This song was made famous by Rosemary Clooney, but the version I’m writing of here is by Julie London, who recorded 32 albums but is no longer a household name. Julie’s version of Come On-A My House is just the thing for Valentine’s-Day week: Come on-a my house (my house), I’m gonna give you candy... Pure, pure sex. (“5✭♫” series introduction here; with an explanation of why the title may look broken.)
The Context · Julie London came from an entertainment family, grew up in Hollywood, was discovered as an elevator operator, married Jack Webb (of Dragnet) and jazzbo Bobby Troupe, and appeared in lots of movies and TV shows.
She said, of her own art: “"It’s only a thimbleful of a voice, and I have to use it close to the microphone. But it is a kind of oversmoked voice, and it automatically sounds intimate.”
I’d heard the name, but not the music, until one day I was driving somewhere and Julie’s version of Cry Me A River, which was her biggest hit, came on the radio, and I was so impressed that I punched up Lauren on the cellphone and asked her to scribble down “London/Cry me a River” somewhere for me so I wouldn’t forget.
The Music · I like Cry Me a River all right, but I like Come On-A My House more, and on the Best of Julie London collection I picked up at the record store, I also really like Hot Toddy, A Taste of Honey, My Heart Belongs to Daddy, Black Coffee, and Blue Moon. Ms. London’s description above of her own voice is pretty fair, I think; she sighs and swerves, never soars or snarls. But she’s on the beat and gets a whole lot of mileage out of every note; no throwaways.
No song on the collection is longer than 3:18, and pretty well every one is a little symphony of laughter and desire. Come On-A My House (by William Saroyan and Ross Bagdasarian) particularly gives me shivers, because along with the romance (Come on-a my house, my house, I´m gonna give a you Apple a plum and apricot-a too eh ... Come on-a my house, my house, I´m gonna give you everything), the song’s got swing, and a melody that you’re going to find yourself humming as you walk down the hall.
Sampling It · Julie’s all over the pirate networks, but not this song. It also doesn’t seem to be for sale at iTunes, which is OK because iTunes is a crappy way to buy music. Poking around on Amazon reveals that it’s on a couple of compilations and seems to have appeared originally on either Love Letters or Feeling Good, which are packaged together on a CD. I think I might actually pick that up, because it’s got a few tracks that I don’t. Also, the audio quality on the collection I have is only OK, which is surprising because in Julie’s prime (starting in 1955) the standards of recording quality were mostly very high; so I’m hoping they muffed the remastering.
I suspect that lots of others will find Julie London songs they prefer to Come On-A My House, but I think anyone who likes good songs sung well, dripping with sex, will find a few to love.