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.
Ronni has written quite a few columns on how we forget as we age. Of course, she also made the point that it really is a lifelong phenomenon, not just restricted to the people who will be reading this.
Whenever I decide to do a column on a particular criterion, I usually don’t know what songs will appear in my search. Often there are one or two I have in mind but the rest are as much a surprise to me as they are to you.
Today, it seems there’s a lot of country (or early rock & roll) and soul (or later rock & roll). That’s okay with me, I hope it is for you.
The column was prompted when I heard BOBBY RYDELL sing Forget Him.
That’s a song I haven’t heard for a long time. I won’t say that I had forgotten it (sorry, I hope there won’t be many of those), but it has certainly stuck in my brain from my youth, if more than somewhat buried quite deeply until today.
ARTHUR CONLEY is the first of the soul performers.
If I didn’t know this was Arthur, if asked, I would swear that it was Sam Cooke (as did Norma, the Assistant Musicologist when I asked her). Arthur certainly studied the genre, at least it seems so given that his biggest hit was Sweet Soul Music. Today he says I'm Gonna Forget About You.
They don’t make singers like SLIM WHITMAN any more, and that’s a real shame.
Slim was huge in the fifties, and sang some of the best songs from that time. One of those is I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know, a song that many people have turned their hand to, and voices too, I guess. Few came close to his version.
Another I had in mind when I started the column is by the KALIN TWINS.
They were supposed to take on the Everly Brothers at their own game and we know how that turned out. However, they did have a couple of quite decent songs that made the charts. This is one of them, Forget Me Not.
Even ELVIS gets into the act with one of his very early songs.
This is from the now famous Sun Sessions, back when he was just starting out and recording at Sam Phillips’ Sun studio. Some say that these songs pretty much created rock & roll.
The song is I Forgot to Remember to Forget, recorded by the foremost trio in rock & roll, Elvis, Scotty and Bill (with a little help from D.J. on drums).
The most entertaining entertainer I’ve had the privilege to see live is MARTY ROBBINS.
He was not only a great songwriter (something for which he’s not given enough credit), but he had one of the best voices in the business. And, as I said, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He’s greatly missed.
A song of his (he didn’t write this one) that many people have performed is Am I That Easy to Forget. I listened to all versions I had and none matched Marty.
Someone who should be mentioned along with Otis and Wilson whenever the subject of the greatest soul singers is bandied about is JAMES CARR.
He certainly is in my place, and deserves to be heard by a wider audience. Here’s your chance with the song, Forgetting You.
I didn’t get a chance to see PATSY CLINE, more’s the pity.
She’s another fine singer who’s always welcome in my columns, and like Marty, sorely missed. We have her records (to paraphrase one of her biggest hits), but there could have been a whole more. Oh well. Here is I Can't Forget.
Whenever there’s a category where WILLIE NELSON is represented, I’ve found that he nails it, probably better than anyone else.
I probably don’t need to introduce him, I could just play the track and you’d know who it was. Willie’s song is I'm Not Trying to Forget You.
The Nelson family is well represented today, after Willie (and his sister Bobbie playing piano as she normally does on most of Willie’s songs), we have Willie’s son LUKAS NELSON.
Lukas is no slouch in the song writing and singing games too. He’s also a pretty decent guitarist, quite different from his dad, more rock & roll. Indeed, his solo does go on for a bit too long really, but I guess he has to distinguish himself in some way. The song is Forget About Georgia.