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Remembers Songs of WWII   Sound Samples:
Daddy (MP3)
I'll Be Seeing You (MP3)
As Time Goes By (MP3)
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SONGMUSIC/LYRICS
My Shining Hour Harold Arlen & Johnny Mercer
He Wears A Pair Of Silver Wings Michael Carr & Eric Maschwitz
Moonlight Becomes You James Van Heusen & Johnny Burke
A Sleepy Lagoon Eric Coates & Jack Lawrence
Daddy: Sound Sample Bobby Troup
I'll Be Seeing You: Sound Sample Sammy Fain & Irving Kahal
Be Careful It's My Heart Irving Berlin
A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening Jimmy McHugh & Harold Adamson
Tangerine Victor Schertzinger & Johnny Mercer
I Left My Heart At The Stagedoor Canteen Irving Berlin
As Time Goes By: Sound Sample Herman Hupfeld
It's Been A Long Long Time Julie Styne & Sammy Kahn
I'll Be Around Alec Wilder
I'll Never Smile Again / There Are Such Things Ruth Lowe / Stanley Adams, George Meyer & Abel Baer
I'll Walk Alone Julie Styne & Sammy Cahn
I'll Be Home For Christmas Walter Kent, Kim Gannon, & Buck Ram
When The Lights Go On Again / We'll Meet Again E. Seiler, Sol Marcus & B. Benjemen / Ross Clarke & Charles Hugh

As a group, the songs of World War II are—virtually by acclamation—classics in the annals of popular music. They are because the melodies and lyrics are somehow magnetic, carrying us along with the music, They feel right. Phrases progress with a kind of inevitableness, to which we respond "Yes!"

This body of musical work was born in response to needs of the time. It served those needs well, helping to bring us together in a time of great upheaval. In subject matter and in character, the songs articulated and touched the very core of our collective wartime concerns—love, loneliness, longing. And—always—hope.

Add to the genius of the music, the turmoil, urgency, and emotional intensity of the period in which it originated, and this makes the music particularly memorable—and nostalgic—to those who experienced the relevant era.

Do the titles alone—Moonlight Becomes You; I Left My Heart At The Stagedoor Canteen; I'll Walk Alone; A Sleepy Lagoon; There Are Such Things; I'll Never Smile Again; Tangerine; As Time Goes By; It's Been A Long, Long Time; My Shining Hour; I'll Be Home For Christmas; When The Lights Go On Again; We'll Meet Again—set your heartstrings aglow again ? Stir long dormant memories into the light again? Then, chances are, you are among those of us who count the World War II years as our years. In all likelihood, the music herein is indelibly inscribed somewhere deep inside you, a cherished part of the memory bank of youth. If so, after only a few brief measures of Jim Haskins' artfully interpreted renditions, the power of the music may instantly evoke feelings hauntingly near those of original experience.

These nineteen songs that Jim places before you now, all outstanding hits at the time, have proved enduringly valid for half a century now. It's eminently fitting that we should celebrate the spirit of this time—our time—with the release of this collection. As always with Jim's cocktail piano, it comes with the admonition, "Sit back/ Just enjoy." No doubt about it, this is for you—it's your time, your music.

THE ARTIST DURING WORLD WAR II
Not quite a teenager when Pearl Harbor was emblazoned on the consciousness of the country, Jim Haskins' memories of World War II center largely on the world of men and machines: trains and tanks, convoys and Army Air Corps cadets—but also on canteens where homesick servicemen danced with local girls and where music was delivered via "an old upright in the front room and a juke-box in the dance hall behind."

For Jim, the war's epicenter was Union City, Tennessee, which—like every other city and hamlet in the nation—was 100 percent war-focused. "It was, " says he, "an exciting time for a kid to grow up/" The war effort afforded everyone an opportunity—and an obligation—to participate. As the earnest recipient of a chestful of merit badges, Jim "proudly rallied to the call when city fathers solicited the Boy Scouts to help guide a troop convoy through town. An important event for us, it made us feel that we were part of the big picture, that we were contributing to the cause.

"As the war got underway and home town boys began to leave, the war churn-up brought many new people into our town, They all seemed to be in motion, coming and going, servicemen galore, on buses and trains and on highways hitchhiking. If you had room in your car, of course you gave them a ride. In my mind's eye I still see endless train loads of military trucks and tanks, fresh from factories up North, passing through Union City, as they Headed south to Mobile and overseas.

"Union City had a primary training airfield for army Air Corps cadets. On most days the skies over the neighboring farmlands were full of Stearman two-seater biplanes. We were captivated by the flamboyance of flight and the fashion of pilot icons: silver wings, crumpled hats, leather jackets, and white scarves. To the young at home, the image was pure romance, consummate hero, In addition to the biplanes, there was a base for the mighty flying fortresses just 40 miles south of us. Long before they became legendary, we knew these planes were in a class by themselves. We could feel it when we heard the deep penetrating drone of ten, sometimes twenty, of these airborne monsters flying in formation. This never failed to fill me with a sense of awe—awe that was part power recognition, part dread, and part promise.

By the second half of the war, the musically gifted young teenager was beginning to explore music in multi-layers. Afternoons, after school, he haunted Dungan's, Union City's only record store. "There on the second floor," remembers Jim, "in a tiny nook I spent hours in the record booth, where we were allowed to sample the latest releases. How wonderful were those first listenings to Harry James—and others. I probably got more inspiration there than anywhere else, cocooned in the beloved booth, being nourished by all the new music of the era as it was being released.

"Musically, the most fun I had was playing piano downtown on Friday and Saturday nights at the American Legion Hall canteen. This was the action headquarters for the high school kids as well as the servicemen. On that old upright I played all the popular songs—learning by ear—and had a great time. As our high school had no band or music program, there were no other instrumentalists for me to share the spotlight with. I developed an abiding comfort level playing solo, relishing the freedom it gave me to interpret the number my way. This was a preference that would never change."

Meanwhile, Jim was also addressing music along more structured and formal lines. And it cost him some sleep. Saturday mornings at five o'clock, he boarded a bus for the three-hour drive to Memphis, where he studied under distinguished pianist Susie Laverne DeShazo (herself a pupil of the renowned French pianist Alfred Cortot). Under DeShazo's tutelage Jim gained an essential foundation in the classics. This would prove invaluable to him as he honed his own signature style.

Also, in Memphis, not too far from the DeShazo studio, a considerably different kind of musical attraction was to exert a powerful pull on Jim. It began one defining evening in 1994, when Jim's father took him to dine at The Skyway, a lustrous supper club atop the Peabody Hotel and arguably the most in place in the Mid-South to celebrate any occasion. The atmosphere was heady as the main act—big band music—sent dancers onto the floor. Jim was duly impressed. Then, at break time, the pace changed as a single, tuxedo-clad pianist moved into the spotlight, sat down at the grand piano and began to play captivating songs of the time in a rich, smooth, sophisticated style.

It was Jim's introduction to cocktail piano. For him, it was a moment of affirmation. And it proved pivotal. The magic mix—an intimate meeting place, a solo pianist rendering melodies in mood mellifluous—cast a spell that was to hold Jim captive a lifetime, a spell that decades later would reach out to charm Jim's own audiences.

Liner notes by Mazeppa King Costa

Try out the sound samples, order a copy, and plan your next party.

Cocktail Piano I

Cocktail Piano II

Cocktail Piano III

Cocktail Piano IV

Cocktail Piano V

Cocktail Piano VI

Cocktail Piano VII

"By Request" Cocktail Piano 8

"You Must Believe In Spring" Cocktail Piano 9

"Sentimental Journey" Cocktail Piano 10

"When October Goes" Cocktail Piano 11

"Four Seasons" Cocktail Piano 12

"A Time For Love" Cocktail Piano 13

“So Nice To Come To” Cocktail Piano 14

“NEW YORK, NEW YORK” Cocktail Piano 15"Our Newest"

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NEW Discount package for any 15 albums "The Greatest Generation Collection"


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