342 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Run to Paradise

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


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

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

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

Choirboys

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

This is the song, a huge hit in Oz.

♫ Choirboys - Run to Paradise

JOHN PRINE was another initial thought.

John Prine

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

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

♫ John Prine - Paradise

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

Johnny Nash

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

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

♫ Johnny Nash - Halfway To Paradise

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

Buddy Holly

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

♫ Buddy Holly - Fools Paradise

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

Tony Bennett

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

♫ Tony Bennett - Stranger In Paradise

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

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

Graeme Connors

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

♫ Graeme Connors - On The Edge Of Paradise

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

Elvis Presley

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

♫ Elvis Presley - Any Place Is Paradise

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

Charles Brown

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

♫ Charles Brown - Fool's Paradise

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

Marcia Ball

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

♫ Marcia Ball - This Used To Be Paradise

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

Meatloaf

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

♫ Meatloaf - Paradise By The Dashboard Light

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


ELDER MUSIC: Streets of New York

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


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

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

Fred Neil

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

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

♫ Fred Neil - Bleecker & MacDougal

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

Bob Dylan

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

♫ Bob Dylan - Positively 4th Street

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

Leon Redbone

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

♫ Leon Redbone - 14th Street Blues

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

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

Dorsey Brothers

The singers are THE BOSWELL SISTERS.

Boswell Sisters

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

♫ Dorsey Brothers Orchestra - Forty Second Street

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

Charles Mingus

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

♫ Charles Mingus - 51st Street Blues

BUD POWELL continues the theme with 52nd Street.

Bud Powell

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

♫ Bud Powell - 52nd Street Theme

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

Bruce Springsteen

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

♫ Bruce Springsteen - Incident on 57th Street

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

Simon &Garfunkel

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

♫ Simon & Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song

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

Bobby Womack

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

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

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

♫ Bobby Womack - Across 110th Street

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

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

Duke Ellington

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

♫ Duke Ellington - Wall Street Wail


ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up for the First Half of 2015

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


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

B.B. King

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

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

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

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

♫ B.B. King - Five Long Years

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

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

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

Aldo Ciccolini

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

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

♫ Aldo Ciccolini - Erik Satie ~ Gymnopedie No. 1

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

Rod McKuen

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

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

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

Lesley Gore

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

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

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

♫ Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me

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

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

Louis Jourdan

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

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

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

Percy Sledge

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

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

♫ Percy Sledge - True Love Travels On A Gravel Road

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

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

Clark Terry

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

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

♫ Clark Terry - The Swinging Chemise

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

Bob Montgomery

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

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

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

Joe Mauldin

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

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

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

Ronnie Ronalde

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

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

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

♫ Ronnie Ronalde - Mockin' Bird Hill

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

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

Don Covay

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

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

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

♫ Don Covay - Mercy Mercy

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

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

Stan Freberg

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

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

♫ Stan Freberg - Banana Boat Song

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

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

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

Maria Radner

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

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

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

♫ Maria Radner - Es sungen drei Engel

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

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

Ben E King

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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ Ben E King - Spanish Harlem


ELDER MUSIC: Chooks

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


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

So, here are a bunch of songs about chooks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amos Milburn

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

♫ Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie

Here is the first of two contributions from LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

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

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

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

Little Feat

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

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

♫ Little Feat - Dixie Chicken

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

Big Mama Thornton

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

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

♫ Big Mama Thornton - Little Red Rooster

TOM RUSSELL wrote the best chook song ever.

Tom Russell

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

Ian Tyson

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

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

♫ Tom Russell - Gallo del Cielo

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

Deep River Boys

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

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

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

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

Cruel Sea

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

♫ Cruel Sea - Momma Killed A Chicken

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

Little Richard

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

♫ Little Richard - Chicken Little Baby

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

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

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

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

♫ Billy Ward - Chicken Blues

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

Louis Jordan

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

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


ELDER MUSIC: They Wrote the Songs

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tom Jans

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

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

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

♫ Tom Jans - Loving Arms

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

EmoticonAngry1

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

Fred Neil

♫ Fred Neil - Everybody's Talkin

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

Hank Ballard

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

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

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

♫ Hank Ballard - The Twist

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

John Stewart

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

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

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

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

♫ John Stewart - Daydream Believer

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

Mark James

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

♫ Mark James - Suspicious Minds

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

Brenda Holloway

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

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

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

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

Don Gibson

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

♫ Don Gibson - I Can't Stop Loving You

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

Dan Penn

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

However, here is Dan.

♫ Dan Penn - The Dark End of the Street

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

Bobby Charles

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

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

♫ Bobby Charles - Walking to New Orleans

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

Jimmy Webb

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

Here is Wichita Lineman.

♫ Jimmy Webb - Wichita Lineman


ELDER MUSIC: Unchained Melody

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


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

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

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

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

Leading the charge today is AL HIBBLER.

Al Hibbler

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

♫ Al Hibbler - Unchained Melody

BRENDA HOLLOWAY was a real contender on Motown records.

Brenda Holloway

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

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

♫ Brenda Holloway - Unchained Melody

The odd man out today is CHET ATKINS.

Chet Atkins

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

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

♫ Chet Atkins - Unchained Melody

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

Vito & the Salutations

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

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

♫ Vito & The Salutations - Unchained Melody

The most unlikely presence is that of JONI MITCHELL.

Joni Mitchell

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

Joni Mitchell - Chinese Cafe~Unchained Melody

THE FLEETWOODS perform an interesting a capella version.

Fleetwoods

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

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

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

♫ The Fleetwoods - Unchained Melody

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

Todd Duncan

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

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

♫ Todd Duncan - Unchained Melody

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

Peter Sellers

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

♫ Peter Sellers - Unchained Melody

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

Willie Nelson

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

♫ Willie Nelson - Unchained Melody

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

Righteous Brothers

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

♫ Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody


ELDER MUSIC: Musicals Part 2

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


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

This won't be like most columns about musicals.

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

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

Robert Preston

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

♫ Robert Preston - Seventy Six Trombones

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

Beatles

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

♫ The Beatles - And I Love Her

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

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

Allan Jones

♫ Allan Jones - The Donkey Serenade

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

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

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

JohnbColtrane

♫ John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

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

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

Slim Whitman

♫ Slim Whitman - Indian Love Call

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

Alexander Borodin

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

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

Besides all that he wrote really good tunes.

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

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

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

Elvis Presley

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

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

♫ Elvis Presley - Don't Leave Me Now

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

Fred Astaire

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

♫ Fred Astaire - Night and Day

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

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

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

Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold

♫ Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold - I Remember It Well

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

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

Taj Mahal

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


ELDER MUSIC: Trad Revival

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


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

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

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

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

Chris Barber Jazz band

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

Ottilie Patterson

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

♫ Chris Barber - Beale St. Blues

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

Dutch Swing College

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

The College performs Willie the Weeper.

♫ Dutch Swing College Band - Willie The Weeper

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

Acker Bilk

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

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

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

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

♫ Acker Bilk - Stranger on the Shore

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

Kenny Ball

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

He had a huge international hit with Midnight in Moscow.

♫ Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen - Midnight in Moscow

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

Temperance Seven

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

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

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

♫ The Temperance Seven - You're Driving Me Crazy

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

Sidney Bechet

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

One of his most famous tunes is Petite Fleur.

♫ Sidney Bechet - Petite Fleur

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

Yarra Yarra Jazz Band

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

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

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

Judy Jacques

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

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

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

Judith Durham

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

Frank Traynor

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

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

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

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

Frank Johnson

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

♫ Frank Johnson - Sweet Patootie

THE RED ONIONS JAZZ BAND was a Melbourne institution.

Red Onions

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

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

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

♫ Red Onion Jazz Band - Buddy's Habit


ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Favorite Baroque Pieces (10 – 1)

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


As I mentioned in the countdown from 20 to 11, Australia's ABC Classical radio station had a listeners' poll on their favorite Baroque (and earlier) pieces of music. These are the big guns, as selected by the listeners, and my goodness I find it a bit on the popular side (well, I guess that was the point of it after all).

However, as much as I admire Mr Handel, four selections seem a bit much considering Papa Bach only managed one.

Okay, counting down from 10 to 1.

10. THOMAS TALLIS - Spem In Alium

ThomasTallis

Not much is known about Tom's early life. He was probably born in 1505 and lived a long time – through the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I. That's not counting Jane and Philip who might also be included by nitpickers.

Elizabeth granted him (and William Byrd) a really nice deal: they had exclusive rights to print any music in any language for 21 years. A nice little earner, that one.

In between, he wrote a lot of music, best known of which is Spem in alium. Here it is.

♫ Tallis - Spem in alium

9. GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL - Music for the Royal Fireworks

Hande

After The Messiah, the two best known works would be Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music. Not surprisingly, as this column is the result of a popular vote, both are included today.

First off is the Fireworks, the third movement.

♫ Handel - Music for the Royal Fireworks (3)

8. GEORGE HANDEL - Four Coronation Anthems

Handel

George again. There are four Coronation Anthems (the title probably gave that away) including the most famous of the lot, Zadok the Priest. In spite of its being played often, I still like it, even though I'm not into kings or gods.

♫ Handel - Zadok the Priest

7. HENRY PURCELL - Dido and Aeneas

Purcell

Henry is considered the finest English composer ever, a big call as he was only 36 when he died. One theory of his demise is that his wife locked him out in the middle of winter after he returned late from the theatre and he caught a chill (or something worse).

Another theory is that it was tuberculosis that did him in. Before that he wrote vast amounts of music in all the styles of the day and a few he invented for himself.

One of those is the opera “Dido and Aeneas”, one of the very first English operas. From that is Thy hand, Belinda - When I am laid in earth sung today by the incomparable Jessye Norman.

Jessye Norman

♫ Purcell - Thy hand, Belinda ~ When I am laid in earth

6. JOHANN PACHELBEL - Canon and Gigue in D for violins and basso continuo

Pachelbel

This was played a bit when Jo wrote it in 1694 for Johann Christoph Bach's wedding – he was J.S.'s oldest brother – and then put away and forgotten about for a couple of centuries until it was rediscovered in the 20th and has become extremely popular ever since.

I've omitted the Canon and have just included the Gigue.

♫ Pachelbel - Gigue

5. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH - St Matthew Passion BWV 244

Bach-JS

I decided to play this all the way through to see which bit I'd select. That'll put paid to the afternoon but there are worse ways to spend the day. (Time passes – a considerable amount of time).

Okay, I've settled on O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross.

♫ JS Bach - O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross

4. G. HANDEL - Water Music

Handel

Georgie once more. This time in an aquatic mode with the Gavotte from his Water Music Suite.

♫ Handel - Water Music Suite (Gavotte)

3. GREGORIO ALLEGRI - Miserere mei, Deus

Allegri

There is a famous story about the Miserere. All the various popes since the time when Greg wrote the piece refused to allow anyone to perform it other than at the Sistine Chapel. No one was permitted to publish the work or copy it in any way.

This was under pain of excommunication (and probably worse, knowing of some of those popes at the time).

Anyway, one year Leopold Mozart and his 12-year-old son Wolfgang were visiting the city and went along to a performance. Upon returning home, young Wolfie wrote out the entire work from memory. He returned a couple of days later to ensure he got it right – only a couple of very minor corrections were needed, and the work subsequently became widely known.

I suppose this is the first instance of a teenager (or nearly so) illegally downloading music.

The complete Miserere is a bit long for this column, running around 15 minutes, so here is the first half of it (more or less) performed by the Choir of New College, Oxford.

♫ Miserere mei, Deus

2. ANTONIO VIVALDI - The Four Seasons

Vivaldi

These are really just four violin concertos linked by a common theme. They are certainly Tony's most famous work and most often played (over-played, if you ask me).

I'm sure most of you would have at least a passing familiarity with these, so I'll do something different. In spite of these being written for violin and orchestra, I have a transcription for solo guitar. So I thought I'd play that instead.

Here is what would normally be called the Concerto no. 1 in E major, RV 269 (Spring), but in this case is just a guitar playing it. The first movement.

♫ Vivaldi - Concerto no. 1 in E-major, RV 269 (Spring)

1. Mr HANDEL - Messiah

Handel4

Top of the pops is the big man himself with his best known work, The Messiah. Not all of it, but you can catch the lot every Christmas, or at least around my neck of the wood that is so.

The section I've chosen is aptly titled The Sound is Gone Out. Trevor Pinnock conducts The English Concert and Choir.

♫ Handel - The sound is gone out


ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Favorite Baroque Pieces (No. 20 – 11)

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


Recently, Australia's ABC Classical station had a listeners' poll on their favorite Baroque (and earlier) pieces of music. That gives me an easy couple of columns – just take the top 20 and play bits of each for you.

I notice that J.S. Bach is over-represented in today's list and under-represented in the top 10 you'll have here next week - which is not the way I voted.

Also, where is Telemann, I ask? As an exercise in democracy I shall play them as selected, today counting down from 20 to 11 (as we used to do back in the day with pop music).

20. CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI - Vespers of the Blessed Virgin

Monteverdi

Monteverdi was as radical a composer in his time as Beethoven in his or Phillip Glass today. People would wander the streets muttering, "What's old Claude going to come up with today?"

He's generally considered to have invented opera and he took the madrigal form, previously just a little bitty thing, and made it his own.

The Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, running at more than an hour and a half, was the most ambitious religious work before J.S. Bach turned his quill to such matters. It's also sometimes called the Vespers of 1610, as that's when it was published.

Whatever it's called, here is the Dixit Dominus, or Psalm 109, from that work.

♫ Monteverdi - Psalm 109 (Dixit Dominus)

19. ARCANGELO CORELLI - 12 Concerti Grossi, Op 6

Corelli

There are a lot of tall tales, legends, myths and other such things that have been spread around about Corelli but not much in the way of truth. In today's political climate that would probably be seen as a plus.

He may have been a prodigy (but we don't know) and he may have been chased out of Paris by an envious Jean-Baptiste Lully (when he was only 19) but that story was promulgated by Jean-Jacques Rousseau somewhat later, so who knows.

We do know that he wrote a bunch of trio sonatas, concerti grossi, regular sonatas and probably a lot of other stuff as well. This is the first movement of his Concerto Grosso no. 12 Op. 6 in F.

♫ Corelli - Concerto Grosso n.12 Op.6 in F (1)

18. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH - Mass in B Minor BWV 232

Bach

Jo's religious works, this mass (and the others he wrote), have been overshadowed by the great St Matthew's Passion (and to a lesser extent the St John's Passion).

Masses really aren't my cup of tea but it's on the list so here is the Christe eleison from that work.

♫ JS Bach - Christe eleison

17. J.S. BACH - Cantata: Herz und Mund und That und Leben, BWV 147

Bach-JS

If you're like me, you'd have read the title of this cantata and it would have gone right over your head, particularly if you don't read German (as I don't). However, lend an ear to it and you might go "Ah ha.” I certainly did, at least for the part of it I've chosen, which includes (in English) Jesu, joy of man’s desiring.

The title of the movement on the CD is actually Jesu bleibet meine Freude.

♫ JS Bach - Jesu bleibet meine Freude

16. J.S. BACH - Brandenburg Concerto No 3 BWV 1048

Bach-JS

The six Brandenburg Concertos were a present to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwed, who was some sort of minor royal and liked a bit of a tune. They were sent with an excruciatingly obsequious note (well, Jo probably wanted him to sponsor him or some such).

Anyway, we thank Chris for inspiring some of the finest works in the baroque canon. Here is the first movement of number 3.

♫ JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No 3 (1)

15. GIOVANNI PERGOLESI - Stabat Mater

Pergolesi

Gio was one of the most important composers of the early baroque period. Indeed, J.S. Bach was so taken with his works, he pinched one of his tunes for a cantata and he wasn't the only composer who "arranged" his music as part of their own.

He was also a master of opera buffa (that's comic opera) and there was very heated debate in Paris between his faction and those who preferred their opera to be a bit more serious (led by Lully and Rameau).

Gio wrote religious music as well and it's one of those compositions we're interested in today – the Stabat Mater, in particular the second movement called Cujus animam gementem. That's Núria Rial singing.

Nuria Rial

♫ Pergolesi - Cujus animam gementem

14. J.S. BACH - Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 BWV 1007

Bach-JS

Some say that the cello suites were actually written by Jo's second wife Anna Magdalena. They claim that they are stylistically different from the rest of his work. Also, there's a manuscript in her hand of these.

They also claim she wrote a couple of his other works. People love a good conspiracy theory. The one point I'd make is that someone wrote them (I don't really care who) and they are beautiful.

This is the third movement of the suite number 1, called Courante.

♫ JS Bach - Cello Suite No 1 BWV 1007 (3)

13. ANTONIO VIVALDI - Gloria RV 589

Vivaldi4

Tony makes an appearance. He's in next week as well with a composition you will already have guessed. Today is the Gloria.

This was a little unusual for him because, although he was a priest, he wrote few religious works (well, few is a relative term as he was responsible for hundreds, maybe thousands of compositions).

Here is Gloria in excelsis Deo from the Gloria.

Vivaldi - Gloria in excelsis Deo

12. J.S. BACH - Goldberg Variations BWV 988

Bach-JS

There are about 30 or so of these written for keyboards, clavier originally (which is somewhat akin to a harpsichord) but are often performed on a piano these days. I'll confess that I prefer them played on a piano. How they came about is thus:

It seems that the Russian ambassador to Saxony, Count Kaiserling, was visiting Leipzig and he brought along his friend Johann Goldberg who was a bit of a whiz on the harpsichord and the organ.

Alas, the count came down with some illness and asked Goldberg to play for him in the next room to ease the pain or whatever. This went of for a few days, and Goldberg was running out of material.

J.S. heard about this – he had been contacted earlier by the entourage, and out of sympathy for his fellow musician wrote a bunch of works for him to play. Naturally, they became known as the Goldberg Variations.

He gave them to him but as it turned out, this good deed reaped its own reward. After he recovered, the count gave J.S. a gold goblet filled with 100 gold pieces.

I have decided not to play the clavier, harpsichord or piano version of this work because I have a rather interesting transcription for a string trio. That's what you're getting. This is the first variation.

♫ JS Bach - Goldberg Variations (Variation 1)

11. J.S. BACH - Concerto for 2 Violins in D minor, BWV 1043

Bach-JS

Now we're talking. This should have been in the Top Ten somewhere near the top. It's one of the finest concertos of the baroque period. Here is the third movement.

♫ JS Bach - Concerto for Two Violins (3)

The top 10 will appear next week.


ELDER MUSIC: The Voice is the Thing

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 a column like this, JENNIFER WARNES is certain to be included and who better to start the ball rolling.

Jennifer Warnes

I think it was the song I Know a Heartache When I See One that first brought her to my consciousness back in the seventies. Since then I've sought out everything she's recorded with some measure of success.

Here's that song.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - I Know A Heartache When I See One

JESSYE NORMAN can sing in any style you can imagine and make it sound better than anyone else.

Jessye Norman

I really don't need to say anything besides that Jessye is one of the two best singers on the planet (Cecelia Bartoli is the other). Here she is in a rather unexpected style singing what sounds like an art song, Between Yesterday and Tomorrow.

♫ Jessye Norman - Between Yesterday And Tomorrow

I discovered TANITA TIKARAM's music a few years ago.

Tanita Tikaram

Tanita is multi-culturalism personified. She lives in Britain these days, having been born in Germany to an Indian-Fijian father and a Malaysian mother. She writes and sings really good songs. Here she is with This Story in Me.

♫ Tanita Tikaram - This Story In Me

AUDREY MORRIS calls herself a lounge singer, not a genre of music I usually listen to or like really.

Audrey Morris

I think Audrey has her tongue firmly in her cheek; she is a fine jazz singer and pianist (she was classically trained). She's still active, singing around the traps, particularly in Chicago, where I assume she lives.

She tackles the old standard, Guess Who I Saw Today.

♫ Audrey Morris - Guess Who I Saw Today

JANIVA MAGNESS sings the blues. She sings with heart and soul because she's led the life in her songs.

Janiva Magness

I won't go into the details because it sounds like tabloid journalism but my goodness, can she sing. Today's song is I Won't Cry.

♫ Janiva Magness - I Won't Cry

LINDA WRIGHT is a fine jazz singer from Louisiana.

Linda Wright

She recently released an album of jazz standards and I'm afraid that is the sum total of my knowledge of her. From that album comes Satin Doll.

♫ Linda Wright - Satin Doll

When she was a kid, MISSY ANDERSEN was inspired by the music of Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, The Staples Singers and Teddy Pendergrass.

Missy Andersen

While still a teenager, she opened for Cissy Houston and was later a member of the Juke Joint Jezebelles who performed blues, gospel and soul music. These days, as a solo performer, she describes her musical approach as soul dipped in blues.

See what you think as she performs No Regrets, a different song from the more famous one Tom Rush wrote.

♫ Missy Andersen - No Regrets

If BONNIE RAITT were a man she'd be held up as a rock god, guitar hero.

Bonnie Raitt

Instead she's quite respected and "my goodness, can't she play the guitar quite well. That's unexpected.”

Here she performs Randy Newman's song Guilty which (and I'm going to fall into my own trap here) Joe Cocker did so well.

♫ Bonnie Raitt - Guilty

SARAH JANE MORRIS sings in pretty much every style that's worth singing – jazz, rock, R&B, pop and art songs. She also writes songs.

Sarah Jane Morris

Early in her career she was lead singer for an Afro-Caribbean-Latin band but they didn't receive much airplay due to their left-wing politics. She later joined a brass band that performed the works of Bertolt Brecht, Kurt Weill and similar composers. From that she went into theatrical performances of similar (or the same) composers.

For those with a literary bent, she is a cousin of the writer Armistead Maupin. Here's a bit of Afro-Caribbean music with Wild Flowers.

♫ Sarah Jane Morris - Wild Flowers

Finally, there's someone worthy to receive the baton passed on by Patsy Cline. TAMI NEILSON is not a household name in my household or many others, I suspect, outside of New Zealand whence she hails (by way of Canada).

Tami Neilson

When I stumbled on her album "Dynamite!" and played it, the proverbial (and probably the real) jaw dropped as I listened to her amazing voice. Do yourself a favor and seek it out if you like quality country singing.

From that album here is Cry Over You. Tami's definitely channelling Patsy.

When I played this song for Norma, The Assistant Musicologist, she said it sounded like an Ian Tyson song. I'm surprised I missed that as it was so obvious when she pointed it out.

♫ Tami Neilson - Cry Over You

I can't help myself. I was so impressed with Tami I decided to throw in an extra track of her singing a duet with BEN WOOLLEY called Whiskey and Kisses.

Think of Willie singing with Emmylou. The A.M. thought this one sounded as if Ian Tyson had written it too.

♫ Tami Neilson - Whiskey and Kisses


ELDER MUSIC: Not Rhymin', Simon

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 thought of writing this column under the heading of "What's the Link?" and going straight into the songs and leaving you in tenterhooks until the end. I gave that up as I thought it was a bit wanky.

I tried it out on Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and found that it really didn't work. Besides, I had written most of it already and I'd have to go back and change things, and being a lazy sod, I decided not to do that.

So, you know what these songs have in common. They don't rhyme. It's not something you come across very often. I know I was surprised by some of these, but listening carefully to them I found that it was so.

Okay, sharpen up your ears and have a listen.

I'll start with TRACY CHAPMAN.

Tracy Chapman

Fast Car is easily her best known song. I remember way back when I first heard it I went out and bought the CD pretty much immediately I was so impressed.

I still am. It's a terrific song (and it doesn't rhyme).

♫ Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

It's not just the trendy modern(ish) songwriters either. John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf did the same thing back in 1944. They made it even more difficult for themselves as each verse is a haiku (or so I'm led to believe).

The song I'm talking about is Moonlight in Vermont. Margaret Whiting recorded it first and Billie Holiday recorded it best. However, I've featured Billie in the columns about American states so I'll go with another version.

This time it's JOHNNY HARTMAN.

Johnny Hartman

There are few better voices in jazz than Johnny's so I'll just get out of the way and let you listen to him.

♫ Johnny Hartman - Moonlight In Vermont

There were several versions of FLEETWOOD MAC; here is the most famous one.

Fleetwood Mac

The one that sold squillions of records and filled countless tabloids with their antics over the years. They also made some good music along the way, including Dreams.

♫ Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

The song Rivers of Babylon was on the great soundtrack album for the film "The Harder They Come.” The album mostly featured songs by Jimmy Cliff, who starred in it, but also included some other performers like Desmond Dekker, The Maytals and THE MELODIANS.

The Melodians

It's that last group we're interested in and they sang the song mentioned. Others have covered it over the years but none has equalled their version.

♫ The Melodians - Rivers of Babylon

Here's one from out of our comfort zone, something from years later than most of the music I usually bother with. The group in this case has the inspired name of CAMPER VAN BEETHOVEN.

Camper Van Beethoven

Nothing to do with the composer with the same surname. I think the only reason I've included it (besides fitting the criterion) is the name of the song. It brings a smile to my face – Take the Skinheads Bowling.

If you can decipher the words, you'll notice that one of the lines is "There's not a line that goes here that rhymes with anything.” Obviously the song was meant for inclusion.

♫ Camper Van Beethoven - Take The Skinheads Bowling

SHERYL CROW gets her long awaited first appearance in one of my columns today.

Sheryl Crow

She's not the only first timer – at least it shows that I'm not just recycling the usual suspects.

In Sheryl's song, the chorus sort of rhymes a bit but the verses don't so that's good enough for inclusion. The song is All I Wanna Do.

♫ Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do

This is also R.E.M.'s first visit to this column.

R.E.M.

Head honcho for the group Michael Stipe said that their name was chosen at random from a dictionary (it means rapid eye movement, of course). The song goes way back to when Michael still had hair. It's Losing My Religion.

♫ R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

Even one of the greatest soul records fits today's criterion. I'll just say PERCY SLEDGE and most of you will know of which I speak.

Percy Sledge

For the rest of you, I'm talking about When a Man Loves a Woman.

♫ Percy Sledge - When A Man Loves A Woman

If I mention the Velvet Underground, some of you might groan or roll your eyes. A few others will go "Yeah!" Of course, there are those will say "Who?" or "What?"

So, I'm going to say VELVET UNDERGROUND and see what happens.

Velvet Underground

Hmm, nothing much happened – no earthquakes, no volcanoes erupting, at least not where I live. The song of theirs I've chosen is not like most of their others. It's not loud, it's not atonal, it's not monotonous.

In fact it's quite melodic, not something usually associated with the Velvets. The song is Stephanie Says.

♫ Velvet Underground - Stephanie Says

Paul Simon is the undisputed champion of writing great songs that don't rhyme. Far and away his best song (America) fits that category. However, I've used that one in a couple of columns already so I'll go with a different one.

This is probably his second best known song and if I hadn't listened to it carefully I may not have realized it fit the category. However, it does. Here are SIMON AND GARFUNKEL with Bridge over Troubled Water.

Simon and Garfunkel

♫ Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water


ELDER MUSIC: Answer Songs

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


In the fifties and early sixties, answer songs were all the rage. That is, once there was a big hit, someone would come out with another song, usually with the same tune but different words, from the point of view of the other person in the original.

In all my research for this column, I found only one answer song that was as good as the original. There were two or three that came close. I've included all of those.

I'll begin with the pair I thought of first, starting with JIM REEVES.

Jim Reeves

Okay, I could trot out all those velvet-voice clichés but my goodness, what a fine singer he was. This is probably his best known song, He'll Have to Go.

♫ Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go

In this case, the answer was quite successful in its own right, so much so that several people recorded it – Skeeter Davis was one but a better version was by JEANNE BLACK.

Jeanne Black

Jeanne actually sold over a million copies of the record, something that most answer songs could only dream about.

Her answer has the fairly obvious title, He'll Have to Stay. The great session pianist Floyd Cramer is prominent on both songs. I hope he received a percentage of the royalties for his work.

♫ Jeanne Black - He'll Have To Stay

Here is a rare example of the genre where the answer is a completely different song. How do we know it's an answer song, yo/u may ask? Well, you have to listen to the words. The original is by JOHNNY CASH.

Johnny Cash

This was quite an early song from Johnny back when he was still at Sun records. It was a bit of a hit, at least in my neck of the woods, Don't Take Your Guns to Town.

♫ Johnny Cash - Don't Take Your Guns to Town

The answer I discovered completely by accident. I didn't realize that there was a follow up to Johnny's until I played this one quite by chance by JERRY LEE LEWIS.

Jerry Lee Lewis

It was a song I wasn't familiar with. Well, goodness me, I said (or something like that) when I played it, that one has to be included in a column I haven't yet devised.

Thus today's column came into existence. Jerry Lee's song is Ballad of Billy Joe.

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - Ballad Of Billy Joe

Even the great RAY CHARLES makes an appearance today.

Ray Charles

Ray's song was a big hit for him in 1961, Hit the Road, Jack, written by Percy Mayfield.

♫ Ray Charles - Hit The Road, Jack

Only another great artist could answer Ray and that one is NINA SIMONE.

Nina Simone

Nina's version is a bit different from Ray's, which is good, so you won't get bored. It wasn't ever released on an album, just a 45 and was quite rare until recently when it appeared on a CD collection.

Nina's song is Come on Back, Jack.

♫ Nina Simone - Come On Back, Jack

Now for the one where I think the answer is as good as the original and both are by BUDDY HOLLY.

Buddy Holly

I found a few cases where the same artist created their own answer song but none did it as well as Buddy (goes without saying, really).

The original is one of his most famous songs, Peggy Sue.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

Buddy's follow up isn't really an answer song like the rest today; it's more a continuation of the story. In this case, Peggy Sue Got Married.

This was one of the songs Buddy recorded just with acoustic guitar at home before his fateful trip. It had other singers and instruments added for this version. There's another, different, one as well which is pretty awful, as well as the original unadorned version out there.

The song's interesting (to me anyway), it doesn't have a conventional verse/chorus structure - it's rather free flowing. It makes you wonder what else he could have produced.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue Got Married

It comes as no surprise that ELVIS is included today.

Elvis Presley

I could have chosen several of his which had the answer treatment but I settled on Little Sister as it had the best reply song. This was a two-sided hit for the king as it had His Latest Flame, an even better song, on the other side of the record.

♫ Elvis Presley - Little Sister

LAVERN BAKER is Elvis's answerer.

LaVern Baker

Her song title isn't anything obvious like Big Sister. Instead, it's called Hey Memphis. Both songs were written by Doc Pomas and Mort Shuman. I guess they thought if you're on a good thing... (well, that's the whole point of this column).

♫ LaVern Baker - Hey Memphis

A couple that got me laughing out loud is this next pair. Starting with the original, of course, by NEIL SEDAKA.

Neil Sedaka

Actually, this one wasn't all that funny. It was Neil's first hit and a big one at that, Oh! Carol.

♫ Neil Sedaka - Oh! Carol

The Carol mentioned was CAROLE KING.

Carole King

She and Neil dated for a while when they were still at school; she was still Carol Klein at the time. Later they were both members at the Brill Building, churning out songs - she in partnership with her then-husband Gerry Goffin and Neil with his old friend Howard Greenfield.

Naturally her song is called Oh Neil and she didn't take it at all seriously.

♫ Carole King - Oh Neil


ELDER MUSIC: 1975

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.


What happened in 1975?

  • Natalie Imbruglia was born
  • Bruce Springsteen released Born to Run
  • Jimmy Hoffa disappeared
  • Microsoft was founded
  • The Governor General staged a coup in Australia
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show was released
  • North Melbourne were premiers

By 1975 THE EAGLES were the hottest band around.

The Eagles

The story of this song is that the members of the group were in a restaurant and saw a stunning looking woman with a fat, ugly, older man and one said to the others, "Look at her, she can't even hide those Lyin' Eyes.”

Light bulbs all round. Each of them grabbed napkins to write on and a hit song was born.

♫ The Eagles - Lyin' Eyes

Before the Next Teardrop Falls was a country song written by Vivian Keith and Ben Peters. It was recorded by a couple of dozen artists to no noticeable effect on the charts. Then producer Huey Meaux talked FREDDY FENDER into recording it.

Freddy Fender

Freddy said that it only took a few minutes and he was glad to get it over with. He thought that that would be the last he'd hear of it. Nope. The song caught on and went to the top of the charts.

♫ Freddy Fender - Before The Next Teardrop Falls

EMMYLOU HARRIS's solo career began in earnest in 1975 with the release of her album "Pieces of the Sky."

Emmylou Harris

The album title is taken from the words of the song Before Believing, written by Danny Flowers.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Before Believing

By 1975, SKYHOOKS were the most important band in Australia.

Skyhooks

Although often lumped into the glam rock category because of their costumes and makeup, they were a serious rock band who tackled issues head on in their songs.

They were the first to name check Australian locales in their music. Before them, no one had done that apart from a few country musicians. I don't know if this song tackles a serious issue, some might think so. It's called All My Friends Are Getting Married.

♫ Skyhooks - All My Friends Are Getting Married

The song Wildfire came to MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY in a dream.

Michael Martin Murphey

When he woke, he quickly wrote it down and started singing it to get it into his brain. Shortly afterwards he recorded it.

He wondered if it was any good so he played it to the staff at the lodge where he was staying at the time and they all loved it. They weren't the only ones.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Wildfire

Here's something you probably weren't expecting, JOAN BAEZ rocking out.

Joan Baez

The song is from her album "Diamonds and Rust,” a high point of her recording career. The song Blue Sky was written by Dickey Betts, the fine guitarist for The Allman Brothers Band (and his own group).

♫ Joan Baez - Blue Sky

After a couple of mediocre albums (for them, anyone else have loved to own them) THE BAND returned to form with the album "Northern Lights-Southern Cross.”

The Band

Members of the group thought that this might be their best album aside from the self-titled one. They could be right.

As I've used several songs from the album in other columns over the years, I'll include one I haven't featured before, Rags and Bones.

♫ The Band - Rags and Bones

In 1975 JUDY COLLINS brought out her biggest selling album just called "Judith.”

Judy Collins

This had several good songs on it but I prefer a couple of her earlier albums. It doesn't really matter. From this one we have The Lovin' of the Game, a surprisingly country sounding song written by Pat Garvey.

♫ Judy Collins - The Lovin' of the Game

JESSE COLIN YOUNG's album, "Songbird," was pretty good but didn't reach the heights of "Song For Juli" a couple of years earlier.

Jesse Colin Young

Jesse was the driving force of the band The Youngbloods and has had quite a decent solo career since their demise. His style is not straight folk or rock; he brings elements of jazz and blues into his performances. The song from the album is Josiane.

♫ Jesse Colin Young - Josiane

I'll end these 41 years of music with The King. This wasn't a really big hit for ELVIS but I do sort of, kind of remember it from the time.

Elvis Presley

Okay, Elvis didn't look like that on 1975, alas. The song is If You Talk in Your Sleep.

♫ Elvis Presley - If You Talk In Your Sleep

Well, that's it. That's the end of these "Years" columns. There will be no more. If I suggest doing them for a third time you can take me out and shoot me. Or maybe just take me out and feed me a lot of wine so I'd be incapable of typing.

We return to normal service next week.


ELDER MUSIC: Songs with Street Names

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.


BeaconsfieldPde

(That's Beaconsfield Parade – see below)

My home town of Melbourne has an endearing (or, as most people would have it, infuriating) habit of having streets change their names, quite arbitrarily it seems, along their length.

Just in my neck of the woods starting in Port Melbourne, there's Beach Street that becomes Beaconsfield Parade, the Lower Esplanade, Jacka Boulevard, Marine Parade, Ormond Esplanade, St Kilda Street, The Esplanade and finally Beach Road before it joins the Nepean Highway.

Then there's Williams Road/Hotham Street and Balaclava Road/Carlisle Street. This pair (or quartet) cross each other and at least have the grace to change their names at that intersection.

However, Williams Road is a bit greedy and it also becomes Alexandra Avenue, City Road and finally Bay Street.

Then there are two very silly ones. Inkerman Street has that name for most of its length but the last little bit it becomes Inkerman Road. Finally, there are many High Streets around town. I imagine that's the same in every English speaking city.

The one near me is called High Street half the time and High Street Road for the rest. These are just ones I walk along or drive down pretty much every day.

So, this is a column about songs with named streets. None of the ones I've mentioned will be present today due to a lack of songs about them.

For the first draft, indeed a completed column, about half the streets were from New York, all numbered ones. I thought that that would make a column on its own and so it proved. I then had to rustle up a bunch more for this one (quite an easy exercise as there are many from which to choose).

I'll start with THE DOORS, one of the iconic groups from the sixties. They made up their street name, but it still counts.

The Doors

They were blessed with having three fine musicians and probably the most charismatic lead singer from the era. Besides the charisma, he also sang well with a fine baritone voice.

Alas, he lived life to the full and just barely made it out of that decade. Here they are with Love Street.

♫ The Doors - Love Street

I have a couple of dozen versions of Green Dolphin Street so it's a matter of playing them all until I find the one I want to include. (Time passes). Okay, I've done that and have settled on GEORGE SHEARING and NANCY WILSON.

Shearing and Wilson

This is from an album they made together called “The Swingin's Mutual!” There seems to have been a lot of exclamation marks on jazz album titles back then. Here they are with a really nice version of the song.

♫ George Shearing and Nancy Wilson - On Green Dolphin Street

Tom Waits wrote the song Fannin Street and he did a good job of performing it as well, but I've decided to go with JOHN HAMMOND's version instead.

John Hammond

John recorded an album of Tom's songs which is really worth a listen if you like either or both artists. This is from that album.

♫ John Hammond - Fannin Street

There are several songs about Beale Street; this isn't the most famous of those. It is by CAB CALLOWAY though, and that's worth the price of admission.

Cab Calloway

Although his parents wanted Cab to be a lawyer, he had a good singing voice and preferred jazz. At some pointN he joined his older sister Blanche who had become a band leader and he always credited her as his inspiration to get into show biz.

Anyway, Cab's street song is Beale Street Mama.

♫ Cab Calloway - Beale Street Mama

There are two guitarists present today whose influence is beyond measure. The first of these is CHET ATKINS.

Chet Atkins

Chet's contribution is an instrumental, something at which he excelled, called Main Street Breakdown. You'll wonder if he really has only two hands. It's not the only tune about Main Street (that won't come as much of a surprise).

♫ Chet Atkins - Main Street Breakdown

DAVE VAN RONK was the avuncular presence and titular head of the folk scene in New York in the early sixties.

Dave Van Ronk

He was once considered for a group that later became Peter, Paul and Mary. That really wouldn't have worked even though as a youngster Dave was part of a barbershop quartet. That I'd like to have heard.

Anyway, Dave's contribution today is Sunday Street.

♫ Dave Van Ronk - Sunday Street

Another Main Street. I guess they're as common as High Street, maybe more so. Around the middle of the seventies JONI MITCHELL

started to move away from her image as hippy chick/singer song-writer and started creating more complex music, usually in a jazz style.

Joni Mitchell

This began around the time of the album “The Hissing of Summer Lawns” from which this track, In France They Kiss on Main Street, was taken. There are also some elements of rock & roll along with the jazz and leftover folk.

♫ Joni Mitchell - In France They Kiss On Main Street

Here is another influential guitarist, J.J. CALE.

JJ Cale

He didn't ever receive his due with the record buying public but other musicians, especially guitarists, recognised what a huge talent he was. I think we can thank Eric Clapton for recording several of his songs (in J.J.'s own style) and bringing his name a little to the fore.

J.J.'s song is Cherry Street, not one his most famous.

♫ J.J. Cale - Cherry Street

NAT KING COLE is always welcome in any column of mine.

Nat King Cole Trio

Here he is in the early days with his trio and Vine Street Jump.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Vine Street Jump

JULIE LONDON is another semi-regular in these columns and it's good to have another excuse to include her.

Julie London

Her contribution is called Easy Street. Hit it, Julie.

♫ Julie London - Easy Street


ELDER MUSIC: 1974

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.


What happened in 1974?

  • Ryan Adams was born
  • Cyclone Tracy destroyed Darwin on Christmas Eve
  • We really didn't have Nixon to kick around anymore
  • Rubik's Cube invented
  • Duke Ellington died
  • Blazing Saddles was released
  • Richmond were premiers

Well, we're solidly into singer/songwriter territory this year. All it needs is Bob to complete my favorite list of those – I'm omitting him from these years as he features prominently in other columns. Similarly you won't have found The Beatles or The Stones either.

I don't know if you'd call BOB MARLEY a singer/songwriter but I suppose that technically he fits the bill – he sang songs he wrote himself.

Bob Marley

No Woman, No Cry was Bob's breakthrough song. It was on the "Natty Dread" album but the big hit was from his album "Live" which, curiously enough, was a live album. The one today is from the former album.

♫ Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry

GORDON LIGHTFOOT is the first of the recognized singer/songwriters today.

Gordon Lightfoot

Sundown came from the album of the same name and the song is about his girl friend of the time who wasn't a very nice person at all.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

Midnight at the Oasis was from that wonderful first solo album by MARIA MULDAUR.

Maria Muldaur

The song was really just a last minute inclusion and was written by David Nichtern who also wrote the beautiful I Never Did Write You a Love Song, also on the album.

♫ Maria Muldaur - Midnight at the Oasis

Seasons in the Sun started life as a song called Le Moribond written by Jacques Brel. The poet Rod McKuen wrote English words for it and it was recorded by TERRY JACKS.

Terry Jacks

Both English and French versions are sung from the point of view of a dying man but the French version is more scathing and sarcastic making references to the singer's wife's infidelity. Jacques himself was dying of cancer when he wrote the song.

Before Terry's version, The Kingston Trio (closer to the mood of the French language version) and The Fortunes both recorded it to some success. Terry's, though, went gangbusters – it's one of those rare records to have sold more than 10 million.

♫ Terry Jacks - Seasons In The Sun

I was going to gush here because JESSE WINCHESTER was such a wonderful songwriter and a terrific singer. I had originally included suggestions to catch his performances but alas, he died not so long ago.

Jesse Winchester

I'll just introduce Mississippi You're on My Mind.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Mississippi You're on My Mind

BILLY JOEL wrote the song Piano Man about his experiences of playing in a piano bar.

Billy Joel

Billy doesn't think much of the song musically and was surprised and embarrassed when it took off. However, he says his songs are like his children so he was pleased that "the kid had done pretty well.”

♫ Billy Joel - Piano Man

TOM RUSH is known mostly as an interpreter of other people's songs and a damn fine one at that.

Tom Rush

However, he does now and then write songs, and really good ones. This isn't one of those. It's by Richard Dean and is called Jenny Lynn. It's an amusing little ditty.

♫ Tom Rush - Jenny Lynn

JACKSON BROWNE was starting to make a name for himself around about now.

Jackson Browne

Many of Jackson's songs turned up on other people's records long before he ever recorded them. It's remarkable how someone who was so young as he was at the time could come up with such profound and wise songs. I just shake my head and listen to the music. For a Dancer.

♫ Jackson Browne - For a Dancer

RY COODER was, still is, the go-to man if you want some fine guitar playing on your record. He's graced many a memorable (and some not so) album.

Ry Cooder

He has recorded his own as well and they are really worth a listen. Besides that, he's brought to the general public forms of music that aren't generally heard outside their own musical ghetto.

With the "Buena Vista Social Club" album, film and live performances he brought a number of great Cuban musicians to the fore who hadn't been heard outside their country for decades. He's also a champion of what's labeled "Tex-Mex" music.

We're going back a few years, to 1974, of course, and from the album "Paradise and Lunch" we have Tatler, a song Linda Ronstadt covered pretty well.

♫ Ry Cooder - Tattler

JOHN SEBASTIAN was the driving force of the Lovin' Spoonful who were featured in previous years. You may also remember him for his performance at Woodstock (the film anyway, if you happened not to attend the actual event).

John Sebastian

John's songs have been covered by many artists who have made them more recognized than his own versions. Here he covers one of his own. The song Sportin' Life was recorded originally by the Spoonful and John later also included it on his album "Tarzana Kid.”

♫ John Sebastian - Sportin' Life

1975 will appear in two weeks' time.


Tuesday 7 April 2015

This is Peter (the TGB music columnist). There's been a coup here at TGB and I've taken over. I achieved that by waving ice cream at Ronni and distracting her that way.

I will be a benevolent leader, if you follow my orders that is. And my first order is that you help Ronni celebrate her birthday or no cake and ice cream for you.

So, happy birthday Ronni.

I've also gone to a great deal of expense and trouble and had all my minions prepare this humongous birthday cake for her. Make a wish. Ronni.

Cake

Before you blow out the candle, we'll sing some birthday songs for you.

I'll start with one of the best known in popular music by the best known group, THE BEATLES. Their song is simply called Birthday.

The Beatles

♫ The Beatles - Birthday

Well, today isn't Fats Domino's birthday but we'll allow a little artistic licence as it's such a good song. So, Happy Birthday Fats Domino sings BOBBY CHARLES, who was a good friend of the great man.

Bobby Charles

♫ Bobby Charles - Happy Birthday Fats Domino

The DUTCH SWING COLLEGE BAND play Birthday Blues. We'll have to take their word for it as there are no words to the tune.

Dutch Swing College

♫ Dutch Swing College - Birthday Blues

I have no idea who the PIXIES THREE are; they turned up on a compilation album singing Birthday Party.

Pixies Three

♫ Pixies Three - Birthday Party

Another tune you'll have to take on trust, as it also lacks words, is by the best bebop pianist ever, THELONIOUS MONK and it's Boo Boo's Birthday. I don't know who Boo Boo is (well, apart from Yogi's friend).

Thelonious Monk

♫ Thelonious Monk - Boo Boo's Birthday

Here's some advice on what to wear today. JOHN HARTFORD suggests that I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit. I hope everyone will follow suit (sorry).

John Hartford

♫ John Hartford - I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit

Last but not least, THE TUNE WEAVERS sing Happy Happy Birthday Baby.

The Tune Weavers

♫ The Tune Weavers - Happy Happy Birthday Baby

Okay, time to blow out the candle. Ready? Now puff.

Cake


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Henry Lowenstern: Sing-Along


ELDER MUSIC: St Louis Blues

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


It's time for another variation on a song.

St Louis Blues, written by W.C. Handy, was the first in the blues idiom to cross over into the mainstream. It's been said that it inspired the foxtrot although W.C. himself suggested that it was his song, Memphis Blues that deserves that honor.

It's not really relevant unless you're all up foxtrotting around the kitchen or wherever you're listening. It's a tune that lends itself to many interpretations as we shall see.

I guess I could have subtitled this column Songs About Cities: St Louis, but that would be cheating.

The first was insisted upon by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and that one is by BILLY ECKSTINE.

Billy Eckstine

After singing in Earl Hines', band Billy started his own and my goodness, was his a breeding ground for talent. Amongst others, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro and Sarah Vaughan (as well as a lot more) began their careers in Billy's band.

I don't know if any of those are featured on this track but Billy sure is. Here's his take on St Louis Blues.

♫ Billy Eckstine - St Louis Blues

As a demonstration of the various versions possible, I give you DOC WATSON.

Doc Watson

He even suggests in the introduction to the tune that he plays it differently from everyone else. It certainly isn't like the other versions today.

♫ Doc Watson - St Louis Blues

You could say that BIG JOE TURNER's main gig was jump blues. You could also say that he did as much as anyone else in the development of rock & roll.

Big Joe Turner

Today he's in the former mode but I think you can tell what I'm talking about (a bit). There's also some jazz influence here. Joe was a very important musician around this time (and later).

♫ Big Joe Turner - St Louis Blues

MARIA MULDAUR has a variation on the theme.

Maria Muldaur

It's not the standard song but something called The Ghost of the St Louis Blues and it starts out sounding like something from The Addams Family.

She does reference the song, of course; with a title like The Ghost of the St Louis Blues, she'd have to.

♫ Maria Muldaur - The Ghost of the St Louis Blues

Even that old rocker who mostly wrote his own songs, CHUCK BERRY, had a go at our song.

Chuck Berry

Early in his recording career, Chuck recorded a few old blues tunes and this is one of them. He gives it the standard Chuck treatment and that's not a bad thing as far as I'm concerned.

♫ Chuck Berry - St Louis Blues

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL, not surprisingly, sound rather like Bob Wills as it was his band on which they modelled themselves.

Asleep At The Wheel

They have the help of another fan of Bob's and that is MERLE HAGGARD singing along with them.

Merle Haggard

Put them together and you have St Louis Blues. Well, you do today.

♫ Asleep at the Wheel - St Louis Blues

Back in the day LES PAUL AND MARY FORD would perform pretty much anything that took their fancy.

Les Paul and Mary Ford

What took their fancy this day was St Louis Blues. It still sounds like Les and Mary – well, Mary multi-tracked as Les had a wont to do.

♫ Les Paul & Mary Ford - St Louis Blues

A couple of my favorite jazz musicians have a crack at the song. Those being DAVE BRUBECK and GERRY MULLIGAN.

Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan

I don't really need to say anything about these two giants. Just listen to what they do with the tune. This is from a live recording in Berlin.

♫ Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan - St Louis Blues

Like Les and Mary, THE MILLS BROTHERS pretty much recorded everything that came their way.

The Mills Brothers

Their version is faster than the others today; I guess they had to fit it on to a 78 record.

♫ The Mills Brothers - St Louis Blues

I'll finish with the man himself. Here's W.C. HANDY AND HIS ORCHESTRA, probably from 1922. He published the song in 1914 and some say that's the date of this recording. That earlier date seems a bit early for me, so I'll go with the later one.

W.C. Handy

♫ W C Handy and Orchestra - St Louis Blues


ELDER MUSIC: 1973

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.


What happened in 1973?

  • Rufus Wainwright was born
  • Richard Nixon told us he wasn't a crook. Yeah right
  • Gravity's Rainbow was published
  • Pablo Picasso died
  • The Sting was released
  • Richmond were premiers

1973 brought us STEVIE WONDER's finest recorded moment with the album “Innervisions.”

Stevie Wonder

The centrepiece of the album is the song Living for the City. This song has very tough lyrics suitable for a song about the times we were living through then.

You can hear Stevie's voice getting angrier as the song progresses. It's not a pretty song but it demands to be heard.

♫ Stevie Wonder - Living for the City

DAVID BOWIE was going through a bit of a strange period in 1973. Okay, that doesn't narrow things down too much.

David Bowie

This was the time of Ziggy Stardust and the song is Space Oddity. The song was actually recorded and released in 1969 and re-released in 1973 to cash in on the new persona.

♫ David Bowie - Space Oddity

Mentor Williams wrote the song Drift Away and it was originally recorded by John Kurtz. No one took much notice until DOBIE GRAY had a go at it.

Dobie Gray

It proved to be a great success and has been covered many times. It's also used by a lot of bands to finish their gigs. Ace session guitarist Reggie Young plays the wonderful guitar parts in the song.

♫ Dobie Gray - Drift Away

GLADYS KNIGHT AND THE PIPS was a family affair – the Pips consisted of Gladys's brother Merald (or Bubba) and their cousins Edward Patten and William Guest.

Gladys Knight & the Pips

Rather surprisingly, many of their hits were written by a country music songwriter (and occasional singer), Jim Weatherly. This is one of those, Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye).

♫ Gladys Knight & The Pips - Neither One of Us (Wants to Be the First To Say Goodbye)

Over the previous few years VAN MORRISON had released five of the finest albums of the era.

Van Morrison

This year saw "Hard Nose the Highway" which wasn't quite up to the standard of the previous ones but was very good anyway. Van had recorded more than enough for a double album (with songs left over) but was convinced to release a single one.

A few of the tracks popped up on the next album but most didn't appear for years when a double CD of unreleased tracks was unveiled to the public. Many of those were so good we wondered why that hadn't seen the light of day before. But that's Van.

The song today is Snow in San Anselmo, which is all about snow falling in San Anselmo (a rare event).

♫ Van Morrison - Snow in San Anselmo

JIMMY CLIFF wrote the song Many Rivers to Cross in 1969 and it did nothing at the time.

Jimmy Cliff

Later, Jimmy had the lead role in the film The Harder They Come and the song, along with other songs of his, was featured in it. More especially, it was on the fine soundtrack album which became a big seller (and is one of the finest soundtrack albums ever).

♫ Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers to Cross

There are many cheating songs out there, it's a staple subject of country music, blues and, well, any sort of music really.

This one though is a little unusual as it's from the perspective of the cheaters. Okay, I know a couple of others but not too many. The singer on this is BILLY PAUL.

Billy Paul

The song is Me and Mrs Jones. If you listen carefully to the introduction, the sax player plays a brief bit of Secret Love. Very tongue in cheek.

♫ Billy Paul - Me and Mrs Jones

This was some year for ELTON JOHN.

Elton John

Not only did he release the monumental "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album earlier this same year, he also put out "Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player.”

Artists these days seem to take years to produce albums (and they don't come up with anything near the quality of these two). The song Daniel is from the latter mentioned album.

♫ Elton John - Daniel

Tina Turner wasn't a songwriter generally but she did write this one about the town where she grew up. Not surprisingly, given their history together, this was the last song that AND TINA TURNER recorded together.

Ike & Tina Turner

Ike didn't play guitar on this track; it was Marc Bolan who was a fan of the duo (but especially Tina). The song is Nutbush City Limits.

♫ Ike and Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits

JIM CROCE's song, Time in a Bottle became a number one hit a few months after his death in a plane crash.

Jim Croce

The song was used in a TV tele-movie and the next day the TV network was inundated with calls wanting to know what the song was and was it available as a single.

It wasn't but that was soon rectified. The words gained greater poignancy with his recent death.

♫ Jim Croce - Time In a Bottle

1974 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Jerusalem

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.


Jerusalem

Poor old Jerusalem, having three world-wide religions fighting over it – killing, maiming, raping, torturing, destroying, slaughtering all in the name of peace and love.

I can't help but feel sorry for its citizens (except those who are complicit in the above). That's all I'll say. The music, I hope, will go just a tiny way to ameliorate the situation.

There's no better way to start this column than with the great ODETTA.

Odetta

I imagine most readers know about Odetta. If by chance you don't, check her out – she's far too important for me to gloss over in a paragraph or two. She needs a full column. One day. She performs O Jerusalem.

♫ Odetta - O Jerusalem

SHAWN COLVIN got into music by listening to her dad's record.

Shawn Colvin

Since then she's played with many of the artists she listened to as a kiddie, and younger artists are lining up to play with her these days. Her contribution to today's topic is called American Jerusalem.

♫ Shawn Colvin - American Jerusalem

I'm surprised nobody has made a film about CARLO GESUALDO, who was a composer of considerable facility.

Gesualdo

Carlo was a minor prince of some minor area in southern Italy in the 16th century who married his first cousin (a lot of that going on back then).

She started an affair with a duke and managed to keep it secret for quite a while until one day Carlo came home and found Donna Maria and Fabrizio (for those were their names) at it in the marital bed.

Well, Carlo ran them through with his sword (a large number of times apparently), and he shot the duke as well. He then left their mutilated bodies in front of the palace for all to see.

The authorities couldn't do a thing about it 'coz he was a prince (hmmm), however, Donna Maria's and Fabrizio's families weren't going to let the matter rest.

Carlo then bumped off his father-in-law when he came after him. Some say that he also murdered his son because he thought that the duke might be the father. He then hired a whole bunch of bodyguards and hightailed it out of town.

He settled in Ferrara and married again (brave woman) and continued composing – he hired singers and musicians to play his compositions. After a few years, he returned to his castle in his hometown (I guess the hue and cry must have died down, although he still had his bodyguards) and carried on creating music (more hired folks – he must have been worth a bit).

Carlo became estranged from his new(ish) wife who claimed he abused her and she tried to get a divorce. When that failed she left town and went to live with her brother.

According to one biographer, "She seems to have been a very virtuous lady, for there is no record of his having killed her." He's referring to Carlo, of course, not the brother.

Later Carlo suffered severe depression and he started paying his servants to beat him daily as a penance (they probably would have done it for nothing) and that continued for the rest of his life.

In spite of all the above, he composed some of the most beautiful music ever written. This is Venit lumen tuum Jerusalem (Your light has come, Jerusalem).

♫ Gesualdo - Venit lumen tuum Jerusalem

I'm a bit surprised that there were very few songs about Jerusalem in my gospel music records. Even the great Mahalia had only one (in my collection, although she may have recorded more). This is the best of the songs I found. It's by SOUTHERN JUBILEES.

Southern Jubilees

I think that's a picture of the group. The track I selected was on a compilation album and there was no information about them. There seem to several groups with the same or similar names so I won't say anything in case I get it wrong.

Here they are with There's a Man in Jerusalem.

♫ The Southern Jubilees - There's A Man In Jerusalem

J.S. BACH composed only one cantata that specifically references Jerusalem. That's rather a surprise as he often wrote several on the same theme.

JS Bach

Anyway, J.S. wrote this for the change of council (or Ratswechsel) in Leipzig where he was living at the time. This isn't the only one he produced for this purpose; there are four others that do the same thing but none of them mention Jerusalem.

It's the cantata BWV 119, Preise Jerusalem, den Herrn (Praise the Lord, o Jerusalem), the first movement.

♫ JS Bach - Preise Jerusalem, den Herrn BWV 119 (1)

I think DON MCLEAN is being extremely optimistic with his song.

Don McLean

It's from an album called "Believers" so that may be why. I don't know about the all roads leading to Jerusalem, as he sings in the song; I thought that was Rome, a city I'd much rather visit. Don's song is called Jerusalem.

♫ Don McLean - Jerusalem

The NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND's contribution is from the second of their interesting experiments of bringing old country artists together with rock musicians and younger country performers.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

These were all a resounding success and they were called "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," named after the Carter Family song. Indeed, Maybelle Carter was on the first of these and her daughters June, Anita and Helen were on the second one, from which this song is taken.

There are no Carters on the track, though, which is called Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan.

♫ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Don't You Hear Jerusalem Moan

STEVE EARLE is multi-talented.

Steve Earle

Besides being a musician and songwriter of note, he's acted in films and television, he's written a novel, a bunch of short stories and a play. He's also been married seven times (twice to the same woman) and he's a political activist for causes with which most of the readers would agree.

Oh, he sings a bit too, and here he does just that on Jerusalem.

♫ Steve Earle - Jerusalem

Back in 1804, William Blake wrote a poem called "And did those feet in ancient time.” The composer Hubert Parry later wrote some music for this poem and called it the more manageable Jerusalem.

It was instantly popular and I'll say is pretty stirring even though I'm not English (for it is about England in spite of its title).

It's usually performed as a choral work but today it's sung as a solo by the opera singer LESLEY GARRETT.

Lesley Garrett

Well, sort of solo. It sounds to me as if they brought in a rock & roll drummer to accompany her along with the choir.

♫ Lesley Garrett - Jerusalem

I'm not surprised that DAVID OLNEY has the best song about the city.

David Olney

He has a knack of hitting the essence of a song spot on. He does so in this one, Jerusalem Tomorrow.

♫ David Olney - Jerusalem Tomorrow


ELDER MUSIC: 1972

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.


What happened in 1972?

  • Patrick Rafter was born
  • Gough Whitlam was elected Prime Minister
  • Australia's first aeroplane hijacking ("Take me to Alice Springs")
  • The Auntie Jack Show premiered
  • Silent Running was released
  • Carlton were premiers

Shel Silverstein wrote most of the hits that DR HOOK had, including this one.

Dr Hook

Although he had a vivid imagination – he wrote children's books, was a cartoonist, poet and wrote for films as well – the song Sylvia's Mother is not just based on facts, Shel said that it pretty much happened as sung.

The only thing he changed was Sylvia's surname (because it didn't scan, not to protect the innocent). A lot of people thought it was a parody, but it was the real deal.

♫ Dr Hook - Sylvia's Mother

ALBERT HAMMOND is an English singer and he decided to leave the country and seek warmer climes.

Albert Hammond

He wrote a song about it with his friend Mike Hazlewood, summing up what was in store for him. By doing so he had a world-wide hit.

In case you don't know what the climate is like, It Never Rains in Southern California.

♫ Albert Hammond - It Never Rains in Southern California

JOHNNY NASH was a Texas singer/songwriter who was taken by reggae music.

Johnny Nash

So, he went to Jamaica to record (including some songs with Bob Marley playing and producing before he became famous). I Can See Clearly Now was a song for the album of the same name, but this one was recorded in London.

♫ Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now

ROD STEWART certainly hit a purple patch in the early seventies, and this year is no exception.

Rod Stewart

You Wear It Well sounds to me like a companion piece to Maggie May from the previous year. Another winner from Rod.

♫ Rod Stewart - You Wear It Well

Papa Was a Rolling Stone was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong. It was first recorded by The Undisputed Truth. Their version is largely forgotten because it was later done by THE TEMPTATIONS.

The Temptations

Norman also produced The Temps' version and did a really fine job of it. There's a 12 minute version of the song as well, but that's just a bit too much.

♫ The Temptations - Papa Was a Rolling Stone

DON MCLEAN had a couple of hits in 1972. This isn't the really long one.

Don McLean

It's from the same album and is about Van Gogh. The song is Vincent, probably the finest song about a painter.

♫ Don McLean - Vincent

BILLY THORPE AND THE AZTECS started out in the mid-sixties wearing white suits and singing covers of Beatles' and Coasters' songs.

Billy Thorpe

Then around 1970 Billy switched the suit for jeans and t-shirts, donned a Les Paul Gibson, turned the amplifier up to 11 and proceeded to produce music that made any self-respecting Boeing 747 cover its ears.

They were the loudest group I have ever heard in my life. The song Most People I Know, fortunately, doesn't reflect this.

♫ Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know

If you thought that Sylvia's Mother was a sad tale, GILBERT O'SULLIVAN can beat that with this absolute tale of woe.

Gilbert O'Sullivan

The song is Alone Again (Naturally). This one isn't autobiographical, according to Gilbert.

Incidentally, he won a landmark case against a rapper who sampled the song without permission. The first of such cases. Now they have to be wary before they do that sort of thing, and pay royalties. Good thing too.

♫ Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)

By 1972, RICKY NELSON had established himself as one of the foremost country rock artists. He was also going by the name Rick.

Ricky Nelson

He'd occasionally play oldies gigs but he wasn't particularly welcomed by the crowd because, unlike many of the other acts, he had moved on and was making music relevant to the times.

As he sings in Garden Party, he played the old songs but no one listened because he didn't look the same. You tell them, Rick.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Garden Party

By the sound of this song it seems to me that JOE TEX anticipated rap music by some years.

Joe Tex

Joe was always innovative – he taught James Brown everything he knows. Joe really hasn't received the kudos he deserved. I guess original artists often miss out. Not always of course, but in this case, yes.

The song is I Gotcha.

♫ Joe Tex - I Gotcha

1973 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Franz Schubert

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.


Schubert

FRANZ SCHUBERT, born in 1797 in Vienna, was a child prodigy. He probably had to be as he died at only 31. In spite of that he wrote an astonishing amount of music in numerous genres.

His father was a teacher and a bit of an amateur musician who taught young Franz the basics. He later had a bit of formal tuition, but not much.

Franz played several instruments, most notably piano and viola. He'd play this latter instrument in his family's string quartet – brothers Ferdinand and Ignaz on violin and dad on cello. This was before he was a teenager and he was already writing string quartets for the family to perform.

This is one of those, the second movement of the String Quartet No. 1 in C minor, D. 18.

♫ String Quartet No. 1 (2)

Franz's compositions really weren't known to the general public in his lifetime, only to a small circle of friends and admirers. After he died he was discovered by the next generation of composers – Mendelssohn, Liszt, Schumann and Brahms in particular and they championed his work.

A bit late for Franz but that's the way it goes. His music has remained in the concert repertoire ever since.

Schubert

Franz wrote a whole bunch of German dances – he liked to keep his friends entertained. The one I've selected is the German Dance No 1 in C major.

It sounds like a minuet to me in parts and gets a bit frantic in other parts. They must have been good dancers to keep up.

♫ German Dance No 1 in C major

Schubert

It wasn't just string quartets that Franz was interested in; he wrote quartets for other instruments too, as well as quintets (most famously the Trout) and other works for small groups.

In this case it's a Quartet for Flute, Guitar, Viola and Cello in G Major, D96. The first movement. The flute's a bit dominant for my taste, but that's probably just me.

♫ Quartet for Flute, Guitar, Viola and Cello in G Major, D96 (1)

Schubert

Franz wrote a bunch of Valses Sentimentales - sentimental waltzes. These are works for solo piano and I've included two of them because they are quite short, each less than a minute long.

They are both played by Paolo Bordoni and they come from D779. The first is No. 24 in B-flat Major.

♫ Valses Sentimentales, D779 - No. 24 in B-flat Major

The second is No. 32 in C Major.

♫ Valses Sentimentales, D779 - No. 32 in C Major

Schubert

Franz really wanted to be an opera composer – he attempted 18 but finished only about half of them. However, if I were not sitting here at the keyboard with the intertube to hand, I wouldn't have been able to name one of them. None has entered the regularly performed repertoire.

Die Verschworenen (or The Conspirators) isn't an opera as we know it, more a song cycle or mini-opera. This is one that was successful for him, unfortunately, that success was posthumous.

The censors didn't like it possibly due to its title, they insisted on changing it. These days it's reverted to its original title. Here is the overture. It's in the catalogue as D787.

♫ Die Verschworenen (Overture), D. 787

Franz is renowned for his songs (or lieder, to those who wish to feel superior to the rest of us). More often than not these are sung by men but I prefer women singing them.

In this case, it doesn't get any better than JESSYE NORMAN.

Jessye Norman

Jessye sings for us An die Natur, D372 ("To Nature"), one of several songs he wrote about this topic. He wrote songs about just about every topic.

♫ Jessye Norman - An die Natur, D.372

Franz started 13 or 14 or 15 symphonies (depends on what you count), many of them unfinished. The one we know as The Unfinished Symphony is just the most finished of the unfinished ones.

However, today I'm considering the ones he completed. He has at least one symphony that I include in my short list of the world's greatest symphonies, and that is number 9, "The Great.” In this case the nickname is well deserved.

Having said that, I'm not going to use anything from that one, as "great" not only describes the quality of the work, it also tells us about the length of it as well.

So, on to another not quite as good as that one but really worthy of inclusion, his Symphony number 5 in B flat major, D 485. The first movement of that one.

♫ Symphony No. 5 (1)

Schubert

The Fantasy in C major, D934 has six movements. Okay, a couple of those are quite short, barely a minute long. However, it was too long for many Viennese when it was first performed and many walked out before it was finished (including the reviewer for the newspaper).

It's really only about 24 minutes long. I have included the second movement, not one of the really short ones. It's a work for violin and piano.

♫ Fantasy for Violin and Piano in C Major, D934 (2)

Schubert

As I mentioned above, Franz started a bunch of symphonies, many of which he didn't finish. We have the scores of some of those and they are interesting in their own right, as well as a pointer to what might have been.

This is part of D936A, a bunch of Symphonic Fragments obviously destined to be a symphony in the key of D. It was probably going to be the second movement.

♫ Symphonic Fragments in D, D. 708A (2)

If one song is good, two are even better. This time it's MARIAN ANDERSON's turn.

Marian Anderson

This song is from an album called "Rare & Unpublished Recordings 1936-1952" which has her singing when her voice was at its peak (at the time when the appalling D.A.R. people refused to let her sing in any venue in Washington D.C.)

The song is Der Erlkonig, the words of which were written by Goethe, and several people put it to music. Franz was the most famous and best of those. He included it in his Opus 1, D328.

♫ Marian Anderson - Der Erlkonig


ELDER MUSIC: 1971

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.


What happened in 1971?

  • Julian Assange was born
  • The pocket calculator was invented
  • The Ed Sullivan Show ended its run
  • Five Easy Pieces was released
  • Greenpeace was founded
  • Louis Armstrong died
  • Harold and Maude was released
  • Hawthorn were premiers

Question: How many times does BILL WITHERS sing "I know" in that first lot of I knowing in the song. Ain't No Sunshine?*

Bill Withers

Apparently those "I Knows" were just fillers for a verse that Bill hadn't written yet but the musicians who backed him liked them and suggested it remain as it was. The musicians being three quarters of Booker T and the MGs. Booker T arranged and conducted the strings.

♫ Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine

ELTON JOHN was just starting to make a name for himself in 1971.

Elton John

Your Song was the first of Elton's to hit the charts (but far from the last). It was also one of the first he wrote with Bernie Taupin, some years earlier before they were even performing.

It was supposed to be the B-side but as often happens, it became more important than the one on the other side.

♫ Elton John - Your Song

KEVIN JOHNSON wrote and recorded the song, Rock and Roll I Gave You All the Best Years of my Life.

Kevin Johnson

He said that that song bought him a home on Sydney's north shore and a BMW. I imagine it's still supplying him with goodies as people are still recording it.

I'm not using that song though; here is another from the same album which was also a hit here in Oz, Bonnie Please Don't Go.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Bonnie Please Don't Go

These "Years" columns have a whole bunch of firsts – people or bands I haven't featured previously. Here's another, AL GREEN.

Al Green

Tired of Being Alone was Al's breakthrough song. Before this one, he was recording in the mold of some of his heroes, Jackie Wilson, Wilson Pickett, James Brown and Sam Cooke. With this, he found his own voice and hasn't looked back.

♫ Al Green - Tired Of Being Alone

We've already had one rain song from CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL last year and here's another.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Around this time Creedence was touring with Booker T and the Mgs, John Fogerty was so impressed by the sound of Booker T's Hammond organ he decided to have it in a song (or several).

This is the first where he employed the instrument - Have You Ever Seen the Rain.

♫ Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Now listen. Here is DADDY COOL.

Daddy Cool

Daddy Cool were at their peak around this time. Indeed, there wasn't an Australian band that could come close. There were probably few from anywhere who could match their live performance. The song Eagle Rock has been voted the second best Australian song ever. Second Best? Hunh.

♫ Daddy Cool - Eagle Rock

Speaking of cool, THE CARPENTERS were never cool.

The Carpenters

Given that though, Karen sure could sing. They chose songs well too, and even wrote a few. Their song today is Rainy Days and Mondays written by Paul Williams.

♫ The Carpenters - Rainy Days And Mondays

Looking at the songs for this year, I was struck by their quality. What a great year for music. Here's an adornment to the list by ROD STEWART.

Rod Stewart

The record company didn't want Maggie May to be on the album but they'd run out of songs or time to record any more so they grudgingly included it. Then they released it as a B-side of a single figuring no one would want to turn it over and play it.

That, of course, is exactly what happened and it's gone on to become an icon of the period.

♫ Rod Stewart - Maggie May

ISAAC HAYES agreed to write the theme for the film Shaft on the condition that he got to play the lead role.

Isaac Hayes

Well, Isaac kept his side of the bargain but the producers of the film didn't. Isaac didn't even get an audition but he not only wrote this song; he wrote the complete sound track which was released as a double album.

It won all sorts of awards and sold really well, so I guess Isaac got a revenge of sorts.

♫ Isaac Hayes - Shaft

Riders on the Storm was the last hit for THE DOORS.

The Doors

It was also the very last song that Jim Morrison recorded. What a way to go out. The tune arose as The Doors were just jamming in the studio, initially to the old song, Ghost Riders in the Sky. This is what came of all that.

♫ The Doors - Riders on the Storm

Music from 1972 will appear in two weeks' time.

* I was somewhat surprised to count 26 times. I didn't think there were that many.


ELDER MUSIC: The Devil Made Me Do It

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.


Devil

Continuing the devilish theme from two weeks ago - after all, he wrote a lot of good songs - I give you today's music dedicated to him.

"The devil made me do it the first time, the second time I done it on my own." So said Billy Joe Shaver in his song Black Rose. I'll start with that very song, but not Billy Joe's version. I prefer WAYLON JENNINGS singing it.

Waylon Jennings

But then, Waylon was one of the finest song stylists who ever pulled on a black hat and a Fender Telecaster.

♫ Waylon Jennings - Black Rose

I wasn't familiar with WADE RAY until I started searching through my music for songs for this topic. (There's still stuff there I don't know about, I just need the right topic to bring it to light.)

Wade Ray

Wade started out on the vaudeville circuit and later was a fiddle-playing, western swing band leader rather like Bob Wills but Wade was a far better singer.

He became a member of Willie Nelson's touring band when they met at the Grand Ole Opry in the sixties. He died in 1998 at age 85. He performs Let Me Go, Devil, which sounds suspiciously like another song.

♫ Wade Ray - Let Me Go, Devil

MARTY ROBBINS is always welcome in one of my columns. Indeed, I've devoted a whole column to him way back in the mists of blog time.

Marty Robbins

There are a few songs called Devil Woman or something similar. This is the pick of them. But then, I would say that, wouldn't I?

♫ Marty Robbins - Devil Woman

I had quite a few choices for the song Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. After listening to them all I decided on GERRY MULLIGAN.

Gerry Mulligan

This is from his early quartet that included Chet Baker on the trumpet. On this track we also have ANNIE ROSS singing.

Annie Ross

♫ Gerry Mulligan with Annie Ross - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON has a couple of devil songs I could have chosen.

Kris Kristofferson

My selection amounted to little more than tossing a coin. Okay, I didn't actually do that but the choice didn't involve too much soul searching, dedicated listening or the like.

The song I selected is The Silver Tongued Devil and I, from the album of the same name.

♫ Kris Kristofferson - The Silver Tongued Devil and I

Given the topic, the LOUVIN BROTHERS are an automatic inclusion.

Louvin Brothers

They really had a thing about all this sort of thing. The Louvins’ song is called Santa is Real. Oh, hang on, that should be Satan is Real – an easy mistake to make about a couple of mythical characters whose names are so similar.

♫ Louvin Brothers - Satan Is Real

Well, they certainly told me. I really have to avoid being unneighborly or I could be in real trouble.

From the ridiculous to the sublime. Here's MILES DAVIS.

Miles Davis

No messing around, Miles plays Devil May Care from his “Quiet Nights” album.

♫ Miles Davis - Devil May Care

She's a devil in disguise, you can see it in her eyes. You can't say it plainer than that. The ones who are saying it are the FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS.

Flying Burrito Brothers

This was a group who, at the time of recording the next song, had more members of The Byrds in the group than The Byrds did in theirs. There's no devil in the title, but as you have already seen, he turns up in the song. Christine's Tune.

♫ Flying Burrito Brothers - Christine's Tune

Even THE BEATLES got into the act.

The Beatles

This is a very early song of theirs, Devil in Her Heart.

♫ The Beatles - Devil In Her Heart

I ended the first column on this topic with Charlie Daniels' song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia. It's appropriate that I should end this one with an homage to that song.

The homagers (I just made up that word) are the SENSITIVE NEW AGE COWPERSONS.

Sensitive New AgeCowpersons

The Cowpersons come from about as far away from civilisation as it's possible without getting wet. That is, they're from Fremantle which is a suburb of Perth (Western Australia) that likes to pretend that it's not a suburb of Perth.

Their song is Doc Met the Devil.

♫ Sensitive New Age Cowpersons - Doc Met The Devil


ELDER MUSIC: 1970 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.


What happened in 1970?

  • Ani DeFranco was born
  • The West Gate Bridge collapsed killing 35 workers
  • The silly tie break rule was introduced in tennis
  • Five Easy Pieces was released
  • Carlton were premiers

There seem to be a couple of versions of where the line "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" came from. One suggestion is that it was Billy Preston, another mentions Doris Troy. For all I know there could be others as well.

Whomever he got it from STEPHEN STILLS turned the line into a pretty good song.

Stephen Stills

Steve recorded his first solo album this year while Crosby, Stills and Nash were in a bit of an hiatus. That album produced the song Love the One You're With.

♫ Stephen Stills - Love The One You're With

B.B. KING was starting to make an impact on rock audiences with people like Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton mentioning him as an inspiration for their guitar playing.

B.B. King

The Thrill Is Gone was written by Roy Hawkins in 1951. B.B. played Roy's version on his radio program at the time and has recorded the song several times.

This is the only one that had strings added. It became his biggest hit, not that he's had many. Legends don't need them.

♫ B.B. King - The Thrill Is Gone

THE MIXTURES were an Australian band in the style of Mungo Jerry.

The Mixtures

Perhaps that should be the other way around as they started in the mid-sixties considerably before the Mungos did. Nevertheless, they recorded a cover version of the Mungos' song, In the Summertime, which sold really well here in Oz, I believe (I was in San Francisco at the time so I have no direct knowledge).

Later, The Mixtures wrote and recorded a song in the same vein called The Pushbike Song. To complete the circle, Mungo Jerry recorded a cover version of that song. Here are The Mixtures with the original.

♫ The Mixtures - Pushbike Song

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL had several songs about rain, a couple of which will be featured in these columns.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

John Fogerty wrote Who'll Stop the Rain after Creedence appeared at Woodstock. They were from California so they weren't used to all that rain that fell at the festival.

John insists that's what the song is about but notorious interpreters of musical lyrics claim all sorts of things about it. I'll stick to what John says, although there's obviously a bit more to the song than that.

♫ Creedence Clearwater Revival - Who'll Stop the Rain

While we're on the rain theme, BROOK BENTON was one of several artists who covered Tony Joe White's song, Rainy Night in Georgia.

Brook Benton

All the versions I've heard are worth a listen. Brook's is the one that got most airplay and is probably the pick of them (except for Tony Joe's, of course).

♫ Brook Benton - Rainy Night in Georgia

Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield wrote War for The Temptations and it appeared on one of their albums. Motown received many requests for the song to be released as a single so Norman rerecorded it with EDWIN STARR because Berry Gordy thought that, unlike The Temps, he didn't have a big fan base to offend with what Berry regarded as a controversial song.

Edwin Starr

Edwin's version is more intense than that of the Temps and it became his biggest selling record and one of the foremost protest songs of the year.

♫ Edwin Starr - War

JONI MITCHELL's third album, "Ladies of the Canyon" gave us several classic Joni songs.

Joni Mitchell

Joni said she wrote the song Big Yellow Taxi in Hawaii, specifically when she was on Oahu. She said she opened the window of the hotel and saw paradise in the distant mountains but looked down and there was a parking lot that seemed to stretch for miles.

♫ Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

Holland, Dozier, Holland wrote the song Band of Gold under a pseudonym as they were in legal dispute with Motown records at the time. The first recording of it was by FREDA PAYNE.

Freda Payne

Freda didn't want to record it at first as she thought it was more suited to a teenager or young woman to sing. After much persuasion she gave in and it shot up the charts.

♫ Freda Payne - Band Of Gold

Black Magic Woman is so associated with SANTANA that we tend to forget that it was written by Peter Green, the rather troubled founder of Fleetwood Mac.

Santana

I'll play the single version because the one from the album does tend to go on a bit. That, of course, is Carlos Santana playing guitar and the singer is Gregg Rolie, the keyboard player.

♫ Santana - Black Magic Woman

Speaking of long songs, I'm going to finish with one by WILSON PICKETT.

Wilson Pickett

On this track he moves away from his usual soul music and ventures into funk giving James Brown more than a run for his money. Actually, I prefer Wilson to James so that's okay with me.

The song is Get Me Back On Time, Engine Number Nine.

♫ Wilson Pickett - Get Me Back On Time, Engine Number Nine

You can find more music from 1970 here and here. 1971 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Sympathy for the Devil

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.


Some time ago I did a column on Angels so now it's the loyal opposition's turn.

Devil

I believe it was William Booth who asked the rhetorical question, “Why should the devil have all the best tunes?” Old Bill went on to form the Salvation Army and the devil went on to start jazz, blues, rock & roll and all the best music of the last century.

Today it's the devil's music, not Bill's.

The first two selections certainly are the devil's music. Given the title of the column today, the ROLLING STONES had to be present.

Rolling Stones

Legend has it that they were playing this song at the infamous Altamont concert when a Hell's Angel murdered a member of the crowd. I'm sorry to bring reality into this but it is not the song they were performing. It's just that it makes for a better story.

Here is Sympathy for the Devil.

♫ Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil

Early in his life and career, STEVE EARLE took Townes Van Zandt as his hero and role model. Uh oh, I'm surprised Steve's still alive.

Steve Earle

Besides being a fine songwriter and good singer, Steve is an activist, campaigning against capital punishment (still necessary in some uncivilized countries), landmines and for Vietnam veterans. He regularly performs for free for these causes.

His songs have been recorded by many notable artists but naturally I'm going with the real thing. Here's Steve with The Devil's Right Hand.

♫ Steve Earle - The Devil's Right Hand

CHET BAKER brings us a complete change of pace from the first two songs.

Chet Baker

Chet was both a singer and trumpet player of the first rank however, on this one he only sings. Old Devil Moon.

♫ Chet Baker - Old Devil Moon

Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels had a hit with the song Devil with the Blue Dress. However, they weren't the first to record it. That honor goes to SHORTY LONG, who wrote the song with Mickey Stevenson.

Shorty Long

Shorty was the first artist on Motown's Soul label, a subsidiary established for more blues based artists. He was a multi-instrumentalist playing piano, organ, trumpet, drums and other instruments. Alas, he died at only 29 in a boating accident.

♫ Shorty Long - Devil with the Blue Dress

ELVIS is usually on the side of the angels with his song choices, but there was one notable devil song.

Elvis

I imagine you're way ahead of me. Here is Devil in Disguise.

♫ Elvis Presley - Devil In Disguise

To no one's surprise, the GRATEFUL DEAD have a song about the devil.

Grateful Dead

It appears on their finest album, “American Beauty.” The song is Friend of the Devil.

♫ Grateful Dead - Friend Of The Devil

GENE VINCENT was one of the pioneers of both rock & roll and rockabilly.

Gene Vincent

Race with the Devil was Gene's second record after the success of Be-Bop-a-Lula. However, it really only tickled the bottom rungs of the charts. It doesn't matter, it was still a fine piece of rockabilly music. Good rock & roll too.

♫ Gene Vincent - Race With The Devil

The GUN was a rather obscure British power trio around the turn of the sixties into the seventies.

Gun

They were influenced by others of the same type like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The influence went in both directions as Jimi quoted their most famous song in his tune Machine Gun.

That song, a minor hit in Britain and Australia, is Race with the Devil, a different song from Gene Vincent's.

♫ Gun - Race with the Devil

DANNY KALB and STEFAN GROSSMAN recorded an interesting album back in 1969 called “Crosscurrents.”

Danny Kalb & Stefan Grossman

Danny first came to my notice as the lead guitarist for the Blues Project but with the album I mentioned, he and Stefan decided to record it with rock & roll rhythm instruments but they played acoustic guitars.

It sort of worked and there were a couple of fine tracks on it. This is one of them called Devil Round the Moon. Stefan does the singing.

♫ Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman - Devil Round The Moon

A good way to end this is with the man himself. The devil takes an active part in the next song by CHARLIE DANIELS. At least, that what Charlie says.

p>Charlie Daniels

I imagine you know this one, a great hit for Charlie in the seventies and a real toe-tapper, The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

♫ Charlie Daniels - The Devil Went Down to Georgia

The devil wrote so many good songs there's going to be another column in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: 1969 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.


What happened in 1969?

  • Jakob Dylan was born
  • Rod Laver achieved a second Grand Slam. No one else has ever come close
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus was shown for the first time
  • PBS was established
  • The Boeing 747 made its first passenger flight
  • Easy Rider was released
  • Richmond were premiers

Like many singers of his ilk, JOE SIMON started out singing in church, actually his father's.

Joe Simon

He later joined a gospel group and later still, influenced by Sam Cooke, turned to secular music. He cut his first record in the dying months of the fifties, but his main success didn't begin until the mid sixties and stretched through to the eighties and beyond.

One of the songs from that era, from 1969 of course, is one that's been covered by others quite successfully. It is The Chokin' Kind.

♫ Joe Simon - The Chokin' Kind

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD recorded her groundbreaking album "Dusty in Memphis" the year before and the first single from that was released this year.

Dusty Springfield

That song is Son of a Preacher Man. It was first offered to Aretha Franklin but she turned it down. After hearing Dusty's version, Aretha decided to record it after all. After hearing Aretha's version, Dusty wished that she had performed it the way Aretha had done it. She didn't do a bad job of it though.

♫ Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacher Man

PETER SARSTEDT had an older brother in the pop music industry named Eden Kane (Eden had changed his name). Pete used to play bass in Eden's band.

Peter Sarstedt

Peter went out on his own as a sort of troubadour and wrote the song, Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) apparently to sound like a French boulevard type song.

The record company didn't want to release it as a single initially; they said it had no drums, was too long and there were only three instruments, but they eventually relented.

I've included the even longer album version. The song is about the best ever for name-dropping, place-dropping and (up-market) product placement.

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

PEGGY LEE was still out there making a dent in the music charts in 1969.

Peggy Lee

She was using the new folks – Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who wrote songs for just about all the pop and rock singers of the fifties and sixties, gave her Is That All There Is.

Peggy wasn't the first to record it but it's her version we remember. Randy Newman wrote the orchestration and conducted the orchestra as well.

♫ Peggy Lee - Is That All There Is

And When I Die was written by Laura Nyro and first recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. Laura then had a go at it herself. Later on it was BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS' turn.

Blood Sweat & Tears

BS&T went through several eras, as it were. The first was when the band was formed by Al Kooper who was the driving force behind it. There were ructions in the band and Al and some others were tossed out.

The second era had David Clayton-Thomas as lead singer. This was the most successful for the group and it is from this time that the songs we remember, including And When I Die, came. There was a third incarnation that we'll just skip over.

♫ Blood Sweat & Tears - And When I Die

The CANNED HEAT song Going up the Country pretty much epitomized the hippie ideal of going back to nature. Just an ideal, of course, I doubt if many really wanted to do that.

Canned Heat

The song was played over the credits of the film of the Woodstock festival. The Heat played there but weren't featured in the film. Usually, Bob Hite ("Big Bear") sang their songs, but on this it's their lead guitarist Al Wilson ("Blind Owl") who did the honors.  He wrote the song, very much influenced by an early blues tune called Bull Doze Blues.

♫ Canned Heat - Going Up the Country

JERRY BUTLER first came to notice as singer for The Impressions (along with Curtis Mayfield).

Jerry Butler

Only the Strong Survive was Jerry's most successful record. However, he had some earlier, terrific songs I prefer – He Will Break Your Heart and I've Been Loving You Too Long which he wrote with Otis Redding who turned it into one of the records of the sixties especially.

However, this one isn't too bad at all.

♫ Jerry Butler - Only The Strong Survive

DESMOND DEKKER's song Israelites was the first time that reggae impinged on my ears.

Desmond Dekker

I don't think the music was called reggae at that time but that's certainly what it was. Desmond said that the song came to him while he was sitting in a park one day. Fortunately, he still remembered it when he got home so he could write it down and sing it into his tape recorder.

♫ Desmond Dekker - Israelites

Someday We'll Be Together was the last hit for THE SUPREMES with Diana Ross singing.

The Supremes

Diana had trouble initially getting the song right. The songwriter, Johnny Bristol, sang along with her, ad-libbing all the time, as encouragement. Berry Gordy liked it so much he kept Johnny's comments in the finished record.

♫ The Supremes - Someday We'll Be Together

I'll end with probably the ultimate hippie anthem. It's THE YOUNGBLOODS with Get Together.

The Youngbloods

I saw the group at the Family Dog in 1970 at what they announced was their final ever live performance. It turned out not to be so, thus I lost my bragging rights. Oh well, they were pretty good as was Jesse Colin Young, the lead singer, who did a solo set as well.

When they did eventually split, he put out a terrific first (or third or fourth, depending on how you count them) album ("Song for Juli") and several ordinary ones.

♫ The Youngbloods - Get Together

You can find more music from 1969 here. 1970 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: The Impressions, Etc.

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


The Impressions were usually thought of as a trio but at times the number in the group has gone as high as five or more. The trio version consisted of Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash.

The group started out when old friends Curtis and Jerry Butler formed a DooWop group called The Roosters with Sam and Richard Brooks and his brother Arthur. When they got a record deal they changed their name to Jerry Butler and the Impressions thus, to my mind, signaling that Jerry wasn't really in it for the long haul.

And so it proved although, to be fair, the name was the record company's idea.

While still with the group, Jerry sang lead on Your Precious Love, a song he wrote. As mentioned, it was released under the name JERRY BUTLER & THE IMPRESSIONS in 1958.

Jerry Butler & TheImpressions

Some have suggested that this was the first soul record. Not too far off the mark.

Jerry Butler & the Impressions - ♫ For Your Precious Love

When Jerry left to become a solo artist, Curtis toured with him as guitarist and songwriter. He (Curtis) was lured back to The Impressions where he took over the reins as lead singer. He was also the guitarist, main songwriter and arranger as well.

He had a distinctive high tenor voice that complemented the deeper voices of Sam and Fred. Here they are, just as THE IMPRESSIONS with I'm the One Who Loves You.

Impressions

♫ Impressions - I'm the One Who Loves You

Okay, if you're even vaguely familiar with The Impressions, here's the song you've been waiting for.

Impressions

Their best known, and their best song by far, and one of the classic songs of our era, People Get Ready. Curtis sang lead and played guitar with Fred and Sam contributing beautifully to the mix. Even this grumpy old non-believer is inspired by this song.

♫ Impressions - People Get Ready

One of JERRY BUTLER's early hits as a solo performer was He Will Break Your Heart.

Jerry Butler

Jerry wrote the song with Curtis and Calvin Carter, and Curtis sang harmony  The song has been covered a number of times but no version is a patch on the original.

♫ Jerry Butler - He Will Break Your Heart

I've Been Loving You Too Long was written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler.

Jerry Butler

Otis had the first version and (unarguably) the best. Jerry recorded it as well and his version is nearly, almost, just about as good as Otis's and coming from me, that's a huge call.

♫ Jerry Butler - I've Been Loving You Too Long

The famed songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff along with Jerry Butler wrote the song, Hey, Western Union Man.

Jerry Butler

This is a song that's been covered by a number of people and is one of the standard songs in any aspiring soul band's repertoire. Jerry does it best though.

♫ Jerry Butler - Hey, Western Union Man

Just after leaving The Impressions, CURTIS MAYFIELD recorded the album “Superfly,” a soundtrack for the film of that name.

Curtis Mayfield

It was very successful and extremely influential. It also prompted Curtis to create several more soundtrack albums. None was as good or as influential as the first one. Here is Superfly from the album and film of the same name.

♫ Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

We're A Winner was one of a succession of singles Curtis Mayfield wrote for The Impressions.

Curtis Mayfield

Here he performs that song.

♫ Curtis Mayfield - We're A Winner

In 1990, Curtis was paralyzed from the neck down when stage lights fell on him at a concert where he was performing. From then on he was unable to play guitar but he could still write songs. He could sing too, with some difficulty, and even recorded an album.

He eventually had to have his leg amputated and died in 1999 of various complications brought on by the accident.

A couple more songs with the Curtis, Sam and Fred version of The Impressions. First is I Need Your Love.

Impressions

♫ Impressions - I Need Your Love

Next, The Impressions with Love's A Comin'.

Impressions

♫ Impressions - Love's A Comin'


ELDER MUSIC: 1968 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.


What happened in 1968?

  • Kylie Minogue was born
  • 60 Minutes made its debut
  • Olympic Games held in Mexico
  • Led Zeppelin performed for the first time
  • Revolution was in the air. It mostly didn't happen
  • Bullitt was released
  • Carlton were premiers

I'll start with Ellen Cohen, or as she was better known, Cass Elliott, or even better still known, MAMA CASS.

Mama Cass

The song Dream a Little Dream of Me came from the early thirties and was first recorded by Ozzie Nelson, father of Ricky. Cass recorded it for a Mamas and Papas album but the group pretty much had ceased to be by then and the record company released under her name alone.

♫ Mama Cass - Dream a Little Dream of Me

THE DOORS' third album, "Waiting for the Sun," is often dismissed as not being worthy of the group.

The Doors

I think it holds up pretty well, far better than "Strange Days" that the critics seem to love. I think the problem was that they produced music that people wanted to hear. Goodness me, we can't have that sort of thing.

From that album comes the song, Hello, I Love You.

♫ The Doors - Hello, I Love You

PERCY SLEDGE hit the big time when he recorded When a Man Loves a Woman, one of the best songs of the sixties.

Percy Sledge

That was a couple of years earlier and he was still on a roll this year with Take Time to Know Her.

♫ Percy Sledge - Take Time to Know Her

Not all the music from this year was destined to become classics. That could be said about every year, I suppose, and one from 1968 that has mostly been forgotten except by idiots like me was recorded by LEAPY LEE.

Leapy Lee

The Leapster was born Graham Pulleybank but later changed his name to Lee Graham. After his brush with fame with the song, Little Arrows, he went to Spain to live.

♫ Leapy Lee - Little Arrows

CLARENCE CARTER was from Alabama and he attended the school for the blind there. He later earned a degree in music.

Clarence Carter

He began his professional career with Calvin Scott as the duo Clarence and Calvin until Calvin was seriously injured in a car accident. They had already recorded a couple of songs and Clarence carried on alone. One of his fine singles is Slip Away.

♫ Clarence Carter - Slip Away

MANFRED MANN was the first group to record Bob Dylan's Mighty Quinn, even before Bob did. The song is also called Quinn the Eskimo. It's a matter of take your pick.

Manfred Mann

This is Mike d'Abo singing. He took over from Paul Jones who was their original singer (and a really good one too).

♫ Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn

JUDY COLLINS and Tom Rush were the first people to record Joni Mitchell's songs.

Judy Collins

The song Both Sides Now came from Judy's "Wildflowers" album, the first of hers where she broke out of the folksinger category to which she'd hitherto been assigned.

♫ Judy Collins - Both Sides Now

Here is Sylvester Stewart with other members of his family and some others as well, collectively known as SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE.

Sly & the Family Stone

The song Dance to the Music was written by Sly and it was the group's first chart success. In spite of that, none of the group liked the song, calling it "glorified Motown.”

♫ Sly And The Family Stone - Dance To The Music

I don't think I've heard this track since 1968. My memory really let me down – I don't remember all that brass and other instruments on it. Just goes to show.

MASON WILLIAMS wrote this tune to keep up his sleeve in case he ever needed a filler in concert or elsewhere.

Mason Williams

Classical Gas was first featured on "The Smothers Brothers Show," where Mason was the head writer. Mason wanted a simple arrangement but the record producer insisted on the full orchestra. He should have listened to Mason.

♫ Mason Williams - Classical Gas

1968 was the year that THE BAND came out from the shadow of Bob Dylan and recorded an album that turned rock music on its head. That album was "Music From Big Pink.”

The Band

After hearing it, Eric Clapton disbanded Cream and flew to America to see if he could join the group. Although they didn't say it to him, they already had a better guitarist. One of the songs from the album and one of the finest in rock history is The Weight.

♫ The Band - The Weight

You can find more music from 1968 here. 1969 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Nudie Suits

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 spite of what the title might suggest, this isn't a column about getting your gear off. In fact, it's the exact opposite. Today we're featuring performers who wear (or wore) outfits created by the tailor NUDIE COHN (or Nuta Kotlyarenko, as his mum and dad knew him).

Nudie Cohn

These tend to be country artists in the main but others have been known to wear his creations as well.

I first noticed Nudie's outfits on Duncan Renaldo as the Cisco Kid on TV. I wouldn't have known at the time that that's what they were. You might also remember the outrageous costumes Robert Redford wore in the film The Electric Horseman.

I became aware of the name Nudie Suits when the FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS wore them on the cover of their first album.

Flying Burrito Brothers

The initial Burritos were the great Chris Hillman, the tragic Gram Parsons, Sneaky Pete Kleinow and Chris Ethridge. All of them had at one stage or another been members of The Byrds.

That first incarnation of the group didn't last long but the band has kept going over the years with dozens of members. You can't beat the original, though, and here they are with Wheels.

♫ Flying Burrito Brothers - Wheels

It was probably the influence of the Burrito's album cover that got some rock musicians into wearing Nudie's creations. One who surprised me, one I didn't realize had worn the garments, is Jerry Garcia, who was the main man for the GRATEFUL DEAD.

It must be said that that was a very short term phase for Jerry.

Jerry Garcia

The Dead did their best work as a live band and only three or four of their albums are really worth more than a single listen. One that was is "American Beauty" from which the song Ripple is taken.

♫ Grateful Dead - Ripple

One of the earliest to wear a Nudie Suit was PORTER WAGONER.

Porter Wagoner

Nudie made one for Porter for free figuring it would be a good investment for the long term. And so it proved.

Porter bought dozens over the years and his style influenced many others to buy them as well. One of the long term musical relationships Porter had was with DOLLY PARTON.

Dolly Parton

Porter brought Dolly on to his TV program when she was still an unknown struggling artist. They performed together off and on for about eight years. Here is one of their duets, Afraid to Love Again.

♫ Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner - Afraid To Love Again

MARTY ROBBINS really liked the suits as well. Indeed, when I caught his act he was resplendent in a vivid green number.

Marty Robbins

His show was probably the most entertaining I've ever attended. Besides being a great entertainer, he was a fine singer and wrote some terrific songs – El Paso was one he wrote.

In the same vein as that one, here is another of his called San Angelo.

♫ Marty Robbins - San Angelo

Nudie was responsible for the costumes ELVIS wore in his later performing days – those white (and other colored) outfits he wore mostly in Las Vegas, but other places as well.

Elvis Presley

However, he was also responsible for perhaps the most iconic outfit in rock history, the famous gold lamé suit that graced the cover of Elvis's second greatest hits album.

It wasn't made for that album; it saw light of day nearly three years earlier and Elvis wore it in performance a few times until he realized there were more comfortable outfits.

With that suit it seems only appropriate that we have a song from the album, I Need Your Love Tonight.

♫ Elvis Presley - I Need Your Love Tonight

For a complete change of pace we have ROY ROGERS.

Roy Rogers

Checking out his films, it seems to me that Roy rather liked the flamboyant outfits. It's a good thing Nudie came along when he did.

Here Roy sings The Cowboy Night Herd Song. This will either bring a smile to your face or shock you such that you won't want to continue with the column.

♫ Roy Rogers - The Cowboy Night Herd Song

HANK WILLIAMS had an early example and it's distinctive.

Hank Williams

Whenever I feature Hank, it's a problem choosing a song to play, there are so many that would work. It's usually a matter of what I feel like on the day. Today I feel like Half as Much.

♫ Hank Williams - Half as Much

Another surprise for me was seeing MICHAEL NESMITH in a Nudie Suit, peacocks and all.

Mike Nesmith

This is from his country rock period. The song Rio was from later on.

♫ Michael Nesmith - Rio

More surprises. That's one of the benefits of doing this column. It seems that DWIGHT YOAKAM had appeared in a couple of dozen films, and not just playing a country singer either. I didn't know that.

Dwight Yoakam

I suppose I should. Often when someone is talented in one area they are pretty good at something else and Dwight is a very talented singer and songwriter indeed.

See if you agree with me. Here is Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses). I think he listened to Marty Robbins over the years. (Well, who wouldn't?)

♫ Dwight Yoakam - Buenas Noches From A Lonely Room (She Wore Red Dresses)

I mentioned GRAM PARSONS early on and here he is when he went out as a solo artist. In the photo he seems to be having the suit fitted at Nudie's that he used in the Burritos era.

Nudie Cohn & Gram Parsons

We owe Gram a great debt for introducing EMMYLOU HARRIS to the world.

Emmylou Harris

Emmy sang harmony on Gram's two solo albums. Here they are with In My Hour of Darkness.

♫ Gram Parsons - In My Hour of Darkness


ELDER MUSIC: 1967 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.


What happened in 1967?

  • Harry Connick Jnr was born
  • (Australian Prime Minister) Harold Holt went swimming and hasn't been seen since
  • Rolling Stone magazine published for the first time
  • Sweden switched to driving on the right. A retrograde step
  • The first ATM was put into service (in Britain)
  • Cool Hand Luke was released
  • Richmond were premiers

I'll start with a song that makes absolutely no sense at all if you listen carefully to the words. If I tell you it's by PROCOL HARUM, you'll know of what I speak.

Procol Harum

The writer of the song, Keith Reid, begged to differ - that it wasn't just a collection of lines strung together and there was a thread running through it. Keith also said that he was very taken with surrealism, both in art and film and that influenced him.

Well Keith, that thread you talked about sure escapes me. Of course, obscure lyrics weren't all that unusual around this time, just check some of Bob's songs.

Anyway, it doesn't matter, it's one of the most interesting sounding songs from this year. The song, of course, is A Whiter Shade of Pale.

♫ Procol Harum - A Whiter Shade Of Pale

Another song written by the writing team of Holland, Dozier, Holland for THE SUPREMES.

The Supremes

This is the first of their records that had Diana Ross as part of their name. The other two weren't happy about that but it came from Berry Gordy so they couldn't do anything about it.

It was also the last that had Florence Ballard singing. She was fired after this and died just three years later of cardiac arrest. She was replaced in the group by Cindy Birdsong (what a great name for a singer).

The song is Reflections.

♫ The Supremes - Reflections

BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD was a volatile conglomerate from the very beginning, filled with giant egos.

Buffalo Springfield

Not just Neil Young and Steve Stills but also in the mix were Richie Furay (later in Poco) and Jim Messina (later half of Loggins and Messina). There may have been egos but there was talent there in their short-lived career.

The song, For What It's Worth, was written by Steve about riot police swooping on young people hanging around on Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.

♫ Buffalo Springfield - For What It's Worth

I couldn't do this series without ARETHA FRANKLIN making an appearance.

Aretha Franklin

There are several of her songs that I could have used this year, this is just one of them, Chain of Fools.

♫ Aretha Franklin - Chain of Fools

Oh my goodness, FRANK AND NANCY SINATRA.

Frank & Nancy Sinatra

What were they thinking when they decided to record this together? Oh well. It has something that's not been repeated – the only father/daughter singing combination to top the charts.

Nancy's sometime singing partner, Lee Hazlewood, produced the record (and would have sung on it if Frank didn't want to).

♫ Frank & Nancy Sinatra - Somethin' Stupid

The SPENCER DAVIS GROUP was lucky that it had a young (only 14 when he joined) Steve Winwood as keyboard player, guitarist, songwriter and singer (and a few other things as well).

Spencer Davis Group

Also present was Steve's older brother Muff on bass. Spencer himself was no slouch on several instruments and Pete York was the drummer. Their most famous song, Gimme Some Lovin', was written by Steve, Muff and Spencer.

♫ Spencer Davis Group - Gimme Some Lovin'

THE TURTLES were the brainchild of Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan.

The Turtles

They started out as a California surf band and when The Byrds hit they morphed into The Tyrtles. That spelling of the group's name didn't last long.

Like others in the genre, they recorded several Bob Dylan songs. Their most famous non-Bob song is Happy Together.

After the Turtles, Mark and Howard joined Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention where they were dubbed The Phlorescent Leech and Eddie. Later still, they were a duo called Flo and Eddie.

♫ The Turtles - Happy Together

We all love a mystery and the best mystery in popular music is what was it that Billie Joe McAllister threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? And why did he later jump off that same bridge.

The song's singer, BOBBIE GENTRY, wasn't any help in clearing up the mystery.

Bobbie Gentry

Bobbie recorded a demo of the song and sent it along to a record company who were so impressed with it they used it as it was and just added some strings. The song is Ode to Billie Joe.

♫ Bobbie Gentry - Ode to Billie Joe

Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher and Higher was recorded by JACKIE WILSON with members of The Funk Brothers.

Jackie Wilson

These were some of Motown's session musicians who were moonlighting at the time (because they weren't being paid enough by Motown).

♫ Jackie Wilson - Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher And Higher

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE were the first of what were referred to as San Francisco's hippie bands to get a major recording contract.

Jefferson Airplane

They had previously produced a forgettable album for a minor company but this time they came up with "Surrealistic Pillow" which was pretty good.

One of the tracks on that was White Rabbit that Grace Slick had written when she was in another band. The Airplane took it on board when she joined them and they did an excellent job of it.

♫ Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit

You can find more music from 1967 here. 1968 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2014 - Part 2

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


Phil Everly

PHIL EVERLY was the younger of the Everly Brothers. They were the most successful duo in rock history and they possessed the most glorious singing voices. Phil sang high harmony to Don's lower lead.

They came from a tradition of country music singing brothers and added a rock & roll perspective to the music as well as some fine blues guitar work by Don.

As well as using established songwriters, Don and Phil both wrote songs, including some of their biggest hits. During the decade when they didn't perform together, Phil made several well received (but alas, poorly selling) albums as well as performing solo and with others such as Warren Zevon and Paul Simon.

The brothers reunited for a hugely successful concert in London and continued performing until about 2000 when they called it a day.

Most of you would know the great Everly Brothers songs so here is Phil solo with the song The Air That I Breathe, made famous by The Hollies but Phil recorded it first. (He was 74)

♫ Phil Everly - The Air That I Breathe

GERD ALBRECHT was a German conductor who led orchestras in the Czech Republic, Denmark and Japan. He was a champion of contemporary music, particularly the works of Penderecki and Legeti. He also wrote books and set up a foundation for young musicians. (78)

Shirley Temple

SHIRLEY TEMPLE was a film star of the first magnitude when she was a moppet. She also sang a bit. She kept appearing in films until her early twenties, although the later ones weren't as popular as the early ones. She later became a politician of sorts, and an ambassador. (85)

John Shirley-Quirk2

JOHN SHIRLEY-QUIRK was an English bass-baritone. Although he sang from the time he was a boy, John gained a degree in chemistry and later lectured on that subject.

However, the urge to sing was always with him and he was taking singing (as well as violin) lessons at the same time as his chemistry activities. His first singing gig was at Glyndebourne and he performed in many contemporary music programs in London.

He later became a regular member of Benjamin Britten's company, performing his works. It wasn't just modern compositions at which he excelled, he was a fine interpreter of J.S. Bach's cantatas.

Here he performs a bit of one of those, Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod, from the cantata BWV 82. (82)

♫ JS Bach - Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod

PACO DE LUCIA was one of the greatest flamenco guitarists. He not only played in this style but collaborated with jazz, blues and classical musicians as well, most famously with Al di Meola, John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell.

He also worked with Chick Corea in a sextet that brought modern influences to flamenco. (66)

FRANNY BEECHER started out as a session guitarist but joined Bill Haley's Comets just in time to play lead guitar on Rock Around the Clock (and all the other hits that Bill had), thus pretty much kicking off rock & roll. (92)

Jimmy Ruffin

JIMMY RUFFIN was a soul singer who started his career in a gospel group called the Dixie Nightingales with his younger brother David. Later, in Detroit, he caught the ear of Motown honcho Berry Gordy who wanted him as lead singer for The Temptations.

Jimmy suggested that David would be better in the role. He was probably right. Jimmy began a solo career and had a mega-hit with the song, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted.

After falling out with Berry he went to live in England where he was far more popular than in his own country. Later, he made an acclaimed album with his brother after he'd left the Temps.

Over the years he wrote many songs, a lot of which were covered by various Motown artists. This is Jimmy with his big hit. (78)

♫ Jimmy Ruffin - What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted

JERRY VALE was a crooner from the fifties and sixties who came from an Italian background, and many of his songs were in that language. In spite of rock & roll, quite a few of his songs made the charts at that time. (83)

RUPERT ZU LOEWENSTEIN was a banker and advisor to the Rolling Stones for many decades that made the group one of the richest in the world. He also advised Pink Floyd and Cat Stevens. (80)

Charlie Haden

CHARLIE HADEN was one of the great jazz bass players. He started out in country music and moved to California where he was classically trained but where he also heard the music that Gerry Mulligan's group was playing.

Ornette Coleman and Paul Bley were putting together a band to play what became known as free jazz and they asked Charlie to join. Besides Ornette, he had a long association with Keith Jarrett and the pair recorded several albums together.

He has also played with such musicians as Pat Metheny, John Coltrane, Archie Shepp, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono. Here he is with Keith Jarrett playing No Moon At All. (76)

♫ Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden - No Moon At All

RAFAEL FRÜHBECK DE BURGOS was a Spanish conductor who championed the composers of his native land, particularly Manuel de Falla and Isaac Albéniz.

He was also the first to bring Carl Orff's Carmina Burana to the concert stage, and the first to record the work. He had a long association with Tokyo's main Symphony Orchestra. (80)

CASEY KASEM was an American disk jockey and actor. His program, American Top 40 (and its various offshoots), was heard all around the world. He was also a film actor and supplied the voices for several cartoon characters. (82)

Doc Neeson

DOC NEESON was the lead singer, songwriter, occasional bass player and charismatic front man for the Australian rock group The Angels. This group was cited by Guns n Roses and a number of Seattle grunge bands, including Nirvava, as their main influence.

The Angels' first single, Am I Ever Going to See Your Face Again, became a youth anthem. Audiences around Australia still reply with an expletive-laden response to the song's chorus.

Doc said of this, "In a way, I'm really delighted to hear that because it's Australian audiences making the song their own in a way I never would have thought possible."

The Angels were a volatile group with members coming and going. In 1999, Doc was seriously injured in a car accident that curtailed his performing for some years. Doc died of an aggressive brain tumor.

This is the song without the audience participation. However, if you're really interested there's always YouTube. (67)

♫ The Angels - Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again

WAYNE HENDERSON was a jazz trombonist and composer and was co-founder of the Jazz Crusaders who were instrumental in bringing jazz fusion to the world. He started playing in school along with several others who later were members of the Crusaders. He also worked with the drummer Billy Cobham, guitarist Gabor Szabo and singer Mary Wells. (74)

TEENIE HODGES was a Memphis session guitarist who backed such musicians as Al Green, Ann Peebles, O.V. Wright and Otis Clay. He also wrote songs for Sam and Dave and others. (67)

Licia Albanese

LICIA ALBANESE was an opera soprano who specialised in roles by Puccini. She was born in Italy and went to America just before the war and eventually became an American citizen.

Her first role was as Cio-Cio San in Puccini's Madama Butterfly, a part she played many times over the years. She was a mainstay at the Metropolitan Opera in New York for a couple of decades (or even longer) and performed extensively with the San Francisco Opera.

In her later years, she performed in various Stephen Sondheim musicals. Licia performs Donde lieta usci from Puccini's La Bohème. (105)

♫ Licia Albanese - Donde lieta usci (La Bohème)

PAUL HORN was a jazz flute player and one of the founders of New Age music. He was classically trained on piano, clarinet and flute. He was renowned for recording in such places as the Taj Mahal, the great pyramid of Giza and in canyons in the south west of America.

He also played with Duke Ellington, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole and Chico Hamilton. (84)

Lionel Ferbos

LIONEL FERBOS was a trumpeter who played at every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival until this year when he couldn't perform. At last year's Festival he was acclaimed as the oldest jazz musician still playing. He was 102 at the time.

His ability to read music made him a much in demand player. Apart from several tours of Europe, Lionel remained pretty much exclusively a New Orleans musician. His professional life began in the early 1930s and continued until last year. (103)

DICK WAGNER was a guitarist who played that souring lead guitar on Lou Reed's "Rock & Roll Animal" album. He worked with Alice Cooper, writing songs with him and playing guitar on most of Alice's famous albums. He also played with Nils Lofgren, Billy Joel and Julie Covington amongst others. (71)

Jack Bruce

JACK BRUCE was the bass player, singer and main songwriter for the group Cream. This trio was formed when he, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker decided each was the best player around on their respective instruments. The group lasted two years.

Jack started as a classically trained singer (he appeared in operas as a youth) and cello player until he was big enough for the double bass. He started playing professionally in jazz groups and later blues and rock bands.

After Cream, he had a sporadic solo career as he liked to play all different styles of music. Also, his heavy drinking and drug taking rather curtailed his long-term prospects.

This is Jack in unusual mode, just singing and playing the piano. The song is one of his own, Theme for an Imaginary Western, that became a bit of a hit for the rock group Mountain. (71)

♫ Jack Bruce - Theme for an Imaginary Western

BOB CREWE was a songwriter and record producer. He was the driving force behind Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. He also wrote songs for The Tams, Freddy Cannon and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. He later started his own group, the Bob Crewe Generation. (83)

PAUL REVERE DICK gave his name to the group Paul Revere and the Raiders who traded on the “British Invasion” in the sixties. He started out playing classical piano but was inspired by Spike Jones.

The group was more into fashion than quality music but they certainly made a splash, particularly on American Bandstand. They mostly covered other people's music and degenerated into a novelty act. (76)

John Holt

Before Bob Marley, and before Jimmy Cliff, JOHN HOLT was the biggest singer of reggae and rock steady music in Jamaica. He was also the lead singer in the group The Paragons.

Amongst his output was the song The Tide is High which became a big hit for Blondie some years later. He was a smooth singer and often covered pop and country hits of the day in his own style. Here he is with his most famous song. (67)

♫ John Holt - The Tide is High

CLIVE PALMER was the song-writer, banjo virtuoso and general multi-instrumentalist for the sixties' folk rock group, The Incredible String Band. He started out in various clubs and played alongside such unknown performers as John Baldry, Rod Stewart and Davey Graham. (71)

IAN MCLAGAN was the keyboard player for the Small Faces who had a number of hits in the sixties. After leaving the group, he formed Humble Pie. After these bands he was often called upon to add his talent to recordings by Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and many others.

In later years he was a member of Billy Bragg's backing band. (69)

STEVE FROMHOLZ was a Texas singer/songwriter who was under-appreciated by the record-buying public (perhaps because he didn't release many). He worked with Willie Nelson, Michael Nesmith, Hoyt Axton and others over the years. (68)

Acker Bilk

ACKER BILK was a jazz clarinet player and band leader best known for his huge hit, Stranger on the Shore. This, however, wasn't indicative of his music generally.

He was a serious jazz musician who kept performing until the end of his life. Many British rock & rollers were inspired by his music including The Beatles, Van Morrison, Sandy Denny and others. With his band, Acker plays Jazz Me Blues. (85)

♫ Acker Bilk - Jazz Me Blues

BOBBY KEYS was a saxophone player who toured with the Rolling Stones for more than 40 years. Bobby was from Texas, a friend of Buddy Holly and played with him for a time. He later backed Bobby Vee and was one of the musicians who played in the band on Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars tours.

Mick Jagger heard him at a Delaney and Bonnie recording session and asked if he'd want to tour with the Stones. He also played on many of their famous recordings. (70)

Joe Cocker

JOE COCKER will forever be etched into the minds of baby boomers (and others) for his memorable performance of The Beatles' With a Little Help From my Friends at Woodstock. Those who weren't at the festival know that he was certainly the highlight of the film of the event.

Joe had a gift for making just about any song he performed his own, often making you forget all other versions. He later won an Grammy and an Oscar, something few rockers have done. As he did with the Beatles' songs, Joe takes Randy Newman's Guilty and demonstrates what can be done with it. (70)

♫ Joe Cocker - Guilty

COSIMO MATASSA was a studio owner and record producer in New Orleans who recorded the cream of that city's musicians – Roy Brown, Ike Turner, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Aaron Neville, Robert Parker, Johnny Adams, Lee Dorsey and on and on and on.

He collaborated with the great pianist, composer and producer Allen Toussaint. He was a naturally modest man and said that “a lot of great musicians made me look good.” (88)

Christopher Hogwood

CHRISTOPHER HOGWOOD was one of the most important classical conductors of the 20th century. He was long associated with The Academy of St Martin’s-in-the-Fields both as a keyboard player and as a musicologist.

He later formed The Academy of Ancient Music to perform music as historically accurate as possible, not just ancient music but 18th and 19th century music as well. The Academy made over 200 records with him waving the baton or playing harpsichord.

He wrote numerous books on great composers, particularly Handel, Haydn, Mendelssohn and Mozart. He was also an opera conductor, not just the classic repertoire, but was a champion of 20th century music as well.

Christopher plays the harpsichord on J.S. Bach's French Suite No 1, BWV 812, the fourth movement, a minuet. (73)

♫ Christopher Hogwood - JS Bach ~ Minuet


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Arlene Corwin: Eighty is Too Young to Die


ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2014 - Part 1

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


Jesse Winchester

JESSE WINCHESTER was born in Louisiana and lived his early life in a couple of southern states. He moved to Canada in the mid-sixties as he was a pacifist and against the Vietnam war.

He became a Canadian citizen and lived in that country from then on until the last decade or so when he returned to the area of his youth. In Canada he was heard by Robbie Robertson who organized a record deal and played on his first album along with a couple of his Band mates.

It was a critical success but didn't sell very well. None of his albums sold very many copies even though each is a gem. He wrote some of the most beautiful songs around, and some fun ones as well.

He sang like an angel. His songs were covered by the best musicians around and his concerts, for me, were must-see events. From his "Humour Me" album, Too Weak to Say Goodbye. (age 69)

♫ Jesse Winchester - Too Weak to Say Goodbye

MARIA VON TRAPP was the last remaining member of the family about whom a film was made that I have still not seen. I'm told that her character was named Louisa in that film. (99)

MANITAS DE PLATA was a French flamenco guitarist. He was born in a gypsy caravan in southern France and refused to perform in public until 10 years after the death of his hero, Django Reinhardt.

After that, there was no stopping him – he toured the world, made records and became the most famous exponent of his art. Several of his sons and nephews formed the Gipsy Kings. (93)

Claudio Abbado

CLAUDIO ABBADO was one of the most respected conductors in the second half of the 20th century (and later). He was born in fascist Italy and his family aided the partisans and helped many Jewish refugees escape to Switzerland.

He studied piano but found conducting more to his liking. Claudio graced the podium of La Scala, the London Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera amongst other posts.

He also organized his own orchestra, the Orchestra Mozart, for which he hand-picked the best around. It's from that orchestra, with Claudio conducting and Alessio Allegrini playing the horn, we'll hear the first movement of Mozart's Horn concerto No 1 in D major, K 412. (80)

♫ Mozart - Horn Concerto No. 1 in D major K. 412 (1)

ENCEL'S Stereo was the go-to place for quality stereo equipment in Melbourne. I have acquired amplifiers, speakers, turntables and CD players from them over the years (Norma, the Assistant Musicologist has inherited some of these) and they are all working as well as the day they were bought. Perhaps that was the problem. (55)

BOB CASALE was a guitarist, keyboard player and sound engineer. He was also a founder member of the group Devo who made it big in art-rock circles but did nothing for me. (61)

Pete Seeger

I thought that PETE SEEGER would live forever. It just goes to show.

How can his life be summed up in a dozen lines? He was a folk singer and activist all his life, and he wrote many songs that became anthems for the civil rights, anti-war and ecology movements.

His father was a musicologist (a real one) and his mother a concert pianist and later a teacher at Juilliard. His older brothers went into academia but his four half-siblings all became musicians.

Pete first came to prominence in the Almanac Singers whose revolving membership also included Woody Guthrie, Cisco Houston and Lee Hayes. He found fame as part of the Weavers who had number one hits all over the world. That is, until they were blacklisted.

As a solo performer he was one of the driving forces behind the folk boom of the fifties and sixties. Pete may have been the most optimistic person who ever lived.

He performs one of his friend Woody Guthrie's signature songs (although he didn't actually write it), Hobo's Lullaby. (94)

♫ Pete Seeger - Hobo's Lullaby

ALEXANDER IVASHKIN was a cello player who ran foul of the authorities in the dying days of the Soviet Union by championing and playing contemporary composers. He later pursued research in America on the composer Charles Ives and worked with John Cage, George Crumb and others. (65)

Marcia Strassman

MARCIA STRASSMAN was an actress noted for her roles in Welcome Back Kotter and M*A*S*H. She was also a singer who released a few songs that didn't do much on the charts. (66)

MICKEY ROONEY needs no introduction from me. He made a whole bunch of films with Judy Garland. He's probably the first person to say, "Hey kids, let's put on a show,” something that's been a theme in films ever since.

Besides singing, Mickey was an accomplished pianist and drummer. More than 90 years separate his first film role from his last, a record I imagine won't be broken soon. (93)

Horace Silver

HORACE SILVER was a major jazz pianist. His first important gigs were in Stan Getz's band and he later formed the Jazz Messengers with Art Blakey.

Over the years he played with all the important jazz players including Lester Young, Colman Hawkins, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown and many others. His influence extended further afield than jazz and can be heard in rock & roll (just play any Steely Dan record) and various Latin music genres.

Dozens of important jazz players received their start in his group. Horace plays Walk On. (85)

♫ Horace Silver - Walk On

HERB JEFFRIES was the leading man in a string of all-black western films in the thirties. He started out singing in Erskine Tate's Orchestra and later with Earl Hines' group. Most famously, he was a member of Duke Ellington's Orchestra in the forties. (probably 100)

ARMANDO PERAZA was a Cuban born percussionist, singer and composer who worked with such notables as Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Dave Brubeck, George Shearing and Cal Tjader. However, his longest gig was with Carlos Santana, both with the group Santana and other ventures where he and Carlos performed. (89)

Bobby Womack

BOBBY WOMACK was the third of five brothers, all of whom sang. They sang in church initially, and later formed a group called The Valentinos who had a bit of a hit with a song called It’s All Over Now, later covered by the Rolling Stones (which improved Bobby's bank balance considerably, as he wrote the song).

The Valentinos evolved in the Womack Brothers. Along the way they caught the ear of Sam Cooke who signed them to his record label. Bobby went out as a solo performer and made many records as well as writing sound track scores and songs for other singers.

Besides his solo work and performing with his brothers, he also worked as a session musician for people like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield and Wilson Pickett. This is Bobby with I'm a Midnight Mover. (70)

♫ Bobby Womack - I'm a Midnight Mover

Gerry Goffin

GERRY GOFFIN wrote the words to many songs that you'd recognise from the sixties and beyond, mostly to the music of his wife at the time Carole King. He later won Oscars, Tonys and just about every other award for his songs. (75)

TOMMY RAMONE was the drummer and songwriter for the seminal punk band The Ramones. He also produced their records and was about the only steadying influence the group had. He was the last of the original members of the group. (65)

Jimmy Scott

The music of JIMMY SCOTT was introduced to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and me by our friend Tom. Tom is a young person who likes old folks' music so we suggest music to each other.

Jimmy had a very rare genetic disease that stunted his growth. It also stopped his voice development such that he had what could almost be described as a male contralto, rather reminiscent of Sarah Vaughan or Billie Holiday.

He began his career singing with the Lionel Hampton band and later performed with such heavyweights as Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Doc Pomus and Ray Charles. He sang (the same song) at both Dwight Eisenhower's and Bill Clinton's inaugurations.

Jimmy gives his unique interpretation of The Drifters' hit On Broadway. (88)

♫ Jimmy Scott - On Broadway

MIKE HAWKER was an English songwriter who wrote hits for Helen Shapiro and Dusty Springfield. Because of this he was in great demand to write songs for other female performers at the time. He was also a reviewer of mainly jazz performances. (77)

Lorin Maazel

LORIN MAAZEL was probably the most prolific conductor ever – he conducted more than 150 orchestras in his lifetime.

He was a child prodigy on the violin and in conducting, making his first appearance conducting at age eight. I'm surprised he could see over the rostrum.

Lorin was born in Paris but spent much of his life in America. As well as the usual circuit, he also took orchestras to China and North Korea to spread the word of great music everywhere. He was also a composer of some note, and wrote cello works for Mstislav Rostropovich and flute pieces for James Galway amongst others. (84)

Johnny Winter

JOHNNY WINTER was the best albino Texas blues guitarist ever. In spite of that rather faint praise, he really was a great electric blues guitarist, not much of a singer though, but who cares when he can play that well.

He was discovered in Texas by Chet Helms who brought him to San Francisco where he was championed by Michael Bloomfield (the best white blues guitarist ever) and he had a glowing spread in Rolling Stone.

vThis set him up as one of the must-see acts of the sixties and seventies. He insisted on complete artistic control of his record albums, and later championed and recorded with Muddy Waters after Muddy had been shamelessly ignored by record companies.

This is Johnny with Be Careful with a Fool. (70)

♫ Johnny Winter - Be Careful with a Fool

IDRIS MUHAMMAD was a New Orleans jazz drummer who played with Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, Nat Adderley, Gene Ammons, John Scofield and many others. He wasn't limited to jazz as he supported Roberta Flack and George Benson. In his early career he played drums with Fats Domino, Sam Cooke and Jerry Butler. (74)

TONY CAHILL was an Australian drummer who eventually switched to playing bass. He began as a member of Oz bands the Purple Hearts and Python Lee Jackson and joined the Easybeats when their original drummer left. He was also a member of Georgie Fame's band.

After switching to bass, he joined John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. He jammed with Jimi Hendrix and recruited Rod Stewart to sing on his first recording. He was later a session muso and recorded for Ray Charles, Martha Reeves, the O'Jays, Donna Summer, Sreaming Lord Sutch and more. (72)

George Hamilton IV

GEORGE HAMILTON IV started out as a pop singer in the fifties with songs such as A Rose and A Baby Ruth and Abilene and evolved into a respected country musician. In between, he was one of the first to record songs from writers like Gordon Lightfoot, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and Ian Tyson. (77)

Carlo Bergonzi

CARLO BERGONZI was renowned as one of the greatest interpreters of Verdi. He didn't restrict himself to that composer and was acclaimed for singing parts by Puccini, Donizetti, Giordano and many others.

He lived most of his life (when he wasn't touring) in Busseto, a small town where Verdi also lived. During the war, he was deported to Germany for anti-Nazi activities and spent two years in a prison camp. Afterwards he resumed his studies and made his debut as Figaro.

He started as a baritone and then took time off to train himself to be a tenor. He performed pretty much all the major opera roles. Appropriately, here he is performing Se quel guerrier io fossi from Verdi's “Aida.” (90)

♫ Carlo Bergonzi - Aida ~ Se quel guerrier io fossi

RAPHAEL RAVENSCROFT was a saxophone player who is probably best known for the solo at the end of Gerry Rafferty's hit song, Baker Street. (60)

MAGDA OLIVERO was an Italian opera soprano much loved by audiences but reviled by critics for her many musical shortcomings. She did bring a certain intensity to her performances that often resulted in hysteria from her many fans. (104)

ALVIN STARDUST (born Bernard Jewry) had a couple of goes at rock & roll success. The first was when he was asked to join the group Shane Fenton and the Fentones. Alas, before they made it big Shane died and young Bernard took over the role of Shane to some success in the early sixties.

In the seventies, Bernard reinvented himself as Alvin Stardust who had more success as a moody rock star, particularly in his native Britain. (72)

Jim Keays

JIM KEAYS was the singer, songwriter and harmonica player for the iconic Australian rock group the Masters Apprentices (the lack of apostrophe was deliberate, they claimed) from the mid sixties to the early seventies.

They had numerous hits in that period as well as a dozen or more albums released. Later, as a solo performer, he released several critically acclaimed albums and often performed in musical plays.

In the current century, he often teamed up with fellow sixties rock performers Darryl Cotton and Russell Morris and toured under the name Cotton Keays & Morris. There were several reunions of the Masters and Jim was working on a new album when he died.

Here are the Masters Apprentices with Because I Love You, one of their biggest hits. (67)

♫ Masters Apprentices - Because I Love You

TIM HAUSER was the founder and driving force behind the group Manhattan Transfer. The group brought intricate vocal harmonies of an earlier era to modern, and old, songs. They could sound like the Andrews Sisters, DooWop groups or Lambert, Hendricks and Ross with equal facility.

Tim occasionally produced albums for other performers and also marketed a line of tomato sauces. (72)

GLEN A LARSON was most noted as a TV producer and writer. However, he started out as a singer and songwriter. In the fifties he joined The Four Preps and wrote a number of their hits, including their two biggest, 26 Miles and Big Man (77)

Peter Sculthorpe

PETER SCULTHORPE was Australia's most important and best known modern composer. He was born in Tasmania and educated at Melbourne University and Oxford but discovered after both stints that modern classical composers can't make a living.

In spite of that, he persevered and soon proved that notion wrong. He brought elements of Australia's original inhabitants' music into his compositions and championed Aboriginal musicians. His most famous series of compositions is the Sun Music series, where he includes Aboriginal, Balinese, Japanese and other elements into his music.

He wrote many string quartets, often commissioned by leading quartets, and also wrote many compositions about the landscape of his country – Kakadu, Earth Cry, Mangrove and many others.

Here is an atypical piece, although I suppose all his could be described thus, called Left Bank Waltz, a composition for solo piano. (85)

♫ Peter Sculthorpe - Left Bank Waltz


ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 14

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.


ChristmasOz65

Well, the weather is warming up. Indeed, it's getting quite hot. That means that Christmas must be near. As the Christmas song doesn't go -

Later on we'll perspire
As the temperature gets higher
We're living in a summer wonderland

I had hoped that Christmas would slide past me this year (as I hope every year) but that's not to be, so here is some appropriate music for your delectation.

I'll start the column the way I wish to continue it. So here we have PADDY ROBERTS with Merry Christmas You Suckers.

Paddy Roberts

I don't think that this is the version of the song I remember from my youth but I don't have that one (and can't remember who performed it), so you're stuck with Paddy, who actually wrote the song.

Also, I haven't found any reference to another version on the intertube so maybe it really is the one from back then and my memory is playing its usual tricks.

♫ Paddy Roberts - Merry Christmas You Suckers

The only white Christmas I've ever experienced was when I spent Christmas in New Mexico. Actually that happened several times, so I've had more than one white Christmas. That was in Albuquerque.

JERRY DEAN sings of that experience in his song Christmas in New Mexico. Well, not my specific experience, I think his was different.

Jerry Dean

I thought at the time(s) that the snow at Christmas was just wrong and what's with all that cold? The weather should be hot when Santa comes a'calling. Christmas means sitting around in the shade or at the beach drinking chilled white wine. However, I was impressed by the luminaria.

Luminaria

♫ Jerry Dean - Christmas in New Mexico

PEARL BAILEY has the Christmas spirit down pat.

Pearl Bailey

Her song is Five Pound Box of Money, a tune reminiscent of the attitude of Eartha Kitt's song we've featured in past years called Santa Baby. Pearl is a bit more focused on what she wants.

♫ Pearl Bailey - Five Pound Box Of Money

Alas, CHARLIE HADEN won't hear his tune as he died earlier this year. He performs it with HANK JONES.

Charlie Haden & Hank Jones

They play the old song It Came Upon the Midnight Clear rather nicely. Charlie played bass and Hank, the piano.

♫ Charlie Haden & Hank Jones - It Came Upon The Midnight Clear

LEON REDBONE asks us "How'd you like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?"

Leon Redbone

There seem to be two Christmas Islands, one in the Pacific and another in the Indian Ocean. The Pacific one was used by the British and later the Americans to test hydrogen bombs.

Now, from my undergraduate physics studies, I know about the half-lives of the various radioactive by-products of such events so I'll give that one a miss.

The other is an Australian dependency not far from Indonesia. This is one of the places that our current appalling government sends refugees for processing in "facilities" that resemble maximum security prisons.

So in answer to Leon's question, "I wouldn't." That's the polite reply. It's a pleasant sounding song though, Christmas Island.

♫ Leon Redbone - Christmas Island

I've served it up to the Australian government, now it's the American's turn. I'll let RY COODER do that with this cheerful ditty.

Ry Cooder

Actually, it's about the previous government but would probably be appropriate for any for the last 50 years. The song is Christmas Time This Year.

♫ Ry Cooder - Christmas Time This Year

I would think twice about spending the yule time season with the EVERLY BROTHERS (or Everly Brother nowadays) as they sing that Christmas Eve Can Kill You.

The Everly Brothers

That would really put you off your eggnog (or chilled chardonnay, depending on where you live).

♫ The Everly Brothers - Christmas Eve Can Kill You

This column is not to be taken seriously. You might have noticed that already. If I say that we have ELLA FITZGERALD next you might think that that's good, she'll bring a bit of quality to today's proceedings.

I don't want to dissuade you of that thought, but -

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella's song is not one that's like her usual ones, it's called Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney. What was she thinking when she agreed to record this one?

♫ Ella Fitzgerald - Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney

TRUCKSTOP HONEYMOON are husband and wife duo Mike and Katie West.

Truckstop Honeymoon

They met when they were both busking on the streets of New Orleans. After a court house wedding they went touring and spent their wedding night at a truck stop somewhere in Louisiana, thus the name.

They now have four kids who travel with them whenever they tour and about whom they write songs (as well as about each other). Their house and recording studio in New Orleans were destroyed by Katrina's aftermath and they left for Kansas.

That produced this song, House of Love.. Incidentally, Mike is the son of renowned author Morris West.

Truckstop Honeymoon - House of Love

For your moment of couth, I must apologise as I'm afraid I've made a serious lapse into good taste. I hope you won't hold that against me. I won't apologise for including Mr HANDEL though, for he's one of my favorite composers.

Handel

I've taken a piece from his best known work, The Messiah, something we hear every year around this time, but if you listen with fresh ears and it's really well done it's always worth listening to.

The tune is For Unto Us A Child Is Born by the choir of King's College, Cambridge.

♫ Handel - For unto us a child is born

Well, there's another year shot to pieces.

ChristmasOz49


ELDER MUSIC: 1966 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.


What happened in 1966?

  • Lee Ann Womack was born
  • Bob Dylan was injured in a motor cycle accident.  He vanished for over a year.
  • The Hovercraft made its maiden voyage across the English Channel. It wasn't full of eels
  • The Doors' first album was released
  • How to Steal a Million was released
  • St Kilda were premiers

Dooby dooby doo, I'm starting with FRANK SINATRA and Strangers in the Night.

Frank Sinatra

This was a bit of a comeback for Frank, it was his first number one for more than a decade. He hated the song.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the Night

ROBERT PARKER was a really good saxophone player, so good in fact, that Professor Longhair employed him in his band for six or seven years.

Robert Parker

He later also played for Fats Domino, Irma Thomas and others. As a singer, he's perhaps known only for one song, Barefootin'. A pretty good song though.

♫ Robert Parker - Barefootin'

THE HOLLIES, like many English groups from that time, attached themselves to the coattails of The Beatles and made a pretty good living.

The Hollies

Bus Stop was written by Graham Gouldman when he was only 16. He was later a member of 10CC.

The Hollies' manager knew the Gouldman family and took the group along to meet Graham. When he played the song they were gobsmacked and asked if he had any more.

He had No Milk Today as well but Herman's Hermits got that one.

♫ The Hollies - Bus Stop

THE WALKER BROTHERS were not brothers and none of them was named Walker.

The Walker Brothers

I suppose you could say something similar about the Righteous Brothers but it's pretty obvious that that isn't an actual name.

Anyway, the Walkers were Gary Leeds, Scott Engel and John Maus (who performs that terrific lead vocal). Rather surprisingly for the time, they had more success in Britain than their native America, particularly with The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore.

♫ The Walker Brothers - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore

I just have to say BOB LIND and pretty much all of you will know what song I have lined up.

Bob Lind

Elusive Butterfly was the B-side of a record that had Cheryl's Going Home on the front. That song was covered really well by the Blues Project.

However, as happened now and then, a DJ flipped over the record and people loved it. It became a big seller all over the place. It turned out to be the only one Bob had.

♫ Bob Lind - Elusive Butterfly

Here's another troubadour from the time, CRISPIAN ST. PETERS.

Crispian St Peters

That's such a splendid name you know it has to be a fake, and it is. Old Crisp was born Robin Smith. Before going solo he was a member of half a dozen or so bands.

Record execs plucked him out of one of these and got him to record TThe Pied Piper. He didn't ever match the success of that one.

♫ Crispian St. Peters - The Pied Piper

Yet another number one song for THE SUPREMES.

The Supremes

Berry Gordy wouldn't allow anything else. This one is You Keep Me Hangin' On, covered rather memorably later by Vanilla Fudge.

♫ The Supremes - You Keep Me Hangin On

DONOVAN Leitch started out as a Bob Dylan wannabe.

Donovan

Fortunately, he soon stopped that sort of thing and came up with his own, occasionally fey, songs. There were some gems in amongst the dross of his output. I'd say that this is one of those.

Jimmy Page played guitar on this track. Jimmy later was the axe-man for Led Zeppelin. This is Sunshine Superman.

♫ Donovan - Sunshine Superman

Here's the LOVIN' SPOONFUL's second single.

Lovin' Spoonful

The song Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind was the soundtrack for my final year at university, in more ways than one.

♫ Lovin' Spoonful - Did You Ever Have to Make up Your Mind

By the time he was 15, the powers that be at Motown records (Berry Gordy especially) had pretty much decided that STEVIE WONDER was already over the hill.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie recorded Uptight (Everything's Alright) and proved them wrong. He went on to record some really fine albums (and a couple of clunkers) in the seventies.

♫ Stevie Wonder - Uptight (Everything's Alright)

You can find more music from 1966 here. 1967 will appear in three weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Transforming a Song 2

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


The first Transforming a Song column seemed to be quite popular so I thought I'd do another. After all, there are any number of examples from which to choose.

I will start proceedings with the same song as I did in the previous one. That song is Old Man River. There were suggestions that William Warfield's would make an excellent choice, and I quite agree.

However, I've decided instead to use a version you almost certainly haven't heard before, mainly because it was just recorded yesterday (as I write), and then only for a local radio program, where he performed it live.

This will probably be the only way you'll get to hear it. It's by EDDIE MULIAUMASEALI'I.

Eddie Muliaumaseali'i

Eddie is from New Zealand and came to Australia to study music (and play rugby, but we won't hold that against him. Well, not too much). He calls Oz, specifically Melbourne, home these days. He won't find much rugby in this city.

Eddie is an in-demand opera singer and has spent much time in Germany and Austria as well as Australia and New Zealand performing all the famous bass and baritone roles. Here is Old Man River.

♫ Eddie Muliaumaseali'i - Old Man River

I mentioned this one in the previous column so I have decided to use it this time. The transformer is STAN FREBERG.

Stan Freberg

Most people who read this column would remember Stan (who is still with us as I write). Helping him was DAWS BUTLER.

Daws Butler

Besides his work with Stan, Daws was also the voice for Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and many other cartoon characters. I think Mr Tweedly was the one I remember best (as I didn't know he was responsible for all those others until recently).

Let's hear him and Stan in Elderly Man River.

♫ Stan Freberg and Daws Butler - Elderly Man River

JOHN DENVER wrote most of the songs he recorded but not this one – well, not entirely.

John Denver

John had the help of Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert to write Take Me Home, Country Roads. Bill and Taffy were later half of the Starland Vocal Band who made a bit of a name for themselves in the late seventies.

♫ John Denver - Take Me Home, Country Roads

Toots Hibbert was the main man for TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS.

Toots & the Maytals

Besides his work with The Maytals, Toots produced some excellent solo albums, particularly "Toots in Memphis.” This isn't about his solo work though, it's the band and their version of Take Me Home, Country Roads.

♫ Toots & the Maytals - Take Me Home, Country Roads

My Blue Heaven was written by Walter Donaldson and George Whiting in the mid 1920s. GENE AUSTIN may have been the first to record it; his was certainly the biggest hit version, selling more than five million copies, an astonishing number for the time. It was the biggest selling record for many years.

Gene Austin

Gene was arguably the first of the crooners, certainly the first famous one, predating Rudy Vallée and Bing Crosby. He was also a songwriter who wrote scores of songs, many you'd recognise but space prevents me from mentioning them. Here he is with My Blue Heaven.

♫ Gene Austin - My Blue Heaven

Although he didn't match Gene's sales figures, FATS DOMINO had a pretty big hit with the song in 1956.

Fats Domino

Of course, everything that Fats released around that time became a hit, deservedly so too. This is his take on My Blue Heaven.

♫ Fats Domino - My Blue Heaven

Here we have LED ZEPPELIN for the very first time in one of my columns.

Led Zeppelin

Even now, whenever I hear of a song named Stairway to Heaven I think of the one by Neil Sedaka rather than the one by the Zeps. It's their most famous song, and that's all I'll say about it.

♫ Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven

I had plenty of scope with the transformed song because way back in the mists of TV time Andrew Denton, on one of his excellent programs, had musicians produce a whole series of radically different versions of the song. After checking them all out I've decided to go with PARDON ME BOYS.

Pardon Me Boys

Pardon Me Boys were Ignatius Jones, Monica Trápaga, William O'Riordan and assorted hangers-on. Here's what they make of the song.

♫ Pardon Me Boys - Stairway To Heaven

Huddie Ledbettter is probably better known to most of us as LEADBELLY.

Leadbelly

Leadbelly wrote (and performed) many songs that fueled the folk boom of the fifties and sixties. Not just that period, his songs are still performed today. One such is Rock Island Line, a considerable hit for Lonnie Donegan, but we'll ignore that one.

♫ Leadbelly - Rock Island Line

LITTLE RICHARD would transform any song he tackled. He couldn't help but turn everything into a Little Richard song.

Little Richard

This didn't appear on any of his regular albums, or as a single. It came from an album called "Vision Shared" where various artists performed works by Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie. Richard did what Richard always does.

♫ Little Richard - Rock Island Line

JACKIE DESHANNON was probably the first female singer/songwriter of the rock and roll period, gaining attention for her songs and records starting around 1960.

Jackie DeShannon

However, she began earlier than that – she released a number of country sounding records in the fifties under various names to not too much success.

Jackie certainly came to the public's notice in the sixties, both with her own records and scores of songs written for other artists. One of her songs is Bette Davis Eyes.

♫ Jackie DeShannon - Bette Davis Eyes

Jackie's version really didn't go anywhere, but when KIM CARNES recorded it, it became a huge success.

Kim Carnes

Kim started her career as a member of the New Christy Minstrels (alongside Kenny Rogers at the time). Kim is also a songwriter and has written material for David Cassidy, Barbra Streisand and for Kenny, with whom she's recorded some duets.

Kim recorded an album under the auspices of Jerry Wexler which brought considerable critical acclaim and then struck it big with Bette Davis Eyes, one of the iconic songs from the eighties (a decade that produced few treasures, in my opinion).

♫ Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes

April Showers was written by Louis Silver and B.G. De Sylva in 1921. It got its first airing in the musical "Bombo" and was sung at that time by AL JOLSON.

Al Jolson

Al recorded the song several times during his life, but here is that very first one from way back then.

♫ Al Jolson - April Showers

Who better to transform this song than the inimitable TINY TIM?

Tiny Tim

Okay, I can hear you say that just about anybody else would be better, but Tim is who you're getting.

♫ Tiny Tim - April Showers


ELDER MUSIC: 1965 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.


What happened in 1965?

  • Dennis Lehane was born
  • Jefferson Airplane made their debut
  • Days of our Lives made its first appearance
  • The first concert was staged at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco
  • How to Murder Your Wife was released
  • Ronni Bennett got married
  • Essendon were premiers

Smokey Robinson was in peak form around this time and he came up with what I consider his best song, The Tracks of My Tears. Berry Gordy, head honcho for Motown records, and a friend of Smokey's agrees with me.

Smokey's group THE MIRACLES recorded it and it did pretty well but given its quality, it should have sold sqillions.

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

♫ Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - The Tracks of My Tears

THE SUPREMES were having a run of number one hits when, out of the blue, one of their songs failed to chart.

The Supremes

Berry Gordy was furious. He released a memo that said, "We will release nothing less than Top Ten product on any artist; and because the Supremes' world-wide acceptance is greater than the other artists, on them we will only release number one records."

Holland, Dozier, Holland, who wrote songs for the group, put on their thinking caps and came up with I Hear A Symphony. The song restored them to their rightful chart position.

♫ The Supremes - I Hear A Symphony

Just sit back and let this next song wash over you. Or, perhaps, you could sit there and mold some clay. Here are the RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS with Unchained Melody.

The Righteous Brothers

♫ The Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

Another duo, but of a completely different stripe. I present SONNY AND CHER.

Sonny & Cher

Oh for the sartorial elegance of yesteryear.

As with the Brothers, there's another film tie-in. Just pretend your alarm clock is waking you up at 6AM to I Got You Babe.

♫ Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe

People Get Ready is easily THE IMPRESSIONS best known song.

The Impressions

Jerry Butler had left the group by 1965 and Curtis Mayfield was the driving force. He wrote the song, sang lead vocal and played guitar on the track. Sam Gooden and Fred Cash were the other two members at this time.

♫ The Impressions - People Get Ready

THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL was formed by John Sebastian and Zal Yanovsky.

The Lovin' Spoonful

John and Zal first got some attention when they were in a group called The Mugwumps. When they split, the other two in the group, Mama Cass and Denny Doherty became part of another rather famous group.

The Spoonful were playing around the clubs in Greenwich Village and over time noticed their audience was changing - fewer beatniks and more young people. They managed to get a record deal and Do You Believe in Magic was their first single.

♫ The Lovin' Spoonful - Do You Believe in Magic

Yet another superb Motown group, this time it's THE TEMPTATIONS.

The Temptations

The Temps had several lead singers over the years, two in particular stood out – Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin. It really didn't matter who sang, they always performed wonderfully.

The song My Girl was written for them and the record produced by Smokey Robinson. With all that combined talent there was no way they could miss.

♫ The Temptations - My Girl

BARBARA LEWIS was a songwriter as well as a singer, but in this case she didn't write the song.

Barbara Lewis

Baby I'm Yours came from the pen of Van McCoy. I think Van must have listened closely to The Twelfth of Never, not for the tune but the idea. That's okay, pinching ideas is what pop music's all about.

The song has been covered by many others but the original is usually the best, and so it is in this case.

♫ Barbara Lewis - Baby I'm Yours

1965 wasn't all music from Motown and Stax records (oh, and The Beatles too, I guess). Just mostly. Or, at least, that's where the good music emulated.

However, there was music out of Nashville at the time. One of those singers (and songwriters) was ROGER MILLER.

Roger Miller

Roger didn't take himself too seriously (something that seems to afflict too many performers) and his song from this year is probably his most famous, King of the Road.

Roger said the inspiration for the song came about when he saw a sign that read "Trailers for sale or rent.” He's given several different locations for that sign over the years.

♫ Roger Miller - King Of the Road

Back to the soul music, and one of the very best, WILSON PICKETT.

Wilson Pickett

Wilson wrote In The Midnight Hour with Steve Cropper, session guitarist at Stax records and member of Booker T and the MGs. This group was the backing band for Wilson on this song with a bit of help from the Memphis Horns.

♫ Wilson Pickett - In The Midnight Hour

You can find more music from 1965 here. 1966 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Classical Gas

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


This column has nothing to do with the piece of music by Mason Williams with the same name. The title was suggested by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to replace the boring, and overly long one I originally had.

There's no theme today. Over time I've heard pieces of music I like, either on the radio or from my own collection, and have made a note of them. Now I have enough for a column.

GIUSEPPE TARTINI was born in 1692 in Piran, in Istria in the Republic of Venice (but is now in Slovenia).

Tartini

His folks wanted him to become Franciscan friar. He had a basic musical education and studied law at the university. His father died and he married a woman of whom his father would have heartily disapproved.

Well, there goes the friaring job.

Unfortunately, Elisabetta, as that was her name, was a favorite of the local, powerful cardinal. Ah ha. This gentleman, and I use the word rather freely, charged Giuseppe with abduction. He (Giuseppe) took off to the monastery of St. Francis in Assisi where he was safe from prosecution. We don't know what happened to Elisabetta.

It was at the monastery that he honed his composing and playing skills, particularly on the violin. Indeed, he is the first known owner of one of Mr. Stradivari's fiddles.

Things must have improved for him as he was out and about after a bit. He started a violin school that attracted pupils from all over Europe. Most of his compositions employ that instrument prominently – violin concertos and sonatas and the like.

He wrote some religious music; the pope at the time, Clement XII, asked him for a Stabat Mater. I guess things had been smoothed over by then.

Here is his Trio Sonata in E flat maj, Op 8 No 6.

♫ Tartini - Trio Sonata Op 8 No 6

I was inspired to include the next composer when I heard his beautiful clarinet concerto on the radio the other day. ANTONIO CARTELLIERI was someone who lived on the periphery of the music world of his time.

Cartellieri

Tony didn't live there very long as he was only 35 when he died. He had the misfortune to have been born only a couple of years after Beethoven (and thus also overlapped with Mozart and Haydn). Indeed, his first appearance as a conductor (conducting his own symphony) coincided with Beethoven's first public appearance.

Tony actually received greater plaudits from those present than Ludwig. Most of his surviving works feature the clarinet to a considerable degree, however, I was a bit clarinet heavy in my selections today so I've opted for something else of Tony's, the third movement from the Divertimento for flute, oboe, clarinet, two horns, two violins, viola, cello and double bass. Whew.

♫ Cartellieri - Divertimento (3)i

IGNAZ PLEYEL (or Ignace, depending on where you live) was one of a rather surprising number of composers who were extremely famous in their lifetimes but are largely unknown or forgotten today.

Pleyel

Indeed, Iggy was a super-star of his time, easily the most famous composer around outstripping all the others including such journeymen as Haydn and Mozart.

He may not have deserved quite such an exalted reputation then but he certainly doesn’t deserve to be forgotten now. I’ll try in my small way to reinstate him a little.

This is the third movement of the Clarinet Concerto No 2 in B flat major.

♫ Pleyel - Clarinet Concerto No.2 (3)

In 17th century Rome, two composers were recognised as pre-eminent in the world of chamber music  One of those was ORAZIO MICHI DELL'ARPA (the other was Girolamo Frescobaldi).

Sorry, there don't seem to be any pictures of Oraz; I guess he hogged the camera when the family went on holidays.

Oraz composed for the chromatic harp which had reached Rome from Spain around this time. This is a bit of a strange looking instrument composed of two sets of strings that sort of intersect with each other.

ChromaticHarp

Most of the music he composed was of the toccata form that essentially is just a way of showing off your versatility with the instrument. Think guitar heroes these days.

The piece I've chosen is called I diletti di mundo. It's the second movement of a toccata. The harp player is Andrew Lawrence-King.

♫ Michi Dell'Arpa - I diletti di mundo (2)

LUIGI BOCCHERINI's name may be known to you.

Boccherini

I've included him as he was destined to be on an earlier column but he missed the cut at the last minute. Rather than waste him, I decided to toss him into this one.

Luigi was a cello player (as was his dad) and he wrote many works that featured the instrument prominently. It's less so in this work, the first movement of the Octet, G470, for woodwinds and strings.

♫ Boccherini - Octet (1)

As I mentioned earlier, I'm a bit heavy on the clarinets today. I hope you don't mind but it produces such gorgeous music. BERNHARD CRUSELL was another born just after Beethoven. He lived a bit longer than Cartellieri though.

Crusell

Bernie has born in Finland and his family moved to Sweden (whence his father came) when he was eight. He certainly favored the clarinet; he learned to play by ear on a friend's instrument and later had formal training.

He became quite famous throughout Europe and travelled to France, Germany and England where he was in great demand. The king of Sweden at the time kept dragging him back though as he wanted this fine musician and composer to play for him.

Here is the third movement of his Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, Op.1.

♫ Crusell - Clarinet Concerto No 1 (3)

This next piece of music is really beautiful and for years has been known as Serenade for Strings Op. 3 No. 5 by Joseph Haydn (from one of his string quartets). However, this isn't the case.It's still a beautiful piece of music but it's been found to have been composed by ROMAN HOFFSTETTER.

Hoffstetter

Roman was a composer and a Benedictine monk. He greatly admired Papa Jo's work to the point of slavish imitation, thus the confusion over the years. It's not just this work but several other string quartets have been misattributed (but have now found their rightful owner).

Here is that piece mentioned above, the second movement of the String Quartet in F.

♫ Hoffstetter - String Quartet (2)

JAN DISMAS ZELENKA was from Lounovice in Bohemia, just south-east of Prague.

Zelenka

Nothing more is known of his childhood and his first known composition dates from when he was 32. The overwhelming percentage of his surviving works are religious in nature and there are only a few others, notably some orchestral works and six trio sonatas.

It's a bit of one of those sonatas we have today, the second movement of the Trio Sonata No 4 in G Minor for Oboe, Violin and Bassoon. There's also a lute, double bass and harpsichord fiddling around in the background.

♫ Zelenka - Trio Sonata 4 (2)

GEORG ABRAHAM SCHNEIDER was a German composer who was born the same year as Beethoven, but he was from Darmstadt.

Schneider

He was a horn player but was also proficient on the violin and other instruments.

Georg was hired by Prince Frederick Henry Louis of Prussia to perform and compose music. Things changed when Napoleon occupied the area but Georg was on tour in Vienna at the time and decided to stay.

His work shows an obvious influence of Haydn and Mozart but that's not a bad thing. This is the third movement of his Sinfonia Concertante in D-major for violin & viola, Op.19.

♫ Schneider - Sinfonia Concertante (3)


ELDER MUSIC: 1964 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.


What happened in 1964?

  • Tracy Chapman was born
  • The Olympic Games were held in Tokyo
  • The Rolling Stones released their first album
  • The Mavis Bramston Show premiered
  • BASIC programming language was released. It became a lot less basic over the years.
  • Dr Strangelove was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

There's a terrific quote (well, I think it is, others will probably disagree) from a book called Rock of Ages – History of Rock & Roll that says:

"[In 1964] whenever You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' came on the radio, it reduced, for its three minute span, The Supremes to little girls and The Beatles to fey pretenders.”

Couldn't put it better myself. Here are THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS with that song.

Righteous Brothers

♫ The Righteous Brothers - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'

A couple of Brazilian composers, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, used to sit on an obscure stretch of beach in Rio de Janeiro and watch the girls go by. One was Helô Pinheiro, who'd walk by in her bikini pretty much every day. They wrote a song about her called The Girl From Ipanema.

Due to the success of the song, it is not an obscure stretch of beach any more. Many people have recorded the song, but the fist and best was by STAN GETZ and ASTRUD GILBERTO.

Stan Getz and Astrid Gilberto

♫ Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto - The Girl From Ipanema

Baby I Need Your Loving was THE FOUR TOPS first, but far from last, hit.

Four Tops

It was written by the distinguished Motown writing team of Holland, Dozier, Holland. They wrote this especially for the Tops after they saw them perform in a club in Detroit.

♫ The Four Tops - Baby I Need Your Loving

CHUCK BERRY was still making great music in 1964; he wasn't resting on his laurels (not yet, anyway).

Chuck Berry

The song is No Particular Place to Go. Keen-eared listeners will recognize the tune – Chuck recycled School Days for this one. It wasn't the only time he plagiarized himself.

♫ Chuck Berry - No Particular Place to Go

Walk on By was one of a bunch of songs that Burt Bacharach and Hal David wrote for DIONNE WARWICK.

Dionne Warwick

There was some kind of chemistry between the songwriters and the singer. Pretty much every song they wrote for her became a hit. Not just a hit but a fine piece of music as well.

♫ Dionne Warwick - Walk on By

The British invasion of the world's music was in full swing by 1964. One of those, not just along for the ride, but serious talents in their own right is THE KINKS.

Kinks

They started out as a sort of proto-punk band and evolved into a serious contender with several of the finest songs of the sixties. This is one of the early ones, You Really Got Me.

♫ The Kinks - You Really Got Me

Another British group, but one you would never call punk is HERMAN'S HERMITS.

Hermans Hermits

The song I'm Into Something Good was recorded when singer Peter Noone was just 16. It's a Gerry Goffin and Carole King song first recorded by Earl-Jean (or Ethel McCrea to her folks), who had been the lead singer for The Cookies.

The Herms' producer heard it and thought it'd work for the group. He was right.

♫ Herman's Hermits - I'm Into Something Good

TERRY STAFFORD is yet another who sounds suspiciously like Elvis.

Terry Stafford

Not just his voice, but the song, Suspicion, was written for The King by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman. Terry got a hold of it a couple of years later and took it up the charts – Elvis's version was only on an album.

♫ Terry Stafford - Suspicion

My Guy was the last record MARY WELLS recorded at Motown records. She left for a better deal elsewhere. The move didn't quite turn out as she hoped as she didn't repeat her Motown success.

Mary Wells

Smokey Robinson wrote the song and produced the record. He later wrote My Girl, sort of an answer song that was big for The Temptations. The song hit number 1 everywhere and was Mary's shining moment.

♫ Mary Wells - My Guy

You have to expect a bit of trash in these columns and who better to supply it than THE TRASHMEN.

Trashmen

Their claim to fame is a little ditty called Surfin' Bird. Rather surprisingly they released half a dozen albums. I haven't heard any of them so I can't tell you what they're like. In the mean time, the bird is the word.

♫ The Trashmen - Surfin' Bird

You can find more music from 1964 here. 1965 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Bing

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.


Bing Crosby

BING CROSBY was a particular favorite of my father's, such that he had several albums of his. Thus, I became familiar with him as well, because we didn't have many records, so that dad's, mum's, my sister's and my records all got high rotation.

I wasn't discriminating, I absorbed the lot – Bing, Little Richard, Beethoven, Johnnie Ray, Grace Moore, Elvis, Nat King Cole, Mario Lanza were all absorbed equally.

Harry Crosby was the fourth of seven kids and he was from Tacoma, Washington. He gained his nickname as a child as he was a fan of a newspaper humor feature called "The Bingville Bugle" and he was initially called Bingo from Bingville by all and sundry.

Naturally, that got shortened to Bing.

After singing with a bunch of fellow school students, the number of them was reduced to only two of them, Bing and Al Rinkler.

Al's sister, Mildred Bailey, introduced them to Paul Whiteman who hired them. A third member was added and they became the Rhythm Boys. They had a number of hits with the orchestra.

It became obvious that Bing was the star of the show and he went solo. Eventually he left Paul and joined Gus Arheim's Orchestra.

Enough gas-bagging from me, let's get to the music.

Here is Gus Arheim and his Coconut Grove Orchestra with vocal refrain by Bing Crosby, as it says on the record.

This is from 1931 and was from the time before Bing had had his tonsils out. There's a slight difference in the voice and his singing really jumps out at you on this record, One More Time.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - One More Time (Gus Arheim And His Cocoanut Grove Orchestra)

After Gus, Bing went out as a solo performer and the rest is history. One of his early number one hits, and a song forever associated with him, is Please, recorded in 1932.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - Please

I won't bother moving chronologically any more. Bing had four sons with his first wife. Probably the most famous of these was GARY who was also in show biz.

He and Bing made a number of records together which are really fun. My pick of them is their treatment of Moonlight Bay.

Bing & Gary Crosby

♫ Bing & Gary Crosby - Moonlight Bay

Where the Blue of the Night became Bing's signature tune. It was recorded in 1931 and it featured in a Mack Sennett short in which Bing also appeared (really).

It was written by Roy Turk and Fred Ahlert and Bing wrote some of the lyrics as well.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - Where The Blue Of The Night

On The Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe was written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer for the film The Harvey Girls. Judy Garland sang it and it won an Oscar.

Her version made the charts but some others preceded it, most notably Johnny Mercer's own. Next on the list (and only a week or so later) was the one by Bing. He had the help on his record of SIX HITS AND A MISS to warble along in the background.

Six Hits & a Miss

♫ Bing Crosby - On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe

In the fifties, Bing recorded an album called "Songs I Wish I Had Sung.” I know this one very well as it was one dad had. Bing sort of fibbed a bit on this as he had recorded Johnny Mercer's Blues in the Night before, back in 1942. Here is that original version.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - Blues in the Night

Bing and BOB HOPE made several "Road To" films, along with Dorothy Lamour, of course.

Bing Crosby & Bob Hope

These were very post-modern with the two of them often talking straight to the audience, something that wasn't done then. Some of these still hold up today as escapist entertainment.

Road to Morocco may be the best of these; it certainly produced the best song from the series.

♫ Bing Crosby - Road To Morocco

I quite like Dear Hearts and Gentle People if I don't listen too closely to the words. If I do that I tend to gag a bit. I hope that doesn't happen to you.

The song was written by Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard and based on a single line on a scrap of paper that was found on Stephen Foster's body when he died.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - Dear Hearts and Gentle People

Bing and LOUIS ARMSTRONG were good friends from the twenties onward.

Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong

It is known that Bing always said the Louis had the greatest influence on his musical development. They made a couple of films together – Bing insisted on Louis being hired, and share top billing, for the film Pennies from Heaven in 1936, where Bing played a convict (gasp – he was innocent, of course).

They also appeared most memorably in High Society. Here they are with one of their hits, Gone Fishin'.

♫ Bing Crosby & Louis Armstrong - Gone Fishin'

Bing often claimed that he owed much of his success to Johnny Burke. Johnny was a songwriter who managed to write more than 400 songs, on his own and with Jimmy Van Heusen.

He/they wrote mostly for films, including all the Road to… movies and Going My Way amongst many others. One of the many songs Johnny wrote (with Arthur Johnston this time) for Bing is The Moon Got in My Eyes.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - The Moon Got In My Eyes

A case could be made for the proposition that Bing was the first rap artist. Okay, get yourself up off the floor, wrap your ears around this next song and see if you agree. It's called There's Nothing That I Haven't Sung About.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - There's Nothing That I Haven't Sung About

From a little-known song to one that's very well-known indeed. MacNamara’s Band was written by Shamus O'Connor and John Stamford with lyrics by The Three Jesters (Red Latham, Wamp Carlson, and Guy Bonham).

A group called The Jesters backs Bing on the song. They may or may not be the same jesters.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - MacNamara’s Band


ELDER MUSIC: 1963 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.


What happened in 1963?

  • Eva Cassidy was born
  • Alcatraz closed its doors (without anyone behind them)
  • The Great Train Robbery occurred (who'd want to steal a train?)
  • Cassette tapes used for the first time
  • Hitchcock's movie, The Birds, was released.
  • Geelong were premiers

Throughout his career GENE PITNEY was not only a performer but also a songwriter of note - not just for himself, but for others as well.

GenePitney8

He didn't confine his singing just to his own compositions, he was happy to record songs by other people as well. This is one such, Half Heaven, Half Heartache, written by Aaron Schroeder, George Goehring and Wally Gold.

♫ Gene Pitney - Half Heaven, Half Heartache

We have two great groups from Motown records (who had several other impressive ones on their roster as well). The first of these is THE MIRACLES (later Smokey Robinson and The Miracles).

Smokey Robinson & the Miracles

With Smokey as lead singer and writing most of their hits (and those of many other performers too), they were not just a stellar Motown group, they were great - full stop.

Another group with a bit of cred (The Beatles) covered this song early in their career. The song is You've Really Got a Hold on Me. Smokey wrote the song for his wife, Claudette, who was also one of The Miracles.

♫ Smokey Robinson and the Miracles - You've Really Got a Hold on Me

MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS next, with Martha Reeves out in front of the group.

Martha & the Vandellas

That's Martha on the right. Their song, (Love Is Like a) Heat Wave, was written by another fine songwriting ensemble from Motown, Holland, Dozier, Holland. Martha and crew had more than two dozen hits over the years.

♫ Martha and the Vandellas - Heatwave

ROY ORBISON sings In Dreams.

Roy Orbison

Wow, what a performance. Of course you could say that about many of Roy's songs. I like that he doesn't write standard songs of verse, chorus, verse etc. He lets the words and music stream out. And it works.

♫ Roy Orbison - In Dreams

This is a real country song according to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, who claims that you can always tell a country song because of the talky bits in the middle.

This one has two of them. The song is Still and it's sung by BILL ANDERSON.

Bill Anderson

I think that with this song Bill took notice of the quote often attributed to Groucho Marx (but probably predated him): "If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.” It sure sounds excessively sincere to me.

♫ Bill Anderson - Still

BOBBY RYDELL was a huge success in Australia, possibly more than any other country at the time.

Bobby Rydell

His songs consistently topped the charts around this time, at least until The Beatles swept everything else away. This one just made it into this year and was still on the charts in 1964. The song is Forget Him.

♫ Bobby Rydell - Forget Him

THE CRYSTALS' song Then He Kissed Me was the first to feature Dolores "La La" Brooks singing lead.

The Crystals

After this song their producer, Phil Spector, lost interest in the group as he had by then turned his attention to The Ronettes. The Crystals made more records but none of them made it to the top end of the charts.

♫ The Crystals - Then He Kissed Me

Brother and sister NINO TEMPO AND APRIL STEVENS previously had solo musical careers, Nino as a session saxophone player and April as a singer. She had a few minor hits in the fifties.

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

The bigwigs at Atlantic records thought they might work as a duo and they recorded a song Deep Purple which seemed like a throwback to earlier times.

It came about by accident - they had finished recording for the day and had a few minutes left over so they performed this one. It was the one that became a hit for them.

♫ Nino Tempo & April Stevens - Deep Purple

DORIS TROY got a job at the Apollo Theater when she was a teenager and thought that she'd like to be up on the stage instead.

Doris Troy

She wrote a song called Just One Look and recorded a demo which got to Atlantic records. They were so excited about it that they released it just as it was.

Doris became only the second woman (after Carla Thomas) to reach the top 10 with a song she wrote and recorded.

♫ Doris Troy - Just One Look

Walk Like a Man was recorded while the building was burning down around the group. No wonder Frankie Valli sounds the way he does.

The door was locked, as they didn't want intruders, and it was only when a fireman broke it down that they discovered that something was amiss. No harm came to THE FOUR SEASONS.

The Four Seasons

I've always been amused that a song called Walk Like a Man was sung by a man who doesn't sound like one. Maybe it's just me.

♫ The Four Seasons - Walk Like a Man

You can find more music from 1963 here. 1964 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: Here and There 2014

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.


Regular readers of TGB will know by now that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I have recently visited Ronni, the Web Mistress. Before that we stayed with my sister in San Francisco and also visited other friends and family around the Bay Area.

We flew from Melbourne to Los Angeles and then took an up and downer to San Jose. As I did last time we visited the U.S., I decided to produce a musical column about our travels.

I could have used all the music from 2012 as we visited pretty much the same places but that would be boring, so here are a bunch of different ones.

On the flight north it struck me that we were heading up to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend show. Naturally, that brought to mind JIMMY BUFFETT.

Jimmy Buffett

Okay, there was no show that we were headed for but the song sprang to mind as we were flying north to that city at that time. That song is Come Monday.

♫ Jimmy Buffett - Come Monday

Early on, we went up to the Napa Valley and the town of Napa in particular where my nephew is senior chef at Bistro Don Giovanni.

This was not long after the Napa earthquake. Fortunately, his place was okay and not too much damage was done to B.D.G. - their crockery and glassware were either in the dishwasher or had been carefully put away to prevent such occurrences.

And, to our relief, the wines had also been carefully stowed. They understand these things in California.

Given the name of the establishment, something from Mozart's opera Don Giovanni was an obvious choice for me. KIRI TE KANAWA (playing Donna Elvira) sings the aria “Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata.”

Kiri Te Kanawa

♫ Mozart - Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata

My sister is a skilled craftsperson. She has made all manner of things over the years, but her main gig is silver smithing at which she excels.

Other metals come to hand as well (silver can be very expensive) and one day I happened upon her banging away with a sledge hammer. Alas, I didn't have my camera with me and she had finished by the time I went and got it.

Instead here is this photo of her performing more delicate work.

Silver Smithing

However, the sledge hammering reminded me of the “Anvil Chorus” or “Coro di zingari" from Il Trovatore by GUISEPPE VERDI.

Verdi

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus do their thing with it.

♫ Verdi - Il trovatore - Anvil Chorus

One day we went down to Carmel for lunch, as you do. After a particularly fine repast, we ventured to the beach where we saw the blue pearly water wash upon white silver sands (which were very much like Australian beaches).

Here we see the A.M., my sister and brother-in-law relaxing on the beach after lunch.

Carmel

Now, if my rabbitting on back there isn't a song, I don't know one. That song is White Silver Sands by DON RONDO.

Don Rondo

♫ Don Rondo - White Silver Sands

Back in Los Gatos (where my sister actually lives), the weather was so fine we ate most lunches (and dinners) on the deck outside. We were graced by many birds visiting us – woodpeckers (I nearly included the Woody Woodpecker Song but thought better of it), beautiful blue jays and particularly, hummingbirds.

These may sound prosaic to you but we have none of those in Australia so we were really thrilled to see them. I guess the equivalent is Americans visiting Australia and seeing kookaburras, spangled drongos and cassowaries (although you'd really be in trouble if that last one was flying around your backyard).

Some days, well most of them really, we had to put up netting to keep the insects away from our food and wine. Pictured is the A.M. adjusting the mesh.

Assistant Musicologist

Of all the songs I thought of that would be appropriate, the best of them is Hummingbird by B.B. KING.

BB King

♫ BB King - Hummingbird

When it was time to visit the W.M., we decided to take the train rather than fly (okay, we had decided that long before) and after an early dinner with members of the family, we headed for the railway station in San Jose.

Well, the train from Los Angeles was already two hours late when we arrived and it lost another two hours on the way to Portland. Thus it was not only a Slow Train Coming, it was also a slow train going. Cue BOB DYLAN.

Bob Dylan

♫ Bob Dylan - Slow Train

The train journey took longer than the flight from Melbourne to L.A., so we had Time to Kill. We did that by sleeping (or trying to) in the initial stages (nighttime) and spending the rest of the time in the observation car looking at the scenery.

As this was northern California and Oregon it was generally pretty wonderful. So good, in fact, we both forgot to take photos. Here is THE BAND.

The Band

♫ The Band - Time to Kill

One day we went for a trek around Tryon Creek Park, a state park near Lake Oswego. This wouldn't take too long and was a pleasant stroll, I was told. Huh!

In spite of that, we had fun looking at the trees and other flora – fauna were a bit thin on the ground; they probably come out at night or at least dusk and dawn.

Even the creeks were low (as there's been less rain than usual around these parts). There was one place where the creek was rippling along which caused me to burst into song (but only briefly), and that song was Rippling Water by the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND, a particular favorite of mine.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Here is a photo of the three of us on a bridge looking down at our reflections in a creek (of the non-rippling variety, I believe).

Reflections

A few days later we went to the Japanese Park in Portland where there was any amount of rippling water, so the song is justified. This is at that park.

Japanese Park

This song has a very quiet lead in – about 30 seconds of actual rippling water so don't think there's something wrong if you can't hear anything for a little while.

♫ The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Ripplin' Waters

Sometime later, without anything that lent itself to a song, we went into Portland to walk around (as that's what the A.M. and the W.M. seem to like doing).

After wandering about the waterfront of Portland, looking at all the bridges – lordy, there's a lot of them - we returned home and I was seconded to prepare a very late lunch.

I've been cooking various dishes while we've been here with the W.M. but today (and I'm sorry to blow my own trumpet, but it's necessary to get this song included, although you may be a bit dubious once I say what it is) she said that what I prepared was “in its own way as good as ice cream.”

This may not seem much to you, but that is the ultimate accolade from the W.M., who is a connoisseur of ice cream. She also said “Yummy, yummy, yummy” (and a few things after that) and that was enough for me to play for you that awful song from OHIO EXPRESS.

Ohio Express

You know the one, Yummy Yummy Yummy (I Got Love In My Tummy).

The dish I prepared was pasta with basil pesto, in case you are wondering or want to fly me to your place to prepare it for you – a great pinot noir, or several, is an essential accompaniment for this dish.

[RONNI THE WEB MISTRESS INTERRUPTING: It was a deceptively simple dish – pesto on spagetti. Sounds like no big deal but it was. And it was all in Peter's meticulously hand-crafted basil pesto or, as I have come to call the dish, Pesto Pasta. Ya shoulda been here for it. The best I ever had and so good, I “forced” Peter to make it again a week later and I had the leftover pesto on spagetti for lunch a day or two after he left for home. Yum.]

♫ Ohio Express - Yummy, Yummy, Yummy

Lake Oswego is on the main rail line to Portland and Seattle in one direction and San Francisco (okay, really Oakland) and Los Angeles in the other. Freight trains travel at all times of day.

The W.M.'s house is far enough away that at night we can just hear the lonesome whistle blowing. It's not enough to wake us but if we haven't gone to sleep it still invokes memories of old train whistles.

There were many songs that would fit this category, but the most obvious one is by HANK WILLIAMS.

Hank Williams

The song is I Heard That Lonesome Whistle Blow.

♫ Hank Williams - (I Heard That) Lonesome Whistle

Well, that's the column but I still have a week to go before I have to return (at least, that's so as I write). You never know, there might be another column if I do anything song-worthy, but don't hold your breath. I'll be home by the time you get to read it as all my music is back there.


ELDER MUSIC: States – South Dakota to Wyoming

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.


We're in the home stretch now. Here are the last of the states (alphabetically).

SouthDakota125It seems that whenever a town or city is mentioned in these songs, I have been there.

Not too unusual except that I live in a country on the other side of the world.

Rapid City is one place where I spent some days waiting for a radiator to be fixed. It came into close contact with a deer. I hasten to add that I was a passenger at the time, not the driver.

I don't know if KINKY FRIEDMAN has ever hit a deer but nothing would surprise me when it comes to the Kinkster.

KinkyFriedman1

Kinky is better known for being from Texas (and writing books about New York), but his song is about South Dakota. It's called Rapid City, South Dakota.

♫ Kinky Friedman - Rapid City, South Dakota

Tennessee125I don't know what it is about Tennessee that inspires waltzes, but there you go.

You probably think you know what's coming up given that introduction, but it's is not to be.

Anyone who knows the music of JESSE WINCHESTER has got it right though.

JesseWinchester18

Jesse's song is The Brand New Tennessee Waltz.

♫ Jesse Winchester - The Brand New Tennessee Waltz

Texas125Another Texan, LYLE LOVETT, and his song is about that state.

LyleLovett14

To quote Tom Rush, "Lyle is not like the other children.” He has a really quirky attitude when it comes to writing songs but it's not too obvious in this one. It's called That's Right (You're Not from Texas). He performs it as if it's 1940 and Bob Wills is still the king.

♫ Lyle Lovett - That's Right (You're Not from Texas)

Utah125I couldn't find any songs about Utah, at least none with the state's name in the title.

I did find one where Utah was mentioned and that's good enough for me.With some of these I got a bit desperate. You might have noticed.

The song is sung by MARTY ROBBINS.

Marty Robbins

The song is Utah Carol, and it's taken from his terrific “Gunfighter Ballads” album.

♫ Marty Robbins - Utah Carol

Vermont125My choice for Vermont is Moonlight in Vermont.

There are many different versions of it, but one stood out as far as I'm concerned, and that is the one by BILLIE HOLIDAY. Regular readers are probably not surprised by that. I won't say anything else, just let Billie sing the song.

BillieHoliday19

Billie Holiday - Moonlight in Vermont

Virginia125DAVE ALVIN first came to prominence in the band The Blasters with his brother Phil.

DaveAlvin14

Since then he's had a solo career singing fine songs in his superb baritone voice. He mostly writes his own material, but he has released an album called "Public Domain" where he performed fine old songs, some dating back a century or more.

East Virginia Blues is one from that album.

♫ Dave Alvin - East Virginia Blues

Washington125Now to the hardest state of them all, Washington.

Oh, there are a lot of songs about Washington but they all refer to the city on the other side of the country.

I resorted to the intertube and there are some websites that suggest that there are no songs about Washington or, at least, none that mention the state in the title.

That was my unofficial criterion for these columns - that the name had to be in the title. Undeterred by that, I spent several days searching and finally found one. It's by M. WARD.

M Ward

M (his mum and dad weren't very imaginative in the naming department) has a song called Four Hours in Washington which I was assured is about the state. However, it isn't actually mentioned in the lyrics, but I'm desperate so it'll have to do.

♫ M. Ward - Four Hours in Washington

WestVirginia125KATHY MATTEA really was born in West Virginia.

KathyMattea2

So she's not lying when she sings West Virginia, My Home. Kathy was classically trained as a singer but discovered folk music and took up the guitar.

Since then she's ventured into gospel, bluegrass and has become a respected singer/songwriter. Anything she performs is well worth a listen.

♫ Kathy Mattea - West Virginia, My Home

Wisconsin125Thank heaven for GLENN YARBROUGH, he had the solitary Wisconsin song.

GlennYarbrough1

Readers with long musical memories know that Glenn started out as the lead singer for the Limeliters. He then went on to have a long solo career. Actually, the career is still continuing.

Glenn's song today is just called Wisconsin.

♫ Glenn Yarbrough - Wisconsin

Wyoming125Poor old Wyoming, always coming last alphabetically.

It never seems to be the thing to do something or other in reverse order. Even I haven't done that.

I could completely rearrange all these columns but that sounds like too much hard work, so I won't. Anyway, we have JOHN DENVER for this final state.

JohnDenver11

John's song is called Song of Wyoming.

♫ John Denver - Song of Wyoming

Well, that's it. Or is it? There's an obvious clichéd way to end this series and never let it be said that I'll always avoid the clichés.

So, an extra track from SIMON AND GARFUNKEL to sum up all that's gone before, simply called America.

S&G10

♫ Simon and Garfunkel - America


ELDER MUSIC: 1962 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.


What happened in 1962?

  • Sheryl Crow was born
  • The Beatles auditioned for Decca Records. They were rejected, as guitar groups weren't popular any more.
  • Ringo Starr replaced Pete Best
  • Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev danced together for the first time
  • Bob Dylan released his first album. It didn't sell very well.
  • Johnny Carson began hosting the Tonight Show
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance was released
  • Essendon were premiers

I mentioned Bob and The Beatles in the introduction but ELVIS was still The King in 1962.

Elvis Presley

The song, She's Not You, was written by Doc Pomus, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

♫ Elvis Presley - She's Not You

I think that THE SHIRELLES would give The Supremes a run for their money as the best "girl group" from the sixties.

Shirelles

The Shirelles all met at school and started singing (and writing songs) there. They weren't called that at the time – they went through quite a few names for the group.

Eventually they were signed to a major label and started churning out hits, one of which is Baby It's You. The Beatles later covered this but their version wasn't as good.

♫ The Shirelles - Baby It's You

Don and Phil are back with us again. For those not conversant with first names, they are the EVERLY BROTHERS.

Everly Brothers

Although they kept recording and touring, That's Old Fashioned (That's the Way Love Should Be) was their last top 10 hit. People are fickle.

♫ Everly Brothers - That's Old Fashioned (That's the Way Love Should Be)

Bossa Nova reared its head around this time and that lead to a lot of rubbish music purporting to be just that. Not this one though. I don't know if this is the real deal, but it's really fine music.

How could it miss with STAN GETZ and CHARLIE BYRD?

Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd

Besides Stan and Charlie, that's Gene, Charlie's brother in the photo. The tune is Desafinado.

♫ Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd - Desafinado

BEN E. KING went solo after a brief stint with The Drifters where he sang all their best songs.

Ben E. King

He left because he didn't receive songwriting credit for the songs he wrote. A lot of performers fade away after leaving a successful group but not Ben. He produced some of the best songs of the early sixties. This is one of them, Don't Play That Song (You Lied).

♫ Ben E. King - Don't Play That Song (You Lied)

DION DiMucci's song The Wanderer made the charts at the tail end of 1961 but was still there in 1962, so I've included him.

Dion

Dion started out singing DooWop with his friends The Belmonts, named after Belmont Avenue in The Bronx whence they hailed. They had a bunch of hits. In 1960, Dion went out as a solo performer and had some more hits, including this one.

♫ Dion - The Wanderer

I don't know about the rest of the world, but Dear One by LARRY FINNEGAN was a number 1 hit here in Australia in 1962.

Well, I do know a bit about the rest of the world because it did okay in America too (where Larry was from for those who are unfamiliar with him).

Larry Finnegan

This was his only hit and soon after he went to Sweden to live. Apparently he had some hits there. Unfortunately, he died at 34 from a brain tumor.

♫ Larry Finnegan - Dear one

Although she sounded like a sixteen year old, SUE THOMPSON was well into her thirties when she had a series of hits in the early sixties.

Sue Thompson

They all bordered on novelty (who can forget Sad Movies?) and this is no exception: James (Hold The Ladder Steady), written by John D. Loudermilk.

♫ Sue Thompson - James (Hold The Ladder Steady)

Wolverton Mountain sounds like a nice whimsical tale, but it's pretty much all true. Clifton Clowers was a real person (who lived to 102) on Woolverton mountain in Arkansas (the mountain's name was changed in the song to protect something or other).

Clifton's nephew, Merle Kilgore, wrote the song and CLAUDE KING sang it to great success.

Claude King

Claude recorded many songs but this is easily his best known.

♫ Claude King - Wolverton Mountain

RAY CHARLES wasn't the first soul singer to record country songs; Solomon Burke had already done that a few years earlier. Ray is more famous for doing so, however.

Ray Charles

Ray recorded a couple of albums of such music: "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music" (Volumes 1 and 2). These were remarkable albums, especially the first, demonstrating the link between the two forms of music.

You Don't Know Me is one of the songs from that first album.

♫ Ray Charles - You Don't Know Me

You can find more music from 1962 here. 1963 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: States – Massachusetts to New Jersey

NOTE FROM RONNI: Peter has been presenting the music about states in alphabetical order. Last week, I screwed up and posted New Mexico to South Carolina ahead of time when it should have been the states you reading about today. My apologies.


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 the middle states. Not the ones in the middle of the country, the ones in the middle of the alphabet.

Massachusetts125The BEEGEES wrote and recorded the song Massachusetts as a tribute to that state.

Bee Gees

The reason is that it was the first place in America where one of their records was a hit. That was way back before they were a household name.

Okay, they were already a household name in Australia but it seems that that didn't count. Here's their paean to the state.

♫ BeeGees - Massachusetts

Michigan FlagDAVE VAN RONK was born in Brooklyn and moved to Queens when he was a teenager. He later lived in Greenwich Village.

In spite of that background he has the Michigan song today.

Dave Van Ronk

In his early teens, Dave was in a barbershop quartet which is interesting when you listen to his voice. He was approached to be a member of a group that later became Peter, Paul and Mary but Noel Stookey got the gig instead and renamed himself Paul. Dave's song is Michigan Water Blues.

♫ Dave Van Ronk - Michigan Water Blues

MinnesotaI knew absolutely nothing about DAN ADLER and his song today is the single example of his work in my collection.

Dan Adler

When I Googled him I found that he lives in one or other of Minneapolis or St Paul. Not surprisingly he has the Minnesota song. It's called The Minnesota Song.

Dan sure has been listening to various country songs, which he references in this one.

♫ Dan Adler - The Minnesota Song

MississippiAlthough born in Louisiana, JESSE WINCHESTER was raised in Mississippi and Tennessee and has written songs about both states.

Jesse Winchester

I can't imagine there is anyone who doesn't like Jesse. There may be people who haven't heard him. That'd be the only excuse. If there are any readers in that category, here's your chance to get to know him.

Of the states mentioned above, it's Mississippi's turn and Jesse's is song is Mississippi You're on My Mind.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Mississippi You're on My Mind

MissouriAn album called "The Legend of Jesse James" was released in 1980 and it's a song cycle about the James gang.

I suppose if "Tommy" is regarded as a rock opera you could call this one a country opera.

It had some decent performers on the record – Johnny Cash, Levon Helm, Albert Lee, Charlie Daniels, Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash and EMMYLOU HARRIS.

Emmylou Harris

Emmy's song is called Wish We Were Back in Missouri which is a lament about the aftermath of the gang's disastrous final raid.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Wish We Were Back in Missouri

Montana

Bocephus has a couple of states covered in this series. For those unfamiliar with his nickname, I'm talking about HANK WILLIAMS JNR.

Hank Williams Jr

Hank, of course, is the son of the great singer/songwriter and the family tradition continues as his son, Hank III, is also a country singer. The middle Hank, the one we have today, sings Montana Song.

♫ Hank Williams Jnr - Montana Song

NebraskaBUDDY KNOX was born in Happy, Texas. I imagine if you were feeling grumpy you'd have to leave town.

BuddyKnox7

He was one of the early rock and roll performers and his initial recordings were created at the same studio that Buddy Holly used in Clovis, New Mexico. Our Buddy's song isn't about either of the states I mentioned. His is Nebraska, and the song is Nebraska Sunrise.

♫ Buddy Knox - Nebraska Sunrise

NevadaTHE BROWNS are two sisters and a brother who can harmonize like angels.

The Browns

They had a number of hits in the fifties and used to hang around with Elvis before he was famous (and for a while after). Their song comes from 1960 and is called Nevada.

♫ The Browns - Nevada

New HampshireAnother little known performer (to me) is LOUIS LEDFORD.

Louis Ledford

Louis is from Virginia and his lineage stretches back in that state and also the Smokey Mountains over to the west a little bit. In spite of all that, his musical state is New Hampshire. The song is Farm in New Hampshire.

♫ Louis Ledford - Farm In New Hampshire

NewJersey125TOM WAITS is a Californian born and bred but he wrote the best song about New Jersey.

Tom Waits

The song has been appropriated by that famous Jersey lad Bruce Springsteen who pretty much made it his own. As much as I like Bruce, Tom's is the definitive version of Jersey Girl.

♫ Tom Waits - Jersey Girl

More states in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: 1961 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.


What happened in 1961?

  • Boy George (George O'Dowd) was born
  • Parkes radio telescope opened for business
  • Amnesty International created
  • Four Corners first screened
  • The Beatles performed at the Cavern Club for the first time
  • Ken was introduced to Barbie
  • The Hustler was released
  • Hawthorn were premiers (beating Footscray, dammit)

ROY ORBISON wrote Crying about an old flame he saw one day soon after they broke up.

Roy Orbison

He said he was too stubborn to go up to her and try to patch things up so he wrote the song instead. The rest of the world is glad he did.

♫ Roy Orbison - Crying

I first heard Hello Walls sung by FARON YOUNG rather than Willie Nelson, who wrote the song.

Faron Young

Indeed, I liked it so much I bought a 45 of it. Willie hadn't actually recorded the song at this stage, the first time he did that was the following year.

♫ Faron Young - Hello Walls

Besides Roy, CARLA THOMAS wrote a song about someone on whom she had a crush.

Carla Thomas

That song is Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes).

It seems that for the recording of the song, the arranger hadn't turned up. He eventually arrived late and by then the backing musicians were being paid overtime. Carla nailed the song on the first take much to the relief of the record company execs. It hit the charts the first day she started university.

She became the first woman to have a top 10 hit with a song she wrote herself.

♫ Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)

DEL SHANNON and his keyboard player Max Crook came up with the song Runaway when they were performing at a club. Max played some unusual chord changes and Del asked him to repeat them. They kept improvising with this until the club owner told them to play something else.

Del Shannon

Del wrote words to the riff that night and they had a hit on their hands. That unusual sound is made by a Musitron, a keyboard instrument Max developed himself.

♫ Del Shannon - Runaway

Wow, what a voice TIMI YURO had.

Timi Yuro

Originally from Chicago, the Yuro family moved to Los Angeles where young Timi used to sing in the family's Italian restaurant (and in local nightclubs much against her folks' wishes).

She caught the ear (and eye, no doubt) of a talent scout who signed her up. She recorded Hurt, a song that Roy Hamilton had recorded previously and it did well on the charts. Here it is.

♫ Timi Yuro - Hurt

The EVERLY BROTHERS continued bringing out terrific songs.

Everly Brothers

This was an interesting record, it had Ebony Eyes on the flip side. The A side though was Walk Right Back. I know that as I bought this 45 too (or received it as a birthday present, or something).

♫ Everly Brothers - Walk Right Back

PATSY CLINE crossed over from the country charts to the pop realm now and then.

Patsy Cline

Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard wrote the song I Fall to Pieces and tried to get someone to record it. Many artists passed on it for various reasons.

Patsy overheard one of them turning it down and was impressed with it and said that she'd record it. Aren't we all glad she did?

♫ Patsy Cline - I Fall to Pieces

This year is chockablock with great voices and here's another one, PAT BOONE.

Pat Boone

Moody River wasn't your standard Pat song. After all, it's all about the protagonist who goes to meet his true love only to discover that she's killed herself. Goodness me, Pat, what were you thinking?

♫ Pat Boone - Moody River

And still the great singers keep on coming. Here's ELVIS with His Latest Flame.

Elvis Presley

The song was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and originally recorded by Del Shannon, but Elvis did it better (that should go without saying, really).

♫ Elvis Presley - His Latest Flame

DICK AND DEE DEE were Richard Gosling and Mary Sperling, but they changed their names to reflect the stage name.

Dick & DeeDee

They first met when they were at school together. Then, as fate would have it, they went off to different schools and lost touch.

Later, they happened to run into each other and discovered they both liked writing songs. Singing them too. They eventually got a recording contract and released The Mountain's High as the B side of their first release.

A disk jockey accidently played the wrong side and was flooded with calls. They realized they were on to something here.

♫ Dick & Dee Dee - The Mountains High

You can find more music from 1961 here. 1962 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: States – New Mexico to South Carolina

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.


Continuing our musical sojourn through the States, we're just finishing off the "new" states and venturing on, north and south.

NewMexicoFlagI have to say that New Mexico has the best looking state flag – none of the others comes close.

For that state's song I turn to HANK WILLIAMS JNR.

Hank Williams Jr

It seems from the song that Hank got lucky in Clovis, New Mexico.

♫ Hank Williams Jnr - Clovis, New Mexico

NewYorFlag]There must be hundreds of songs about New York but they're all about the city. I don't think there are any about the state as such. However, as they share the same name that's good enough for me.

Now, to select one of those. I've chosen, not quite at random, JENNIFER WARNES.

Jennifer Warnes

The song, Big Noise, New York, was written by Marcelle Clements and Donald Fagen and it certainly sounds like a Steely Dan tune. That sort of thing is okay in small doses.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Big Noise, New York

NorthCarolinaFlagI couldn't say it better than they do on their website:

"THE BLIND CORN LIQUOR PICKERS, like the moonlight-brewed intoxicant for which they are named, play a variety of bluegrass whose origins are difficult to ascertain.

“As corn liquor flows through an old car radiator, old-time traditions mix with modern methods in ways that can be unsettling, inspiring, euphoric or blindness-inducing.

“It's bluegrass that burns going down, warms your gut, and then hits your head like a thunderbolt of white lightning."

Blind Corn Liquor Pickers

The song they perform is called North Carolina. This was the only tune in my collection with that state's name in the title, so it got the nod.

♫ Blind Corn Liquor Pickers - North Carolina

NorthDakotaFlagLYLE LOVETT is a Texas man. He mentions that state in this next song.

Lyle Lovett

Fortunately for me he writes and sings about other places as well. Indeed, his was the only song I found that mentions North Dakota. That also is the name of the song.

♫ Lyle Lovett - North Dakota

OhioFlagOhio has an old song. This one gets the bronze medal in the oldest song category.

We don't have an old singer though – well, not one from that period but she is nearly one of us. Here is KIM RICHEY.

Kim Richey

This is taken from an album called "The Beautiful Old Turn-of-the-Century Songs" where current artists interpret songs from back then. It really is a nice album.

Kim's song is Beautiful Ohio.

♫ Kim Richey - Beautiful Ohio

OklahomaFlagOklahoma songs seem to attract folk-styled singers and I've gone for one as well, TOM PAXTON.

Tom Paxton

Tom is noted for his topical songs but he wrote in many different genres. I don't know how you'd categorise this one, My Oklahoma Lullaby. Probably just an observational song.

♫ Tom Paxton - My Oklahoma Lullaby

OregonFlagSHAWN MULLINS developed an interest in performing music while still at school.

That's probably not unusual for successful performers (and a bunch of unsuccessful ones as well).

Shawn Mullins

He continued this while at college but his plans were interrupted by a stint in the military (as they paid for his tuition). After that he returned to music and has released a bunch of albums.

From his biggest selling album, “Soul's Core,” we have Twin Rocks, Oregon. It may be the only song ever to mention the writer Richard Brautigan.

♫ Shawn Mullins - Twin Rocks, Oregon

PennsylvaniaFlagI think this is the first song I thought of when I decided to do this series.

It's one from my childhood and was a favorite of my sister at the time and she went around singing (an approximation of) it all the time one year. The performer (besides her) is GUY MITCHELL.

Guy Mitchell

As we're up to Pennsylvania, most of us know I'm talking about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RhodeIslandFlagHere is another solitary song about a state from my collection and I have IKE AND TINA TURNER to thank for it.

Ike & Tina Turner

The song really is about a chook but the state is mentioned in the title so that's good enough for me. That song is Sweet Rhode Island Red.

♫ Ike & Tina Turner - Sweet Rhode Island Red

SouthCarolinaFlagKATE WOLF has our song about South Carolina.

Kate Wolf

Okay, the song is just about Carolina – there are no songs that specifically mention South Carolina. However, the official song of the state is just called Carolina, so if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me.

There are many songs that reference Carolina but Kate's was really mellow and I think that's what was needed after Tina. Her song is Carolina Pines.

♫ Kate Wolf - Carolina Pines

More states in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: 1960 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.


What happened in 1960?

  • Michael Hutchence was born
  • U2 spy plane shot down over Russia. America denied the obvious
  • Elvis discharged from the army
  • Rome staged the Olympics Games
  • The Beatles played in Hamburg for the first time
  • Psycho was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

THE DRIFTERS have been through many members over the years – more than 60 of them.

The Drifters

They've also had two lead vocalists who are as good as anyone around. The first of these was Clyde McPhatter who started the group after leaving Billy Ward and his Dominoes.

Clyde was drafted into the army and he sold his share in the group (much to his later regret). The manager couldn't find a good replacement so he fired the lot of them. He then grabbed a group called the Crowns and renamed them The Drifters.

They had Ben E. King as lead singer and it was this version of the group that made most of the great records we remember. Ben was only there for a short time – he didn't ever tour with them - but fortunately, he made a bunch of records. This is one of them, Save the Last Dance for Me.

♫ The Drifters - Save the Last Dance for Me

Billy Davis with brother and sister Berry and Gwen Gordy wrote quite a few songs around this time. Berry also started Motown records. One of the songs the trio wrote was All I Could Do Was Cry for ETTA JAMES.

Etta James

Etta's former boyfriend married Gwen and that added an extra frisson to her performance on this record. Later, in the nineties, Etta rerecorded the song.

♫ Etta James - All I Could Do Was Cry

FLOYD CRAMER was a session pianist in Nashville and backed pretty much everyone who recorded there.

Floyd Cramer

He had a distinctive style and whenever he's on a record, it's easy to pick that that's him.

Besides his session work, he made a series of records about this time. One of them, and the best selling of the lot, was Last Date. It later had words added to the tune and several people, including Emmylou Harris, recorded it.

♫ Floyd Cramer - Last Date

JOHNNY BURNETTE's early recordings with his trio produced some of the best early rock & roll and rockabilly records around.

Johnny Burnette

Later, Johnny became a crooner and left his wild days behind him. He was really good at that too. Unfortunately, he died too early in a boating accident. This is You're Sixteen.

♫ Johnny Burnette - You're Sixteen

By 1960 ÉDITH PIAF was starting to have hits in the English speaking world as well as her native France.

Edith Piaf

Milord was the biggest of these and it sold well world-wide. Not just Édith's version; pretty much every country had a singer who covered it in their local language. None was as good as the original though.

♫ Edith Piaf - Milord

JERRY BUTLER first came to general notice as a member, and lead singer, for The Impressions. Curtis Mayfield was another member of the group. There will be a later column on them.

Jerry Butler

Jerry went out as a solo artist and songwriter – he wrote some songs with Otis Redding. Incidentally, after Audrey's in the film of the same name, Jerry's was the first and arguably (I'll certainly argue) the best version of Moon River.

He wrote, along with Curtis, the beautiful He Will Break Your Heart.

♫ Jerry Butler - He Will Break Your Heart

BRENDA LEE started performing early, really early. She was already winning talent contests when she was just six.

Brenda Lee

When her father died when she was nine or 10, she was already the primary breadwinner for the family through these contests and also appearing on TV and radio.

By the time she was 12, she already had a record contract and was appearing around the country so Sweet Nothin's is far from her first recording (she was 16 by now).

♫ Brenda Lee - Sweet Nothin's

JOHNNY HORTON made a career singing about historical events (and some pseudo-historical ones as well).

Johnny Horton

North to Alaska fits both categories. There really was an Alaskan gold rush at the end of the nineteenth century, but the song was the theme for the film of the same name. Johnny or, more correctly, he and Tillman Franks as they co-wrote the song, got the geography somewhat askew in the lyrics, but we won't worry unduly about that.

♫ Johnny Horton - North To Alaska

Although CHARLIE RICH started out playing jazz and blues he's mostly remembered as being a country musician.

Charlie Rich

He was also a session musician for a record company owned by Judd Phillips, brother of Sam of Sun Records fame. He recorded a number of tracks that Judd got to Sam who rejected them as being too jazzy.

So he recorded Lonely Weekends, obviously after studying the way Elvis sang. It hit the charts and he was on the way as a country muso.

♫ Charlie Rich - Lonely Weekends

Maurice Williams wrote the song Stay when he was 15 years old. He was trying to stop his girlfriend from going home (unsuccessfully as it turned out, but he got a song out of the experience).

Later when he formed the group MAURICE WILLIAMS AND THE ZODIACS they recorded a demo of the song.

Maurice Williams & Zodiacs

This was hawked around to various record companies and no one wanted anything to do with it until one day the 10-year-old son of one of the record people heard it and loved it.

His father took notice of that and recorded the song. It became a DooWop classic.

♫ Maurice Williams - Stay

You can find more music from 1960 here. 1961 will appear in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: U.S. States – Hawaii to Maryland

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.


Continuing with songs about the occasionally united states in alphabetical order.

Hawaii125We're starting today with the newest state of them all, and having an Australian to sing about it – GLENN CARDIER.

Glenn Cardier

The song is taken from his terrific album "Rattle the Cage" and is called Hawaiian Sands.

♫ Glenn Cardier - Hawaiian Sands

IdahoFlagThere were only a couple of Idaho tracks in my database. In the end I opted for COUNT BASIE.

Count Basie

This is an instrumental so you'll just have to take my word for the fact that it's called Idaho.

♫ Count Basie - Idaho

IllinoisFlagI'm not all that familiar with the BODEANS.

BoDeans

In fact, I have only a single track of theirs in my entire collection. Fortunately, that track is called Locked up in the State of Illinois. It sure sounds as if they listened closely to Buddy Holly.

♫ BoDeans - Locked up in the State of Illinois

IndianaFlagDUKE ROBILLARD can play blues with the best of them. He can also play jazz with the best of those as well.

Duke Robillard

In this case he's more into jazz mode with the old song (Back Home Again) In Indiana. This song was written in 1917 and was just pipped at the post by Maryland as the oldest song in the series.

Ballard MacDonald had a hand in writing both songs, this time with the help of James Hanley.

♫ Duke Robillard - Back Home Again, In Indiana

IowaFlagGREG BROWN was born and bred in Iowa so he knows what he's singing about.

Greg Brown

Greg seems to fly under the radar somewhat, but he's an excellent songwriter and performer and worth seeking out. In spite of the low profile, he's made a couple of dozen albums over the years.

The song, The Iowa Waltz came from an early album called “Iowa Waltz.”

♫ Greg Brown - The Iowa Waltz

KansasFlagPretty much all the Kansas songs refer to Kansas City so I'm stretching the point and going with one of those.

There are a lot of them, but when I spotted LITTLE RICHARD I decided that was the one.

Little Richard

It was one of the vast number of songs written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Little Willie Littlefield had the original version and the biggest hit was by Wilbert Harrison. I'm very partial to Little Richard so we're going with him.

♫ Little Richard - Kansas City

KentuckyFlagKentucky brought up quite a few songs, mostly in a country mode or early rock and roll. I've gone for the former with MERLE HAGGARD.

Merle Haggard

There's nothing about blue moons, rain or waltzes in this song. It's all about gambling, not something usually associated with the state. Never mind. The song is Kentucky Gambler.

♫ Merle Haggard - Kentucky Gambler

LouisianaFlagLouisiana is a state with a myriad of riches in every genre of music possible.

I decided to continue the country theme and have RODNEY CROWELL perform the state's song.

Rodney Crowell

It's a song Rodney wrote and has been covered really well by Emmylou Harris amongst others.

Rodney is a songwriter with few equals and is a fine performer as well. His song is Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.

♫ Rodney Crowell - Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight

MaineFlagWith Maine, I have a first today. This is the first time I've had LEON RUSSELL in any of my columns.

Leon Russell

I saw Leon at the Fillmore back in 1970 and was very impressed. I expected him to be a superstar. It didn't eventuate (so much for my judgment), but he is an excellent musician and that probably matters more.

Today, Leon is travelling From Maine to Mexico.

♫ Leon Russell - From Maine To Mexico

MarylandFlagMaryland has probably the oldest song in our collection. This isn't the oldest version though, it's by STEVE GOODMAN.

SteveGoodman4

The song, There's a Girl in the Heart of Maryland. was written by Ballard MacDonald and Harry Carroll. It first made the charts in 1913 with a version by Andrea Sarto who was also known as Edgar Stoddard. It was also a hit for Harry Macdonough not long after.

♫ Steve Goodman - There's A Girl In The Heart Of Maryland

More states in two weeks' time.


ELDER MUSIC: 1959 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.


What happened in 1959?

  • Renée Fleming was born
  • Barbie doll was launched
  • The Twilight Zone made its premiere
  • Hawaii became the 50th state of the U.S.
  • Bonanza premiered
  • The Morris Mini-Minor was released
  • Rio Bravo was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

RICKY NELSON had several hits this year.

Ricky Nelson

He also appeared in a couple of films, most notably Rio Bravo, a film I like a lot. The song I've selected is Never Be Anyone Else But You.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Never Be Anyone Else But You

I'm sure that readers of this column know and love Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa. CONWAY TWITTY recorded a version of the song this year as well.

Conway Twitty

Conway intended it only for an album he was recording, however, it managed to escape and become a big hit. Those who like Nat's version but are unfamiliar with Conway's had better prepare themselves.

♫ Conway Twitty - Mona Lisa

TONI FISHER had a couple of hits around this time.

Toni Fisher

This is a rather odd one. It seems that phase shifting was deliberate. At least, that's what they told us at the time. I think someone stuffed up the recording and they decided to release it as it was and spin that tale.

The song is The Big Hurt.

♫ Toni Fisher - The Big Hurt

NEIL SEDAKA's first hit was a paean to Carole King back when they went to school together and she was named Carol Klein.

Neil Sedaka

I think you'll have guessed the song I'm talking about, Oh! Carol. He put a talky bit in the middle because it worked for The Diamonds with Little Darlin', so he figured it would work for him. Seems he was right.

♫ Neil Sedaka - Oh! Carol

There's always room for The King. Here's ELVIS with A Fool Such As I.

Elvis Presley

This was originally performed by Hank Snow in 1952. A bit later Jo Stafford and Tommy Edwards both had a go at it. No one remembers those versions.

♫ Elvis Presley - A Fool Such As I

Heavens, I haven't had the EVERLY BROTHERS yet. That's remiss of me.

The Everly Brothers

I will rectify that instantly with Take a Message to Mary. The song was written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant who wrote many of the Everly's early hits.

♫ The Everly Brothers - Take a Message to Mary

LLOYD PRICE had several big hits around this time. They were all pretty good and worth a listen.

Lloyd Price

This was the one that sold the most of all his records and gave him the nickname Mr Personality. The song is Personality.

♫ Lloyd Price - Personality

Okay, here's the odd one out for the year. This is DODIE STEVENS.

Dodie Stevens

Those who recognise the name are probably slapping their foreheads because they know what's coming. For the rest of you, sit back and relax to Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces, a song Dodie didn't particularly like but the record company insisted on her recording it. It was a huge hit.

♫ Dodie Stevens - Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces

Here is a song we've had before but that time it was sung in French. Today there's an English version by THE BROWNS.

The Browns

The Browns were sisters Bonnie and Maxine and their brother Jim Ed. Their most famous song was The Three Bells.

♫ The Browns - The Three Bells

JOHNNY O'KEEFE closes the year.

Johnny O'Keefe

There were many visiting performers (to Australia) around this time who wished he'd close the show whenever they were on rather than their having to follow him. Indeed, there were some who made return visits who stipulated in their contracts that Johnny was not to be on the bill with them.

This is because he was one of the greatest rock and roll performers the world had seen. His act was so full on that no one could compete, especially when he performed a cover of the Isley Brothers' song, Shout.

The record is a pale imitation of what happened on stage.

♫ Johnny O'Keefe - Shout (Pt. 1 & 2)

You can find more music from 1959 here. 1960 will appear in two weeks' time.