Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Tag Archives: Ella

I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good) (click on link to hear the song)
Amy Barlow (vocals) and Stuart Watarz (piano)
Music by Duke Ellington; lyrics by Ned Washington (used by permission of their estates)


Those well-known, well-worn songs
of Ellington, Gershwin, Mercer
My primer, my guide from childhood

I wanted to make them my own so
I read the lyrics poetically first
before I sang them; I grew them inside

myself, within the deep chambers
of mystery, of smoky romance
and infectious delight

I never sang a song
the same way twice, but
I tried to get it right

Not trite, this advice to
younger singers: Read the song
first, listen to the lyricist

Don’t imitate, it grates
and you will sound over-rehearsed
and you will be dismissed as a poser

Don’t listen to Ella. Ever.
She embeds in your head and
will be artist-in-residence

Sing it. From the sole of your shoes,
from the fire in your heart,
from the orgasmic desire

Though the song was written
before you were born,
know in your heart that

there’s your version waiting
to be sung from your POV
Blow your horn, baby

and give out like there’s
no turning back,
no way out

cuz there isn’t. Once you’re
lost yourself in a classic…
you’re where you need to be

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

For dverse Open Mic Night. “Standards” are the jazz tunes every good musician and singer knows before accepting a gig. As Time Goes By, Fly Me To The Moon, Embraceable You, … then there is the second, special tier of songs not on “the list” but that earn a singer points with the band members for knowing them… Lush Life, I Cover the Waterfront, Cottage for Sale.

The song on the media player is a standard; however, this is the complete version with both full verses, so it straddles the two tiers above. This version makes more sense, because it deals with the weekend, THEN “when the weekend’s over.” I cut my teeth on these songs, and I hope you like this version, from my CD, “Jazz Baby Hits Her Stride,” available for download HERE.