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.
Here are some random songs from the cutting room floor, as it were. These are pieces I've written over the years that didn't really fit into the category I was writing about at the time, but I didn't want to just throw them away.
I can't call it recycling as these weren't cycled in the first place. There are now enough of them for a column of their own.
The song Misty Blue was written by Bob Montgomery, whose first paying gig was as a duo with Buddy Holly when they were both teenagers. The song was first recorded by Waylon Jennings and it was closely followed by a number of other country artists. It wasn't until Joe Simon, and more especially, Dorothy Moore recorded it that it became a soul classic.
I have recently heard another version I found really interesting and I thought I'd share it with you. However, I'm going to be really obnoxious and not tell you who the singer is. I won't leave you completely in the dark; I'll let you know at the end of the column.
When I played it for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, she said, "She's not a soul singer". Norma was right. She also said that the singer sounded young. She was wrong. So, here's SOMEONE singing Misty Blue.
While I'm on a quizzical bent, here's a question: Can you tell me the name of a first generation rock & roller from Lubbock, Texas, who recorded with The Crickets and who died in a plane crash at age 21?
For those who said Buddy Holly, I hit the buzzer: bzzzzzzzz. You're out. No, Buddy was 22. The answer is DAVID BOX.
David recorded an album with The Crickets after Buddy died to fulfil some contractual arrangement. Alas, he also took a light plane to a gig that didn't get to its destination.
Buddy recorded a rare cover version of a song: Fats Domino's Valley of Tears, and I think he improved on the original, difficult to do when it's Fats. Here, David performs a cover of Buddy's cover of Fats.
Given the title of the column, this next song is a mandatory inclusion. It's by the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND.
The song was written as a joint effort by a couple of the Nittys', Jeff Hanna and Jimmy Ibbotson, as well as their friend, now sadly departed, Steve Goodman. It's a tale of woe. Face on the Cutting Room Floor.
In 1981, seemingly out of nowhere, BILLY FIELD released an album here in Australia that went to the top of the charts. Indeed, it was the biggest seller for the year.
Several singles from the album did the same. He released another album that did almost as well and then, apparently, completely vanished. He didn’t of course.
Billy is a pianist and he tours with his own jazz band. Also, with the proceeds of the album and singles, as well as from those who covered his songs, he built a recording studio where he records jazz and blues artists.
What was distinctive about him is that in that era when grown men wore tight Spandex on stage and had big, nay giant hair, sang as if they were produced by a computer voice synthesizer and played instruments that sounded the same way, Billy always dressed in an elegant suit and wore a bow tie.
His music was nominally pop but on his song Bad Habits, the backing sounds as if it is a big band from the forties and his singing was that of a blues musician from the thirties. This is Bad Habit.
Whenever early rock & roll is discussed JOHNNY BURNETTE doesn’t seem to get much of a mention.
There’ll be any amount of talk of Chuck, Richard, Elvis, Buddy, Fats and on and on. A lot of that comes from me of course - however, Johnny is usually not there.
He started out as The Johnny Burnette Trio (or the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio” as it was also called). This group included his brother Dorsey and Paul Burlison. It was a blazing outfit that showed Elvis a few things about rock & roll trio playing.
The Burnettes were actually from Memphis but didn’t record for Sun records.
Sam Phillips turned them down as he thought they sounded too much like Elvis. Elvis was a friend and would visit them and sing and play. “He didn’t know but two or three chords on that guitar, but he was a good singer” was the way Johnny summed up his performance. This is the Trio with Tear It Up.
In the eighties and nineties THE DOUG ANTHONY ALL STARS (the name itself is an Australian joke that'd take too long to explain to non-Australians) were the most outrageous and anarchic comedy troupe in the country (and probably the world).
The group consisted of Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson and Richard Fidler. They are also gifted musicians, especially Paul about whom Tim once said, "We asked Paul to sing one day and he sang like an angel coming down from a bourbon bender".
Paul has not made a musical album and the only way we can hear him sing is on old TV programs. Here they perform Throw Your Arms Around Me, written by the members of the group Hunters and Collectors, who first performed the song.
PAUL SIEBEL has claimed he wrote his most famous song, Louise, as a joke to see if he could write the ultimate country song. Some joke, it sold squillions by Linda Ronstadt and others.
He made a couple of good albums - "Woodsmoke and Oranges" in 1970 and "Jack-Knife Gypsy" in 1971 - and well, just stopped. He performs once in a very blue moon.
Paul’s more known as a songwriter than a performer. Some of the folks who have covered his songs, besides Linda, are Jerry Jeff Walker, Emmylou Harris, Leo Kottke, Willy DeVille and many others. I was going to go with one of his other songs but I thought: what the hell, here’s Louise.
Back in high school – that's Oakleigh High for those who want to know about such things, but don't try to find it on Google Maps as it was sold off for condominiums in the nineties – we had a reciprocal agreement with a school in Adelaide.
This was all to do with sports, of course, such that we'd alternate sending male and female teams over there and vice versa. I was in the tennis team, but they only sent four not eight, so I missed out and stayed home.
This wasn't really a bad thing as we got the cream of this other school's girls and with all our jocks over there, well I'd be in with a chance, I thought. And so it proved, sort of.
There was one in particular who caught my eye, and she smiled at me as well. Alas, there was another left-behinder who was similarly struck. I can't imagine what she saw in him.
At the school social (sort of like your prom, I guess) she'd alternate dances with us and be quite amused by the whole situation. Neither of us walked her home – the parents of the family she was staying with picked her up. She (and the rest of them) was (were) only here for a week and I still remember her name but I'm not telling you all, just in case she reads this blog (yeah, fat chance of that). I never saw her again.
Quite coincidentally, BOBBY VEE's song Sharing You was high on the hit parade at the time. As you can imagine, it struck a chord.
RUSSELL SMITH is the singer, main songwriter and occasional rhythm guitarist for the rock group, The Amazing Rhythm Aces.
He organized that group and he is one of only two of the original members left. Whichever incarnation of the Aces you want to consider, they were and still are the best southern (USA) rock group ever, and yes, I include the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Drive By Truckers in that assessment.
It's mainly because their songs are better, I think. Russell has also recorded several solo albums and here is a track from one of them, I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight.
There's someone I really shouldn’t like. His performances are outrageous, which is no bad thing, but it's all tongue in cheek. He plays golf and hangs around with rightwing politicians. That should put him in my “don’t go there” list. However, I really like Vincent Furnier, or as you probably know him, ALICE COOPER.
When he puts his mind to it he can come up with some fine songs. This is one of those, You And Me.
You don't get a prize for guessing correctly, just a warm inner glow of satisfaction. The answer to who is sing Misty Blue is ELLA FITZGERALD.
Chuck and Jess, in the comments below are correct - it's Dorothy Moore singing, not Ella. See - even I didn't get it right.