June 14, 2024

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The tick-tock of Bob Dorough’s career can be found and elsewhere in obits: Photos, Videos

Bob Dorough, who began his jazz career in the early 1950s as a pianist and arranger, and expanded to singing and composing songs laced with sardonic wit and puns, died on April 23. He was 94.

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Dorough in the late 1950s was part of an ever-expanding group of clever creative writers who wound up in comedy, television and advertising. Steeped in jazz, either as players or aficionados, and deft with words and dry observational humor, this generation of waggish lyricists and satirist writers included Dave Frishberg (Dorough’s frequent songwriting partner), Fran Landesman, Stan Freberg, Tom Lehrer, Allan Sherman and Mose Allison. In fact, Dorough may have had the most in common with Allison. Both had Southern backgrounds; both picked cotton in their youth; both sang with a hushed, confidential croon; and both wrote songs that poked fun at the absurdity of everyday life with lyrics that fit together like a shuffled deck of cards.

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Among Dorough’s best-known songs are Devil May Care, I’m Hip(with lyrics by Frishberg), Blue Xmas, You’re the Dangerous Type, I’ve Got Just About Everything, Comin’ Home Baby and songs for his Schoolhouse Rock! series that helped children remember the rules of math and grammar.

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The tick-tock of Dorough’s career can be found and elsewhere in obits. Instead, I’d rather share my favorite tracks illustrating Dorough’s gifts as a pianist-arranger and singer-songwriter:

Here’s Dorough piano and arrangement of I Hear a Rhapsodyfrom The Sam Most Quartet + 2 in 1953…

lmost Like Being in Love, featuring Dorough on piano with bassist Buddy Banks, flutist Bobby Jaspar and guitarist Jimmy Gourley in Paris in 1954…

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Here’s Sam Most and Dorough on Obvious Conclusion from Musically Yours in 1956…

Dorough’s arrangement of Love Is Just Around the Cornerfor singer Betty Blake in 1960, with Dorough on piano…

Dorough singing Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice It’s Alrightin 1966…

Here’s Dorough singing and playing his arrangement of his composition I’ve Got Just About Everything in 2011…

Dorough with Miles Davis on the Landesman-Dorough song Nothing Like You Has Even Been Seen Before in 1962…

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