354 posts categorized "Elder Music"


Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benny Goodman

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

♫ Benny Goodman - Moonglow

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

Jimmie Lunceford

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

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

♫ Jimmie Lunceford - Miss Otis regrets

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

Ted Fio Rito

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

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

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

Grace Moore

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

♫ Grace Moore - One Night of Love

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

Louis Prima

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

♫ Louis Prima - Jamaica Shout

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

Duke Ellington

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

♫ Duke Ellington - Cocktails for Two

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

Bing Crosby

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

♫ Bing Crosby - Two Cigarettes In the Dark

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

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

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

Leo Reisman

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

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

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

Lucienne Boyer

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

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

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

Sons Of The Pioneers

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

♫ Roy Rogers & Sons Of The Pioneers - Tumbling Tumbleweeds

ELDER MUSIC: More Classical Gas

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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

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

Felicien David

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

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

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

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

Maddalena Sirmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Franz Tausch

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

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

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

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

Englebert Humperdinck

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

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

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

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

Jan Baptist Vanhal

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

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

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

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

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

Carlo Tessarini

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

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

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

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

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

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

Johann Friedrich Fasch

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

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

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

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

Carl Heinrich Graun and Johann Gottlieb Graun

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

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

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

Ernst Gottlieb Baron

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

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

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

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

George Onslow

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

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

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

ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans Part 4

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

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

New Orleans

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

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

Jelly Roll Morton

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

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

♫ Jelly-Roll Morton - Dr Jazz

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

Champion Jack Dupree

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

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

♫ Champion Jack Dupree - Hometown New Orleans

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

James Booker

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

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

♫ James Booker - Medley

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

Aaron Neville

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

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

♫ Aaron Neville - Hercules

To the man himself, ALLEN TOUSSAINT.

Allen Toussaint

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

♫ Allen Toussaint - Solitude

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

Irma Thomas

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

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

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

Clarence Frogman Henry

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

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

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

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

Larry Williams

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

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

♫ Larry Williams - Lawdy Miss Clawdy

SHIRLEY AND LEE were Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee.

Shirley & Lee

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

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

♫ Shirley & Lee - Feel So Good

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

Wynton Marsalis

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

♫ Wynton Marsalis - In The Court Of King Oliver

ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans Part 3

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

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

New Orleans

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

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

Kid Ory

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

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

♫ Kid Ory - Ory's Creole Trombone

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

Johnny Dodds

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

♫ Johnny Dodds - Blue Piano Stomp

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

Alvin Robinson

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

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

♫ Alvin Robinson - I've Never Been In Love

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

Fats Domino

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

♫ Fats Domino - Ain't It A Shame

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

Johnny Adams

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

♫ Johnny Adams - Release Me

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

Ernie K Doe

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

♫ Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl

LONNIE JOHNSON was an extremely influential guitarist.

Lonnie Johnson

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

Lonnie performs Why Should I Cry.

♫ Lonnie Johnson - Why Should I Cry

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


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

♫ Chris Kenner - I Like It Like That

THE METERS were mostly an instrumental group.

The Meters

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

♫ The Meters - Look-Ka Py-Py

DR JOHN came into this world as Malcolm Rebennack.

Dr John

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

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

♫ Dr John - Such A Night

Happy 70th Birthday, Peter Tibbles


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans, Part 2

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

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

New Orleans

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

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

Louis Armstrong

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

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

♫ Louis Armstrong - Blues In The South

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

Professor Longhair

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

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

♫ Professor Longhair - Crawfish Fiesta

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

Lloyd Price

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

♫ Lloyd Price - I'm Going to Get Married

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

Eddie Bo

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

♫ Eddie Bo - I'll Keep On Trying

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

Neville Brothers

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

♫ Neville Brothers - Hey Pocky Way

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

Benny Spellman

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

♫ Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)

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

Dixie Cups

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

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

♫ The Dixie Cups - Iko Iko

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

Smiley Lewis

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

♫ Smiley Lewis - One Night

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

Sonny Landreth

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

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

♫ Sonny Landreth - Congo Square

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

Branford Marsalis Quartet

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

♫ Branford Marsalis Quartet - Treat It Gentle

ELDER MUSIC: Music of New Orleans, Part 1

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

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

New Orleans

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

Twentieth century popular music pretty much began with KING OLIVER.

King Oliver

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

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

♫ King Oliver - Struggle Buggy

SIDNEY BECHET didn't call what he played jazz.

Sidney Bechet

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

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

♫ Sidney Bechet - Maple Leaf Rag

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

Roy Brown

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

♫ Roy Brown - Let the Four Winds Blow

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

Lee Dorsey

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

♫ Lee Dorsey - Working In The Coalmine

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

Joe Jones

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

♫ Joe Jones - You Talk Too Much

BOBBY CHARLES was more a songwriter than a performer.

Bobby Charles

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

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

♫ Bobby Charles - Walking to New Orleans

DAVE BARTHOLOMEW is a trumpeter and bandleader.

Dave Bartholomew

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

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

♫ Dave Bartholomew - The Monkey

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

Jessie Hill

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

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

♫ Jessie Hill - Ooh Poo Pah Doo

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

Coco Robicheaux

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

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

♫ Coco Robicheaux - St. John's Eve

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

Harry Connick

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

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

♫ Harry Connick - It Had To Be You

Next week: Music of New Orleans, Part 2.


Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

Bob Dylan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter, Paul and Mary

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

♫ Peter Paul & Mary - Too Much of Nothing

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

Rod Stewart

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

♫ Rod Stewart - Girl from the North Country

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

Judy Collins

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

♫ Judy Collins - Time Passes Slowly

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

The Byrds

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

The song is Lay Down Your Weary Tune.

♫ The Byrds - Lay Down Your Weary Tune

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

Nina Simone

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

In the end I went for Just Like a Woman.

♫ Nina Simone - Just Like A Woman

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

Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield

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

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

♫ Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield - Blind Willie McTell

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

Madeleine Peyroux

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

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

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

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

Sarah Jane Morris

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

♫ Sarah Jane Morris - I Shall Be Released

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

Maria Muldaur

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

♫ Maria Muldaur - On A Night Like This

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

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

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

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

Merry Clayton

♫ Merry Clayton - The Mighty Quinn

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

Bob Dylan

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

♫ Bob Dylan - Duquesne Whistle


Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.


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

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


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

♫ The Monotones - Book of Love

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

Nils Lofgren

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

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

♫ Nils Lofgren - Black Books

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

Bo Diddley

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

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

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

Tony Bennett

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

♫ Tony Bennett - I Could Write A Book

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

Joe Tex

His song is Buying a Book.

♫ Joe Tex - Buying A Book

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

Sandy Stewart

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

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

♫ Sandy Stewart - My Coloring Book

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

Duke Ellington &John Coltrane

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

♫ John Coltrane & Duke Ellington - My Little Brown Book

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

Carl Dobkins Jr

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

♫ Carl Dobkins Jr - My Heart Is An Open Book

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


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

♫ The Kinks - Picture Book

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

Greg Brown

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

♫ Greg Brown - My New Book

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

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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

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

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

Stone Poneys

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Different Drum

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

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

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Willin'

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

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Heat Wave

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

Anyway, here is Morning Blues.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Morning Blues

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

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Rock Me on the Water

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

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

Linda Ronstadt

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

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

Linda Ronstadt & Hoyt Axton

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

♫ Hoyt Axton & Linda Rondstadt - Lion In Winter

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

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - The Tattler

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

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

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Do What You Gotta Do

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

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Faithless Love

ELDER MUSIC: Linda Ronstadt (My Selection)

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

Linda Ronstadt

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

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

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

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

Linda Ronstadt

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

Stone Poneys

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

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

Linda Ronstadt

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

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Love Has No Pride

Stone Poneys

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Some of Shelly's Blues

Linda Ronstadt

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - I Ain't Always Been Faithful

Linda Ronstadt

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Women Cross the River

Linda Ronstadt

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - In My Reply

Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris - For a Dancer

Linda Ronstadt

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Teardrops Will Fall

Linda Ronstadt

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

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Faithless Love

Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris

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

♫ Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris - Across the Border

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

ELDER MUSIC: Booker T & the MGs

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

Booker T & the MGs

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

Billy Lee Riley

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

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

♫ Billy Lee Riley - Flying Saucer Rock And Roll

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

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

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

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

Booker T & the MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Green Onions

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

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

Booker T & the ;MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Jericho

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

Otis Redding

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

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

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

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

Sam & Dave

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

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

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

♫ Sam & Dave - Hold On, I'm Comin'

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

Wilson Pickett

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

♫ Wilson Pickett - In the Midnight Hour

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

Booker T & the MGs

♫ Booker T & the MGs - Summertime

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

Eddie Floyd

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

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

♫ Eddie Floyd - Knock On Wood

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

Booker T Jones

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

Anthony Hamilton

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

♫ Booker T - Gently (featuring Anthony Hamilton)

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

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

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

Booker T & the MGs

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

♫ Booker T & The MGs - Time Is Tight

ELDER MUSIC: Run to Paradise

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

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

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

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


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

This is the song, a huge hit in Oz.

♫ Choirboys - Run to Paradise

JOHN PRINE was another initial thought.

John Prine

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

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

♫ John Prine - Paradise

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

Johnny Nash

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

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

♫ Johnny Nash - Halfway To Paradise

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

Buddy Holly

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

♫ Buddy Holly - Fools Paradise

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

Tony Bennett

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

♫ Tony Bennett - Stranger In Paradise

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

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

Graeme Connors

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

♫ Graeme Connors - On The Edge Of Paradise

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

Elvis Presley

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

♫ Elvis Presley - Any Place Is Paradise

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

Charles Brown

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

♫ Charles Brown - Fool's Paradise

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

Marcia Ball

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

♫ Marcia Ball - This Used To Be Paradise

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


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

♫ Meatloaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light

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

ELDER MUSIC: Streets of New York

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 column started out as one on streets with names. When I'd finished I found that half of the selections were streets of New York. So I decided to split the difference and have a column entirely devoted to New York streets (as well as the original idea omitting the New York ones – two for the price of one).

Whenever I put on a CD of FRED NEIL I'm pretty sure there are whales out in the Southern Ocean who say, "Pete's playing Fred again.”

Fred Neil

That's because his voice is so low and mellow I imagine that those cetaceans are the only ones who can hear the full range of his singing.

It's not quite as evident on this song as it is on some others but you can perhaps hear what I mean. Fred's song is Bleecker & MacDougal, so you get two streets in the one song.

♫ Fred Neil - Bleecker & MacDougal

Now for a bunch of streets with numbers. I'll feature them in numerical order, starting at 4th Street and BOB DYLAN.

Bob Dylan

With New York streets you knew Bob had to be present as he made that city his home. Here he is with Positively 4th Street, one of the bitterest songs he ever wrote (and that's saying something).

♫ Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street

LEON REDBONE doesn't sing on his tune, it's purely instrumental, and a nice gentle one it is too.

Leon Redbone

Very little is known about Leon; he defends his privacy ferociously. His style harks back to pre-war jazz, blues and ragtime as is somewhat evident in his selection today, 14th Street Blues.

♫ Leon Redbone - 14th Street Blues

I originally had Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell penciled in at this spot but I omitted them because the version I have is from the sound track of the film. As a purely musical track it's pretty incoherent, full of sound effects, tap dancing, traffic noise, people talking and whatnot. I'm sure as part of the film it's fine but it just doesn't fit.

I've kept the song though and included a version by the DORSEY BROTHERS ORCHESTRA.

Dorsey Brothers

The singers are THE BOSWELL SISTERS.

Boswell Sisters

That picture suggests to me that they're probably listening to Bing on the radio. Here they all are with Forty-Second Street.

♫ Dorsey Brothers Orchestra - Forty Second Street

As I'm doing these numbered streets in order, we have a couple of jazz tracks back to back. That's fine with me, I hope it is with you as well. The first of these is by CHARLES MINGUS.

Charles Mingus

Charles's street is 51st Street. Now he doesn't specify east or west, so it could be in Brooklyn or Queens. Well, they're part of New York so it counts. The tune is 51st Street Blues.

♫ Charles Mingus - 51st Street Blues

BUD POWELL continues the theme with 52nd Street.

Bud Powell

As with Charles, no east or west is specified so we have the same problem. Bud's tune is 52nd Street Theme.

♫ Bud Powell - 52nd Street Theme

Let's keep walking uptown until we get to 57th Street and we come across BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN.

Bruce Springsteen

His street could be from somewhere in New Jersey whence he hails but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt so I can include the song. It's from the fine album, “The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle.” The song is Incident on 57th Street.

♫ Bruce Springsteen - Incident on 57th Street

It's not too far to 59th Street and SIMON AND GARFUNKEL.

Simon &Garfunkel

The official title of their tune is The 59th Street Bridge Song. You may know it as something else. Like Bob's song earlier, and Bruce's as well come to think of it, the name of the ditty doesn't actually appear in the words of the song anywhere. There was a bit of that sort of thing going on around that time.

♫ Simon & Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song

Now for a bit of a hike until we encounter BOBBY WOMACK.

Bobby Womack

Bobby started as a gospel singer and guitarist along his father and brothers. They were discovered by Sam Cooke and he arranged for them to be recorded. After Bobby went solo, he recorded his own song. It's All Over Now.

Just as it was rising on the charts the Rolling Stones released a version that eclipsed his. He was initially miffed until he received his first royalty cheque. He quickly changed his mind.

Anyway, here's Bobby's street song, Across 110th Street.

♫ Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street

Well, I've run out of numbered street songs and there's only time for one more anyway. We have to scurry on back down town, to one of the most famous streets of them all, Wall Street.

The tune is performed by DUKE ELLINGTON and his orchestra (or his Jungle Band, depending on your source of information).

Duke Ellington

It was recorded in 1929, just after Wall Street laid an egg, and is called Wall Street Wail.

♫ Duke Ellington - Wall Street Wail

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up for the First Half of 2015

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 goodness, what a year it's been so far. There have been so many fine musicians, and others associated with the music industry, die so far this year that we decided that we'd feature some of them at the end of the first half of the year so that there won't be an unwieldy column or two at the end where some may be overlooked.

B.B. King

Riley King began his professional career as a disk jockey in Memphis calling himself the Beale Street Blues Boy. That got shorten to Blues Boy and yet again to B.B. KING.

B.B. was of the same generation as other great blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf but he went further than those, who stuck to the blues. B.B. influenced jazz, rock & roll and even classical musicians.

His single note guitar playing looked back to the jazz style of T-Bone Walker and forward to rock & roll, particularly Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton (as well as numerous lesser performers) and modern blues performers like Buddy Guy and Robert Cray.

He was the most important blues musician of the last half century. B.B. performs Five Long Years. (He as 89 years old)

♫ B.B. King - Five Long Years

TREVOR WARD-DAVIES was the bass player and harmony singer for the sixties' rock group Dave Dee, Dozey, Beaky, Mick and Tich. He was Dozey.

They had a number of top selling singles in Britain and other places (including Australia). Over the years Dave Dee, Dozey and Tich were always the original musicians but they had several different Beakys and Micks. (70)

TIM DRUMMOND was a session bass player who, over the years, graced the records and concerts of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ry Cooder and James Brown among others. He often teamed up with the great drummer Jim Keltner to produce one fine rhythm section. (74)

Aldo Ciccolini

ALDO CICCOLINI was a classical pianist who was born in Italy but spent most of his life in France. He started his career with the usual suspects of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and so on, but later eschewed the standard concert repertoire and concentrated on then lesser known composers such as Debussy and Satie.

It's because of his championing these that they are now regularly performed. He plays Satie's now famous Gymnopedie No. 1. (89)

♫ Aldo Ciccolini - Erik Satie ~ Gymnopedie No. 1

DEMIS ROUSSOS was a Greek singer who began his career in the successful group Aphrodite's Child. He later had a career as a solo singer performing middle of the road music (and often dressed in large kaftans). He sold millions of records. (68)

Rod McKuen

ROD MCKUEN was a poet, disk jockey, song writer and occasional singer. He wrote songs for the Kingston Trio, including one he translated by Jacques Brel called Le Moribond and called it Seasons in the Sun which became a huge hit.

Rod even persuaded Frank Sinatra to record a whole album of his songs and poems. (81)

EDGAR FROESE was the founder and keyboard player of the German electronic music group Tangerine Dream. Besides their own records, which were best sellers but not to my household, he also wrote scores for many films. The Dream were pioneers of new age and ambient music. (70)

Lesley Gore

LESLEY GORE had a bunch of hits in the early Sixties, most notably It's My Party, Judy's Turn to Cry and You Don't Own Me. Those three songs showed a progression from aggrieved, angst-ridden teenager to defiant self assertion.

Lesley was discovered by Quincy Jones and he signed her to his record company. Besides those hits, she also acted – she was Catwoman's sidekick in the TV version of Batman and appeared on Broadway in several roles.

Lesley was working on a stage version of her life when she died. Here she is with the third of the songs mentioned above. (68)

♫ Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me

SAM ANDREW was a founder member, guitarist and songwriter for the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. The group had a triumphant performance at the Monterey Pop Festival and their subsequent album was hugely successful.

When Janis Joplin left Big Brother, Sam went with her as lead guitarist for her new band. He later studied composition and formed his own band and was music director for some stage shows. (73)

Louis Jourdan

LOUIS JOURDAN was a suave French leading man in many films. His father's career moved the family around to several countries including England where Louis learned English which was invaluable for him in Hollywood as the go-to actor for a debonair Frenchman.

For this music column, he was notable for singing the title song in the musical Gigi and won the hearts of millions of (mostly female) viewers. He was an active member of the French Resistance during the war. (93)

WILLIE C. JACKSON was the last remaining member of The Spaniels, a DooWop group who were responsible for the mega-hit Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite that's been used in many films and TV programs. He founded the group along with several friends from high school. (79)

Percy Sledge

PERCY SLEDGE hit it big with the very first song he recorded, When a Man Loves a Woman. He couldn't ever top that one, but then, no one else could either.

He was considered the master of the slow soul ballad and no one did those better than he did. In recent years he recorded a couple of very fine albums. Rather than his famous song, I've chosen one that's a particular favorite of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, True Love Travels on a Gravel Road. (74)

♫ Percy Sledge - True Love Travels On A Gravel Road

FRANK MUSIC COMPANY was the last remaining shop in New York that sold classical sheet music. The changing times means most people who require such get it from the internet. (78)

JIMMY GREENSPOON was a classically trained pianist who found fame as a founder member and keyboard player for the rock group Three Dog Night. He also performed with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and The Beach Boys. (67)

Clark Terry

CLARK TERRY was a jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player as well as a composer and educator. He began as a swing player and moved on to bebop, performing along the way with Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and Oscar Peterson amongst others.

He also had a hand in starting the careers of such musicians as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves and on and on. Clark performs The Swinging Chemise. (94)

♫ Clark Terry - The Swinging Chemise

GRAEME GOODALL was an Australian record producer who was a key figure in the development of the Jamaican record industry. He set up a studio and recorded Desmond Dekker, Leslie Kong and The Ethiopians and many more. (82)

Bob Montgomery

BOB MONTGOMERY was a songwriter and musician who went to school with Buddy Holly. Buddy's first band was a duo with Bob and they opened for Elvis in Lubbock, Texas. Elvis tried to get them on other shows but the promoters didn't want them.

Later, Bob wrote Heartbeat for Buddy and Misty Blue for various people but most especially Dorothy Moore. They also wrote songs together, most notably Love's Made a Fool of You, a hit for Buddy and covered by quite a few others.

They had plans to set up a publishing company when Buddy was killed. Later Bob was a successful record producer of mainly, but not exclusively, country performers. (77)

Joe Mauldin

It hasn't been a good year for Buddy Holly's friends. JOE MAULDIN started playing the upright bass after seeing Bill Black backing Elvis. Buddy needed a bass player and he chose Joe.

Joe also co-wrote several of their famous songs with Buddy, including I'm Gonna Love You Too and Well All Right. (74)

DAEVID ALLEN, born here in Melbourne, was a guitarist and poet and hung out with the writer William Burroughs in Paris. Later he went on to form the prog rock group The Soft Machine and also founded the group Gong, who I must admit, are a complete mystery to me. (77)

Ronnie Ronalde

RONNIE RONALDE was an English siffleur (the A.M. insisted I use that term) and music hall singer. He was a singer, whistler and yodeller extraordinaire.

As a youth, he found he had a talent for imitating bird calls and that people paid money to hear him perform. He joined a choir and eventually record companies discovered him. He toured the world and was hugely popular in the forties and fifties. He kept performing well into his eighties.

Here he performs in his own inimitable way, Mockin' Bird Hill. (91)

♫ Ronnie Ronalde - Mockin' Bird Hill

BOB BURNS was the drummer and one of the founding members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was in a car crash – this group really had bad luck when it came to modes of transport. He played on their famous early songs but had left the group before several were killed in a plane crash. (64)

JACKIE TRENT was an English singer but mainly a songwriter, usually with her husband Tony Hatch and together they wrote hits for Petula Clark, Scott Walker and Val Doonican. As a singer, she managed to knock the Beatles off top spot on the charts. (74)

Don Covay

DON COVAY was a soul singer and songwriter who didn't quite make it into the top rank of performers but the songs he wrote and recorded were made into big hits by a wide variety of performers. Steppenwolf, Chubby Checker, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and The Kinks all took Don's songs to the top of the charts.

Don began his musical career in a gospel group but he soon switched to secular music, playing with Little Richard and for a time writing songs in the Brill building. He was headhunted by Atlantic records as a writer and studio musician.

He was also in several groups with other famous musicians. One of his much-covered songs is Mercy Mercy. (76)

♫ Don Covay - Mercy Mercy

CYNTHIA LENNON was John Lennon's first wife and the mother of Julian. John treated them both appallingly. (75)

A.J. PERO was the drummer for the hard rock band Twisted Sister. He also played in the group Adrenaline Mob. Before his foray into rock & roll he began his musical career as a jazz drummer. (55)

Stan Freberg

STAN FREBERG made comedy records in the fifties that are still funny today. He didn't like rock & roll and would send up the genre on most of his records.

He was also a disk jockey, an actor and he was often used to voice cartoon characters. He and his crew perform Banana Boat Song, made famous by Harry Belafonte. (88)

♫ Stan Freberg - Banana Boat Song

DALLAS TAYLOR was the drummer for Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) in the early days of their performing and recording together. (66)

BRIAN COUZENS founded the record company Chandos that, along with Naxos, showed the big labels what could be done in the classical music field.

They recorded little known composers and works that hadn't seen the light of day and worked with up and coming musicians. The big boys finally had to take note of what was going on. (81)

Maria Radner

MARIA RADNER was a German contralto who specialized in the works of Wagner, particularly his Ring Cycle. She also sang Bach's works, especially his cantatas, as well as those of Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Haydn.

She had started to become an international star in opera – Mozart, Verdi and, of course, Wagner - and was to make her Bayreuth Festival debut later this year singing the role of Flosshilde.

Maria, her husband and baby were on the flight that the crazy co-pilot deliberately crashed. Maria sings Es sungen drei Engel from Mahler's Symphony No 3. (34)

♫ Maria Radner - Es sungen drei Engel

ANDY FRASER was a multi-instrumentalist but best known as the bass player for the rock group Free. He wrote most of their songs as well as for others such as Robert Palmer and Chaka Demus & Pliers. (62)

JAMES LAST was not my cup of tea but he sold millions of records so someone liked his music. He made big band arrangements of popular tunes. (86)

Ben E King

BEN E KING's first professional gig was a singer for a group called the Five Crowns, later just The Crowns. They were playing a gig at the Apollo and The Drifters were also on the bill.

The Drifters were going through a lean patch as their lead singer Clyde McPhatter had been drafted and the rest weren't very good. The Drifters' manager heard the Crowns and was so impressed he sacked his group and hired The Crowns on the spot and changed their name to The Drifters.

It was this incarnation that produced all those wonderful songs from the late fifties and early sixties with Ben singing lead. He didn't last long even though he recorded a lot of those songs.

As a solo artist, he was just as good and had many hits - Stand By Me, Don’t Play That Song, I (Who Have Nothing) and many more, especially Spanish Harlem.

Ever modest, Ben has said that he thought his career was accidental and he was really just cheating.

No Ben, you were one of the finest singers of the last century who sang some of the best songs I've ever heard. (76)

♫ Ben E King - Spanish Harlem


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.

When I was a whippersnapper here in Oz, chickens referred to those little fluffy yellow things that were only a few days old. Later the word evolved to mean the grown-up birds as well. Of course, we don’t like to call them that; here they are universally referred to here as chooks.

So, here are a bunch of songs about chooks.

Just in case you’re interested, the way I roast a chook is thus: I juice two or three lemons and stuff the chook with the lemon skins along with 6, 8, 10 cloves of garlic (peeled or not, it doesn’t matter. I slice them in half but it’s not necessary).

About a third to half way through cooking, I pour the juice over the bird. With it, I throw in some combination of potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips. Whatever takes your fancy.

I also throw in a whole bunch of garlic cloves (not peeled). Mash these on the potatoes when you eat them. Yum. They are mild and gentle cooked this way (they steam in their skins) and don’t exhibit that harsh garlic burn.

Takes an hour or so (depending on the size of the bird – mine usually only big enough for the two of us) at 200C (about 400F).

Anyway, back to the music. This column started as purely jump blues in content which I know that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, would like.

When I showed it to her she suggested some others I had completely forgotten about.These were from other genres and makes for a more varied column. Well, slightly.

I’ll start with one of the jump blues tracks, and a particular favorite of the A.M., AMOS MILBURN.

Amos Milburn

Amos is renowned for his songs about partying and booze, often with double entendres all over the place. I don't know if this one counts in that way but it fits our category today. Chicken Shack Boogie.

♫ Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie

Here is the first of two contributions from LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

What can I say about Louis Jordan that I haven't said a dozen times before? Well, nothing really especially as he turns again at the bottom of this column. I'll just say his song is A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird, written by Emmett Wallace that's been covered by many musicians.

♫ Louis Jordan - A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird

The band LITTLE FEAT was created by Lowell George and Billy Payne when Frank Zappa kicked them both out of the Mothers of Invention.

Little Feat

The band was only marginally successful but they were considered a "musicians' band" as they were held in high esteem by others in the business.

Quite a number of their songs have been covered by other artists, including this one. However, here is the original and best version of Dixie Chicken.

♫ Little Feat - Dixie Chicken

BIG MAMA THORNTON’s contribution is a song that was a hit for Howlin’ Wolf and an even bigger one for the Rolling Stones. Folks who have taken an interest in that sort of music will know immediately which song I’m talking about.

Big Mama Thornton

The song was written by that prolific writer of blues songs, Willie Dixon, and after Wolf recorded it, Sam Cooke had a go at it as well, closely followed by the Stones.

Many others performed it, including Big Mama Thornton. Little Red Rooster.

♫ Big Mama Thornton - Little Red Rooster

TOM RUSSELL wrote the best chook song ever.

Tom Russell

Here he is joined by his good friend IAN TYSON to perform it.

Ian Tyson

The song is about the nasty business of cock fighting and it’s a tribute to Tom that he can make such wonderful art from such a sordid enterprise. It tells of the journey of a rooster traveling north along the coast of California, fighting all the while, raising the stakes as he goes.

The song is Gallo del Cielo which in Oz parlance would be something like “Heavenly Chook” (there are probably shops called that). The backing certainly shows the huge influence Marty Robbins had on Tom.

♫ Tom Russell - Gallo del Cielo

THE DEEP RIVER BOYS started out as a gospel group but their song today is a far cry from standard gospel songs.

Deep River Boys

They got together at what is now Hampton University in Virginia where they won a talent contest. That led to radio and stage appearances. After the war, they toured with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and later appeared on TV (Ed Sullivan and so on).

They were very popular in Europe and toured that continent extensively. Their song is That Chick's Too Young to Fry, a song written and recorded by Tommy Edwards. Louis Jordan and The Prisonaires also had a go at it too.

♫ The Deep River Boys - That Chicks Too Young To Fry

The CRUEL SEA is an occasional Oz rock band fronted by the charismatic Tex Perkins (calm down, A.M.) who also has his own considerable solo career.

Cruel Sea

Here is the band with Momma Killed a Chicken. This was taken from an old blues song variously known as Bottle Up and Go or Borrow Love and Go. Probably other names as well.

♫ Cruel Sea - Momma Killed A Chicken

At last, I get to include LITTLE RICHARD. Okay, I have had him before but I haven't included him as often as I'd expect.

Little Richard

Richard is, of course, one of the half dozen most important people in the development of rock & roll. That's all that needs to be said except that his song is Chicken Little Baby. The song rather fades out at the end.

♫ Little Richard - Chicken Little Baby

Several really fine artists made their professional debut singing with BILLY WARD AND THE DOMINOES.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

One such is Clyde McPhatter who later went on to front The Drifters and later than that had a solo career. Alas, he was a bit too fond of the bottle for his own good which led to his premature death.

Here he is way back singing lead for The Dominoes and Chicken Blues.

♫ Billy Ward - Chicken Blues

There are a lot more chook songs but I'll finish with someone we have already heard, LOUIS JORDAN. There are others I could have used but Louis is the chicken man so I think he deserves a couple of tracks. The A.M. certainly agrees with that.

Louis Jordan

Louis performs one of his most famous songs, Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens.

♫ Louis Jordan - Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

ELDER MUSIC: They Wrote the Songs

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

Today I'm devoting a whole column to a topic I occasionally rabbit on about, and that is the original writer of songs made famous by others.

I'm sure that you'll know all of the selections today but perhaps you won't be quite as familiar with the original versions by the people who created them in the first place.

In my not too humble opinion, the versions by these folks are superior to the famous covers. You may disagree with that - after all, the first version of a song is usually the one that gets implanted in the brain. That happens to me all the time.

However, I think it's always instructive to hear how the writer intended the song to sound.

Let's get started with a sadly neglected singer and songwriter, TOM JANS, and the song that really inspired me to write the column.

Tom Jans

Tom made a bit of a name for himself in the seventies in singer/songwriter circles as a performer and writer of fine songs. Not only as a solo artist, but he teamed up for a while with Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez's sister.

Alas, he had a serious motorcycle accident and died not too long afterwards, almost certainly due to serious injuries sustained to his kidneys.

His most famous song would have to be Loving Arms, covered really well by Dobie Gray and also recorded by Elvis and a whole bunch of others. Here is Tom with his song.

♫ Tom Jans - Loving Arms

What annoys me is those people who claim to be knowledgeable about music and then claim that, because he's a songwriter himself, Harry Nilsson wrote Everybody's Talkin'. No he didn't.


Sorry, I've calmed down now that I've got that off my chest. It, of course, came from FRED NEIL who did a far superior version of the song some years earlier.

Fred Neil

♫ Fred Neil - Everybody's Talkin

HANK BALLARD, along with his band mate Cal Green, were inspired by a gospel song by The Sensational Nightingales. They put new words to the tune and came up with a song that rather inspired a new dance craze. They called it The Twist.

Hank Ballard

Hank and his band The Midnighters recorded the song and it was moderately successful. It came to the ears of Dick Clark who wanted to feature them on American Bandstand but the group was unavailable at the time.

Dick loved the song and got his friend Earnest Evans to record it. Earnest was a great admirer of Fats Domino and changed his name to Chubby Checker as an homage. As you know, this new version went through the roof.

Today, though, I'm playing Hank and The Midnighters' original. I think Chubby studied this one very closely.

♫ Hank Ballard - The Twist

JOHN STEWART was a fine singer and songwriter who first came to prominence writing songs for, and then eventually joining, the Kingston Trio.

John Stewart

Later, as a solo performer, when he wasn't on the road, he'd spend time writing songs. Well, that was his job after all.

One day he wrote Daydream Believer and he thought the day a total failure as that's all he produced and he didn't think much of it. His good friend Chip Douglas heard the song and thought it would be good for The Monkees. Chip was a producer on their TV program.

The Monkees really loved the song and wanted to record it but the record company demanded that they change the word "funky" to "happy.” John replied that meant that the song made no sense at all and he wouldn't let them.

Well, came the reply, they won't be able record it. John decided that "happy" was really growing on him. He said that the song set him up for the rest of his life. Here it is.

♫ John Stewart - Daydream Believer

Pretty much everyone featured today are known to some degree but we come to someone who isn't, at least not by me. He was certainly a writer of famous songs, but I imagine few people who listen to music know his name. He is MARK JAMES (or Francis Zambon to his mum and dad).

Mark James

The person who covered his song, in complete contrast, was the most famous person on the planet, Elvis. As you'll hear, Elvis not only listened to the song but the arrangement as well and copied it pretty much exactly. Suspicious Minds.

♫ Mark James - Suspicious Minds

BRENDA HOLLOWAY had the help of her sister Patrice, Frank Wilson and Berry Gordy in writing her song.

Brenda Holloway

Brenda was going to be the next big thing at Motown after a couple of well-charting singles. However, The Supremes, who had done nothing much at all before, suddenly had a worldwide number one hit and Berry concentrated on them from then on.

Back to Brenda and the song she co-wrote, You've Made Me so Very Happy, a big hit for Blood Sweat and Tears a couple of years later.

♫ Brenda Holloway - You've Made Me So Very Happy

Okay, I'll admit that Ray Charles did a wonderful cover of I Can't Stop Loving You, even better than the one by DON GIBSON whose version is pretty good.

Don Gibson

Don was a writer and singer of the saddest, lonesome-est songs ever recorded. Here's his take on his own song.

♫ Don Gibson - I Can't Stop Loving You

DAN PENN was another who had someone cover one of his songs better than he did it.

Dan Penn

Not just better than his but better than anyone else who has tackled the song and there have been quite a few of them. I'm talking about James Carr who did the terrific version of one of the great soul songs, The Dark End of the Street.

However, here is Dan.

♫ Dan Penn - The Dark End of the Street

BOBBY CHARLES wrote a number of songs you'd recognise immediately.

Bobby Charles

He was a New Orleans native and wrote songs for various musicians from that city but most notably for his friend, Fats Domino. This is one of Fats' biggest hits but it's Bobby's take we're interested in today: Walking to New Orleans.

He has a little help from the great man himself on this version.

♫ Bobby Charles - Walking to New Orleans

JIMMY WEBB has written songs for a whole bunch of people but he's probably most associated with Glenn Campbell.

Jimmy Webb

I could have chosen a dozen (or more) from Glenn's repertoire, however, I have a previous column devoted to Jimmy so I've decided on one I didn't include in that one. Well, not Jimmy's version anyway.

Here is Wichita Lineman.

♫ Jimmy Webb - Wichita Lineman

ELDER MUSIC: Unchained Melody

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.

The prison film Unchained made in 1955, had only two things going for it. One was the appearance of Dexter Gordon as a jazz saxophone player (he was serving time for drug offences in Chino where the film was shot) and the other was for the theme song written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, called Unchained Melody.

The song really had little to do with the film but it scored an Oscar nomination and has become one of the most recorded songs ever, and that's what we're featuring today.

Two performers who deserved inclusion but missed out are Marty Robbins and Roy Hamilton. They only missed the cut because they were too similar to some already present. In an ideal world they'd be included as they are easily the third and fourth best versions of the song.

I'm going to top and tail the column with the two best and everyone else will be between those.

Leading the charge today is AL HIBBLER.

Al Hibbler

Al's version is the first that I can recall from my childhood. He released it back in 1955, just when music was seriously being imprinted on my brain. It still holds up as number two (it was number one for about ten years).

♫ Al Hibbler - Unchained Melody

BRENDA HOLLOWAY was a real contender on Motown records.

Brenda Holloway

Unfortunately, just when she was about to break out as a real star, someone like the Supremes had a mega-hit that put her somewhat in the shade. It's a real shame because she deserves to be much better known.

Her version is a bit string heavy for my taste but she's a good enough singer to overcome that.

♫ Brenda Holloway - Unchained Melody

The odd man out today is CHET ATKINS.

Chet Atkins

That's because his is an instrumental version of the song. Naturally it's played on guitar, Chet's natural environment (as it were). He was one of the original guitar heroes - he backed many country and rock & roll performers from the fifties.

Of course, that's not all he did. For one thing, he recorded our song.

♫ Chet Atkins - Unchained Melody

About this time, DooWop performers liked to take classic songs and give them the full DooWop treatment. The Marcels were past masters at this sort of thing but it's not their turn today. Instead, I present VITO AND THE SALUTATIONS.

Vito & the Salutations

They consisted of Frankie Fox and Sheldon Buchansky with other members who came and went over the years, including Vito Balsomo, after whom the group was named.

The group had a minor hit with Gloria and a marginally less minor hit with our song today.

♫ Vito & The Salutations - Unchained Melody

The most unlikely presence is that of JONI MITCHELL.

Joni Mitchell

Hers isn't a conventional reading of the song. That's not at all surprising. It's two songs stuck together really. They are Chinese Café and Unchained Melody.

Joni Mitchell - Chinese Cafe~Unchained Melody

THE FLEETWOODS perform an interesting a capella version.


They started out in high school as a female duo of Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis. They added fellow student Gary Troxel as a backup singer.

Once they became successful the record company wouldn’t go with the bloke in the background in spite of all of them insisting that's the way it should be. Threats ensued and, well, you know how that came out.

Here, however, are The Fleetwoods as they wanted to be.

♫ The Fleetwoods - Unchained Melody

If you're wondering what the original version in the film sounded like, wonder no further. Here it is, sung by TODD DUNCAN.

Todd Duncan

Todd's not like the other kiddies included today. He was a trained opera singer who had music degrees from several universities. He was also an actor of some renown, and was chosen to play Porgy in the original stage production of Porgy and Bess.

He had a long successful career in opera and as a concert performer and was a music teacher as well. He appeared in the film mentioned above and sang the song as part of the plot (rather than just over the credits).

♫ Todd Duncan - Unchained Melody

From the sublime to the ridiculous, here's PETER SELLERS.

Peter Sellers

Peter liked to record his own take on popular songs of the time and this one is no exception. Those familiar with the Goon Show will know what to expect.

♫ Peter Sellers - Unchained Melody

On his continuing quest to sing every song in the world and perform with every singer as well, here's WILLIE NELSON (although that latter isn't in evidence today).

Willie Nelson

You could pretty much guarantee that he would be here. He gives the song the full Willie treatment (and that's not a bad thing). It's from his period when he was releasing albums of old classic songs.

♫ Willie Nelson - Unchained Melody

Okay, here we are at the end. It doesn't get any better than THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS.

Righteous Brothers

Actually, this is only a Righteous Brother: Bobby Hatfield sings the song and Bill Medley is nowhere to be found. It doesn't matter, it's one of their best known songs, and no one does it better.

♫ Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

ELDER MUSIC: Musicals Part 2

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

As I mentioned in my first column on this topic, I'm not a big fan of musicals; there are only a few I like. However, I know others like them (love them to bits in some cases), so I'll see what I can find that won't make me gag.

This won't be like most columns about musicals.

One musical I really like is “The Music Man.” I see that they've remade this with Matthew Broderick as Professor Harold Hill. Oh come on. What were they thinking?

It's also about half as long again as the original film. I started watching it and gave up after about quarter of an hour. If you've not seen “The Music Man,” go straight to the original with ROBERT PRESTON and Shirley Jones.

Robert Preston

I featured this musical first time around but I think it's worth another go (with a different song). Here is Robert with the most famous song from the musical, Seventy Six Trombones.

♫ Robert Preston - Seventy Six Trombones

Musicals come in all shapes and sizes. THE BEATLES created a wonderful one on the smell of an oily rag and a brilliant director in Richard Lester.


For those who have been on Mars for the last 50 years, I'm talking about "A Hard Day's Night.” From that, the Fabs perform And I Love Her.

♫ The Beatles - And I Love Her

"The Firefly" is an operetta that first saw the light of day in 1912. It was transformed into a musical by removing most of the plot and adding a new song. That song is The Donkey Serenade.

ALLAN JONES was in the film of the musical (along with Jeanette MacDonald) and he had a hit with it. Film buffs will also remember Allan from the films "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" with the Marx Brothers.

Allan Jones

♫ Allan Jones - The Donkey Serenade

I have never seen "The Sound of Music.” Initially, it was probably accidental that I missed it but now I plan to spend the rest of my life not seeing it, thus becoming the only person on the planet who hasn't clapped eyes on the thing.

You probably know me a bit by now and can anticipate that I won't feature something from the soundtrack. You're right.

Here's JOHN COLTRANE with My Favorite Things. The tune does go on for quite a while, something for which Coltrane was noted.


♫ John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

"Rose-Marie" was another operetta written by Rudolph Friml who was also responsible for "The Firefly.” This one appeared on Broadway in 1924 and it was made into a film a number of times but most famously in 1936 with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.

I won't use their version of the song you all know from that film. Instead, from a little later, here is SLIM WHITMAN with Indian Love Call.

Slim Whitman

♫ Slim Whitman - Indian Love Call

Most of the music for "Kismet" was pinched from the works of ALEXANDER BORODIN.

Alexander Borodin

About half the score of the musical was taken from The Polovtsian Dances from his opera “Prince Igor.” The rest came from his first two symphonies, his two string quartets and other minor works.

Alex was not only a composer but also a professor of chemistry who made a number of important discoveries in the field of aldehydes. He was also a doctor and a surgeon and he established medical courses for women at his university (something unheard of in Russia before he did it).

Besides all that he wrote really good tunes.

It's only fair that the “Kismet” music should return to its rightful place. The song This is my Beloved was set to the tune of the third movement of Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 in D Major.

♫ Borodin - String Quartet No. 2 in D Major (3)

ELVIS made a bunch of musicals, most of which you can safely ignore.

Elvis Presley

However, the first three or four films he made weren't too bad and had the best songs that appeared in his films. Probably the pick of them was "Jailhouse Rock.”

The title song is so well known I won't bother with it. It was even in another musical we have today, down there at the bottom. Instead here is Don't Leave Me Now.

♫ Elvis Presley - Don't Leave Me Now

The Broadway musical "Gay Divorce" gave us the song Night and Day, written by Cole Porter. A film was made and it was called "The Gay Divorcee" which starred FRED ASTAIRE and Ginger Rogers.

Fred Astaire

This isn't from the actual film but was something Fred recorded a couple of decades later and to my mind is a superior version. Of course, we don't have him dancing, but this is a music column.

♫ Fred Astaire - Night and Day

"Gigi" started life as a short novel by Colette. It was made into a film of the same name and it involves training Gilberte, generally known as Gigi, as a courtesan in Paris in the early years of the 20th Century.

I'm surprised that a film on such a topic could be made in Hollywood in the fifties, but it was.

I'll skip over most of the songs and land on one that's appropriate for all of us who read these columns. It is MAURICE CHEVALIER and HERMIONE GINGOLD with I Remember It Well.

Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold

♫ Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold - I Remember It Well

If Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney could make films about "putting on a show," so can later performers. I'm thinking in particular of "The Blues Brothers" (who made two of them but you can ignore the second one).

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd performed She Caught the Katy in the film. TAJ MAHAL did it earlier and did it better.

Taj Mahal

♫ Taj Mahal - She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride

ELDER MUSIC: Trad Revival

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.

In the late fifties and the early sixties when the original rock & roll was on the wane and The Beatles hadn't yet resuscitated it, traditional jazz had a huge resurgence in Britain and Australia (and elsewhere as well).

This, of course, was the style of music played in New Orleans in the early years of the century (and elsewhere later). Today's column will feature music from that revival rather than the originators of the style, and they will be artists with whom I'm very familiar.

Thus you're getting mainly British and Australian acts today. If nothing else, this music will get your toes a'tapping.

I'll lead off with a group from England, CHRIS BARBER'S JAZZ BAND.

Chris Barber Jazz band

Like a couple of others featured today, they were blessed with having a fine female singer fronting the group, in this case it was OTTILIE PATTERSON.

Ottilie Patterson

Ottilie started as a blues singer in Northern Ireland and then joined Chris's band. She also married him (and later divorced him). She was one of the best at this kind of music. Here they are with Beale St. Blues.

♫ Chris Barber - Beale St. Blues

One of the finest exponents of this style at the time, and even today, came from the Netherlands and they are THE DUTCH SWING COLLEGE BAND.

Dutch Swing College

The group began in 1945 and quickly gained an international reputation and following. There has been, by necessity, a large turnover in membership - after all they've been going for almost 70 years. That's nearly as long as the Rolling Stones have been performing.

The College performs Willie the Weeper.

♫ Dutch Swing College Band - Willie The Weeper

ACKER BILK was given a clarinet by a friend who didn't want it.

Acker Bilk

Acker's first taste of this music was with Ken Colyer's band in London. He wasn't too impressed with the big smoke and went to Bristol where he became a member of the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band.

This group got a gig in Düsseldorf where they had to play for hours on end (and thus honing their skills), pretty much what The Beatles did a few years later.

On returning to Britain, Acker was the de facto leader of the group (and soon the real leader) and they recorded a tune called Stranger on the Shore which became a world-wide hit.

NOTE: For those who couldn't play this earlier, it now works.

♫ Acker Bilk - Stranger on the Shore

KENNY BALL took up the trumpet as a teenager during the war.

Kenny Ball

He worked semi-professionally at the time and started playing music full time in 1953. Kenny was a member of several bands until he started his own. He was one the leading lights of the revival and kept the flag flying for this music until he died in 2013.

He had a huge international hit with Midnight in Moscow.

♫ Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen - Midnight in Moscow

THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN usually had Plus Two added to their name. I guess because there were nine of them.

Temperance Seven

The Temps didn't take themselves too seriously, not surprising really, as they have links to a number of people who later became the Monty Python Flying Circus.

The three founder members were Paul McDowell who originally played trombone, Philip Harrison, who originally plucked the banjo, and Brian Innes. Quite obviously, more members joined over the years.

Here they play You're Driving Me Crazy with vocal refrain by Mr. Paul McDowell, as it says on the disk.

♫ The Temperance Seven - You're Driving Me Crazy

Now to the real thing. One of the few Americans I can remember playing in this style at the time (well, there was Louis too) is SIDNEY BECHET.

Sidney Bechet

Sidney was one of the real genuine Dixieland players from New Orleans and had a huge influence on the style. Alas, he died in 1959 but his records were still being played (perhaps because of that).

One of his most famous tunes is Petite Fleur.

♫ Sidney Bechet - Petite Fleur

In the early days of the sixties, we who lived south of the Yarra - that's the river that splits Melbourne in two - would take the train to South Yarra, there to visit the Yarra Yarra Jazz Club to see and hear the YARRA YARRA JAZZ BAND.

Yarra Yarra Jazz Band

We (the males) were snappily dressed in black tight pants, black pointy shoes, black socks and black skivvy. In winter we'd add a cardigan and if it was really cold, a black duffle coat.

We also affected a hair style that The Beatles stole from us a couple of years later. That is, those with straight hair did that. We curly tops did the best we could. Of course, when Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix made it big, we were the cool dudes.

An added attraction of the Yarra Yarras was the singer of the band, JUDY JACQUES. She was an extraordinary performer but that wasn't the only attraction she held for young lads.

Judy Jacques

Only a hint of Judy's live performances was captured on record – a slight glimmer towards the end of this tune, the old gospel standard, Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.

♫ The Yarra Yarra Jazz Band (Judy Jacques) - Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen

These days JUDITH DURHAM is best known for her years as the singer for The Seekers.

Judith Durham

Before that she was more recognised in these parts as a jazz singer, particularly for her time with FRANK TRAYNOR'S JAZZ PREACHERS.

Frank Traynor

Frank started his own club called, not too surprisingly, Traynor's. I guess he figured he'd always have a place to play. It's still going today, although Frank died in 1985, and is still the go-to place for fine jazz in Melbourne.

Here is Frank and the band, with Judith singing Trombone Frankie, which references the man himself.

♫ Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers (Judith Durham) - Trombone Frankie

Every weekday here in Melbourne in the early sixties, radio station 3XY had a jazz program at 7PM. Fortunately for my musical development, they weren't discriminating about what they played – Coltrane, Miles, Ray Charles, Lambert Hendricks and Ross and FRANK JOHNSON'S FABULOUS DIXIELANDERS. Many others as well, of course.

Frank Johnson

Frank played regularly around the traps back then – well, all those mentioned did that. We teenage lads really liked it when the station played Frank's version of Sweet Patootie (which was quite regularly – they knew their audience) as we thought it rather risqué.

♫ Frank Johnson - Sweet Patootie

THE RED ONIONS JAZZ BAND was a Melbourne institution.

Red Onions

However, when The Beatles and Stones hit, they saw the writing on the wall and put down their clarinets and trumpets and picked up electric guitars and basses and became The Loved Ones.

They were a lot more musically proficient than others who started playing rock & roll at the same time as they were already trained musicians. They were also blessed with having a lead singer who was as good as anyone in rock music.

The Loved Ones recorded a hugely influential album, had several top 10 records and imploded, not to be heard from again. This, though, is about the Red Onions with Buddy's Habit.

♫ Red Onion Jazz Band - Buddy's Habit