I wants to beg for chance just to camp by his door


The song “Porgy” was written by Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (words) for the hit Broadway musical revue Lew Leslie’s Blackbirds of 1928. I published a page today on the song, in response to a request from a visitor. Here’s a link to the new page:

Porgy (McHugh. Fields) – © 1928

From Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields and the American Musical, Charlotte Greenspan (2010), Chapter 4 “Give My Refrains to Broadway,” p. 48:

A different slice of southern black life is offered in the song “Porgy.” Dorothy Heyward and DuBose Heyward based their play Porgy on DuBose’s eponymous novel of 1925. The Theatre Guild produced the play, which opened on Broadway in October 1927, just a few months before Dorothy Fields’s first songs were heard in the Cotton Club. She may well have seen Porgy as part of her research into black turns of speech. Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, following their success with Show Boat, had considered writing a musical version of Porgy, which would have had Al Jolson as its star, but they did not follow through with this plan. George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess opened in 1935, seven years after McHugh and Fields wrote the song “Porgy.” A second engagement of the play Porgy opened at the Republic Theater on May 28, 1928 less than two weeks after Blackbirds of 1928 had opened.


Recordings included in the page:

  • Ethel Waters — recorded on 1 April 1930; originally issued on Columbia 2184D, c/w “(What did I do to be so) Black and Blue”
  • Auld-Hawkins-Webster Saxtet — recorded in NYC on 17 May 1944; issued on Apollo Records 754, as the B-side of “Pick-Up Boys” (Leonard Feather)
  • Adelaide Hall — radio transcription, 1945(?)
  • Louis Prima and his Orchestra, vocal: Lilyann Carol  —  issued in June 1946 on the 78 rpm single Majestic 1051, as the B-side of “Boogie in Chicago” (Louis Prima); recording date disagreement: March 1946 (Discogs.com), April 1946 (78discography.com, 45Worlds.com); VBR MP3 files, archive.org
  • Chris Barber’s Jazz Band with Ottilie Patterson ‎– originally issued on the 1955 album Echoes Of Harlem, (UK) Pye Nixa NJL 1, Pye Nixa NJL.1
  • Anita Ellis — originally released on her 1957 album Hims, Epic LN 3914
  • Teddi King — from her 1957 album A Girl and Her Songs, RCA Victor LPM-1454
  • Abbey Lincoln — from the 1957 album That’s Him!, Riverside RLP 12-251, recorded in NYC on 28 October 1957 — An alternate take (take 1) was released on the 1988 CD reissue of the album, and also included on the compilation album La chanteuse de jazz idéale, released in 1996 in France on the Wea Music label.
    • take 1
  • Nina Simone — recorded at the Newport Jazz Festival, 30 June 1960; released on the 1960 album Nina At Newport, Colpix Records CP 412 (Mono) SCP 412 (Stereo) — For unknown reasons, some pressings of the album give the title of the song as “Blues For Porgy” on both the back of the album cover and the label.
  • Dakota Staton — originally issued on her 1974 album Ms. Soul, Groove Merchant GM 532

web stats

%d bloggers like this: