"At Last" performed by Cliff Sawyer at the "Night of Key West Soul For The Soul of Key West" Book Release Party.
Volume 2 of "The Soul of Key West" was released on December 19, 2015 at The Studios of Key West to a standing room only audience and is available in most Key West gift shops, Key West Island Book Store, and online at:
Also available at Amazon:
Cliff Sawyer was born and raised in Key West. He has been singing since he was 4 years old. The first song he ever sang was "Bad Bad Whiskey" ...it would make you lose your happy home.
Sawyer started singing in the Church Choir and at Douglass Elementary School, and later at Key West High School where he graduated in 1966. He played the kettle drums in elementary school but has mainly been a vocalist. In the 1940s, he remembers hearing street corner bands,
including Fats Navarro, singing and playing outside his window in Bahama Village. Sawyer’s father played the trombone with Fats Navarro.
Sawyer and his cousin Charles Hall (who had a voice like Billy Eckstine) were cast as natives in the movie PT109, starring Cliff Robertson. It was filmed on Big Munson Island, now Little Palm Island - ironically where Sawyer has performed for 20 years. He remembers singing with his cousin during their breaks. He said Cliff Robertson told them that they needed to go to Hollywood and make it big.
Today, Sawyer sings mostly gospel music at the First Adventist Church. His only
secular music gig these days is at Little Palm Island with Phil Sampson. Cliff held a concert at the Tennessee Williams Theatre in 2005 with special guest performance by Coffee Butler, who was introduced with a rendition of "My Buddy". Coffee walked on stage, and they both sang "What A Wonderful World".
"At Last" is a 1941 song written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren. A version was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra in Chicago in 1942. The most famous version was covered by blues singer Etta James in 1960 and became her signature song. It's one of the standards from the post war era that has endured for decades and is covered often. Beyoncé performed "At Last" for President Obama and first lady Michelle during their first dance at the Inaugural Ball in 2009.
Sawyer's unique version would make Etta proud. Cliff Sawyer has made all of Key West proud for years.
© Ralph De Palma Photographer