May 25, 2009 – 4:14 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

New York 1993 [no label, 1CD]
with Marian McPartland

Manhatten Beach Studios, New York, NY, February 12, 1993. Very good radio broadcast.

Eartha Kitt opens (and closes) this radio show with a characteristic Catwoman growl which sets the friendly tone for the programme. Depending on how old you are, Kitt is remembered for her 1953 Christmas song, Santa Baby; Orson Welles once called her the “most exciting woman in the world” and she was Catwoman in the ’60s Batman series (replacing Julie Newmar).

Singer, actress, cabaret star and activist, Kitt spends about an hour with jazz pianist Marian McPartland going through old times and classic tunes. An artiste in her own right, McPartland is not fazed by Kitt and the two hit it off wonderfully with Kitt even having McPartland getting into the groove, so to speak.

The piano accompaniment suits the mood and Kitt is chatty and forthcoming - first saying that there was no sexual relationship with Orson Welles (she was terrified working with him though he was nice to her); singing for hamburgers in Paris; how jazz musician Lionel Hampton paid for her rent when she was starting out and her anti-war comments in 1968 at the White House (in front of Lady Bird Johnson) and her subsequent blacklisting by the American entertainment industry.

Invited to the White House with 49 other community workers to find an answer to the question: Why is there so much juvenile delinquency in the streets of America?, Kitt tells McPartland: “The thing that the boys had told me, who had fled the United States… I came back to America after listening to these boys and said, ‘We do not believe in our involvement in Vietnam, it does not mean that we do not love our country but we cannot go along with that particular project though’.”

According to Kitt, many young people, to avoid the draft, also felt that if they were bad boys, “like having a little stigma against your name, you were not considered desirable enough to go to Vietnam. If you were a good guy, you were chosen to go to Vietnam. And I told this to Mrs Johnson.

“Not only that, we supposedly fought a war with Germany and we supposedly won it. We fought a war with Japan, we supposedly won it. But they got our jobs. You’re depleting the country, you’re weakening the country from the inside by taking our industry away from us and we are now scrambling, looking for work and trying to find how we can survive in our own country. We are angry in many ways and if this continuously goes on, well you’re building up Japan - economically, building up Germany - economically, they are becoming stronger than we are, you’re gonna have a lot of problems in this country, because we are angry.”

According to the wikipedia, Kitt also said: “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.” The remark reportedly caused Mrs Johnson to burst into tears and a derailment in Kitt’s career.

In Texas Bluebonnet: Lady Bird Johnson, biographer David Murphy wrote that Kitt confronted Lady Bird, saying: “You are a mother too though you have had daughters and not sons. I am a mother and I know the feeling of having a baby come out of my guts. I have a baby and then you send him off to war. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot. And Mrs. Johnson, in case you don’t understand the lingo, that’s marijuana.” Lady Bird was proud to match her stare for stare…  Kitt’s confrontations with Mrs. Johnson lead (sic) to a slow decline of her career and she told Newsweek shortly after the luncheon, ‘if Mrs. Johnson was embarrassed, that’s her problem’.”

But Kitt bounced back, returning in 1978 in the Broadway hit, Timbuktu!, and went on to be an active advocate for gay rights. Kitt died from colon cancer on December 25, 2008 at the age of 81. Like the Catwoman character she played, this was one tough lady.

Kitt is also famous for her tune I Want To Be Evil as well as the lightweight C est Si Bon. It’s hard to imagine an equivalent diva from the current generation with her attitude. Mostly it’s just posturing but for singers like Kitt and Nina Simone, it was the times that made them so angry. You can’t really hear it in Kitt’s music but this entertainer never forgot she was also human.

Thanks to mdshrk1 for sharing the tracks on the net. Ideal for late night listening.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

These tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you want to download them at a later date.

01. Conversation 5:15
02. God Bless the Child 2:26
03. Conversation 4:57
04. Where Is My Man 2:18
05. Conversation 2:00
06. St. Louis Blues 3:11
07. Conversation 6:35
08. My Heart Belongs to Daddy 2:59
09. Conversation 0:26
10. Solitude (McPartland solo) 2:28
11. Conversation 1:14
12. Lush Life 3:22
13. Conversation 0:22
14. Night and Day 1:41
15. Conversation 3:56
16. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 4:17
17. Conversation 3:48
18. You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To 2:31

Click on the link to order Eartha Kitt Purr-Fect: Greatest Hits.

  1. 5 Responses to “EARTHA KITT - NEW YORK 1993”

  2. Love it. Thanks for mixing things up.

    By No screen name John on May 28, 2009

  3. really good … thanks … great choice.

    By ritchie on May 29, 2009

  4. Excellent thanks. I remember seeing Eartha Kitt at the Newport Tennis grounds opening night of the Newport Jazz Festival 2005. I had gone primarily for the next night’s fusion of Steps Ahead with Richard Bona and Mike Stern and then Stanley Clarke with Jean Luc Ponty and Bela Fleck, but my wife was keen on Eartha Kitt. I found myself loving her show, amusing, anecdotal, classic songs and complete charm and warmth. Whilst I’m still a fusion nut….lovely to see these Marian McPartland ‘Piano Jazz’ radio broadcasts available somehow…I have the Peterson, Brubeck and Steely Dan official realeases……many thanks Big O

    By Kookie on May 29, 2009

  5. i might have heard this on the ray dee oh, so thanks for making it available, bigO!


    By I-) on Feb 6, 2013

  6. oh, yes - ‘Manhatten’ should be correctly spelled as ‘Manhattan’.


    By I-) on Feb 6, 2013

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