Until now, this song with words and music by Kay Swift appeared nowhere on the internet. Why no one has chosen to record it since it was published in Fine and Dandy: The Kay Swift Songbook is a mystery to me. “One Last Look” beautifully captures the sadness of a romance that destiny has decided against. Extra kudos go to Swift who masterfully handles the lyrics here, though she often left the words to her song up to lyricists such as James Warburg, Al Stillman, or Edward Heyman (though sadly never with Ira Gershwin or with Johnny Mercer who reached out to Swift to compose for him).
Swift’s biographer Vicki Ohl speculates that if we are to look to a biographical source for Kay’s lyrics to “One Last Look,” it would appear that they refer to a service-member she knew in the 1940s. The lyrics, if taken as bio, would seem to not directly fit with an account of her relationship with George Gershwin, but her strong recollection of her last look at Gershwin gives the song extra resonance:
“I never saw him after that photograph of him standing on the step of the ramp at the airport. . . . George and I went (to the airport) in a taxi. We had decided we were not going to see each other or write and see how it went (for one year) and if it would be a happy arrangement. We kept everything cheery and bright. He laughed and talked about the picture. We said goodbye, and he walked up the ramp, and I knew for sure I’d never see him again. I didn’t know why, but I knew that was all; that was it.”
—From Vicki Ohl’s Fine and Dandy: The Life and Work of Kay Swift
Below is my rendition of “One Last Look” arranged for jazz trio, though this is an early recording of mine and I realize the piano accompaniment is a little less than ideal. I’m waiting for someone to do it better.