59. I Get Along Without You Very Well – Chet Baker – 1954






I Get Along Without You Very Well” is a popular song composed by Hoagy Carmichael in 1939, with lyrics based on a poem written by Jane Brown Thompson. Thompson’s identity as the author of the poem was for many years unknown; she died the night before the song was introduced on radio by Dick Powell.

It appears on Chet Baker‘s 1954 album Chet Baker Sings.

On Hoagy Carmichael’s well-loved song-as on the rest of its parent album, Baker is accompanied by just piano, bass and drums, although on this occasion he plays no trumpet. It is a poignant performance, its seemingly effortless simplicity hiding considerable technique

Baker’s emotionally restrained singing is musical in the proper sense. His bel canto-tenor vocals are achieved with perfect breath control and relaxation, his notes completely in tune, his phrases perfectly measured throughout.


  • Howard Hoagland “Hoagy” Carmichael is best known for composing the music for “Stardust“, “Georgia on My Mind“, “The Nearness of You“, and “Heart and Soul“, four of the most-recorded American songs of all time.
  • The biggest-selling version was a 1939 recording by Red Norvo and his orchestra (vocal by Terry Allen).
  • Carmichael and Jane Russell performed the song in the 1952 film noir The Las Vegas Story.
  • Baker had first made his mark in 1952 on America’s west coast, where he partnered baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan in a piano-less quartet, an unusual lineup that matched his light and airy notes with the gruff harrumphing of a baritone sax underscored by bass and drums to surprisingly balletic effect.
  • The idea that Baker might then sing on some tracks came from his record label boss, Dick Bock “I encouraged him to sing and it turned out he had an exceptional talent for it”.

3 responses »

  1. I need to get into this dude more, I love how much space there is in the songs I’ve heard so far that he weaves his melody through, with such sparse accompaniment.

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