475 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: The Night They Invented Champagne

Hurray. This is the last day of the 2018 TGB donation drive to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for today's post.

* * *

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.

* * *


With a title like that, I'd have to start with that song. It's from the musical (and film in this case) of "Gigi". Throughout the tune you have the voices of LESLIE CARON, LOUIS JOURDAN and HERMIONE GINGOLD.

Leslie Caron etc.

However, the main singing voice, lip-synched by Leslie in the film, is BETTY WAND.

Betty Wand

The track is quite short. In the film it goes on for considerably longer but the second half of the song is instrumental with Leslie dancing around, pouring champagne for everyone, including herself. This would not be acceptable today as her character (Gigi) was quite young. That's okay with me; I was quite young when I first drank champagne.

♫ Gigi - The Night They Invented Champagne

EFFIE SMITH, like many of us, has a champagne mind with a soda water income.

Effie Smith

I know that's a problem for me. Effie's song had the backing of the vocal group The Squires, two of whose members went on to become the fifties rock & roll duo Don and Dewey, who weren't very successful, but the songs they wrote were huge hits for others. Effie's song, as you can possibly guess, is Champagne Mind.

♫ Effie Smith - Champagne Mind

Like Effie, ERIC BIBB has champagne habits on a beer salary. The same thought, different beverage.

Eric Bibb

If Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, has a say in it, Eric would be in pretty much every column where it was appropriate. It's a good thing it's appropriate today. He performs Champagne Habits.

♫ Eric Bibb - Champagne Habits

If I have any say in it, and of course I do as I write these things, OTIS REDDING would appear quite often.

Otis Redding

He's here today with Champagne and Wine.

♫ Otis Redding - Champagne And Wine

I suppose if you're only going to eat French fries you might as well drink champagne with them. At least, that's what THE HOT SARDINES think. Hmm, there's certainly a food thing going on here.

Hot Sardines

The Sardines are pretty much the brainchild of Evan Palazzo and Elizabeth Bougerol. They got their start when they were asked to sing some French songs for a gig on Bastille Day. That turned out to be at the Lincoln Center in New York and they were an instant success.

They perform French Fries and Champagne from the album of the same name.

♫ The Hot Sardines - French Fries & Champagne

WILLIE NELSON is well known for imbibing other substances, but I'm sure he's quite happy to get into the bubbly.

Willie Nelson

That's pretty obvious from his lovely, gentle song Drinking Champagne.

♫ Willie Nelson - Drinking Champagne

JOHNNIE RAY was a bit of an oddity in the music of the early fifties.

Johnnie Ray

He was obviously a proto-rock and roller while still performing music that harked back to an earlier generation. The song today could fit into both categories (if you consider Doowop-style music rock and roll), but probably closer to earlier music. The song is The Lady Drinks Champagne.

♫ Johnnie Ray - The Lady Drinks Champagne

Although usually lumped into the country camp, JERRY JEFF WALKER, just like his friend Willie, covers a far wider spectrum of music than that.

Jerry Jeff Walker

His song today mentions pretty much everything a person could partake of, both legal and illegal. However, he suggests that it's nobody's business but mine (well, his actually). The song is Champagne Don't Hurt Me, Baby.

♫ Jerry Jeff Walker - Champagne Don't Hurt Me Baby

Champagne Charlie is an old music hall song that goes back a long way. I could have chosen any of the old performers, however, I've always liked the way LEON REDBONE sings the old songs.

Leon Redbone

He manages to be true to the original while not being too slavish about that, bringing a modern spirit to his performance.

♫ Leon Redbone - Champagne Charlie

All the previous songs celebrated champagne to one degree or another. However, ROSEMARY CLOONEY gets no kick from champagne.

Rosemary Clooney

Anyone who has listened to music sometime in the last hundred years or so will know where I'm going with the final song. I had a plethora of choices, just about everyone sang it well. It pretty much came down to how I felt about the backing musicians. Although there's a lot going on in this one, I rather liked it. Even the vibes didn't offend me too much. I Get A Kick Out Of You.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - I Get A Kick Out Of You


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.

* * *

Way back when I was a whippersnapper, my dad bought a record player. Initially, we had no records but over the next few years we acquired some. Most of mine were because of birthday or Christmas presents (with a bit of gentle hinting on my part).

Anyway, we all managed to collect some records. Not too many as we couldn't afford a lot, but enough to keep us entertained. Also, we lived in a small country town, so there was only one place that sold records and they didn't have a big selection. Here are some of them.

I'll start with me as this is my column. In the fifties, I think I liked BUDDY HOLLY more than any other performer at the time.

Buddy Holly

The record company powers that be brought out the album "The Buddy Holly Story" very shortly after Buddy died. For once, they chose the songs well; every track on it was a classic so it was difficult for me to choose one of them.

I've decided to go with one that's perhaps not as well known as the others (unless you're a Buddy fan, of course). Early in the Morning.

♫ Buddy Holly - Early In The Morning

An LP we had was MARIO LANZA with the soundtrack for "The Student Prince".

Mario Lanza

I think this might have been mine, but it's a bit hard to remember. Mario didn't appear in the film due to a dispute of some sort but his voice did courtesy of lip-synching by Edmund Purdom. One of those songs is Serenade.

♫ Mario Lanza - Serenade

Another soundtrack LP was for "My Fair Lady". This was the Broadway cast recording, not the one from the film (that was quite a bit later than the time this column covers). Thus we had JULIE ANDREWS, not Marni Nixon.

Julie Andrews

There are many well known songs from the musical that were a hit at the time and are still played today. Rather than one of those, I'm going with one from when Eliza was somewhat cheesed off about the men in her life and how they liked to rabbit on at great length (just as I'm doing now). She sings Show Me.

♫ Julie Andrews - Show Me

Dad was a big fan of BING CROSBY, so there were several of his albums from which to choose.

Bing Crosby

For me to choose one of Bing it was almost a case of putting all the names of the songs in a hat and drawing one out. I didn't do that but it was almost the same. In the end I chose one of his most popular early songs, Please


♫ Bing Crosby - Please

I have a confession to make, a guilty secret: I quite liked PAUL ANKA when I was a teenager.

Paul Anka

Okay, he was a songwriter of considerable skill – he wrote Buddy Holly's biggest (posthumous) hit. He also co-wrote one of Frank Sinatra's biggest songs, so he has something going for him. However, I'm talking about when he was teenage idol, and writing and singing songs in that vein.

The album I had of his was the first of many of his called "Greatest Hits". From that one we have Put Your Head on My Shoulder.

♫ Paul Anka - Put Your Head on My Shoulder

Yet another musical - they were big back then and I guess some members of the family liked them. This time it's "West Side Story". One of the most famous songs from the musical is Tonight.

It was apparently sung by Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer in the film, but they were only acting. The real singers were MARNI NIXON and JIMMY BRYANT.

Marni Nixon

That's Marni, but the only pics I could find of Jimmy were for a guitarist with the same name. Anyway, it seems that Natalie was somewhat miffed when they didn't use her singing voice, but Richard was fine with it, going out of his way to mention and complement Jimmy at all opportunities in interviews.

♫ Marni Nixon & Jimmy Bryant - Tonight

I'm certainly not alone when I say that I had a bit of a thing for BUDDY HOLLY. I mentioned that above.

Buddy Holly

Besides "The Buddy Holly Story", I had volume 2 that was rushed out when it was discovered that the first one sold really well. The second one was mostly songs that Buddy was working on just before he died and had recorded with just an acoustic guitar. Naturally, a backing group was added for the record.

I now have the originals in my collection and prefer them that way, but that's not the way they appeared on the record I had back then. One of those songs is Peggy Sue Got Married.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue Got Married

My sister was a big fan of JOHNNIE RAY. She had a couple of his EPs, and one or two singles.

Johnnie Ray

Besides being a proto-rock & roller, he also harked back to an earlier generation of music. On one of the EPs he showed that with Walkin' My Baby Back Home (which, I think, is the song for which she acquired it) but it also had the old standard All of Me.

♫ Johnnie Ray - All Of Me

Between my sister and me, we had quite a few singles, and several EPs of ELVIS.

Elvis Presley

One of those EPs, and I don't know who lays claim to it, is "Jailhouse Rock". This had the five songs from the film on it, so it was good value. One of those songs is (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care.

♫ Elvis - (You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care

We were friendly with the family next door. Alas, they moved away (only a couple of years before we did the same thing).

About a year after their move, the father made a return visit (he was with the Lands Department, a government body, that meant he moved around a bit for his job). He brought a gift for me, an EP of LITTLE RICHARD. He said his son (another Peter) really liked it.

Little Richard

This might be the best EP of all time as it contained Richard's four best known, and best, songs. One of those is Rip it Up.

♫ Little Richard - Rip It Up

Here is a late entry I've just remembered and the irony is giving me a smack around the chops. It's another EP and it certainly wasn't mine. It had four or five songs from the musical "Salad Days".

I have no idea who performed it as that EP has long flown the coop. I do have a version on my computer and I have no idea who performs on that one either. It sounds like the one we had, but I suppose it would. Anyway, as a final joke on me, We Said We'd Never Look Back.

♫ Salad Days - We Said We'd Never Look Back


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.

* * *

Even in this age of Facebook and Twitter, there are still some secrets out there. Mostly by governments, although less so as time passes, but people like to keep them as well.

Those secrets really make the basis of many books, films, TV shows and the like. Fortunately, there are a lot of them in songs too. Here are some (from a very long list).

Back in the early sixties, LEROY VAN DYKE made a career of recycling the same theme. Perhaps not recycling, building on the previous song would be a better description.

Leroy Van Dyke

Not the same songs, they were different, but it seems that from his first big one, Walk on By, through If a Woman Answers (Hang Up the Phone), he was trying to tell us something.

He kept that going with How Long Must You Keep Me a Secret. I said the songs were different, but they were all distinctly Leroy.

♫ Leroy Van Dyke - How Long Must You Keep Me a Secret

Once upon a time ROSEMARY CLOONEY was the most famous Clooney in show biz.

Rosemary Clooney

Her nephew has sort of usurped that position, but she was the better singer. Actually, she's better than most. Here she lets us in on the Secret of Life.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - Secret Of Life

The song that inspired this column was by THE BEATLES.

The Beatles

Not too surprising, I'm sure they've inspired many columns (and other things) over the years. The song is from very early, indeed, their first album "Please Please Me". It is Do You Want To Know a Secret, not surprisingly, a Lennon/McCartney song (although they were still recording a few by other writers at that stage).

♫ The Beatles - Do You Want To Know A Secret

I bet you imagined that Doris Day was going to be present with one of her biggest hits. She certainly made the short list and then I discovered that someone else had recorded the song you were expecting.

Normally, I'd go with the original, but I was so taken with this one by FREDDY FENDER that I thought I must include it.

Freddy Fender

Some of you, probably most, will disagree, but it's interesting to get a different perspective on a song you know so well. Freddy doesn't call it Secret Love. For him it's Amor Secreto.

♫ Freddy Fender - Amor Secreto (Secret Love)

JIMMIE RODGERS always seemed to be on the charts when I was growing up. That's Jimmie the folk/pop singer, not the country/blues singer. They weren't related.

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie's career continued until the end of the sixties when he had a car accident and an altercation with police, the mob or someone else. It's not entirely clear. As I write this Jimmie is still with us although he's suffered several health-related problems in recent years.

His song is Secretly, one of his big hits from the fifties.

♫ Jimmie Rodgers - Secretly

When I was searching for songs I found this one by ERIC ANDERSEN.

Eric Andersen

I thought: I really like Eric, that will probably be included. When I played it I thought, "Hang on, that's a Fred Neil song", and I'm a big fan of Fred's too. Then I thought longer and remembered that it was also an Elizabeth Cotton song, from considerably earlier. I was on the horns of a dilemma about which to include.

In the end I went for the first one I encountered. I've Got a Secret. It's also sometimes called Didn't We Shake Sugaree.

♫ Eric Andersen - I've Got A Secret

There's always room for PATSY CLINE in just about any column.

Patsy Cline

The song is interesting in that it's not like her country or pop songs. Rather, it seems to hark back a decade or two in its style. It's still really good though. How could it not be, it's Patsy. Too Many Secrets.

♫ Patsy Cline - Too Many Secrets

It seems that many of my favorite performers have secrets, and here's another, Z.Z. HILL.

ZZ Hill

Z.Z. was a fine soul singer who didn't get the recognition that others did, although he certainly deserved it. His song is I Don't Want Our Love To Be No Secret. Upon listening to it, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist suggested that "it was turning into Midnight Train to Georgia, which, of course, is no bad thing".

♫ Z.Z. Hill - I Don't Want Our Love To Be No Secret

WILLIE NELSON seems to be channelling his inner Brokeback Mountain with his song.

Willie Nelson

I'd forgotten about this one but when I listened to it I knew it had to be present. Willie suggests that Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other.

♫ Willie Nelson - Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other

When I saw the name GORDON MACRAE, I thought: ah good, he'll bring some quality singing, maybe something from a musical.

Gordon MacRae

Imagine my surprise when I listened to it. He sounded like any old pop singer from the fifties. I was ready to throw it out, but thought that perhaps you all are unfamiliar with this aspect of his career (as was I).

It wasn't all “Carousel” and “Oklahoma”. Gordon tells us The Secret.

♫ Gordon MacRae - The Secret

ELDER MUSIC: Tony Bennett

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.

* * *

Tony Bennett

Frank Sinatra said in a 1965 Life magazine interview,

"For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business. He excites me when I watch him. He moves me. He's the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more."

Frank knew of what he was talking, and it's Tony who gets our attention today.

The first song I can remember Tony Bennett singing is this next one. My sister had the 45 of it so it's imprinted on my brain. It's not really like all the other songs today. In the Middle of an Island.

♫ Tony Bennett - In The Middle Of An Island

Okay, I was a little hasty in my previous comment, this next one is somewhat unusual as well. It may be a Hank Williams song, but Tony turned it onto a Tony Bennett song.

He was rather reticent about recording this one, but his producer, Mitch Miller, convinced him. It's a bit heavy on the strings for me, Hank wouldn't have done that, but it's still worth a listen, Cold, Cold Heart.

♫ Cold Cold Heart

Tony Bennett

Well, that's got the silly ones out of the way, now let's get to the good stuff, starting with Rags to Riches. This was a considerable hit not too long after the first couple of songs.

♫ Rags To Riches

Tony recorded a couple of albums with the great jazz pianist BILL EVANS.

Tony Bennett & Bill Evans

On one of those he sang one of Bill's compositions, Waltz for Debby. This was a tune that Bill wrote as a musical portrait of his niece. Gene Lees put words to it. Several people have sung this but none has done it better than Tony.

♫ Waltz for Debby

Tony has always been able to perform and record with the finest musicians. If you're looking for an orchestra to back you, why go past Count Basie? I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plans.

♫ Tony Bennett With The Count Basie Orchestra - I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plans

Tony Bennett

I wondered whether to include this next song. It's far from a favorite of mine, but I decided to include it as a bit of a contrast to all the good ones, besides someone must like it as it sold reasonably well. The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (Gigolo And Gigolette).

♫ The Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (Gigolo And Gigolette)

Now to another of his famous songs. I don't have to say anything about I Wanna Be Around, except just enjoy listening.

♫ I Wanna Be Around

Tony Bennett

We folks in the southern hemisphere have a bit of a problem with songs that mention months. What's so good about May? It's approaching winter. And what's wrong with December – lovely weather. It's the usual northern hemisphere bias. There's quite a bit of that going on in When Joanna Loved Me.

♫ When Joanna Loved Me

I'm sorry Tony, but Dooley Wilson is still the top of the tree when the song As Time Goes By is under consideration. However, given that, if you want someone else to perform it Tony would be my next choice. He even sings some extra words that Dooley omitted.

♫ As Time Goes By

Tony Bennett

I confess that my preference is a small group or even just a piano backing Tony. We have that here with Last Night Where We Were Young. Not surprisingly, this isn't the only song I included where that is so.

♫ Last Night Where We Were Young

You could guarantee this next song would be here today, but it's not the version with which you are most familiar. This was recorded at the White House in 1962 when there was a real president in residence.

Tony has the assistance of DAVE BRUBECK and they performed his most famous song I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck

♫ Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Live)

Tony Bennett

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Gas Part 9

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.

* * *

Next in the series of columns, first named by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to highlight the music of possibly lesser known composers.

I'll start with something that might be familiar to some of you. It's by OTTORINO RESPIGHI.


Perhaps it's just me, because the music I selected was used as the theme for a program on my local classical station.

Although he was from Bologna, Otto seemed to have an inordinate fondness for Rome (he's probably not alone in that), witness his tone poems The Fountains of Rome, The Pines of Rome and Roman Festival. I'm not using any of those, however, instead it's the fourth movement of his other famous work, Ancient Airs and Dances. This is Suite 2, arranged for orchestra.

♫ Respighi - Ancient Airs and Dances Suite No. 2 (4)

ELENA KATS-CHERNIN was born in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and studied in Moscow.


She emigrated to Australia when she was 18 and continued her musical studies in this country. She's written half a dozen operas, the usual concertos, symphonies and the like and considerable music for the piano. She's currently one of Australia's most important composers. One of her piano works is called Dance of the Paper Umbrellas.

♫ Kats-Chernin - Dance Of The Paper Umbrellas

FRIEDRICH FESCA was a composer and violinist from around the turn of the eighteenth century into the nineteenth century.


His parents were both in the music biz, so he had a head start in his career such that he performed quite challenging piano pieces when he was only four. Later in life he was court composer for various kings, dukes and such like.

Fred wrote symphonies and some sacred music, but his chamber music, the string quartets in particular, are of the first order. Here is the first movement of his Flute Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 38.

♫ Fesca - Flute Quartet No. 2 in G major Op. 38 (1)

In the past I've devoted a column to FRANZ HOFFMEISTER and his friends but I think he deserves another listen.


Franz's column was concerning his business as a music publisher. Today it's just about his music. There are many violin concertos in the world, but far fewer viola concertos. I've always found this instrument more to my taste. Here's Franz's version, the Viola Concerto in D major, the third movement.

♫ Hoffmeister - Viola Concerto in D major (3)

CHARLES IVES once famously asked, "Are my ears on straight?" because nobody seemed to like his music.


Anyone who has more than a passing knowledge of it would be tempted to ask the same question of him. His music is, to put no fine point on it, challenging – he was especially fond of dissonance. He anticipated 20th century musical developments but most of his own was ignored and not played during his lifetime.

Charlie was a great supporter and champion of other composers' music and often financed them anonymously – he was very successful in business. If spite of his music's reputation, there is the occasional piece that I'm quite happy to lend an ear to.

One of those is his String Quartet No. 1, which is subtitled for some reason "From the Salvation Army". This is the second movement. His ears were properly aligned when he composed this.

♫ Ives - String Quartet No.1 (2)

JOHANN BACKOFEN was a virtuoso player of the clarinet, harp, flute and Bassett horn.


It's not surprising that he wrote mostly for those instruments. Today we have two of them – the harp and Bassett horn, two instruments you seldom hear together, particularly in a solo setting.

The Bassett horn, incidentally, is a member of the clarinet family, a bit bigger than that instrument, and has a bend at the top or down the bottom or both. The first movement of his Duo Concertante for Bassett Horn & Harp in F major.

♫ Backofen - Duo Concertante for Bassetthorn & Harp in F major (1)

OSVALDO GOLIJOV has the soprano DAWN UPSHAW as his composing muse these days.

Golijov & Upshaw

Os is an Argentinean composer and professor of music. Although he writes other styles, vocal music is his forte. Dawn is an American soprano who specialises in modern classical music. Os's song cycle Ayre was written with her in mind.

From that work we have the wonderfully named Una Madre Comió Asado (A Mother Roasted her Child).

♫ Golijov - Una Madre Comió Asado (A Mother Roasted her Child)

LOUISE FARRENC was born into a Parisian family of successful sculptors – her father and brother were both notable in that field. She was born Louise Dumont.


Louise had a reputation during her lifetime for being a fine composer, a virtuoso pianist and one of the country's best music teachers such that she became Professor of Piano at the Paris Conservatory.

Her most famous composition is her nonet which was so successful that she demanded, and received, pay equal to the males at the Conservatory. Here is the second movement from that work, the Nonet for Strings and Wind in E-Flat Major, Op. 38.

♫ Farrenc - Nonet for Strings and Wind in E-Flat Major Op. 38 (2)

JOSÉ DE TORRES was the king's director of music at the Chapel Royal in Madrid at the beginning of the 18th century. The king being Philip V.

De Torres

A duty of his position was to compose music for all religious services, which were a lot. A considerable amount of his music survives, possibly helped by his being also a music publisher, the first in the country. This piece of music is called Arpon que glorioso (Villancico al Santisimo), and it's performed by Al Ayre Español.

♫ Joseph de Torres - Arpon que glorioso (Villancico al Santisimo)

MARIA SZYMANOWSKA was born Marianna Wolowska in Warsaw.

Maria Szymanowska

She was one of the first professional pianists in Europe and toured extensively throughout. This was a decade or two before Liszt, Chopin and Clara Schumann did the same sort of thing.

Maria eventually settled in St Petersburg, then the Russian capital, where she composed music and played the piano for all who wanted to hear (which was just about everyone). A lot of her compositions are for piano, not unexpectedly, and we have Waltz No 1 in E-flat major from her “Three Waltzes for Piano.”

♫ Szymanowska - Waltz No 1 in E-flat major

ELDER MUSIC: Recent Discoveries

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.

* * *

Here are some recent discoveries of mine. "Recent" is a rather flexible term, it could mean six months (or more by the time this column is shown). However, it also means that none of these artists have been used in any of my columns before.

They are only my discoveries, some of you might be going, "Oh, I've known about him/her/them for quite a while now", but that's okay, you can hear them again.

It just goes to show that good music is still being made, as most of these are considerably younger than we are. So, here they are in no particular order.

MEGAN HENWOOD will probably be lumped into the "folk" category because she plays her own songs on acoustic guitar.

Megan Henwood

Also she sounds a little like Joni Mitchell. Like Joni, she doesn't restrict herself and adds elements of jazz to her performances as in this one where a trumpet pops up at the end that shouldn't work, but does so beautifully.

Megan performs mostly around Britain, whence she hails, and from her third album "River" we have Fresh Water.

♫ Megan Henwood - Fresh Water

Unlike most of the others today, SAMANTHA FISH can really rock out. Well, the others probably can if they wanted to.

Samantha Fish

Samantha's best known for playing blues and rock and roll but she has said that she doesn't want to be typecast and likes try all sorts of music. To demonstrate that, in the track I've chosen she backs off from her usual sizzling electric guitar work and adopts a softer, more country approach. The song is Belle of the West.

♫ Samantha Fish - Belle of the West

JARROD DICKENSON has the help of CLAIRE WARD (his wife) on his own song, Your Heart Belongs to Me.

Jarrod & Claire

Well, all the songs he records are his own. He's yet another singer/songwriter from Texas, although based in New York these days, at least when he's not touring Europe, especially Britain and Ireland.

Jarrod and Claire perform Your Heart Belongs to Me.

♫ Jarrod Dickenson - Your Heart Belongs to Me

I mentioned to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, that the next artist is not who she thinks it is before I played this next track. "Not Emmylou, you mean?" she asked when it got rolling. "Correct, it's DORI FREEMAN".

"Who?" She replied. Sorry Dori – I said that these artists today are new to me, and the A.M. too, it seems.

Dori Freeman

Dori claims Peggy Lee and Rufus Wainwright as influences but perhaps her Appalachian upbringing made a contribution or the generations of musicians on both sides of her family. Whatever it is, here she is with Still a Child.

♫ Dori Freeman - Still a Child

Speaking of Emmylou, here is a song by that name. The performers are the rather prosaically named FIRST AID KIT, but don't judge a book, or a group, by its cover.

First Aid Kit

You wouldn't think, just by listening to them, that they are Swedish. They are sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg. It shows how much anyone can miss: I first heard the soEmmylou this year (it may be last year by now), but it's been around for six years or so. Oh well, at least I've finally found it.

♫ First Aid Kit - Emmylou

I was first made aware of ANTONIA BENNETT thanks to my friend Ann.

Antonia Bennett

She suggested that I check her out, so I did, and because of that she's included today. I assume Antonia knows what she's doing as she is Tony Bennett's daughter. She also performs similar sorts of songs to those that her father sings, including Love is a Battlefield.

♫ Antonia Bennett - Love is a Battlefield2

Speaking of the offspring of famous musicians, LUKAS NELSON is Willie's son, and hearing him sing, he couldn't be anyone else's.

Lukas Nelson

Lukas performs in a band called Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, and their repertoire covers many genres – rock, folk, country, soul, R&B and anything else that catches their attention. I was trying to figure out what song this one reminded me of, but The A.M. cut to the chase: "He's channelling John Hartford. Gentle on my Mind".

She was right. It also reminded me a bit of Bob Lind. Could do worse than those two. The song is Just Outside of Austin. Lukas's dad plays some guitar on the track.

♫ Lukas Nelson - Just Outside of Austin

And now a singer who boggled my mind when I first heard her (and continues to do so). What power, but she keeps it under control, demonstrating that there's a lot more there when needed. She is LIZZ WRIGHT.

Lizz Wright

She started out singing gospel music and moved on to blues and jazz. Later she incorporated folk elements. It seems that she can sing anything she wants to. Today, she's rather gospelly with Seems I’m Never Tired Lovin’ You.

♫ Lizz Wright - Seems I’m Never Tired Lovin’ You

WILLIE WATSON first came to general notice as a member of the group Old Crow Medicine Show.

Willie Watson

Since going solo he's recorded a couple of albums called "Folksinger Vol 1" and "Folksinger Vol 2". On several of the songs on the second one Willie has the help of THE FAIRFIELD FOUR.

Fairfield Four

The Fairfields are not recent discoveries of mine, and the songs they perform with Willie are the best ones on the album. There are few better singing groups to have at your back than them. They all sing yet another song called On the Road Again.

♫ Willie Watson - On the Road Again

I imagine you're way ahead of me on my final choice. BEV GRANT is probably not new to you as she's been around for quite some time (sorry Bev). It's just that's she's new to me.

Bev Grant

Bev's from Portland, Oregon, where she began singing in a band with her two sisters. She headed out on her own to New York, there to write and perform her songs and became active in good causes. She is the founder and director of the Brooklyn Women’s Chorus.

From her recent album "It's Personal", she sings Small Town Girl, pretty much the story of her journey.

♫ Bev Grant - Small Town Girl

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2017 - Part 2

[Toes Up in 2017 - Part 1 is here.]

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.

* * *

Fats Domino

The world was a better place, a brighter place, a more civilized place when Antoine FATS DOMINO was among us. Alas, we are now diminished.

Fats was one of the many New Orleans piano players and he started recording in the forties. His music, if it had a label besides "New Orleans Music", was rhythm and blues. He continued in that style and it became known as rock and roll.

Indeed, it's often suggested that his 1949 record The Fat Man was the first rock and roll record. Well, there are several contenders for that title, but Fats is certainly a serious option. He had hits right through the fifties and sixties and continued playing into this century.

I thought that the most appropriate song I could choose from Fats is Ain't That a Shame. It really is a shame that he's no longer with us. (He was 89)

♫ Fats Domino - Ain't That A Shame

GÉORI BOUÉ was a French soprano who sang the normal repertoire, and also appeared in films. (99)

JOHNNY DICK was an Australia rock drummer for Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, The Wild Cherries and other bands. (73)

Keely Smith

KEELY SMITH first came to general notice partnering Louis Prima. They had a number of hits, most especially That Old Black Magic, which was a world wide smash.

Keely and Louis married and later divorced. Keely then had a successful solo career and she was well respected by other performers of all stripes. Keely sings Little Girl Blue. (85)

♫ Keely Smith - Little Girl Blue

CALEP EMPHREY was B.B. King's drummer for more than 30 years. (67)

MARIO MAGLIERI was the owner of Hollywood clubs Whisky a Go Go and Rainbow Bar & Grill where many bands and musicians from the sixties to the present made their debut. (93)

Dmitri Hvorostovsky

DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY was the rock star of the opera world. He was born in Siberia, and when he was young he was a bit of a real rock star in those parts. He turned to opera and made his name as a lyric baritone with a voice that curled the toes of most listeners.

He was hailed as the successor to Pavarotti but with his deeper, more resonant voice I think he was a finer singer. Anyone who has seen the YouTube video of him performing the duet from the “Pearl Fishers” would agree.

He sang most baritone roles and many that were supposedly reserved for tenors. Alas, he developed a brain tumor that eventually killed him. Dmitri performs the aria Di Provenza Il Mar from Verdi's “La Traviata”. (55)

♫ Dmitri Hvorostovsky - Verdi La Traviata ~ Di Provenza Il Mar

CURTIS WOMACK was one of the several Womack brothers who made an impact on popular music. He and his brothers started as a gospel group and they later became soul singers. (74)

OLGA HEGEDUS was an English cellist who was co-principal of the English Chamber Orchestra for many years. (96)

JIMMY CHI was an Australian composer, musician and playwright. He is best known for the stage musical, and film, Bran Nue Dae. He also played in a couple of bands and wrote songs for other performers. (69)

Don Williams

DON WILLIAMS was a country singer and what a smooth mellow-voiced singer he was. He was yet another Texas singer (the state is full of them), and he started out singing folk music before taking up the country mantle.

He was greatly admired by his contemporaries and he eschewed the wild life that others seemed to think normal. His folk background serves him well for the song I've chosen, a great Jesse Winchester song, If I Were Free. (78)

♫ Don Williams - If I Were Free

ROGER SMITH was mostly known as a TV actor (77 Sunset Strip and all that), but he was also a bit of a singer, making several albums. He also managed the career of Ann-Margaret, his wife of 50 years. (84)

EDUARD BRUNNER was a Swiss classical clarinettist who performed in chamber groups and orchestras. He later was Professor of Music at a couple of universities. (77)

JOHNNY HALLYDAY was the original French rock and roller who retained his popularity in that country all his life. (74)

Walter Becker

WALTER BECKER was the co-founder, guitarist and bass player for the successful group Steely Dan. Although originally a real group, he and Donald Fagen pretty much did everything on most of their records.

Officially a rock group, they brought elements of jazz into their music. I quite liked some of their music but found that my eyes glazed over if I listened to a whole album. Fortunately, there's only one song today, probably their most famous, Rikki Don't Lose That Number. (67)

♫ Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lose That Number

RICHARD DIVALL was an Australian orchestral and operatic conductor. He also wrote music and he was one of the leading musicologists at several universities. (71)

RONALD MUNDY was a singer in the DooWop group The Marcels who made a career of putting a different spin on old songs, most especially Blue Moon, their biggest hit. (76)

Kristine Jepson

KRISTINE JEPSON was an American mezzo-soprano who sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala, Covent Garden, the San Francisco Opera and many more. She was an acclaimed interpreter of Mozart's operas, and also performed Verdi, Richard Strauss and Massenet.

Besides the traditional roles, she was a champion of modern opera, particularly works by John Adams, Robert Ward and others. Here she performs the aria La ci darem la mano from Mozart's “Don Giovanni.” The baritone is Mariusz Kwiecień. (54)

♫ Mozart - Don Giovanni K. 527 Act I La ci darem la mano

TOM PALEY was a guitarist, banjo and fiddle player best known for his membership of the group the New Lost City Ramblers. (89)

GEOFF MACK wrote the song I've Been Everywhere which was a huge hit for Lucky Starr in Australia. Many other performers have adapted it to their own countries, but the original is still the best. (94)

Maggie Roche

MAGGIE ROCHE was one of the three sisters who formed the group The Roches. They were a talented trio who sang beautiful and often amusing songs. She performed with her sister Terre as a duo for some years until joined by youngest sister Suzzy to become The Roches.

Maggie wrote most of their songs, including The Married Men, from their wonderful debut album. She sang the lead part on this one. (65)

♫ The Roches - The Married Men

PAT BARRETT was a co-founder and singer for the DooWop group The Crew-Cuts. The group often covered songs originally recorded by black artists. (83)

Although born in France, PHILIP CANNON is generally considered an English classical music composer and music teacher. He mostly worked in an avant-garde style but even so his works are quite listenable. (87)

DAVID CASSIDY was a singer, actor, guitarist and songwriter. He's probably best known for his role in The Partridge Family on TV. (67)

Lonnie Brooks

LONNIE BROOKS was a blues singer and guitarist from Louisiana. He later came to personify the Chicago blues style. He could be cool and elegant and, on the next song, bring the house down with his sizzling guitar playing and singing.

He was mentored early on by Clifton Chenier and Sam Cooke who recognised his talent. Lonnie performs Maybe. (83)

♫ Lonnie Brooks - Maybe

LARRY CORYELL was a jazz guitarist who was a leader in the fusion of jazz and rock music. (73)

DAVID YORKO was the guitarist for the fifties instrumental rock group Johnny and the Hurricanes who had quite a few hits at the time. (73)

MITCH MARGO joined his older brother Phil in the group The Tokens when he was just 13. He became the tenor singer and wrote most of their songs (except for the one for which they are most known). (70)

Bobby Freeman

BOBBY FREEMAN started out in a DooWop group in his native San Francisco. He later became an early rock and roll performer. Later still, he was a respected soul and R&B singer. His most famous hit, Do You Wanna Dance, from 1958, has been covered by hundreds of artists over the years, but no one has done it better than he did. (76)

♫ Bobby Freeman - Do You Wanna Dance

JONI SLEDGE, along with her three sisters, created the successful R&B group Sister Sledge. (60)

JIM FULLER was the lead guitarist with The Surfaris and co-writer of their big hit, Wipe Out. (69)

BUNNY SIGLER was a soul singer, producer and songwriter. He was associated with the production team of Gamble and Huff and they produced many hits from the sixties on. (76)

Peter Sarstedt

PETER SARSTEDT was a British singer, guitarist and songwriter who had a few hits in the sixties. His two brothers, Richard (known as Eden Kane) and Clive (Robin Sarstedt) were also charting performers.

Of the songs with which Peter made the charts, the most famous is Where Do You Go To (My Lovely). This is the versions from the album, it's longer than the hit single. (75)

♫ Peter Sarstedt - Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2017 - Part 1

[Toes Up in 2017 - Part 2 is here.]

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.

* * *

Oh my, a lot of good performers and others associated with the music industry died this year. Soon there'll be no one left. Well, no one that our readers know and love. This is the first of two columns.


CHUCK BERRY was one of the three or four most important musicians in the development of rock & roll, maybe the most important. Unlike all the others at the time, except Buddy Holly, he wrote his own songs that were sly, humorous, joyous and sad. He brought a joy and freshness of language.

His singing was subtle and more akin to a jazz singer than a rocker. Also, and importantly, he could play his guitar like a'ringing a bell. Every guitarist since who wanted to play rock & roll copied his style and his licks, at least initially.

Although he started in rhythm and blues, he brought elements of country and jazz into his singing and playing. He was one of a kind. Chuck performs, as only he can, Brown Eyed Handsome Man. (He was 90)

♫ Chuck Berry - Brown Eyed Handsome Man

FRED WEINTRAUB, as owner of the Bitter End in Greenwich Village, showcased all the up-coming folkies of the sixties (and later). He also started the careers of most of the best comedians of the last sixty years.

Later Fred was a movie producer, most famously for the film of the Woodstock festival. (88)

BRUCE LANGHORNE was a session guitarist most noted for playing on Bob Dylan's first electric albums. He also played on records by Tom Rush, Judy Collins and many others. Bob Dylan has said that Bruce was the inspiration for his famous song, Mr Tambourine Man. Bruce also wrote many film scores. (78)

PAUL OLIVER was one of the foremost writers on blues music. His books were instrumental in reviving the careers of many great blues performers. (90)

Nicolai Gedda

NICOLAI GEDDA was one the greatest tenors of the 20th century. Indeed, he was almost certainly the most versatile and industrious. He was Swedish by birth and grew up bilingual in Swedish and Russian, due to his adoptive father (who was Russian).

Unusually for an important and prominent opera star, he was quite shy and very modest about his talent. He not only performed all the famous tenor roles, he sought lesser known challenging music as well. Here he performs the aria Allons! Courage et confiance (etc) from Offenbach's "Tales of Hoffman". (91)

♫ Nicolai Gedda ~ Hoffmann - Allons! Courage et confiance..C'est elle! Elle sommeille

TOMMY ALLSUP was a country guitarist who played with Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, George Jones and, most notably, Buddy Holly. He famously "lost the toss" and gave up his seat to Ritchie Valens on the plane that cost Ritchie's life. (85)

JIM NABORS was best known for acting in TV programs, but he had a fine baritone voice and recorded many albums. (87)

USTAD ABDUL HALIM was an Indian sitar player who also dabbled in western music, collaborating with Dave Brubeck and others. (89)

George Young

GEORGE YOUNG was a songwriter and member of Australia's most successful rock group of the sixties, The Easybeats. Afterwards, he teamed up with fellow Easybeat Harry Vanda to become a hugely successful songwriting and producing team. He was also instrumental in the creation and success of the group AC-DC that contained two of his brothers.

The most famous song that Vanda and Young wrote and performed while in the Easybeats is Friday on my Mind. The singer was the late Stevie Wright, and Vanda and Young played the guitars. (70)

♫ The Easybeats - Friday On My Mind

Malcolm Young

George's brother MALCOLM YOUNG was a co-founder and rhythm guitarist for AC-DC, a group that even surpassed The Easybeats (and every other group from Australia) in popularity. Their success was mostly due to the combination of Malcolm's churning rhythm and brother Angus's inventive lead guitar. (64)

LOUIS FREMAUX was a French conductor who was also part of the French Resistance during the war. Later he attended the Paris Conservatoire where he topped his class. His major positions were as conductor of the Birmingham and Sydney Symphony Orchestras. (95)

BARBARA COOK was a Broadway singer and actress who appeared in just about every musical in the fifties and sixties. (89)

GRADY TATE was a jazz drummer who also worked as a session musician, particularly on Motown and other soul records. (85)

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

GEOFFREY GURRUMUL YUNUPINGU was generally just known as Gurrumul. He was blind since birth. He was from a musical and activist family in Arnhem Land in northern Australia and he had one of the most beautiful voices in the world.

Gurrumul was a unifying voice in Australia between the indigenous community and the mainstream society. He sings and plays Wiyathul. (46)

♫ Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Wiyathul

BILL HORVITZ was an experimental guitarist and composer who worked with many of the greatest jazz musicians. He also wrote music for film, dance, and theatre. (69)

HAYWARD BISHOP was a Nashville based session drummer who played on the records of just about every country musician, as well as quite a few pop ones as well. (71)

GORD DOWNIE was lead singer and songwriter for the group the Tragically Hip, one of Canada's most revered bands. (53)

Tom Petty

TOM PETTY was taught guitar by Don Felder, later a member of the Eagles. Tom's first semi-successful band was Mudcrunch that also contained several people who went on to form Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.

This group kept alive the style and joy of rock & roll and made Tom a worldwide star. He was later a founder and member of the superest super group of all time, the Traveling Wilburys (along with Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and Jeff Lynne).

Tom was an advocate of artistic control of their creations and of artistic freedom. Tom and the Heartbreakers play Refugee. (66)

♫ Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Refugee

GEORGES PRÊTRE was a French conductor who spent many years with the Vienna Philharmonic. He was also head conductor with several American orchestras. (92)

DON MARKHAM was a saxophone, trumpet, bass, keyboards player who started in jazz but ended up in Merle Haggard's band for decades. (85)

AL JARREAU was a jazz and pop singer who also performed on Broadway. He won several Grammies and also wrote some songs. (76)

BRENDA LEWIS was an opera singer who was equally adept at musical theatre. As well as the traditional opera roles she performed several original modern opera roles. (96)

Glen Campbell

GLEN CAMPBELL was a guitarist of the first order. He was also a fine singer, TV host, actor, songwriter and session musician. He was a member of the "Wrecking Crew", Los Angeles session musicians who played on just about everyone's records from that city in the sixties.

After a brief stint as a Beach Boy (replacing Brian Wilson) he became huge in the country and pop fields covering songs by John Hartford and (especially) Jimmy Webb as well as performing his own songs. This lead to TV programs and pretty much everything else.

Glen sings one of Jimmy's songs, Wichita Lineman. (81)

♫ Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman

VALERIE CARTER was a backup singer for many artists, including Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and many similar artists. She also wrote songs that many of those recorded. (64)

EDI FITZROY was a Jamaican reggae artist who was successful in his home country as well as elsewhere that music is appreciated. (62)

CLIVE STARK was an Australian radio presenter who specialised in classical music but was happy to include other musical genres as well. (81)

BELTON RICHARD was a Cajun accordion player and singer who played not only Cajun but rock and roll and "swap pop" music. He was equally proficient singing in French and English. (77)

BUTCH TRUCKS was one of the two drummers for the Allman Brothers Band. He laid down the solid beat that the others could work against. He was one of the founders of the group and had known the Allmans since they were teenagers. (69)

Gregg Allman

It was a bad year for the band, as fellow founder of the group GREGG ALLMAN also died. The group was named after Gregg and his older brother Duane who died in a motor cycle accident a long time ago.

Gregg was the singer and piano player for the group. He also wrote some of their songs (the writing was shared around). He found time, at one stage, to marry Cher. Here, with his own song as a member of the band, he sings and plays piano on Wasted Words. (69)

♫ Allman Brothers - Wasted Words

ROBERT “P-NUT” JOHNSON was a singer for the Bootsy Collins Band as well as George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic. (70)

DON HUNSTEIN was a photographer whose album covers you would all know. His most famous was "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan". (88)

SONNY BURGESS was an early pioneer of rockabilly and rock & roll music. He recorded at the legendary Sun Studios at the same time as Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. (86)

BILLY BURNETTE was a country songwriter and producer, and also a performer in his own right. He was good friends with, but not related to, fifties' stars Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. (76)

Della Reese

DELLA REESE was discovered by gospel great Mahalia Jackson, but she sang mostly jazz and big band music early on. She made the charts several times in the fifties and early sixties and later made a number of well regarded albums, mostly closer to jazz in style.

Della was also an actress and appeared in many films and TV series. Della sings one of her hits, Someday, You'll Want Me to Want You. (86)

♫ Della Reese - Someday You'll Want Me To Want You

JOHN GEILS was the guitarist for the J. Geils Band who had hit albums in the seventies and eighties. (71)

CEDELL DAVIS was a blues guitarist and singer. He suffered from polio as a child so he was unable to fret the guitar properly so he developed a distinctive slide guitar style using a butter knife. (90)

BUDDY GRECO was a jazz and pop singer and pianist who sold many records. He later appeared in Las Vegas many times. (90)

James Cotton

JAMES COTTON was a blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. He had a long time association with Muddy Waters where he alternated the harp role with Little Walter. He managed to secure the services of the great blues pianist Otis Spann as part of his own group.

Later he performed with the cream of musicians in his field – Michael Bloomfield, Delbert McClinton, Keb Mo, Gregg Allman and many more. Today, James informs us that he is a Cotton Mouth Man. (81)

♫ James Cotton - Cotton Mouth Man

MEL TILLIS was a country singer and songwriter who wrote many hits for others as well as for himself. He also appeared in several films and on TV. (85)

CHRIS CORNELL was the lead vocalist for Soundgarden and was a leading figure in the grunge movement. (52)

CASEY JONES was a drummer, singer and front man for several blues bands. He was also a long-time member of Albert Collins's band.


Jon Hendricks

JON HENDRICKS was the most important male jazz singer in history. He not only sang, he wrote lyrics that were interesting, unusual and often downright difficult. Never dull though.

He was erudite, funny and had a masterly way with words. He later held several academic posts. Jon was trained as a lawyer but didn't practise.

He got together with Dave Lambert and thought it would be a good idea to write words to some of Duke Ellington's more challenging works. Jon later wrote words to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk compositions.

Jon and Dave got together with Annie Ross and formed Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, the most important vocal group in jazz. Jon later collaborated with Kurt Elling, The Manhattan Transfer, Bobby McFerrin, and surprisingly to me, the Grateful Dead.

Here Jon sings In Walked Bud, a song about Bud Powell, accompanied by Thelonious Monk. (96)

♫ Jon Hendricks - In Walked Bud

Alas, this is only part 1. There will be more next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 17

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.

* * *

Christmas Oz

Well, the weather is warming up – not just warming up, it's getting damn hot. That can only mean one thing, Christmas is nigh. Deep sigh.

I guess that also means that I'll have to produce a collection of jingle belly, white christmasy, chestnut roasty songs that are totally at variance with the way Christmas really is around these parts. Oh well, on with the motley.

I remember from the great folk scare for my youthhood/early adulthood that one of the regular songs that was performed was Go Tell It on the Mountain, especially the version by Odetta, but others as well.

We won't use that one, instead here is a more recent version of the song with an unlikely pairing – the BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA and TOM WAITS.

Blind Boys & Tom Waits

However, when you listen to them they really fit well together. At least, I think so as they are all some of my favorite performers. See (or hear) what you think of them.

♫ Blind Boys of Alabama - Go Tell It On the Mountain

BELTON RICHARD suggests that You're All I Want For Christmas.

Belton Richard

Well, that's pretty easy, assuming you're happy to go along with it. If not, he's going to be quite disappointed when he checks his stocking. The complication is that he sings it in French, so if you're not conversant with that language, you may not know that you have to pop into the said stocking.

♫ Belton Richard - You're All I Want For Christmas

I haven't gone totally outrageous this year, although I was tempted (I'm tempted every year). To prove that point, here is BROOK BENTON.

Brook Benton

I must have been feeling mellow when I selected Brook, which is probably good news for you. His song is Soul Santa.

♫ Brook Benton - Soul Santa

J.B. SUMMERS is easy to buy for at this time of the year. He says: I Want A Present For Christmas.

J.B. Summers

Well, that's pretty easy, he doesn't specify what – a pair of socks, some hankies, a hippopotamus, a giraffe. Well, maybe those last two would be a bit difficult. Anyway, Here's J.B. with Doc Bagby's Orchestra.

♫ J.B. Summers With Doc Bagby's Orchestra - I Want A Present For Christmas

DUKE ROBILLARD is an outstanding blues guitarist. He's also a splendid jazz guitarist. I'm sure he could hold his own in other genres as well.

Duke Robillard

He's made several albums that also featured female singers, most notably MARIA MULDAUR, who seems to be on all of them. I'm certainly not complaining about that.

Maria Muldaur

One of those has the song Santa Claus Blues.

♫ Duke Robillard - Santa Claus Blues (Feat. Maria Muldaur)

POPPA HOP started life with the name Harding Wilson, and soon after that he was known as Hop Wilson.

Poppa Hop

Although not well known these days, his guitar playing, not all that evident on the track today, influenced numerous later players of the instrument. Today he wishes everyone, well, probably just one person, Merry Christmas Darling.

♫ Poppa Hop - Merry Christmas Darling

For a complete change of pace from all the other songs today I give you JULIE LONDON.

Julie London

Julie's always welcome to sing under my Christmas tree. Indeed, she sings I'd Like You For Christmas. I hope she's referring to me, but I suspect that isn't the case.

♫ Julie London - I'd Like You For Christmas

Poor old COCO MONTOYA is on the road again at this time of the year, performing, making a living.

Coco Montoya

That's the way it is for many musicians. He hopes that he won't have to do this forever, but I suspect that he'll be on the road a while, along with most of his ilk. He tells us about it in A Bluesman's Christmas.

♫ Coco Montoya - A Bluesman's Christmas

Christmas in Oz

As I sort of implied in my opening statement, I'm sure most people in the northern hemisphere know that Christmas falls in the middle of summer in Australia, but I've found that they really can't conceive of the concept until they actually experience it themselves.

Most don't like it, but some do. I've spent a few Christmases in America, a couple in the snow, and it's just wrong. It's so fundamentally, absolutely, totally wrong to be cold at Christmas, to have snow and ice and all the rest. If the sun isn't shining, if it's not really hot out, if you can't go around in shorts and T-shirt it's just not a proper Christmas.

I've played this before, a long time ago, but it's worth another listen. TIM MINCHIN pretty much captures what I'm trying to say.

Drinking White Wine in the Sun. I'd rather drink white wine in the shade, but Tim's from Perth, and they're a bit strange over there.

A sentimental song about Christmas. This version is taken from the Australian 'Ready For This?' DVD. Every year, all proceeds from the sale of (either version) of...


So to the traditional moment of couth.

In Roquemaure (in France) at the end of the year 1843, the church organ had been recently renovated. To celebrate the event, the parish priest asked Placide Cappeau, who was a wine merchant and a bit of a poet, to write a Christmas poem.

Even though he wasn't at all interested in religion, he did so. Perhaps it was because it was Christmas or maybe the priest was a good customer. Just speculating. Somehow or other ADOLPHE ADAM got involved and wrote the music.

Adolphe Adam

Adolphe is best known as a composer of ballet music ("Giselle" etc). The poem and song is called Cantique de Noël, (generally known as O Holy Night in English). We have the wonderful ELĪNA GARANČA to sing it.

Elina Garanca

♫ Adolphe Adam - Cantique de Noel


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.

* * *

You must remember this…

Well, if you're like me, you'll remember Dooley Wilson performing the first song. However, it had been around for some time before Dooley made it a classic. It was first recorded by JACQUES RENARD and his orchestra with vocal by FRANK MUNN.

Jacques Renard & Frank Munn

After hearing this one I'm struck at how much better Dooley's version was. We are looking at 1931 though, and this is one of those from that year – Rudy Vallee was the other. As Time Goes By.

♫ Jacques Renard (Frank Munn vocal) - As Time Goes By

You knew that BING CROSBY would be present today, so I won't disappoint you.

Bing Crosby

I'm very familiar with this song as my dad was a fan of Bing. He had a five album set of the crooner (these were unusual back when I was a kid, it's really only in the era of CDs that multiple albums became common). I became very familiar with all the songs as we didn't have very many records back then. One of the songs on that collection was I Found a Million Dollar Baby.

♫ Bing Crosby - I Found a Million Dollar Baby

Far and away the most famous song of CAB CALLOWAY is Minnie the Moocher.

Cab Calloway

He pretty much had to perform it everywhere he went. 1931 was the year he recorded it for the first time. Here is what the original sounds like.

♫ Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher

There was a rather good British science fiction TV series in the nineties called Goodnight Sweetheart. It used the song of that name as its theme. It was performed by RAY NOBLE and his orchestra, with vocal refrain (that phrase was used a lot at the time) by AL BOWLLY.

Ray Noble & Al Bowlly

That's Ray in the white suit and Al on the left.

Although the series was not a comedy, it didn't take itself too seriously, unlike most of that genre, that's why I liked it. Anyway, here is that song.

♫ Ray Noble (Al Bowlly vocal) - Goodnight Sweetheart

Here is the finest blues singer in the first half of the century. You need no prompting from me to know that I'm talking about BESSIE SMITH.

Bessie Smith

It seems that she's in a bit of a quandary since her man done gone. Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl is that way she says it, and boy, does she say it well.

♫ Bessie Smith - Need A Little Sugar In My Bowl

Way back, indeed in 1931, WAYNE KING (with vocal refrain by ERNIE BURCHILL) performed Dream a Little Dream of Me.

Wayne King

People of a certain age will recall Mama Cass's version of the song. She did it much better than these folks, but she wasn't around in 1931 so we have to go with this other version.

♫ Wayne King (Ernie Burchill vocal) - Dream A Little Dream Of Me

THE MILLS BROTHERS are another group I would pretty much automatically include in a column. They perform the famous song Tiger Rag.

Mills Brothers

As it said on the label: “No musical instruments or mechanical devices were used in this recording other than one guitar”. So, all those things that sound like instruments are just them doing mouth noises. It's far from the best thing they ever did, but even lesser Mills Brothers is worthy of hearing.

♫ Mills Brothers - Tiger Rag

Here's another song that will be familiar to you, but perhaps not by FRANKIE TRUMBAUER with ART JARRETT and trio on vocals.

Frankie Trumbauer

I have no idea which is Frankie and which is Art. I'll leave it up to you to imagine.

The song has been recorded by hundreds of performers over the years, many of whom did it better than these folks. However, they are the ones we have for this year. The song is Georgia On My Mind.

♫ Frankie Trumbauer (Art Jarrett & trio vocal) - Georgia On My Mind

At last, we have LOUIS ARMSTRONG.

Louis Armstrong

Louis was having a fine old time with this one, nothing serious, not innovating or anything like that. He was just having a good time saying that I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You.

♫ Louis Armstrong - I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You

Is it just me, or does RUSS COLUMBO sound awfully like Bing? Could do worse, I suppose.

Russ Columbo

Russ really didn't give Bing a run for his money in the long term as he died at the ridiculously young age of 26 in a "shooting incident" when he was visiting a friend of his. Before that (of course, before that) Russ recorded You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love).

♫ Russ Columbo - You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)

ELDER MUSIC: Various Classical

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.

* * *

PYOTR TCHAIKOVSKY sure could write a good tune.


The one I have today will be guaranteed to get you up waltzing around your kitchen, bedroom or wherever you happen to be listening. I have selected the Waltz from the start of the second act of his opera “Eugene Onegin”. Set those tootsies free.

♫ Tchaikovsky - Waltz from Eugene Onegin

GEORGE HANDEL was born the same year as J.S. Bach, as well as geographically quite close to each other too. However, there's no evidence at all that the two giants of Baroque music ever met.


J.S. was somewhat of a homebody and George liked to get about a bit, first around what is now Germany and then to what is now Italy. He was much taken by the Italian style of music and started writing music in this manner.

He returned to Hanover where he encountered another George: the Elector of Hanover. Both Georges went to England where they stayed for the rest of their lives. Our George became one of the greatest composers of all time and the other one had a minor role as George the First.

One of our George's compositions is the secular cantata “Apollo and Daphne”, HWV 122. From that we have Felicissima quest'alma, sung by JULIA LEZHNEVA.

Julia Lezhneva

♫ Handel - Apollo e Dafne HWV 122 ~ Felicissima quest'alma

CHARLES AVISON was an English composer who spanned the Baroque and Classical periods.

Charles Avison

He was born in Newcastle to poor parents. Not much is known of his childhood, but he landed in London and studied with Francesco Geminiani, whom he greatly admired. He was mainly an organist but wrote for many different instruments.

He later returned to Newcastle where he stayed for the rest of his life. Charlie did okay for himself as he died a very rich man and he left the loot to his three surviving kids. Here is the fourth movement of his “Concerto No.6 in D major.”

♫ Avison - Concerto No.6 in D major (4)

FELIX MENDELSSOHN visited Britain many times.


Quite a few of his compositions were inspired by his visits or he actually wrote some of them there. He seemed to like Scotland and several of his works reference the country. Probably the most famous of which is the Symphony No 3 in A minor, Op 56, also known as the Scottish Symphony.

On his last visit before he died, he conducted that symphony and among the gathered throng were Victoria and Albert (the people, not the museum). Here is the second movement.

♫ Mendelssohn - Symphony No.3 in A minor op.56 'Scottish' (2)

CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI is one of the major figures in music – he's up there with Beethoven in the changes and developments he made.


He is the first person that we know of who wrote operas; certainly his operas are the earliest that are still performed today. He took a little bitty thing called the madrigal and fleshed it out to become wonderful, exciting pieces of music. It's one of those that we're having today.

From his fifth book of madrigals this is Quel sguardo sdegnosetto. See if you can pronounce that early in the morning. The wonderful DANIELLE DE NIESE sings it.

Danielle de Niese

♫ Danielle de Niese - Monteverdi ~ Quel sguardo sdegnosetto

IGNAZ PLEYEL was the 24th child of an impoverished school teacher. No wonder he was impoverished, especially as Iggy was nowhere near the last – there were 38 kids in all. The mind boggles.

Ignaz Pleyel

Fortunately, Iggy was good at music and he caught the ear of some rich noble man who paid for his music education. He was taught by Johann Vanhal, a friend of both Mozart and Haydn, and Iggy went on to a career in music, that alas, is largely forgotten these days.

He was also a music publisher and piano designer and maker. He ended up quite rich. In his day he was considered a rival to both Mozart and Haydn, and his music is in a similar style to both of those. See what you think of the first movement of his String Quartet in D Major, Ben. 337.

♫ Pleyel - String Quartet in D Major Ben. 337 (1)

I have mentioned the birthplace of BERNHARD CRUSELL before, but it's such a wonderful name I'm going to do it again. He was from Uusikaupunki in Finland. Indeed, that town has a Crusell Week each year.


Bernie's family moved to Sweden when he was a lad and both countries like to claim him as their own. He was apparently a really fine clarinet player and wrote many compositions for the instrument. Although not devoted entirely to the instrument, it certainly features prominently in the first movement of the Divertimento in C major, Op.9.

♫ Crusell - Divertimento in C major Op.9 (1)

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK was a Czech composer who also travelled extensively, most notably to Britain and the United States about which he wrote several of his best known and loved compositions.


I'm not using any of those today. What I have is the second movement of one of his Four Romantic Pieces for violin and piano, B. 150 (Op. 75).

♫ Dvorak - 4 Romantic Pieces Op.75 (2)

GIUSEPPE JACCHINI was an Italian cello player and composer in what's now Italy in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Giuseppe Maria Jacchini

His skill on the cello and his many works for the instrument put it on the map – he was one of the earliest composers to feature it. He also wrote many works for the trumpet and we're going out with a bang with one of those. Here is the first movement of his Sonata D Minor.

♫ Giuseppe Maria Jacchini - Sonata D Minor (1)

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Frank Loesser

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.

* * *

Frank Loesser wrote songs in the usual manner of tin pan alley, but he also wrote musicals for Broadway – both music and lyrics – "Guys and Dolls" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" are the couple that spring immediately to mind.

He managed to gather a Tony Award, a Pulitzer Prize but only managed a nomination for an Oscar. Although Frank's dad was a piano teacher, he didn't teach him as even by the age of four he could play by ear pretty much any music he heard.

After dad died Frank had to go out and earn a living in non-musical pursuits. He eventually got hired to write songs and his future was assured (with some bumps along the way).

Let's get to the music itself, starting with the "Divine One", SARAH VAUGHAN.

Sarah Vaughan

It's been said by some that Sarah could have been an opera singer if the opportunity had arisen. We'll never know. She sings a song that many others have also tackled, but few as well as she. Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year.

♫ Sarah Vaughan - Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year

Another song that many have performed – okay, I think you'll be able to say that about everything today – is Baby, It's Cold Outside. I considered a number of versions, but the one that tickled my fancy was by WILLIE NELSON and NORAH JONES.

Willie Nelson & NorahJones

Willie and Norah are admirably suited to the laid back nature of this song.

♫ Willie Nelson & Norah Jones - Baby It's Cold Outside

Here is MILES DAVIS with his classic early quintet.

Miles Davis

That is John Coltrane on tenor sax, Red Garland piano, Paul chamber bass and Philly Joe Jones drums. It really doesn't get any better than that. Their contribution is If I Were a Bell from the musical "Guys and Dolls".

♫ Miles Davis - If I Were a Bell

From one of the musicals mentioned at the beginning, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", ROBERT MORSE sings to himself.

Robert Morse

This is from the scene when he is in the loo with a bunch of others and he serenades himself in the mirror. If you get a chance to see the film it's worth it for this scene alone. Robert assures himself that I Believe in You.

♫ Robert Morse and Co - I Believe in You

We have another film tie-in, this time it's "Thanks for the Memory" – that's the name of the film. You can probably guess who the singers are, but that's not the song we're using (although it was in the film, as you can imagine).

First, for those not familiar with that particular song I'd like to say that the singers are BOB HOPE and SHIRLEY ROSS.

Bob Hope & Shirley Ross

The song is Two Sleepy People. Frank had the help of Hoagy Carmichael for the lyrics on this one.

♫ Bob Hope and Shirley Ross - Two Sleepy People

Another musical/film is "Guys and Dolls", already mentioned, and from that we have the song, A Bushel and a Peck. This was all over the hit parade at the time, with multiple versions.

I listened to a bunch of them (that was a bit of a trial), and the one that least offended me was by FRANKIE LAINE and JO STAFFORD.

Frankie Laine & Jo Stafford

Here's what they sound like.

♫ Frankie Laine & Jo Stafford - A Bushel And A Peck

"Greenwillow" is not a musical with which I'm familiar, but I'm not a big musical fan so it's not too surprising. Lesser Samuels and Frank Loesser wrote it and Frank wrote all the songs for it – about two dozen of them.

One of those is Never Will I Marry, which has been recorded by a bunch of people. I'm not going with one you're probably familiar with, instead here is ANDREA MOTIS.

Andrea Motis

Andrea is a Spanish musician and on this track she not only sings, but plays trumpet as well.

♫ Andrea Motis - Never Will I Marry

I originally had Chet Baker pencilled in at this spot, but I heard BILLY ECKSTINE sing the song and changed my mind. It's pretty unusual for me to throw out Chet, however, I know that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, will approve of my including Billy.

Billy Eckstine

Billy really did have one of the finest voices in music. I wasn't keen on all those strings, but it was the fashion back then. Hear what he makes of I've Never Been in Love Before.

♫ Billy Eckstine - I've Never Been In Love Before

Frank's songs seem to lend themselves to jazz treatment, and the next is no different. In this case it's by BILL CHARLAP.

Bill Charlap Trio

Bill came from a musical family, his mum sang on Perry Como's TV program and dad was a Broadway composer. Bill plays piano and has his trio along to perform On a Slow Boat to China.

♫ Bill Charlap - On A Slow Boat To China

This is the sort of material that's really suited to MEL TORMÉ, so of course, he gets into the act as well.

Mel Torme

Mel's version of Once in Love with Amy is pretty well known, but it's always good to hear it again.

♫ Mel Tormé - Once In Love With Amy

ELDER MUSIC: Till I Waltz Again With You

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 was searching for a completely different song for a different column when I discovered a "waltz" song. Ah ha. Light bulbs. I abandoned my original search and created this column (another example of "Oh, look at that shiny thing over there").

I thought of five songs before I even started looking, so with half the music already set I knew I had a column. Of course, it's about waltzes and is skewed towards the fifties and country music, so there won't be a Strauss in evidence.

The first song I thought of, and the one first mentioned by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist when I told her about the column, is by PATTI PAGE.

Patti Page

I imagine we weren't alone in thinking of this one, a huge hit for Patti, and one I've used several times over the years but it's still worth another listen. Tennessee Waltz.

♫ Patti Page - Tennessee Waltz

The second one has a very similar name, and it's by JESSE WINCHESTER.

Jesse Winchester

It's difficult to think of one without the other, at least for me. Jesse called his song The Brand New Tennessee Waltz.

♫ Jesse Winchester - The Brand New Tennessee Waltz

Here is the title track, and those who know these things will easily respond with TERESA BREWER.

Teresa Brewer

The song was written by Sid Prosen, and according to Wiki, it's not a waltz but a slow AABA shuffle (whatever that is). It was a huge success for Teresa and got stuck at number one on the charts for several weeks. Till I Waltz Again With You.

♫ Teresa Brewer - Till I Waltz Again With You

As a total contrast to just about everything else today, here is DAVE BRUBECK (and his quartet, of course).

Dave Brubeck

This is from the second of his really successful "Time" series of albums, "Time Further Out". The tune is It's a Raggy Waltz.

♫ Dave Brubeck - It's a Raggy Waltz

COWBOY COPAS is largely forgotten these days, and when his name does come up it's usually just to mention that he was also in the plane with Patsy Cline that crashed, killing them both (along with Hawkshaw Hawkins and Randy Hughes, the pilot).

Cowboy Copas

Before that, he was a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and had a number of hits in the forties and fifties. This is one of those, I'm Waltzing With Tears In My Eyes.

♫ Cowboy Copas - I'm Waltzing With Tears In My Eyes

In the fifties, the mainstream decided they had to do something about this Rock and Roll fad (that's the way they thought). If they couldn't beat it, they might as well join it. Boy, did they get it completely wrong when they tried. The next song is a prime example of that. It's by KAY STARR.

Kay Starr

Anyone who listened to the charts back then will know the song in question: Rock and Roll Waltz.

♫ Kay Starr - Rock and Roll Waltz

From phony Rock and Roll to completely genuine music. I give you EMMYLOU HARRIS. Well, if she were mine to give, I wouldn't.

Emmylou Harris

From her somewhat underrated album "Cimarron" we have The Last Cheater's Waltz. It wasn't the only waltz song on it, Tennessee Waltz was there as well, but we've had that one.

♫ Emmylou Harris - The Last Cheater's Waltz

When I was a whippersnapper, the first time I heard the next singer's name on the radio I thought he was a duo – Ferl and Husky. A little later I found he was only one person FERLIN HUSKY.

Well, it's an unusual name so it's an easy mistake to make, although The A.M. looked at me a bit sideways when I told her.

Ferlin Husky

Ferlin's song is a bit of a downer, but we need some contrast. He's looking forward to The Waltz You Saved for Me.

♫ Ferlin Husky - The Waltz You Saved for Me

LEON REDBONE always brings a smile to my face, his performances are so wonderful.

Leon Redbone

The A.M. and I saw him in Albuquerque and it was, to put no fine point on it, effing cold. He played his first song (on the guitar) with gloves on (white ones, she reminded me). I don't blame him. He was so good he could have left them on for the rest of the performance. I don't think he's wearing gloves for this one, Bittersweet Waltz.

♫ Leon Redbone - Bittersweet Waltz

MARTY ROBBINS is somewhat more into the heavy country style than is normal for him.

Marty Robbins

It's all about the steel guitar and he's not at all happy about it. Oh well, that's the way it goes, Marty, when you try to waltz to a steel guitar. Marty laments about the Crying Steel Guitar Waltz.

♫ Marty Robbins - Crying Steel Guitar Waltz

Here's an extra track that I acquired after all the music was selected. Rather than throw something out, I'll add it as a bonus. It's from an artist I wouldn't expect to have an entry in this genre, NEIL YOUNG.

Neil Young

It's from a new/old album of his. New, because it's only recently been released for the first time, and old, because he recorded it in 1976. It's surprising that it hadn't seen the light of day earlier, not even as a bootleg, as most of his others were.

Neil's song is The Old Country Waltz.

♫ Neil Young - The Old Country Waltz


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.

* * *


Here is yet another entry in our series about animals, in this case the wolf. This animal is the top predator in many areas and as such is critically important to the ecology of the area (and surrounding areas, research has shown). Not only for animals but plant species as well. So, let us praise wolves.

The obvious place to start is with HOWLIN' WOLF, not just because of his name, but his song as well.

Howlin Wolf

It was said that "no one could match Howlin' Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits." In spite of that, he was a kind man and dedicated and loving husband and father who also paid his band very well, including all benefits.

Because of that, he attracted the best musicians. It seems that The Wolf is at Your Door.

♫ Howlin' Wolf - The Wolf Is At Your Door

WARREN ZEVON's best known, but far from his best, song makes the grade today.

Warren Zevon

A lot of you will know of which I speak. It's from his fine album "Excitable Boy" and it's called Werewolves of London. It's not to be taken seriously.

♫ Warren Zevon - Werewolves of London

So, to just another band from East L.A., as they like to call themselves, LOS LOBOS.

Los Lobos

They're too modest of course, they are one of the finest bands around. From a very early album of theirs ("How Will the Wolf Survive") they perform Will the Wolf Survive?

♫ Los Lobos - Will The Wolf Survive

PAUL SIMON seems to have become a hip hop artist with his contribution.

Paul Simon

Not completely, he does sing a bit but it's certainly different from what we expect from him. It's not a song I was familiar with until I searched my computer. It's always interesting to see how Paul stretches things with his songs. It's just called The Werewolf.

♫ Paul Simon - The Werewolf

TERRY ALLEN was born in Kansas, made a name for himself in Lubbock, Texas (home of a surprisingly high number of musicians) and lives in Santa Fe.

Terry Allen

Besides being a songwriter and singer, he's an artist of some renown and has lectured (and been a professor) in various artistic endeavours. From one of his albums (there have been about eight of them) we have The Wolfman of Del Rio.

♫ Terry Allen - The Wolfman Of Del Rio

GREGORY PORTER is the odd man out in the column today, and not because he has a great voice – we have a couple of those.

Gregory Porter

No, it's because he's more jazz oriented than the rest. I like to throw in something from left field (generally, it's not always appropriate) just to mix things up a bit. His best selling album was "Liquid Spirit" and it's from that one we have Wolfcry, although I didn't detect any wolves in the words of the song.

♫ Gregory Porter - Wolfcry

Alas, IAN TYSON doesn't have the wonderful voice that he used to.

Ian Tyson

He's not the handsome man of his youth either (well, who is?), but he's not bad (I wish I could say the same about me). However, he can still write fine songs and make good records. One of those is Wolves No Longer Sing.

♫ Ian Tyson - Wolves No Longer Sing

CHAMPION JACK DUPREE received his moniker in his early career as a boxer, he was even earlier called William Dupree.

Champion Jack Dupree

Jack was one of the great honky tonk pianists. He learned to play in the Colored Waifs Home in New Orleans when he was orphaned at age eight. This was the same place that Louis Armstrong got his start on the trumpet (well, cornet, technically).

Jack moved to Europe in 1960 where his music was in great demand. He stayed there and in Britain for pretty much the rest of his life. His contribution is Black Wolf Blues.

♫ Champion Jack Dupree - Black Wolf Blues

For the last 30 years or so there have been few better singer/songwriters than TOM RUSSELL.

Tom Russell

Tom is too modest to suggest such a thing, he would claim Ian Tyson, Gordon Lightfoot and others for the title, but we know, Tom. I would suggest searching for his albums if you're unfamiliar with them. From "Modern Art" Tom sings The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

♫ Tom Russell - The Boy Who Cried Wolf

I'll end as I began, with HOWLIN' WOLF. I think it's only appropriate.

Howlin Wolf

The Wolf rocks out with Howlin' Wolf Boogie.

♫ Howlin' Wolf - Howlin' Wolf Boogie

ELDER MUSIC: 1953 Yet Again

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.

* * *

It's 1953 and I'm in grade 3. Most of the songs today I remember from that time, but there's a ring-in that I didn't find out about until later. I'll start with that one.

I must admit that my first exposure to the song Just Walkin' in the Rain was via the Johnnie Ray version a few years later than 1953. It was a few years after that I happened upon the original, far superior, version by THE PRISONAIRES.


The song was written by Johnny Bragg and he was the group's lead singer.

♫ Prisonaires - Just Walkin' In The Rain

Hi Lili Hi Lo seemed to be around for a bit in 1952 and 1953 (and later as well). As far as I can tell DINAH SHORE was the first to record the song, and that was in 1952.

Dinah Shore

However, I think the hit was in 1953 (perhaps it was one that straddled the years). That rationale is good enough for me because I wanted to include it, and besides, I've already selected the songs for 1952.

Hi Lili Hi Lo was written by Bronislau Kaper and Helen Deutsch and it made an appearance in the film "Lili", sung by Leslie Caron and Mel Ferrer. Helen Deutsch also wrote the film's screenplay.

♫ Dinah Shore - Hi Lili Hi Lo

Not too long before he burst on the scene with Rock Around the Clock, BILL HALEY was already morphing from a country performer into rock and roll.

Bill Haley

He was already recording covers of jump blues artists, most particularly Big Joe Turner's songs, and he was also writing his own songs in the same vein, one of which is Crazy Man Crazy.

♫ Bill Haley - Crazy Man Crazy

I mentioned JOHNNIE RAY above, and here he is singing a duet with DORIS DAY.

Johnnie & Doris

At this time Johnnie was often a welcome relief from the rubbish on the charts. Alas, he sometimes slipped and fell and recorded some of that himself – like this one, Let's Walk That-A Way.

♫ Doris Day & Johnnie Ray - Let's Walk That-A Way

Between Frank Sinatra, a few years earlier, and Elvis, a few years later, EDDIE FISHER was the one that set the teenyboppers squealing.

Eddie Fisher

He was closer to the Frank mold (with less talent) than Elvis, but he was what we had at the time. Eddie seems to be a bit of a stalker in his song, I'm Walking Behind You.

♫ Eddie Fisher - I'm Walking Behind You

GUY MITCHELL was all over the charts around this time (and later as well).

Guy Mitchell

Like Johnnie Ray, he was also a relief from the music on the charts. However, he slipped as well, and at pretty much the same time, with She Wears Red Feathers. Here's your chance to catch up on your cocynuts and huly huly skirts.

♫ Guy Mitchell - She Wears Red Feathers

The FOUR LADS want to return to a city that doesn't exist anymore. Okay, it does, but under a different name.

Four Lads

Those who were listening to the hit parade in 1953 will know to what I refer. The song is Istanbul (Not Constantinople). The song was written by Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon and it surprised me a little that the city changed its name as recently as 1930.

♫ Four Lads - Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Back around this time there was an English radio series, which we got here in Oz, called "Take it from Here". The next artists were all in that program. They are JOY NICHOLS, DICK BENTLEY and JIMMY EDWARDS.

Joy, Dick & Jimmy

If I were ranking the songs included today, this one would be at the very bottom (and there's some stiff competition). However, it was ubiquitous at the time and it's been stuck in my brain ever since, so now it's your turn to be so affected. The Little Red Monkey.

♫ Joy Nichols Dick Bentley & Jimmy Edwards - The Little Red Monkey

Thank heaven for PEARL BAILEY, so she can wipe that previous song out of my brain for a few minutes.

Pearl Bailey

Quite a few people recorded this one, but this is the one I prefer. Takes Two to Tango.

♫ Pearl Bailey - Takes Two To Tango

Here is a song that the Peter who lived next door and I sang together (The Two Petes – well we didn't call ourselves that, I just made that up). It's China Doll by SLIM WHITMAN.

Slim Whitman

The other Peter was better at the yodelling parts than I was (I don't know if anyone else would consider that a plus). Anyway, we had fun.

♫ Slim Whitman - China Doll

ELDER MUSIC: Mozart's Lesser Known Operas

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.

* * *

Mozart's operas are among the best loved and most often performed. Well, some of them – “Don Giovanni“, “Cosi Fan Tutte“, “The Marriage of Figaro“, “The Magic Flute“ and a few others. However, he wrote a whole bunch more and it's those that we're interested in today. Fortunately, these have been recorded, if not often performed.

As with all good operas, I'll start with an overture. This is from, as far as we know, the first opera Wolfie wrote. He was 12 years old.


It was apparently first performed in the back yard of Franz Mesmer (of hypnosis fame) who commissioned the work. It's the overture to Bastien and Bastienne.

♫ Bastien and Bastienne - Overture

La Finta Semplice (The Feigned Simpleton) was also written when Wolfie was 12. It was scheduled to be performed in Vienna but the bigwigs at the opera there conspired against it and threatened a riot, claiming it couldn't have been written by such a young person, and it was really by his father.

Dad, prudently, withdrew the performance and it was produced for the first time a year later in Salzburg.

This is the aria Marito io vorrei sung by TERESA BERGANZA.

Teresa Berganza

♫ La Finta Semplice ~ Marito io vorrei

Another finta - “La Finta Giardiniera” (The Pretend Garden Maid, or some such). This one is especially silly and this is how it goes...

We have Don Anchise who is in love with Sandrina. Sandrina, the Marchioness Violante Onest, likes to dress up as a gardener. Then there is Arminda, niece of Don, who is engaged to Belfiore but was previously in love with Ramiro. Belfiore, before he was engaged to Arminda, had the hots for Sandrina, but he stabbed her in a fit of rage (apparently suffering no consequences).

Ramiro wanders about love-struck (not surprisingly, as he was originally played by a castrato), but in the end, Arminda gets back together with him. Serpetta is Don's servant and she is in love with him, but nothing comes of this. Finally, Roberto, Sandrina's servant, likes to dress up as her dressing up as a gardener. He ended up with Serpetta. Got all that? No; neither did I.

Anyway, we have an aria sung by PLACIDO DOMINGO (as Belfiore) called Che beltà, che leggiadria.

Placido Domingo

♫ La finta giardiniera ~ Che beltà che leggiadria

If you think that was silly (and it was), consider “Mitridate, Re Di Ponto” (Mithridates, King of Pontus).

Mithridates, after a battle with the Romans, is thought to be dead (he isn't). That fake news is passed to Aspasia (his fiancée) and Farnace and Sifare (his sons) who certainly don't see eye to eye.

Sifare is in love with Aspasia, and it seems Farnace also has the hots for her and is a bit overly aggressive in this regard. Sifare helps Aspasia which does nothing for the brotherly love.

Around this time it's learnt that Mithridates is still alive and the brothers pretend everything is hunky dory between them, except that Farnace conspires with the Romans to do dad in.

Mithridates arrives in town with another chick in tow (Ismene) and when Farnace sees her he wants a bit of the action as well. Ismene is taken with Farnace and that causes friction with dad (not forgetting that Aspasia and Sifare are still at it).

Mithridates discovers the plot that Farnace hatched with the Romans and arrests him. He is rescued by Ismene but falsely suggests that Sifare was also involved, and besides dad, he's bonking your fiancée. Dad plans revenge on him as well.

That's only Act 1. There are two more to go but I'll spare you.

In the end dad forgives both sons who marry the appropriate women and then he commits suicide in fine operatic tradition.

From all that we have DIANA DAMRAU (as Aspasia) singing Al destin che la minaccia.

Diana Damrau

♫ Mitridate rè di ponto ~ Al destin che la minaccia

“Il Sogno di Scipione” (Scipio's Dream), as the title suggests, all takes place in a dream. When Scipio wakes up he realizes that was so, and, well, that's it really. A bit less complicated than the previous couple.

From that we have the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING (as Fortuna, whom we haven't met) performing sono al par del viento.

Renee Fleming

♫ Il sogno di Scipione ~ Lieve sono al par del viento

“Ascanius in Alba” (Ascanio in Alba) involves goddesses, nymphs and shepherds, the usual love affairs, broken hearts, city building (well, that's new) and everyone living happily ever after for a change. Here is an instrumental break, the first Ballet.

♫ Ascanio in Alba ~ Ballet No.1

“Il Rè Pastore” (The Shepherd King) concerns a pair of lovers, one of whom is a shepherd, but he is the long lost king of Macedonia. He is eventually recognised as such but in the mean time all of the usual operatic shenanigans occur.

He eventually ends up as king and everyone marries whom they should and no one commits suicide.

Here Aminta (the shepherd king) and Elisa (his main squeeze) have a bit of a warble together. For some reason Aminta (who's a bloke) is sung by JOHANNETTE ZOMER (who isn't) and Elisa is sung by FRANCINE VAN DER HEYDEN (they got the genders right this time). Vanne a regnar ben mio.

Johannette & Francine

♫ Il Re Pastore ~ Vanne a regnar ben mio

“Apollo et Hyacinthus” (Apollo and Hyacinth) is very early Wolfie, he was 11 when he wrote it. This is one that may or may not be an opera, or it could be a song cycle.

The synopsis of this one was so complicated I couldn't make head nor tail of it. It involves gods, sacrifices, storms, murders, the usual convoluted love affairs, more shepherds and a discus.

What follows is a duet by Apollo, who is a god, but likes to mingle with the common herd, and Melia, once attached to the king who was making a sacrifice to the big guy, but she now has the hots for Apollo. Their relationship is far more complicated but we'll just blip over it.

Apollo is sung by RALF POPKEN and Media by VENCESLAVA HRUBA-FREIBERGER. They perform Discede Crudelis!

Ralf & Venceslava

♫ Apollo and Hyacinth ~ Discede Crudelis!

“Lucio Silla” is another Roman opera. Lucio is dictator of Rome and has had senator Cecilio exiled and has spread rumors that he's dead. There are a number of interlocking love affairs, a few murders and whatnot. It's even more complicated than any of the others.

In the end (and this is the most unbelievable bit of the lot), Lucio sees the error of his ways and steps down. Cecilio is restored to his rightful position and everyone gets married and lives happily ever after (at least, those still alive).

Now we have an aria by Cecilio, again another bloke sung by a woman: MARIANNE CREBASSA, singing Pupille amate.

Marianne Crebassa

♫ Lucio Silla ~ Pupille amate

Naturally, I'll end with a finale. In this one everyone gets to strut their stuff. The big ending to “The Shepherd King”, Viva! Viva l'invitto duce!

♫ Il Re Pastore ~ Viva! Viva l'invitto duce!

It shows you what teenagers can do when they set their minds to it. Everything in today's column Wolfie wrote when he was between eleven and nineteen. He might be an exceptional case, though.



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.

* * *

Here's a topic I know a little bit about as I've had one of them. It was fairly civilized as we were (still sort of) friends. That's sort of the reason we got married, we were best friends and we'd thought it would be a great joke if we told all our friends that we were going to get married.

No one got the joke (except us), and that's not really a good basis for marriage – never marry your best friend, especially not as part of a joke, the marriage won't work and you'll lose a friend. I think I've gone on a bit here, so I'll just let the music do the talking.

It was interesting to me that after I had selected the music today, it had turned into a pretty hardcore country music column. I don't know what this says about the family values that are always championed by that segment of society. Make of that what you will.

I'll start with the best song about today's subject. There are three really fine versions of the song, Quits. They are by the writer of the song, Danny O'Keefe, as well as Gary Stewart and CHRIS HILLMAN.

Chris Hillman

As good as Danny's version is, I think the other two are just a bit better and it was a tossup which I'd include. It came down heads and Chris got the nod. As the boomers and anyone with an interest in the music of the sixties know, Chris was one of the original Byrds. This song is from later in his solo career.

♫ Chris Hillman - Quits

TAMMY WYNETTE spelled it out because she thought that her kid didn't know how to do that.

Tammy Wynette

She was probably wrong. Kids are smarter than we think they are. At least, that's what I'm told; I've never had any or really been around any since I was one myself.

Her song is D-I-V-O-R-C-E. It seems that only on the day that the D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final that they tell the kiddy (or not, depending how you interpret the song).

♫ Tammy Wynette - D-I-V-O-R-C-E

The song Mexican Divorce was written by Burt Bacharach and Tom Hilliard, and it was originally recorded by The Drifters. As with the first song, I really prefer a cover version. In this case it's NICOLETTE LARSON.

Nicolette Larson

Nicolette started as a really fine pop singer and evolved into a really fine country singer. Alas, she died at age 45 due to various complications. She had two marriages and one divorce, so she fits in.

♫ Nicolette Larson - Mexican Divorce

Besides being a singer, MERLE TRAVIS was a songwriter of note as well as a hugely influential guitarist.

Merle Travis

He wrote his song for this column back in 1946 (and I'm sure that he thought at the time that in the twenty-first century someone will want to feature it on the internet). It is Divorce Me C.O.D.

♫ Merle Travis - Divorce Me C O D

KITTY WELLS is somewhat conflicted about her divorce.

Kitty Wells

She thought her hubby was out doing her wrong, so she decided to do the same. It seems she was wrong but we don't get to hear his side of the story when she says I Hope My Divorce Is Never Granted.

♫ Kitty Wells - I Hope My Divorce Is Never Granted

DAVID ALLAN COE had a whole album called "Just Divorced".

David Allan Coe

The title song was in the running for inclusion but it was a bit of a downer so I thought I'd use It's Great to Be Single Again. It's a nice contrast to many of the others, so I thought we'd need a bit of perkiness around about now.

♫ David Allan Coe - It's Great to Be Single Again

MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER seems to fly a little under the radar.

Mary Chapin Carpenter

She has a beautiful voice and writes terrific songs but lesser talents seem to get a lot more prominence. Okay, that's the way it is in the music industry, and show biz generally. Anyway, here she is with What to Keep and What to Throw Away.

♫ Mary Chapin Carpenter - What to Keep and What to Throw Away

I've only recently discovered this next song, although I believe it's been around for a while. Upon hearing it, I knew it had to be in a column and this seems the most appropriate one. The singers, who also wrote the song, are DOYLE AND DEBBIE (Bruce Arntson and, at the time of recording, Jenny Littleton).

Doyle & Debbie

I know nothing about this pair but they tickle my funny bone (and other parts). Their song is Think of Me. People who know these performers will realize that I have changed the name of the song slightly.

♫ Doyle and Debbie - Think Of Me

We pretty much think of ABBA as a happy group with fun, jolly songs that put you in a positive mood.


However, towards the end of their reign at the top of the charts things weren't so happy in the group. This was reflected in several of their songs. One of those is about our topic today; I think it's their best song: The Winner Takes It All.

♫ ABBA - The Winner Takes It All

I don't know if GEORGE JONES is singing about his divorce from Tammy Wynette, who has her own song up above.

George Jones

It'd be a bit hard tell really, as there were three other wives besides Tammy. Whichever one it is, George takes us on The Grand Tour.

♫ George Jones - The Grand Tour

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Gas Part 8

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 series was named initially by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to highlight lesser known composers who are seldom heard on radio or in concert.

JEAN-XAVIER LEFÈVRE was born in Switzerland but spent most of his life in France.


He happened to be in the National Guard when the Revolution broke out and became a conductor for the Guard's band. He later taught at the Paris Conservatoire and records suggest he was excellent at that as many of his pupils gained first prizes.

His main instrument was the clarinet and most of his surviving compositions are for that instrument. That's what I'll be featuring, the third movement of the Clarinet Sonata No. 7 in G minor.

This is a little unusual, as it doesn't have the standard piano or harpsichord as an accompanying instrument; instead it's a harp.

♫ Lefèvre - Clarinet Sonata No. 7 in G minor (3)

FRANZ XAVER SÜSSMAYR is probably best known these days as the person who completed Mozart's Requiem after Wolfie died.


He was well known in his day which is probably why he got that gig. His musical life began as a member of the choir at a monastery in Austria. When his voice broke he played violin in its orchestra. They also put on operas and young Franz was exposed to the opera composers of the day.

He later wrote quite a bit of religious music as well as secular compositions. One of those is his Divertimento No. 1 in C major. This is the first movement.

♫ Süssmayr - Divertimento No. 1 in C major (1)

NICCOLÒ JOMMELLI was from Naples and spent much of his life in what was then called the Holy Roman Empire (which certainly wasn't holy, it wasn't Roman and not much of an empire either) and France.


Although he wrote cantatas, oratorios and other religious works, he's mostly remembered for his operas - he wrote about sixty of them. One of those is Attilio Regolo (there are various spellings of the name) about a Roman Consul during the Roman Republic.

From Act 1 comes the aria “Par che di giubilo” sung by JOYCE DIDONATO.

Joyce DiDonato

♫ Jommelli - Par che di giubilo (Attilia)

For many years, decades – a couple of centuries even – this next piece of music was attributed to J.S. Bach. Modern scholarship has shown that was actually written by CHRISTIAN PETZOLD.


Most of you will be familiar with this, at least those who were listening to pop music during the sixties because a couple of blokes put some words to it and it was recorded by The Toys as A Lover's Concerto. The original was written for the harpsichord, but I rather like this version for violin and piano, Minuet in G Major.

♫ Petzold - BWV 114 115 - Minuet In G Major- violin

WILHELM GOTTLIEB HAUFF was an organist and wrote music for the horn. He lived in the second half of the eighteenth century.


That's about the sum total of my knowledge of the man except that his father (with the same name) was also a musician. So, without further ado, let's hear the first movement of his Horn Quintet in E-flat major.

♫ Hauff - Horn Quintet in E-flat major (1)

GIROLAMO CRESCENTINI was most noted during his life as a singer and singing teacher.


He was a castrato (Ooooo!) but that style of singing was already going out of fashion. He wrote some operas when he retired from singing that anticipate the opera style that was to come, particularly Rossini.

He also wrote short pieces, called these days, Italian Ariettas. We have one of those today called Mi lagnerò tacendo, performed by the mezzo soprano MARINA COMPARATO.

Marina Comparato

♫ Crescentini - Mi lagnerò tacendo

ANTONIO BARTOLOMEO BRUNI was born and died in Cuneo, which is in what's now Italy.


However, he spent most of his life in Paris. That covered the time of the reign of terror, so it wasn't the safest place to live. But he survived. He was a bit of an archivist and he made a list of all the musical instruments recovered from the noble houses (that included six hurdy-gurdies – I just threw that in for my own amusement).

Tony was also a bit of a composer and most of his compositions were for various small ensembles of string instruments – duos, trios, quartets and so on. An even smaller ensemble is his Viola Sonata in E-flat major, Op. 27 No. 4. This is the third movement.

♫ Bruni - Viola Sonata in E-flat major Op. 27 No. 4 (3)

These days symphonies are thought of as grand, magnificent things, and are often quite long – just think of Beethoven and Mahler. However, before Haydn set to work on them (and boy, did he work – 104 official symphonies and several more works that should be considered) they were little bitty things. The symphonies of WILLIAM BOYCE are prime examples of this.


Bill was sort of a link between the Baroque period and the Classical, although he lived well into the latter era. He wrote eight symphonies and I have them all. This is quite easy as they all fit on a single CD. Here is all of Symphony No. 1.

♫ Boyce - Symphony No. 1

The consensus seems to be that CARL ANDREAS GÖEPFERT was a really shy man who was reluctant to assert himself, so he missed out on several important positions. He was considered an honorable, upright and lovable person by all who knew him.


At one stage, he took lessons from Mozart who was so impressed he employed Carl to orchestrate some of his (Mozart's) compositions for various other instruments.

Carl was a virtuoso clarinet player and wrote wonderful music for that instrument. However, I'm a bit perverse and I will feature one of his compositions that doesn't employ the clarinet. It is the first movement for the Sonata for Bassoon & Guitar, Op. 13. An interesting combination of instruments.

♫ Göepfert - Sonata for Bassoon & Guitar Op. 13 (1)

Both Australia and New Zealand claim ALFRED HILL as one of their own. This isn't unusual except it's usually Australia claiming Kiwis rather than the other way round as in Alf's case.

Alfred Hill

He was born in Melbourne and spent some of his early life in New Zealand. As an adult he switched between the two countries as he married a New Zealander. He finally settled in Sydney and played in and conducted several of the local orchestras. He was one of the musical advisers when the (Australian) ABC (TV) began.

Alf wrote music in a number of genres – more than 2000 works: 13 symphonies, eight operas, many concertos for various instruments, piano and choral works and so on. What I think is his high point is the string quartets (17 of them), some of the best of the twentieth century.

His String Quartet No. 5 in E-Flat Major was written to commemorate the victory in World War I, and is named "The Allies". This is the second movement.

♫ Alfred Hill - String Quartet No. 5 in E-Flat Major (2)

ELDER MUSIC: Gordie Revisited

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.

* * *

Sorry, I'm indulging myself this week (yet again) because I've already done a column on GORDON LIGHTFOOT, but he's such a favorite of mine that I think he deserves another.

You could say that I used up all his best songs on the first column but I would disagree - he's written so many terrific ones there's more than enough for another (and probably more).

Gordon Lightfood

In the first column it was a toss-up which of his first two big hits I would include. The one that missed out is For Lovin' Me, so that's the one we'll kick off with today.

This came to my notice because of cover versions by Peter, Paul and Mary and Ian and Sylvia (and many others later). Naturally, I think Gordie does it best. He recorded it a few times over the years but this version is the first time he put it on record.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - For Lovin' Me

Gordon Lighfoot

Gordie wrote a number of songs about life on the road. He wasn't alone in that regard. Probably the best of them was 10 Degrees and Getting Colder that I featured in the first column. Not far behind that one is Somewhere USA.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Somewhere USA

Gordon Lightfoot

From early in his career is a song about lost love; he was a master of that sort of song. This one really nails as far as I'm concerned but you know he doesn't really mean it (I think). I'll Be Alright.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - I'll Be Alright

Gordon Lightfoot

I managed to get a seat in the front row of a couple of his concerts. Naturally, along with others, I asked for a song. I was the only one to whom he replied. He said he wouldn't play it (in rather emphatic terms). That song is Mountains and Marian.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Mountains and Marian

Gordon Lightfoot

A song that just missed the cut in the first column pretty much by the toss of a coin is the next one. Naturally it had to be included this time, and here it is: Never Too Close. It is about friends and lovers who are sometimes the same person. A beautiful song.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Never Too Close

Gordon Lightfoot

The album “Don Quixote” is one of the two or three finest albums that Gordie recorded - there's not a dud song on it. Of course, there's seldom a dud song anywhere, but these are a cut above most of the others.

The songs range far and wide: love, lost love (of course), the environment (ahead of its time), ships and the sea, Canada and even a rare protest song. From that album, here is the title track, which really fits none of the genres I mentioned.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Don Quixote

Gordon Lightfoot

I've always thought that Rainy Day People is a companion song to Never Too Close. I don't know if Gordie meant it that way, but it seems to me that he's singing about the same people.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Rainy Day People

Gordon Lightfoot

Of his first dozen or so albums, "Back Here on Earth" is probably the least regarded. Of course, even an ordinary Gordie album is worth a listen now and then. I have to admit though that the song Bitter Green is the only song from that I listen to with any regularity.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Bitter Green

Gordon Lightfoot

One of the best break-up songs, maybe the best (although there's a lot of competition), is Second Cup of Coffee. It's also a really good song about life on the road and the distractions that that life holds.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Second Cup of Coffee

Gordon Lightfoot

Miguel is a rather enigmatic song. Different people have quite varied ideas about it. Is Miguel a revolutionary, or just a bandit? Perhaps an illegal immigrant, although crossing the border a hundred times or more may put paid that to that idea. Maybe he just likes swimming. Make up your own mind.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Miguel

Gordon Lightfoot

I was going to stop there, but I can't help myself. I'm including a song I used in the first column because it's so beautiful, and check out that wonderful walking bass line.

It continues the theme of Never Too Close to my mind. The song is I'm Not Supposed to Care.

Gordon Lightfoot - I'm Not Supposed to Care

ELDER MUSIC: Believe It Or Not

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.

* * *

There is a song by DON COVAY called Believe It Or Not.

Don Covay

Don played rhythm and blues, rock & roll, funk and various other genres of music. Some say that Mick Jagger pretty much pinched his singing and performing style, and the Stones recorded his songs early on in their career.

Believe It Or Not is from the fifties and Don name-checks so many songs I thought I'd use it as the basis for a column. I've haven't included all those he mentioned, there are too many, so it's just the ones I like. They are pretty much in the order he references them.

♫ Don Covay - Believe It Or Not

The first that caught my ear was Peggy Sue, and that, of course, was written and recorded by BUDDY HOLLY.

Buddy Holly

Buddy and Little Richard were my two favorites from that time; they kept me sane. Their songs are included in today's song, so I can indulge myself.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

LITTLE RICHARD is very well represented.

Little Richard

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, suggested that I only have one song from each artist, but when Richard is in the mix, I'm going to have them all. You have been warned, starting off with possibly his most famous song, Tutti Frutti.

♫ Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

Without stopping for breath, Don managed to mention another song by LITTLE RICHARD.

Little Richard

In this case it's Good Golly Miss Molly.

♫ Little Richard - Good Golly Miss Molly

The prolific song writing and producing team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller wrote the next song for THE COASTERS.

The Coasters

The Coasters didn't really take themselves too seriously, although they certainly recorded some fine rhythm and blues and rock and roll songs. Their songs could go either way. The one Don mentioned is Yakety Yak.

♫ The Coasters - Yakety Yak

Way back at the school I attended their predominant color for sports and such was purple. Naturally, when this next song became popular, the other schools started singing it, trying to get a rise out of us. We took it on board, and sang it back to them as a token of pride.

If you were listening closely to the initial song you know that I'm talking about The Purple People Eater. This was performed by SHEB WOOLEY.

Sheb Wooley

Those well versed in TV and movies will know that he was also an actor and played Pete Nolan in Rawhide and Frank Miller (one of the baddies) in High Noon. There were many other roles as well but they are just the ones that tickled my fancy. Here's that song.

♫ Sheb Wooley - The Purple People Eater

I said there's going to be several from LITTLE RICHARD, but you can blame Don for that. I hope you're as big a fan as I am (or you at least like him somewhat).

Little Richard

His next song is Long Tall Sally. Way back I had to wait for the Beatles' version to determine what he was actually singing. It's easier these days with the web.

♫ Little Richard - Long Tall Sally

Okay, that's all for Richard. Now we take the musical quality down somewhat. Well, considerably, really. Ross Bagdasarian was a musician who played many instruments and wrote songs that became huge hits for other people. He created a musical persona called DAVID SEVILLE.

David Seville

He was responsible for all those Alvin and the Chipmunks songs, films, TV programs and what not. He also recorded the Witch Doctor.

♫ David Seville - Witch Doctor

Michael Jackson had a really awful version of Rockin' Robin that became a big hit. Fortunately, the original by BOBBY DAY was a lot better.

Bobby Day

The song was written by Leon René, also known as Jimmie Thomas (I think his real name is superior). If you're unfamiliar with the original, here it is.

♫ Bobby Day - Rockin Robin

Like Byron, LARRY WILLIAMS was mad, bad and dangerous to know.

Larry Williams

He wrote and performed some of the earliest and best of the rock and roll songs. However, he later seriously dabbled in drugs (dealing and otherwise) and violence and died of a gunshot to the head in mysterious, and still unsolved, circumstances. One of those early songs is Dizzy Miss Lizzy, covered by many over the years.

♫ Larry Williams - Dizzy Miss Lizzy

BOBBY DARIN wrote the last song, Splish Splash, as a bet from the disk jockey, Murray the K.

Bobby Darin

Bobby was up to the task and the song became his first hit. Most people think of Bobby as a singer in other genres, not rock & roll, but he performed pretty much every way possible.

♫ Bobby Darin - Splish Splash