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.
Frogs are the proverbial canary in the coalmine when it comes to environmental change and damage. That means many are fast disappearing, which is a great shame, indeed a disaster, as they are an important link in the various ecologies.
Besides, I really like frogs. Anyway, I’ll leave that to people more expert than I am to discuss. I’ll just present some froggy songs.
There is an obvious way to begin the column and I'm taking it. This is CLARENCE (FROGMAN) HENRY.
Clarence not only has a frog in his name (well, nickname) but he also sings about one as well. It was certainly the first song that came to mind when I thought of this column. That song is Ain't Got No Home.
THE LARKS started out as a gospel group. Well, several really, they recorded under a bunch of different names.
They used the name The Larks for their Rhythm and Blues records. They were quite popular in the early fifties, but subsequently splintered into several different groups. Here they are with I Ain't Fattening Frogs For Snakes.
MICKEY GILLEY is probably best known these days for the club that bears his name (featured in the film Urban Cowboy).
He started out playing early rock and roll and rockabilly, but was overshadowed by his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis (another rocking pianist). From the early days, Mickey performs Miss Froggy. Gail Collins is also credited on the record but I can’t hear her on this song.
Now for some serious music with the great trumpeter DIZZY GILLESPIE. Helping out on this track is the equally great sax player CHARLIE PARKER.
From a session they recorded in 1950 we have Leap Frog, quite a short tune. My goodness, they were good together.
JEB STUART gives us a little bit of soul music.
I think Jeb is channeling Land of 100 Dances and The Hippy Hippy Shake (and probably other songs) in this one: The Greasy Frog.
PETER PAUL AND MARY seem to be indulging in a bit of bestiality, or perhaps that should be zoophilia. Or amphibiphilia (I just coined that word).
This is not one of their most important songs, unless you’re a frog that is. I'm In Love with a Big Blue Frog.
THE PIGRAM BROTHERS are a seven-piece indigenous band from Broome in northern Western Australia.
Besides playing their own music, various combinations of siblings have also written soundtracks and appeared in films and TV programs. They perform Bullfrog Hole, about places around where they live, with mentions of many animals and birds there.
Here’s some more jazz, but a style from an earlier period than Diz and Bird. The players are THE FAT BABIES.
They’re a group from Chicago who like to interpret the styles of the twenties and thirties. Their contribution is Froggie Moore.
THE DOORS always claimed that they were just a blues band.
No one believed them, of course, but they did record one album that demonstrated this aspect of them – "Morrison Hotel". From that album we have Peace Frog. Of course Jim couldn't help himself and put in various Jim-isms.
There are many versions of the song Bullfrog Blues, and it was my job to choose one. Actually, there was no work involved at all, as I was always going to choose DAVID BROMBERG.
David is a supreme guitar player, but this song doesn't really extend his fingers much although he does play some delightful licks.
I ended the column with this one as it is by far the longest song I've ever used – more than 16 minutes, so if it doesn't float your boat you can go and get a cup of tea and you won't have missed any of the others.
Alternatively, get your cup of tea, put your feet up and go with the flow.