Here we have two versions of one of my favorite Mae West songs, “A Guy What Takes His Time.”
The first version was recorded in 1933, and is available on several of the common Mae West CDs. She sings the song in the movie “She Done Him Wrong,” although it is highly cropped due to film censorship. Watching Mae sing these songs in her films is strange… she rolls her eyes and smiles as she purrs “ooooh,” and it sounds really weird.
The second version I don’t like so much. I found this 1950s Mae West record “The Fabulous Mae West,” which features a few of her hits re-recorded, as well as some new-ish songs. The production just doesn’t suit her. Her songs are better when presented more simply… one would imagine them being performed in a sleazy saloon or nightclub. Singing with a big full band doesn’t have the same effect. In the 1930s version of “A Guy What Takes His Time,” the character singing is Lady Lou (aka Diamond Lil.) In the 1950s version, the character singing is Mae West. By the time she recorded it she was already pushing 60 years of age.
Pick up Mae West “I’m No Angel,” from the amazing Venerable Music site, to hear this and some other great Mae songs.
Also, check out the Mae West blog, which is basically my favorite blog ever.