Sweet Bye and Bye was a musical collaboration with music by Vernon Duke and lyrics by Ogden Nash, with the book by S.J. Perelman and Al Hirschfeld. Unfortunately, the book authors and the songwriters weren't able to work together all that well and the play flopped during tryouts before ever reaching Broadway. When the play was uncovered from the Warner Bros. archives, none of the orchestrations were located -- only piano-vocal manuscripts survived. Funding was obtained for Jason Carr to create a new orchestration for this world premiere recording, while vocal arrangements and text were added as well. Producer Tommy Krasker assembled a talented cast of vocalists and instrumentalists with Eric Stern conducting, yet the project still remains less than satisfying. None of Duke's music measures up to his better-known compositions (which include "April in Paris," "Autumn in New York," "I Can't Get Started," and "Taking a Chance on Love") because the melodies are unlikely to stick in one's mind. Nash's nominally amusing lyrics try hard but often fall flat. Fans of 1940s musicals may want to investigate this release as a historical curiosity, but it will be clear to most listeners as to why this project never made it past the tryout period, in spite of numerous rewrites.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden
|Sweet Bye and Bye|