500 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.

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Take your partners, here is the last dance. We all know that this is the one where you try to grab the gal that you want to walk home and maybe have a bit of a cuddle on the way. Well, that’s the way it was back at my school socials.

It wasn’t just from where I came from either, judging from our first song. When Ben E King was the lead singer for THE DRIFTERS, there was not a band on the planet that came close to matching them.

The Drifters

His stay with the group was brief, under a year, but while he was there they produced some of the finest records in history. One of those, and you all know this one as it relates to our category, was Save the Last Dance for Me.

♫ The Drifters - Save The Last Dance For Me

Georgia Gibbs made a career of covering songs originally recorded by ETTA JAMES.

Etta James

Naturally, I think that Etta did them better. One of those was Dance With Me Henry, a much grittier version than Georgia’s.

♫ Etta James - Dance With Me Henry

One of the many answers Bob Dylan gave over the years when asked how he saw himself was Song and Dance Man. He wasn’t alone; another who thought the same way was MIKE MCCLELLAN.

Mike McClellan

From the album from the seventies that established him as a force on the music scene, "Ask Any Dancer", very apt for the topic today, we have Song and Danceman.

♫ Mike McClellan - Song and Danceman

SONNY CLARK was a jazz pianist who was in demand for recording by just about everyone who played in the fifties and early sixties. He also made nearly a dozen of his own albums.

Sonny Clark

Unfortunately, he died far too young, at 31, of a heart attack, but drugs may have been involved. Today though, he is Dancing in the Dark.

♫ Sonny Clark - Dancing In The Dark

During the great folk music scare of the early sixties, before Bob, TOM PAXTON was the first to regularly write and perform his own songs.

Tom Paxton

These turned into instant classics that have stood the test of time and are still considered some of the finest songs around. The song today is from later in his career and it may last just as long, although maybe not. It’s called Dance in the Kitchen.

♫ Tom Paxton - Dance In The Kitchen

LARRY WILLIAMS was one of the first rock & rollers and he wrote and performed some of the classic songs from the period.

Larry Williams

However, you really wouldn’t have wanted to know him. He seriously dabbled in drugs (dealing and otherwise) and violence and he was shot dead in mysterious, and still unsolved, circumstances. One of his lesser known songs is High School Dance.

♫ Larry Williams - High School Dance

I’ve followed the career of ELIZA GILKYSON since I first heard her in Albuquerque back when she went by the name Lisa Gilkyson.

Eliza Gilkyson

Her albums have always been interesting and I was looking for a final song for these columns and when I heard this one it was an automatic choice. Even if I’d filled my quota, something else would have been bumped for it. She supplies the name of the column, Last Dance.

♫ Eliza Gilkyson - Last Dance

I’ve always preferred BENNY GOODMAN in his small group, but I guess this big band of his really got toes a’tapping.

Benny Goodman

The bands from that time were really all about getting people up dancing, and I imagine if you’re not up dancing, at least you’ll be jiggling around in your chair to this one. The tune is Let's Dance.

♫ Benny Goodman - Let's Dance

J.J. CALE was one of the most influential guitarists in the last 50 years. Everyone from Eric Clapton on down has acknowledged him.

J.J. Cale

He was also a songwriter of considerable facility and his laidback singing style was emulated by many. His song is Fancy Dancer.

♫ J.J. Cale - Fancy Dancer

I’ll end this series with the most appropriate song I could think of on the topic. It’s by HARRY CHAPIN.

Harry Chapin

Okay, we’ve danced the days and nights away and now we’re going down with the ship because we were too busy dancing to see the iceberg. Dance Band on the Titanic.

♫ Harry Chapin - Dance Band on the Titanic

ELDER MUSIC: I Won’t Dance

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.

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The dance is in full swing by now and everyone’s up on the floor, except me because I don’t dance. I used to, back at school at the school socials.

They still had the old fashioned dances than – waltz, foxtrot, Pride of Erin and so on. It was really an excuse for the boys to hold the girls tight. We loved it; I don’t know what the girls thought of that though. Anyway, take your partners…

A song from FRANK SINATRA usually closes the dance as everyone wants to snuggle with his/her sweetie.

Frank Sinatra

He’s opening the show today with Dancing on the Ceiling.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Dancing On The Ceiling

Land of 1000 Dances is mostly associated with Wilson Pickett as he had a big hit with the song. However, it was written by CHRIS KENNER and he was the first to record it.

Chris Kenner

Chris’s version is more New Orleans funk than the extravagant soul treatment of Wilson. It’s less often played so it’s good to hear the original. Any obsessives out there who want to count the number of dances Chris mentioned would come up with 16. Just thought I’d save you the trouble.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Barb Rogers in the comments below is correct: This audio does not played. I've spent an hour trying to fix it (it plays fine on my own player program but not online) and can't. I don't have the time to work on it further today. Sorry.]

♫ Chris Kenner - Land of 1000 Dances

AHMAD JAMAL, or Fred Jones to his mum and dad, is a hugely successful jazz pianist.

Ahmad Jamal

He’s recorded scores of albums over the years so it’s not too surprising that we have a dance tune in there somewhere. One I found is called Dolphin Dance.

♫ Ahmad Jamal - Dolphin Dance

As you know, FRED ASTAIRE didn’t dance at all. I’m sure you’ve seen him in many films not dancing.

Fred Astaire

At least, that’s what Fred sings about in I Won't Dance. As mentioned above, I share that with him.

♫ Fred Astaire - I Won't Dance

JACKSON BROWNE was initially in the first dance column, but in the interests of balance he was moved to this one.

Jackson Browne

His was one of the first songs I thought of before I even searched for songs. When I did, I found several really good covers of his song that I was tempted to include, but I went with the original. For a Dancer.

♫ Jackson Browne - For a Dancer

Katie Moss wrote the words and music to The Floral Dance in 1911 after a Flora Day celebration in Cornwall. PETER DAWSON recorded it not long after.

Peter Dawson

Pete was an Australian bass-baritone and also a bit of a composer himself. There’s a bit of noise on this one but remember it was recorded more than 100 years ago.

♫ Peter Dawson - The Floral Dance

The MODERN JAZZ QUARTET didn’t ever rock the joint.

Modern Jazz Quartet

They were restrained, and their musical style was closer to a classical quartet, not surprising given their musical training. Each member could improvise with the best of them though which probably accounted for their longevity as a group. Their tune is Sun Dance.

♫ Modern Jazz Quartet - Sun Dance

I first noticed RODNEY CROWELL when he was a member of EMMYLOU HARRIS’s Hot Band.

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

I then noticed that he’d written a bunch of songs that she included on several of her albums. Later, when he went out as a solo performer, I was struck by how good he was, as well as the quality of his songs that kept emerging.

Later he and Emmy toured together and have recorded some albums as well. From one of those, “Old Yellow Moon” is the song Spanish Dancer.

♫ Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - Spanish Dancer

ANDREA MOTIS is a Spanish jazz pianist and singer.

Andrea Motis

She’s from Barcelona and recorded her first album at age 15, for heaven’s sake. She’s made eight or nine since including Emotional Dance from which is taken the title track.

♫ Andrea Motis - Emotional Dance

THE BEATLES were a rather successful group in the sixties.

The Beatles

You might have heard of them. They made an entertaining film called A Hard Day's Night from which the song I'm Happy Just to Dance With You is taken.

♫ The Beatles - I'm Happy Just To Dance With You

More dancing next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Dancing the Night Away

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.

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Okay, the dance is in full swing now so everyone get up on your feet and choose someone with whom to do some twirling.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist's favorite Motown song by her favorite Motown group is MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS performing Dancing in the Street.

Marth a& the Vandellas

Nothing more needs to be said, except that others have recorded the song but none is as good as this one.

♫ Martha & The Vandellas - Dancing in the Street

As a complete contrast here is MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY, one of my faves in a different genre.

Michael Martin Murphey

Michael recorded a series of albums called "Cowboy Songs" which were, to state the bleeding obvious, songs about cowboys. On the first on these there was a song called Let the Cowboy Dance.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Let the Cowboy Dance

MADELEINE PEYROUX is high on the list of great interpreters of Leonard Cohen's songs.

Madeleine Peyroux

She isn't bad on Bob Dylan's either. However, it's Lennie's song today: Dance Me to the End of Love.

♫ Madeleine Peyroux - Dance Me to the End of Love

Before he became one of the first rock & rollers BILL HALEY was performing a mix of western swing and rhythm and blues.

Bill Haley

That, of course, is some of the parts that led to rock & roll. Bill doesn't get the kudos he deserves because Elvis came along not too long after and Bill didn't have Elvis's charisma, sex appeal and youth.

However, besides his big hits, Bill had a number of songs he recorded that in retrospect deserves a listen. One of those is Dance With a Dolly.

♫ Bill Haley - Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)

Speaking of charisma, CHET BAKER had it in spades.

Chet Baker

He was ridiculously handsome, played the trumpet as well as all but the very best and was one the finest jazz singers ever. He threw it all away with a lifetime of serious drug abuse. However, before all that happened he recorded some wonderful tunes, including Music to Dance By.

♫ Chet Baker - Music To Dance By

We continue with some of the very best in their various fields, starting with THE DRIFTERS.

The Drifters

For vocal groups in the fifties, there was none better, especially when Ben E King was singing lead vocal, as he did on Dance With Me.

♫ The Drifters - Dance With Me

Probably not as well known as other southern rock groups, but in my mind the best of the lot is the AMAZING RHYTHM ACES.

Amazing Rhythm Aces

They were not as bombastic as most and didn't indulge in hour-long jams. They played songs that were well crafted and as good as any around at the time. They were blessed with a good lead singer who was also their main song writer. Here they get a little indulgent with Dancing the Night Away.

♫ Amazing Rhythm Aces - Dancing the Night Away

Over the years the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have had an ongoing project (and series of records) called "Will the Circle be Unbroken" where they collect the finest musicians together to record with them.

These are mostly country performers, but not exclusively. Naturally, EMMYLOU HARRIS would be high on the list of those they'd select.

Emmylou Harris

Emmy's song, backed by the Nittys, is Mary Danced with Soldiers.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Mary Danced with Soldiers

Another fave of the A.M. is AMOS MILBURN.

Amos Milburn

He was one of the finest rhythm & blues performers. This music was also a component in the development of rock & roll. He had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he recorded Square Dance Boogie.

♫ Amos Milburn - Square Dance Boogie

I'll finish today's dancing tune with a song from left field, which is apt as it's one by RANDY NEWMAN.

Randy Newman

This one isn't about people dancing as you will hear. It's Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear. It was originally a hit for Alan Price (once of The Animals) and many others, but Randy wrote it and that's good enough for me.

♫ Randy Newman - Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear

More dancing next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Let's Face The Music And Dance

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.

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Quite a lot of music is written especially for dancing, and more reference dancing. I thought that might make an interesting column but when I started looking for music I was overwhelmed by choice.

So, rather than throw good songs away, I created four columns (and there were even more good songs, but I went with what I thought were the best). I’ve had to cull so much that I imagine some of you might mention some in the comments. Take your partners…

I’ll start with my favorite dance song by MIKE MCCLELLAN.

Mike McClellan

Mike is one of the finest singer/songwriters in Australia. Had he been born in America he’d be a superstar. To us in Oz he is. His song is Saturday Dance.

♫ Mike McClellan - Saturday Dance

BOBBY FREEMAN is generally considered San Francisco’s first rock star.

Bobby Freeman

He started out in a Doowop group while he was still at school and they actually made a record. He was in a couple more groups before he went solo and recorded the biggest hit of his career, Do You Wanna Dance? Many people have covered this one over the years, but his is still the best version.

♫ Bobby Freeman - Do You Wanna Dance

The Drifters were the only competition THE PLATTERS had as finest vocal group of the fifties.

The Platters

The Platters had many hits during the decade thanks to their fine lead singer Tony Williams. Their dancing song isn’t in the first rank of their songs but it’s one we have: I'm Just a Dancing Partner.

♫ The Platters - I'm Just A Dancing Partner

KEITH JARRETT recorded a couple of albums with the late great jazz bass player CHARLIE HADEN.

Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden

One of those was called “Last Dance”, an appropriate title for our column. From that album we have Dance of the Infidels, a tune written and made famous by Bud Powell.

♫ Keith Jarrett - Dance of the Infidels

Of the half dozen albums that could be considered as the best ever, Moondance is in the mix. It was recorded by VAN MORRISON.

Van Morrison

He’d have a couple of others in consideration as well (along with some by The Band). The title song is the one we have today.

♫ Van Morrison - Moondance

Way back at the beginning of his career, JIMMY BUFFETT gave us a really fine album called “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean”. Fans of Marty Robbins (of which I’m one) appreciated the joke.

Jimmy Buffett

The songs on that one were all terrific and ranged from serious to poignant to silly. That really is the basis of Jimmy’s career. The song we’re interested in is They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More.

♫ Jimmy Buffett - They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More

Of all the long-lived bands, the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND seems to fly under the radar.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I don’t understand this as there is not a better band around that started in the sixties that is still producing great (and new) music. I may be biased (of course I am) but I’ve been a fan of their music from way back. From somewhere in the middle of their career is Dance Little Jean.

♫ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Dance Little Jean

You probably all know about the DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET’s most famous album (and possibly the biggest selling jazz album in history). This is from their next album called “Time Further Out” which also sold pretty well.

Dave Brubeck

The tune from that one is called Unsquare Dance. I’m sure that that was a hip reference from the time it was released. To my ears Paul Desmond seems to be missing from the track, unless that was him clapping along.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Unsquare Dance

BILLY BLAND started out in a group called The Bees.

Billy Bland

He went out as a solo artist and one day while in the studio he heard another singer (Titus Turner) trying to record the song, Let The Little Girl Dance and he demonstrated (with the studio musicians along for the ride) how it should be done.

Fortunately, the tapes were rolling and his was the version that was released and became quite a decent sized hit.

♫ Billy Bland - Let The Little Girl Dance

I had half a dozen or more contenders for the next song. When you know what it is, I’m sure you’ll know quite a few of them. In the end I settled for ROSEMARY CLOONEY.

Rosemary Clooney

So, Nat, Susannah, Ella, Willie and Frank missed the cut (along with lesser contenders). The song is the column’s title: Let's Face the Music and Dance.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - Let's Face The Music And Dance

More dancing next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5

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

* * *

Here are some more interesting things (well, they are to me, I hope they are to you as well) I’ve been listening to lately.

GIOVANNI VIOTTI’s life rather paralleled that of Mozart, although Gio lived considerably longer.

Giovanni Viotti

He was a master of the violin and many of his compositions are for that instrument. He spent much of his life in England, eventually becoming a citizen, although not before being expelled because it was thought he favored the revolutionaries in France. This was a beat-up put around by his rivals and it took the king’s son to intervene on his behalf to get him back.

Gio was a good friend, and champion, of Haydn. Here is the first movement of the String Quartet Op 5 No 1 in E Flat.

♫ Viotti - String Quartet Op 5 No 1 in E Flat (1)

FERDINAND RIES was a pupil of Beethoven.

Ferdinand Ries

Ries later became a good friend of his and was employed as his secretary. He started out as a cello player, but eventually wrote a bunch of stuff for piano.

There were also symphonies, operas, a lot of string quartets and numerous other works. One of those is his Grand Septet, Opus 25. The first movement. The piano is pretty dominant in this one.

Ries - Grand Septet (1)

FRANTIŠEK JIRÁNEK was born in Bohemia in what’s now the Czech Republic.

Frantisek Jiránek

He got a job playing music for various counts, one of whom sent him to Venice to improve his trade. There he was instructed by Antonio Vivaldi (talk about getting the best). He eventually returned and later went to what’s now Germany where he lived for the rest of his life.

He lived long enough to change his style to the classical that had taken over from the Baroque. From his earlier period, here is the third movement of the Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major, Jk 17.

♫ Jiránek - Concerto for Oboe Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major Jk 17 (3)

ANTON REICHA was another Czech composer and another friend of Beethoven.

Anton Reicha

He was also a teacher of some note and some of his pupils were Liszt, Berlioz and Franck. He’s not very well known as he didn’t want to have his compositions published. Of course, some of them have seen the light of day, including his Wind Quintet in G major, Op.88 No.3. This is the third movement.

♫ Reicha - Quintet in G major Op.88 No.3 (3)

CARLO ZUCCARI pretty much spanned the 18th century.

Carlo Zuccari

So, from Bach and Vivaldi at one end, through Mozart and Haydn and ending up with Beethoven. There’s no evidence that he met any of these.

In spite of his living through the entire Classical period, his music is pretty much set in the Baroque. This is evident in the third movement of his Violin Sonata No.1 in D major.

♫ Zuccari - Sonata No.1 in D major (3)

JOHN FIELD was an Irish composer who went to Europe to further his career.

John Field

Chopin heard a couple of his compositions, particularly his nocturnes, and was blown away. “I could do that”, he said to himself (or something like that), and musical history was changed forever.

Brahms, Schumann and Liszt also took note of what he was doing. One of the things he was doing is his Nocturne No.3 in A Flat Major, H.26.

♫ Field - Nocturne No.3 in A Flat Major H.26

ÉLISABETH JACQUET was born in Paris with a lot more names than that, as was the style at the time.

Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

All the members of her family were musicians and/or instrument makers, so she pretty much had to go into the family biz. It was recognized very early that she was a child prodigy and she performed for all the bigwigs, including the biggest wig of them all Louis XIV (the sun king, and all that).

Alas, later when she became famous, most of her family died of various diseases, including her husband, son, mother, father and brother. She continued to write and perform music, mostly for keyboard instruments, but also others as well. That is well demonstrated in her Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, the second and third movements.

♫ Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre - Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major (2 & 3)

JOHANN PISENDEL would have had a hard time at school if he’d attended one in Australia or America.

Johann Pisendel

Fortunately for him he was from Nuremburg and he spanned the period from the late Baroque into the early Classical. That’s reflected in his music which is difficult to categorise, a good thing from my point of view.

Make up your own mind about his Concerto in D for solo violin, two horns, two oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo, the third movement. My ears suggest it’s closer to Baroque than Classical.

♫ Pisendel - Concerto in D Vl solo 2 Cor 2 Ob Fag 2 Vl Va und Bc (3)

CLARA DENT is an oboe player who has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras.

Clara Dent

She was born in Berlin and learned her craft in Salzburg. Besides the usual repertoire for her instrument Clara arranges already famous works; she’s particularly fond of operas in this regard.

Here she grabs something of Giuseppe Verdi, Les Vêpres Siciliennes (the Sicilian Vespers), in particular “Mercè dilette amiche.”

♫ Verdi - Les vêpres siciliennes Mercè dilette amiche (Arr. for Oboe)

ELDER MUSIC: 1944 Again

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

* * *

Well, it’s 1944 and it seems that the entertainment industry is hell-bent on trying to get us to forget about the obvious. That seems to be the tenor of the songs today, except for the last one. So, on with the motley…

JUDY GARLAND was a pretty big star by now and one of her most famous films was “Meet Me in St Louis”.

Judy Garland

The film had 15 songs in it but the one that’s most remembered today is The Trolley Song.

♫ Judy Garland - The Trolley Song

Here is one of the best trios in popular music, the NAT KING COLE TRIO. I only say “one of” so I don’t get some readers off side, although not many, I expect.

Nat King Cole Trio

Here they are with Nat singing, which he didn’t always do on the trio records, with one of their most famous songs It's Only a Paper Moon.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - It's Only A Paper Moon

I remember from the fifties Dinah Washington having a hit with the song What a Difference a Day Makes. This wasn't the first time the song made the charts. Here in 1944, ANDY RUSSELL did the same with What a Difference a Day Made.

Andy Russell

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the songs have slightly different names, but it's the same one nonetheless.

♫ Andy Russell - What A Difference A Day Made

Speaking of DINAH WASHINGTON, here she is.

Dinah Washington1

Dinah was always a bit “out there”, as it were. It seems she has so many men she doesn’t know what to do. Apparently, the song parallels her own life. Evil Gal Blues.

♫ Dinah Washington - Evil Gal Blues

RUSS MORGAN fronted a very successful band from the twenties right through to the end of the sixties. His band still continues to this day fronted by his son Jack.

Russ Morgan

His first bands included such names as Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Lang, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and many other now famous players. From 1944, with Al Jennings singing, is Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking).

♫ Russ Morgan (Al Jennings voc) - Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)

It seems to me that back in this year many artists were happy to collaborate on the music they produced. That’s obvious from the next two tracks. First up we have ELLA FITZGERALD and the INK SPOTS.

Ella Fitzgerald & The Inkspots

The song they chose is a rhythm & blues staple (and later rock & roll and blues), Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s not a song I associate with either of those performers, but I’m happy to hear what they do with it. Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s an interesting amalgam of jazz and country.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Ink Spots - Cow-Cow Boogie

Another fairly obvious pairing is BING CROSBY and the ANDREWS SISTERS.

Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

This isn’t the only time they recorded together, but it’s possibly the most famous of their collaborations, Don't Fence Me In.

♫ Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters - Don't Fence Me In

We’ll continue with the MERRY MACS.

the Merry Macs

If you’ve forgotten about the Macs, when I tell you the song, you’ll probably remember (the song anyway). It is Mairzy Doats. Theirs wasn’t the first version, surprisingly, but they were the ones who took it to the top of the charts this year. And our parents carried on about silly rock & roll songs.

♫ Merry Macs - Mairzy Doats

We have FRANK SINATRA to bring us back to sanity.

Frank Sinatra

This is one of his very many famous songs, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)

Back in 1915, a school teacher named Hans Leip, who had been conscripted into the Imperial German Army, wrote a poem called "Das Lied eines jungen Soldaten auf der Wacht" ("The Song of a Young Soldier on Watch").

Fast forward to 1938, and we find that Norbert Schultze set it to music. It was first recorded by LALE ANDERSEN.

Lale Andersen

She later recorded an English version of the song. It became a huge hit during World War II, both with the German soldiers and the allies as well. So much so that many other versions were released, the most notable of which was by Marlene Dietrich, but there were others – Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Vera Lynn, and later Hank Lochlin, Connie Francis and many others.

The song was originally called Lili Marleen, but it’s better known as Lili Marlene. This is the original version by Lale.

♫ Lale Andersen - Lili Marlene


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.

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Just the other day I played a song for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to see what she thought of it. She’s a big fan of Simon and Garfunkel and I’m a fan of Willie Nelson. This was Willie performing Bridge Over Troubled Water. She liked it a lot.

Okay, she likes Willie too. We both thought that it probably needs Art’s wonderful high voice to add to the last verse, but it was damn fine nonetheless.

That of course got us thinking: There’s probably a column of bridge songs. That reminded me that Melbourne has a history of bridges that fall down. Fortunately, none has done so lately but some of us of a certain age hold our breath when we drive over a couple of the famous ones.

Since I’ve mentioned Willie’s version and everyone knows the original, he gets the guernsey for this particular song. Besides, Simon and Garfunkel are present with something else.

Willie Nelson

So, WILLIE NELSON and Bridge Over Troubled Water. Of course there are many versions of the song, from Elvis to Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash, but we’re ignoring them.

♫ Willie Nelson - Bridge over troubled water

One of the more famous bridge songs from the sixties was by BOBBIE GENTRY.

Bobbie Gentry

Here’s one I bet you haven’t thought about for a lot of years. What was it that she and Billie Joe McAllister up on Choctaw Ridge threw off Tallahatchie Bridge? I guess we’ll never know.

It wasn’t really made clear either whether Billie Joe had carked it or not. For all I know he may have just gone in for a bit of a swim. Or perhaps not: I’ve just googled the bridge and found that the river has very sharp rocks that could damage a person somewhat. Also, the bridge was burnt down in 1972 by vandals.

The song, of course, is Ode to Billie Joe.

♫ Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billie Joe

The previous bridge being burnt down is an obvious lead in to the next song by JACK SCOTT.

Jack Scott

I remember Jack's hit with this song when I was in high school and associate it with a girl friend who became a non-girl friend. I imagine that was not uncommon at that point in our lives. Only the songs varied. Jack performs Burning Bridges.

♫ Jack Scott - Burning Bridges

A tune simply called The Bridge by the JOHN YOUNG TRIO is next. A touch of jazz in amongst all the rest, although I could have done without that drum solo.

John Young

John was a mainstay of the Chicago jazz scene and played with everyone important who visited that city. He founded his own trio in the sixties. He died in 2008 at age 86.

♫ John Young Trio - The Bridge

There are many versions of this next song but I’ve always liked old Dino, perhaps because he didn’t take himself too seriously. I’m talking of DEAN MARTIN, of course.

Dean Martin

Paris has a whole bunch of bridges, some of which I've crossed. Because of its geography, I've been under a few as well. So has Dino as he sings Under the Bridges of Paris.

♫ Dean Martin - Under the Bridges of Paris

Speaking of SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, which we were up above, they have another bridge song.

Simon & Garfield

Many people know this song under a different name, but on my record it's called The 59th Street Bridge Song, and that's good enough for me.

Simon & Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

Another New York bridge, this time by the inimitable MEL TORMÉ.

Mel Torme

This is without a doubt the most famous bridge in New York, The Brooklyn Bridge.

♫ Mel Torme - The Brooklyn Bridge

The A.M. will never miss a chance to suggest ALBERT KING in one of these columns. I’m happy to go along with her.

Albert King

Albert wasn’t related to the other great blues guitarist Kings (his birth name was Nelson), however, he, B.B. and Freddie were often mentioned together as the “Three Kings of Blues Guitar”.

His style was greatly admired and copied by rock guitarists (as were the other two, if it comes to that). Albert sings and plays Don't Burn Down the Bridge ('Cause You Might Want to Come Back Across).

♫ Albert King - Don't Burn Down the Bridge ('Cause You Might Want to Come Back Across)

PATTI PAGE does her usual sterling job today.

Patti Page

The song was yet another of her hits from the fifties, Cross Over The Bridge. Nothing else needs to be said.

♫ Patti Page - Cross Over The Bridge

I had trouble with the final song in this category, only because I had too many choices. The ones above pretty much chose themselves (I wish they did that for more of my columns rather than having me search for them). Anyway, I finally decided on THE REVELATORS.

Joe Camilleri

The Revelators are yet another group put together by a musical national treasure, Joe Camilleri (the nation being Australia). The first two groups that Joe led, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons and The Black Sorrows, are the stuff of legend in Oz.

He starts new groups when he wants to go in another musical direction (while keeping the previous ones going as well). The Revelators perform Floating Bridge.

♫ The Revelators - Floating Bridge

Here is a late bonus, a song from the DEZURIK SISTERS.

DeZurik Sisters

I’m sure if the A.M. knew about this one beforehand, she’d be all for yanking it out of the column. She knows I like these quirky songs, and seriously wonders about that.

The sisters sing My Honeymoon Bridge Broke Down, which runs for a minute and six seconds. I played it for the A.M. and she thought it was about a minute too long.

♫ DeZurik Sisters - My Honeymoon Bridge Broke Down


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 my previous column on DooWop, a long time ago, I charted its history and formation. Today, I present this style of music when it reached its peak during the fifties, the blossoming of this interesting style of music.

Although it’s considered part of rock & roll, several of the songs sound as if they had been recorded a decade or so earlier. For some reason, many of the groups named themselves after birds. Several of those are included today.

I'll start with the group whose style was quite close to the older musicians, SONNY TIL & THE ORIOLES. Given their name, it’s probably no surprise that they formed in Maryland.

Sonny Til

Sonny sang regularly in talent shows and other such places around Baltimore in the late forties. He gathered several others around him and after a few name changes they settled on The Orioles. Apparently the girls loved them and sparked scenes reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles. Their song is Happy 'Till The Letter.

♫ Sonny Til & The Orioles - Happy 'Till The Letter

THE RAVENS were also quite close to the originals as well, but with some modern overtones.

The Ravens

They were the earliest of the groups today, formed in 1946 and continuing into the fifties, finally calling it a day in 1958. They are almost certainly responsible for the rash of bird names.

The song they perform is A Simple Prayer. I can't imagine that any of the other singers today (and few others) could have hit the final note. The singer was Warren Suttles.

♫ The Ravens - (Give Me) A Simple Prayer

Okay, we're starting to get into fifties mode now with THE JIVE FIVE.

The Jive Five

Their first song is their biggest hit and has been used in several films and the like over the years. They had several more on the charts and later modified their style to fit in with the music of the sixties (and probably switched back when this style became popular again). Here’s that first biggie, My True Story.

♫ The Jive Five - My True Story

We're really into rock & roll territory now, with the CROOM BROTHERS, with Dillard Croon Jr singing lead.

Croom Brothers

As you will hear, the words are really complex. I wonder who came up with them. I think it’s just best to go with the flow. Rock And Roll Boogie.

♫ Croom Brothers (Dillard Croon Jr) - Rock And Roll Boogie

The group probably closest to the Ink Spots is THE CARDINALS.

The Cardinals

They were another group from Baltimore, starting only a year after The Orioles. They tended to be rather overshadowed by their more famous rival. As with many of their ilk, members came and went, so the number in the group tended to vary somewhat. They perform The Door is Still Open.

♫ The Cardinals - The Door Is Still Open

One of the finest singers in the genre was Lee Andrews. He led the group LEE ANDREWS & THE HEARTS.

Lee Andrews & the Hearts

Lee died not too long ago. He was the son of one of the members of the legendary gospel group The Dixie Hummingbirds, so great singing was in his genes. Several of The Hearts’ biggest hits came in 1958, including Long Lonely Nights.

♫ Lee Andrews & the Hearts - Long Lonely Nights

THE MARCELS were hugely successful here in Australia.

The Marcels

I don't know if that was the case elsewhere but because of that they are included today. Who could forget their version of Blue Moon? I certainly can't. That's not what we have today, it's another standard: Heartaches. They made a career of taking standards and adding the Marcels’ touch.

♫ The Marcels - Heartaches

The group THE FALCONS (the one from Detroit, there was another in New York with the same name) was a launching pad for several great musicians – Wilson Pickett, Mac Rice and Eddie Floyd all began their careers in the group. As did Joe Stubbs who was the brother of Levi, the lead singer of The Four Tops. They turned over their lead singer fairly frequently.

The Falcons

The Falcons recorded the song This Heart of Mine twice (within a year for some reason). This is the second and better version. I don’t know who is singing lead, I would suggest Joe Stubbs or Eddie Floyd, but maybe someone out there knows.

♫ The Falcons - This Heart of Mine

As often happened back then, a white group covered a black group's song and outsold them. Also, as was mostly the case, they weren't as good as the originals. This is the case here and the original is THE RAYS. We won't mention the usurpers.

The Rays

The song is Silhouettes.

♫ The Rays - Silhouettes

Far and away the finest vocal group in this genre, or any from the fifties, is THE PLATTERS.

The Platters

No one came within cooee of them (that's an Australian expression that you'll probably figure out). A lot of that is due to their fine lead singer Tony Williams. Of their many hits I decided on Only You.

♫ The Platters - Only You (And You Alone)

I'll end with the obvious song. I'm surprised that I didn't end the original column with it. Good, that means I can use it here. The group is THE SPANIELS, often known as Pookie Hudson & The Spaniels because Pookie was their main man.

The Spaniels

The song has been used over and over in films and elsewhere to signify the end of proceedings. It’s often a cliché, and I’m not one to buck the trend. Goodnite Sweetheart, Goodnite.

♫ Pookie Hudson & The Spaniels - Goodnite Sweetheart Goodnite

It struck me that all the best groups had an outstanding lead singer. I don't know why that surprised me, it shouldn't have.

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Families

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 past I have written of several of the more famous classical families – J.S. Bach and his sons plus their extended family, Mozart's father and son, the brothers Joseph and Michael Haydn and some others.

What I have today are some families who aren't as well known as those. Quite a few of them, the majority really, are Czech composers.

I'll start with the Stamitz family. JOHANN STAMITZ was a major composer in the period between the baroque and classical periods. He’s the first of our Czech composers, born Jan Stamic.

Johann Stamitz

Johann was the link between J.S. Bach and Mozart, and was contemporaneous with CPE Bach, the most famous son of the master - although he didn't live anywhere near as long CPE, but longer than Mozart, dying at age 39.

Jo was important in the development of the symphony. He created the four movement structure that is (mostly) the standard to this day. He also expanded the role of wind instruments.

Having said all that, I’m going to play the first movement of his Orchestral Trio in C minor, Op.4 No. 3.

♫ Johann Stamitz - Orchestral Trio in c minor Op.4 No. 3 (1)

Johann had two sons who became quite well known in their time as composers. He also had a daughter who didn’t go into the music biz. The elder, and better known, son was CARL STAMITZ.

_Carl Stamitz

Like his dad, Carl wrote a bunch of symphonies and concertos for various wind instruments. He travelled extensively but eventually tired of that and settled down in central Germany.

Alas, he fell on hard times and died in poverty. To hear what he can do with wind instruments, here is his Clarinet Quartet in A major Op14 No 6, the first movement.

♫ Carl Stamitz - Clarinet Quartet in A major op14 No6 (1)

Next son was ANTON STAMITZ.

Anton Stamitz

Both brothers were taught violin by their dad, and that remained Ant’s main instrument. He went to Paris with his brother and he established himself there. Later, he played at Versailles. He spent the rest of his life in France, but little is known of what happened to him after the revolution.

He is thought to have died in 1809. Here is his Caprice No 1 in G.

♫ Anton Stamitz - Caprice No 1 in G

Next we have father and son Hertel, the father being JOHANN CHRISTIAN HERTEL. Alas, no picture of him.

JCH’s dad was also a musician, a capellmeister in a couple of places. JCH taught himself to play the violin and later took lessons in various keyboards and viola da gamba. Although he was quite a prolific composer, much of his work has been lost or wasn’t published at all.

Something of his we do know is Sinfonia No. 1, for 3 trumpets, timpani, 2 violins, viola and continuo in D minor. Here is the third movement.

♫ J.C. Hertel - Sinfonia No. 1 (3)


JW Hertel

JWH was a whiz on the harpsichord and often accompanied his dad when he toured. He was also pretty good on the violin, having learnt from Franz Benda (see below). In later life he mostly wrote music, and occasionally gave lessons.

One of his compositions is the Bassoon Concerto in E-flat major. This is the first movement. Bassoon players like him as there aren’t many works for the instrument.

♫ Johann Wilhelm Hertel - Bassoon Concerto in E-flat major (1)

The half-brothers Wranitzky came from Nová Říše in the Czech Republic. I'll stick with their more common spelling of their name and start with the elder, PAUL WRANITZKY (or Pavel Vranický).

Paul Wranitzky

He spent most of his life in Vienna where he became friendly with Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven. Indeed, he was so respected by them that both Haydn and Beethoven often chose Paul to conduct their new works. He composed the usual operas, symphonies, string quartets and the like.

Also concertos, of course, including the Cello Concerto in C Major. Op. 27. This is the second movement.

♫ Paul Wranitzky - Cello Concerto in C Major. Op. 27 (2)

ANTON WRANITZKY (or Antonín Vranický) was Paul’s younger brother.

A. Wranitzky

Ant was a highly regarded violinist and initially he’d travel between Prague and Vienna (and towns along the way). At the urging of Paul he finally settled in Vienna where he got to know the musical bigwigs as well.

His compositions were well thought of at the time and are still played today. His two daughters and two sons all became performers. This is the first movement of the String Sextet in G major.

♫ Anton Wranitzky - String Sextet in G major (1)

We have yet another Czech family, this time it’s the Benda crew, starting with FRANZ BENDA (or František Benda).

Franz Benda

Franz was considered the top violin player of his time and he wrote a number of books on the subject (as well as other books). He also spent some time as a composer for Frederick the Great, which means that he wrote a bunch of music for the flute as old Fred had a penchant for the instument. One of those is the Flute Concerto in E Minor, the first movement.

♫ Franz Benda - Flute Concerto in E Minor (1)

Franz’s younger brother was GEORG ANTON BENDA (or Jiří Antonín Benda).

Georg Benda

Like his big brother he played in Fred’s band, in his case as a violinist. He later skipped around Germany and Austria performing and composing. One of the things he wrote was the Symphony No. 3 in C Major. This is the first movement.

To continue the family tradition, it is played by the Prague Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christian Benda, a direct descendant of Franz.

♫ Georg Benda - Symphony No. 3 in C Major (1)

Franz had a daughter who followed her dad into the composing trade. Her name was JULIANE REICHARDT.

Juliane Reichardt

Juliane was living with the family in Potsdam where dad was playing in Fred’s band. Also playing was Johann Reichardt whom she married. Juliane was an excellent singer, pianist and composer.

One of her compositions is the Sonata in G major, the second movement. It’s played on a fortepiano, the forerunner of the modern piano.

♫ Juliane Reichardt - Sonata in G major (2)

The Reichardts had two kids, the second of whom was LOUISE REICHARDT (or Luise, both spellings seem to be in common use).

Louise Reichardt

Louise wrote songs and choral music. She was also a conductor of her works but not in public as the powers that be didn’t allow that sort of thing. She tried to marry twice but both times the husband-to-be died shortly before the wedding. Hmm.

One of Louise’s vocal works is Unruhiger Schlaf. It is sung by soprano Susan Owen-Leinert.

♫ Louise Reichardt - Sonata in G major (2)

The Benda line continues to the present day. In the Czech Republic, Christian Benda is a conductor and his brother Georg Benda a classical pianist. They are descended from the original Franz Benda.

ELDER MUSIC: Jesse Winchester

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 first heard of JESSE WINCHESTER via a rave review in Rolling Stone for his first album in 1970. When I read that several members of The Band were involved I bought it immediately.

After listening to it I was hooked. He is one performer I would always go and see wherever possible and buy each new album (there haven't been all that many). Unfortunately there won't be any more new albums as Jesse died in 2014 at the too young age of 69.

Jesse Winchester

From that first album a song that resonated with me at the time (and a couple of other times later), Yankee Lady.

♫ Yankee Lady

The song If I Were Free had to be present, but I was tossing up whether to include the version from his album "Humour Me" or the one he performed here in Victoria just with an acoustic guitar.

In the end I decided on the latter as it demonstrates the song beautifully without extraneous instruments getting in the way. I suppose I could have done that with all the songs, but I didn't.

♫ If I Were Free

Jesse Winchester

Getting back to his first album we have The Brand New Tennessee Waltz. This was one of his songs that showed his ambivalence of living in Canada while his roots were in the south of America. Jesse recorded it on another album as a country tune but I prefer the original. Besides it has a couple of members of The Band playing along.

♫ The Brand New Tennessee Waltz

Jesse Winchester

The album that comes closest to the quality of the first one is "Gentleman of Leisure". The next song is the opening track on that one. In Club Manhattan, Jesse has a line, "Just close your eyes, he's a young Steve Cropper" referring to the guitar player in the club.

In a bit of a sly joke, he has the not-so-young-anymore Steve Cropper playing lead guitar on the track, a track where Jesse gets as close to rock & roll as he ever did. Steve was the guitarist for Booker T and the MGs.

♫ Club Manhattan

Jesse Winchester

Jesse was the master of the self-deprecating love song. The best was probably If I Were Free but No Pride at All isn’t far behind.

♫ No Pride at All

Jesse Winchester

Jesse was born in Louisiana but grew up in Mississippi, so he knows about that region. One of his most famous, and most atmospheric, songs refers to that - Biloxi.

♫ Biloxi

Jesse Winchester

Now a song that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, pretty much insisted must be present. It's one that, unusually for me, I was only vaguely familiar with. That's been rectified. That song is A Showman's Life.

♫ A Showman's Life

I thought that the song Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt came from the thirties, but when I researched it I found it was written and first recorded in 1946. Otis Jackson was responsible for it then. Here is Jesse’s updated (to the mid-seventies) version.

♫ Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt

Jesse Winchester

Like many musicians, Jesse would pick his instrument and play it in times of stress. He turned that into a fine love song (or a love gone wrong song). It doesn’t matter, it’s still beautiful. I Turn to My Guitar.

♫ I Turn to My Guitar

Jesse Winchester

The song Nothing But a Breeze contains the wonderful line, "I want to live with my feet in Dixie and my head in the cool blue North". This probably summed up his situation at the time perfectly, as he was from the south of the USA but was living in Montreal.

♫ Nothing But a Breeze

Jesse Winchester

As you've been such a good audience (and besides, it's Jesse), here is a bonus track, Dangerous Fun.

♫ Dangerous Fun

ELDER MUSIC: Murder Ballads

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.

* * *

Murder has been a topic of songs for centuries. I imagine it’s the same reason that it’s very popular in books, films and TV. People can get a vicarious thrill without all the messy reality. Today, most get their comeuppance, but not all. Here are some songs about murder.

I’ll start off gently with a song that doesn’t sound as if it fits, but it does. MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY can make even the worst material sound good (not worst musically, I’m talking about the content).

Michael Martin Murphey

In this case it’s one of the best known songs of the old west, The Streets of Laredo.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - The Streets of Laredo

NICK CAVE released a whole album called “Murder Ballads” so there are plenty to choose from in that one. He has the help of KYLIE MINOGUE on the song I selected.

Nick & Kylie

As seems often the case in these songs, Nick bumps off Kylie just because he can. The song is Where the Wild Roses Grow.

♫ Nick Cave - Where the Wild Roses Grow

You knew JOHNNY CASH had to be present today, so I won’t disappoint.

Johnny Cash

Johnny’s song isn’t a tale of the old west, it’s a modern story. That’s not too surprising when you learn that Bruce Springsteen wrote it. Normally I’d have used Bruce’s version, but I think that Johnny really nails it. I imagine Bruce was really pleased when Johnny recorded Highway Patrolman.

♫ Johnny Cash - Highway Patrolman

Louis Armstrong and Bobby Darin both had huge hits with Mack the Knife. STING recorded the song too and his version, although also in English, was much closer to the original as written by Kurt Weill.


The song was part of his opera/musical/play with music “The Threepenny Opera” based on the much earlier “Beggar’s Opera”. In the original, Captain Macheath was a good guy, but by the time we get to this one (through a couple of other plays) he’s evolved into Mack the Knife. Jack the Ripper might have been an influence.

♫ Sting - The Ballad Of Mac The Knife

The song Knoxville Girl has a long history, stretching over several centuries, and a number of different countries. It’s also known by various names, but the story is basically the same – bloke kills girl for no apparent reason. Today we have the LOUVIN BROTHERS telling the tale.

Louvin Brothers

The straightforward style of the Louvins admirably suits the old ballad.

♫ Louvin Brothers - Knoxville Girl

Tom Dooley is one of the most famous murder ballads. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Kingston Trio’s version. The Kingston based theirs on the one by FRANK PROFFITT.

Frank Proffitt

In the way of things at the time, they smoothed it out somewhat and changed some the words, but it’s certainly recognisable as the same song. Also in the way of these things, Frank learnt the song from his aunt who learnt if from her mother. The folk process in action. The song was originally called Tom Dula.

♫ Frank Proffitt - Tom Dooley

Very early in his career TOM RUSH recorded a song called Duncan and Brady.

Tom Rush

The song has had several names over the years and many people have recorded it. It tells about Harry Duncan, a bartender, who shot James Brady, a cop. It’s about an actual event that happened in St Louis.

Duncan was eventually hanged even though there are doubts about who was the actual shooter. No such doubts in the song though.

♫ Tom Rush - Duncan And Brady

MARTY ROBBINS is another artist pretty much guaranteed to be present today.

Marty Robbins

This is from his album “Gunfighter Ballads”, so you know that murder is involved somewhere. In this case it seems that They're Hanging Me Tonight.

♫ Marty Robbins - They're Hanging Me Tonight

Marty also recorded a fine version of the next song, but as we’ve just had him I went for someone else. In this case TONY CHRISTIE, who, to my ears, seems to be channeling Tom Jones.

Tony Christie

This was Tony’s biggest hit in England, where he’s from, and was written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander. It’s yet another song of revenge, I Did What I Did For Maria.

♫ Tony Christie - I Did What I Did For Maria

I’ll end with my favorite song in this genre and when you listen to it you might start looking at me a little sideways. Surprisingly, several people have recorded it and the one I like best is by JACK KITTEL.

Jack Kittel

If anyone had bought the 45 record of the song (and I did) they would find that the flip side was the same song played backwards. Make of that what you will. The song is Psycho, written by Eddie Noack.

♫ Jack Kittel - Psycho

ELDER MUSIC: Scott Joplin

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.

* * *

Scott Joplin

SCOTT JOPLIN wrote more than 40 ragtime tunes, a ballet and two operas. There were probably more compositions that are now lost.

One of those is his first opera “A Guest of Honor” which was about Teddy Roosevelt hosting a White House dinner in honor of civil rights leader Booker T. Washington. The opera was performed once, but due to nefarious shenanigans the score was confiscated and destroyed.

Most of you will be familiar with some of his music but I think I have some things that may be new to you or, perhaps, played differently from the way you’re used to hearing them.

Scott was born in Texas and he started his musical career as part of a vocal quartet as well as a teacher of guitar and mandolin. His big break occurred when he performed his music at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.


By far my favorite album of Scott Joplin’s music is by ITZHAK PERLMAN and ANDRÉ PREVIN.


That album came out in the seventies and was called “The Easy Winners” and the music was scored for violin and piano. When you have two of the best playing those instruments it’s bound to be a great album, and it is.

From that is one of Scott’s most recognizable tunes, The Entertainer.

♫ Itzhak Perlman & André Previn - The Entertainer


For a solo piano version of Scott's music, RICHARD DOWLING is hard to beat.

Richard Dowling

He has a light touch playing the music. I've found that many others tend to thump the keyboard. This is one of the more famous compositions, Elite Syncopations.

♫ Richard Dowling - Elite Syncopations


“Treemonisha” is unique. It’s the only opera written by a black person about the reconstruction era after the civil war who actually lived during that period. It’s also a splendid piece of music and we’ll have three excerpts from it.

Much of it was thought to be lost but many years of research and much digging around have brought it back to life. It’s really only been in recent years that a full production has been possible.

From act 2, we have Treemonisha (a young, educated freed slave) being rescued by Remus just as she’s about to be thrown into a wasps’ nest. It’s called The Rescue.

♫ Treemonisha - The Rescue


One of his first compositions was Maple Leaf Rag which is certainly one of his most recognisable tunes. It pretty much single-handedly was responsible for the popularity of ragtime music.

Instead of the usual piano version, here is DAVE VAN RONK playing it on guitar.

Dave Van Ronk

♫ Dave Van Ronk - Maple Leaf Rag


Felicity Rag was published in 1911 and Scott Hayden might have had a hand in the composition as well. Once again we have Richard Dowling playing piano.

♫ Richard Dowling - Felicity

Harmony Club Waltz

JEAN-PIERRE RAMPAL was probably the finest flute player of the 20th century, and he’s joined by JOHN RITTER on piano.


They perform Harmony Club Waltz, a tune published in 1901.

♫ Jean-Pierre Rampal - Harmony Club Waltz


More from Treemonisha, from act 3. Monisha was Treemonisha’s mum, and she implores Ned, Treemonisha’s dad, that I Want to See My Child.

♫ Treemonisha - I Want to See My Child

Solace (A Mexican Serenade)

Spanish-influenced music was popular in the 19th century, mostly from Cuba, but also New Orleans and Mexico. Scott picked up on that and wrote a tune called Solace, subtitled A Mexican Serenade. This is played by Itzhak and André.

♫ Itzhak Perlman & André Previn - Solace (A Mexican Serenade)


Jean-Pierre and John again with a jaunty little number called The Chrysanthemum. It’s sub-titled An Afro-American Intermezzo and was published in 1904.

♫ Jean-Pierre Rampal - The Chrysanthemum


Treemonisha has been elected leader of the group and she was instrumental in removing from the group various ne’er-do-wells who were preying on them. They acknowledge her by performing We Will Trust You as Our Leader.

♫ Treemonisha - We Will Trust You as Our Leader

Sunflower Slow Drag

I'll end with the man himself. SCOTT JOPLIN recorded this in 1901.

Scott Joplin

Well, you can put all sorts of interpretation on the word "record". What he did was create a piano roll. That could be considered an early form of recording.

Scott was considered a fine pianist early in his life and some revelled in beating him in cutting contests. By the time these piano rolls were recorded, he was suffering from terminal syphilis and it’s thought they may have been doctored somewhat. The same thing happens today with recordings.

Anyway, this is Sunflower Slow Drag.

♫ Scott Joplin - Sunflower Slow Drag


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.

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The Orange Buffoon is still persisting in his idiotic idea to build a wall. I assume he wants to turn America into East Germany, and didn’t that turn out well?

We know this won’t happen and would be pointless even if it was constructed. Has he not heard of aeroplanes? Ships? It may be an idiotic idea to build, but it’s a good one for a music column.

I’ll start with a song about a wall that was actually built (only to be torn down later when it failed to serve its purpose). People of a certain age (and that’d be most of us) will remember the song by TONI FISHER.

Toni Fisher

Toni was a bit optimistic, singing “that soon will fall”. It didn’t come down for another 27 years. The song is West of the Wall.

♫ Toni Fisher - West Of The Wall

Willie Nelson wrote the song Hello Walls, but the first version I heard, quite a big hit in my part of the world, was by FARON YOUNG.

Faron Young

It seems to be the case that the first one you hear is the one that you prefer. That’s generally the case with me (with a couple of exceptions). So, in spite of Willie’s version being particularly good, I’m going with Faron.

♫ Faron Young - Hello Walls

ADAM WADE started out in science but eventually turned to music and TV.

Adam Wade

I assume the money was better, especially when he started hosting TV programs. Initially, he was a singer and what a voice he has. His contribution today is The Writing on the Wall.

♫ Adam Wade - The Writing On The Wall

The writer of the next song certainly listened carefully to I’m Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter. Indeed, letters are an essential component of this song as well. The singer is DEAN MARTIN.

Dean Martin

It seems that his sweetie (or ex-sweetie) was a considerable correspondent, as Dino sings that I'm Gonna Paper All My Walls With Your Love Letters.

♫ Dean Martin - I'm Gonna Paper All My Walls With Your Love Letters

The STATLER BROTHERS were as good a harmony group as any around.

Statler Brothers

Not just harmony, but the interplay of their voices can bring a smile to my face. Besides their solo records, they were often heard backing Johnny Cash. This is probably their best known song, Flowers on the Wall.

♫ Statler Brothers - Flowers on the Wall

BETTYE LAVETTE is ostensibly a soul singer.

Bettye Lavette

However, she doesn’t restrict herself to that one genre, she branches out into rock, gospel, funk, country, blues and whatever else takes her fancy. Bettye’s in a soul mood with a touch of blues thrown in for good measure on Between You Me and the Wall You're a Fool.

♫ Bettye Lavette - Just Between You Me And The Wall You're A Fool

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL recorded the album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme” during Paul’s pretentious writing period.

Simon & Garfunkel

The song from that album was indicative of that, and it also fit into our category today: A Poem on the Underground Wall.

♫ Simon & Garfunkel - A Poem on the Underground Wall

Since there was a big deal album called “The Wall”, I decided I’d better include something from that or questions might be asked. The album was recorded by PINK FLOYD.

Pink Floyd

There were three versions of the song Another Brick in the Wall on the album and they’re all a bunch of bollocks. This is the second of those, the least painful one.

♫ Pink Floyd - Another Brick In The Wall Part 2

Now for some real music, here are EMMYLOU HARRIS and LINDA RONSTADT.

Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris

From an album they recorded together called “Western Wall”, here is the title song.

♫ Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt - Western Wall

This one’s for you Prez, if you happen to be reading (assuming you can read anything other than tweets, that is). I’ll let TOM RUSSELL tell you all about it.

Tom Russell

The song is Who's Gonna Build Your Wall?

♫ Tom Russell - Who's Gonna Build Your Wall

ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 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.

* * *

Here’s some more music that struck my fancy over the last few weeks.

For much of the 20th century ERICH KORNGOLD was probably best known as a composer of film scores (“Captain Blood”, “Robin Hood”, “The Sea Hawk” “King’s Row” and many others).

Erich Korngold

However, he was also a composer of “serious” music as those who like to think in these terms have a wont to say. He wrote sonatas, chamber music of various sorts, concertos and many other things including several operas, one of which is “Die Kathrin”.

From that opera, the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING presents Ich soll ihn niemals, niemals mehr sehn.

Renee Fleming

♫ Korngold Die Kathrin - Ich soll ihn niemals niemals mehr sehn

MICHAEL HAYDN was Joseph Haydn’s younger brother and has always lived in the shadow one of the greatest composers of all time.

Michael Haydn

Mike was no slouch at the composing biz; his style, not too surprisingly, is quite similar to his brother’s. Indeed, until recently, a number of his compositions were attributed to Jo.

Fortunately, evidence has shown that these works were really Mike’s. As far as I can tell, this isn’t one of those, it’s the second movement of his String Quintet in F Major, P. 112, MH 411.

♫ Haydn M - String Quintet in F Major P. 112 MH 411 (2)

KATIE MOSS was an English Composer, violinist, pianist and singer.

Katie Moss

She wrote the words and music to The Floral Dance in 1911 after visiting the Cornish town of Helston, where she attended the town’s traditional Flora Day celebration.

The song has been recorded many times over the years, but most notably by the Australian bass-baritone PETER DAWSON, who was also a composer, in 1912.

Peter Dawson

♫ Moss - The Floral Dance

FRANCESCO DURANTE was born in Naples in the latter half of the 17th century.

Francesco Durante

His father died when he was about 15, and his uncle, who was a musician, took over teaching young Frank. He later became a pupil of the great Alessandro Scarlatti. Frank later became renowned as a musical teacher, and many of his pupils went on to great things.

He is most noted for composing sacred music, but he did other things as well, including his Concerto No 2 G Minor (which seems to be for violin). This is the third movement.

♫ Durante - Concerto n° 2 G Minor (3)

Little is known of the life of GIOVANNI PANDOLFI MEALL other than he was born in Tuscany about 1630. Also, it seems there was no one was around to take a photo of him either.

Well, there is a bit more known: it seems that he murdered a castrato during an argument and he then decided to hightail it to France and then Spain. There he was employed in the Royal Chapel where, I assume, they didn’t care about his previous misdeeds.

All that survives of his compositions is about 30 violin sonatas. This is one of them, Sonata for violin & continuo, Op. 3 No. 1 'La Stella'.

♫ Pandolfi - Sonata for violin & continuo Op. 3 No. 1 'La Stella'

JAMES OSWALD was a Scottish composer about whom we know little before he moved to London in 1741.

James Oswald

He composed a lot of short works, including minuets and Scottish folk songs. He was also a music publisher which is probably how we know these things. He caught the ear of mad king George, who appointed him chamber composer.

Here is a composition for cello called Steer Her up and Had Her Gaun (whatever all that means).

♫ Oswald - Steer Her up & Had Her Gaun

CLARA SCHUMANN was born Clara Wieck and she was a child prodigy on piano, violin and singing.

Clara Schumann

The piano became her main instrument and she toured extensively giving concerts throughout her life – she lived to 76 years old. Robert Schumann was a pupil of her father’s and when Clara was 18 they decided to get married. Dad was against the union and Robert and Clara sued dad to allow this to happen. They won the case.

Robert seems to have been a troubled lad, but they stayed together until he died. Clara outlived him by 40 years.

She composed quite a few pieces, mostly for piano and was held in high esteem for her playing. Here is one of her pieces for solo piano, one of Four Polonaises, Opus 1. It’s the second of those.

To me it seems to anticipate the compositions of Scott Joplin by many years.

♫ Schumann Clara - Quatre Polonoises Op.1 No 2 in C major

Although often referred to as FRANCESCO LANDINI, that almost certainly wasn’t his name (as he wasn’t a member of the Landini family).

Nitpicking scholars usually refer to him as Francesco da Firenze. He’s also been called Francesco degli Organi, Francesco il Cieco or Francesco Cecus.

Francesco Landini

He was born in Florence sometime between 1325 and 1335, and was blind from childhood due to smallpox (thus one of the aforementioned names, for the Italian speakers among us).

He was the most famous composer in Italy in the 14th century and he wrote much sacred music, but none survives today. What have survived are some madrigals, ballads, and music for various combinations of voices. One of those is Sì dolce non sonò chol lir' Orfeo.

♫ Francesco da Firenze - Sì Dolce Non Sonò Chol Lir' Orfeo

FRANZ KROMMER was a Czech composer who was contemporaneous with Mozart, although he outlived him by a considerable amount – even outliving Beethoven.

Franz Krommer

He was a really prolific composer, with over 300 compositions to his name in just about every field that composers of the time indulged in, except operas. He was especially prolific at chamber music, quartets, quintets, duos, trios, sonatas and the like.

We’ve already had some of those sorts of things today, so I thought I’d include his Concerto for Two Clarinets, Op 91, because I like it. This is the first movement.

♫ Krommer - Concert for Two Clarinets Op 91 (1)

ELDER MUSIC: Judy Collins

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.

* * *

JUDY COLLINS started out as a classical pianist; indeed she performed one of Mozart’s piano pieces when she was just 13. She was destined for great things in this realm. Then she discovered the music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and the like and picked up a guitar.

Somewhat later her piano teacher was reported to have said, "Little Judy, you really could have gone places”. Oh well, what goes around, comes around.

Judy Collins

I’ll start with something from Judy’s fifth album, which she imaginatively titled “Fifth Album”. The Coming of the Roads was written by Billy Edd Wheeler, who was a serious songwriter covered by many country artists - Johnny Cash and June Carter spring to mind as well as Neil Young, Elvis, Nancy Sinatra, Bobby Darin, the Jefferson Airplane, and on it goes.

♫ The Coming of the Roads

Way back, JOAN BAEZ wrote one of her finest songs about a phone call she received from Bob Dylan. She called it Diamonds and Rust and it was on the album of the same name. She rerecorded it with Judy on an album called "Paradise".

Here they are singing together helped by The Nashville Rhythm Section. I think Joan's original version is just a bit better, but this one isn't bad.

Judy & Joan

♫ Diamonds and Rust

Judy Collins

I consider “In My Life” to be her finest album. She was still performing folk material, but also show tunes (serious ones), rock & roll and everything in between. One song she performed was Pirate Jenny, written by Kurt Weill, Bertolt Brecht and Marc Blitzstein.

This album marked the start of her musical evolution into interesting and quite challenging material.

♫ Pirate Jenny

Ian Tyson wrote the song Some Day Soon and he recorded it with his wife (at the time) Sylvia Fricker (they were known as Ian and Sylvia).

Not too long after that Judy recorded a really fine version on her album "Who Knows Where the Time Goes". I was going to use that one until I came across this one she recorded with JIMMY BUFFETT.

♫ Someday Soon (Feat. Jimmy Buffett)

Judy Collins

Judy was an early champion of Leonard Cohen – she recorded many of his songs before anyone else (including Leonard himself). From the rather gorgeous album “Wildflowers”, here is Sisters of Mercy.

♫ Sisters of Mercy

Like a lot of performers, Judy was fond of the songs of Jimmy Webb. The one I’ve chosen is one that was unfamiliar to me before I researched this column. It’s Campo de Encino. She has a little help from SHAWN COLVIN.

♫ Campo de Encino

Judy Collins

It's easier just to call the next song Marat-Sade. Of course, people who have been around this column for a while will know that I won't be satisfied with that. The song is actually called The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade.

I don't know if this came out as a single, but I suspect not – they'd have trouble getting all that on the label. Okay, they could have gone for the short version.

The music was written by Richard Peaslee, and Judy sings a medley of songs from the production. Anyway, is it just me, or does the tune sound like a couple of the arias from Puccini's “Madama Butterfly”? Probably just me.

♫ Marat-Sade

Judy Collins

The “Fifth Album” was Judy’s last straight folk album, if you include contemporary songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot and Richard Fariña in the folk category. The song I’ve chosen was written by Richard (Fariña) and Pauline Marden and is called Pack up Your Sorrows. Richard plays the dulcimer on this one.

♫ Pack up Your Sorrows

It surprised me to discover that she had covered a song of the Traveling Wilburys, the greatest super group in history. She has the help of STEPHEN STILLS on this one.

Judy & Stephen

Stephen has helped her on several of her albums over the years. The song is the best known of the Wilburys songs, Handle With Care.

♫ Handle With Care

Judy Collins

One of the members of the Wilburys was George Harrison who, for those people who have been living on Saturn for the last 60 years, was a member of The Beatles, a rather successful group from the sixties.

One of the songs that group wrote and recorded was In My Life. It's rare that someone can cover a Beatles song and equal their version, but I think Judy does so. She makes it more wistful and regretful than John's version.

♫ In My Life

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Los Angeles

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.

* * *

Los Angeles

I worked for some time in Los Angeles and it was pleasant enough where I was, but not a place I'd choose to live. However, because it's one of the music centres of the world, there are a bunch of songs about it so it makes my task of choosing them easy.

I found more about Hollywood, enough so that I have a spinoff from this one. That will appear at a later date (or earlier, depending on how we schedule these things). Everyone in the world knows about L.A., so you don't need me to waffle on about it. I'll just play music about it.

One of the most famous bands associated with the city would be THE DOORS.


Not only associated with the city, but they wrote about it as well. Their best known song about L.A. would be L.A. Woman.

♫ The Doors - L.A. Woman

Freeways are synonymous with L.A. and GUY CLARK has written a song about them.

Guy Clark

It almost certainly is the best one on that topic. That's not surprising as there were few better songwriters around than Guy. This is from his very first album "Old No. 1" and it's called L.A. Freeway.

♫ Guy Clark - L.A. Freeway

The last several trips into the country, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I were Coming Into Los Angeles. However, we weren't bringing in anything that would be problematic to the authorities. In contrast, ARLO GUTHRIE seems to be doing just that.


The song now is pretty famous as it was included in the film "Woodstock". The version I'll use is the original one from his album "Running Down the Road".

♫ Arlo Guthrie - Coming Into Los Angeles

RANDY NEWMAN’s songs are all ambivalent to some degree.

Randy Newman

“Does he really mean that?” is often the usual response. Sometimes the answer is an obvious “No.” Other times, we can’t really be sure. Make up your own mind about I Love L.A.

♫ Randy Newman - I Love L.A.

In contrast to Randy, WARREN ZEVON seems less sanguine about the city.

Warren Zevon1

Although associated with other L.A. singer/songwriters like Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey, Warren’s songs were much darker, violent and more ironic as well. This is his ode to the city, Carmelita.

♫ Warren Zevon - Carmelita

DEAN MARTIN was usually associated in mind with Las Vegas.

Dean Martin

That’d be due to all that “Rat Pack” nonsense, and their almost continuous performances in that city. He was famously born in Steubenville, Ohio, but in this song, Dino assures us that L.A. Is My Home.

♫ Dean Martin - L.A. Is My Home

GLEN CAMPBELL seems to want it both ways (and don’t read anything into that).

Glen Campbell

He claims to be a country boy but he lives in the city, that city being Los Angeles where he was a session musician for quite some time before he became one of the biggest country artists around. His song, that reflects that, is Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.).

♫ Glen Campbell - Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)

KENNY BUTTERILL has said that he admired the great guitarist and songwriter J.J. Cale.

Kenny Butterill

It seems to me that he does more than admire him; he seems to be channeling him as well. There are worse people to emulate. Kenny is rather modest about his achievements – the song I’ve chosen is from his album “Just a Songwriter”. It’s called Making Love in L.A.

♫ Kenny Butterill - Making Love in L.A.

JOHN PHILLIPS was Papa John from The Mamas and The Papas.

John Phillips

He, and they, are associated with Los Angeles, which is where they began as a group. John was the main songwriter and afterwards, he recorded a couple of really fine albums that weren’t very successful, which is a bit of a shame.

From the first of those, “John, The Wolf King of L.A.” is Topanga Canyon, where many of the L.A. musicians hung out (probably still do).

♫ John Phillips - Topanga Canyon

There was a big hit in the early sixties by a group called THE SURFARIS.


Well, they had a few hits but the song I'm interested in is Surfer Joe and it name-checked several places around Los Angeles (and further south). I've recently found an extended version of the song that has even more names, so I'm going with that one of course. Here it is.

♫ The Surfaris - Surfer Joe (long version)

ELDER MUSIC: Forget Me Not

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

* * *

Ronni has written quite a few columns on how we forget as we age. Of course, she also made the point that it really is a lifelong phenomenon, not just restricted to the people who will be reading this.

Whenever I decide to do a column on a particular criterion, I usually don’t know what songs will appear in my search. Often there are one or two I have in mind but the rest are as much a surprise to me as they are to you.

Today, it seems there’s a lot of country (or early rock & roll) and soul (or later rock & roll). That’s okay with me, I hope it is for you.

The column was prompted when I heard BOBBY RYDELL sing Forget Him.

Bobby Rydell

That’s a song I haven’t heard for a long time. I won’t say that I had forgotten it (sorry, I hope there won’t be many of those), but it has certainly stuck in my brain from my youth, if more than somewhat buried quite deeply until today.

♫ Bobby Rydell - Forget Him

ARTHUR CONLEY is the first of the soul performers.

Arthur Conley

If I didn’t know this was Arthur, if asked, I would swear that it was Sam Cooke (as did Norma, the Assistant Musicologist when I asked her). Arthur certainly studied the genre, at least it seems so given that his biggest hit was Sweet Soul Music. Today he says I'm Gonna Forget About You.

♫ Arthur Conley - I'm Gonna Forget About You

They don’t make singers like SLIM WHITMAN any more, and that’s a real shame.

Slim Whitman

Slim was huge in the fifties, and sang some of the best songs from that time. One of those is I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know, a song that many people have turned their hand to, and voices too, I guess. Few came close to his version.

♫ Slim Whitman - I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know

Another I had in mind when I started the column is by the KALIN TWINS.

Kalin Twins

They were supposed to take on the Everly Brothers at their own game and we know how that turned out. However, they did have a couple of quite decent songs that made the charts. This is one of them, Forget Me Not.

♫ Kalin Twins - Forget Me Not

Even ELVIS gets into the act with one of his very early songs.

Elvis Presley

This is from the now famous Sun Sessions, back when he was just starting out and recording at Sam Phillips’ Sun studio. Some say that these songs pretty much created rock & roll.

The song is I Forgot to Remember to Forget, recorded by the foremost trio in rock & roll, Elvis, Scotty and Bill (with a little help from D.J. on drums).

♫ Elvis Presley - I Forgot To Remember To Forget

The most entertaining entertainer I’ve had the privilege to see live is MARTY ROBBINS.

Marty Robbins

He was not only a great songwriter (something for which he’s not given enough credit), but he had one of the best voices in the business. And, as I said, he had the audience in the palm of his hand. He’s greatly missed.

A song of his (he didn’t write this one) that many people have performed is Am I That Easy to Forget. I listened to all versions I had and none matched Marty.

♫ Marty Robbins - Am I That Easy To Forget

Someone who should be mentioned along with Otis and Wilson whenever the subject of the greatest soul singers is bandied about is JAMES CARR.

James Carr

He certainly is in my place, and deserves to be heard by a wider audience. Here’s your chance with the song, Forgetting You.

♫ James Carr - Forgetting You

I didn’t get a chance to see PATSY CLINE, more’s the pity.

Patsy Cline

She’s another fine singer who’s always welcome in my columns, and like Marty, sorely missed. We have her records (to paraphrase one of her biggest hits), but there could have been a whole more. Oh well. Here is I Can't Forget.

♫ Patsy Cline - I Can't Forget

Whenever there’s a category where WILLIE NELSON is represented, I’ve found that he nails it, probably better than anyone else.

Willie Nelson

I probably don’t need to introduce him, I could just play the track and you’d know who it was. Willie’s song is I'm Not Trying to Forget You.

♫ Willie Nelson - I'm Not Trying to Forget You

The Nelson family is well represented today, after Willie (and his sister Bobbie playing piano as she normally does on most of Willie’s songs), we have Willie’s son LUKAS NELSON.

Lukas Nelson

Lukas is no slouch in the song writing and singing games too. He’s also a pretty decent guitarist, quite different from his dad, more rock & roll. Indeed, his solo does go on for a bit too long really, but I guess he has to distinguish himself in some way. The song is Forget About Georgia.

♫ Lukas Nelson - Forget About Georgia

ELDER MUSIC: Rod Stewart

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.

* * *

Rod Stewart

I came across ROD STEWART rather late in the piece, in the early seventies, after his stints with Long John Baldry, The Faces and Jeff Beck’s group.

He was already a solo performer by the time I discovered him. I was working in Boston at the time and one day we went on a boat trip (I think it was - wine was involved so it’s difficult to remember). There was a (free) juke box and someone kept playing Maggie May over and over, a song I was unfamiliar with at the time, but by the end of the day it was seared into my brain.

I'll only play it the once for you (although that certainly won't restrict you, of course). Certainly his most famous song.

♫ Maggie May

Rod Stewart

My usual policy in these columns is to play the original version of a song, with luck by the person who wrote it. That’s not a hard and fast rule of course, and I’m breaking it again today with a mix of Rod’s own songs and his interpretations of others.

This next song was written by Cat Stevens and I have Cat’s version, and well, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s less than ordinary. That Rod turned that into a great song demonstrates what a talent he is. The First Cut Is The Deepest.

♫ The First Cut Is The Deepest

Here’s a song from Rod’s days with The Faces. It’s more in a soul vein, something that Rod was good at. It’s called As Long As You Tell Him.

♫ The Faces - As Long As You Tell Him

Rod Stewart

Rod wrote the song The Killing of Georgie (Parts I and II) about a gay friend of his who was murdered in New York. Although others thought at the time this was a brave move, Rod disagreed – “He was a friend of mine, why shouldn’t I write about it?” It was released in two parts, as suggested by the title. I’ve used both parts.

♫ The Killing Of Georgie

Rod and Martin Quillenton wrote You Wear It Well, which was included on Rod’s album “Never a Dull Moment”. Martin also played acoustic guitar on the track (and others on the album as well). It became another big hit.

♫ You Wear It Well

Rod Stewart

Norma, The Assistant Musicologist, often says, “Oh, you only choose slow songs.” There is some truth in that, so here’s one to buck that trend, a bit of serious rock & roll. I threw out a slow one to include this one from Rod's days with The Faces, Stay with Me, a bit of hard core rock & roll.

♫ The Faces - Stay with Me

Rod Stewart

Handbags and Gladrags was written by Mike D’Abo who was the singer for Manfred Mann after Paul Jones left the group. It was first recorded by Chris Farlowe who had a bit of a hit with it.

A then-completely unknown singer (you know who I mean) recorded the song on his first solo album “An Old Raincoat Won’t Ever Let You Down” with Mike arranging the song and playing piano on it. The song vanished without a trace except for those people who bought the album. It later became popular due to word of mouth.

♫ Handbags And Gladrags

Rod Stewart

Here’s a song I could have included in one of my several “Drinking Songs” columns. Fortunately, there are plenty of others to include in those. This is Rod from his days with The Jeff Beck Group, and naturally Jeff lets rip on the guitar. I've Been Drinking.

♫ Jeff Beck & Rod Stewart - I've Been Drinking

Rod Stewart

A song almost as good as Maggie May, and also written by Rod, is Mandolin Wind. We tend not to think of Rod as a songwriter, but my goodness he’s written some beauties.

♫ Mandolin Wind

Rod Stewart

The A.M. must be in despair by now as the songs are getting slower, although this one does speed up a bit and indulges in a fine guitar solo.

Here’s another of Rod’s songs, written with Gary Grainger. I can relate to this one, as I was born the same year as Rod – our parents thinking how ridiculous we looked with our fashions of the time, back when we were youths. I imagine it was ever thus (and probably still is). The song is I Was Only Joking.

♫ I Was Only Joking

Rod has also made some records of the "American Songbook" standards, and while I admire what he did, I prefer to hear Frank Sinatra, Mel Tormé or Tony Bennett perform those so they didn’t make the cut today.

After I ended in what I thought was the most appropriate way, I decided to give you a bonus and break the mood. It's something I discovered a while ago, and all I can say is "Oh my".

Here is Rod and AMY BELLE with one of his biggest hits, I Don't Want To Talk About It.

ELDER MUSIC: 1960 Yet Again

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

* * *

There are some fine singers here today, today being sometime in 1960. Not all of them fit that criterion, but enough to satisfy those who like a bit of a good warble.

Generally it’s thought that this year was a bit ho hum when it came to music, coming between the excitement of fifties’ rock & roll and the sixties music explosion. We didn’t know that at the time, we just listened to what was around.

What was around, and here we have one of the finest voices from the period, is JIM REEVES.

Jim Reeves

This year gave us his most popular song, the one that everyone could name when they heard his name: He'll Have to Go. The song spawned several answer songs, as that was the fashion back then, but we can ignore them.

♫ Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go

Here are some more fine singers, this time it’s a group, THE DRIFTERS.

The Drifters

Over time they had some remarkable singers pass through their ranks, particularly Clyde McPhatter and, in this incarnation of the group, Ben E King. Ben is easily the finest singer in the column today (and yes, I realise that Elvis is present). That’s only my opinion; you make up your own mind. The Drifters sing This Magic Moment.

♫ The Drifters - This Magic Moment

1960 was the high water mark for what later became known as "Death Disks". We have two of the best (or insert whatever description you'd prefer), starting with MARK DINNING.

Mark Dinning

Mark was the younger brother of the members of a singing group called The Dinning Sisters (three of them) who were quite successful in the forties and early fifties. They performed in the mode of The Andrews Sisters. One of his sisters (Jean) wrote Teen Angel, and it was quite a hit for Mark.

♫ Mark Dinning - Teen Angel

The other big hit for the year in the same style is by RAY PETERSON.

Ray Peterson

Ray had a couple of hits, and he was quite popular in Australia where he had more. However, he didn’t achieve too much after this year in spite of his also having quite a decent singing voice. Most of you will know his song: Tell Laura I Love Her.

♫ Ray Peterson - Tell Laura I Love Her

By 1960 CONNIE FRANCIS had already had many hit records.

Connie Francis

Her song that I’m including apparently was the B-side of a record whose A-side is a song that I’ve not heard of. Certainly in my country Everybody's Somebody's Fool was a huge hit. I checked with Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and she hadn’t heard of the other one either.

♫ Connie Francis - Everybody's Somebody's Fool

ELVIS always wanted to be a singer in the style of someone like Dean Martin, rather than, or probably as well as, a rock & roller.

Elvis Presley

He certainly achieved that in the last decade of his career, but even earlier he liked to throw the odd ballad into his repertoire. One particularly famous one was a song originally made famous by Al Jolson, Are You Lonesome Tonight?

♫ Elvis - Are You Lonesome Tonight

JOHNNY O'KEEFE was at the peak of his success in Australia. Had he been born in America, he’d have been a worldwide star.

Johnny O'Keefe

He wasn’t, of course, but he was still one of the greatest entertainers who ever strutted the stage. Unlike most today, he didn’t have much of a singing voice, but it didn’t matter, he held the audience in the palm of his hand from the moment he hit the stage until he left (after many encores).

Quite a few visiting musicians refused to appear with him as he blew everyone else off the stage. His song for this year is Come On and Take My Hand.

Johnny O'Keefe - Come On & Take My Hand

JACK SCOTT has one of those earworm songs. Sorry about that folks.

Jack Scott

It’s not the worst in that category, but it’ll linger a while if you dare to listen. There were several like that around this time. His contribution is What in the World's Come Over You.

♫ Jack Scott - What In The World's Come Over You

JOE JONES was yet another talented musician from New Orleans. That’s probably a tautology as every musician from New Orleans is talented.

Joe Jones

He had a hit this year with the song You Talk Too Much. It was written by Reginald Hall, who was Fats Domino’s brother-in-law. He offered it to Fats but he turned it down. Joe took it to the top of the charts.

♫ Joe Jones - You Talk Too Much

Jack Lawrence took Charles Trenet’s song La Mer and wrote English words to it, and otherwise changed it quite a bit. A number of people recorded it but it pretty much flew below the radar until BOBBY DARIN had a go at it.

Bobby Darin

Bobby made it a worldwide hit under the name of Beyond the Sea.

♫ Bobby Darin - Beyond The Sea

ELDER MUSIC: Bullfrogs on my Mind

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.

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Frogs are the proverbial canary in the coalmine when it comes to environmental change and damage. That means many are fast disappearing, which is a great shame, indeed a disaster, as they are an important link in the various ecologies.

Besides, I really like frogs. Anyway, I’ll leave that to people more expert than I am to discuss. I’ll just present some froggy songs.

There is an obvious way to begin the column and I'm taking it. This is CLARENCE (FROGMAN) HENRY.

Clarence Frogman Henry

Clarence not only has a frog in his name (well, nickname) but he also sings about one as well. It was certainly the first song that came to mind when I thought of this column. That song is Ain't Got No Home.

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

THE LARKS started out as a gospel group. Well, several really, they recorded under a bunch of different names.

The Larks

They used the name The Larks for their Rhythm and Blues records. They were quite popular in the early fifties, but subsequently splintered into several different groups. Here they are with I Ain't Fattening Frogs For Snakes.

♫ The Larks - I Ain't Fattening Frogs For Snakes

MICKEY GILLEY is probably best known these days for the club that bears his name (featured in the film Urban Cowboy).

Mickey Gilley

He started out playing early rock and roll and rockabilly, but was overshadowed by his cousin Jerry Lee Lewis (another rocking pianist). From the early days, Mickey performs Miss Froggy. Gail Collins is also credited on the record but I can’t hear her on this song.

♫ Mickey Gilley - Miss Froggy

Now for some serious music with the great trumpeter DIZZY GILLESPIE. Helping out on this track is the equally great sax player CHARLIE PARKER.

Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker

From a session they recorded in 1950 we have Leap Frog, quite a short tune. My goodness, they were good together.

♫ Dizzy Gillespie - Leap Frog

JEB STUART gives us a little bit of soul music.

Jeb Stuart

I think Jeb is channeling Land of 100 Dances and The Hippy Hippy Shake (and probably other songs) in this one: The Greasy Frog.

♫ Jeb Stuart - The Greasy Frog

PETER PAUL AND MARY seem to be indulging in a bit of bestiality, or perhaps that should be zoophilia. Or amphibiphilia (I just coined that word).

Peter Paul & Mary

This is not one of their most important songs, unless you’re a frog that is. I'm In Love with a Big Blue Frog.

♫ Peter Paul & Mary - I'm In Love With A Big Blue Frog

THE PIGRAM BROTHERS are a seven-piece indigenous band from Broome in northern Western Australia.

Pigram Brothers

Besides playing their own music, various combinations of siblings have also written soundtracks and appeared in films and TV programs. They perform Bullfrog Hole, about places around where they live, with mentions of many animals and birds there.

♫ Pigram Brothers - Bullfrog Hole

Here’s some more jazz, but a style from an earlier period than Diz and Bird. The players are THE FAT BABIES.

Fat Babies

They’re a group from Chicago who like to interpret the styles of the twenties and thirties. Their contribution is Froggie Moore.

♫ The Fat Babies - Froggie Moore

THE DOORS always claimed that they were just a blues band.

The Doors

No one believed them, of course, but they did record one album that demonstrated this aspect of them – "Morrison Hotel". From that album we have Peace Frog. Of course Jim couldn't help himself and put in various Jim-isms.

♫ The Doors - Peace Frog

There are many versions of the song Bullfrog Blues, and it was my job to choose one. Actually, there was no work involved at all, as I was always going to choose DAVID BROMBERG.

David Bromberg

David is a supreme guitar player, but this song doesn't really extend his fingers much although he does play some delightful licks.

I ended the column with this one as it is by far the longest song I've ever used – more than 16 minutes, so if it doesn't float your boat you can go and get a cup of tea and you won't have missed any of the others.

Alternatively, get your cup of tea, put your feet up and go with the flow.

♫ David Bromberg - Bullfrog Blues