Patuxent CD-158 Ericka Ovette & Runy Hayes - sassy & Bessie
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A recently departed Sarah finds herself listening to a band and sipping a cocktail in the Paradise Lounge. As she wonders where she is and how she got there, the band plays Body and Soul. She recognizes the song and joins in with the band. There is a commotion at the entrance and in struts Bessie Smith singing Gimme a Pigfoot. Sassy recognizes Bessie, who explains that she’s been sent to help Sassy earn her “feather boa.” (Wings are for squares…)
But first Sassy has to figure out the lessons of her life on earth. Bessie encourages Sassy to talk about her life.
Sassy begins with her induction into the Earl Hines band, singing East of the Sun. Bessie responds with the story of her own first musical experiences and sings Young Woman Blues. Sassy then recalls the help and encouragement she received from other band members, and sings I Didn’t Know What Time It Was. The two singers compare their experiences in the racial climate of their times. Bessie describes with pride how she once faced the Klan down at an integrated show, and sings ’Tain’t Nobody’s Bizness If I Do.
Sassy tells of her romantic involvement with her manager, George Treadwell, who helped her develop from an awkward but talented young girl into the beautiful, sophisticated, and very successful Sarah Vaughan. She sings You’re Mine, You, and wistfully recounts how the romance—
and the business arrangements—went sour. Bessie commiserates, sharing her own troubles with Jack Gee, her husband and business manager. Bessie sings A Good Man Is Hard To Find. She then sings about the hard times after the crash of ’29 in Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out.
When Bessie tells Sassy about the real love in her life, Richard Morgan, Sassy responds wistfully with There Are Such Things. Sassy explains that she never found lasting love with any man. She sings Sophisticated Lady. Bessie comforts Sassy, saying that although Sarah never found Mr. Right, she had a lot of love inside her and her music inspired love in others. Sassy agrees happily with I’ve Got The World On A String. Bessie then describes her personal and professional plans for the mid-’30s. She sings Tea For Two and explains that her plans were interrupted when she was killed in an automobile accident. She asks Sassy if she remembers what she was thinking on her way up to the Paradise Lounge. Sassy recalls looking at the stars and comparing them to the smiling faces in all the audiences she has ever sung for. After singing So Many Stars, she concludes she lived and loved through music. Bessie embraces her and tells her that she has earned her boa. A delighted Sassy and Bessie reprise Tea For Two.