353 posts categorized "Elder Music"

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

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

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

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

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

20. CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI - Vespers of the Blessed Virgin


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

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

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

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

♫ Monteverdi - Psalm 109 (Dixit Dominus)

19. ARCANGELO CORELLI - 12 Concerti Grossi, Op 6


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

♫ JS Bach - Christe eleison

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


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

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

♫ JS Bach - Jesu bleibet meine Freude

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


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

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

♫ JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No 3 (1)



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

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

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

Nuria Rial

♫ Pergolesi - Cujus animam gementem

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


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

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

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

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

13. ANTONIO VIVALDI - Gloria RV 589


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

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

Here is Gloria in excelsis Deo from the Gloria.

Vivaldi - Gloria in excelsis Deo

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ JS Bach - Goldberg Variations (Variation 1)

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


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

♫ JS Bach - Concerto for Two Violins (3)

The top 10 will appear next week.

ELDER MUSIC: The Voice is the Thing

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

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

Jennifer Warnes

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

Here's that song.

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

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

Jessye Norman

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

♫ Jessye Norman - Between Yesterday And Tomorrow

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

Tanita Tikaram

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

♫ Tanita Tikaram - This Story In Me

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

Audrey Morris

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

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

♫ Audrey Morris - Guess Who I Saw Today

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

Janiva Magness

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

♫ Janiva Magness - I Won't Cry

LINDA WRIGHT is a fine jazz singer from Louisiana.

Linda Wright

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

♫ Linda Wright - Satin Doll

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

Missy Andersen

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

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

♫ Missy Andersen - No Regrets

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

Bonnie Raitt

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

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

♫ Bonnie Raitt - Guilty

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

Sarah Jane Morris

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

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

♫ Sarah Jane Morris - Wild Flowers

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

Tami Neilson

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

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

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

♫ Tami Neilson - Cry Over You

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

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

♫ Tami Neilson - Whiskey and Kisses

ELDER MUSIC: Not Rhymin', Simon

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

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

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

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

Okay, sharpen up your ears and have a listen.

I'll start with TRACY CHAPMAN.

Tracy Chapman

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

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

♫ Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

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

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

This time it's JOHNNY HARTMAN.

Johnny Hartman

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

♫ Johnny Hartman - Moonlight In Vermont

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

Fleetwood Mac

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

♫ Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

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

The Melodians

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

♫ The Melodians - Rivers of Babylon

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

Camper Van Beethoven

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

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

♫ Camper Van Beethoven - Take The Skinheads Bowling

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

Sheryl Crow

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

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

♫ Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do

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


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

♫ R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

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

Percy Sledge

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

♫ Percy Sledge - When A Man Loves A Woman

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

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

Velvet Underground

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

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

♫ Velvet Underground - Stephanie Says

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

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

Simon and Garfunkel

♫ Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water

ELDER MUSIC: Answer Songs

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

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

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

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

Jim Reeves

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

♫ Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go

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

Jeanne Black

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

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

♫ Jeanne Black - He'll Have To Stay

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

Johnny Cash

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

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

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

Jerry Lee Lewis

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

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

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - Ballad Of Billy Joe

Even the great RAY CHARLES makes an appearance today.

Ray Charles

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

♫ Ray Charles - Hit The Road, Jack

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

Nina Simone

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

Nina's song is Come on Back, Jack.

♫ Nina Simone - Come On Back, Jack

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

Buddy Holly

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

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

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

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

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

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

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue Got Married

It comes as no surprise that ELVIS is included today.

Elvis Presley

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

♫ Elvis Presley - Little Sister

LAVERN BAKER is Elvis's answerer.

LaVern Baker

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

♫ LaVern Baker - Hey Memphis

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

Neil Sedaka

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

♫ Neil Sedaka - Oh! Carol

The Carol mentioned was CAROLE KING.

Carole King

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

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

♫ Carole King - Oh Neil


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

What happened in 1975?

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

By 1975 THE EAGLES were the hottest band around.

The Eagles

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

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

♫ The Eagles - Lyin' Eyes

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

Freddy Fender

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

♫ Freddy Fender - Before The Next Teardrop Falls

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

Emmylou Harris

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

♫ Emmylou Harris - Before Believing

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


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

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

♫ Skyhooks - All My Friends Are Getting Married

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

Michael Martin Murphey

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

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

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Wildfire

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

Joan Baez

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

♫ Joan Baez - Blue Sky

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

The Band

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

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

♫ The Band - Rags and Bones

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

Judy Collins

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

♫ Judy Collins - The Lovin' of the Game

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

Jesse Colin Young

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

♫ Jesse Colin Young - Josiane

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

Elvis Presley

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

♫ Elvis Presley - If You Talk In Your Sleep

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

We return to normal service next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs with Street Names

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


(That's Beaconsfield Parade – see below)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Doors

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

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

♫ The Doors - Love Street

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

Shearing and Wilson

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

♫ George Shearing and Nancy Wilson - On Green Dolphin Street

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

John Hammond

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

♫ John Hammond - Fannin Street

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

Cab Calloway

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

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

♫ Cab Calloway - Beale Street Mama

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

Chet Atkins

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

♫ Chet Atkins - Main Street Breakdown

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

Dave Van Ronk

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

Anyway, Dave's contribution today is Sunday Street.

♫ Dave Van Ronk - Sunday Street

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

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

Joni Mitchell

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

♫ Joni Mitchell - In France They Kiss On Main Street

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

JJ Cale

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

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

♫ J.J. Cale - Cherry Street

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

Nat King Cole Trio

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

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Vine Street Jump

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

Julie London

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

♫ Julie London - Easy Street


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

What happened in 1974?

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

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

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

Bob Marley

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

♫ Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry

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

Gordon Lightfoot

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

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

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

Maria Muldaur

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

♫ Maria Muldaur - Midnight at the Oasis

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

Terry Jacks

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

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

♫ Terry Jacks - Seasons In The Sun

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

Jesse Winchester

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

♫ Jesse Winchester - Mississippi You're on My Mind

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

Billy Joel

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

♫ Billy Joel - Piano Man

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

Tom Rush

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

♫ Tom Rush - Jenny Lynn

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

Jackson Browne

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

♫ Jackson Browne - For a Dancer

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

Ry Cooder

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

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

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

♫ Ry Cooder - Tattler

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

John Sebastian

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

♫ John Sebastian - Sportin' Life

1975 will appear in two weeks' time.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

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

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

So, happy birthday Ronni.

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


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

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

The Beatles

♫ The Beatles - Birthday

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

Bobby Charles

♫ Bobby Charles - Happy Birthday Fats Domino

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

Dutch Swing College

♫ Dutch Swing College - Birthday Blues

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

Pixies Three

♫ Pixies Three - Birthday Party

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

Thelonious Monk

♫ Thelonious Monk - Boo Boo's Birthday

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

John Hartford

♫ John Hartford - I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit

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

The Tune Weavers

♫ The Tune Weavers - Happy Happy Birthday Baby

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


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

ELDER MUSIC: St Louis Blues

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

It's time for another variation on a song.

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

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

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

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

Billy Eckstine

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

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

♫ Billy Eckstine - St Louis Blues

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

Doc Watson

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

♫ Doc Watson - St Louis Blues

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

Big Joe Turner

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

♫ Big Joe Turner - St Louis Blues

MARIA MULDAUR has a variation on the theme.

Maria Muldaur

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

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

♫ Maria Muldaur - The Ghost of the St Louis Blues

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

Chuck Berry

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

♫ Chuck Berry - St Louis Blues

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

Asleep At The Wheel

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

Merle Haggard

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

♫ Asleep at the Wheel - St Louis Blues

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

Les Paul and Mary Ford

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

♫ Les Paul & Mary Ford - St Louis Blues

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

Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan

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

♫ Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan - St Louis Blues

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

The Mills Brothers

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

♫ The Mills Brothers - St Louis Blues

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

W.C. Handy

♫ W C Handy and Orchestra - St Louis Blues


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

What happened in 1973?

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

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

Stevie Wonder

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

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

♫ Stevie Wonder - Living for the City

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

David Bowie

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

♫ David Bowie - Space Oddity

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

Dobie Gray

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

♫ Dobie Gray - Drift Away

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

Gladys Knight & the Pips

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

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

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

Van Morrison

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

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

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

♫ Van Morrison - Snow in San Anselmo

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

Jimmy Cliff

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

♫ Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers to Cross

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

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

Billy Paul

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

♫ Billy Paul - Me and Mrs Jones

This was some year for ELTON JOHN.

Elton John

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

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

♫ Elton John - Daniel

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

Ike & Tina Turner

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

♫ Ike and Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits

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

Jim Croce

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

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

♫ Jim Croce - Time In a Bottle

1974 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Jerusalem

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


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

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

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


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

♫ Odetta - O Jerusalem

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

Shawn Colvin

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

♫ Shawn Colvin - American Jerusalem

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ Gesualdo - Venit lumen tuum Jerusalem

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

Southern Jubilees

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

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

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

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

JS Bach

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

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

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

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

Don McLean

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

♫ Don McLean - Jerusalem

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

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

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

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

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

STEVE EARLE is multi-talented.

Steve Earle

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

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

♫ Steve Earle - Jerusalem

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

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

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

Lesley Garrett

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

♫ Lesley Garrett - Jerusalem

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

David Olney

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

♫ David Olney - Jerusalem Tomorrow


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

What happened in 1972?

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

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

Dr Hook

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

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

♫ Dr Hook - Sylvia's Mother

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

Albert Hammond

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

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

♫ Albert Hammond - It Never Rains in Southern California

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

Johnny Nash

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

♫ Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now

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

Rod Stewart

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

♫ Rod Stewart - You Wear It Well

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

The Temptations

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

♫ The Temptations - Papa Was a Rolling Stone

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

Don McLean

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

♫ Don McLean - Vincent

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

Billy Thorpe

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

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

♫ Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know

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

Gilbert O'Sullivan

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

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

♫ Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)

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

Ricky Nelson

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

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

♫ Ricky Nelson - Garden Party

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

Joe Tex

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

The song is I Gotcha.

♫ Joe Tex - I Gotcha

1973 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Franz Schubert

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


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

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

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

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

♫ String Quartet No. 1 (2)

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

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


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

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

♫ German Dance No 1 in C major


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

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

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


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

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

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

The second is No. 32 in C Major.

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


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

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

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

♫ Die Verschworenen (Overture), D. 787

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

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

Jessye Norman

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

♫ Jessye Norman - An die Natur, D.372

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

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

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

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

♫ Symphony No. 5 (1)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Marian Anderson

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

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

♫ Marian Anderson - Der Erlkonig


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

What happened in 1971?

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

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

Bill Withers

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

♫ Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine

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

Elton John

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

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

♫ Elton John - Your Song

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

Kevin Johnson

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

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

♫ Kevin Johnson - Bonnie Please Don't Go

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

Al Green

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

♫ Al Green - Tired Of Being Alone

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

Creedence Clearwater Revival

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

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

♫ Creedence Clearwater Revival - Have You Ever Seen The Rain

Now listen. Here is DADDY COOL.

Daddy Cool

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

♫ Daddy Cool - Eagle Rock

Speaking of cool, THE CARPENTERS were never cool.

The Carpenters

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

♫ The Carpenters - Rainy Days And Mondays

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

Rod Stewart

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

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

♫ Rod Stewart - Maggie May

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

Isaac Hayes

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

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

♫ Isaac Hayes - Shaft

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

The Doors

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

♫ The Doors - Riders on the Storm

Music from 1972 will appear in two weeks' time.

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

ELDER MUSIC: The Devil Made Me Do It

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


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

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

Waylon Jennings

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

♫ Waylon Jennings - Black Rose

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

Wade Ray

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

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

♫ Wade Ray - Let Me Go, Devil

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

Marty Robbins

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

♫ Marty Robbins - Devil Woman

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

Gerry Mulligan

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

Annie Ross

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

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

Kris Kristofferson

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

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

♫ Kris Kristofferson - The Silver Tongued Devil and I

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

Louvin Brothers

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

♫ Louvin Brothers - Satan Is Real

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

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

Miles Davis

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

♫ Miles Davis - Devil May Care

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

Flying Burrito Brothers

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

♫ Flying Burrito Brothers - Christine's Tune

Even THE BEATLES got into the act.

The Beatles

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

♫ The Beatles - Devil In Her Heart

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

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

Sensitive New AgeCowpersons

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

Their song is Doc Met the Devil.

♫ Sensitive New Age Cowpersons - Doc Met The Devil

ELDER MUSIC: 1970 Again

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

What happened in 1970?

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

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

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

Stephen Stills

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

♫ Stephen Stills - Love The One You're With

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

B.B. King

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

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

♫ B.B. King - The Thrill Is Gone

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

The Mixtures

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

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

♫ The Mixtures - Pushbike Song

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

Creedence Clearwater Revival

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

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

♫ Creedence Clearwater Revival - Who'll Stop the Rain

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

Brook Benton

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

♫ Brook Benton - Rainy Night in Georgia

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

Edwin Starr

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

♫ Edwin Starr - War

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

Joni Mitchell

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

♫ Joni Mitchell - Big Yellow Taxi

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

Freda Payne

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

♫ Freda Payne - Band Of Gold

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


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

♫ Santana - Black Magic Woman

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

Wilson Pickett

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

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

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

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

ELDER MUSIC: Sympathy for the Devil

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

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


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

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

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

Rolling Stones

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

Here is Sympathy for the Devil.

♫ Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil

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

Steve Earle

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

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

♫ Steve Earle - The Devil's Right Hand

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

Chet Baker

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

♫ Chet Baker - Old Devil Moon

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

Shorty Long

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

♫ Shorty Long - Devil with the Blue Dress

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


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

♫ Elvis Presley - Devil In Disguise

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

Grateful Dead

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

♫ Grateful Dead - Friend Of The Devil

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

Gene Vincent

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

♫ Gene Vincent - Race With The Devil

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


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

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

♫ Gun - Race with the Devil

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

Danny Kalb & Stefan Grossman

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

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

♫ Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman - Devil Round The Moon

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

p>Charlie Daniels

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

♫ Charlie Daniels - The Devil Went Down to Georgia

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

ELDER MUSIC: 1969 Again

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

What happened in 1969?

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

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

Joe Simon

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

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

♫ Joe Simon - The Chokin' Kind

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

Dusty Springfield

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

♫ Dusty Springfield - Son Of A Preacher Man

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

Peter Sarstedt

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

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

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

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

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

Peggy Lee

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

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

♫ Peggy Lee - Is That All There Is

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

Blood Sweat & Tears

BS&T went through several eras, as it were. The first was when the band was formed by Al Kooper who was the driving force behind it. There were ructions in the band and Al and some others were tossed out.

The second era had David Clayton-Thomas as lead singer. This was the most successful for the group and it is from this time that the songs we remember, including And When I Die, came. There was a third incarnation that we'll just skip over.

♫ Blood Sweat & Tears - And When I Die

The CANNED HEAT song Going up the Country pretty much epitomized the hippie ideal of going back to nature. Just an ideal, of course, I doubt if many really wanted to do that.

Canned Heat

The song was played over the credits of the film of the Woodstock festival. The Heat played there but weren't featured in the film. Usually, Bob Hite ("Big Bear") sang their songs, but on this it's their lead guitarist Al Wilson ("Blind Owl") who did the honors.  He wrote the song, very much influenced by an early blues tune called Bull Doze Blues.

♫ Canned Heat - Going Up the Country

JERRY BUTLER first came to notice as singer for The Impressions (along with Curtis Mayfield).

Jerry Butler

Only the Strong Survive was Jerry's most successful record. However, he had some earlier, terrific songs I prefer – He Will Break Your Heart and I've Been Loving You Too Long which he wrote with Otis Redding who turned it into one of the records of the sixties especially.

However, this one isn't too bad at all.

♫ Jerry Butler - Only The Strong Survive

DESMOND DEKKER's song Israelites was the first time that reggae impinged on my ears.

Desmond Dekker

I don't think the music was called reggae at that time but that's certainly what it was. Desmond said that the song came to him while he was sitting in a park one day. Fortunately, he still remembered it when he got home so he could write it down and sing it into his tape recorder.

♫ Desmond Dekker - Israelites

Someday We'll Be Together was the last hit for THE SUPREMES with Diana Ross singing.

The Supremes

Diana had trouble initially getting the song right. The songwriter, Johnny Bristol, sang along with her, ad-libbing all the time, as encouragement. Berry Gordy liked it so much he kept Johnny's comments in the finished record.

♫ The Supremes - Someday We'll Be Together

I'll end with probably the ultimate hippie anthem. It's THE YOUNGBLOODS with Get Together.

The Youngbloods

I saw the group at the Family Dog in 1970 at what they announced was their final ever live performance. It turned out not to be so, thus I lost my bragging rights. Oh well, they were pretty good as was Jesse Colin Young, the lead singer, who did a solo set as well.

When they did eventually split, he put out a terrific first (or third or fourth, depending on how you count them) album ("Song for Juli") and several ordinary ones.

♫ The Youngbloods - Get Together

You can find more music from 1969 here. 1970 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: The Impressions, Etc.

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

The Impressions were usually thought of as a trio but at times the number in the group has gone as high as five or more. The trio version consisted of Curtis Mayfield, Sam Gooden and Fred Cash.

The group started out when old friends Curtis and Jerry Butler formed a DooWop group called The Roosters with Sam and Richard Brooks and his brother Arthur. When they got a record deal they changed their name to Jerry Butler and the Impressions thus, to my mind, signaling that Jerry wasn't really in it for the long haul.

And so it proved although, to be fair, the name was the record company's idea.

While still with the group, Jerry sang lead on Your Precious Love, a song he wrote. As mentioned, it was released under the name JERRY BUTLER & THE IMPRESSIONS in 1958.

Jerry Butler & TheImpressions

Some have suggested that this was the first soul record. Not too far off the mark.

Jerry Butler & the Impressions - ♫ For Your Precious Love

When Jerry left to become a solo artist, Curtis toured with him as guitarist and songwriter. He (Curtis) was lured back to The Impressions where he took over the reins as lead singer. He was also the guitarist, main songwriter and arranger as well.

He had a distinctive high tenor voice that complemented the deeper voices of Sam and Fred. Here they are, just as THE IMPRESSIONS with I'm the One Who Loves You.


♫ Impressions - I'm the One Who Loves You

Okay, if you're even vaguely familiar with The Impressions, here's the song you've been waiting for.


Their best known, and their best song by far, and one of the classic songs of our era, People Get Ready. Curtis sang lead and played guitar with Fred and Sam contributing beautifully to the mix. Even this grumpy old non-believer is inspired by this song.

♫ Impressions - People Get Ready

One of JERRY BUTLER's early hits as a solo performer was He Will Break Your Heart.

Jerry Butler

Jerry wrote the song with Curtis and Calvin Carter, and Curtis sang harmony  The song has been covered a number of times but no version is a patch on the original.

♫ Jerry Butler - He Will Break Your Heart

I've Been Loving You Too Long was written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler.

Jerry Butler

Otis had the first version and (unarguably) the best. Jerry recorded it as well and his version is nearly, almost, just about as good as Otis's and coming from me, that's a huge call.

♫ Jerry Butler - I've Been Loving You Too Long

The famed songwriting team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff along with Jerry Butler wrote the song, Hey, Western Union Man.

Jerry Butler

This is a song that's been covered by a number of people and is one of the standard songs in any aspiring soul band's repertoire. Jerry does it best though.

♫ Jerry Butler - Hey, Western Union Man

Just after leaving The Impressions, CURTIS MAYFIELD recorded the album “Superfly,” a soundtrack for the film of that name.

Curtis Mayfield

It was very successful and extremely influential. It also prompted Curtis to create several more soundtrack albums. None was as good or as influential as the first one. Here is Superfly from the album and film of the same name.

♫ Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

We're A Winner was one of a succession of singles Curtis Mayfield wrote for The Impressions.

Curtis Mayfield

Here he performs that song.

♫ Curtis Mayfield - We're A Winner

In 1990, Curtis was paralyzed from the neck down when stage lights fell on him at a concert where he was performing. From then on he was unable to play guitar but he could still write songs. He could sing too, with some difficulty, and even recorded an album.

He eventually had to have his leg amputated and died in 1999 of various complications brought on by the accident.

A couple more songs with the Curtis, Sam and Fred version of The Impressions. First is I Need Your Love.


♫ Impressions - I Need Your Love

Next, The Impressions with Love's A Comin'.


♫ Impressions - Love's A Comin'

ELDER MUSIC: 1968 Again

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

What happened in 1968?

  • Kylie Minogue was born
  • 60 Minutes made its debut
  • Olympic Games held in Mexico
  • Led Zeppelin performed for the first time
  • Revolution was in the air. It mostly didn't happen
  • Bullitt was released
  • Carlton were premiers

I'll start with Ellen Cohen, or as she was better known, Cass Elliott, or even better still known, MAMA CASS.

Mama Cass

The song Dream a Little Dream of Me came from the early thirties and was first recorded by Ozzie Nelson, father of Ricky. Cass recorded it for a Mamas and Papas album but the group pretty much had ceased to be by then and the record company released under her name alone.

♫ Mama Cass - Dream a Little Dream of Me

THE DOORS' third album, "Waiting for the Sun," is often dismissed as not being worthy of the group.

The Doors

I think it holds up pretty well, far better than "Strange Days" that the critics seem to love. I think the problem was that they produced music that people wanted to hear. Goodness me, we can't have that sort of thing.

From that album comes the song, Hello, I Love You.

♫ The Doors - Hello, I Love You

PERCY SLEDGE hit the big time when he recorded When a Man Loves a Woman, one of the best songs of the sixties.

Percy Sledge

That was a couple of years earlier and he was still on a roll this year with Take Time to Know Her.

♫ Percy Sledge - Take Time to Know Her

Not all the music from this year was destined to become classics. That could be said about every year, I suppose, and one from 1968 that has mostly been forgotten except by idiots like me was recorded by LEAPY LEE.

Leapy Lee

The Leapster was born Graham Pulleybank but later changed his name to Lee Graham. After his brush with fame with the song, Little Arrows, he went to Spain to live.

♫ Leapy Lee - Little Arrows

CLARENCE CARTER was from Alabama and he attended the school for the blind there. He later earned a degree in music.

Clarence Carter

He began his professional career with Calvin Scott as the duo Clarence and Calvin until Calvin was seriously injured in a car accident. They had already recorded a couple of songs and Clarence carried on alone. One of his fine singles is Slip Away.

♫ Clarence Carter - Slip Away

MANFRED MANN was the first group to record Bob Dylan's Mighty Quinn, even before Bob did. The song is also called Quinn the Eskimo. It's a matter of take your pick.

Manfred Mann

This is Mike d'Abo singing. He took over from Paul Jones who was their original singer (and a really good one too).

♫ Manfred Mann - Mighty Quinn

JUDY COLLINS and Tom Rush were the first people to record Joni Mitchell's songs.

Judy Collins

The song Both Sides Now came from Judy's "Wildflowers" album, the first of hers where she broke out of the folksinger category to which she'd hitherto been assigned.

♫ Judy Collins - Both Sides Now

Here is Sylvester Stewart with other members of his family and some others as well, collectively known as SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE.

Sly & the Family Stone

The song Dance to the Music was written by Sly and it was the group's first chart success. In spite of that, none of the group liked the song, calling it "glorified Motown.”

♫ Sly And The Family Stone - Dance To The Music

I don't think I've heard this track since 1968. My memory really let me down – I don't remember all that brass and other instruments on it. Just goes to show.

MASON WILLIAMS wrote this tune to keep up his sleeve in case he ever needed a filler in concert or elsewhere.

Mason Williams

Classical Gas was first featured on "The Smothers Brothers Show," where Mason was the head writer. Mason wanted a simple arrangement but the record producer insisted on the full orchestra. He should have listened to Mason.

♫ Mason Williams - Classical Gas

1968 was the year that THE BAND came out from the shadow of Bob Dylan and recorded an album that turned rock music on its head. That album was "Music From Big Pink.”

The Band

After hearing it, Eric Clapton disbanded Cream and flew to America to see if he could join the group. Although they didn't say it to him, they already had a better guitarist. One of the songs from the album and one of the finest in rock history is The Weight.

♫ The Band - The Weight

You can find more music from 1968 here. 1969 will appear in two weeks' time.