Tag Archives: Louis Armstrong

The Cinch Review

Accentuate the Positive

Accentuate the Positive Bob  Dylan
Perhaps the first cover version Bob Dylan ever seriously took on was the Johnny Mercer / Harold Arlen tune, “Accentuate the Positive.” He sang it for relatives, at the age of four, after first insisting that everyone must keep very quiet. It became a part of Zimmerman family lore: it was the moment when people first said, “That kid’s some kind of genius!”

People have been saying the same thing ever since, along with many more colorful things.


That story is recounted in the first serious Dylan bio (and arguably the best), Robert Shelton’s No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan.

I don’t know whose rendition the young Bobby Zimmerman might have heard which inspired him to learn the song. There were plenty out there, including by the redoubtable Bing Crosby. But it would also be cool if it were this one: Louis Armstrong, from a live radio broadcast on New Year’s Eve in 1945. (Bob Dylan would indeed have been four years old.)

You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

Keep on the sunny side.

The Cinch Review

Nobody Knows the Trouble

What time is it? It’s a good time to be listening to Louis Armstrong; that’s what time it is. Like any other time, in other words. I came across the clip below on YouTube and just had to stop and note it. It’s Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. One comment left on the video struck me: Every time I hear Louis I realise the world will never be the same. Isn’t that the truth? No matter how you cut it.

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down
Oh, yes, Lord
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord

Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows but Jesus
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah

Also available on the great album, Louis and the Good Book.