361 posts categorized "Elder Music"


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

This was an interesting exercise. Could I fill a column with songs from 1910?

Well, that was easy, of course I could. The hard part was, could I fill a column with songs recorded in that year and have it sound acceptable to you? Well, as we have a column I imagine the answer to that question is obvious.

So, here are songs from back then and no one reading this would have heard them when they were first released. I hope you enjoy them; Norma, the Assistant Musicologist rather lacked enthusiasm for the whole idea, particularly after hearing the music.

The recording quality of some is a little problematic but remember these were laid down more than 100 years ago. It surprised me a little how many of these songs are still well known today. Of course, that could be due to my selection process.

GERALDINE FARRAR was an opera singer and movie actress.

Geraldine Farrar

She was good friend with Caruso and had a torrid affair for many years with renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini. Her marriage to film actor Lou Tellegen was torrid, ending in divorce and the suicide of her husband. Looks like the world of film and music hasn't changed in a hundred years.

Geraldine performed in opera until she was 40 and then performed recitals and sang on the radio. Here she is with the old Stephen Foster song, My Old Kentucky Home.

♫ Geraldine Farrar - My Old Kentucky Home

MANUEL ROMAIN was born in Massachusetts or Gibraltar or Spain.

Manuel Romain

Wherever he was born, he grew up in Boston where he initially sang in church but later branched out into the secular world singing on the concert stage. He also lent his hand (and voice) to minstrel shows but we'll just glide over that.

He wrote songs but I must admit I hadn't heard of any of them. Here he sings a song just about all of us would know, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now.

♫ Manuel Romain - I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now

JOHN MCCORMACK's name is still quite well known today.

John McCormack

He was an Irish tenor who sang in opera as well as performing popular songs. He toured Australia (and elsewhere) with Nellie Melba around this time to great acclaim.

I noticed when I looked him up that he died on the day I was born. Alas, his singing talent didn't transfer to me. He sings Annie Laurie.

♫ John McCormack - Annie Laurie

NORA BAYES started her career as a teenager in vaudeville, criss-crossing America.

Nora Bayes

She became friendly with George M. Cohan and during the first great unpleasantness, George insisted that she was the first to record his song, Over There. It became a huge hit for her.

Before that, though, she recorded the rather famous song Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly.

♫ Nora Bayes - Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly

THE PEERLESS QUARTET must have had tickets on themselves, as we say in Australia. It just means they were a bit up themselves to come up with that name.

The Peerless Quartet

They began their career as the Columbia Male Quartet and started out recording on wax cylinders in the 1890s. They went through a couple of name changes and several members before they got to the group we have today (today being 1910, of course).

There were even more changes after this. They perform a song you'll all know, By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

♫ The Peerless Quartet - By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Now for someone who will be familiar to every reader, one of the most famous singers in history, ENRICO CARUSO.

Enrico Caruso

Caruso was the model for every famous (and not so famous) tenor in the twentieth century and beyond. It's impossible from this distance, and given the primitive recording equipment at the time, to judge the quality of his voice. From the evidence of this track I prefer Pavarotti, and more especially, Gedda.

However, Enrico is who we have singing Il Fior Che Avevi A Me Tu Dato (the Flower Song) from Bizet's “Carmen.”

♫ Enrico Caruso - Carmen ~ The Flower

LUCY ISABELLE MARSH was a soprano who made a living making records for the Victor Talking Machine company. Most of these were anonymous, but she also recorded under her own name.

HARRY MACDONOUGH was a Canadian tenor who started out making cylinders very early on. He later also made some records for Victor including duets with Lucy.

Lucy Isabelle Marsh & Harry MacDonough

One of those was the song, Every Little Movement.

♫ Harry Macdonough & Lucy Isabelle Marsh - Every Little Movement

BERT WILLIAMS was one of the biggest stars of vaudeville in his day.

Bert Williams

He was also the biggest selling black artist before the 1920s. He was described by W.C. Fields, with whom he shared a stage several times, as the funniest man he'd ever seen, but also the saddest. Bert performs Play That Barber-Shop Chord.

♫ Bert Williams - Play that barbershop chord

Irving Berlin died in 1989, not all that long ago. He's present in the column as the writer of the next songs. That slightly boggled my mind. The singer of the song is BOB ROBERTS.

Bob Roberts

Irving's song isn't one of his best known; I hadn't heard of it before I found it. It's called Sadie Salome (Go Home).

Bob started out touring in his father's troupe of performers. He's also responsible for The Woodchuck Song. You know, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Deep sigh.

♫ Bob Roberts - Sadie Salome (Go Home)

When I first saw the name of this song, I thought it was the song Aba Daba Honeymoon under a different name. I was wrong, but I decided to include it anyway.

Besides, ARTHUR COLLINS AND BYRON G. HARLAN recorded that one too, and you'll be able to hear it in 1914 (if I ever get around to that year).

Collins & Harlan

The song from this year is called >On a Monkey Honeymoon.

♫ Collins and Harlan - On A Monkey Honeymoon

Whew, I made it. That was fun (for me, I don't know about you), but I don't think I'll be able to do any earlier years than this one; the recordings are really not worth listening to.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs within Songs

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

Okay, that title is not strictly true. It should be songs that reference other songs. I wondered how many there'd be. More than enough for a column, I'm happy to say. I'm sure you know more of them, probably ones I omitted.

The first of them today is by THE AMAZING RHYTHM ACES.

Amazing Rhythm Aces

The Aces are one of the finest country rock bands, with the great singer and song writer Russell Smith who pretty much got the band together and keeps it going after all these years.

Their song is Amazing Grace Used to Be Her Favorite Song. I probably don't need to tell you which song they reference.

♫ The Amazing Rhythm Aces - Amazing Grace Used to Be Her Favorite Song

HARRY CHAPIN is mostly thought of as a bit of a folk singer. However, his song veers into the heart of rock & roll.

Harry Chapin

It's interesting that he'd do that as his song is set in 1912 and the song he mentions is Nearer My God to Thee. His song is Dance Band on the Titanic.

♫ Harry Chapin - Dance Band on the Titanic

I have used the next one a couple of times before in these columns but it's such a good 'un that I'm happy to use it again. I'm shameless that way.

The singer is RODNEY CROWELL.

Rodney Crowell

The song is I Walk the Line (Revisited). I think it's not too much of a stretch to figure out which song is referenced in that one either. He doesn't just reference it, it's pretty much played all the way through. So, this one really is a song within a song.

♫ Rodney Crowell - I Walk the Line (Revisited)

Another one I've used before is Sweet Soul Music. Indeed, I've written a whole column dedicated to it. The singer is ARTHUR CONLEY.

Arthur Conley

He mentions quite a few songs. I won't list them all, but one of these is Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett. Any of the others would have been worth an attribution, but I'll let you pick them up.

♫ Arthur Conley - Sweet Soul Music

Right, here is a group of singers who got together in one of their garages and decided to form a band. They called themselves the TRAVELING WILBURYS.

Traveling Wilburys

I'd better tell you their names as they are a bunch of complete nonentities and they need the exposure. There are five of them and their names are Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.

These music wannabes sing End of the Line and the song they mention is Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.

♫ The Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line

VAN MORRISON has mentioned several songs over the years. I could have pretty much filled the column with them.

Van Morrison

I restricted myself to just one. That one is Cleaning Windows where he mentions Rolling Stone by the great Muddy Waters. He also mentions a bunch of other performers as well.

For those who like a bit of trivia about the artists, before he became a professional musician, one of Van's jobs was cleaning windows.

♫ Van Morrison - Cleaning Windows

The next song contains a reference to one of my favorites. The referencing song is by JOHN FOGERTY.

John Fogerty

His is Centerfield from the album of the same name. The song reference is Chuck Berry's Brown Eyed Handsome Man.

♫ John Fogerty - Centerfield

After appearing in the Wilburys, BOB DYLAN turns up on his own next, in self-referential mode.

Bob Dylan

He wrote and performed this one about his first wife Sara Lownds and he called it Sara. In this one, he sings that he was "stayin' up for days in the Chelsea Hotel writin' Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for you.”

♫ Bob Dylan - Sara

DIRE STRAITS were another group happy to mention their influences.

Dire Straits

I had a choice of songs from them I could have used but settled on Walk of Life. There are a few songs in this one but I'll just mention Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent as it's the first reference. I'll leave it to you to check out the rest.

♫ Dire Straits - Walk of Life

I'll end with the one I thought of first for this column and the singer is JOHNNY RIVERS.

Johnny Rivers

This is probably his best known song, Summer Rain. It refers to Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There are some who suggest that is really the album of the same name but even if it is, the song is on it so I'm happy with that.

♫ Johnny Rivers - Summer Rain

ELDER MUSIC: The Johnny Mercer Songbook

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

Johnny Mercer was best known for writing the lyrics to songs but he composed tunes as well. Besides that, he sang quite well. He was also one of the three founders of Capitol Records.

After writing mostly stand-alone songs, in the fifties he began producing the words for songs in musicals – Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Li'l Abner are the ones I found most notable.

There were also songs for films. He wrote the words to Moon River and Days of Wine and Roses (others as well, of course). I mention these as they're not in the column today. There were too many good songs to include everything.

Unusually for a white composer of his era, he listened carefully to black music of the time, jazz and blues. He brought elements of those styles into many of his songs.

That is evident in the first song today, Blues in the Night. Many people have tackled the song. I've decided to feature JESSE BELVIN.

Jesse Belvin

Jesse was a proto-soul singer who died far too young, probably murdered by members of the Klan or their supporters. No investigation was ever held. Besides singing soul-styled music, Jesse could perform jazz with the best of them.

♫ Jesse Belvin - Blues In The Night

Australian readers, and probably some others, will remember FRANK IFIELD's big hit, I Remember You.

Frank Ifield

As a youth, Frank used to practise singing by serenading the cows on his family's property in New South Wales. Then he went to Sydney and made it big on TV and records. Next to England where he made it bigger still. That's where he recorded this song.

♫ Frank Ifield - I Remember You

Capitol Records, mentioned above, was often called the house that Nat built. Nat, both as a solo artist, and as the NAT KING COLE TRIO had so many hits he pretty much kept the company afloat in its early days.

Nat King Cole Trio

To complete the circle, as it were, here's the trio ably assisted by Johnny Mercer himself with Save the Bones for Henry Jones.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Save The Bones For Henry Jones

Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread) was written around about 1940 and a number of people recorded it. I'm too young to remember those, and the first time it impinged on my brain was when BROOK BENTON took it to somewhere near the top of the charts 20 years later.

Brook Benton

That's the one I'm using in spite of all those other fine versions.

♫ Brook Benton - Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)

I used the MILLS BROTHERS so often in the "years" columns that I've pretty much run out of things to say about them.

Mills Brothers

So I won't say anything. Most of you would be familiar with them anyway. I'll just play one of their most famous songs, Glow Worm.

♫ Mills Brothers - Glow Worm

That Old Black Magic has been performed by many people but the one I remember as the first I heard, and is thus imprinted on my brain, is by LOUIS PRIMA AND KEELY SMITH.

Louis Prima & Keely Smith

Louis and Keely performed together in the fifties and were married for a time until Louis' womanising became too blatant and they were divorced. Keely later performed with Frank Sinatra and as a solo artist.

♫ Louis Prima & Keely Smith - That Old Black Magic

Speaking of Frank Sinatra, he is most associated with the song One for My Baby (and One More for the Road) but his version is so well known I thought I'd do another instead.

Of course, when I noticed that BILLIE HOLIDAY was on the list I think I was justified in my choice.

Billie Holiday

Billie's version really gives Frank's a run for its money, something I can't imagine anyone else doing.

♫ Billie Holiday - One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)

In contrast to my thought process on the previous song, I've gone for the obvious. If you decide to include the song I Wanna Be Around, there's only one person that's in contention.

Everyone who knows this song will know of whom I speak; for the others it is TONY BENNETT.

Tony Bennett

Nothing more needs to be said.

♫ Tony Bennett - I Wanna Be Around

There was a time when the most famous Clooney in show business was ROSEMARY CLOONEY.

Rosemary Clooney

She was of course, the current famous one's aunt. Rosemary could perform pop and jazz with equal facility. Here she leans more towards jazz with Something's Got to Give.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - Something's Got To Give

I'll finish with the man himself, JOHNNY MERCER.

Johnny Mercer

Satin Doll is most associated with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn who, of course, wrote the tune. Johnny put words to it.

He worked with many composers over his lifetime from Jerome Kern at the beginning to Henry Mancini at the end, with Duke and Billy in the middle. Johnny performs Satin Doll.

♫ Johnny Mercer - Satin Doll


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

I've said quite a few times (such that you must be getting sick of my saying it) that I pretty much stopped listening to new music after about 1975. This year though brought me up short (as it were); there were some really interesting tracks – some of which are covers of earlier songs, maybe that's the reason – enough so I might have to rethink my original premise.

Okay, there were a whole bunch of shockers too, a couple of which I might have included, depending on how you view these things.

ABBA were close to the end of their hugely successful run by 1980. Their personal relationships were falling apart as well.


In spite of that, they came up with what I think is their finest song. It's more down in tone than most of their songs, rather world weary, sounding as if they knew things were drawing to a close. The Winner Takes It All.

♫ ABBA - The Winner Takes It All

The first of our covers is the song More Than I Can Say, written by Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis who were both members of The Crickets.

They recorded it not long after Buddy Holly died. The first version I recall is by Bobby Vee. The one from this year is by LEO SAYER.

Leo Sayer

Leo really liked Australia as he toured often and eventually settled here. Not just that, he became a citizen of this wide, brown land.

♫ Leo Sayer - More than I can say

You really can't get much better than the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND and Linda Ronstadt.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

This is close to a music buff's dream. All it needs is Emmylou and I'd be quivering on the floor. Okay, time out to gather myself and announce An American Dream, written by two other favorites of mine, Guy Clark and Rodney Crowell.

♫ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - An American Dream

THE PRETENDERS were probably the most interesting new group for the year.


Alas, that original exciting lineup only lasted for a single album as two of the four died of drug overdoses before their next record. Fortunately for the music world, their main woman Chrissie Hynde keeps on keeping on.

From that excellent debut album, here is Brass in Pocket.

♫ Pretenders - Brass in Pocket

I didn't think anyone could do a better version of Crying than Roy Orbison, and I was right. However, DON MCLEAN made a pretty good fist of it.

Don McLean

Don was sensible in not trying just to copy Roy; he turned it into a Don McLean song. Well, nearly.

♫ Don McLean - Crying

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist is a big fan of QUEEN.


The group had been around for a while but were really flying high around this year and there were a couple of their songs I could have chosen. I didn't consult the A.M. on which one to include, I just made an executive decision for Crazy Little Thing Called Love.

♫ Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love

I don't know why BLONDIE were lumped into the punk category; they were much too musical for that. Probably because they played CBGBs quite a lot, that's the only reason I can think of.


The song The Tide Is High isn't one of their own, it was originally a reggae song by The Paragons. Blondie did a fine job on it, probably better than the original.

♫ Blondie - The Tide is High

I said there could be some shockers today and here's one. This is without doubt the worst song of the year. I give you RUPERT HOLMES with Escape (The Pina Colada Song).

Rupert Holmes

I don't want to say anything else about it, just let you listen to it if you want to.

♫ Rupert Holmes - Escape (Pina Colada Song)

AIR SUPPLY have never had any respect, particularly not in their home country.

Air Supply

This Australian group consisting of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock (plus assorted hangers-on) sold a whole swag of records over the years. Perhaps that was the reason for the jealousy. Or maybe because they weren't punk or rock & roll or something. I don't know.

Lost in Love was one of their big hits.

♫ Air Supply - Lost In Love

Stolen Car is from BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN's album "The River" and what a fine album that one is.

Bruce Springsteen

It's a rather brooding sort of a song – Bruce is good at those. He's good at just about any sort of song really. This is a good way to end the year but don't go out and steal a car no matter how good Bruce is.

♫ Bruce Springsteen - Stolen Car

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities: San Francisco

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *


That's one of my own photos.

San Francisco is the first city I visited outside Australia – that was in 1970. It may be because of that that I feel completely at home whenever I visit it, which is as often as I can.

I love this city as much as I love Melbourne (although we have better restaurants and coffee in Melbourne). After that statement, assured to get the residents of The City offside, let's go with the music.

San Francisco Bay Blues was written by Jesse Fuller. I could have used Jesse's version or any one of hundreds who have recorded the song (well, I may not have hundreds, but I've got quite a few). Out of all the possibilities I've chosen RICHIE HAVENS.

Richie Havens

It's one I really like and it's taken from his debut album "Mixed Bag," a record certainly worth searching out.

♫ Richie Havens - San Francisco Bay Blues

VIKKI CARR's song starts out as if it's going to turn into the famous song by Tony Bennett. Instead, it turns into another quite famous song.

Vikki Carr

She slows it down a lot which I think improves it. The song is simply called San Francisco.

♫ Vikki Carr - San Francisco

It's amazing what you find in your music collection when you do a search for something. Well, that's the case for me anyway. I hadn't realized that MARTY ROBBINS had performed a San Francisco song. Just goes to show.

Marty Robbins

It's not really clear why Marty's companion is leaving San Francisco but he's not too happy about it at all. Apparently there are a bunch of others who are similarly unhappy which raises some interesting questions in my mind about said companion.

Whatever, Marty has San Francisco Teardrops.

♫ Marty Robbins - San Francisco Teardrops

PEGGY LEE name checks just about every tourist attraction in the city.

Peggy Lee

That includes her baby painting the Golden Gate Bridge (on his own?). Anyway, Peggy has the San Francisco Blues.

♫ Peggy Lee - San Francisco Blues

American Trilogy would be the most famous work of MICKEY NEWBURY.

Mickey Newbury

However, he only arranged that, he didn't write the various parts. It was still a nice little earner for him thanks to Elvis. The most famous song of his that he wrote would have to be San Francisco Mabel Joy.

His original version gets a bit overwrought at the end with celestial choirs and whatnot. A more pleasing version is this one he performed at the Big Sur Festival back in 1971 with a little help from JOAN BAEZ.

Joan Baez

♫ Mickey Newbury & Joan Baez - San Francisco Mabel Joy

NANCY WILSON seems to suffer from my problem.

Nancy Wilson

Well, maybe a slight exaggeration. I notice that Nancy isn't the only one who has performed this song, but it's her version I like the best. I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco.

♫ Nancy Wilson - I'm Always Drunk in San Francisco (And I Don't Drink At All)

The next song starts out sounding as if it's a song about New York. It also sounds as if it's going to be someone else singing rather than MEL TORMÉ.

Mel Torme

However, things quickly settle down and Mel takes us on a tour of all the various tourist attractions of the city. The song is Got The Gate On The Golden Gate.

♫ Mel Tormé - Got The Gate On The Golden Gate

VAN MORRISON produced five of the finest albums of the rock & roll era in a row, a feat even The Band and The Beatles couldn't manage.

Van Morrison

Saint Dominic's Preview was the last of these and the title song is about San Francisco. Saint Dominic's is a church at Bush and Steiner and there are many other subtle references to the city in the song. Other places are mentioned as well, but we'll ignore them.

♫ Van Morrison - Saint Dominic's Preview

You knew this one had to be present so I won't disappoint you (unless you don't like the song, of course). All I need to say is TONY BENNETT.

Tony Bennett

Well, not quite all, I have to add I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

♫ Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart In San Francisco

The writer JACK KEROUAC made a couple of albums where he recited his prose or poems to a jazz backing. The most famous of these is one he made with Steve Allen playing piano, which Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, has and it's rather interesting.

Jack Kerouac

What I have today isn't from that album. In this case, it's Jack performing San Francisco backed by Miles Davis performing Flamenco Sketches from his great album "Kind of Blue.” This could almost be called spoken jazz.

♫ Jack Kerouac - San Francisco

I hope you appreciate that I resisted the temptation of including Starship's We Built This City.

ELDER MUSIC: Playing with Mr B

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

BILLY ECKSTINE first came to public attention when he joined the Earl Hines band as a singer and trumpet player. He stayed with him for a while and then went out and formed his own group.

He hired the cream of the crop and everyone featured today began their professional career playing in Billy's band. They all went on to change the face of jazz and are some of the most important musicians in the development of the art.

I'll start today with a song from the EARL HINES Band with Billy's unmistakable voice singing Stormy Monday Blues, a different song from the one that T-Bone Walker wrote and performed.

Earl Hines

♫ Earl Hines - Stormy Monday Blues

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, is a big fan of Billy Eckstine, so I'll play another song of his, just for her.

Billy Eckstine

This is definitely from his big band period. It's called Mr. B's Blues.

♫ Billy Eckstine - Mr. B's Blues

Right, to Billy's band. First up we have DIZZY GILLESPIE. Diz said in his autobiography,

"There was no band that sounded like Billy Eckstine's. Our attack was strong, and we were playing bebop, the modern style. No other band like this one existed in the world."

With the talent he had, I'm not surprised.

Diz plays the tune Leap Frog with the assistance of his long time playing partner, who also came from Billy's band, Charlie Parker.

Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker

♫ Dizzy Gillespie - Leap Frog

DEXTER GORDON was actually in a couple of other bands before he joined Billy's.

Dexter Gordon

However, it was while he was there that he was instrumental in the development of bebop (along with the others, of course). He had a big influence on the playing of John Coltrane. Here Dex performs Clear the Dex.

♫ Dexter Gordon - Clear the Dex

SARAH VAUGHAN won a singing contest at the Zeus Theater in Harlem; the prize was a week's gig at the famous Apollo.

Sarah Vaughan

After a bit of shilly shallying and messing around, she managed to get her gig. While she was there, and here things get a bit confused, she was spotted by either Earl Hines or Billy Eckstine – accounts differ. Whoever saw her, she was signed up to Earl's band.

When Billy left, she went with him. Here from later in her career with Clifford Brown, Sarah sings, You're Not the Kind.

♫ Sarah Vaughan - You're Not The Kind

The great players kept coming along and now one of the greatest of them all, MILES DAVIS.

Miles Davis

Miles' stay in the band was brief. He was just 18 when the group visited East St Louis where Miles still lived with his parents. One of the trumpet players was ill (not Diz) and word around town was that Miles could fill in.

He was impressed with the playing of Diz and Bird and that solidified his plans to play jazz for a living (rather than the classical music his parents wanted). Miles plays Ah-Leu-Cha, with some help from Coltrane who is present on this tune.

♫ Miles Davis - Ah-Leu-Cha

As mentioned above, we also have the great CHARLIE PARKER.

Charlie Parker

Every saxophone player who came after him has been influenced by his playing. Much has been said and written about Bird and I really can't add anything useful. Let's just hear him in a rather unusual mode playing with the Erroll Garner Trio, with vocalist Earl Coleman, and Dark Shadows.

♫ Charlie Parker - Dark Shadows

ART BLAKEY was the drummer of choice for many jazz musicians.

Art Blakey

Diz, Bird, Monk, Miles, Bud all used him at times. Besides that, his group The Jazz Messengers was a breeding ground for the next generation of great players, a column for another day. Art plays Little Hughie.

♫ Art Blakey - Little Hughie

I had a song penciled in here and the A.M. suggested that a duet by Billy Eckstine and Sarah Vaughan would be appropriate. Even if it isn't appropriate, she'd like it nonetheless.

Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan

So, the song we have, and we had a reasonable number from which to choose, is Passing Strangers. It was a unanimous choice from both of us.

♫ Billy Eckstine & Sarah Vaughan - Passing Strangers

Going right back to the beginning with Earl Hines and what sounds to me like a pedal steel guitar playing along there, not something you normally associated with this style of music. Here is a song Billy wrote and recorded with Earl, Jelly Jelly.

Earl Hines

♫ Earl Hines - Jelly Jelly


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

Don Gibson

Here is a column where you can cry in your beer (or cry in my pinot noir in my case). I present the writer and singer of the lonesome-est songs known to man- and woman-kind.

Don Gibson liked to think of himself as a songwriter who sang a bit rather than a singer who wrote songs. He was a particularly modest man who was very shy and didn't like performing. In spite of his reticence he really was a fine songwriter and terrific singer.

Don's father died when Don was just two and Don left school after second grade, something he regretted later that led to a lifetime of assiduous reading. Don acquired a guitar when he was 14 and taught himself by listening to guitarists on the radio and watching them perform and copied what they were doing.

He also made a bit of a living as a pool shark in his hometown.

Eventually he teamed up with a couple of others and formed a country band that had some local success. When the others left for a better playing gig, Don managed to get a regular spot on a local radio program.

He started writing songs around this time and a friend of his took some of them to a song publisher who was impressed And suggested that Don record some of them. Other singers also recorded his songs and he was on his way.

I'll start with the song that, when I mentioned to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, that I was doing DON GIBSON, she started singing immediately.

We were in the car heading for South Melbourne Market to do some huntin' n gatherin' at the time. It's amazing how much we remembered (all of it - we even sang the woh woh woh's). Fortunately, there was no one else in the car.

The song we performed is Sea Of Heartbreak. It goes without saying that Don did it better than we did, however, I was surprised to learn that it wasn't one he wrote. It was by Hal David (who normally collaborated with Burt Bacharach) and Paul Hampton.

Don Gibson

♫ Don Gibson - Sea Of Heartbreak

At the same time as (well, just after) Sea of Heartbreak (released only as a single), the record company released a song from an album of Don's.

Don Gibson

It was also a big hit and continued the theme of loneliness (as if I need to tell you that – you could tell from the title) called Lonesome Number One.

♫ Don Gibson - Lonesome Number One

Some years before the previous two songs, the first of his to make the charts was Sweet Dreams. It was recorded by PATSY CLINE who took it to the top of the charts.

Patsy Cline

I'll find any excuse to include Patsy in a column and her singing one of Don's songs takes some beating.

♫ Patsy Cline - Sweet Dreams

RAY CHARLES was innovative throughout his career.

Ray Charles

One such innovation was his recording an album of country music in 1962 called "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music" giving it the Ray treatment. It was so successful he recorded volume two later that same year.

He wasn't the first to do such a thing - Solomon Burke had done the same some years earlier but only with a few songs, not an entire album.

Coming from the other direction, a few country singers have recorded in a soulful vein. However, Ray showed them all what could be achieved. Of course, there were some of Don's songs in the mix, including almost certainly the best cover ever of one of his songs, I Can't Stop Loving You.

♫ Ray Charles - I Can't Stop Loving You

After Sea of Heartbreak, probably the best known of Don's recordings is Oh Lonesome Me.

Don Gibson

This was one of the first he recorded and it shot to number one on the country charts and made top ten in the pop charts. It helped that he had the great Chet Atkins producing the record. It had Don's version of I Can't Stop Loving You on the flip side. Great value.

♫ Don Gibson - Oh Lonesome Me

ROY ORBISON was so impressed with the quality of the songwriting, he recorded a whole album of Don's songs.

Roy Orbison

I think that if Roy is impressed with the songwriting, it must be good. One of the songs from the album is Too Soon to Know.

♫ Roy Orbison - Too Soon to Know

Another song Don recorded that he didn't write himself is I'm Crying Inside. The scribblers in this case were Charles and George McCormick.

Don Gibson

Rather surprisingly, this one didn't make the charts anywhere that I can discover. It continues in the same vein as the rest and has the added benefit of the distinctive sound of Floyd Cramer playing piano. I'm Crying Inside.

♫ Don Gibson - I'm Crying Inside

Two of the finest guitar pickers in history joined forces to record an album. They are MARK KNOPFLER and CHET ATKINS.

MarkKnopfler & ChetAtkins

Mark, of course, was the songwriter, singer and lead guitarist for Dire Straits. I really liked them when they were a simple quartet who produced excellent songs rather than the bombastic group they later became (which made them rich, so good on them).

He is teamed with Chet Atkins who besides being a great guitarist was also one of the best record producers who ever positioned a microphone. They play and sing (although I think that's only Mark singing) Just One Time.

♫ Mark Knopfler & Chet Atkins - Just one time

As DJ Stan Rofe used to say on radio 3KZ back in the day here in Melbourne, "It was so nice, I'll play it twice." Well, not quite.

I will play CHET ATKINS performing the same tune but in this case, just as an instrumental. As they say, the fingers never leave the hands but in Chet's case I'm not so sure about that. Just One Time.

Chet Atkins

♫ Chet Atkins - Just One Time

I'll end with an early one from Don.

Don Gibson

This stayed on the country charts for more than six months. The song is Blue, Blue Day, one you'll probably know if you were listening to music in the fifties.

♫ Don Gibson - Blue, Blue Day


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

I know that when I finished my second lot of "years" I said that if I should ever contemplate doing any more of them you should take me out and shoot me.

Fortunately, I modified that and suggested that you should ply me with fine pinot noir so that my fingers would be unable to type any of more of these.

Fortunately, nobody has shot me, but alas, no one has fed me fine pinot either.

You should never take what I say seriously as I'm going to do more of these "years" but they won't be like the previous ones; they'll be intermittent and published when we feel like it, or more to the point, when I write them.

Also they won't be in any order, just what I happen to have finished on the day, or what music takes my fancy. So, let's get started with a year that occurred before I was born so I know nothing about it. At least, not first-hand.

When I was growing up, one of the big hits of the time seemed to be called MoonglowandthethemefromPicnic, or that's how it sounded to me. Before the film Picnic was released, that tune was just called Moonglow. This has been recorded numerous times, but the one we're interested for this year was by BENNY GOODMAN.

Benny Goodman

Benny did a terrific job of it, few have bettered it. It has the unmistakable sound of Lionel Hampton on vibes as well as Teddy Wilson playing piano.

♫ Benny Goodman - Moonglow

There have been quite a few good versions of Miss Otis Regrets over the years. The one for 1934 is by JIMMIE LUNCEFORD.

Jimmie Lunceford

Jimmie was born in Mississippi but the family moved to Ohio when he was very young. They then moved to Denver where Jimmie went to school and he studied music under Paul Whiteman's father. He learned several instruments but concentrated on alto saxophone.

He later led his own band and it's in that guise we have today's song.

♫ Jimmie Lunceford - Miss Otis regrets

TED FIO RITO sounds as if he could have come from Hawaii and his song My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaii would add credence to that.

Ted Fio Rito

However, Ted was born Theodore Salvatore Fiorito in New Jersey. So much for that theory. He spent much of his working life in Chicago. Here he is with his orchestra and the song. The vocal chorus is by Muzzy Marcellino.

♫ Ted Fio Rito & His Orchestra - My Little Grass Shack In Kealakekua, Hawaii

My mum was a big fan of GRACE MOORE, so this is for my old mum.

Grace Moore

That's Grace in the picture, not mum. I remembered Elvis performing a song called One Night of Love (or a very similar titled song). This one is very different from that one (which was based on an even more risqué blues song). I'm sure Grace wouldn't have anything to do with that sort of thing.

♫ Grace Moore - One Night of Love

Someone who would have something to do with that sort of thing is LOUIS PRIMA.

Louis Prima

I first knew about Louis when he was teemed with Keely Smith, his wife at the time, but he was active (in all sorts of ways) before that, and after as well. This is from before, Jamaica Shout.

♫ Louis Prima - Jamaica Shout

Unlike a lot of his tunes, DUKE ELLINGTON didn't have a hand in writing Cocktails for Two. The tune is the work of Arthur Johnston and Sam Coslow.

Duke Ellington

The song made its debut in a film called Murder at the Vanities. Duke's version was the first committed to vinyl (or shellac, or whatever it was back then).

♫ Duke Ellington - Cocktails for Two

Around this time it was hard to escape BING CROSBY so I won't try.

Bing Crosby

My dad was a big fan of Bing's so I have both parents represented here today. I could have chosen a dozen or more of Bing's songs for this year, it was just a matter of which appealed to me on the day. That one was Two Cigarettes in the Dark, a tale of woe.

♫ Bing Crosby - Two Cigarettes In the Dark

I remember as a young thing the great version of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by The Platters. I knew it wasn't a new song at the time as the disk jockeys kept insisting on informing me.

The song was written by Jerome Kern and Otto Harbach in 1933 for a musical called Roberta. It was first recorded by Gertrude Nielsen with an orchestra conducted by Ray Sinatra who was some sort of cousin to a slightly better known person with the same surname.

The version we want, though is LEO REISMAN AND HIS ORCHESTRA who recorded it in 1933, but it became a hit in this year.

Leo Reisman

The vocal refrain, as they used to say back then, is by Sally Singer.

♫ Leo Reisman and His Orchestra - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

LUCIENNE BOYER was a French diseuse (I had to put that in, it just means talker, or more poetically, story teller) and singer.

Lucienne Boyer

In this song she's singing, not diseuse-ing (sorry, I'll stop now). It's her most famous recording, Parlez-Moi D'amour or Speak to Me of Love.

♫ Lucienne Boyer - Parlez Moi D'amour [Speak To Me Of Love]

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS had a really good lead singer by the name of Leonard Slye. Old Len is better known to us as Roy Rogers.

Sons Of The Pioneers

Roy joined the Pioneers and had a music career before he went into films. He also sang in those flicks too, of course. Here the pioneers perform one of their biggest hits, Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

♫ Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers - Tumbling Tumbleweeds

ELDER MUSIC: More Classical Gas

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, named the original Classical Gas post and I thought I'd keep the title for this second round. This column, like its predecessor, is just some lesser known composers whose works I like that I'd like to share with you.

FÉLICIEN DAVID was a French composer who lived in the 19th century.

Felicien David

When I first heard this piece I was struck by how similar it sounded to the quartets of Alexander Borodin but on further investigation, I discovered that Félicien had died before Alex had written his so no hanky panky there.

Unless it was the other way round, of course, but I don't wish to imply anything. See what you think with the first movement of his String Quartet No. 2 in A major.

♫ Felicien David - String Quartet No. 2 in A major (1)

MADDALENA SIRMEN was born Maddalena Lombardini in Venice to a poverty-stricken family in the middle of the 18th century.

Maddalena Sirmen

She started studying violin at an orphanage and was noticed by the famous composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini who taught there occasionally. He was so struck by her talent that he paid for her tuition.

When she grew up, she toured with the noted violinist Ludovico Sirmen whom she later married.

Maddalena composed a number of works for violin: concertos, string quartets, sonatas and trios. She was a considerably better composer than her husband and reports from the time suggest that she played the violin better than he did as well.

Here is the first movement of her Violin Concerto No. 1 in B flat major.

♫ Maddalena Sirmen - Concerto No. 1 in B flat major (1)

FRANZ TAUSCH apparently was a great virtuoso on the clarinet, one of the first as it was a rather new instrument at the time. He was taught by his father starting at a very young age.

It seems that Mozart heard them both playing the instrument and was really taken by it. So much so, that he started using it in orchestral works including the most beautiful piece of music ever, his clarinet concerto.But we're not here to discuss Mozart, this is Franz's turn.

Franz Tausch

He wrote a number of concertos and quartets for the instrument including this one, a Double Clarinet Concerto, which I assume that means two people are playing the clarinets and not just a single person with two in his gob, Roland Kirk style.

The official title is Concerto No 1 for Two Clarinets, Op 27. It's the third movement.

♫ Franz Tausch - Double Clarinet Concerto No 1 (3)

ENGLEBERT HUMPERDINCK is mostly known for one thing (well, two, if you include having his name pinched by a sixties pop singer) and that is the opera "Hansel and Gretel.”

Englebert Humperdinck

There was more to old Engle, though. Besides a number of other operas, he wrote some string quartets but we already have some of those today so we'll ignore them.

I'm going with his Minuet for Piano Quintet in E flat major. I think he lent a close ear the works of Felix Mendelssohn.

♫ Englebert Humperdinck - Piano Quintet in E flat major, EHWV 18 ('Menuet')

JAN BAPTIST VANHAL was a pupil of Dittersdorf and a friend of both Haydn and Mozart. These four would get together and play string quartets – the first super group I suppose.

Jan Baptist Vanhal

Like the others, Jan wrote string quartets but as much as I like them, it's time for something else. I'll play a flute quartet instead.

It consists of flute, violin, viola and cello. I used not to like flutes but they're growing on me – they are still far from my favorite instrument but I can listen to them without grinding my teeth. I'm not alone, Mozart didn't like them either.

Anyway, here is the fourth movement of the Flute Quartet, Op. 7, No. 2.

♫ Jan Baptist Vanhal - Flute Quartet, Op. 7, No. 2 (4)

CARLO TESSARINI was born in Rimini and early on played violin in a chapel in Venice and taught that instrument as well.

Carlo Tessarini

He learned of the opportunity to make money publishing his compositions so he hightailed it to Paris and did just that. He also went to Holland and England to play and write music. He got around as he was recorded as doing the same in (what's now called) Germany and Belgium.

This is the third movement of his Violin Sonata in C Op.3 No.1.

♫ Carlo Tessarini - Violin Sonata in C Op.3 No.1 (3)

I see there's an international "Save the Bassoon" movement afoot. It seems that few new musicians choose the instrument to play and the ranks of bassoonists are thinning alarmingly.

So, to help inspire people to take up the instrument (assuming that there are any young players reading this) I'll play some bassoon music. There's actually quite a repertoire and I had fun playing them all. Well, not all. When I found this one I stopped, otherwise it would take days).

It's by JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH who was born towards the end of the 17th century near Weimar.

Johann Friedrich Fasch

He was important in that he was a link between the earlier baroque and the later classical periods. You can pretty much hear the transition between the two in his music but probably not in the single piece I've used today.

It's the third movement of the Bassoon Concerto in C major.

♫ Johann Friedrich Fasch - Bassoon Concerto in C major (3)

The brothers CARL HEINRICH GRAUN and JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN had such similar style of composing that these days it's difficult to determine who wrote what. A lot of their works are just attributed to Graun.

Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Gottlieb Graun

However, the probability is that Carl wrote this next piece as he was known to have written trio sonatas. We'll go with that but if any descendants of Jo are around and know better, please let me know. The second movement of Trio Sonata B flat major.

♫ Carl Heinrich Graun - Trio in B flat major (2)

ERNST GOTTLIEB BARON was a composer and a master of the lute and the theorbo, which is a member of the lute family and has bass strings as well as the normal ones.

Ernst Gottlieb Baron

He traveled a lot, he was always on the go, wandering from court to court (as that's where the paying customers were). He ended up being the head musician for Frederick the Great in Potsdam when Fred moved everyone there.

Ernst wrote a whole bunch of music for the lute but there were other instruments in the mix as well. It's one of those other instruments I've selected, the second movement of Oboe Sonata in D minor. This has some theorbo backing the oboe.

♫ Ernst Gottlieb Baron - Oboe Sonata in D minor (2)

GEORGE ONSLOW was born in France but his father was English and was rolling in money, it seems. However, dad was a bit of a naughty boy and had to flee to France.

George Onslow

George was educated in both France and England and as he had inherited all that lovely loot, he didn't have to work. He turned his hand to composing and he found he was pretty good at it.

He was very fond of chamber music and wrote many string quartets, quintets and the like. I've selected his Cello Sonata in F major, Op.16, No.1. The third movement.

♫ George Onslow - Sonata in F major, Op.16, No.1 (3)

ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans Part 4

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

"I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music comes from New Orleans."
       – Ernie K-Doe

New Orleans

For those who came in late, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 for the music (if not the deathless prose).

JELLY-ROLL MORTON (or Ferdinand LaMothe to his mum and dad) was an early jazz pianist, band-leader and composer.

Jelly Roll Morton

He had the very first published jazz tune (Jelly Roll's Blues) and he showed that the essentially improvised music could be notated without losing its verve and spirit.

He wasn't a shy, retiring type and claimed to have invented jazz much to the derision of others at the time (and since). This is one of his compositions, Dr Jazz.

♫ Jelly-Roll Morton - Dr Jazz

From a jazz pianist to a blues piano player (or a barrel house player, as he terms himself in the song), CHAMPION JACK DUPREE.

Champion Jack Dupree

He was orphaned at age two, and spent his early years in the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs which is also where Louis Armstrong called home a few years earlier.

While he was there, he taught himself to play piano. He later lived in Chicago and later still went to Europe where he spent the rest of his life. In spite of that, here's a paean to his hometown called Hometown New Orleans.

♫ Champion Jack Dupree - Hometown New Orleans

Yet another pianist - well, New Orleans turns them out by the truckload. This time it's JAMES BOOKER.

James Booker

Even with all these great pianists, all the others think that James was the best of the lot. To quote Dr John, he was "the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.”

To show us what he's made of, here's a medley of Tico Tico; Papa Was a Rascal; So Swell When You're Well.

♫ James Booker - Medley

The man with the voice of an angel, AARON NEVILLE, is next. Actually, I think the angels would be jealous of him.

Aaron Neville

Aaron's song Hercules was written and produced by Allen Toussaint (now that's a surprise) and the backing band is The Meters, Aaron's big brother Art's band.

With all that talent, there's no way they could produce a dud (and they didn't, of course).

♫ Aaron Neville - Hercules

To the man himself, ALLEN TOUSSAINT.

Allen Toussaint

Allen was involved in one way or another with the majority of the music I've featured in this series. As I've already mentioned, he was a producer, songwriter and musician. He also made records himself. This is one of them, Solitude.

♫ Allen Toussaint - Solitude

IRMA THOMAS is the "Soul Queen of New Orleans," an accolade bestowed upon her by the local officials.

Irma Thomas

Unfortunately, she's not as well known outside the city. Well, she should be. I'll try to do a small part in helping that along, starting with the song Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand) that's been used in several films and TV series. It's not her best song but it's not bad.

♫ Irma Thomas - Anyone Who Knows What Love Is (Will Understand)

Some time ago, before Katrina, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I were wandering along Bourbon Street and discovered a hole in the wall, about the size of my living room, that was a music club. It was owned by CLARENCE (THE FROGMAN) HENRY.

Clarence Frogman Henry

We were pretty excited about that as there was music coming from inside. Alas, it wasn't Clarence. Apparently he often performed there but not that day. Oh well.

Here's Clarence with one of his big hits, Ain't Got No Home. This is the song that inspired his nickname.

♫ Clarence (Frogman) Henry - Ain't Got No Home

Lawdy Miss Clawdy was written by Lloyd Price who had a hit with it. After that, just about everyone else recorded the song, including LARRY WILLIAMS.

Larry Williams

Larry wrote songs as well: Bony Moronie, Short Fat Fannie, Dizzy Miss Lizzy and many others. However, like Byron, he was mad, bad and dangerous to know.

I won't go into details but there's always the web for those who wish to investigate further.

♫ Larry Williams - Lawdy Miss Clawdy

SHIRLEY AND LEE were Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee.

Shirley & Lee

Shirley was a teenager when she was going to cut her first record and the producer thought another singer would be advantageous. He brought in Len who, as it turns out, had gone to school with Shirl.

The musical partnership clicked immediately and they recorded a number of songs that did well on the charts. This is one of them, Feel So Good.

♫ Shirley & Lee - Feel So Good

We have come full circle. The first track in this series was by King Oliver. It's only fitting that we end with a tribute to him. The tributer (I just made up that word) is WYNTON MARSALIS.

Wynton Marsalis

The Marsalis family is full of musicians but Wynton is the best known to the general public. He not only plays jazz, he has performed and recorded classical works as well. Here is In The Court Of King Oliver.

♫ Wynton Marsalis - In The Court Of King Oliver

ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans Part 3

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

"I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music comes from New Orleans."
       – Ernie K-Doe

New Orleans

As this is Part 3, it might suggest to you that there have been Part 1 and Part 2. You'd be correct in that assumption.

KID ORY was a member of King Oliver's band, one of the earliest jazz groups.

Kid Ory

Edward (as his mum and dad knew him) started out playing banjo as a kid – that being still in the 19th century (he lived until 1973).

Kid switched to the trombone and became hugely influential on the instrument, not just as the lead instrument but also as playing rhythm, a skill he took from his banjo days. Here is Ory's Creole Trombone.

♫ Kid Ory - Ory's Creole Trombone

JOHNNY DODDS was an early jazz clarinet player. He was also proficient on the saxophone.

Johnny Dodds

He played with all the early great jazz musicians – King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and pretty much everyone who was performing in this style back then. In spite of his favoured instrument, the track today is called Blue Piano Stomp.

♫ Johnny Dodds - Blue Piano Stomp

ALVIN ROBINSON was a singer, guitarist and songwriter. His style was more blues oriented than many we've featured.

Alvin Robinson

Besides his own records, Alvin was much in demand as a session musician. He played guitar on several of Dr John's albums and also graced albums by Jesse Hill, Carly Simon and King Floyd.

His own records didn't sell well, which is the public's loss. Here is I've Never Been In Love.

♫ Alvin Robinson - I've Never Been In Love

Here's the biggest of the lot, not just in physical size, but in musical stature as well. FATS DOMINO.

Fats Domino

Fats and the Neville Brothers are the heart and soul of New Orleans' music. That's all I need to say about him, except here is Ain't It A Shame.

♫ Fats Domino - Ain't It A Shame

JOHNNY ADAMS was one of the finest singers around. He sang jazz, blues, rock & roll and pop with equal facility.

Johnny Adams

He wasn't the first to record the song Release Me but he was certainly one of the early ones. Many have attempted this song but no one has done it quite like Johnny, or as well.

♫ Johnny Adams - Release Me

Now the man whose quote begins each of these columns. Ernest Kadore recorded a number of songs under his birth name that didn't do very much. He then assumed the moniker ERNIE K-DOE and became a lot more popular.

Ernie K Doe

His most famous song would be Mother-in-Law but we're not using that one. Instead here is A Certain Girl.

♫ Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl

LONNIE JOHNSON was an extremely influential guitarist.

Lonnie Johnson

He also played violin, piano, mandolin and many other instruments. He was also a songwriter and singer. However, his guitar playing is considered in the same realm as Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker - that is just about the best ever.

Lonnie performs Why Should I Cry.

♫ Lonnie Johnson - Why Should I Cry

By an amazing coincidence, CHRIS KENNER was born in Kenner, Louisiana. What are the odds?


Chris wrote and first recorded the song Land of 1000 Dances that's been much covered over the years. However, the first time his name came to my notice was with the song I Like It Like That he wrote with Allen Toussaint.

♫ Chris Kenner - I Like It Like That

THE METERS were mostly an instrumental group.

The Meters

Their front man is Art Neville and the rest of the group consists of Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr and Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste. Besides their own work, they have often backed other New Orleans singers, in particular Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, and Dr John. Look-Ka Py-Py is one of their most famous compositions.

♫ The Meters - Look-Ka Py-Py

DR JOHN came into this world as Malcolm Rebennack.

Dr John

Besides changing his name, he also changed instruments. He started out as a guitarist and was a session musician for many other artists. However, he had a finger shot off in a gun fight and switched to the piano.

This is just one of numerous colourful stories about the Doctor. Such a Night is easily his most famous song.

♫ Dr John - Such A Night

Happy 70th Birthday, Peter Tibbles


As you know, around here we like to celebrate a few of those big, round-number birthdays. Today, 16 September, it is Peter Tibbles.

In case you have not been reading the TGB Sunday Elder Music column Peter has been writing since 2009, let me introduce you.

He first came to my attention a year earlier with smart, funny, informed, interesting comments on my poor attempts to write a weekly music post. He was so good, so well informed that I roped him into contributing several music columns for publishing while I was out of town.

One thing led to another and now we have what I believe is the best, most informed and informative, not to mention fun music column anywhere on the internet.

Peter lives in Melbourne, Australia, and that comes through in his columns. In addition to getting a great education in most genres of music, you learn a bit about his country, meet some great musicians from Down Under you may not have heard of and I personally enjoy following his language idioms.

That old line about the U.S. and England, “two countries divided by the same language,” is equally applicable to the U.S. and Australia and it always gives me a laugh when they turn up in Peter's columns.

As we have discussed here in the past, making internet friends is one of the best things about blogging and sometimes we even get to meet those friends who live so far away.

This is Peter perusing the menu on the open balcony of a local restaurant in my town last year when he and the “assistant musicologist,” Norma, spent several weeks visiting the United States - some of them with me.


Not only is Peter an excellent cook, he knows a lot about good wine so I always eat and drink well he and Norma are in town.

Now, since this IS Peter's big seven-oh birthday, let's take a little bit of a look at what the world was like in and around 16 September 1945.

World War II had finally come to an end that year. Germany surrendered in May, Japan in August. Here's what the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald looked like on 17 September 1945. I couldn't find an image for the exact date, Peter, but the argument could be made (and I'm making it) that the headlines reflect the previous day - your day of birth.


Because Peter is such a brilliant and well-informed music maven, we should find out what popular musical hits people were listening to when he was born. I can't find a list anywhere online for an Australia top ten but since the U.S. can be so embarrassingly dominant in the world, I assume Aussies were listening to some American music in 1945. Such hit tunes that year as

Sentimental Journey by Les Brown and Doris Day
Rum and Coca-Cola by The Andrews Sisters
Till the End of Time by Perry Como
On the Atcheson, Topeka and the Santa Fe by the composer, Johnny Mercer

There were a lot more movie musicals in those days than now. Three biggies in 1945 were Anchors Aweigh, Duffy's Tavern and The Bells of St. Mary's.

Bing Crosby, who starred as the priest in The Bells of St. Mary's was also named Top Male Vocalist of 1945 by Motion Picture Daily magazine.

Some other big musical names are associated with your birthdate and/or birth year, Peter. Blind Willie Johnson died two days after you were born and you have featured him twice in your column: Nobody's Fault But Mine and Dark was the Night.

Did you know that Dave Bromberg is one day younger than you, and Jessye Norman is one day older?

There are a whole bunch of well known artists of various kinds born the same date as you, although not the year – some are dead, some are not and here are a few, in no particular order:

B.B. King
Lauren Bacall
Charlie Byrd
John Knowles
Peter Falk
Ed Begley, Jr.
Amy Poehler

Pretty, good company, I'd say. Peter reads about as much as he listens to music and his birth year is bursting with what are now classic works from esteemed writers and thinkers:

Animal Farm - George Orwell
The Glass Menagerie – Tennessee Williams
Cannery Row - John Steinbeck
Stuart Little - E.B. White
Age of Reason - Jean-Paul Sartre
Berlin Stories Christopher Isherwood

So that's a little of what the world was like in 1945. Happy 70th birthday, Peter, and because parties should always be full of fun and laughter, here is comedian Bill Maher's closing "New Rules" monologue from his Real Time show last Friday.

As Huffington Post explained the bit, the host decided to give Donald Trump a taste of the racism he has been spewing:

”Maher channeled the real estate mogul-turned-reality TV host-turned presidential candidate and called for Americans to rally against the growing number of Australians 'taking our jobs.'”

It is wonderful and hilarious and, at the very end, important:

To readers: you will find Peter's music column at this blog every Sunday. A list of all previous columns is here or you can always find it by clicking the name "Elder Music" in the category cloud in the right sidebar.


ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans, Part 2

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

"I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music comes from New Orleans."
       – Ernie K-Doe

New Orleans

If you haven't already, be sure to listen to the fine music in Part 1.

I'll start today's column with the most important musician of the 20th century, LOUIS ARMSTRONG.

Louis Armstrong

Louis took the music of King Oliver, featured in the previous column, and ran with it. He ran so far and fast he outstripped the pack. He took the music from New Orleans first to Chicago and New York and then the world.

Louis performs Blues in the South with some fine clarinet playing by Barney Bigard as well as Louis' great trumpet playing and singing.

♫ Louis Armstrong - Blues In The South

The doyen of New Orleans piano players is undoubtedly PROFESSOR LONGHAIR (Henry Byrd to his mum and dad).

Professor Longhair

Apparently when he was young, Fess (as other musicians knew him) liked to collect old pianos that had been abandoned and fix them up. Before fixing them, he'd play them to see how they sounded. If there were missing keys, he'd just play around those which led to his often somewhat strange chord structure.

Others tried to emulate him but none came close. This is Crawfish Fiesta. I can detect bits of Rum and Coca Cola at the start of this one and a few other tunes as it progresses.

♫ Professor Longhair - Crawfish Fiesta

LLOYD PRICE had a hit with his first record. That was Lawdy Miss Clawdy, in 1952, a song he wrote himself and has been recorded by just about everyone with a toe in rock & roll.

Lloyd Price

I'm not going to use that song though. The one today is from late in the fifties, and another he wrote himself, I'm Going to Get Married.

♫ Lloyd Price - I'm Going to Get Married

EDDIE BO was yet another New Orleans pianist. There must be something in the water that produces so many great pianists in the city.

Eddie Bo

Although not as well known as the others, Eddie has released more records than anyone else playing in New Orleans except Fats Domino. This is one of them, I'll Keep On Trying.

♫ Eddie Bo - I'll Keep On Trying

The NEVILLE BROTHERS, as individual performers, in various bands and together as a unit have pretty much been the heart and soul of New Orleans for fifty years.

Neville Brothers

We'll start with the brothers and some of the individuals will pop up later in this series. Here they are with Hey Pocky Way from their excellent album "Fiyo on the Bayou.”

♫ Neville Brothers - Hey Pocky Way

The song Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette) was written by the prolific songwriter and producer Allen Toussaint who was responsible for many hits out of New Orleans. BENNY SPELLMAN was the first (and far from the last) to record the song.

Benny Spellman

Benny later was first cab off the rank with another much-covered song of Allen's, Fortune Teller. Benny later retired from the music biz and worked in the beer industry. I won't say a word.

♫ Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)

THE DIXIE CUPS were in the studio one day and after one recording they were just sitting around doing nothing much.

Dixie Cups

Barbara Hawkins, one of the Cups, said that she heard her Granny sing a song called Jock-a-Mo and the three of them started singing it. She recalls, "We were just clowning around with it during a session using drumsticks on ashtrays. We didn't realize that Jerry and Mike had the tapes running.”

Jerry and Mike were the famous songwriting and production team of Leiber and Stoller. They overdubbed bass and percussion, and released it. It was The Dixie Cups' fifth and last hit. They called it Iko Iko.

♫ The Dixie Cups - Iko Iko

SMILEY LEWIS's contribution is a song that Elvis recorded and took to the top of the charts.

Smiley Lewis

Actually, Elvis's version was modified for family listening. These days, with complete recordings being released, I've found that Elvis also recorded the original version but naturally the record company didn't put that one out at the time. Here is One Night.

♫ Smiley Lewis - One Night

SONNY LANDRETH is one of the most under-acknowledged guitarists in the world today, and one of the best.

Sonny Landreth

Sonny has performed and recorded with a diverse bunch of musicians over the years – Clifton Chenier, John Hiatt, John Mayall, Jimmy Buffett, Eric Clapton (and a lot more – that just gives a taste of the range of styles he can play).

He really must like the song Congo Square as he's recorded it a few times.

♫ Sonny Landreth - Congo Square

The Marsalis family certainly are a talented bunch of musicians. We have a couple of them in this series, starting with BRANFORD MARSALIS with his quartet.

Branford Marsalis Quartet

Branford is the saxophone playing member of the family. He started out playing in Art Blakey's band and later with Lionel Hampton and Clark Terry. These days he leads his own quartet and here they are with Treat It Gentle.

♫ Branford Marsalis Quartet - Treat It Gentle

ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans, Part 1

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

* * *

"I’m not sure, but I’m almost positive, that all music comes from New Orleans."
       – Ernie K-Doe

New Orleans

This is the first of four columns covering the music of New Orleans through a lot of my favorite musicians. There will be some I've left out but the city produces so many that it'd be impossible to include them all. Let's start at the beginning.

Twentieth century popular music pretty much began with KING OLIVER.

King Oliver

Joe, as his mum and dad knew him, was a cornet and trumpet player, bandleader and wrote many jazz tunes that are still in the repertoire today. He also mentored Louis Armstrong and gave him his first professional gig in his band.

That band also included Kid Ory who will be included in a later column (as will Louis). King Oliver plays Struggle Buggy.

♫ King Oliver - Struggle Buggy

SIDNEY BECHET didn't call what he played jazz.

Sidney Bechet

He preferred the older term ragtime and on occasions, hot music and ratty music. Whatever you want to call it, it's all music.

Maple Leaf Rag was written by Scott Joplin and was conceived as a march but the way Sidney plays it, if you marched to it, you'd be in the next state in no time at all.

♫ Sidney Bechet - Maple Leaf Rag

ROY BROWN was the first to record Let the Four Winds Blow, a song he wrote with Fats Domino, who also later recorded it.

Roy Brown

Roy was an unsung hero of rock & roll – in the 50s ,he successfully sued King Records for unpaid royalties, one of the few who managed to do that in that decade. He was probably put on an unofficial black list as a result as his career went into a slump following that.

♫ Roy Brown - Let the Four Winds Blow

Alan Toussaint, a man associated with quite a number of songs in this series, wrote the song Working in the Coalmine for LEE DORSEY.

Lee Dorsey

Lee's record was quite a reasonable hit and his version of the song has been revived several times over the years. It has been featured in a number of films which has kept its popularity rather high.

♫ Lee Dorsey - Working In The Coalmine

You Talk Too Much was written by Reginald Hall, who was Fats Domino's brother-in-law. Fats decided not to record it and JOE JONES did and took it to the top of the charts.

Joe Jones

Joe was a manager as well as a singer – he discovered the Dixie Cups, also featured in this series – and he later worked to garner rights for rhythm and blues artists. This was probably as a result of his not earning a bean from this song. He also worked with B.B. King for a while.

♫ Joe Jones - You Talk Too Much

BOBBY CHARLES was more a songwriter than a performer.

Bobby Charles

He made a few records over the years but not too many. He didn't have to; the royalties from his songs set him up nicely, thanks very much. You might recognise some of them – See You Later, Alligator; But I Do; Jealous Kind and the one we have today, Walking to New Orleans.

He has a bit of help from old friend Fats Domino, who made the song a hit, on this version.

♫ Bobby Charles - Walking to New Orleans

DAVE BARTHOLOMEW is a trumpeter and bandleader.

Dave Bartholomew

He's run the full gamut of New Orleans musical styles – R&B, big band, rock & roll, funk, traditional and modern jazz. He's also a songwriter, particularly in partnership with Fats Domino, and a record producer as well.

He even sings a bit. Here he does just that with The Monkey.

♫ Dave Bartholomew - The Monkey

The song Ooh Poo Pah Doo was a particular favorite of Australian rock & rollers, especially Johnny O'Keefe (whose version is better than the original) and Billy Thorpe (whose version was loud, long and unnecessary). The song was first performed by JESSIE HILL.

Jessie Hill

Jessie started out as a drummer and played with Professor Longhair, Huey "Piano" Smith and others before he formed his own group, The House Rockers.

After the success of his song, none of his other records clicked with the public and he moved to California to become a successful song writer. Here he is with his big hit.

♫ Jessie Hill - Ooh Poo Pah Doo

COCO ROBICHEAUX was a garrulous person who would talk to anyone or everyone who passed him as he sat outside (or inside) his local bar on Frenchmen Street.

Coco Robicheaux

He was one of the first musicians to return after Katrina and was instrumental in persuading others to do the same. Coco was more a live performer than a recorded one but he made some interesting records.

His best known is probably the album "Spiritland" from which St. John's Eve is taken.

♫ Coco Robicheaux - St. John's Eve

HARRY CONNICK JR's musical talent was noticed early. He started playing piano when he was three and he played one of Beethoven's piano concertos with the New Orleans Symphony at just nine years of age.

Harry Connick

Besides classical music, he's also a respected jazz musician and a talented rhythm and blues pianist. He's recorded sound track albums for films and written scores for musicals, not to mention occasionally acting in films as well.

With all that scope I've gone for a bit of jazz, It Had To Be You.

♫ Harry Connick - It Had To Be You

Next week: Music of New Orleans, Part 2.


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

Bob Dylan

Some say, and I include Norma, the Assistant Musicologist amongst these, that although Bob Dylan was the finest songwriter in the second half of the 20th century, they'd prefer other musicians performing his songs.

I don't go along with this thesis but I recognise that there are some fine covers of Bob's songs, and even two or three that are superior to his versions. In the interest of cordiality, today's column is devoted to other people performing his songs.

After his motor cycle accident in 1966, Bob retired to Woodstock, New York, to rest and recuperate. Probably not just from the accident but also from the grueling touring schedule on that first tour where he played rock & roll to stunned or delighted audiences (I was in the latter category).

Also, just down the road a bit, was the band that accompanied him on that tour, The Hawks. They later became better known as The Band.

A couple of the group rented a big pink house where they all got together to play music. As is his wont, Bob wrote a bunch of songs (he can't help himself) and they recorded them to distribute to other musicians he thought might like to play them.

This recording eventually became public as the first rock bootleg album, "The Great White Wonder.” It was later released as an official album called "The Basement Tapes.” One of the recipients of the song collection was PETER, PAUL AND MARY.

Peter, Paul and Mary

They had a bit of a hit at the time with the song Too Much of Nothing.

♫ Peter Paul & Mary - Too Much of Nothing

ROD STEWART goes right back to the early days, from Bob's breakthrough album, "The Freewheeling.”

Rod Stewart

Bob's version of Girl from the North Country was gentle and thoughtful. Rod's is pretty good as well, but it's a bit more rock & roll, or something.

♫ Rod Stewart - Girl from the North Country

JUDY COLLINS was an early champion of Bob's songs (along with PP&M and Joan Baez).

Judy Collins

The song of hers I've selected isn't quite so early. It's from her really interesting album "Whales and Nightingales,” easily her second best album. The song comes from the A.M.'s favorite Bob album "New Morning.” It is Time Passes Slowly.

♫ Judy Collins - Time Passes Slowly

I couldn't have a column on Bob covers without THE BYRDS being present. They were responsible for one of the two best Bob covers ever.

The Byrds

I'm not going with that one as I've used it before a couple of times. Instead, it's a song that Bob didn't ever release (until all those official "Bootleg" series of albums reared their heads).

The song is Lay Down Your Weary Tune.

♫ The Byrds - Lay Down Your Weary Tune

NINA SIMONE recorded quite a number of Bob's songs over the years.

Nina Simone

That's good for me as I have a choice of what to include (omitting some that others have performed). Actually, it isn't so good as I would have liked to include several so it was a tough choice deciding which one.

In the end I went for Just Like a Woman.

♫ Nina Simone - Just Like A Woman

TOM RUSSELL and BARRENCE WHITFIELD made a couple of really good albums together – "Cowboy Mambo" and "Hillbilly Voodoo.”

Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield

These were about half covers and half songs that Tom had written. Tom is a fine songwriter and terrific singer and his albums are worth searching out (there are a lot of them).

From the second album I mentioned we have Blind Willie McTell, a song Bob only released on one of his "Bootleg" series of albums although it was originally supposed to be on "Infidels" until Bob decided to omit it.

♫ Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield - Blind Willie McTell

MADELEINE PEYROUX is welcome in these columns, especially so if the A.M. has any say in the matter.

Madeleine Peyroux

Madeleine is equally at home at singing songs of Bessie Smith, Patsy Cline, Édith Piaf, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Mercer and Bob Dylan. Of course, it's Bob in whom we're interested today.

This is her interpretation of You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.

♫ Madeleine Peyroux - You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

I Shall be Released is one of the most recorded of Bob's songs. I wasn't going to include it until I listened to the version by SARAH JANE MORRIS.

Sarah Jane Morris

I was quite tired of the song but hearing Sarah Jane really pricked up my ears. She is an English jazz, rock and R&B singer, and a songwriter herself. She also appears in plays, particularly of a musical bent, and usually quite challenging roles. Like me, listen with pricked up ears.

♫ Sarah Jane Morris - I Shall Be Released

MARIA MULDAUR recorded a whole album of Bob's Songs. She's not the only one who has done that.

Maria Muldaur

That album had the song Heart of Mine, also the name of the album, that I think is the best ever cover of one of Bob's songs. I'm not using though, as I've included it several times before. Instead here is On a Night Like This.

♫ Maria Muldaur - On A Night Like This

I'll end with the song that inspired today's column. Well, the version of the song that I'm including was the inspiration.

Way back in 1969, record producer Lou Adler had the idea of setting Bob's songs in a gospel milieu (as both he and gospel music were big at the time). Lou gathered together the cream of the backup singers and did just that. It goes to show that really fine music can emerge even when produced as a rather cynical exercise.

The album is called "Dylan's Gospel" and was released with The Brothers and Sisters as the performers. Incidentally, many of the singers on the album turned up in the film 20 Feet From Stardom.

In this case we have MERRY CLAYTON singing the lead on a song known variously as Quinn the Eskimo and The Mighty Quinn. Take your pick.

Merry Clayton

♫ Merry Clayton - The Mighty Quinn

Okay, that last track isn't the end. As a bonus and as this is all about BOB's songs, I thought I had to include the man himself.

Bob Dylan

Here from a recent album is a rather atypical song from him (if any of his could be called typical). The song is Duquesne Whistle.

♫ Bob Dylan - Duquesne Whistle


Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.


I'm a dedicated book reader (that's part of my book shelves above). I know that Ronni and Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, are similarly inclined. I imagine most readers of this column are the same. So, here are some songs about books.

The first two sprang into my tiny brain immediately upon contemplating this topic. I knew they had to be present. The first of these is by THE MONOTONES.


The Book of Love was inspired by the old Pepsodent toothpaste commercial (you know, all about wondering, and yes, we had it Australia too). It was the only song by the group that troubled the chart makers.

♫ The Monotones - Book of Love

Here is the second one I thought of. NILS LOFGREN has had an interesting career without having a big hit or becoming a household name.

Nils Lofgren

He started by forming the band Grin who had several albums released almost certainly due to Nils playing guitar and piano on some of Neil Young's early albums and touring with Neil.

After Grin folded, he joined Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and has been with them for more than 30 years. In parallel, he has had his own solo career as well as performing with or backing many other artists. He's a good singer and a great guitarist as you'll hear on Black Books.

♫ Nils Lofgren - Black Books

Tom Rush did an excellent cover of the song You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover, possibly even better than the original. That will probably sound sacrilegious when I say that that original was by BO DIDDLEY.

Bo Diddley

As big a fan as I am of Tom's, I will go with the man who wrote the song and performed it first.

♫ Bo Diddley - You Can't Judge A Book By The Cover

There are quite a few versions of the next song I could have chosen and all would be more than acceptable. However, I really like TONY BENNETT so he's the one I'm going with.

Tony Bennett

Tony says: I Could Write a Book. A lot of people say that but few accomplish it.

♫ Tony Bennett - I Could Write A Book

JOE TEX takes a couple of elders to task in his song, but they put him in his place.

Joe Tex

His song is Buying a Book.

♫ Joe Tex - Buying A Book

When I say I'm playing My Coloring Book, I bet I can imagine who you think will be singing it. I'm sorry, that's wrong, I've gone for SANDY STEWART.

Sandy Stewart

Kitty Kallen was the first to record the song, George Chakiris had a crack at it as well, but the most famous version was by Barbra Streisand, all recorded the same year as Sandy's. Indeed the same month, November 1962.

It's far from my favorite song, but I thought it had to be present.

♫ Sandy Stewart - My Coloring Book

There's a really good album with DUKE ELLINGTON and JOHN COLTRANE playing together with only a rhythm section of bass and drums accompanying them.

Duke Ellington &John Coltrane

I wish they had done more in this vein as the results were outstanding. From that album comes My Little Brown Book.

♫ John Coltrane & Duke Ellington - My Little Brown Book

CARL DOBKINS JR had more than one hit but I imagine that you're like me and couldn't name any but his most famous one.

Carl Dobkins Jr

It doesn't really matter as that was a really good one, My Heart is an Open Book.

♫ Carl Dobkins Jr - My Heart Is An Open Book

THE KINKS are the Village Green Preservation Society says the title of the album from which the next song is taken.


Unlike most of the other British groups from the sixties, The Kinks were interested in chronicling English life past and present rather than just playing rock and roll and blues. They really hit their mark with this album, one of the finest from that decade. From it comes the song Picture Book.

♫ The Kinks - Picture Book

GREG BROWN flies under the radar which is a bit of a shame as he should be far more widely known.

Greg Brown

In spite of that he's made a couple of dozen or more albums, a number of which are superb and should be in any music buff's catalogue. Probably the best of them is "The Poet Game" and from that comes the song My New Book.

♫ Greg Brown - My New Book

ELDER MUSIC: Linda Ronstadt (The A.M.'s Choice)

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I both love Linda Ronstadt's music such that when I decided to write a column about her, the A.M. insisted on her choice of songs as well.

Fortunately, our selections were quite different so that means we could manage two columns. You heard mine last week and today it's the A.M.'s turn. Of course, she had all the fun of choosing the songs and left me to write the column.

Different Drum had to be present. It was written by Mike Nesmith, pre-Monkees, and the STONE PONEYS recorded it to great acclaim.

Stone Poneys

It was probably the first time most of us were aware of Linda.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Different Drum

Willin’ was written by Lowell George when he was still a member of The Mothers of Invention. Frank Zappa didn't like the song at all as he was very anti-drugs. This prompted Lowell and a couple of other members to leave and form their own band, Little Feat.

They recorded the song twice and one of those versions is a classic. Here's LINDA's take on the song.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Willin'

Heat Wave was originally recorded by Martha and the Vandellas. It was written by that prolific team, Holland, Dozier and Holland. This was not only on one of Linda's albums but released as a single as well and it made a serious dent on the charts.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Heat Wave

Now for a change of pace. This time Linda doesn't rely on a recent songwriter (who were mostly her friends) but we have a song that's attributed to "Traditional.” I always wonder what the difference is between this writer and "Anonymous".” Not much I suspect.

Anyway, here is Morning Blues.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Morning Blues

Speaking of her good friends, Jackson Browne was responsible for Rock Me on the Water. He did a fine version on his first album (that goes without saying, but I said it nonetheless). Linda's version wasn't far behind.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Rock Me on the Water

For something completely different, here is Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry, a song written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne. Its first outing was by Jane Withers, however, it was most memorably featured by Frank Sinatra on his great album "Only the Lonely.”

Naturally, Linda does a fine version as well. It was on her "What's New" album.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry

Of the duets Linda has recorded over the years, about the best of them (except for Emmylou, of course) was a song she recorded with HOYT AXTON on his "Southbound" album.

Linda Ronstadt & Hoyt Axton

The song they sang together is Lion in Winter, one of Hoyt's compositions.

♫ Hoyt Axton & Linda Rondstadt - Lion In Winter

Ry Cooder wrote and recorded a song called Tattler. Linda also recorded it but she called it The Tattler.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - The Tattler

One of my all time favorite soul songs was actually written by Jimmy Webb. It was sung originally (or at least the first time I heard it) by Al Wilson whose version marked it as one of the outstanding interpretations of the sixties.

Although I prefer Al's version, Linda does a good job too, and the A.M. prefers hers, so here it is. Do What You Gotta Do.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Do What You Gotta Do

I'll end with the one common song to both our choices. I don't know what it says about us, but the song is Faithless Love, written by J.D. Souther.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Faithless Love

ELDER MUSIC: Linda Ronstadt (My Selection)

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

Linda Ronstadt

When I decided to write this column on Linda, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, said “Me too.” So, as we did with Elvis, we both wrote down the songs that should be included.

The parallels are interesting because again, there was only one song that was common to both lists. I cheated slightly, as I knew the A.M. would choose Different Drum so I left it off my list but that’s the only fudge. I’d have put it in mine if she hadn’t included it but I knew there was no chance of that.

So, today is my selection and next week you can hear the A.M.’s choices.

Today's column also is a good excuse for me to include many photos of Linda. Like this one.

Linda Ronstadt

We are both going to start with a track from before Linda was a solo artist, back in her time as a member of the STONE PONEYS.

Stone Poneys

The A.M. has the famous track in her selections; I’m going with one that was nearly as good, Up to My Neck in High Muddy Water.

♫ Stone Poneys - Up to My Neck in High Muddy Water

Linda Ronstadt

All of these songs are favorites of mine, otherwise they wouldn't be included. However, if I had to pick just one, I think it would be this song, Love Has No Pride.

It was written by Eric Kaz and Libby Titus. Eric has recorded a fine version as well (as a member of the group American Flyer), and Libby's wasn't bad either but LINDA's is the definitive version.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Love Has No Pride

Stone Poneys

Michael Nesmith wrote the most famous of the Stone Poneys' songs, Different Drum. He was also responsible for another of Linda's hits (and for The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band too). That song is Some of Shelly’s Blues.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Some of Shelly's Blues

Linda Ronstadt

For some reason I Ain’t Always Been Faithful has always brought a smile to my face. Don't try to read anything into that statement. It was written by the seriously underrated singer/songwriter, Eric Andersen.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - I Ain't Always Been Faithful

Linda Ronstadt

Linda sure knows how to pick the songwriters. This time it's David Olney's turn. His song is Women Cross the River.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Women Cross the River

Linda Ronstadt

There seems to be a theme here about faithless love (but you'll have to wait for that one). In this case the song is In My Reply, a song written by Livingston Taylor, James's brother.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - In My Reply

Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

There are few better songwriters than Jackson Browne, and Linda has covered quite a few of his songs. That's not really a great surprise. The problem was selecting which to include. In the end I decided on For a Dancer, a (sort of) duet with EMMYLOU HARRIS.

♫ Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris - For a Dancer

Linda Ronstadt

Ry Cooder has recorded a really terrific version of the song Teardrops Will Fall. Now it's Linda's turn. A song written by E.V. Deane.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Teardrops Will Fall

Linda Ronstadt

In case you’re interested, the song that was common to both our lists is Faithless Love. We actually both came up with more than required and several of those on the bench were common as well, but they didn’t make the cut.

I remember when I saw Linda here in Melbourne. She introduced this song saying that it was written by J. D. Souther, who really knows what he's talking about. Make of that what you will.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Faithless Love

Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

There's only one way I could end this column and that's with the wonderful duet Linda performed with Emmylou on their terrific album "Western Wall.” The song is Across the Border, written by Bruce Springsteen.

♫ Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris - Across the Border

You can hear the A.M.'s selections next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Booker T & the MGs

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

Booker T & the MGs

In 1962 BILLY LEE RILEY was scheduled to record a song at Stax records.

Billy Lee Riley

The bigwigs organized some house session musicians to accompany him on the song. They were keyboard player Booker T. Jones who also played with the group The Mar-Keys, guitarist Steve Cropper also a member of The Mar-Keys, drummer Al Jackson Jr and bass player Lewis Steinberg.

The song that Billy recorded was Flying Saucer Rock and Roll, an unusual choice of music for the folks at Stax. If you're interested in what it sounds like (or even if you're not, I'm going to play it), here it is.

♫ Billy Lee Riley - Flying Saucer Rock And Roll

After that session, as is the wont of musicians, the backing band hung around and jammed together. At one stage they were playing along to a tune that Booker T was improvising and the recording engineer thought it sounded all right so he hit the record button.

Hearing the playback, the musicians realised it wasn't bad and they thought they might release it as a single. So they recorded another proper tune for the A-side and their noodlings would be the B-side.

The record company didn't much like that but eventually they came around to the idea. That improvisation was titled Green Onions. It was released under the name of BOOKER T & THE MGS. MG stands for Memphis Group.

As we now know, that became the hit, the biggest of their career.

Booker T & the MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Green Onions

After a couple more singles, Donald "Duck" Dunn, a boyhood friend of Steve's and also once a member of The Mar-Keys, replaced Lewis on bass and the classic line-up of the group was in place.

A tune that wasn't the result of improvised noodling is Jericho, based on the old hymn.

Booker T & the ;MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Jericho

Steve co-wrote The Dock of the Bay with OTIS REDDING.

Otis Redding

Naturally the MGs played on that session along with a little help from the Memphis Horns. It was from the last session Otis recorded.

The whistling at the end was originally just a bit of a marker for some instrumental work to be added later but they all thought it worked well so it remained. This is Otis's biggest hit. Alas it was posthumous.

♫ Otis Redding - (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay

Naturally, as they were at Stax, the greatest soul duo SAM AND DAVE (Sam Moore and Dave Prater) were backed by our group.

Sam & Dave

The MGs not only backed them in the studio, they toured with them as well. Not just them but with many others from the Stax roster too.

Although their records were great and their live shows were among the most exciting of the soul era with them playing off each other in call and response.

Sam and Dave disliked each other to such an extent that they rarely spoke. Dave was killed in a car accident in 1988 but Sam is still performing. One of their big hits was Hold On, I'm Comin'.

♫ Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Comin'

Another song Steve co-wrote was In the Midnight Hour with WILSON PICKETT.

Wilson Pickett

Wilson's personal life was troubled to say the least but his musical life is second to few. He was one of the greatest soul singers, a songwriter and performer without many peers. He needs a whole column but for now here he is with Midnight Hour.

♫ Wilson Pickett - In the Midnight Hour

I don't know if the world needs another version of Summertime but nothing I say will stop that from happening. Anyway, here's a nice laid back version by BOOKER T & THE MGS.

Booker T & the MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Summertime

Yet another co-written song by Steve is Knock on Wood with EDDIE FLOYD.

Eddie Floyd

Early on, Eddie was in a group called The Falcons in Detroit with Mac Rice and Wilson Pickett. When Wilson left, the group disbanded and Eddie followed Wilson to Memphis and Stax records.

Initially, he wrote songs with Steve for Wilson and then later for himself. Here is one of those.

♫ Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood

Quite recently, BOOKER T recorded a solo album. Well, solo only in the sense that Steve (the other remaining MG) isn't on it. Many other musicians are.

Booker T Jones

He had some fine singers along for the ride, one of whom is ANTHONY HAMILTON.

Anthony Hamilton

Anthony switches between rap and real singing. Fortunately, it's the latter category on this track, Gently.

♫ Booker T - Gently (featuring Anthony Hamilton)

Although not unsung, Booker T & the MGs are certainly under-sung in their place in the musical firmament. Not just for their own recordings but also for their backing of some of the most important musicians in the second half of the twentieth century.

They also wrote songs, Steve Cropper especially, by themselves and in collaboration with others. Not just that, they were an integrated group in the early sixties in a southern city and made no fuss about it. They were also really good friends and remained that way throughout their lives.

In 1975, the group was recording a new album, when Al Jackson was shot and killed in his home by a burglar. Duck Dunn died in his sleep in 2012. Booker T and Steve are keeping the music alive.

Booker T & the MGs

After Green Onions, Time is Tight is probably their best known tune. I'll finish with that one.

♫ Booker T & The MGs - Time Is Tight

ELDER MUSIC: Run to Paradise

Tibbles1SM100x130This 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.

Recently Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I saw Coldplay perform a song called Paradise on TV. Both of us mentioned that we could think of several better songs with the same name.

We pretty much simultaneously came up with The Choirboys, John Prine and Tony Bennett. Others weren’t far behind. Naturally, in the way of these things, it led to this column that I originally called Paradise but The A.M. thought that “Run to Paradise” was a more interesting name, and so it shall be.

Since the column is called Run to Paradise, that’s the way we’re starting. These are THE CHOIRBOYS.


The Choirboys are a rock band formed in Sydney in the tail-end of the seventies and still going to this day. Singer Mark Gable and bass player Ian Hulme are the constants throughout their journey and a dozen or more others have come and gone over the years.

This is the song, a huge hit in Oz.

♫ Choirboys - Run to Paradise

JOHN PRINE was another initial thought.

John Prine

The writer Simon Winchester told me (and all the others listening to the radio at the time) that there are 18 towns in America called Paradise. Due to John's song, the town in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky is probably the most famous.

Ironically, though, the town no longer exists as it was dug up by Mr Peabody's coal company.

♫ John Prine - Paradise

JOHNNY NASH is best known for his song, I Can See Clearly Now. That one has nothing to do with paradise so it won't be in today.

Johnny Nash

Johnny is more associated with reggae music which he recorded in Jamaica even though he's Texas born and bred. He was also a song writer and started a record company (that signed the Cowsills, if you can believe that).

His song is Halfway to Paradise, written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin.

♫ Johnny Nash - Halfway To Paradise

If there’s a possibility of getting BUDDY HOLLY into a column you can pretty much be sure that I'll include him, and here he is.

Buddy Holly

This is how Buddy and the Crickets originally recorded this tune without the overdubs of extra instruments and voices that I think detract from other versions of the song. The song is Fool's Paradise.

♫ Buddy Holly - Fools Paradise

TONY BENNETT had to be present because his contribution is one that pretty much every reader of this column would know.

Tony Bennett

I really don't need to tell you anything about this one; anyone who reads this column would know Stranger in Paradise.

♫ Tony Bennett - Stranger In Paradise

Here is another Australian performer because there are quite a number of people, okay, a hell of a lot, who claim that Australia is as close to paradise as you can get on this planet.

You might very well think that; I couldn't possibly comment. I'll just give you GRAEME CONNORS.

Graeme Connors

I'll also just let Graeme tell it like it is On the Edge of Paradise.

♫ Graeme Connors - On The Edge Of Paradise

ELVIS, in contrast, suggests that Any Place is Paradise.

Elvis Presley

Well, if anyone would know whether that were so it'd be Elvis (except that he really didn't go anywhere much, so it may be a little problematic).

♫ Elvis Presley - Any Place Is Paradise

If CHARLES BROWN seems to be in the mix there’s no way he could be left out if the A.M. has any say in the matter. Which, of course, she does. With this column anyway.

Charles Brown

The song has the same name as the one by Buddy, but it’s a different one. Fool's Paradise.

♫ Charles Brown - Fool's Paradise

MARCIA BALL's background in Louisiana is obvious in the next song.

Marcia Ball

That's a good thing for fans of music from that area (of which the A.M. and I are two). She sings of yet another place that's paradise no longer – there are far too many of those. The song is This Used to Be Paradise.

♫ Marcia Ball - This Used To Be Paradise

I wasn’t going to include the next one but the A.M. insisted that it be present. The tune is an exercise in overblown-ness (if such a word exists – it should to describe this track). Here for your delectation is MEATLOAF.


Mr Loaf's song is from his phenomenally successful "Bat out of Hell" album. It's called Paradise by the Dashboard Light. He has the help of Ellen Foley on the track.

♫ Meatloaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light

I trust that you all had a loaf of bread beneath the bough,
a flask of wine, a book of verse - and somebody or other
beside you singing in the wilderness,
and that wilderness was Paradise enow.