Composer Saul Chaplin and lyricist Johnny Mercer crafted their song score for the film Merry Andrew to its flamboyant star, Danny Kaye, and to his character, a British teacher attracted to the circus (and, specifically, to a certain circus performer). Songs like "The Pipes of Pan" and "The Square of the Hypotenuse" found Kaye conducting musical school lessons, while "Chin Up -- Stout Fellow," a song reminiscent of Gershwin's "The Babbitt and the Bromide," treated all things British. Mercer brought his gift for wordplay to the proceedings. ("Brittania rules the waves, but never waves the rules," went a line in "Chin Up -- Stout Fellow.") But some of his accomplishments, such as setting a geometry lesson to verse, were more admirable than actually enjoyable, and Chaplin's melodies were only serviceable. Kaye chewed as much scenery as usual, accompanied by various children and Betty Wand dubbing the voice of onscreen ingénue Pier Angeli on the sole ballad "You Can't Always Have What You Want." The song score only added up to six numbers, not enough for an LP, so Capitol Records looked back through its catalog and came up with conductor Billy May's 1950 10" disc "Bozo's Circus Band," which was renamed Music of the Big Top Circus Band and deposited on the second side of the album.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
|Merry Andrew, musical play|