Monday, 1 April 2019

WEST COAST NOSTALGIA: Al Jolson sings 'CALI (-fornia)'

Post #197                                                                                             
ORIGINAL SONG: "Swanee" 1919, music by George Gershwin, aged 20 at that point; lyrics by Irving Caesar; notably recorded by Al Jolson in 1920 and immediately became a major hit. (By today's standard, political incorrectness exudes from the YouTube video.)  Note that "California, Here I Come" 1924, often called 'the unofficial state song' of California, is a totally different creation, although popularized by the same artist.

For reference, the original song is shown with ukulele chords at the bottom of the post.   

PARODY COMPOSED: Giorgio Coniglio, April 2019; following a trip to California, photos were added to the verse-slides.

CALI  (-fornia)

(to the tune of Gershwin and Jolson's "Swanee")

CA’s your postal designation – 
Confusion for this old Canuck.
But I recall     
Having a ball                              
(As a kid down there I'd snuck).

I’m going back as an old codger,
To see my son in academe.
The kid’s no fool,     
In graduate school;
Together we’ll explore this meme.

Cali, how I love ya, how I love ya,
My dear old Cali.  
I’d give my URL to be                           
Among the geeks in S-I-L-I-C-O-N,     
That’s ‘Valley’. I could groove there! 
Should I move there? Silicon Valley.
To folks back home, I’ll  e-mail or post 
When I get to that old West Coast.

Muni, Muni
‘Round San Francisco: Muni.
Silicon Valley -
BART’s where I’ll leave my heart.

Cali: Fillmore Jazz and Alcatraz,
In my dear old Cali.  
Historic trolleys - fun
And cable cars climb halfway to the sun     
Or Santa Clara (San Jose – I lost my way!) 
There’s Jack Kerouac Alley
The City Lights will  be within reach 
At Little Italy / North Beach. 

Muni, Muni
I’ll fill my ‘Clipper’, Muni.
(They won’t take twonies)
BART’s where I’ll leave my heart.

Cali, here I come, I’ll sing and strum, 
'Bout my dear old Cali.  
('Cause when I'm gone I'll mourn                           
Not being there in C-A-L-I California.)     
Cali: How to get there? 
I could jet there! I’ll need to rally.
To folks back east, sure, I’ll brag and I’ll boast,
When I go to that West Coast, 
I'll dally at the best coast, 
When I go that old West Coast.

UKULELE-FRIENDLY FORMAT (and guitar, too!)
(Click on any chord-chart slide to move to 'song-presentation mode'; then navigate through thumbnails at bottom of page.)

C-tuned Ukulele specifics:
C+5 = 1003;  Cm = 0333;  G#7 = 1323;  Dm7 = 2213;  G7sus = 0213;  Dm6 = 2212. 


The original song appears to have been parodied only occasionally. Nonetheless, readers may be quite interested to review a parody concocted in 2005 by 'Airfarcewon' on AmIRight, a song-lyrics website with almost 90,000 entries.
Lyrics for the song "Salami" can be found here.

(click on any verse chart to move to thumbnail selection mode; this will allow you to compare the original with the parody-song at your ease)

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