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.
Continuing with the animal series of columns, today it's the turn of the engine that powers the internet – cats. Sorry, there are no cute cat videos today, just songs about them. Actually, checking what we have, there aren't many about the actual animal. Oh well.
I'll start with BOB CROSBY, brother of Bing (he probably got that all his life).
Bob was a band leader of a group known as The Bob Cats (ha ha, a little play on words there, Bob). I mention that because his song is all about it - March of the Bob Cats.
The LOVIN' SPOONFUL's song Nashville Cats is about the studio musicians in that city.
The story is that the Spoonful were headlining a concert there and afterwards went to a bar where there was a pick-up band of those musicians. John Sebastian said they played music that the Spoonful could only dream about. However, he wrote a good song about it that became a hit for them.
If ever there was a cool cat among the British musicians of the sixties who made a splash on popular music, it would be GEORGIE FAME.
Georgie's music owed more to jazz than rock & roll and blues. He was especially influenced by Mose Allison, and it shows in his music. Georgie performs Cool Cat Blues.
GENE VINCENT was a serious contender in the early days of rock & roll until he was badly injured in a car accident in London that killed fellow performer Eddie Cochrane.
He didn't ever fully recover from that and an earlier motorcycle accident. However, in his short career he wrote and performed many songs that defined rock & roll and are still sung to this day. One of those is Wild Cat.
MUDDY WATERS has featured in several of these animal columns, and today is no exception.
He brings some serious blues into what is otherwise a rather frivolous column. In the mid-seventies, Muddy's career seemed to be going nowhere. He left Chess records and Johnny Winter produced a new album (as well as playing on it) for a new record company.
The album, "Hard Again", was a critical and popular success and it revived Muddy's career. From that album comes Crosseyed Cat.
Like Gene Vincent, CARL PERKINS was another early serious contender whose career sputtered out due to a serious car accident. In Carl's case it was while he and his band were headed for New York.
However, Carl went on to have quite a successful career as a country musician. From his early days when he was recording at Sun Records next to Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and others, Carl suggests that you Put Your Cat Clothes On.
TOM JONES started out as a soul/R & B/blues singer and then morphed into a middle of the road, Las Vegas type performer.
In recent times, he seems to have discovered his roots again and is making really interesting music. However, that's neither here nor there as he gives us one of his early hits, written by Burt Bacharach, What's New Pussycat.
We hope that the ROLLING STONES only sang about under age groupies.
Musicians and writers often write about what they know but I won't delve further into that sordid business. I'll just play Stray Cat Blues, from their finest album "Beggars Banquet".
If ever there was a swinging cat it was LOUIS JORDAN.
Louis started as a bandleader in the big band era as well as a songwriter and musical arranger. He then led small rhythm and blues combos which were really rock & roll bands in everything but name. His song today is from the early period, 1939 to be exact, At The Swing Cats Ball.
BENNY GOODMAN was involved with some short films, cartoons, made by Walt Disney during the war.
These were fragments of longer works that weren't completed as most of his staff were drafted. They decided to release them (the films, not the staff) as a series of shorts, and set them to music.
This is one where Benny was featured, and along for the ride is PEGGY LEE.
All The Cats Join In is the name of the song and the feature.