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He had an interesting collaboration with Una Mae Carlisle who was a pianist/singer/composer who performed at the Cotton Club. Fats Waller hired her for his band around 1933, and she recorded “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” with him. She enjoyed an international reputation and led her own group in 1940-41, which included Lester Young and Benny Carter.
Carlisle and Sour came up with a couple of songs that are still being picked up by today’s artists, “Walkin’ By the River” (1940) and “I See a Million People” (1941). Both of these songs made the Hit Parade, a first for a female, African American composer. Several well-established jazz musicians recorded them, and Carol Sloane included the latter in her 2002 CD, I Never Went Away.
Sour contributed music and/or lyrics to three musicals between 1939 and 1945. A collaboration with Henry Manners turned up “We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together” (1940), popularized by Vaughan Monroe. In 1942, in partnership with Helen Bliss, they wrote music for Disney’s Bambi, “Twitterpated” and “Thumper Song,” which were used in advertising the film.
As vice-president of BMI in 1961 he helped oversee the establishment of the BMI-Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, which would preserve the integrity and tradition of musical theater by teaching its principles to young composers and lyricists.
- Sandra Burlingame
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John Garfield, Lilli Palmer
Body and Soul
Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander
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