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Bebop Spoken There

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Saturday, September 03, 2016

Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You – A Love Song?

Love makes me treat you the way that I do
Gee baby, ain’t  I good to you
There’s nothin’ too good for a girl that’s so true
Gee baby, ain’t  I good to you
Bought you a fur coat for Christmas, a diamond ring
A Cadillac car, and everything
Love makes me treat you the way that I do
Gee baby, ain’t I good to you.
(lyrics Don Redman and Andy Razaf;  music Don Redman)

I’m prompted to write about this set of lyrics after having a conversation with a colleague from Indigo Jazz Voices, who said that she considered this to be a love song. I did too, until I examined the words. The giver of the gifts shows up his true motives in the self-congratulatory line ‘Gee baby, ain’t I good to you’. Is he a sugar Daddy, expecting utter praise and devotion in return? Or maybe just a very demanding younger lover?  The gifts listed, fur coat etc are over the top.  It is as if the lover was trying to ‘buy’ the girl. ‘and everything’ emphasises this, although this may have been a chance rhyme to go with ‘ring’, who knows? ‘Love makes me treat you the way that I do’ is highly ironic, as the lover’s motive is not love at all.
What happens if you substitute ‘boy’ instead of ‘girl’ in the line ‘There’s nothing too good for a boy that’s so true?’ Interesting, and feasible in these days when some women earn more than men. Is she trying to bully him into marriage with the diamond ring? Is the ring necessarily an engagement ring? Am I reading far too much into what appears, at first sight, to be a straightforward lyric?
The song is a fascinating challenge to sing, trying to get the ‘sleazy’ feel across.  I sometimes add bits at the end, such as ‘cos I say so’, but maybe that is a cop out, as the original words should speak for themselves. It’s a great song to sing, especially with a 12/8 bluesy feel.  I like to think of the Blues as sadness with attitude.
I’d love to read about how other people interpret this song on BSH.
Ann Alex

4 comments :

Hilary Say (on F/b) said...

I remember the lovely Pete Gascoigne singing this...x

Lance said...

I found a couple of Cherry B's and a packet of Cheese and Onion crisps to be more cost effective but, maybe I was operating in a different league!

Liz said...

Denys loved this number, I find it hard to fathom, is he questioning her love for him now that he has showered her with these goodies? Maybe she has given him the brush off...who knows? still a good song, and yes Lance, whatever it took in those far off days eh?

Steve Andrews said...

In the original words as sung by Don Redman, it's a "Packard Coupe" (pron. coop), not a Caddie........... I read somewhere that this song and others composed and recorded by Redman in 1929, such as "The Way I Feel Today", and "Miss Hannah" were the result of his unrequited love for the said Miss Hannah, so perhaps it WAS meant as a love song, rather than the song of a demanding sugar daddy?