Bob Dorough, Arkansas native, agile pianist, crafty songwriter, wry and affecting singer, passed away at 94.
It’s weird. I’d just been thinking recently about him, wondering how he was doing. The world loves him mostly as the mastermind behind Schoolhouse Rock; legions of teachers, I assure you, envy the economical yet specific effectiveness with which he educated a generation about grammar, math, civics, and more. Some know he teamed, rather unaccountably but very successfully, with Miles Davis, particularly on a timeless Christmas original. Jazz buffs know him as, among other things, a bit of a Hoagy Carmichael 2.0, for “Baltimore Oriole,” “Johnny One-Note,” and “Devil May Care.” He’s famous with me personally for his witty and true “Love (Webster’s Dictionary Definition)” and his torch-carrying for the regular white guy vocal tradition begun by such humble and soulful folks as Tommy Duncan, Jack Teagarden, and Carmichael, and extended radically forward by Peter Stampfel and other eccentrics.
YouTube does not have Dorough well-covered, nor does Spotify. Do me and yourself and Bob’s memory a kindness and seek out the zingy, delightful Too Much Coffee Man, the rare and revelatory This is a Collection of Pop Art Songs (with the definitive “Love”), and the surprising early ’70s 45rpm EP Rainy Day Garden, under the 44th Portable Flower Factory moniker, featuring Dylan, Tempts, and Youngbloods covers.
Please honor his life and career by sampling this playlist. That is all.