Ballad Style -- Polka Style -- March Style
Smooth, even, full, strong, voluminous and penetrating are only a few of the adjectives that can be used in describing the voice of Darlene Hayes. In addition, she is first off a lady, and then an accomplished pianist, an accomplished arranger and a full range vocalist. She is a true prima donna, but without any of the undesirable side effects prima donnas are so often accused of possessing. She is easy to work with. She has no temper. She is patient, agreeable and most cooperative. She is a talent that will go places in the musical world.|
The flexibility of her voice manifests itself in this album, and this is her first effort, but will not be her last. The mellifluence of her voice will be heard again in the Arpaia Sound VI which is currently being contemplated.
The six ballads on the A-side of this album are different from each other in style, type, rhythm, quality and motif. They cover a range of emotions and feelings from the actual life story of the hat check girl in "Sunset On The Sea" to a segment of the war weary days of the composer's life. In this association the composer spent two years in war torn Italy during World War II, where it was at once cold, hot, wet, sunny and humid, and at the same time savage, unpredictable, perlious, insecure and continuously threatening, but likewise; among the shambles and shattered debris, and the bullets, bombs and deprivation there was culture, beauty, heart, love and loyalty; and in "They Won't Go Away," the composer revolves in his memory an unforgettable love affair he had with an Italian lovely, which memories continue to haunt him to this day.
"Tandereney," and "Dreams Why Are You So Unfair" are the very apotheosis of contrast. "I Am Blue Over You" is a feelingly deep love ballad with all the hurt and sadness that real love can fathom, and finally, "Lovely, Happy You And Me" is a light, happy jazz number that makes the heart beat with joy and the feet want to dance.
But above all, these six ballads are beautifully, flawlessly, ingeniously and most remarkably sung by the very lovely Darlene Hayes.
The "Chicago Red Letter Day March" is a product more of the heart than of the pen. The composer of this beautiful and expressive march first set foot in the City of Chicago on January 24, 1934 with a total of $14.00 in his pocket and all of his earthly possessions in a battered gladstone bag. It was mid-winter and the country was in the midst of the great depression. He was wearing a hand-me-down top coat and he did not own a pair of gloves. He had been attending college in Boston but was obliged to quit for financial reasons. For the first three days it took the broken down bus to make Chicago from Boston he drank coffee and ate doughnuts.
He came to Chicago because he had a brother and sister-in-law already living there to whom he was devoted and attached. Through them he was able to get some help. He himself worked at menial jobs, and somehow, by a twist of fate he was enrolled in Law School at the mid-year term, and as rough and as tough as the going was, he now says that those days were thoroughly memorable and that Chicago as a city had there and then gotten into his blood. He maintains to this very day, that the greatest thrill of his entire lifetime, and he has had many thrills since then, was on that day in March 1937 when he received notification that he had passed the Illinois Bar examination.
The years that followed were indeed exciting, interesting, adventuresome and dramatic all of which caused Chicago to be indelibly part of his life blood.
He still enjoys watching, "skirts that twirl on windy days" and all the other many wonderful things about the wonderful City of "broad shoulders".
The composer of "Sunset On The Sea" was the U.S. Naval Gunnery Officer aboard the U.S.A.T. Dorchester -- the first troopship torpedoed in World War II.
Aboard the Dorchester were the four Army Chaplains whose fame is now legend.
Six hundred ninety four soliders, sailors and civilians lost their lives. There were a few more than 200 survivors.
The Dorchester was torpedoed on February 3, 1943, 55 minutes past midnight, 80 mile from the fjord which led into Bluie West One Greenland. The agony, the pain, and the bitter experiences of the survivors is another story.
I spent 2 weeks in an Army Hospital in Greenland, where I recovered sufficiently from frozen hands and feet, to be returned Stateside. Upon my arrival in Chicago, I devoted my 30 days survivorship leave in assisting the Industrail Incentive Division of the U.S. Navy by making speeches in war plants in and around Chicago.
One night, with some fellow officers, I went to a Rush Street night club. I checked my hat and coat with the hat check girl. She was a sad faced brunette with dark eyes. When she returned with my check she seized me by the wrist and in an hysterical sob, said: "Lieutenant, I saw your name in your hat. My husband was on the Dorchester. Please, please, tell me what happened to him."
She told me that the Navy had reported him missing in action.
I knew he was dead, but I could not tell her so. Instead, I tried to placate her as best I could and rejoined my fellow officers with a lump in my throat.
The memory of that lovely girl writhing in mental pain on that bleak March night revolved in my mind for years.
That was in March of 1943. In February of 1970, I was interviewed by Wally Phillips telephonically on his morning show. Later that day, I received a call from this hat check girl. She was still grieving over the loss of her husband. She told me that after the war, she made a trip overseas by ship; that the Sunsets at Sea fascinated her and that every evening while the sun was setting, she would look at the ocean and wonder where down there he lay.
I do not know her name; I asked her no questions. She did tell me that she never re-married and that she was leaving Chicago for good; that Chicago had been unkind to her.
With that haunting memory of that dramatic moment in March of 1943 and based upon what she told me telephonically in February of 1970, I wrote the music and lyrics to "Sunset On The Sea."
Accordingly, this song is dedicated to the hat check girl, whoever she is, and wherever she may be.
Wm. Howard Arpaia
The following are some observational scrapes originally written by the composer for whatever use the D.J.'s care to make of them:
-- Wm. H. Arpaia