Sunday, 24 August 2014
ELDER MUSIC: U.S. States, Alabama to Georgia
This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.
I thought of doing songs about the states from my home country but as there are only six of them, that wouldn't make much of a column.Then I wondered if there was a country than had more and besides, had a bunch of songs written about them as well.
After much searching (okay, you know I'm flapping my tongue here, or my fingers to be exact), I came up with the various states of the United States (perhaps the name of the country might have given me a clue).
There sure are enough of them, and enough songs too, although a few were rather difficult and half a dozen others had an embarrassment of riches. I mostly tried to avoid the obvious tunes.
So, in alphabetical order, here they are.
There was quite a selection of songs for the state but my prejudice in favor of Tom swayed my judgment. His song is Alabama Bound, one of his early ones from his days as a young folkie.
Instead I give you MARIAN CALL, one of the most interesting young singer/songwriters going around at the moment.
She sings about trying to fit in her adopted state with the song I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl.
MARK LINDSAY came to prominence as the singer and sax player for the rock group Paul Revere and the Raiders.
That group had a revolving cast of band members with only Paul and Mark as constant fixtures.
It's really a song about a woman not the state, but that's close enough for this column.
That wasn't because he was from there – he's Louisiana born and bred. I guess he just liked the sound of the name.
The chosen track is Up in Arkansas which he plays and sings in his trademark style.
That's because there are so many songs about it. Once I spotted JOHN STEWART in my search results I didn't bother looking any further.
Whenever I visit San Francisco, which is not often enough as far as I'm concerned, I feel quite at home. So, like John, I think I have California Bloodlines in my heart.
His song is one that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I think is particularly amusing. We've made jokes along the lines of the song for decades now. It's called The Coast of Colorado.
They need no introduction from me. The song is just called Connecticut.
And with that introduction, people with long musical memories will know about what I speak, particularly when I mention PERRY COMO.
Actually, I could have used Delaware's song for half the other states. You'll understand when you play it, you who don't know the song (and I can't imagine there'd be many of you). The song is just called Delaware.
I decided against including Jimmy and instead went for someone who has probably written even more. That person is BERTIE HIGGINS.
Bertie had a hit with the song Key Largo which was about the film as well as the place. The one today is simply called Florida. It has a big dramatic, over the top beginning. Just ignore that bit.
If I haven't chosen your favorite, and that's quite on the cards, that's the reason.
In the end I settled on LEVON HELM to perform that state's tune.
Levon was the drummer and one of the singers for The Band. That's really all that needs to be said. His song is Watermelon Time in Georgia.
More states in two weeks' time.