Songs by Mischa Spoliansky and Kiss & Tell

Melinda Hughes graduated with Honours from The Maastricht Conservatory of Music, the Netherlands then as a postgraduate from The Royal College of Music, London. She spent a year at The Brussels Opera studio and for two years she toured Europe with The André Rieu Strauss Orchestra as a soloist. She has sung over fifteen of the major Lyric operatic roles in over forty countries. In 2007 she formed Kiss & Tell Cabaret with co-writers Jeremy Limb and Lloyd Evans.

"A couple of years ago I was searching for new material to perform. I had heard a few Spoliansky songs but couldn’t find any sheet music.Luckily Geraldine Auerbach at the Jewish Music Institute put me in touch with Spolianksy’s grandson, Chris Kelly. This is when my wonderful journey of discovery began. Chris introduced me to Steve Edis (the font of all knowledge Spoliansky). He played me song after delightful song on Spoliansky’s old piano. I was enchanted, not only by the melodies but by the stories that surrounded them. Smoke and Noise “Shall und Rauch” is named after the Berlin Cabaret club Spoliansky wrote for over eighty years ago. Needless to say we are still tackling the same subjects today, hence our very own Kiss and Tell replies."



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1. Life’s a swindle From the 1931 show Alles Schwindel Lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer. English Lyrics by Jeremy Lawrence.

2. CRUNCH Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb, Lloyd Evans & Melinda Hughes).

3. l’heure bleue From the 1928 show Es Leigt in der Luft.

4. The Smart set From the 1931 show Alles Schwindel This number is otherwise known as Das Lied der Gesellschaft lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer (English Lyrics by Jeremy Lawrence).

5. Carbon Footprints in my Jimmy Choos Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb, Lloyd Evans & Melinda Hughes).

6. Das Lila Lied 1920 Also known as the Lavender Song written by Spoliansky under his pseudonym Arno Billing, lyrics by Kurt Schwabach.

7. Where flamingoes fly A stand alone number 1947, lyrics by Jimmy Kennedy, sung by many well known artists of the day, among them Mario Lanza, Georges Guetary and Ann Shelton.

8. I am a vamp 1933 from the film 100 meter glück. Lyrics by Marcellus Schiffer, English lyrics by Jeremy Lawrence.

9. Toy Boy Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb & Melinda Hughes).

10. Auf der Mundharmonica From the 1956 show Katharina Knie taken from the book by Carl Zuckmayer about a circus, Lyrics by Robert Gilbert.

11. Close your eyes and wish for happiness From the 1932 film The Lucky Number.

12. leben ohne liebe kanst du nicht From the 1931 film Nie Wieder.

13. Kleptonmania 1928 taken from the show Es leigt in Der Luft, English Lyrics by Steve Edis.

14. Smokers Lament Kiss & Tell (written by Jeremy Limb).

15. Don’t be afraid 1935 16. Auf Wiedersehen From the 1930 show Wie Werde ich Reich und Gluchlich. Lyrics by Felix Joachimson.

Review "It's largely back to Weimar with this album from Melinda Hughes and colleagues. `Smoke and Noise' is the English translation of `Shall und Rauch', a Berlin Cabaret club for which Mischa Spoliansky wrote. The songs in this album are all his, except for some authored by Hughes's group, Kiss and Tell. Some, but not all, of Spoliansky's songs are sung in an English translation. The songs are all nicely arranged and the ethos sounds right too, without the kind of camp straining that can afflict other recreationist attempts to summon up Weimar cynicism and hedonism. Life's a Swindle is a good opener, with Hughes's very English accent making no attempt either at a husky Dietrich drawl or a transatlantic farrago. The peppy dance rhythms of L'heure bleue are well maintained and the toff's ennui is skewered in an English translation of a 1931 song called, in the original, Das Lied der Gesellschaft with lyrics by the mordant Marcellus Schiffer. The English lyrics are by Jeremy Lawrence. The drollery and world weariness that infuses some of the songs makes for timeless listening. The harmonica that lights up Auf der Mundharmonica is unusual for two reasons; its instrumentation, in the context of these songs, and also because it's a late song, composed in 1956, and the only non-Weimar example of Spoliansky's work in this album. Maybe the song that best captures Hughes's take on the genre, and that of her accompanying group, is Leben ohne liebe kanst du nicht where one can imagine Lale Andersen doing the honours. Hughes's group, Kiss and Tell, offers a contemporary take on these cabaret songs. Whether down in the dumps or essaying a lament for smokers, the lyrics are bang up to date; free internet access in libraries, iPhones, bankers, Jackie Stallone, Milfs, Gilfs, and cougars - you may have to Google a couple of those, but make sure your Norton is up-to-date. With a sassy supporting band and especially Jeremy Limb's articulate arranging skills, these hip English turns ensure plenty of wit, drollery and dirt are put across. Hughes can turn operatic when the occasion demands it, as it does once or twice - she's a trained opera singer, so it's easy for her - but scales her voice finely for these intimate songs, inflecting with knowing hauteur. Texts of the non-English songs are included. I enjoyed this then-and-now project a lot. I think the group would be fun to see in concert." Jonathan Woolf
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