mental indigestion

One For My Baby February 10, 2011

While researching on American Bar at The Savoy in London for a writing assignment, I became intruiged by its glittery, jazzy past. It’s no wonder that its current head bartender, Erik Lorincz, whom I interviewed a few weeks back kept talking about how he felt so privileged to be part of that legacy. In particular, I liked the stories from past head bartender Joe Gilmore, who has served up cocktails to Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Judy Garland, Julie Andrews, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Ernest Hemingway and Charlie Chaplin. I was equally stoked to learn that the “Joe”  in one of my favourite Johnny Mercer jazz songs, “One For My Baby” is that very same Joe Gilmore himself.

Frank Sinatra captures the romantic nostalgia of being a bartender perfectly with this live performance of One For My Baby. His preamble is just as poetic as his rendition.

“Some of the songs are songs of sadness, basically – unrequited love and loneliness. This is a perfect one representing that kind of description. A man in this case, a guy whose lady is gone and he’s been hurting for about a week and a half, sitting in a small room, never venturing outside, drinking up some bad booze. Then one day he says, “I’ve got enough.” He takes a walk, a stroll, about say around midnight or a little later, and he falls into a small bar, where only the barman is there. He’s just looking for somebody to talk to. By the way, he’s slightly bummed, didja ever get that way? No? Nobody? Aw, c’mon now.”

It’s quarter to three,
There’s no one in the place ‘cept you and me
So set ’em up Joe
I got a little story I think you oughtta know

We’re drinking my friend
To the end of a brief episode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

I know the routine
Put another quarter in that machine
I’m feeling kind of bad
Won’t you make the music easy and sad

I could tell you a lot
But it’s not in a gentleman’s code
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

You’d never know it
But buddy I’m a kind of poet
And I’ve got a lot of things I wanna say
And if I become gloomy, please listen to me
Till it’s all, all talked away

Well, that’s how it goes
And Joe I know you’re gettin’ anxious to close
So thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn’t mind
My bending your ear

But this torch that I found
It’s gotta be drowned
Or it soon might explode
So make it one for my baby
And one more for the road