Wednesday, July 31, 2013

T'ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Disco

I first became entranced by Tain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do (written in the early 1920s by Porter Grainger and Everett Robbins) at the same time that Diana Ross (as Billie Holiday in the film Lady Sings The Blues) became entranced with it. Since 1972, I have amassed almost one hundred different versions of the song that tells you everything you need to know about life in eight bars. This includes tracks by Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Fats Waller, Abbey Lincoln, Billie Holiday, Diana Ross, Jimmy Witherspoon, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Dinah Washington, Wynton Marsalis, Cher, John Mayer, The Ink Spots and Dante's Inferno.

And damn if the version by that last artist isn't a disco anthem that has never been uploaded to YouTube!

Dante's Inferno was a disco group created by Ron Dante, the lead singer and producer of Sugar Sugar by The Archies and co-producer of Barry Manilow's biggest hit albums from the 1970s. Leave it to the white bread man behind the hit version of I Write The Songs to create a disco version of one of the blackest songs ever written. So, in its WORLD INTERNET PREMIERE, a deep cut from the self-titled LP Dante's Inferno (which did have a burnin' hit single called Fire Island), the much valued disco version of T'ain't Nobody's Biz-ness If I Do.

Betty Grable and Bob Hope courtesy of the 1945 short film, All Star Bond Rally

Although the lyrics have been modified in many of the versions, here they are as I learned them.
There ain't nothing I can do, nothing I can say
That folks don't criticize me
But I'm goin' do what I want to anyway
And I don't care if they despise me
If I should take a notion
To jump into the ocean
'T ain't nobody's bizness if I do
If I go to church on Sunday
Then cabaret all day Monday
Ain't nobody's bizness if I do
If my friend ain't got no money
And I say "take all mine, honey"
'T ain't nobody's bizness if I do
If I give him my last nickel
And it leaves me in a pickle
'T ain't nobody's bizness if I do
I'd rather my man would hit me
Than for him jump up and quit me
'T ain't nobody's bizness if I do
I swear I won't call no copper
If I'm beat up by my poppa
'T ain't nobody's bizness if I do
Other tracks from the Dante's Inferno LP are already online - disco versions of Fats Waller's Ain't Misbehavin' and They're Playing Our Song, title song from the Broadway musical.