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.
”There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.”
They're Rod Serling's words, not mine, and they mean that it's twilight time.
Naturally, I'll start this column with THE PLATTERS, as they have the best twilight song that I know about.
As I've said before (because I can't think of anything original to say), The Platters were by far the best vocal group in the fifties. This is one of their biggest hits, one that most of you will know. Twilight Time.
The Band recorded a song called Twilight for their "Islands" album, their "financial obligation" record. It didn't appear on the original LP, and I've always wondered why as it's a better song than any of those that did.
It did appear on the rereleased CD with all the extras. RICK DANKO was the singer for the song.
Later, he recorded it a couple more times, one of which I think was better than he did with The Band. This is from one of the albums he made with Eric Andersen and Jonas Fjeld under the name Danko-Fjeld-Andersen. Here is that version.
It's difficult to know what to say about ART PEPPER.
He recorded a number of fine albums and played in Stan Kenton's and Buddy Rich's bands. However, all that was punctuated with a number of spells in prison for drug-related offences. What a waste of time and talent.
We have his records though, and his tune is Blues at Twilight.
At the behest of the Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I quite agree with her because I hadn't thought of it, we have the next song in place of the one I had originally included. The singers are JO STAFFORD and GORDON MACRAE.
I didn't think of it as it doesn't have twilight in the title, however, it's certainly a twilight song. I'm talking about Love's Old Sweet Song. This is occasionally called Just a Song at Twilight.
It's a bit hard to categorise KEIKO MATSUI.
That's no bad thing in my opinion, I don't like pigeon-holing music. Keiko is ostensibly a jazz pianist but she brings elements of rock, classical and other genres into her music, as will be demonstrated by her contribution today, The Edge of Twilight.
Given the name of the column, we have to have a song that references the twilight zone, and it falls to CHUCK BERRY to do that.
Chuck's song is I'm In the Twilight Zone, not one of his biggest hits.
I need no excuse to include JULIE LONDON.
Fortunately, she has a twilight song. It's from her album where she sang a song about each month of the year, useful to me way back when I did a column on the same topic. Julie sings November Twilight.
The DESERT ROSE BAND was really just two of my favorite singers from two of my favorite bands with some backup musicians.
They are Chris Hillman from The Byrds and Herb Pedersen from The Dillards. These days they don't even pretend to be a band, they just perform as a duo. They harmonize wonderfully together, and that's not surprising as both bands were noted for that. Here they are with Twilight Is Gone.
SAM COOKE is rather out of his comfort zone with his song.
It sounds as if it could have come from western movie – perhaps it did, although I wasn't familiar with the song until I selected it. I could find out, but I'd rather just play it. Twilight on the Trail.
There was considerable turnover of musicians in this spot. Initially, it was a tossup between Van Morrison and Dr John, but they both got the chop because, really surprisingly for those two fine musicians, their songs weren't very good.
Lou Reed took their place and he was there for quite a while. His song was good for the first half, but then he turned up his amplifier just to annoy us.
It was actually a few weeks later that I thought, "Why didn't I use DAVID LINDLEY with his song Tiki Torches At Twilight?"
The corollary is: why didn't it come up when I searched my database? I investigated and found (duhh) I had forgotten (over the years) to transfer my CD to my computer. So, Lou is out and David is in.
David is most noted as a guitarist, but if a musical instrument has strings he can play it brilliantly. Besides being a solo performer, he's worked with Jackson Browne a lot (as well as other performers). Here is the song I forgot about.