386 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of the Gershwins

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

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George & Ira Gerswhin

I feel as if I'm announcing a category on a quiz program, "Pointless" specifically, for those who know that one. So, these are songs that were written by both George and Ira Gershwin.

George also wrote longer works and Ira wrote many songs with others after George died, but this column isn't about those.

There were many versions of pretty much all the songs today. That's not really surprising as they wrote good ones. So, these are my choices. (I didn't tell Norma, the Assistant Musicologist I was doing this column so she didn't get a say in choosing what to include.)

BILLIE HOLIDAY is no stranger to my columns and here she is again.

Billie Holiday

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off first saw the light of day in the film "Shall We Dance" which, it probably comes as no big surprise, featured Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

They sang it in the film while scurrying around on roller skates. This is Billie with her take on the song. I don't think she was wearing skates when she recorded it.

♫ Billie Holiday - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off


JULIE LONDON is another regular.

Julie London

‘S Wonderful came from the Broadway musical "Funny Face" and was performed in that by Adele Astaire and Allen Kearns. Adele was Fred's older sister and they performed together for many years in vaudeville and theatre.

I'm not using either of them, it's Julie's turn to sing the song.

♫ Julie London - 'S Wonderful


CHET BAKER sang like an angel, was a great trumpet player and was one of the handsomest men in show biz.

Chet Baker

However, he seemed determined to destroy all those gifts with long-term hard drug use. He didn't quite succeed, apart from losing his looks, but imagine what he could have achieved had he not indulged.

Enough editorializing, let's hear him perform and sing But Not For Me.

♫ Chet Baker - But Not For Me


"Judy at Carnegie Hall" was a commercial and critical success and won awards all over the place. The double album sold squillions. The concert at which it was recorded marked the comeback of JUDY GARLAND to performing after a hiatus recovering from alcohol and drug abuse.

Judy Garland

The album is interesting and Judy sings well but it's a bit bombastic for my taste. Fortunately, the Gershwins' track is not like that. Their song is How Long Has This Been Going On? I faded the applause at the end as it went on for far too long.

♫ Judy Garland - How Long Has This Been Going On


Fans of Fred Astaire will be disturbed to hear that I originally had him penciled in at this spot and removed him in favor of FATS WALLER.

Fats Waller

Fats doesn't take the song too seriously, which was a bit of a change from all the other songs today. I think that was why I chose it. So, here he is with I Got Rhythm.

♫ Fats Waller - I Got Rhythm


I had quite a few options for the next song, including a few blokes which surprised me. In the end I thought that ETTA JAMES had the most interesting version.

Etta James

Etta is more noted singing rhythm and blues and rock & roll, but she shows here she can perform jazz with the best of them. Here's her take on The Man I Love.

♫ Etta James - The Man I Love


Ah, Nat, in the guise of the NAT KING COLE TRIO which is the way I like him best.

Nat King Cole Trio

Embraceable You was written for an operetta called "East is West" that never saw the light of day.

It first popped its head up in a Broadway musical called "Girl Crazy" sung by Ginger Rogers. It probably won't come as too much of a shock to learn that Fred was in that one too. However, I'm going with Nat.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Embraceable You


ELLA FITZGERALD and LOUIS ARMSTRONG made three albums together and from the second of these we have They All Laughed.

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

There were several tracks on this one (a double album) and from the first I could have used. Then there's the third album, "Porgy and Bess," but I've done a whole column on that topic, so I left it out.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - They All Laughed


DUKE ROBILLARD is at home playing both blues and jazz. He also makes a good fist at rock & roll when he sets his mind (and fingers) to it.

Duke Robillard

Today he is in jazz mode with The Duke Robillard Jazz Trio playing They Can't Take That Away From Me.

♫ Duke Robillard Jazz Trio - They Can't Take That Away From Me


Although the A.M. didn't have a say in the selections today, I'm sure this next is one she would have picked. It's LINDA RONSTADT.

Linda Ronstadt

Linda recorded several disks with Nelson Riddle featuring the great American songbook. It really caught on with rock & rollers and others have done the same over the years.

Today Linda sings Someone to Watch Over Me.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Someone to Watch Over Me


ELDER MUSIC: The Singing Dead

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

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Not to be confused with the Grateful Dead.

There's a category of songs that were popular in the fifties and sixties that I like to think of as posthumous songs. That is, if you listen to the words, you'll find that according to the story, the singers were dead when they sang their ditties.

That always cracked me up (I'm easily amused). I thought that there should be a column in that and there just about is. I say "just about" because I cheated a little bit with some of them.

I'll start with a classic of the genre. There have been many recordings of Long Black Veil. The Band did a superb one (goes without saying), Joan Baez did a very good one on one of her very early concert albums, Johnny Cash's was excellent.

However, I'll go back to (nearly) the beginning. This may surprise some as the song sounds as if it was an old folksong whose origins are lost in the mists of time. This isn't the case.

It was written in 1959 by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin. The first recorded version was by LEFTY FRIZZELL.

Lefty Frizzell

William Frizzell gained his nickname as a boy and it had nothing to do with which was his dominant hand – he was a righty – or his politics, I assume. He was considered one of the great honky tonk singers as well as one of the great singers of heartbreak songs. He did a fine job on songs like this one too.

♫ Lefty Frizzell - Long Black Veil


MARTY ROBBINS is represented by his most famous song.

Marty Robbins

The song, of course, is El Paso. Some might say that it isn't quite posthumous, but I say hang around for a minute or two and it will be.

♫ Marty Robbins - El Paso


It was a tossup whether to include ROY ORBISON.

Roy Orbison

The song I've included is Leah, quite a big hit for him. At first it sounds as if it fits in really well until the very end. Then we get a cop out – "It was all a dream.”

I'm keeping it in as it was one of the first I thought of and besides, I was a bit short of songs.

♫ Roy Orbison - Leah


You knew JOHNNY CASH had to be present.

Johnny Cash

There are several of Johnny's songs I could have used but I opted for the obvious one, 25 Minutes to Go.

♫ Johnny Cash - 25 Minutes to Go


In lists of the worst songs ever - and such things exist - this next one always rates a mention. I'd put it at the very top, it's the worst song ever committed to vinyl. The singer, more the narrator, is PAT CAMPBELL.

Pat Campbell

To say it's tasteless, to say it's appalling, to say it's dreadful is praising it. I don't want to say anymore about it, I'll just let you listen to it, if you really want to. It's called The Deal.

♫ Pat Campbell - The Deal


At the time, KYLIE MINOGUE seemed an unlikely choice for NICK CAVE to make to duet with.

Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue

However, it seemed to work. The song they perform is from the wonderful and outrageous album "Murder Ballads" but if Nick can't be outrageous who can?

I guess you could call this a semi-posthumous song as it's a duet between the murderer and the murderee. Poor old Kylie's character is dead at the time so the song fits. It's called Where the Wild Roses Grow.

♫ Nick Cave - Where the Wild Roses Grow


Here is CHER on her own but from the period when she was still Sonny &...

Cher

Indeed, Sonny wrote the song for her and it appeared on her second solo album. Cher later rerecorded it when Sonny was nowhere in evidence. The song is Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).

♫ Cher - Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)


I hadn't realized that I Started a Joke fit our category today until I listened to it carefully, and it certainly does. It's a BEE GEES song.

Bee Gees

This was back when they were producing really fine crafted pop songs, before they stumbled into disco (quite accidently they tell us, or told us – there's only Barry still around). Anyway, here's the song.

♫ Bee Gees - I Started a Joke


I'm ashamed to admit that SONS OF THE NEVER WRONG have been around for more than 20 years and it's only recently that I stumbled over them.

Sons of the Never Wrong

About all I can tell you is that they're from Chicago and there are three of them – Bruce Roper, Sue Demel and Deborah Lader. Their song is Dead on the Highway and they certainly were, according to the song. Several times in fact.

♫ Sons of the Never Wrong - Dead on the Highway


I will always associate the song Seasons in the Sun with Terry Jacks. However, Terry wasn't the first to record it. That was Jacques Brel who wrote the song (called Le Moribond) while he was dying of cancer.

Rod McKuen translated it and several people recorded it before Terry. THE KINGSTON TRIO is a group who did.

Kingston Trio

Theirs was closer to the sardonic or even sarcastic original than Terry's overly-sentimental version and is more interesting as far as I'm concerned. It's not really a posthumous song, but like Marty above, stick around for a bit and it will be.

Here are the Kingstons with their take on the song.

♫ Kingston Trio - Seasons in the Sun


ELDER MUSIC: Creeque Alley

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

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Creeque Alley is a song by THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS about the formation of that band.

Mamas & Papas

It was written by Papa John, John Phillips, who was the main songwriter for the group.

♫ The Mamas and Papas - Creeque Alley


As you heard, the song starts with the line...

John and Mitchy were gettin' kind of itchy
Just to leave the folk music behind

John, you know. Mitchy is Michelle Phillips, John's wife. They were both in a group called THE JOURNEYMEN which is where they met.

Journeymen

Upon spying her, John instantly dumped his first wife and children, one of whom became the actress and singer Mackenzie Phillips, and took up with Michelle, later marrying her. From the Journeymen, we have Hush Now Sally.

♫ The Journeymen - Hush Now Sally


Continuing with the song...

Zal and Denny workin' for a penny
Tryin' to get a fish on the line
In a coffee house Sebastian sat

And after every number they'd pass the hat

Denny was Denny Doherty, the fine tenor voice in The Mamas and the Papas. Zal was Zal Yanovsky. He and Denny were Canadians and were in a group there called The Halifax Three. Sebastian is John Sebastian and went on to form the LOVIN' SPOONFUL with Zal.

Lovin' Spoonful

There was a plethora of songs from which I could have chosen something. It was really a matter of the mood I was in at the time. My mood suggested Darlin' Companion with the unmistakable voice of John Sebastian singing lead.

♫ Lovin' Spoonful - Darlin' Companion


Back to the song...

McGuinn and McGuire just a gettin' higher
In L.A., you know where that's at

McGuinn is Jim (later Roger) McGuinn who went on to create one of the finest bands of the era, THE BYRDS.

Byrds

The song of theirs I've chosen is from a little later in their career. It seems that Peter Fonda wanted Bob Dylan to write music for his film Easy Rider. Bob refused but wrote a verse of a song and told Peter to "give this to McGuinn.”

He did and got a theme song for the film and McGuinn got an album out of it called “Ballad of Easy Rider.” That was the name of the song as well.

As an aside, it seems that Peter was a big fan of The Byrds, and early on he had them round to his place to play for him. Gee, that'd be al lright. The story is that he based his character in the film on McGuinn and Dennis Hopper's character on David Crosby.

♫ The Byrds - Ballad Of Easy Rider


McGuire is Barry McGuire, once in the NEW CHRISTY MINSTRELS and later had (and is still having) a rather successful solo career.

New Christy Minstrels

From the Christys (Christies?) here is a song that made it to the charts, Green, Green.

♫ New Christy Minstrels - Green, Green


That lead vocal was by BARRY MCGUIRE.

Barry McGuire

His most famous song, written by P.F. Sloan, is Eve of Destruction but you probably know that one. Instead, here's something very unlikely, Try to Remember from the musical "The Fantasticks.”

♫ Barry McGuire - Try To Remember


The song again...

When Denny met Cass he gave her love bumps
Called John and Zal and that was the Mugwumps

We've already met Denny, John (Sebastian) and Zal. Cass, naturally is MAMA CASS (Cass Elliot, originally Ellen Cohen).

Mama Cass

Mama Cass first came to notice in a group called THE BIG 3.

Big 3

They weren't hugely successful but they did release a couple of records including this one, The Banjo Song. You might know it under another name.

♫ The Big 3 - The Banjo Song


After The Big 3, Cass got together with Denny, John (Sebastian) and Zal and, as was mentioned in the song, formed THE MUGWUMPS.

Mugwumps

John was soon replaced by Jim Hendricks who had been in The Big 3 with Cass. They made one album. Listening to their record, you can hear hints of what was to come later. See what you think with Everybody's Been Talkin'.

♫ The Mugwumps - Everybody's Been Talkin'


After the demise of The Mamas and The Papas, Mama Cass had a decent solo career until her untimely death (heart attack; ham sandwiches were not involved).

She began with a song that was actually on a Mamas and Papas album but was released as a single under her own name, Dream a Little Dream of Me.

♫ Mama Cass - Dream A Little Dream Of Me


And ending the song...

And California dreamin' is becomin' a reality.

Naturally, I'll play that song by THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS.

Mamas & ;Papas

The Mamas and Papas - California Dreamin'


Here is a bonus. I remember seeing this program a few years ago and recently found it on YouTube. It's Barry McGuire singing, and updating, his most famous song perfomred live on Australian television program, Spicks n Specks, in 2009.


ELDER MUSIC: Even More Classical Gas

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

* * *

I started this series of columns (named by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist) to highlight lesser known composers who often don't get much of a look in on concert stages and the radio. Just doing my bit in my little corner of the world to keep interesting, little heard music alive.

Oops, that sounds a bit pretentious, just ignore it and listen to the music.

BERNHARD CRUSELL was (and I think still is) the most significant composer born in Finland (take that Jean Sibelius).

Bernhard Crusell

Besides composing, he was a clarinetist of great note and a translator. He was born in Uusikaupunki (I just threw that in because it's such a great name) but the family moved to Sweden when he was eight and that's where he spent much of his life.

He was so in demand that after various visits to France, Germany and England, the King of Sweden pretty much dragged him back (refusing to extend his visa and other underhand shenanigans). Naturally, much of his work involved the clarinet in some way or another and this is no exception, the third movement of Divertimento in C major.

♫ Bernhard Crusell - Divertimento in C maj (3)


Here is an interesting string quartet but it's not like all the other string quartets that consist of two violins, a viola and a cello. This one has had all the instruments take one step to the right, as it were.

Now we have two violas, a cello and a double bass. It gives the music a deep mellow sound. The gentleman who performed the shift is GEORG WAGENSEIL.

Georg

Although he wrote a bunch of operas, he was instrumental in the development of the symphony – Haydn took special notice of his compositions. He was an organist and harpsichordist and taught those instruments.

One of his pupils was Marie Antoinette. I presume it was the harpsichord in her case, but you never know about these things. He was one who straddled the divide between baroque and classical idioms.

This is the first movement of what he calls a sonata but is really a string quartet. It's number 2 in F.

♫ Georg Wagenseil - Sonata in F (1)


ANTONIO ROSETTI was born Franz Anton Rösler but figured there'd be more cachet in the composing biz with an Italian sounding name.

Antonio Rosetti

Besides composing, he was a dab hand on the double bass but he didn't really write music for that instrument – most of it was symphonies, concertos and various forms of vocal compositions.

This is one of his concertos, the first movement of the Concerto for two Horns & Orchestra in F major.

♫ Antonio Rosetti - Concerto for 2 Horns & Orchestra in F major (1)


You could say that JOSEPH WÖLFL studied under Mozart and Haydn and you'd be right, but all isn't as it seems. They were the more famous Mozart's father (Leopold) and the more famous Haydn's brother (Michael).

Joseph Wolfl

Joe was a bit of a prodigy and made his first concert appearance at the age of seven (playing the violin). He later became a pianist and had huge hands which meant he could span many more keys than most.

At one stage he challenged his rival Beethoven to a cutting contest on the piano which proved to be a bit of a mistake as Ludwig bested him in no uncertain terms. After that, Joe lost popularity and hived off to England where he became hugely successful with the public (but the critics didn't like him).

I'm with the public, especially in his Duet for Piano and Cello in D minor, the third movement.

♫ Joseph Wölfl - Duet for piano & cello in D minor (3)


I'm rather ambivalent about the music of the harp. Whenever I hear it on disk, my usual reaction is along the lines of, "Ho hum, that's less than ordinary.” However, hearing it played live it seems to sparkle with life and is shimmeringly gorgeous.

I'm going to include some harp music but it'll have to be from a disk because I can't really come around to each of your places and play it for you. The harp's too heavy to lug around, and besides, I can't play it, so we'll just have to make do with what we have.

And what we have, or who we have more to the point, is HENRIETTE RENIÉ.

 Henriette Renié

Henriette was a composer for the instrument as well as a teacher of it - Harpo Marx was one of her students. She started out on piano but saw and heard a harp player and she was hooked. Indeed, the person she saw, Alphonse Hasselmans, became her teacher.

Henriette composed and played at a time when it wasn't the done thing for a woman to do – late 19th and early 20th century. However, she persevered. This is the second movement of her Harp Concerto in C minor.

♫ Henriette Renié - Harp Concerto in C minor (2)


JOSEPH EYBLER was a Viennese composer who was contemporaneous with Mozart and Haydn.

Joseph Eybler

Indeed, he was some sort of distant cousin of Haydn's. Joe had lessons from Johann Albrechtsberger who also taught Beethoven, Mozart's son Franz, Anton Reicha and many other budding musicians. He (Eybler) was a good friend of (Wolfgang) Mozart and was asked to complete his Requiem but declined.

Joe was another of those composers who were very famous in their lifetime but have almost vanished from sight since. Let's resurrect his reputation a little with his beautiful second movement of the Clarinet Concerto in B-flat major.

♫ Joseph Eybler - Clarinet Concerto in B-flat major (2)


Speaking of JOHANN ALBRECHTSBERGER, let's have him as well.

Johann Albrechtsberger

He learned his trade in Vienna and one of his classmates was Michael Haydn, younger brother of the more famous Haydn. As mentioned above, Jo was a teacher of music as well as a composer. He must have been good as Beethoven praised his teaching (and Ludwig wasn't one for lavishing praise willy-nilly).

Most of his compositions follow conventional instrumentation but he did write seven concertos for Jew's harp, for heaven's sake. To the best of my knowledge these haven't been recorded, so I'll go with something else, the second movement of his Divertimento in G.

♫ Johann Albrechtsberger - Divertimento in G (2)


Here's a striking combination of trumpet and soprano. The author of the work is JAN DISMAS ZELENKA.

Jan Dismas Zelenka

The soprano is RUTH ZIESAK, and the trumpeter is REINHOLD FRIEDRICH.

Ruth Ziesak & Reinhold Friedrich

Jan was a Czech baroque composer who went to Dresden to further his career. They must have liked him there as they kept increasing his salary such that he became one the best paid musicians of his time. After that he got about a bit – Vienna, Venice (possibly), Prague, back to Dresden.

Bach and Handel both took note of what he was doing. One of the things he was doing is Laudate Pueri, and this is one of the movements (it's uncertain which as parts of it are missing).

♫ Jan Dismas Zelenka - Laudate Pueri


JEAN-BAPTISTE BARRIÈRE was a French Baroque composer.

Jean-Baptiste Barriere

He started out playing the viol but switched to the cello when that instrument became popular. Contemporary accounts say that he was a fantastically good cello player.

Most of his compositions were for that instrument, the rest for viol and harpsichord. J-B liked to show off his prowess and many of the compositions are fiendishly difficult to play, I'm told.

I don't know if this is one of those, the fourth movement of his Sonatas No 6 in C minor for Cello & Bass Continuo.

♫ Jean-Baptiste Barriere - Sonatas for Cello & Bass Continuo (4)


When I say that we will finish with Mozart, you might wonder what he's doing in a column whose purpose is to highlight lesser known composers. However, it isn't the famous Wolfgang. It's not even his father Leopold, who is fairly well known.

No, it's Wolfie's son FRANZ XAVIER MOZART.

Franz Xavier Mozart

Wolfie and Constanze had six kids, only two of whom survived into adulthood – Karl, who although considered to be an excellent pianist, became a public servant in the Viennese government, and Franz, the youngest child born the year his dad died.

Unlike his father, Franz (or Wolfgang junior as he was universally known) was introverted and very self deprecating. Naturally his music was overshadowed by his father's but it's really very good.

There wasn't much of it as he only wrote 30 compositions; he spent most of his time giving concerts and teaching. The musical Mozart line stopped with him as he never married (nor did his brother).

Here is the third movement of his Piano Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op 25.

♫ F. X. Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 25 (3)


ELDER MUSIC: Planes

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.

* * *

Snoopy the Red Baron

Although a few people in this country, like Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I, know this, it's not generally known outside Oz that the first powered aeroplane flight in Australia was performed by Erik Weisz.

Ho hum, I can hear you say. However, when I mention that Erik's stage name was Harry Houdini that might put an interesting light on the circumstances.

This took place at Diggers Rest, a suburb of Melbourne. Naturally, there are people from Sydney who claim an earlier flight in their city. That rivalry continues to this day.

Australians are among the most travelled people on the planet. We think nothing of hopping a plane to Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa even. However, suggest to someone in America or Britain that perhaps they might visit us, it’s “Oh no, it’s too far. It takes too long.”

Get a grip, people.

There are many songs about trains. Indeed, I’ve already done a column with a few of them that barely scratched the surface. It’s time for another mode of transport, this time planes.

It’s not as easy as trains. A lot more songs have been written about trains than about planes. I imagine it’s because, as GORDON LIGHTFOOT put it in one of his great songs, “You can’t jump a jet plane like you can a freight train.”

That’s as good a place as any to start the ball rolling. This is Gordie with Early Morning Rain.

Gordon Lightfoot

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Early Morning Rain


There was quite an interesting album released a couple of years ago called "The Beautiful Old Turn-of-the-Century Songs" where modern artists performed Turn-of-the-Century Songs.

One of those was WILL SEXTON. He had the help of SIMONE STEVENS on his song, Come Josephine in My Flying Machine.

Will Sexton & Simone Stevens

This was a song from 1911, a little past the turn of the century but we won't quibble.

♫ Will Sexton - Come Josephine in My Flying Machine (1911)


THE BYRDS seemed to have been fascinated by flight, not just jets but space ships as well.

The Byrds

Fortunately for us, they sang about these so I can include one of their songs.

Gene Clark was the first of the original group to leave. He said it was he was afraid of flying. McGuinn said that you can’t be a Byrd if you can’t fly. A good line, I hope it’s true.

I wonder about that as after The Byrds called it quits, for a time there was a group called McGuinn, Clark and Hillman, bringing together three of the original group.

I saw them in Melbourne, and that’s a mighty long jet plane ride so maybe Gene got over his fear of flying, or maybe the original story was made up.

The Byrds’ song is Eight Miles High, a song that the wowsers of the sixties said was about drugs but then they said that about a lot of innocent songs (a few of the guilty ones too).

McGuinn said that he wrote it on a plane about flying and if you listen to it it’s a reasonable explanation. Decide for yourself.

♫ The Byrds - Eight Miles High


MERLE HAGGARD employed rather superfluous strings on his song or, more likely, they were foisted on him by the record company. Nonetheless, it's still one of his finest.

Merle Haggard

It is Silver Wings, one of the great country songs.

♫ Merle Haggard - Silver Wings


THE BOXTOPS had a song ostensibly about a letter, indeed it was called The Letter. However, listening to the words you’d think it was about trying to catch a plane. Well, except for the letter bit of the song.

The Box Tops

This song probably epitomizes the frustration of trying to catch a plane these days - even though it was written 50 years ago - better than any of the others that tend to romanticize flying somewhat.

♫ The Box Tops - The Letter


TRUCKSTOP HONEYMOON are husband and wife duo Mike and Katie West.

Truckstop Honeymoon

The reason they called themselves that is that they spent their honeymoon at a truck stop. There's a long and involved story about why that came to pass. They write songs about each other and about their kids. This is one of the latter, Lego Aeroplane.

♫ Truckstop Honeymoon - Lego Aeroplane


The song Outbound Plane was co-written by NANCI GRIFFITH and Tom Russell. They both do fine versions of the song. However, rather than deciding which to use, I noticed that on an album of Tom’s he performs it with Nanci.

Unfortunately, all Nanci seems to do on the track is some oooing and ahhing in the background, so it’s still a toss up. We seem to be overloaded with blokes this week, so Nanci it is.

Nanci Griffith

Tom first heard Nanci when she was playing and singing around a campfire at a festival in Kerrville, Texas and began championing her cause. The story is they wrote this song together sitting at Tom’s kitchen table.

♫ Nanci Griffith - Outbound Plane


When I mentioned this topic to the A.M. she immediately suggested this one.

“Oh, really?” was my reply, looking at her a little sideways.

“You have to include it”, she reposted. So, with her recommendation ringing in my ears, here are THE ROYAL GUARDSMEN with their one and only hit.

The Royal Guardsmen

The group started life as The Posmen, and that’s not a typo, at least not on my behalf. They may have mistyped it on their application for a group-name form, or whatever it is you have to do to create a name.

After the Beatles and other English groups hit it big, they decided to go for something a bit Britisher. This was their second song and the only one to make the charts, Snoopy vs The Red Baron.

♫ The Royal Guardsmen - Snoopy vs The Red Baron


The original CHAD MITCHELL TRIO consisted of Chad Mitchell (naturally), Mike Kobluk and Mike Pugh. After a while, Chad left the group for a solo career but the group retained his name and he was replaced by an unknown writer of songs called John Denver.

The Chad Mitcell Trio

The group performed some of those including one of his best known, Leaving on a Jet Plane. John later recorded the song (a few times) but it first became to my notice with a terrific version by Peter Paul and Mary.

However, I've decided to use the Mitchell Trio's version as I wasn't as familiar with this one as I am with the others. It's not all that different from John's version.

♫ The Chad Mitchell Trio - Leaving On a Jet Plane


KEVIN JOHNSON is an Australian singer/songwriter who is not widely known to the outside world, but should be.

Kevin Johnson

If anyone knows his name, it's usually through his song, Rock & roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life. There's a lot more to him than that. For example, The Next Plane to New Mexico.

♫ Kevin Johnson - The Next Plane To New Mexico


I resisted the temptation to include a gratuitous song from Jefferson Airplane just because of their name.

Even The Beatles got into the act. Well, sort of. They have a tune called Flying - however, this is an instrumental apart from a few la la las, so it didn’t make the cut.


ELDER MUSIC: Blues Brothers

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.

* * *

BluesBrothers2

This column will feature the music that the Blues Brothers and their band, along with guest artists, played in the film. However, it's not music taken from the film soundtrack, it's the original versions of those songs.

For those who haven't seen the film, it's along the lines of "Let's get the band together and put on a show". Pretty much the same as those old Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland films of a generation earlier, although those featured fewer car crashes.

The music will be in the order (approximately) that they appeared in the film, so first up is the song She Caught the Katy. That one first came to my attention thanks to TAJ MAHAL, who wrote the song.

Taj Mahal

Taj isn't a straight blues musician who likes to incorporate Caribbean, African and other elements into his music. Here is his take on his song.

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


The theme for the TV series Peter Gunn was written by Henry Mancini who recorded it for the program. Later, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans put words to it but we're going with the instrumental version, as that was what they played in the film.

Their version leaned more towards DUANE EDDY than Henry, so I'm going with that.

Duane Eddy

Duane's was the biggest seller of all the versions released (and there have been quite a few). It was back when Duane could do no wrong – anything he released became a hit. He's probably the biggest selling instrumentalist in rock & roll history.

♫ Duane Eddy - Peter Gunn


THE SPENCER DAVIS GROUP was blessed in having a fine vocalist and keyboard player in Steve Winwood.

Spencer Davis Group

The song Gimme Some Lovin' was written by Spencer, Steve and Steve's brother Muff (also a member of the group).

[UPDATE 2:15PM Pacific time: The first version of this song would not play. New one is uploaded.]

♫ Spencer Davis Group - Gimme Some Lovin'


JOHN LEE HOOKER was shown in the film performing the song Boom Boom as a busker on the street.

John Lee Hooker

John Lee wrote and recorded the song originally and I see no reason to go past that one.

♫ John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom


In the film, the band needed some instruments, so they went along to Ray's Music Exchange to get them. Ray, of course, is RAY CHARLES.

Blues Brothers & Ray

Like John Lee, Ray was the originator of the song he sang, Shake Your Tailfeather, and this is the way he recorded it originally.

♫ Ray Charles - Shake your Tailfeather


I don't remember this next song in the film but Wiki assures me that it's there so who am I to argue? I really must watch the film again soon. I know the song from the version by SOLOMON BURKE.

Solomon Burke

Solomon is always welcome in any column of mine and here he is with Everybody Needs Somebody to Love. It certainly sounds like something they'd perform.

♫ Solomon Burke - Everybody Needs Somebody to Love


For some reason, the crew happened to venture into church. As far as I can tell, there was no reason for this except to feature James Brown as the Reverend Cleophus James putting on quite a turn with the song The Old Landmark.

I prefer the STAPLE SINGERS to James, and they performed it earlier.

Staple Singers

Mavis Staples sings lead on this one (as she did on most of their songs).

♫ Staple Singers - The Old Landmark


One of the band members was working in a diner run by his wife played by ARETHA FRANKLIN.

Blues Brothers & Aretha

Aretha's character is none too happy about his going off like that and she tells him to Think about it. It makes no difference as he goes anyway, but we get a good song out of it.

♫ Aretha Franklin - Think


Blues Brothers

Now we get to the "chicken wire" part of the film that always brings a smile to my face. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen the film.

Wondering what to play for this particular audience, they came up with the theme from Rawhide. The person who sang that in the TV series was FRANKIE LAINE.

Frankie Laine

♫ Frankie Laine - Rawhide


We're still in "chicken wire" mode and if Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, knew I was including this next song she would disown me (or something even more drastic), so I'm not going to tell. Let's keep it our little secret from her.

Of course, she knows it was in the film, or maybe she's put it out of her mind. If not, she probably thinks I'll omit it. Silly sausage, she should know me better than that.

You can all probably guess what's next (that is if you've seen the film). Yes, it's TAMMY WYNETTE.

Tammy Wynette

This is her best known song, Stand By Your Man.

♫ Tammy Wynette - Stand By Your Man


We've finally got to stage the concert and the master of ceremonies was CAB CALLOWAY.

Cab Calloway

Cab also got to perform his best known song, Minnie the Moocher.

♫ Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher


As the film was set in (and around) Chicago, Sweet Home Chicago was an obvious choice for them to perform. It was originally laid down on shellac by ROBERT JOHNSON.

Robert Johnson

In spite of his rather meagre recorded output, Robert is probably the most influential blues performer ever.

♫ Robert Johnson - Sweet Home Chicago


Thanks to all those cars that were destroyed, but that really was due to the incompetence of the other characters' driving, I don't know why our heroes were blamed for that (okay, yes I do), the whole band landed in the hoosegow.

They put on a final concert in prison and naturally performed Jailhouse Rock. This was originally done by ELVIS in the film of the same name.

Elvis Presley

♫ Elvis Presley - Jailhouse Rock


ELDER MUSIC: 1929

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 most appropriate way to start a column on 1929 is with the song Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out. After all, this was probably the theme tune for that year. There is no one better to perform this song than the great BESSIE SMITH.

Bessie Smith

Many people recorded the song at the time and over subsequent years, but upon hearing Bessie's version, I stopped looking.

♫ Bessie Smith - Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out


I'm sure pretty much everyone reading this would associate Singin' in the Rain with Gene Kelly and the classic film of the same name. However, the song wasn't written for the film, it's much older than that.

Although it might have been recorded earlier, its first established version was in this year, 1929, initially by Doris Travis in "The Hollywood Music Box Revue.” CLIFF EDWARDS also recorded it this year.

Cliff Edwards

Cliff was occasionally known as Ukulele Ike, as he played that instrument. I don't know where the Ike comes from.

He performed the song in a film called Hollywood Revue of 1929 which I think is different from the previous revue. Anyway, here's Cliff (or Ike) with the song.

♫ Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) - Singin' In The Rain


LOUIS ARMSTRONG makes another of his regular visits to my column this year.

Louis Armstrong

St. James Infirmary has been recorded many times but it was Louis' version that was the first to become a big seller. It's considered by some to be a descendant of several songs that go back centuries. Having heard some mentioned in this context, I think they sound quite different from this one but that's musicologists for you.

♫ Louis Armstrong - St. James Infirmary


RUTH ETTING was billed as yet another of "America's Sweethearts.”

Ruth Etting

However, her life was anything but sweet. I'll omit the sordid details (only because they are far too long to relate in a brief piece like this, but Wikipedia has a very interesting account and I recommend it for anyone who likes a bit of scandal).

In the meantime, I'll have her singing Exactly Like You.

♫ Ruth Etting - Exactly Like You


In 1929, MAURICE CHEVALIER recorded what came to be his signature song from then on, Louise.

Maurice Chevalier

Early on he developed a love of acting and was involved in that as well as singing. Douglas Fairbanks urged him to go to Hollywood and Maurice did that just as talkies began.

He quickly became The Frenchman in films whenever one was called for. Here he is with his signature.

♫ Maurice Chevalier - Louise


BEN SELVIN recorded many, many songs - more than just about anyone at the time.

Ben Selvin

Ben played the violin so that's probably him in the top middle. He introduced to the world the cream of musicians from later years, including Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, Jack Teagarden, Red Nichols, and Bunny Berigan.

This is Ben with his orchestra (I don't know if any of the aforementioned are present) with My Sin. It's probably Smith Ballew on vocal refrain, but no one really knows.

♫ Ben Selvin & His Orchestra - My Sin


Am I Blue? was written this year by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke and the first recording of it was by ETHEL WATERS.

Ethel Waters

She showcased the song in the film On With the Show. Since then it's been recorded by a plethora of musicians ranging across the full gamut of styles, but Ethel did it first.

♫ Ethel Waters - Am I Blue


If anyone could lay a claim to have invented jazz, KING OLIVER would have to be at the front of the queue.

King Oliver

He was also one of the first to write jazz tunes, many of which are still played today. Unfortunately, by 1929 he wasn't playing trumpet very much due to a gum disease, so he employed others to do that.

He was still writing and arranging, however. One hit from this year by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band is New Orleans Shout.

♫ King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band - New Orleans Shout


I think a certain long-haired performer from the sixties listened very carefully to NICK LUCAS (and his Troubadours) performing the song Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips with Me.

Nick Lucas

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist asked if you had to have a very high voice in order to sing it. Probably.

Nick introduced the song to the world in the talkie (and "singie" too, I guess) Gold Diggers of Broadway and it sat on the top of the charts for 10 weeks this year.

♫ Nick Lucas Troubadours - Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me


FATS WALLER wrote the song Ain't Misbehavin' along with Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf.

Fats Waller

Fats recorded the song in our year (as well as subsequently). He wasn't the only one who has had a go at it. Here's Fats with the original version.

Fats Waller - Ain't Misbehavin'



ELDER MUSIC: Never Talk to Strangers

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

* * *

That's what our parents told us when we were kids. Actually, mine didn't because we knew everyone in the country town where we lived.

The point of this is that I was sitting idly at my computer playing some songs and The Stranger Song came up. Not at random; I select what I listen to. That got me thinking.

I know a few songs about strangers, maybe half a dozen or so. There may be more; if so, I could make something of this, so I performed a search.

Lorks a’mercy, more than 100 songs appeared with stranger in the title. This will be easy, I thought. Then I realized I had to cull them down to a manageable column’s worth. In the end, The Stranger Song didn't make the cut. Sorry Lennie.

Kicking off the strangers we have GORDON LIGHTFOOT, one I definitely had in mind before the search.

Gordon Lightfoot

The original title of his most famous album was “Sit Down Young Stranger.” After the song, If You Could Read My Mind, became a big hit, the album was retitled after that song.I still think of it with its original name.

Here is the song after which the album rightfully was named.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Sit Down Young Stranger


I think that MERLE HAGGARD has the best male singing voice in country music. That’s a big call – cop that, George Jones. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, goes for Willie. He's in this column too.

Merle Haggard

I really only discovered Merle after I had read Larry McMurtry’s book, All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers, and discovered that Merle had a song of the same name.

Okay, that was some decades ago now. That got me hooked on Merle (and Larry as well). This is Merle with (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers.

♫ Merle Haggard - (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers


TOM WAITS takes the title of the column to heart with his song, I Never Talk to Strangers. On this one, he has the able assistance of BETTE MIDLER.

Tom Waits & Bette Midler

It's from his fine album "Foreign Affairs" and they may seem an odd pairing but it works really well. Hear for yourself.

♫ Tom Waits - I Never Talk to Strangers


JOAN BAEZ didn't start writing songs until about ten years after she started performing professionally.

Joan Baez

However, once she started she came up with some rippers. This is one of her best - in my opinion it's number one. Love Song to a Stranger. It's from her often overlooked, and underrated album "Come from the Shadows.”

♫ Joan Baez - Love Song To A Stranger


JIMMY BUFFETT is a musician who appreciates irony, indeed his career has been built around it.

Jimmy Buffett

I don’t know if this song fits into that category but I find it amusing, and that's enough for me. Who's the Blonde Stranger?

♫ Jimmy Buffett - Who's the Blonde Stranger


Doo-be-doo-be-doo. You knew this song was going to be here when you read the opening paragraph. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, so here it is. This is FRANCIS ALBERT SINATRA from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Frank Sinatra

I really don’t think I need to say anything about Frank as his life is so well known. Strangers in the Night was written by Avo Uvezian, a musician from Lebanon who later emigrated to America. There he studied piano and composition at Juilliard.

The song he wrote was called Broken Guitar. Charles Singleton wrote English lyrics to that song and Bert Kaempfert was involved somehow or other, but I don’t know how.

Eventually it got to Frank and he recorded it. It sold squillions. Frank hated the song (although I imagine he didn’t mind the royalties).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the Night


WILLIE NELSON recorded a whole album about a stranger; it was called “Red Headed Stranger” and it should be in the collection of anyone who is serious about music.

Willie Nelson

He performed the title song a couple of times on the album. Here is the first and longer version.

♫ Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger


Occasionally I’ve selected a track that I thought may be rather challenging just to see what the reaction will be. I’ve been surprised with the positive result. However, now and then, things turn out as expected.

This happened when I last included NICK CAVE. Then he sang his rather eccentric version of Stagger Lee (in the column of the same name). Here he is again with a stranger song.

Nick Cave

The song is taken from his really interesting album called "Murder Ballads" (as was Stagger Lee), so you know what to expect. The title of the song has a nod to Tennessee Williams; it's called The Kindness of Strangers, and Nick has a little "help" from Anita Lane.

♫ Nick Cave - The Kindness of Strangers


Don’t go to Strangers has been recorded by many jazz, and a few blues, singers over the years. It's a matter of selecting one of them. The one that caught my ear is by ETTA JAMES.

Etta James

Etta can fit into both those categories and many more besides.

♫ Etta James - Don't Go To Strangers


I'll finish with another song you could pretty much guarantee would be present. All I have to say is TONY BENNETT.

Tony Bennett

Also, all I have to say is Stranger in Paradise.

♫ Tony Bennett - Stranger In Paradise


ELDER MUSIC: Variations on Work Song and Round Midnight

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's column is another where there are variations on two tunes. This is because I didn't have enough versions that were dissimilar enough to fill a whole column, but there were some fine versions of both tunes.

As you can gather from the heading they are Work Song, written by Nat Adderley, and Round Midnight written by Thelonious Monk.

When Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I were checking tracks for a previous column on the tune Moanin' we were struck how similar it was to Work Song.

That gave us the idea for this column (or half of it anyway). It seems we aren't the only ones who noticed that.

The first cab off the rank is by DION DIMUCCI and he starts with Moanin' and segues into Work Song.

Dion

Dion started his career as front man for the DooWop group Dion and the Belmonts and has evolved into a very interesting singer indeed.

♫ Dion - Work Song


THE BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND was one of the finest blues/rock groups from the sixties.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Paul Butterfield knew talent when he saw and heard it and he collected them into his band – Muddy Waters' rhythm section and two of the best guitarists around, Elvin Bishop and the best of the lot, Michael Bloomfield.

Butterfield was a good singer and an excellent harmonica player. He shows that in this version along with Elvin and Michael soloing separately. Mark Naftalin gets into the act as well on organ.

♫ Paul Butterfield - Work Song


JOE & EDDIE were Joe Gilbert and Eddie Brown.

Joe & Eddie

Joe and Eddie had similar backgrounds, both born the same year, grew up in the south and moved to Berkeley, California where they met at school and started singing together.

They won several talent shows and turned professional. They were prominent in the folk boom of the early sixties. Unfortunately, Joe was killed in a car accident in 1966.

They sing Work Song with Eddie singing the solo part.

♫ Joe & Eddie - The Work Song


NINA SIMONE recorded the song a couple of times.

Nina Simone

In one version she looks back to the big band era; in the second she anticipates sixties rock music with a bit of jazz tossed in as well. Today I've included the latter one, recorded in 1961.

♫ Nina Simone - Work Song


The final version is by NAT ADDERLEY, who wrote it.

Nat Adderley

Work Song was Nat's most famous tune and it came from an album of the same name, generally regarded as his finest. An interesting aside is that it featured Bobby Timmons playing piano. He's the one who wrote the tune of Moanin'.

♫ Nat Adderley - Work Song


Thelonious Monk wrote Round Midnight in the early 1940s. Brian Hanighen later added words to the tune.

Brian also wrote with Johnny Mercer and Clarence Williams. He was instrumental in getting Billie Holiday a recording contract at Columbia. She had nothing but praise for him in her autobiography, and not just for that.

I'll start the second half of this column with a vocal version by MEL TORMÉ.

Mel Torme

Mel employs a stripped back, understated backing which suits the song superbly. You really should wait until late night for this one - oh, sometime Round Midnight (or tell yourself it's midnight somewhere in the world).

♫ Mel Torme - Round Midnight


MILES DAVIS recorded the tune in an album called "Round About Midnight."

Miles Davis

It's generally considered that Miles received a recording contract with Columbia Records after he and Monk performed the tune together at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival. He recorded the album not too long afterwards. This is the track.

♫ Miles Davis - 'Round Midnight


STEFAN GROSSMAN first came to my notice when he made an interesting album with Danny Kalb, guitarist for the Blues Project.

JOHN RENBOURN was an English guitarist who often collaborated with Bert Jansch. Stefan and John got together and recorded an album together.

John Renbourn & Stefan Grossman

On that album they performed an acoustic guitar version of 'Round Midnight. Here it is.

♫ John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman - 'Round Midnight


There's nothing much I can say about LINDA RONSTADT that hasn't been said before.

Linda Ronstadt

Besides, I've already featured her in two columns, so I'll just play her version of Round Midnight from her album "For Sentimental Reasons," one of the ones she made with Nelson Riddle.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Round Midnight


As is traditional (if two columns and four tunes can establish a tradition), I'll end with the person who wrote Round Midnight, and that is THELONIOUS MONK.

Thelonious Monk

Monk recorded it several times – as a solo piano piece and with various bands. The one I've chosen features GERRY MULLIGAN prominently.

Gerry Mulligan

This is taken from an album called "Mulligan Meets Monk.”

♫ Thelonious Monk - Round Midnight


ELDER MUSIC: A Barrel of Bachs

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 the name Bach is mentioned, it's usually in reference to the great Johann Sebastian, often cited as the greatest composer ever. Sometimes his four sons who became composers are considered.

Besides these there are quite a number in the extended family who wrote music. Some of those will be featured today (along with the famous five, of course).

It didn't start with J.S.; around the area where little Johann was born, the word Bach was already used as a nickname for musician.

As I implied, the line of musicians didn't start with JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, but I will.

J.S. Bach

Already in J.S.'s time he was considered old-fashioned. Indeed, his music was completely forgotten for a century or more until Mendelssohn and others started playing it again in the nineteenth century. J.S. will not be forgotten again.

Some of his best known works are the six Brandenburg Concertos, especially number three which seems to be the one played most often, so I'll go for another. This is the first movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No 6.

♫ Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No 6 (1)


J.S. was married twice, the first time was to second cousin Maria Barbara Bach.

Maria Barbara Bach

They had seven kids, three died early. The survivors were Catharina who was described as unmarried and that's all we know of her. There was a son, Johann Gottfried Bernhard who was an organist and he died under "mysterious and unknown circumstances" at age 24.

That left two others who became quite well known composers and they'll be featured today.

They are Wilhelm Friedemann, known as the "Dresden Bach" or "Halle Bach,” and Carl Philipp Emanuel who had the nicknames the "Hamburg Bach" or "Berlin Bach." I'll start with the oldest son, WILHELM FRIEDEMANN BACH.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

Willy had a pretty good music teacher – his father – and later studied law and mathematics at university. Naturally, he went into the family trade becoming the organist at a church in Halle. He was very unhappy there and got into scrapes with the bigwigs (one of whom embezzled funds due him).

He left without another job in the offing and couldn't get another position. He supported himself and his family (only just) by teaching and he eventually died in poverty.

Willy lived in the shadow of his father but he wrote a bunch of cantatas and orchestral works. Here is the third movement of Sinfonia in D Major (used as prelude to his cantata "Dies ist der Tag").

♫ Wilhelm Friedemann Bach - Sinfonia In D Major (3)


The next son is CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

In Mozart's and Haydn's times (which is really just Haydn's times as he was born before Mozart and outlived him by many years), whenever anyone referred to "the great Bach," it was always C.P.E. they were talking about, not his father who had slipped from the public gaze by then.

C.P.E. received his middle name from the great Georg Philipp Telemann who was his godfather and a good friend of his father's. C.P.E.'s first job was in Berlin at the service of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia who liked a bit of a tune, and later became king Freddie the Great.

He was a handy person to know. C.P.E. stayed there for 30 years and then, after considerable negotiation, he joined his godfather in Hamburg where he became composer in residence for Freddie's sister, Anna Amalia.

He stayed there for a further 20 years. In all that time, he wrote copious amounts of music, perhaps not as much as his father, but lots in all sorts of genres. Here we have the third movement of the Cello Concerto No 1 in A minor.

♫ Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Cello Concerto No 1 in A minor (3)


After the death of his first wife, J.S. married Anna Magdalena Wilcke (or Wilcken).

 Anna Magdalena Bach

This union produced 13 kids, seven of whom died young. Of the remainder there were Johanna Carolina and Regina Susanna, both of whom were described as unmarried (again, that's the extent of our knowledge).

Another sister was Elisabeth Juliana Friderica who married Johann Christoph Altnikol who was J.S.'s pupil and quite a decent composer himself.

Then there was Gottfried Heinrich who was mentally handicapped but played the organ quite well, it seems, and died at 39.

Which brings us to two more composers, Johann Christoph Friedrich (the "Bückeburg" Bach) and Johann Christian (the "London" Bach).

JOHANN CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH BACH.

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

This name has caused confusion as J.S. had a cousin, an uncle, a great uncle and an elder brother all with this name, thus "our" J.C.F. was usually called by his nickname as he resided in London, and played harpsichord there.

He may have lived there, but he liked the Italian style and many of his compositions reflect this. Everyone seemed to be writing trio sonatas around this time and he was no exception. The first movement of the Trio sonata in F major.

♫ Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach - Trio sonata in F major (1)


I'll finish the immediate family with JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, who is my favorite of the Bach sons.

Johann Christian Bach

That's because his style is reminiscent of Haydn and Mozart who were both friends of his. He gave lessons to the young Wolfie and later on, instructed him on the intricacies of the Sinfonia Concertante of which he was a master.

He lived in Italy for quite a few years before moving to London where he spent the rest of his life. As happened to his oldest brother, someone (his steward in this case) embezzled his considerable wealth and he also died in poverty.

Instead of one of the aforementioned Sinfonia Concertantes, I'll go with something else - the first movement of the quintet for flute, oboe, violin, viola and continuo, Op. 11 No. 3 in F major.

♫ Johann Christian Bach - Quintet Op. 11 No. 3 In F Major (1)


The musical talent managed to reach the next generation, but only just. WILHELM FRIEDRICH ERNST BACH was J.C.F.'s son and he seems to be the only one of his generation who took up the family business.

After him, the musical line ends; indeed he apparently said himself, "Heredity can tend to run out of ideas."

Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach

It was a useful family to be born into if you wanted to make music. W.F.E. received training from two of his uncles, C.P.E. and J.C. Indeed, he was in London when this latter uncle died. He stayed on there for a couple more years before returning to Germany to take up the post of Kapellmeister in Berlin, a position he retained until he retired.

Here is the first movement of his Sinfonia in C major.

♫ Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach - Sinfonia in C-major (1)


Now we get to some of the others and confusion may set in. It certainly did for me trying to keep straight who all these are, often with similar (or the same) names.

As I mentioned earlier, there were several in the extended family named JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH, and here's one of those.

Johann Christoph Bach

This particular one is the son of Heinrich Bach, Johann Sebastian's great uncle. I don't know what relation that makes him to the great man, but we'll just skip over that.

This particular J.C. had a reputation as the greatest of the Bach composers until J.S. (and his sons) came along and now he's been relegated to the reserve bench. More than that, pretty much forgotten, but we'll do something about that today, even if it's only a little bit. I've included one of his motets, Fürchte dich nicht

♫ Johann Christoph Bach - Fürchte dich nicht


JOHANN LUDWIG BACH (the "Meininger Bach") was J.S.'s second cousin, or something like that. He was approximately contemporaneous with J.S.

Johann Ludwig Bach

He was a writer of cantatas and some of his were attributed to the great man until the original folios were discovered. The confusion probably arose because he'd often perform his cousin's works at the various courts where he worked.

No cantata this time, but another motet, Unsere Trübsal.

♫ Johann Ludwig Bach - Unsere Trübsal


JOHANN MICHAEL BACH (the "Gehrener Bach") was sort of a second uncle to J.S. as well as his father-in-law – he was the father of J.S.'s first wife.

Johann Michael Bach

He wrote works for the organ as well as cantatas. Besides composing, he was renowned at the time for making musical instruments, particularly harpsichords.

Those early Bachs liked their motets and here's yet another (that's about all I have of these particular gentlemen). This is a Christmas motet. I should have kept it for then. Oh well. Furchtet Euch Nicht.

♫ Johann Michael Bach - Furchtet Euch Nicht


To add to the confusion, we have another JOHANN MICHAEL BACH who was a nephew of J.S. I couldn't find a picture of him anywhere.

He was mostly a lawyer (as were several other members of the family) and later a music teacher. However, he wrote music as well and like many of the others, he specialised in cantatas.

Here is one of the called Das Volk, so im Finstern wandelt, and this is the fourth movement called “Rheinische Kantorei.”

♫ Johann Michael Bach III - Rheinische Kantorei


There are quite a few more Bachs that I've left out. I must admit that some of the very early Bachs' music is, to put no fine point on it, boring, so they won't be missed. Fortunately there is enough interesting music to fill the column.


ELDER MUSIC: Jennifer

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.

* * *

Whenever someone asks me who my favorite female singer is I'll usually say Cecelia Bartoli. Sometimes I'll say Jessye Norman or to be different, Kathleen Ferrier.

Of course, most people who ask that question aren't interested in classical music, or they think I'm being perverse (always a possibility) so they modify the question.

I then mentally review the situation – Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Nina Simone, Etta James, Julie London, Patsy Cline. However, on reflection, the one I seem to enjoy most is JENNIFER WARNES.

Of course, that could change next week. In the meantime, here is a column of her music.

Jennifer Warnes

I'll start with the first song I first heard that registered her name in my brain. This is from her excellent album from the seventies called "Shot Through the Heart." It wasn't her first but I didn't know that at the time.

The song is I Know a Heartache When I See One.

Jennifer Warnes

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


From that same album comes a song from Norma, the Assistant Musicologist's favorite Bob Dylan album, "New Morning." The song is Sign on the Window.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Sign on the Window


Jennifer Warnes

Here's a song I can empathise with although less so today than it was when I was younger. I imagine Jennifer feels the same way. Pissed Off 2 AM.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Pissed Off 2 Am


Early on, Jennifer was a back-up singer for Leonard Cohen.

Jennifer Warnes

She later progressed to co-singer and later still recorded an album of his songs called “Famous Blue Raincoat,” easily the best covers of Lennie's songs anyone has done. From that album we have the title song.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat


From the beginning Jennifer sang duets with many people - Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Roy Orbison, Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Sam & Dave, Bobby Womack, and Tina Turner are just a few of them.

There are a couple of others you can probably come up with (who won't be in the column, even though they won Oscars). I've selected JACKSON BROWNE.

Jennifer Warnes & ;Jackson Browne

They recorded a couple of the songlets from The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album. They call it Golden Slumbers.

♫ Jennifer Warnes and Jackson Browne & Jennifer Warnes - Golden Slumbers


Jennifer Warnes

Another song from her Lennie album is the first on that disk, and maybe the most interesting, First We Take Manhattan.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - First We Take Manhattan


Another duet, and they don't get much better than HARRY BELAFONTE with whom to sing. The song is Skin To Skin, and Harry sounds as if he's 20 years old. I imagine Jennifer would do that for any red blooded male.

Jennifer Warnes & Harry Belafonte

♫ Jennifer Warnes & Harry Belafonte - Skin To Skin


From considerably earlier in her career, Jennifer recorded one of Jimmy Webb's songs (well, probably more than one, but it's a particular one we're interested in today).

Jennifer Warnes

In this case, it was a song that I've not heard anyone else perform apart from Jimmy himself. That song is P.F. Sloan. It's about another singer/songwriter whose main claim to fame is that he wrote the song Eve of Destruction.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - P.F. Sloan


I had half a dozen songs penciled in for this spot, so I ran them past the A.M. She chose this one. It's another duet, this time Jennifer has DOYLE BRAMHALL along to help out.

Doyle Bramhall & Jennifer Warnes

Doyle also plays guitar on the track which is the Eddy Arnold/Cindy Walker classic, You Don't Know Me. On this they really give Ray Charles a run for his money in pure passion. It's terrific.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - You Don't Know Me


From her album "The Hunter” thus the following photo, I've selected the song Lights of Louisianne.

Jennifer Warnes

You can probably tell from the title that there's a Cajun influence in the song. You'd be right.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Lights of Louisianne


ELDER MUSIC: Singing with Willie

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 think it's WILLIE NELSON's plan to sing with everyone on the planet, at least everyone who can hold a tune.

Willie Nelson

Because there are so many songs out there it makes my job easy but it makes it hard as well because there are so many songs out there. Of course, I'll only select people I like so that will make my job a bit easier.  Here they are...

A while ago Willie teamed up with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings in a group called The Highwaymen. I'm not including anything from their albums, but as a bit of a link I'll start with the daughter of one of those and she is ROSANNE CASH.

Willie Nelson & Rosanne Cash

Rosanne is a fine writer, interpreter and performer of rock & roll but because of her pedigree she often gets a gig in country music shows. She can do both really well as is evidenced by her duet with Willie, Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends.

♫ Willie and Roseanne - Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends


After Hank Williams died, RAY PRICE managed Hank's band to some success.

Willie Nelson & Ray Price

He later started his own band and throughout the years it was the spawning ground for some of the greats of country music. Some of those are Roger Miller, Darrell McCall, Van Howard, Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Bush, Buddy Emmons and Willie.

Willie later wrote songs that Ray performed to some success. They remained good friends until Ray died in 2013. They perform Home in San Antone.

♫ Willie and Ray Price - Home In San Antone


I have a fine vinyl album by TRACY NELSON that I haven't thought about for years until I decided to do this column. I'm glad I did as I started listening to it again.

Willie&Tracy11

Tracy is noted mostly for singing blues but she makes a good country singer as well. She's not related to Willie but he joined her on that album to produce a fine duet, After the Fire is Gone.

♫ Willie and Tracy Nelson - After the Fire is Gone


Townes van Zandt's most famous song would have to be Pancho and Lefty. Willie has the help of MERLE HAGGARD on this one.

Willie Nelson & ;Merle Haggard

You couldn't call the song a duet; Merle sings only a single verse. He may have had a larger role in this single if Willie hadn't decided to record the song in the middle of the night and woke Merle at 3AM to record it.

Merle did his one verse (perfectly) in a single take and then went when back to bed.

♫ Willie and Merle Haggard - Pancho and Lefty


CYNDI LAUPER seems an unlikely pairing with Willie.

Willie Nelson & Cyndi Lauper

However, like Willie, Cyndi is a songwriter of some substance – not as many songs as Willie, but who has? She's even had hers covered by Miles Davis so that should be good enough for anyone. Willie and Cyndi tackle the rather twee song written by George and Ira Gershwin, Lets Call the Whole Thing Off.

♫ Lets Call The Whole Thing Off (feat Cyndi Lauper)


Old Age and Treachery always overcome youth and skill is an appropriate sentiment for this website. I hope you all take it to heart and apply that lesson in your daily lives.

Willie's co-conspirator on the song is his most famous singing partner, WAYLON JENNINGS.

Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings

Willie and Waylon performed and recorded together quite often so there's a lot of material to work with. Instead of some of their more famous collaborations, I've gone with this one.

♫ Willie and Waylon - Old Age And Treachery


EMMYLOU HARRIS would have to be present in any exercise involving duets and today is no different.

Willie Nelson & Emmylou Harris

I really don't need to tell you about the lovely Emmy, just sit back and listen to her and Willie sing Gulf Coast Highway.

♫ Willie and Emmylou Harris - Gulf Coast Highway


ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL carry on the western swing tradition made famous by Bob Wills (and some others) in the thirties and forties.

Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel

Hesitation Blues goes way back, such that it's usually attributed to "Traditional.” Because of that, several people have claimed authorship (and added their own words to the song); Willie and the Wheel don't do that, they just perform it.

♫ Willie and Asleep at the Wheel - Hesitation Blues


Like Willie, ALISON KRAUSS seems to like singing with other people, lots of other people – not as many as Willie yet but he has a few years on her.

Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss

Alison recorded her first album when she was only 14. Back then she played the fiddle and mandolin. Later she started singing as well and she has a fine voice as you can hear on No Mas Amor.

♫ Willie and Alison Krauss - No Mas Amor


KIMMIE RHODES and Willie have been friends for years and have recorded together intermittently.

Willie Nelson & Kimmie Rhodes

Those tracks have been gathered together and an album called "Picture in a Frame" is the result. The song Love Me Like a Song is taken from that album.

♫ Willie and Kimmie Rhodes - Love Me Like A Song


ELDER MUSIC: The Oscars

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.

* * *

Oscar

I've not always agreed with the songs that won the Academy Award for best song. That's really an understatement, there are very few with which I'd concur and that will probably be evident again tonight when this year's Oscar awards are given out in Los Angeles.

Most of the ones I think deserved it didn't even get nominated. The Grammies are even worse – they're supposed to be about music.

Now that I have that off my chest, I'll present some of the songs that did win the Oscar. These will be in order of the year they won. The envelope please...

1934: The Continental from "The Gay Divorcee"
FRED ASTAIRE and Ginger Rogers performed it in the film. However, Fred rerecorded it years later and I think that this later version is far superior. Here it is.

FredAstaire

♫ Fred Astaire - The Continental


1936: The Way You Look Tonight from "Swing Time"
More Fred and Ginger; Fred sings the song playing the piano rather than dancing. We've had Fred, so I thought I'd check the other versions I have. None of the other singers were a patch on Fred, so I've gone for an instrumental treatment of the song by GERRY MULLIGAN.

GerryMulligan

It doesn't sound much like the original, but that's okay.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - The Way You Look Tonight


1939: Over the Rainbow from “The Wizard of Oz"
Okay, no messing around with this one. There's only one I could have chosen here and you know who it is. Here is the original from the film by JUDY GARLAND.

JudyGarland

♫ Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow (MGM Soundtrack Version)


1949: Baby It's Cold Outside from "Neptune's Daughter"
The song was performed twice in the film, first by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the second by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton (roles reversed in the second version).

In a more modern version here is WILLIE NELSON and NORAH JONES with tongues firmly in both their cheeks.

Willie Nelson &Norah Jones

♫ Willie Nelson - Baby, It's Cold Outside (featuring Norah Jones)


1950: Mona Lisa from "Captain Carey, U.S.A."
The song was performed in the film by Charlie Spivak but everyone who is reading this knows that this is NAT KING COLE's song. Nat recorded this several times, but they are pretty similar. This is one of them.

Nat King Cole

♫ Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa


1951: In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening from “Here Comes the Groom"
This song was the product of a couple of great songwriters - music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. In the film, BING CROSBY and JANE WYMANperformed the song and they are doing it here as well.

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman

♫ Bing Crosby - In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening


1952: High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin') from "High Noon"
Most people think of Frankie Laine when this song is mentioned, however, he didn't perform the song in the film. That honor went to TEX RITTER.

Tex Ritter

Tex also recorded it a couple of times but this is the way it sounded in the film.

♫ Tex Ritter - High Noon~Do Not Forsake Me~Film Soundtrack


1961: Moon River from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
The song was written by HENRY MANCINI and JOHNNY MERCER and performed in the film by Audrey Hepburn.

Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini

Numerous others have also recorded it. I won't use any of those. In 2014, Henry's son found an acetate of a demo that Henry and Johnny recorded just after they composed the song. Here it is, Henry playing piano and Johnny singing.

♫ Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer - Moon River [1961 Demo]


1971: Theme from Shaft from "Shaft"
It seems that the producers of the film promised ISAAC HAYES the lead role in the film if he'd write the score for the film.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac kept his side of the bargain but the producers reneged on their promise. The song and the album from which it was taken sold millions.

♫ Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft


2000: Things Have Changed from "Wonder Boys"
This isn't a film with which I'm familiar but checking on Mr Wiki it seems to have a fine cast. Not just that, the music in it meets my approval – Tom Rush, Buffalo Springfield, Tim Hardin, Little Willie John, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, John Lennon and, of course, the song that won the Oscar by BOB DYLAN.

Bob Dylan

♫ Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed


ELDER MUSIC: Lipstick, Powder and Paint

TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK ENDS TODAY
This is the final day of the 2016 donation campaign to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free for everyone with never a membership fee or paid firewall.

* * *

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.

* * *

Lipstick Powde r& Paint

This column comes from the song of that name that has been recorded by many artists over the years. There are songs about all three, powder being the hardest one about which to find good songs.

I'll start with the name of the column; my favorite version is one of the oldest by BIG JOE TURNER.

Big Joe Turner

Joe, almost single-handedly, changed rhythm and blues into rock and roll. This is from an earlier period when he was performing jump blues (but wouldn't be out of place at a rock concert), Lipstick, Powder and Paint.

♫ Joe Turner - Lipstick, Powder and Paint


So, that's the track with all the elements present. Now, we split them up. In order I'll start with lipstick and who better than BENNY SPELLMAN.

Benny Spellman

His song has been recorded often by others but no one that I know of does it better than Benny. Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette).

♫ Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)


I know that you'd be expecting this one and I don't want to disappoint you. Here is CONNIE FRANCIS.

Connie Francis

In the late fifties, early sixties Connie had many hits. This is one of them, Lipstick On Your Collar.

I always wondered what Mary-Jane was doing kissing his collar but maybe I'm just lacking in imagination. Also, he was going out for a soda pop and didn't invite Connie along. She's well rid of him.

♫ Connie Francis - Lipstick On Your Collar


By rights, JOHN HIATT should be a superstar.

John Hiatt

Naturally, the various media prefer "celebrities" rather than talent. I could go on (indeed, I did for some time, but I removed it as just too boring and ranty, a word I just made up). John performs Lipstick Sunset.

♫ John Hiatt - Lipstick Sunset


Not much in the way of powder songs. Apart from the title track, I only have one and that is by STEFAN GROSSMAN.

Stefan Grossman

Stefan is a really fine acoustic guitarist and not a bad singer but today, he just lets his fingers do the talking. Here is Powder Rag.

♫ Stefan Grossman - Powder Rag


To the paint songs. There are far too many of these to fit into this column, so I have the luxury of selecting the best of them. The one that stands out from the others is by THE BAND.

The Band

Levon Helm is the singer on this song which is from their "Cahoots" album, not their best but a pretty good one nonetheless. The song is When I Paint My Masterpiece, a song written by Bob Dylan.

♫ The Band - When I Paint My Masterpiece


Old Bill Jones had a daughter and a son. One went to Denver and the other went wrong. His wife, she got killed in a poolroom fight. My goodness, the Jones family led a colorful life.

Those who have been singing along already know that this is from the song, I Ride an Old Paint (or variations on that theme).

In some versions there are two daughters and a son and the wife is nowhere to be seen. There are many twists on the story out there and it's my job to pick one. So, here goes: MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY.

Michael Martin Murphey

Michael's version segues into another song just so you won't get bored. He calls it I Ride an Old Paint etc.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - I Ride an Old Paint etc


Back in the first incarnation of the ROLLING STONES, Brian Jones liked to bring in various instruments to add color to their records. This is one example of that.

Rolling Stones

He really was a prodigy. Give him an instrument and he could play it really well in no time at all. All of that leads me to Paint It Black.

♫ Rolling Stones - Paint It Black


After all the songs for which he is known, GORDON LIGHTFOOT kept recording albums, and really good ones at that.

Gordon Lightfoot

Some of us (well, me at least) kept collecting them. One of those later albums was called “A Painter Passing Through” and here is the title song.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - A Painter Passing Through


TAJ MAHAL yet again ends one of my columns.

Taj Mahal

I know that because I write them. Readers may not realise this as the columns could be months apart when they see light of day on TGB. Taj is doing some painting, nothing major like a house.

He's Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue.

♫ Taj Mahal - Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue


ELDER MUSIC: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

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.

* * *

CSN

Regular commenter Larry suggested I do a column on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. My old friend Tony once said the same thing. I hadn't considered them before because, although I liked them well enough, I was never a huge fan.

However, with those four, separately and together, there's a lot of material to work with, so here goes.

Each of the members came from successful groups that have reached (and forgive me for using this word) iconic status over the years.

Indeed, a couple of the bands were considered that way while they were still around as functioning units. I'm going to include something from these groups before we get to CSN&Y.

First off, DAVID CROSBY.

David Crosby

He was a founder member of The Byrds, one of the finest rock groups from the sixties. They were better than any band from that time except for a couple whose initial letter is also B.

He wrote a song called Triad which is about the pleasures of threesomes (and even more-somes). The rest of The Byrds were uncomfortable with the song, and although they recorded it, it didn't appear on any album until decades later when they released their excellent box set.

David did perform it with Grateful Dead at least once, and Jefferson Airplane also recorded it.

♫ The Byrds - Triad


Buffalo Springfield weren't together long - just over two years, around 1967 and 1968 - and they only made three albums. Any group that contained STEVE STILLS and Neil Young was bound to be volatile, as was also born out in their later group.

However, that volatility was a spur to both of them to produce even better music than they thought was possible.

Steve wrote and performed Everydays for the group.

Steve Stills

♫ Buffalo Springfield - Everydays


GRAHAM NASH came from Birmingham, England, by way of The Hollies, a group noted for their harmony singing.

Graham Nash

Graham became rather dissatisfied with the music his group was recording and went on vacation to America and caught up with David whom he'd met when The Byrds toured England a few years earlier.

They found they sang well together and one day Steve joined them in some harmony singing and the rest is history. Before that though, there were The Hollies with What's Wrong With The Way I Live.

♫ The Hollies - What's Wrong With The Way I Live


As mentioned above, NEIL YOUNG was also from Buffalo Springfield.

Neil Young

However, by the time their final album was released, he really wasn't with them. He did contribute a good song to it though. It is On The Way Home.

♫ Buffalo Springfield - On The Way Home


Before there was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young there was CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH.

CSN

Their first album was an instant success and has sold squillions. Although a trio, Steve played pretty much every instrument on the record (except for the drums). They all contributed songs.

One of Steve's was Suite ~ Judy Blue Eyes, about Judy Collins.

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - Suite ~ Judy Blue Eyes


It seems to me that Steve's songs from that album have aged better than the others have. Here is another of his, You Don't Have to Cry.

CSN

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - You Don't Have to Cry


By the time of their second album, "Déjà vu," with the addition of Neil to the group, they were barely speaking to each other. All but a couple of tracks were essentially solo performances with the others coming in (separately) to add to the tracks. Pretty much the same as some of the Beatles' last albums. Nonetheless, it produced a fine record.

CSNY

Before Neil came on board, Steve tried to convince Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and George Harrison to be their fourth member. They all refused.

From that album (that they actually managed to complete and it turned out to be not too bad at all), is another song of Steve's, 4 + 20.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - 4 + 20


CSNY

We probably have to have their big hit, Teach Your Children, a song written by Graham. They slid into country mode here with that pedal steel guitar, played by the old Deadhead himself, Jerry Garcia.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Teach Your Children


Neil added some grit to their sound. He wrote the song Ohio in a white hot fury when he heard that the Ohio National Guard had shot four students at Kent State University. The group recorded the song, mastered it and released it in a very short time, even though their previous song was still on the charts.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Ohio


NEIL YOUNG was easily the most successful of the group as a solo performer.

Neil Young

He also wrote songs that have been covered by many other artists (who perform them a lot better than he does them, in the opinion of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist).

I'm a bit perverse; I rather like it when he straps on his Les Paul Gibson, cranks up the amp and blasts out his long distorted guitar solos. Cortez the Killer is a prime example of this on record, however, that might be a tad too much for a Sunday morning.

Neil has also always been a rather perverse performer, going his own way completely disregarding his audience. In that spirit, I'll do something similar and have him perform a song he didn't write.

This was by fellow Canadian, Ian Tyson, maybe Ian's most famous song, Four Strong Winds. Neil had some help from Nicolette Larson on this one.

♫ Neil Young - Four Strong Winds


As of my writing this, they are one of the very few top groups from the sixties whose members are all still with us (a bit of a surprise in the case of David).

CSNY


ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias (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 last week in the countdown from 20 to 11, Australia's ABC Classical station had a listeners' poll on their favorite opera arias. These are the big cheeses, so counting down from 10 to 1.

10. RICHARD STRAUSS - Der Rosenkavalier - Hab' mir's gelobt, ihm lieb zu haben

StraussR4

Rich isn't related to the Strauss family who wrote all those waltzes. He's probably best known for the tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra because the initial part of that was used at the beginning of the film "2001, A Space Odyssey.”

“Der Rosenkavalier” was wildly successful when it was premiered in 1911 and has remained popular ever since. The trio Hab mir (etc) is towards the end of the opera when the main bloke has to decide between the two women in his life (one of them saw the light and left him to the other).

Today we have ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF, ANNELIESE ROTHENBERGER and SENA JURINAC playing those roles.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf&Anneliese Rothenberger&Sena Jurinac1

♫ Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier ~ Hab mir's gelobt, ihm lieb zu haben


9. CHRISTOPH GLUCK - Orfeo and Euridice - Che faro senza Euridice

Gluck1

“Orfeo and Euridice” belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale. Ah ha. Dr Google informs me that that means an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. Okey doke, it looks as if everything is covered there.

From that we have the contralto MAUREEN FORRESTER performing Che Faro Senza Euridice or What shall I do without Euridice?

What he does is to decide to top himself – a lot of that goes on in opera – but his mate Amore talks him out of it. In spite of Orfeo being a bloke, his part is usually sung by a woman. Strange things, operas.

MaureenForrester2

♫ Gluck - Orfeo and Euridice ~ Che Faro Senza Euridice


8. GIUSEPPE VERDI - Rigoletto - Bella figlia dell'amore (Act III quartet)

Verdi7

We have the big guns now, Giuseppe with the opera, and JOAN SUTHERLAND and LUCIANO PAVAROTTI as Gilda and the Duke. Sounds like a TV program from the eighties.

Luciano&Joan4

They perform Bella figlia dell'amore, which is called a quartet on the CD, but I don't know who the other two are.

♫ Verdi - Rigoletto ~ Bella figlia dell'amore


7. RICHARD WAGNER - Tristan and Isolde – Liebestod

Wagner2

Rules are meant to be broken and I'm about to break one of my own self-imposed rules that has held sway for the entire life of this column until now. That is, I wasn't ever going to play any Wagner. Oh well, the good burghers of Australia have ensured that that's gone by the wayside.

The only thing that has made this palatable to me is that I have the incomparable JESSYE NORMAN performing Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde.”

Jessye Norman

♫ Wagner - Tristan and Isolde ~ Liebestod


6. GIACOMO PUCCINI - Madame Butterfly - Un bel dì (One fine day)

Puccini9

Just about every soprano worth her salt has had a crack at this one. I have quite a few versions of this particular aria but I'm rather fond of RENATA SCOTTO's version.

RenataScotto1

Okay, I'm rather fond of them all but Renata's is the one you're getting (just to vary the singers a bit).

It's mostly known as One Fine Day, or Un Bel Dì Vedremo in Italian. Cio-Cio San sings about how Pinkerton is going to return one day and take her back to America as his wife. Is she in for a surprise.

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Un Bel Dì Vedremo


5. HENRY PURCELL - Dido and Aeneas - Thy hand, Belinda… When I am laid in earth (Dido's Lament)

Purcell4

Dido and Aeneas was Henry's first opera and one of the first operas written in English. It was initially performed around 1688 at a girls' school in London.

It is based on Virgil's Aeneid (or part of that work, anyway). JESSYE NORMAN is on hand to sing Thy hand, Belinda, When I am laid in Earth.

Jessye13

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


4. WOLFGANG MOZART - Così fan tutte - Soave sia il vento

Mozart

My favorite operas of Wolfie's weren't selected but I can't quibble because any from him is worth listening to.

Actually, this aria is sublime and it's performed by MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ, JANET BAKER and RICHARD VAN ALLAN. It's Soave sia il vento (or May the wind be gentle).

Montserrat&Janet&Richard1

♫ Mozart - Così fan tutte ~ Soave sia il vento


3. LÉO DELIBES - Lakmé - Sous le dôme épais (Flower Duet)

Delibes2

This aria is hugely popular so it's no surprise that it came in at number three. It's been used in other settings – in films, TV and (alas) advertisements.

The opera is set in India and all the bigwigs go off to the temple to do whatever they do leaving Lakmé behind. She goes down to the river to gather flowers with her servant and they sing this as they collect them.

Performing those roles are ELINA GARANCA and ANNA NETREBKO who sing together quite a lot.

ElinaGaranca &AnnaNetrebko1

♫ Delibes - Lakmé ~ Sous le dôme épais


2. VERDI - Nabucco - Va, pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew slaves)

Verdi4

Va, pensiero/dm (or Chorus of the Hebrew slaves) gives choral music a good name. It makes you want to sing along or conduct along as I was doing as I played this piece of music.

The choristers are the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Be warned: there are three really loud chords about 30 seconds in.

♫ Verdi - Nabucco ~ Va pensiero


1. GEORGES BIZET - The Pearl Fishers - Au fond du temple saint

Bizet1

The voting public got this right. There are many duets in opera but none of them are better than this one.

Georges is better known as the creator of "Carmen" (which was a total flop when first performed) but I prefer “The Pearl Fishers” as does the listening public here in Oz it seems.

Again, I had several versions from which to choose, and settled on JUSSI BJÖRLING and ROBERT MERRILL performing Au fond du temple saint (or In the depths of the temple).

JussiBjörling&RobertMerrill3

♫ Bizet - The Pearl Fishers ~ Au fond du temple saint



ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias (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.

* * *

Once in a while Australia's ABC Classical music station (networked throughout the country) has a listeners' poll on the favorite pieces of music in various categories.

This time it was opera arias and that gives me a chance to play some terrific singers and not worry about which piece of music to include as the selection has been done for me.

We're doing the Top 20, the first half today and the rest next week. Here we go, counting down from 20 to 11.

I could very well rename this "The Puccini Column" as he makes six appearances. He's also in next week (but only once). I'll start with him and one of his lesser known operas “Gianni Schicchi,” but hardly a lesser known aria.

20. GIACOMO PUCCINI - Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro

Puccini

This is one of a trio of one-act operas Gia released around 1917, is the only one of those regularly staged these days and that's probably only due to this aria which is more often performed as a concert piece.

Here is the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING performing O Mio Babbino Caro (or "Oh My Beloved Father").

Renee Fleming

Puccini - Gianni Schicchi ~ Mio Babbino Caro


19. PUCCINI - Madama Butterfly - The Humming Chorus

Puccini

Gia again with one of his famous pieces. Actually, all the ones included are famous because of the selection method. Just the chorus, no individual singers. The Humming Chorus or Coro A Bocca Chiusa.

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Coro A Bocca Chiusa


18. WOLFGANG MOZART - The Magic Flute - Der Hölle Rache

Mozart

Wolfie is sadly under-represented in these columns, only one today and one next week. If I were choosing... (yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you say).

Wolfie wrote this originally for his sister-in-law (Josepha Hofer) to sing in the premiere. She must have been quite the performer because those who have tackled the role of Queen of the Night since have complained about its difficulty.

This is the Queen of the Night aria or Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen, performed today by SIMONE KERMES.

Simone Kermes

♫ Mozart - The Magic Flute ~ Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen


17. GAETANO DONIZETTI - Lucia di Lammermoor - Mad Scene

Donizetti

There are a number of mad scenes in opera, some of them even on the stage. This is the most famous of them.

JOAN SUTHERLAND made this one her own over the years; she performed it many times. It's Il dolce suono or just "the mad scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Joan Sutherland

♫ Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor ~ Il dolce suono


16. PUCCINI - Madame Butterfly - Vogliatemi bene (Act I love duet)

Puccini

The love duet is performed early on in the opera by Cio-Cio San and the American Pinkerton expressing their undying love for each other. Poor old Cio-Cio is in for a big disappointment.

RENATA SCOTTO and CARLO BERGONZI play those roles today.

Renata Scotto & Carlo Bergonzi

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Vogliatemi Bene, Un Bene Piccolino


15. PUCCINI - La Bohème - Che gelida manina

Puccini

Now for two in a row from the same opera, La Bohème, one of the most famous in the repertoire and one of the most performed. First off it's the turn of LUCIANO PAVAROTTI who made a bit of a name for himself as a singer.

Luciano Pavarotti

He performs Che gelida manina (or "What a cold little hand").

Puccini - La Boheme ~ Che gelida manina


14. PUCCINI - La Bohème - O soave fanciulla

Puccini

There was a terrific production of this opera by the Australian Opera some years ago. Fortunately, it was preserved on DVD (and CD). The two singers are DAVID HOBSON and CHERYL BARKER.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist selected the photo of David as she's a bit of a fan.

David Hobson

I chose the picture of Cheryl as the same applies for me with her.

Cheryl Barker

The aria is O soave fanciulla (or "Oh lovely girl", the famous love duet).

♫ Puccini - La Boheme ~ soave fancuilla


13. VINCENZO BELLINI - Norma - Casta diva

Bellini

“Norma” is the A.M.'s favorite opera and it's not just because of its name. Or so she says. It's all to do with that final act where the singing just builds and builds and just when you think they can't do any more they up the ante.

The selection today, though, is from early in the opera and we have the incomparable CECILIA BARTOLI performing Casta Diva.

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Bellini - Norma ~ Casta Diva


12. PUCCINI - Turandot - Nessun dorma

Puccini

LUCIANO PAVAROTTI makes a return visit with almost certainly the most famous aria in opera, Nessun dorma ("None shall Sleep").

Luciano Pavarotti

He performed this as a stand-alone piece numerous times, however, here he is from a recording of the complete opera – that way we get all the extra background stuff usually missing when it's performed on its own.

Because of that, the ending is a bit abrupt as the opera continues without a break.

♫ Puccini - Turandot ~ Nessun dorma!


11. ANTONIN DVORÁK - Rusalka - Song to the Moon

Dvorák

Antonin is better known as a composer of instrumental music, especially symphonies, however, he wrote a few operas. Only one of these is regularly performed these days and it's this one.

From that we have the aria Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém (generally known as "Song to the Moon") performed by LUCIA POPP.

Lucia Popp

♫ Dvorák - Rusalka ~ Song to the Moon


The top 10 of Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias will appear here next week.


ELDER MUSIC: 1951 Yet Again

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

* * *

This year saw the debut of the song The Thrill Is Gone that B.B. King made his own over the years. However, he wasn't the first to record it. That honor goes to ROY HAWKINS who wrote the song with some help from Rick Darnell.

Roy Hawkins

Roy was a blues pianist and his breakthrough record was Why Do Everything Happen To Me? that he wrote after his arm was paralysed as a result of a car accident.

Many of his songs were covered by other artists, unfortunately for him, mostly after he died.

♫ Roy Hawkins - The Thrill Is Gone


JOHNNIE RAY's professional career began this year with a couple of crying songs, a genre that he used to great effect over the years. Cry was probably his most famous song but I've used that in previous versions of this year, so we have the other one, Little White Cloud That Cried.

Johnnie Ray

Like a number of his early records, he was backed on this one by The Four Lads who had their own successful career over the years.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Little White Cloud That Cried


You could pretty much count on DORIS DAY being on the charts around this time and 1951 was no exception.

Doris Day

This isn't one of her best known songs, but it's one I remember. It must have played on radio in the country town where I lived at the time for that to be so. The song is (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to) Shanghai, a bit of a strange song.

Oh Doris, that's what you get for fibbing even if it was a little white lie. Why did you say you were going to Shanghai rather than just to the beach or somewhere? Now you regret it and he thinks you're on a slow boat to China or some such. What if he comes across you in the street? Cooked goose then.

♫ Doris Day - (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to) Shanghai


JOE LIGGINS started his professional career as a member of Sammy Franklin's California Rhythm Rascals.

Joe Liggins

When Sammy refused to record Joe's song, The Honeydripper, Joe went out and started his own band (called The Honeydrippers). That song became a huge hit, one of the best selling R&B records ever, spending weeks at the top of the charts.

I don't think Joe went nyah nyah nyah nyah (or some such) - he was too much of a gentleman. This isn't that song, it's another of Joe's called Frankie Lee.

♫ Joe Liggins - Frankie Lee


Ahh, now we have one of the best songs from the entire decade. Many people recorded this one but none did it better than TOMMY EDWARDS.

Tommy Edwards

This is just a beautiful version of the song It's All In The Game. Nothing more needs to be said.

♫ Tommy Edwards - It's All In The Game


There were a bunch of "four" groups around this time. We had the Four Lads up there with Johnnie, now we have the FOUR ACES.

The Four Aces

I'd have put in the Four Preps and the Four Freshmen but they were just a little later. Hmm, could be a column in this. Anyway, the Aces had a bunch of hits in the fifties, including this one, Tell Me Why. A bit strident for my taste.

♫ The Four Aces - Tell Me Why


BILLY WARD AND HIS DOMINOES perform Sixty Minute Man.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

The record was banned in a number of places at the time for its perceived naughtiness. Although graced with a couple of excellent lead singers over the years – Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson – on this song, the lead is sung by their bass singer Bill Brown.

A few years later the group recorded a tongue in cheek response called Can't Do Sixty No More. Tell me about it.

♫ The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man


PATTI PAGE had enough good songs that, although I've already used a couple of them in previous incarnations of this year, there are enough left over to feature her again. Besides, I really like Patti.

Patti Page

Detour was written in 1945 and a number of people had recorded it over the years. Patti gave it her trademark double tracking of her voice that she used successfully on a number of her hits.

♫ Patti Page - Detour


GUY MITCHELL is another singer who was really popular around this time.

<>Guy Mitchell

Guy's first half dozen or so records were flops and he was about to be dropped by his record company when Frank Sinatra decided not to record a couple of songs he had scheduled.

Guy was hastily substituted in the sessions and these became his first blockbusters. Not long after that, he recorded Sparrow in the Treetop.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Sparrow in the Treetop


With the on-going saga of what was the first rock & roll record, this next one often gets the nod. Of course, it was a slow evolutionary process and there's really no cut-off line – there were records before this one that could be considered as well, but people like tight categories.

Now I've got that off my chest I'm going to play JACKIE BRENSTON performing Rocket 88 because it's worthy of inclusion.

Actually Jackie's name is on the record pretty much because of the whim of Ike Turner whose record this really is. It was Ike's band that recorded the song, Jackie was the saxophone player and sang on this one.

Although this was released by Chess records, it was actually recorded by Sam Phillips in Memphis before he started Sun Records. Little Richard must have listened closely to Ike's piano intro to the song.

♫ Jackie Brenston - Rocket 88


ELDER MUSIC: Give My Regards to Broadway

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.

* * *

Broadway

I was collecting songs for a column on the Streets on New York and thought if I were short ,I could use Broadway songs. As it turned out, I had more than enough for that one and ample for a column on Broadway. Indeed, so many there could be another one.

Because of the embarrassment of riches, I could pick and choose and have a variety of styles of music today, from old time to funk to soul to jazz to country to pop and a couple of indeterminates. I like to mix things up a bit.

An obvious place to start is with the title of the column and the obvious presenter of that song is the man who wrote it, GEORGE M. COHAN.

George M Cohan

George could do, and did, everything in the theatre. He started in vaudeville as a kid with his parents and sister. He began writing musicals in 1904 with "Little Johnny Jones" in which this song appeared.

George directed the musical and appeared in it along with mum, dad and sis. So, remember me to Herald Square, and definitely Give My Regards to Broadway.

♫ George M. Cohan - Give My Regards to Broadway


A complete change of pace with WILSON PICKETT. I told you we'd be all over the place.

Wilson Pickett

Wilson was in the first rank of soul singers and could give James Brown a few lessons in the funk department. Here he is with Funky Broadway.

♫ Wilson Pickett - Funky Broadway


GERRY MULLIGAN gives us the first taste of jazz today.

Gerry Mulligan

Gerry was that rare player of the baritone sax. I'm not surprised others didn't play it as it looks pretty heavy to me. This is from his great early quartet and you can catch (rather briefly) Chet Baker player trumpet. The tune is simply called Broadway.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Broadway


JOHN PHILLIPS was probably best known as Papa John from The Mamas and The Papas.

John Phillips

After that he made a couple of really good solo albums. The other members of the group were somewhat miffed as they thought he should have used the material for group albums.

From one of those John performs Black Broadway and it sounds as if he's trying to amalgamate all the musical styles present today in the one song.

♫ John Phillips - Black Broadway


Some more jazz with someone who wrote tunes about all sorts of places, so it's not unreasonable that Broadway would be in there somewhere. I'm talking about DAVE BRUBECK.

Dave Brubeck

This is from an album called "Jazz Impressions of New York" which was an extension of Dave's work for the TV program Mr Broadway (starring Craig Stevens who will always be Peter Gunn as far as I'm concerned).

The track is Theme from Mr. Broadway.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Theme from Mr. Broadway


I first discovered DICK POWELL playing Richard Diamond on radio and a bit later on the Dick Powell Theatre on TV.

Dick Powell

I always thought of him as a serious actor and had no knowledge of his earlier career as a song and dance man and light comedian. I was a bit stunned when I saw him in those early films on the box.

Anyway, here he is in his earlier incarnation singing Lullaby of Broadway.

♫ Dick Powell - Lullaby of Broadway


BOBBY WOMACK could do it all.

Bobby Womack

He was a gospel singer, a soul singer, rock & roll, DooWop and country as well. He played guitar so well that he was an in-demand session musician. He wrote songs that were covered by the Rolling Stones, George Benson, Patti LaBelle and others. He wrote movie soundtracks.

He also had his own career and made numerous records and appearances. Alas, he died recently. He performs Broadway Walk.

♫ Bobby Womack - Broadway Walk


HARRY NILSSON produced one of the shortest songs I've used in any of my columns and this is it.

Harry Nilsson

It's called Marchin' Down Broadway and that's all I need to say otherwise reading this will take longer than the song (I've probably blown that already).

♫ Harry Nilsson - Marchin' Down Broadway


ALISON KRAUSS is mostly thought of as a bluegrass fiddle player. She does something different here.

Alison Krauss

It could be folk, it could be country or pop. Whatever it is it's not too bad at all. This is another song simply called Broadway.

♫ Alison Krauss - Broadway


THE DRIFTERS put everything into perspective with one of their most famous songs, On Broadway.

The Drifters

The song had two of the best songwriting teams responsible for it – Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Well, that four created a large percentage of the songs from around that time.

To add to that there is also Phil Spector playing lead guitar (but not producing – that was Jerry and Mike's task). It could have been top heavy, but they all produced a great record.

♫ The Drifters - On Broadway


ELDER MUSIC: Every Picture Tells a Story

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

* * *

Here is a column of songs about pictures, mostly of the photographic kind but not exclusively. This was the idea of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, who probably just wanted to get JIM CROCE into another column.

Jim Croce

In his brief performing lifetime ,Jim came up with some of the most beautiful songs of his time. Other types of songs as well. The one that fits in today is Photographs and Memories.

♫ Jim Croce - Photographs & Memories


RAY PRICE was a country singer whose band was a breeding ground for serious talent – Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Buddy Emmons and Roger Miller are just some who started their careers with him.

Ray Price

Willie, especially, became a lifetime friend and Ray performed many of Willie's songs. This isn't one of them, Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold).

♫ Ray Price - Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold)


"You're going need some rock and roll," said the A.M., so here it is. I played this for her and she said, "I don't remember him taking so long to get to the point.” The point being the name of the song, and it took nearly five minutes before it got sung.

We had to have the song, though, as it supplies the title of the column: Every Picture Tells a Story, by ROD STEWART.

Rod Stewart

♫ Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story


I was pleased to see that MARTY ROBBINS had a contender for the column.

Marty Robbins

If Marty is a possibility, I'll usually include him. This was a song I wasn't familiar with when I first noticed it but I am now, due to repeated listening to it to see if it deserved a place. That's my excuse; I really just wanted to listen to Marty sing Only a Picture Stops Time.

♫ Marty Robbins - Only A Picture Stops Time


The next was another suggestion by the A.M. For a while we couldn't think what it was called or who performed it but with various search criteria we found it. It is JOE BROWN AND THE BRUVVERS, and their song is A Picture of You.

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers

I initially found the Kalin Twins performing the song and thought that was the one and stopped looking, but the A.M. assured me that there was another hit version from our younger days. So it proved, and here it is.

♫ Joe Brown & The Bruvvers - A Picture Of You


WILLIE NELSON recorded an album with Kimmie Rhodes called “Picture in a Frame.” They sang a song of that name on the album, not surprisingly.

Willie Nelson

It wasn't the first time Willie had recorded the song; it was also on an album of his called "It Always Will Be.” I've gone for that version rather than the one with Kimmie, as I didn't think the duet added anything to the original.

♫ Willie Nelson - Picture In A Frame


In concert once, JACKSON BROWNE introduced the song Fountain of Sorrow saying it was about an ex-girl friend. He'd taken some photos of her and some time later he pulled them out and wondered why they'd ever split up. Then he wrote the song.

We've all been there, except for the writing a great song part of it.

Jackson Browne

♫ Jackson Browne - Fountain of Sorrow


THE DILLARDS have always been an under-rated band.

The Dillards

They almost certainly created country rock years before all the others who are generally credited. Besides writing their own songs, they recorded some excellent covers, probably the best covers of Beatles' songs for a start.

There's some lovely harmony singing on this track, Pictures.

♫ The Dillards - Pictures


Before rock & roll hit us all, to my young brain there were only a few interesting singers. One of those was GUY MITCHELL.

Guy Mitchell

Of course, as I got older I came to appreciate all the others but back then it was a different matter. Guy's song is I've Got a Frame Without a Picture.

♫ Guy Mitchell - I've Got A Frame Without A Picture


The next was a mandatory inclusion. It's GUY CLARK with the song My Favorite Picture of You, the title song from a recent album.

Guy Clark

The "you" in this case is his wife Susanna who died not long before the album was recorded and he wrote the song, and named the album, as a dedication to her.

The story of the song is that Susanna had been away for a weekend and returned to find Guy and fellow singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt drunk (again).

She packed her bags and was going to leave. When she came out of the house, someone took that picture. She didn't leave, but things were a bit tense at the time.

♫ Guy Clark - My Favorite Picture of You


Here's an extra. I filled my quota but I decided this one had to be present so I've included it as a bonus. Don't say I never do anything extra for you.

I wanted it as I believe it's the highlight of today's column. Here's TINY TIM with the old classic, If I Had a Talking Picture Of You.

Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim - If I Had A Talking Picture Of You