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Dress Rehearsal Rag  (1968-1974)
You know there's a song in, I think it was in Czechoslovakia, called "Gloomy Sunday"** that was forbidden to play because every time it would play people would leap out of windows and off of roofs. It was a tragic song. And I read in the Athens news the other day that the composer of it, who only really wrote that one song, he died recently, jumped out of a window himself. I have one of those songs that I have banned for myself. I sing it only on extremely joyous occasions when I know that the landscape can support the despair that I am about to project into it. It's called the "Dress Rehearsal Rag."

** Note : This song was written by Hungarian Seress Rezso, in 1933. It was called "Szomoru Vasarnap" or "Sombre Dimanche" ("Gloomy Sunday"). It had nick names like "The Song Forbidden in Budapest" or the "Hungarian Suicide Song". The verses are sung to the singer's deceased beloved. The composer committed suicide in 1968. It became a background tune for the American late 30's, during the Great Depression. It was first covered by Paul Robeson in 1940, then Billie Holiday (whose recording was banned from Radio Networks).

There are some songs which I never sing in public. I'm not trying to be supersensitive or coy about it. Just that particular song I very rarely sing to myself, to friends or any time. I wrote it, I taught it to Judy Collins and she recorded it and I never sang it in public. And maybe I've sung it three or four times to myself in that last time. It's an authentic song. I think it comes out of my own experience but I'm not interested in -I can't.. somehow- I haven't been able to release that song from its private area. I recorded it, I was surprised myself that I recorded it. I'm not happy with the recording. I think it has a number of flaws in it as a recording , but I don't think I could ever do it under the spotlight. interviewer says : You refer to yourself as a closet suicide. Well I'm that kind of, you know that, er, one speculates about these things in private, I no longer do. That's a song about suicide and I certainly don't want to present myself as a potential suicide for any reason what so ever. So that's it dropped out of my singing lanscape, I just don't think about song like that.

Judy Collins first recorded "Dress Rehearsal Rag" in 1966 ("In My Life")