all the contradictions and questions, here’s “Independence Day Hora” by Wild Bill Davis and Charlie Shavers. It’s today’s Saturday Single.

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