"Free an' easy, That's my style." These are the opening words from the Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer song, Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home, that opens our concert Free and Easy: Songs of Youth and Pleasure.
Vince Peterson, ECMC's Artistic Director, explains how he chose this song to open our concert:
Often, when we use the terms "Free" and "Easy" to describe people, these terms might have a judgmental connotation. I started to think about what it means to be "Free and Easy." The first thing that came to mind was Harold Arlen's timeless song, "Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home." Johnny Mercer's lyrics begin with the words, "Free and Easy, that's my style." This evoked thoughts of a transient life on the road, the meaning of home being "where the heart is," and the spirit of a gentle maverick who knows the art of urbanity and etiquette.
The song comes from the musical, St. Louis Woman and is sung early in the first act by Della Green, the belle of St. Louis. While St. Louis Woman had a short run of only 113 performances, two of the songs have become standards of the American Song Book: Come Rain or Come Shine and Any Place I Hang My Hat is Home. The latter song has been recorded by Judy Garland, Carol Lawrence, Barbra Streisand, Jo Stafford, and Leslie Uggams, among others.
Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home
Free an' easy,
That's my style,
Howdy do me,
Watch me smile,
Fare thee well me after a while,
'Cause I gotta roam,
An' any place I hang my hat is home!
Thank you kindly,
Suits me fine,
Kansas City, Caroline,
That's my honeycomb,
'Cause any place I hang my hat is home.
Birds roostin' in a tree pick up an' go,
An' the goin' proves that's how it oughta be,
I pick up too when the spirit moves me.
Cross the river, round the bend,
So long friend,
There's a voice in the lonesome wind,
Keeps whisperin' roam!
'Cause any place I hang my hat is home!