30 Sad Songs no 12. Say It Isn’t So – Dinah Washington

Dinah+WashingtonDinah, Dinah, Dinah. Another one who could sing her shopping list and make it sound like a cri de coeur. There are so many tragic moments to choose from, and I was going to put Drinking Again on the list until I remembered this beautiful, no-fuss rendition of the Irving Berlin standard. The lover, suspicious despite herself, begs the beloved to deny the rumours that ‘you’re growing tired of me’. It’s a wonderful ode to the toxic joys of denial – ‘Just say that everything is still okay, that’s all I wanna know’. Actually, taken with Drinking Again this is a good prescription for dealing with the end of an affair for those of us who can’t take too much reality. I always used to think that Dinah Washington was a sensible, hard-working professional, unlike the more famous car-crash singers like Billie Holiday: there’s something in her voice that sounds capable and serious. But then I discovered in the internet age that she died at 39 from a lethal drug cocktail, married seven times and spend all her money on ‘shoes, furs and cars’. Hey ho.

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