“What’s the Use of Crying?” Lyrics by Verdi Kendel, music by Louis Forbstein (1926). Recorded by Elsie Carlisle, accompanied by violin and piano (the latter played by Arthur Young), on August 22, 1927. HMV B2579 mx. Bb11403-2.
This song’s lyricist is comparatively obscure; its composer, Louis Forbstein, would later change his surname to Forbes and gain some amount of fame as musical director for David O. Selznick films (including “Gone with the Wind”). “What’s the Use of Crying?” is a song of unrequited love that begins in a rather moody register but quickly becomes more upbeat as the tempo is twice ratcheted up and the singer professes to have acquired a spirit of resignation in the face of her troubles, asking, “What’s the use of crying just for someone like you?”
Elsie Carlisle recorded this version of the popular “Pardon Me, Pretty Baby” for the Imperial label in August 1931 under the musical direction of Jay Wilbur. It is a light song with a chatty patter representing a persistent but inept attempt at a pickup. The tune is catchy, but a trifle repetitive. Elsie makes the song exciting by alternating between playful singing and exaggerated conversational interjections, a technique which reminds one that she was a veteran of musical theater.