347 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: 1961 Again

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

What happened in 1961?

  • Boy George (George O'Dowd) was born
  • Parkes radio telescope opened for business
  • Amnesty International created
  • Four Corners first screened
  • The Beatles performed at the Cavern Club for the first time
  • Ken was introduced to Barbie
  • The Hustler was released
  • Hawthorn were premiers (beating Footscray, dammit)

ROY ORBISON wrote Crying about an old flame he saw one day soon after they broke up.

Roy Orbison

He said he was too stubborn to go up to her and try to patch things up so he wrote the song instead. The rest of the world is glad he did.

♫ Roy Orbison - Crying

I first heard Hello Walls sung by FARON YOUNG rather than Willie Nelson, who wrote the song.

Faron Young

Indeed, I liked it so much I bought a 45 of it. Willie hadn't actually recorded the song at this stage, the first time he did that was the following year.

♫ Faron Young - Hello Walls

Besides Roy, CARLA THOMAS wrote a song about someone on whom she had a crush.

Carla Thomas

That song is Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes).

It seems that for the recording of the song, the arranger hadn't turned up. He eventually arrived late and by then the backing musicians were being paid overtime. Carla nailed the song on the first take much to the relief of the record company execs. It hit the charts the first day she started university.

She became the first woman to have a top 10 hit with a song she wrote herself.

♫ Carla Thomas - Gee Whiz (Look at His Eyes)

DEL SHANNON and his keyboard player Max Crook came up with the song Runaway when they were performing at a club. Max played some unusual chord changes and Del asked him to repeat them. They kept improvising with this until the club owner told them to play something else.

Del Shannon

Del wrote words to the riff that night and they had a hit on their hands. That unusual sound is made by a Musitron, a keyboard instrument Max developed himself.

♫ Del Shannon - Runaway

Wow, what a voice TIMI YURO had.

Timi Yuro

Originally from Chicago, the Yuro family moved to Los Angeles where young Timi used to sing in the family's Italian restaurant (and in local nightclubs much against her folks' wishes).

She caught the ear (and eye, no doubt) of a talent scout who signed her up. She recorded Hurt, a song that Roy Hamilton had recorded previously and it did well on the charts. Here it is.

♫ Timi Yuro - Hurt

The EVERLY BROTHERS continued bringing out terrific songs.

Everly Brothers

This was an interesting record, it had Ebony Eyes on the flip side. The A side though was Walk Right Back. I know that as I bought this 45 too (or received it as a birthday present, or something).

♫ Everly Brothers - Walk Right Back

PATSY CLINE crossed over from the country charts to the pop realm now and then.

Patsy Cline

Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard wrote the song I Fall to Pieces and tried to get someone to record it. Many artists passed on it for various reasons.

Patsy overheard one of them turning it down and was impressed with it and said that she'd record it. Aren't we all glad she did?

♫ Patsy Cline - I Fall to Pieces

This year is chockablock with great voices and here's another one, PAT BOONE.

Pat Boone

Moody River wasn't your standard Pat song. After all, it's all about the protagonist who goes to meet his true love only to discover that she's killed herself. Goodness me, Pat, what were you thinking?

♫ Pat Boone - Moody River

And still the great singers keep on coming. Here's ELVIS with His Latest Flame.

Elvis Presley

The song was written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman and originally recorded by Del Shannon, but Elvis did it better (that should go without saying, really).

♫ Elvis Presley - His Latest Flame

DICK AND DEE DEE were Richard Gosling and Mary Sperling, but they changed their names to reflect the stage name.

Dick & DeeDee

They first met when they were at school together. Then, as fate would have it, they went off to different schools and lost touch.

Later, they happened to run into each other and discovered they both liked writing songs. Singing them too. They eventually got a recording contract and released The Mountain's High as the B side of their first release.

A disk jockey accidently played the wrong side and was flooded with calls. They realized they were on to something here.

♫ Dick & Dee Dee - The Mountains High

You can find more music from 1961 here. 1962 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: States – New Mexico to South Carolina

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

Continuing our musical sojourn through the States, we're just finishing off the "new" states and venturing on, north and south.

NewMexicoFlagI have to say that New Mexico has the best looking state flag – none of the others comes close.

For that state's song I turn to HANK WILLIAMS JNR.

Hank Williams Jr

It seems from the song that Hank got lucky in Clovis, New Mexico.

♫ Hank Williams Jnr - Clovis, New Mexico

NewYorFlag]There must be hundreds of songs about New York but they're all about the city. I don't think there are any about the state as such. However, as they share the same name that's good enough for me.

Now, to select one of those. I've chosen, not quite at random, JENNIFER WARNES.

Jennifer Warnes

The song, Big Noise, New York, was written by Marcelle Clements and Donald Fagen and it certainly sounds like a Steely Dan tune. That sort of thing is okay in small doses.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Big Noise, New York

NorthCarolinaFlagI couldn't say it better than they do on their website:

"THE BLIND CORN LIQUOR PICKERS, like the moonlight-brewed intoxicant for which they are named, play a variety of bluegrass whose origins are difficult to ascertain.

“As corn liquor flows through an old car radiator, old-time traditions mix with modern methods in ways that can be unsettling, inspiring, euphoric or blindness-inducing.

“It's bluegrass that burns going down, warms your gut, and then hits your head like a thunderbolt of white lightning."

Blind Corn Liquor Pickers

The song they perform is called North Carolina. This was the only tune in my collection with that state's name in the title, so it got the nod.

♫ Blind Corn Liquor Pickers - North Carolina

NorthDakotaFlagLYLE LOVETT is a Texas man. He mentions that state in this next song.

Lyle Lovett

Fortunately for me he writes and sings about other places as well. Indeed, his was the only song I found that mentions North Dakota. That also is the name of the song.

♫ Lyle Lovett - North Dakota

OhioFlagOhio has an old song. This one gets the bronze medal in the oldest song category.

We don't have an old singer though – well, not one from that period but she is nearly one of us. Here is KIM RICHEY.

Kim Richey

This is taken from an album called "The Beautiful Old Turn-of-the-Century Songs" where current artists interpret songs from back then. It really is a nice album.

Kim's song is Beautiful Ohio.

♫ Kim Richey - Beautiful Ohio

OklahomaFlagOklahoma songs seem to attract folk-styled singers and I've gone for one as well, TOM PAXTON.

Tom Paxton

Tom is noted for his topical songs but he wrote in many different genres. I don't know how you'd categorise this one, My Oklahoma Lullaby. Probably just an observational song.

♫ Tom Paxton - My Oklahoma Lullaby

OregonFlagSHAWN MULLINS developed an interest in performing music while still at school.

That's probably not unusual for successful performers (and a bunch of unsuccessful ones as well).

Shawn Mullins

He continued this while at college but his plans were interrupted by a stint in the military (as they paid for his tuition). After that he returned to music and has released a bunch of albums.

From his biggest selling album, “Soul's Core,” we have Twin Rocks, Oregon. It may be the only song ever to mention the writer Richard Brautigan.

♫ Shawn Mullins - Twin Rocks, Oregon

PennsylvaniaFlagI think this is the first song I thought of when I decided to do this series.

It's one from my childhood and was a favorite of my sister at the time and she went around singing (an approximation of) it all the time one year. The performer (besides her) is GUY MITCHELL.

Guy Mitchell

As we're up to Pennsylvania, most of us know I'm talking about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

RhodeIslandFlagHere is another solitary song about a state from my collection and I have IKE AND TINA TURNER to thank for it.

Ike & Tina Turner

The song really is about a chook but the state is mentioned in the title so that's good enough for me. That song is Sweet Rhode Island Red.

♫ Ike & Tina Turner - Sweet Rhode Island Red

SouthCarolinaFlagKATE WOLF has our song about South Carolina.

Kate Wolf

Okay, the song is just about Carolina – there are no songs that specifically mention South Carolina. However, the official song of the state is just called Carolina, so if it's good enough for them it's good enough for me.

There are many songs that reference Carolina but Kate's was really mellow and I think that's what was needed after Tina. Her song is Carolina Pines.

♫ Kate Wolf - Carolina Pines

More states in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: 1960 Again

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

What happened in 1960?

  • Michael Hutchence was born
  • U2 spy plane shot down over Russia. America denied the obvious
  • Elvis discharged from the army
  • Rome staged the Olympics Games
  • The Beatles played in Hamburg for the first time
  • Psycho was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

THE DRIFTERS have been through many members over the years – more than 60 of them.

The Drifters

They've also had two lead vocalists who are as good as anyone around. The first of these was Clyde McPhatter who started the group after leaving Billy Ward and his Dominoes.

Clyde was drafted into the army and he sold his share in the group (much to his later regret). The manager couldn't find a good replacement so he fired the lot of them. He then grabbed a group called the Crowns and renamed them The Drifters.

They had Ben E. King as lead singer and it was this version of the group that made most of the great records we remember. Ben was only there for a short time – he didn't ever tour with them - but fortunately, he made a bunch of records. This is one of them, Save the Last Dance for Me.

♫ The Drifters - Save the Last Dance for Me

Billy Davis with brother and sister Berry and Gwen Gordy wrote quite a few songs around this time. Berry also started Motown records. One of the songs the trio wrote was All I Could Do Was Cry for ETTA JAMES.

Etta James

Etta's former boyfriend married Gwen and that added an extra frisson to her performance on this record. Later, in the nineties, Etta rerecorded the song.

♫ Etta James - All I Could Do Was Cry

FLOYD CRAMER was a session pianist in Nashville and backed pretty much everyone who recorded there.

Floyd Cramer

He had a distinctive style and whenever he's on a record, it's easy to pick that that's him.

Besides his session work, he made a series of records about this time. One of them, and the best selling of the lot, was Last Date. It later had words added to the tune and several people, including Emmylou Harris, recorded it.

♫ Floyd Cramer - Last Date

JOHNNY BURNETTE's early recordings with his trio produced some of the best early rock & roll and rockabilly records around.

Johnny Burnette

Later, Johnny became a crooner and left his wild days behind him. He was really good at that too. Unfortunately, he died too early in a boating accident. This is You're Sixteen.

♫ Johnny Burnette - You're Sixteen

By 1960 ÉDITH PIAF was starting to have hits in the English speaking world as well as her native France.

Edith Piaf

Milord was the biggest of these and it sold well world-wide. Not just Édith's version; pretty much every country had a singer who covered it in their local language. None was as good as the original though.

♫ Edith Piaf - Milord

JERRY BUTLER first came to general notice as a member, and lead singer, for The Impressions. Curtis Mayfield was another member of the group. There will be a later column on them.

Jerry Butler

Jerry went out as a solo artist and songwriter – he wrote some songs with Otis Redding. Incidentally, after Audrey's in the film of the same name, Jerry's was the first and arguably (I'll certainly argue) the best version of Moon River.

He wrote, along with Curtis, the beautiful He Will Break Your Heart.

♫ Jerry Butler - He Will Break Your Heart

BRENDA LEE started performing early, really early. She was already winning talent contests when she was just six.

Brenda Lee

When her father died when she was nine or 10, she was already the primary breadwinner for the family through these contests and also appearing on TV and radio.

By the time she was 12, she already had a record contract and was appearing around the country so Sweet Nothin's is far from her first recording (she was 16 by now).

♫ Brenda Lee - Sweet Nothin's

JOHNNY HORTON made a career singing about historical events (and some pseudo-historical ones as well).

Johnny Horton

North to Alaska fits both categories. There really was an Alaskan gold rush at the end of the nineteenth century, but the song was the theme for the film of the same name. Johnny or, more correctly, he and Tillman Franks as they co-wrote the song, got the geography somewhat askew in the lyrics, but we won't worry unduly about that.

♫ Johnny Horton - North To Alaska

Although CHARLIE RICH started out playing jazz and blues he's mostly remembered as being a country musician.

Charlie Rich

He was also a session musician for a record company owned by Judd Phillips, brother of Sam of Sun Records fame. He recorded a number of tracks that Judd got to Sam who rejected them as being too jazzy.

So he recorded Lonely Weekends, obviously after studying the way Elvis sang. It hit the charts and he was on the way as a country muso.

♫ Charlie Rich - Lonely Weekends

Maurice Williams wrote the song Stay when he was 15 years old. He was trying to stop his girlfriend from going home (unsuccessfully as it turned out, but he got a song out of the experience).

Later when he formed the group MAURICE WILLIAMS AND THE ZODIACS they recorded a demo of the song.

Maurice Williams & Zodiacs

This was hawked around to various record companies and no one wanted anything to do with it until one day the 10-year-old son of one of the record people heard it and loved it.

His father took notice of that and recorded the song. It became a DooWop classic.

♫ Maurice Williams - Stay

You can find more music from 1960 here. 1961 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: U.S. States – Hawaii to Maryland

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

Continuing with songs about the occasionally united states in alphabetical order.

Hawaii125We're starting today with the newest state of them all, and having an Australian to sing about it – GLENN CARDIER.

Glenn Cardier

The song is taken from his terrific album "Rattle the Cage" and is called Hawaiian Sands.

♫ Glenn Cardier - Hawaiian Sands

IdahoFlagThere were only a couple of Idaho tracks in my database. In the end I opted for COUNT BASIE.

Count Basie

This is an instrumental so you'll just have to take my word for the fact that it's called Idaho.

♫ Count Basie - Idaho

IllinoisFlagI'm not all that familiar with the BODEANS.


In fact, I have only a single track of theirs in my entire collection. Fortunately, that track is called Locked up in the State of Illinois. It sure sounds as if they listened closely to Buddy Holly.

♫ BoDeans - Locked up in the State of Illinois

IndianaFlagDUKE ROBILLARD can play blues with the best of them. He can also play jazz with the best of those as well.

Duke Robillard

In this case he's more into jazz mode with the old song (Back Home Again) In Indiana. This song was written in 1917 and was just pipped at the post by Maryland as the oldest song in the series.

Ballard MacDonald had a hand in writing both songs, this time with the help of James Hanley.

♫ Duke Robillard - Back Home Again, In Indiana

IowaFlagGREG BROWN was born and bred in Iowa so he knows what he's singing about.

Greg Brown

Greg seems to fly under the radar somewhat, but he's an excellent songwriter and performer and worth seeking out. In spite of the low profile, he's made a couple of dozen albums over the years.

The song, The Iowa Waltz came from an early album called “Iowa Waltz.”

♫ Greg Brown - The Iowa Waltz

KansasFlagPretty much all the Kansas songs refer to Kansas City so I'm stretching the point and going with one of those.

There are a lot of them, but when I spotted LITTLE RICHARD I decided that was the one.

Little Richard

It was one of the vast number of songs written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Little Willie Littlefield had the original version and the biggest hit was by Wilbert Harrison. I'm very partial to Little Richard so we're going with him.

♫ Little Richard - Kansas City

KentuckyFlagKentucky brought up quite a few songs, mostly in a country mode or early rock and roll. I've gone for the former with MERLE HAGGARD.

Merle Haggard

There's nothing about blue moons, rain or waltzes in this song. It's all about gambling, not something usually associated with the state. Never mind. The song is Kentucky Gambler.

♫ Merle Haggard - Kentucky Gambler

LouisianaFlagLouisiana is a state with a myriad of riches in every genre of music possible.

I decided to continue the country theme and have RODNEY CROWELL perform the state's song.

Rodney Crowell

It's a song Rodney wrote and has been covered really well by Emmylou Harris amongst others.

Rodney is a songwriter with few equals and is a fine performer as well. His song is Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.

♫ Rodney Crowell - Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight

MaineFlagWith Maine, I have a first today. This is the first time I've had LEON RUSSELL in any of my columns.

Leon Russell

I saw Leon at the Fillmore back in 1970 and was very impressed. I expected him to be a superstar. It didn't eventuate (so much for my judgment), but he is an excellent musician and that probably matters more.

Today, Leon is travelling From Maine to Mexico.

♫ Leon Russell - From Maine To Mexico

MarylandFlagMaryland has probably the oldest song in our collection. This isn't the oldest version though, it's by STEVE GOODMAN.


The song, There's a Girl in the Heart of Maryland. was written by Ballard MacDonald and Harry Carroll. It first made the charts in 1913 with a version by Andrea Sarto who was also known as Edgar Stoddard. It was also a hit for Harry Macdonough not long after.

♫ Steve Goodman - There's A Girl In The Heart Of Maryland

More states in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: 1959 Again

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

What happened in 1959?

  • Renée Fleming was born
  • Barbie doll was launched
  • The Twilight Zone made its premiere
  • Hawaii became the 50th state of the U.S.
  • Bonanza premiered
  • The Morris Mini-Minor was released
  • Rio Bravo was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

RICKY NELSON had several hits this year.

Ricky Nelson

He also appeared in a couple of films, most notably Rio Bravo, a film I like a lot. The song I've selected is Never Be Anyone Else But You.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Never Be Anyone Else But You

I'm sure that readers of this column know and love Nat King Cole's Mona Lisa. CONWAY TWITTY recorded a version of the song this year as well.

Conway Twitty

Conway intended it only for an album he was recording, however, it managed to escape and become a big hit. Those who like Nat's version but are unfamiliar with Conway's had better prepare themselves.

♫ Conway Twitty - Mona Lisa

TONI FISHER had a couple of hits around this time.

Toni Fisher

This is a rather odd one. It seems that phase shifting was deliberate. At least, that's what they told us at the time. I think someone stuffed up the recording and they decided to release it as it was and spin that tale.

The song is The Big Hurt.

♫ Toni Fisher - The Big Hurt

NEIL SEDAKA's first hit was a paean to Carole King back when they went to school together and she was named Carol Klein.

Neil Sedaka

I think you'll have guessed the song I'm talking about, Oh! Carol. He put a talky bit in the middle because it worked for The Diamonds with Little Darlin', so he figured it would work for him. Seems he was right.

♫ Neil Sedaka - Oh! Carol

There's always room for The King. Here's ELVIS with A Fool Such As I.

Elvis Presley

This was originally performed by Hank Snow in 1952. A bit later Jo Stafford and Tommy Edwards both had a go at it. No one remembers those versions.

♫ Elvis Presley - A Fool Such As I

Heavens, I haven't had the EVERLY BROTHERS yet. That's remiss of me.

The Everly Brothers

I will rectify that instantly with Take a Message to Mary. The song was written by Boudleaux and Felice Bryant who wrote many of the Everly's early hits.

♫ The Everly Brothers - Take a Message to Mary

LLOYD PRICE had several big hits around this time. They were all pretty good and worth a listen.

Lloyd Price

This was the one that sold the most of all his records and gave him the nickname Mr Personality. The song is Personality.

♫ Lloyd Price - Personality

Okay, here's the odd one out for the year. This is DODIE STEVENS.

Dodie Stevens

Those who recognise the name are probably slapping their foreheads because they know what's coming. For the rest of you, sit back and relax to Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces, a song Dodie didn't particularly like but the record company insisted on her recording it. It was a huge hit.

♫ Dodie Stevens - Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces

Here is a song we've had before but that time it was sung in French. Today there's an English version by THE BROWNS.

The Browns

The Browns were sisters Bonnie and Maxine and their brother Jim Ed. Their most famous song was The Three Bells.

♫ The Browns - The Three Bells

JOHNNY O'KEEFE closes the year.

Johnny O'Keefe

There were many visiting performers (to Australia) around this time who wished he'd close the show whenever they were on rather than their having to follow him. Indeed, there were some who made return visits who stipulated in their contracts that Johnny was not to be on the bill with them.

This is because he was one of the greatest rock and roll performers the world had seen. His act was so full on that no one could compete, especially when he performed a cover of the Isley Brothers' song, Shout.

The record is a pale imitation of what happened on stage.

♫ Johnny O'Keefe - Shout (Pt. 1 & 2)

You can find more music from 1959 here. 1960 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: U.S. States, Alabama to Georgia

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 doing songs about the states from my home country but as there are only six of them, that wouldn't make much of a column.Then I wondered if there was a country than had more and besides, had a bunch of songs written about them as well.

After much searching (okay, you know I'm flapping my tongue here, or my fingers to be exact), I came up with the various states of the United States (perhaps the name of the country might have given me a clue).

There sure are enough of them, and enough songs too, although a few were rather difficult and half a dozen others had an embarrassment of riches. I mostly tried to avoid the obvious tunes.

So, in alphabetical order, here they are.

Alabama125I'm always happy to include TOM RUSH and when I found he had an Alabama song - well, look no further.

Tom Rush

There was quite a selection of songs for the state but my prejudice in favor of Tom swayed my judgment. His song is Alabama Bound, one of his early ones from his days as a young folkie.

♫ Tom Rush - Alabama Bound

Alaska125North to Alaska was the obvious choice for a song about that state so naturally I'm not using it.

Instead I give you MARIAN CALL, one of the most interesting young singer/songwriters going around at the moment.

Marian Call

She sings about trying to fit in her adopted state with the song I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl.

♫ Marian Call - I Wish I Were a Real Alaskan Girl

MARK LINDSAY came to prominence as the singer and sax player for the rock group Paul Revere and the Raiders.

Mark Lindsay

That group had a revolving cast of band members with only Paul and Mark as constant fixtures.

Arizona125In parallel with that group, Mark had a bit of a solo career as well. One of the hits from that time is called Arizona.

It's really a song about a woman not the state, but that's close enough for this column.

♫ Mark Lindsay - Arizona

ArkansasTONY JOE WHITE had a couple of songs about Arkansas.

Tony Joe White

That wasn't because he was from there – he's Louisiana born and bred. I guess he just liked the sound of the name.

The chosen track is Up in Arkansas which he plays and sings in his trademark style.

♫ Tony Joe White - Up In Arkansas

CaliforniaCalifornia was the easiest state from my point of view, or perhaps it was the hardest.

That's because there are so many songs about it. Once I spotted JOHN STEWART in my search results I didn't bother looking any further.

John Stewart

Whenever I visit San Francisco, which is not often enough as far as I'm concerned, I feel quite at home. So, like John, I think I have California Bloodlines in my heart.

♫ John Stewart - California Bloodlines

Colorado125I knew without searching that RUSTY WIER was going to be the man for Colorado.

Rusty Wier

His song is one that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I think is particularly amusing. We've made jokes along the lines of the song for decades now. It's called The Coast of Colorado.

♫ Rusty Wier - The Coast Of Colorado

Connecticut125Connecticut gets a couple of old stagers singing together. They are JUDY GARLAND and BING CROSBY.

Judy Garland & Bing Crosby

They need no introduction from me. The song is just called Connecticut.

♫ Judy Garland & Bing Crosby - Connecticut

Delaware125Poor old Delaware, they have the most groan-worthy song of all.

And with that introduction, people with long musical memories will know about what I speak, particularly when I mention PERRY COMO.

Perry Como

Actually, I could have used Delaware's song for half the other states. You'll understand when you play it, you who don't know the song (and I can't imagine there'd be many of you). The song is just called Delaware.

♫ Perry Como - Delaware

FloridaThe first person I thought of when it came to Florida is Jimmy Buffett who has written a bunch of songs about the state.

I decided against including Jimmy and instead went for someone who has probably written even more. That person is BERTIE HIGGINS.

Bertie Higgins

Bertie had a hit with the song Key Largo which was about the film as well as the place. The one today is simply called Florida. It has a big dramatic, over the top beginning. Just ignore that bit.

♫ Bertie Higgins - Florida

Georgia125Georgia was a tough decision because there are so many great songs about the state.

If I haven't chosen your favorite, and that's quite on the cards, that's the reason.

In the end I settled on LEVON HELM to perform that state's tune.

Levon Helms

Levon was the drummer and one of the singers for The Band. That's really all that needs to be said. His song is Watermelon Time in Georgia.

♫ Levon Helm - Watermelon Time in Georgia

More states in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: 1958 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 1958?

  • Mary Chapin Carpenter was born.
  • Bobby Fischer won the U.S. chess championship at 14
  • Alaska became the 49th state of the U.S.l
  • Johnny O'Keefe had his first hit (Wild One)
  • The Quarrymen recorded their first song
  • The first Cod War began between Britain and Iceland
  • "Vertigo" was released
  • Collingwood were premiers

That Old Black Magic was first recorded by Glenn Miller in 1942. Versions by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr, Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald and many others quickly followed.

Marilyn Monroe sang it in the film Bus Stop. The first time the song really impinged on my brain was when LOUIS PRIMA AND KEELY SMITH had a hit with it this year.

Louis Prima & Keely Smith

This is still my favorite version, maybe because of that.

♫ Louis Prima & Keely Smith - That Old Black Magic

PAT BOONE has a really wonderful singing voice and I'm happy to include him in these columns when he's not doing those dreadful covers of Little Richard, Fats Domino and other great R&B Music.

Pat Boone

Here he gets a bit too religious for my taste but if you don't listen to the words, it's pretty good and Pat sings it really well. A Wonderful Time Up There.

♫ Pat Boone - A Wonderful Time Up There

Before BOBBY DARIN became a lounge singer (and a jazz singer and a folk singer and a country singer) he was a rock and roll singer.

Bobby Darin

Bobby wrote the song Splish Splash when disk jockey Murray the K bet him he couldn't write a song that began with the words "Splish Splash, I was takin' a bath.”

He not only could, he got it to the top of the charts.

♫ Bobby Darin - Splish Splash

Now for one of the most gorgeous songs of the decade, sung by TOMMY EDWARDS.

Tommy Edwards

This year wasn't the first time that Tommy had recorded It's All In the Game. He already had a minor hit in 1951 with a different (and inferior version) of the song.

The words of the song were written by Carl Sigman and the tune is by Charles Dawes, a bank president and amateur piano and flute player. Later he was also vice president of the U.S. (Calvin Coolidge was the big cheese).

♫ Tommy Edwards - It's All In The Game

JOHNNY CASH puts in an appearance with Guess Things Happen That Way.

Johnny Cash

I could do without all the background singing, a choir plus a DooWop group by the sound of it. Nothing can detract from Johnny's singing though.

♫ Johnny Cash - Guess Things Happen That Way

Bobby Darin once said that the biggest mistake of his life was not marrying his true love, CONNIE FRANCIS. Connie said the same sort of thing.

Her parents disapproved of him and her father ran him off at gunpoint. That's not really relevant, just a bit of gos I thought I'd throw in.

Connie Francis

The origin of Who's Sorry Now goes all the way back to 1923. A bit later than that it was used in the film A Night in Casablanca with the Marx Brothers. Johnnie Ray had a go at it and, of course, so did Connie.

♫ Connie Francis - Who's Sorry Now

RICKY NELSON's hits were coming thick and fast by now.

Ricky Nelson

One of the ones for this year is Poor Little Fool. The song was written by Sharon Sheeley when she was only 15 after being encouraged in that endeavor by Elvis.

She got the song to Ricky and after it became a success, she went to work for Eddie Cochran. Goodness, she got about a bit.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Poor Little Fool

Although he released a number of records, there's only one that we remember as a hit for ROBIN LUKE.

Robin Luke

This was the year for it and it is Susie Darlin', a song he wrote for his young sister. Robin left show biz and is now a professor at the University of Missouri.

♫ Robin Luke - Susie Darlin'

A song for everyone in 1958 who had a crush on someone older. Come on, admit it, it was quite common. THE PONI-TAILS capture that angst with Born Too Late.

The Poni-Tails

This wasn't their first record; they had a couple before this one. Indeed, this was the B-side of the record that was also going nowhere until some DJs flipped it over and started playing the song we have today.

♫ The Poni-Tails - Born Too Late

Although he had records before Lonely Teardrops, this song turned JACKIE WILSON into a big star.

Jackie Wilson

It is a great soul/R&B song. Unfortunately, it didn't end happily for Jackie. He collapsed on stage while singing this song in 1975, lapsed into a coma from which he didn't recover and died nine years later.

It's still a good song though.

♫ Jackie Wilson - Lonely Teardrops

You can find more music from 1958 here. 1959 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Transforming a Song

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.

Musical history is replete with instances of someone taking a song and changing it completely. You don't need me to tell you that. However, it seemed like an interesting idea for a column and it was fun choosing which two versions of songs I should include.

It's really subjective which of the two of each you might prefer. My idea of better and worse is no doubt different from yours. That's okay. It's entertaining to me to hear both versions. I hope it will be for you as well.

I'm afraid that if I start with PAUL ROBESON, it'll be all downhill from here on. Well, so be it.

Paul Robeson

Paul performs the song he's best known for, from the musical "Show Boat,” Ol' Man River. He recorded it a number of times over the years. I've gone with the one from the film sound track.

♫ Paul Robeson - Ol' Man River

It would take a brave man to mess with anything of Paul's, perhaps that's why it took five of them, THE TEMPTATIONS.

The Temptations

They put an interesting twist on the song. Their bass singer would do Paul proud. Let's hear what they do to Ol' Man River.

♫ The Temptations - Ol' Man River

I was sorely tempted to go with Stan Freberg's version of the song but decided against it. Another time maybe.

Speaking of transformation, Steven Georgiou transformed himself into CAT STEVENS and became a successful recording artist and performer. He later transformed himself into Yusuf Islam and became a nutcase.

Cat Stevens

It's the middle incarnation of himself we're concerned with today. Cat was quite a decent writer of songs and he usually interpreted them pretty well too. On the song The First Cut is the Deepest he did an adequate job, but that's about it.

♫ Cat Stevens - The First Cut Is The Deepest

ROD STEWART took Cat's song and turned it into a rock & roll masterpiece.

Rod Stewart

Rod did that with many songs. He also wrote several of the finest songs from the seventies, but he's not usually credited with that. Anyway, here's what he does with The First Cut is the Deepest.

♫ Rod Stewart - The First Cut Is The Deepest

Many of the songs that BING CROSBY first performed have been transformed by other performers, sometimes for the better but usually not.

Bing Crosby

The song I'm including today is Try a Little Tenderness. It was written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Harry Woods and was first recorded by Val Rosing fronting the Ray Noble orchestra.

Bing followed quickly on the heels of that one (as did Ruth Etting but she's not the one we're interested in today).

♫ Bing Crosby - Try a Little Tenderness


Otis Redding

It was one of his biggest hits and the version of his I've chosen is one taken from the Monterey Pop Festival. This was one of the very last concerts Otis performed before he was killed in the plane crash.

It's an interesting version of Try a Little Tenderness with Booker T and the MGs and the Memphis Horns supplying the backing. Interesting? Lordy, this is magnificent.

♫ Otis Redding - Try a Little Tenderness (Live)

MICHAEL NESMITH wrote the song Different Drum before he was in The Monkees.

Mike Nesmith

Okay, he didn't look like that at the time. Michael was (no doubt still is) an accomplished song writer and he eventually got some of his creations recorded by the group. Later he had a solo career as a really good country rock performer.

Here's Different Drum, the way he first thought of it.

♫ Mike Nesmith - Different Drum

Mike's song was the first hit by a trio called THE STONE PONEYS.

The Stone Poneys

The group, and that song, was the first time most of us got to see and hear Linda Ronstadt. It was far from the last time that happened.

Their version was a huge success and I think one of the finest musical moments of the sixties. For those who don't remember that decade, here they are with Different Drum.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Different Drum

Some might say that everyone who performs one of BOB DYLAN's songs transforms it for the better - someone who occasionally graces this column could be included in that category. I refute this. I will, however, admit that now and again someone does improve on his version.  Even the man himself has recognized this.

He has said that after hearing Jimi Hendrix perform All Along the Watchtower, from then on that's the version he (Bob) would play in concert. Even earlier than that, one of his songs was transformed and the group who did it created a new genre of music.

Before we get to their version, let's hear Bob perform Mr Tambourine Man, a song apparently written about the great unsung guitar hero, Bruce Langhorne (who plays lead guitar on this version).

Bob Dylan

♫ Bob Dylan - Mr Tambourine Man

Most of you would know who I'm talking about by now. It is, of course, THE BYRDS with their most famous song and possibly the best cover of one of Bob's songs ever.

The Byrds

The Byrds made a career of taking Bob's songs and putting their stamp on them, usually improving them no end. Another great musical moment from the sixties, Mr Tambourine Man.

♫ The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man

ELVIS is usually the one who transforms songs but in this case it's the opposite way round.

Elvis Presley

His song for a makeover is Burning Love, a song from the seventies when he was trying to make good music again.

♫ Elvis Presley - Burning Love

A group with the rather esoteric name of THE MEAT PURVEYORS took Elvis's song and ran with it. Or, more to the point, rather dawdled with it.

The Meat Purveyors

The Meats are an alternative country/bluegrass/whatnot group from Austin who started out as The Texas Meat Purveyors. However, there was an actual company called that so they changed their name. Here is their version of the Elvis classic.

♫ The Meat Purveyors - Burning Love

In 1938 Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson wrote September Song for WALTER HUSTON (father of John, grandfather of Anjelica).

Walter Huston

This was for the Broadway musical "Knickerbocker Holiday.” Walter was playing that aged despot Peter Stuyvesant and it was thought he required a song, one that would suit his rather limited singing range.

That might be the reason that so many others have successfully recorded this song. Here's Walter's version.

♫ Walter Huston - September Song

Another singer that some say had a limited vocal range who tackled the song is LOU REED.

Lou Reed

Lou was once quoted saying that he'd like to be known as the Kurt Weill of rock & roll. I think he came close. He gave the song the full Lou treatment.

♫ Lou Reed - September Song

ELDER MUSIC: 1957 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 1957?

  • Lyle Lovett was born
  • American Bandstand made its debut
  • The Cavern Club opened in Liverpool
  • The Cat in the Hat was first published
  • The European Common Market was created
  • West Side Story debuted on Broadway
  • Elvis appeared on Ed Sullivan Show for the last time. You could only see him from the waist up
  • 12 Angry Men was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

At last BUDDY HOLLY pops up in these columns.

Buddy Holly

The original name for the song Peggy Sue was Cindy Lou, named after Buddy's niece. Jerry Allison, one of The Crickets, asked Buddy if he'd changed the name of the song so he could get a bit of kudos from his girl friend.

Looks like it worked as Jerry and Peggy Sue later married. Even later still, they divorced. Whatever the background it gave us a great song.

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

DON RONDO first came to public attention in 1956 when he took the song Two Different Worlds to somewhere near the top of the charts.

Don Rondo

The following year, this year, he had another hit with White Silver Sands. Don had a pretty good baritone voice that worked well on both songs.

♫ Don Rondo - White Silver Sands

Great Balls of Fire sold a million copies in its first week of release and went on to sell over five million. In spite of that, it wasn't JERRY LEE LEWIS's biggest selling record. That is Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On.

Jerry Lee Lewis

It's Great Balls of Fire today though.

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire

Here is a song with which I'm very familiar because it's a record my sister had way back then. The singer is SAL MINEO.

Sal Mineo

Yes, the Sal Mineo who was in a couple of films alongside James Dean (and others, of course). The song he sang is Start Movin' which actually sold really well. He also made an album, I believe.

♫ Sal Mineo - Start Movin'

Calypso music was really big around this time and the go-to man for it was HARRY BELAFONTE.

Harry Belafonte

Harry had several hits in the style, he even released an album just called “Calypso” which contained several songs that made the charts. One of those is Jamaica Farewell.

♫ Harry Belafonte - Jamaica Farewell

This was the year when PAUL ANKA made an appearance.

Paul Anka

He wrote Diana when he was only 15, and it was about his sister's babysitter he had a crush on. I don't know how that worked out but the song did really well for him, selling millions and starting him on a long career as both singer and songwriter.

♫ Paul Anka - Diana

Here are the DEL-VIKINGS (or The Dell Vikings, there seems to be both spellings out there) with Come Go With Me.

Dell Vikings

This song is the absolute peak of DooWop songs, nothing in the genre has ever bettered it. The intricacy of the arrangement in such a simple form is outstanding. Sit back and listen.

♫ Dell Vikings - Come Go With Me

CHUCK BERRY had to be present this year.

Chuck Berry

School Days is one of his best known songs, especially for the last verse which contain the words, "Hail, hail rock and roll, Deliver me from the days of old.”

The first part of that has been used any number of times as the title of books, magazine articles, TV documentaries and wherever the influence of fifties' music is discussed. I've even used it myself for the name of a column.

♫ Chuck Berry - School Days

RICKY NELSON started singing because he wanted to impress a girl. I imagine he hasn't been the only one who has done that over the years.

Ricky Nelson

It seems she was very taken with Elvis at the time (she wasn't alone there) and Ricky thought, "I could do that". It probably helped to have parents in the business. This is one of his earliest records, Be-Bop Baby.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Be-Bop Baby

Although by this year most of his hits were behind him, JOHNNIE RAY could still come up with charting songs.

Johnnie Ray

The one this year is Yes, Tonight Josephine, another record my sister owned.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Yes, Tonight Josephine

You can find more music from 1957 here. 1958 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Jessye Norman

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.

JESSYE NORMAN is the best singer in the world. I know, I once said that about Cecilia Bartoli, but now it’s Jessye’s turn in the spotlight.

It's not widely known that Jessye is my twin sister. She and I turned up in this world at exactly the same time. Okay, she was in Georgia, U.S.A. and I was in Victoria, Australia but given the time differences and everything else, lo and behold out we popped simultaneously and I said hi to mum and she sang to hers.

I don't think Jessye's aware of this interesting fact.

Jessye Norman

Jessye's parents were musical (in an amateur way) and Jessye took piano lessons from an early age. Once exposed to opera music, she was an instant convert and devoured the recordings of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price (and Nat King Cole).

She proved to be a talented singer from an early age. Later, she studied at a couple of universities and gained a masters degree in music from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

Jessye went to Europe to establish herself and made her debut in Wagner's Tannhäuser in Berlin. There was no holding her back.

Many, many roles, concerts and recordings followed that I won't bore you with. Let's get to the music.


I'll start with HECTOR BERLIOZ. Hec is probably best known for his Symphonie Fantastique but we're having something considerably less grand than that work.

He wrote a song cycle called “Les Nuits D'Été (Summer Nights)” consisting of six songs. Jessye sings one of those, Villanelle.

♫ Jessye Norman - Les Nuits D'Ete - Villanelle


Naturally, we have to have some opera and we'll stay in France with GEORGES BIZET although the opera I've chosen, his most famous, is set in Spain. It's “Carmen”, of course.

The piece is called Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante, which roughly translated means, I say that nothing frightens me.

♫ Jessye Norman - Carmen - Je dis que rien ne m'épouvante

Jessye Norman

Jessye has branched out into other areas of music now and then and most especially spirituals, which she performs really well. Here is one such, Hush! Somebody's Calling my Name.

♫ Jessye Norman - Hush! Somebody's calling my name

Richard Strauss

RICHARD STRAUSS (who was not related to the family who wrote waltzes) wrote a song cycle called “Four Last Songs”. These really were the last things he wrote just before he died at age 84. The premiere performance of these was after he died.

The one I've chosen is the first of these so I guess you could call it the Preantepenultimate Song. It's called Frühling, which means Spring, and no, the others aren't called Summer, Autumn and Winter.

♫ Jessye Norman - Frühling

Franz Schubert

A column like this would be incomplete without some lieder from FRANZ SCHUBERT. Lieder is just a fancy word for song and is used by musical snobs who like to show off. The song I've chosen is Ganymed (or Ganymede in English).

♫ Jessye Norman - Ganymed, Op.19-3, D.544


PIETRO MASCAGNI wrote that rarest of musical beasts, a short opera. I refer to “Cavalleria Rusticana” which was an instant sensation when it was first performed in 1890 (possibly because the crowd could get out in plenty of time so they didn't have to pay extra time for the babysitter).

Jessye performs the role of Santuzza, a peasant girl, and her aria is Voi Lo Sapete, o Mamma.

♫ Jessye Norman - Voi Lo Sapete, o Mamma

Jessye Norman

Another spiritual, because she does them so well (of course, she does pretty much everything well, even something unexpected as you will hear at the bottom of the column). This is I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray.

♫ Jessye Norman - I couldn't hear nobody pray


Here are two songs by ERNEST CHAUSSON. I've included two because they are both short and are quite delightful.

Ernie was born into a rich family – his father made a fortune assisting in the redevelopment of Paris in the 1850s. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and he was just starting to make a name for himself in music when, alas, one day at the family's country estate he was riding his bike downhill and hit a brick wall. He died instantly.

The first song is Les Papillons.

♫ Jessye Norman - Les Papillons, Op. 2 no. 3

The second song is Le Charme.

♫ Jessye Norman - Le Charme, Op. 2 no. 2


Songs (rather than opera arias) are rather over-represented in the column but that's fine with me. The next representative is by JOHANNES BRAHMS.

Old Jo wrote two songs for voice, viola and piano. This is one of them Gestillte Sehnsucht. I have no knowledge of German but the various translators online all seem to suggest that that means Satisfied Longing.

♫ Jessye Norman - Gestillte Sehnsucht

Jessye Norman

I'll end with something I really didn't expect. This was tucked away where I couldn't find it very easily but it couldn't escape my search program. The song is Mack the Knife.

♫ Jessye Norman - Mack the knife

ELDER MUSIC: 1956 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 1956?

  • Archie Roach was born
  • Melbourne staged the Olympics Games
  • Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show
  • My Fair Lady opened on Broadway
  • IBM invented the hard disk drive. It contained fifty 24-inch disks with total storage capacity of 5MB
  • High Society was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

I'll start the year with the inimitable LITTLE RICHARD.

Little Richard

Any year that starts with him can't be all bad. His song is one of his big ones, Rip It Up.

♫ Little Richard - Rip It Up

From real rock & roll to no rock & roll at all, in spite of the title. Around this time mainstream musos were trying to cash in on the craze and completely missing the mark. This is a good example by KAY STARR singing Rock and Roll Waltz.

What a shocker (the song that is, not the singer – Kay's pretty good).

Kay Starr

♫ Kay Starr - Rock and Roll Waltz

My Prayer started life in 1926 as a song called Avant de Mourir written by Georges Boulanger who was a Romanian violinist, composer and conductor.

Around 1939, Jimmy Kennedy wrote English lyrics to the tune and it was recorded with some success by both Glenn Miller and The Ink Spots. More time passed and THE PLATTERS had a go at it this year.

The Platters

Many others have turned their hand (or their mouth) to it, but The Platters' version is still the pick of them and the biggest selling as well.

♫ The Platters - My Prayer

Lincoln Chase wrote song Jim Dandy for LAVERN BAKER.

LaVern Baker

The song is all about how our hero Jim rescues women from all sorts of improbable situations. The song was successful enough that Lincoln wrote a follow up called Jim Dandy Got Married (I don't know if that counts as an improbable situation).

♫ LaVern Baker - Jim Dandy

GENE VINCENT started his adult life in the navy, sailing to Korea at one stage.

Gene Vincent

Upon his return he was seriously injured in a motor cycle accident (hit by a drunk driver) that damaged his leg so he had a limp for the rest of his life.

He was discharged from the navy on medical grounds and started a band called Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. He wrote a song called Be-Bop-A-Lula and they recorded a demo.

Capitol Records wanted an artist to compete with Elvis and they got to hear Gene's demo. They signed him immediately and they recorded it for real and it became a big hit and a very influential song indeed.

♫ Gene Vincent - Be-Bop-A-Lula

The charts of the day still contained artists from earlier times, one of whom was FRANKIE LAINE.

Frankie Laine

Even though he was renowned for singing cowboy songs, Frankie was at heart a jazz singer. This isn't quite jazz, although there are some inflections there. It's more big band pop. A Woman in Love.

♫ Frankie Laine - A Woman In Love

TERESA BREWER really is A Sweet Old Fashioned Girl.

Teresa Brewer

Scoobley dooby be doo be doo (etc).

♫ Teresa Brewer - A Sweet Old Fashioned Girl

Oh Eddie, what possessed you to record Dungaree Doll? Eddie is, if you didn't know, EDDIE FISHER.

Eddie Fisher

I imagine he was still trying to remain relevant to the young folks but it was already too late. I don't know if you can still remember this one. I can, my sister played it all the time. Deep sigh.

♫ Eddie Fisher - Dungaree Doll

Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee recorded as SHIRLEY AND LEE.

Shirley & Lee

Shirley and Lee were born only days apart in New Orleans and had several big hits together while they were still teenagers. They wrote those themselves.

They had an interesting style, not singing together, really two separate singers that seemed to work. Here's one of those early songs, one that's become famous as a sort of anthem of New Orleans - Let the Good Times Roll.

♫ Shirley & Lee - Let the Good Times Roll

I'll finish with The King. ELVIS was already in the mix by 1956, but it was this year that broke him worldwide with Heartbreak Hotel.

Elvis Presley

He had several more hits this year (and every year for the decade). This is one of them, Don't Be Cruel.

♫ Elvis Presley - Don't Be Cruel

You can find more music from 1956 here.

1957 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: The Songs of Gerry Goffin and Carole King

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.

Carole King & Gerry Goffin

The recent death of Gerry Goffin has brought to the fore all those great songs he wrote in the sixties with his then wife Carole King. He also wrote with others later and he won Oscars, Tonys and pretty much every other award around for music. Today, though, we're using those first songs.

Gerry and Carole met at Queens College and they started writing songs together in the evenings. After they graduated, they got married and continued their song-writing together at the famous Brill Building, a mecca for such activity at the time.

Mostly, Gerry wrote the words and Carole the music, at least until she became a solo artist in her own right when she performed both functions (as well as singing and playing the piano, of course).

I'll start with one of their earliest songs, a mini teenage opera performed by THE SHIRELLES.

The Shirelles

The song is Will You Love Me Tomorrow? and it has been covered by many over the years but none perform it as well as they do. The Shirelles' singing, and especially lead vocalist Shirley Owens (later Aston), captured the angst of teenager love (and to put no fine point on it, sex) better than anyone.

♫ The Shirelles - Will You Love Me Tomorrow

GENE MCDANIELS started out as a gospel singer and then switched to jazz. Not just singing, but he was a fine sax and trumpet player as well.

Gene McDaniels

In the early sixties, he had a string of hits that were the equal or better than anything else around at the time. He later produced records and became an acclaimed songwriter.

His song today is one of those aforementioned hits, Point Of No Return.

♫ Gene McDaniels - Point Of No Return

One of the songs that I was surprised to learn was written by our duo, especially as Gerry wrote the words, is one of ARETHA FRANKLIN's biggest hits: (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.

Aretha Franklin

The song came into being when Jerry Wexler, honcho for Atlantic Records where Aretha recorded, encountered Carole on the streets of New York and said he wanted a song about a natural woman for Aretha. This is the result.

The song has been covered by many artists including, rather surprisingly, Rod Stewart (who does a rather good job of it). Carole's own version on the "Tapestry" album is interesting too, and quite different from Aretha's with just piano and bass accompaniment.

♫ Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman

I was playing this next track and Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, said, "You'd better include that one." I was going to in any case but there's no way I could omit it now. It's from BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS.

Blood, Sweat & Tears

The track is Hi-De-Ho, sometimes prefixed or suffixed by That Old Sweet Roll.

♫ Blood, Sweat & Tears - Hi-De-Ho

By the time they recorded the album "The Notorious Byrd Brothers,” THE BYRDS had been reduced to a duo, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman.

Roger McGuinn & Chris Hillman

Of the other original members, Gene Clark left because he didn't like touring, especially flying, David Crosby was kicked out because of "artistic differences" and Michael Clarke was kicked out just before he decided to leave.

In spite of all that, the remaining pair produced a fine album that contained two Goffin/King songs, Goin' Back and Wasn't Born to Follow, both worthy of inclusion.

I've decided on Wasn't Born to Follow.

♫ The Byrds - Wasn't Born To Follow

THE DRIFTERS recorded several songs by our pair. Not just them, but Ben E. King, the lead singer of their best songs, did so as well as a solo artist.

The Drifters

They were all so good it was pretty much a roll of the die as to which I should include. As it came up 6 (okay, I didn't do that), Up on the Roof is the one I'm using.

♫ The Drifters - Up On The Roof

DUSTY SPRINGFIELD recorded several Goffin/King songs, including the two mentioned above recorded by The Byrds as well as the Blood Sweat and Tears track. It was a matter of juggling all three and seeing who I'd like doing which.

Dusty Springfield

The answer is obvious by now as I've decided on the other two, so that leaves Dusty performing Goin' Back.

♫ Dusty Springfield - Goin' Back

BOBBY VEE's start in show biz wasn't under the most salubrious circumstances – he took over from Buddy Holly on the Winter Tour after Buddy and the others were killed in the plane crash.

Bobby Vee

He's generally not thought of too highly and I don't understand that. His songs still hold up today and I like them a lot (okay, I liked them at the time as well).

It's time for his reputation to be rehabilitated. I'll start that by playing Take Good Care of My Baby, one of a couple of Goffin/King compositions he recorded at the time.

♫ Bobby Vee - Take Good Care Of My Baby

Now one that even The Beatles covered, Chains. However, going with my (almost general) policy of playing the original, I give you THE COOKIES.

The Cookies

The Cookies were Little Eva's backing singers. Eva was initially Gerry and Carole's baby sitter and for whom they wrote The Locomotion. She also sang backing vocals of this song. However, this isn't Eva's turn, it's time for The Cookies.

♫ The Cookies - Chains

Although GENE PITNEY was a songwriter who wrote for himself and others, he wasn't averse to recording other people's material as well.

Gene Pitney

That's handy for us today as we can include him singing Every Breath I Take (no relation to the later Sting song with a similar name).

♫ Gene Pitney - Every Breath That I Take

ELDER MUSIC: 1955 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 1955?

  • Rosanne Cash was born
  • A riot broke out at an Elvis concert. It was not the last
  • Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, for refusing to give up her seat in a bus
  • First Guinness Book of World Records was published
  • Scrabble made its debut
  • Edna Everage made her first appearance
  • Rebel Without a Cause was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

The most appropriate way to start this year is with CHUCK BERRY who pretty much defined the year (and the rest of the decade).

Chuck Berry

Well, Elvis was in the mix as well, of course, but Chuck did it all - wrote the songs, performed them, played guitar just like ringing a bell. This was the first time, but far from the last, that Chuck made the charts. The song is Maybellene.

♫ Chuck Berry - Maybellene

Whenever the song Unchained Melody comes on around these parts, there's always a lively discussion between Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and me concerning which is the definitive version. The A.M.'s preference is for the Righteous Brothers and mine is Al Hibbler's. Both agree that the other one is pretty good.

Having said that, I won't play either of them today. The Righteous Brothers' version wasn't from this year and although Al's was, I have made it a policy not to repeat anything from the first time around for these years. There is some virtual fine print in my unwritten contract, though, to the effect that I may use the same song as long as it's a different version.

Here's the third best (and it's not too shabby either) by ROY HAMILTON.

Roy Hamilton

See what you think.

♫ Roy Hamilton - Unchained Melody

It's a year of firsts (and some onlys) and here's LITTLE RICHARD's debut.

Little Richard

I should have mentioned Richard in my comments on Chuck as well. Rolling Stone magazine stated that Tutti Frutti "contains what has to be considered the most inspired rock lyric ever recorded: A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bam-boom!!"

I couldn't have said it better myself.

♫ Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

Another who changed the course of music is BO DIDDLEY. This year is full of them.

Bo Diddley

It's a pity Bo couldn't copyright that riff, he'd have made a fortune. In any case he didn't make much, if any, from the songs either, due to unscrupulous mangers, promoters, record companies and probably others as well. To the day he died he was still trying to recover what was due to him.

Anyone who can name a song after himself has a lot of front. Bo certainly had that. This is Bo Diddley.

♫ Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley

A first appearance also for THE PLATTERS.

The Platters

The Platters were the best of the singing groups of the fifties and they were also the most successful. They initially got nowhere for a year or two and then their lead vocalist was replaced by Tony Williams and a female singer, Zola Taylor, was added as well.

Everything clicked and their first record, Only You, climbed up the charts.

♫ The Platters - Only You

This is the other hit for GOGI GRANT, you all know the biggest one which was also from this year.

Gogi Grant

The first of her two hits this year was Suddenly There's a Valley. After her time in the sun, she made albums and appeared on TV now and then and also supplied the voice for films where a good singing voice was required of an actress who couldn't sing.

♫ Gogi Grant - Suddenly There's a Valley

Mannish Boy was an "answer" song to Bo Diddley's I'm a Man. That, in turn, was an answer to the MUDDY WATERS song, Hoochie Coochie Man.

Muddy Waters

Muddy recorded the song several times over his career and I think the later versions to be superior. However, this is the first one and the one that counts this year.

♫ Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy

Okay, get out your coon skin caps, hope they're not too moth eaten, put them on and sing along with BILL HAYES.

Bill Hayes

The Ballad of Davy Crockett was first heard when Davy Crockett was shown on Disneyland on TV. Bill then recorded it and it became a hit.

Fess Parker, who played Davy, also had a version. I notice in the song that they gloss over his death at the Alamo.

Okay everybody - 1, 2, 3. “Born on a mountain top in Tennessee...”

♫ Bill Hayes - The Ballad of Davy Crockett

THE DREAMWEAVERS started out when Wade Buff and Gene Adkinson, who met in the Miami Boys' Drum and Bugle Corp, discovered they liked singing together. They wrote songs as well.

They thought they needed a female voice to complement theirs and tried several before settling on Mary Rude (who later married Wade).

The DreamWeavers

They recorded the song, It's Almost Tomorrow and that became a big hit. A couple more songs didn't do quite as well. Then Wade left, Mary divorced him and The Dreamweavers were no more. The dream unraveled, I suppose.

♫ The Dreamweavers - It's Almost Tomorrow

RAY CHARLES got the idea for this song while he was listening to gospel radio in his car (he wasn't driving).

Ray Charles

He heard the infectious beat and with Renald Richard, a member of his band, wrote new words to it. They also added a touch of jazz and some rhythm and blues and well, changed it completely. The result was I Got a Woman.

♫ Ray Charles - I Got a Woman

You can find more music from 1955 here.

1956 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Van the Man

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

Today is the time for one of the most important artists of the last 50 years, the Belfast Cowboy himself, VAN MORRISON.

Van Morrison

Van's father had a vast record collection and the young Van grew up listening to jazz and blues records, especially Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, Leadbelly and Solomon Burke. He said that this was the music that got him started in the first place.

His father noted his interest in the music and bought him a guitar. He learned to play that instrument and was also attracted to saxophones. He acquired one of those too and it became his main instrument. He became proficient on piano and bass as well.

After he left school, Van played in various show bands and rhythm and blues combos. He even did a stint in Germany, possibly crossing paths with The Beatles (there's no evidence for that; I just threw it in as a possibility).

One day, back in Belfast, he answered an advertisement for a sax player for an R & B group. He was accepted and he soon took over the lead singing role as well. That group morphed into THEM.

Van Morrison

They got a gig at some local place and the first week they had about 60 people along. The second maybe twice that. The third week you couldn't get in. Them made a number of recordings, including a song that's become a rock classic, Gloria.

♫ Them - Gloria

Them fell apart due to personnel changes and poor management. After leaving Them, Van moved to California, went solo and recorded an album for a small record company that produced the song, Brown Eyed Girl and little else of consequence, although other Van-istas rather like the rest of the album.

Van Morrison

♫ Van Morrison - Brown Eyed Girl

Van Morrison

After that rather ordinary effort, Warner Brothers bought the company to which Van was signed. Not a great deal was expected of him and he was allowed just three sessions to produce an album that became “Astral Weeks.”

Rather than go the usual route playing rock & roll or blues, Van got together a crack jazz band and came up with one of the most extraordinary albums ever. An album that took popular music where it had never been before (or since).

"Astral Weeks" should be a mandatory inclusion in the collection of any person who likes fine music. From that album I've selected Cyprus Avenue.

♫ Van Morrison - Cyprus Avenue

Van Morrison

His next album, “Moondance,” is just as good as its predecessor, but quite different musically. He returned to his rhythm and blues roots for this one and it was a more cheerful and optimistic. Here is the first song on that album, And It Stoned Me.

♫ Van Morrison - And It Stoned Me

Van Morrison

Although I knew about Them when they were popular, I first discovered Van as a solo artist when I was living in San Francisco in 1970. He had already released the albums "Astral Weeks" and "Moondance" and "His Band and Street Choir" had just come out.

I bought all three of them at the same time and I still rather regard these three as parts 1, 2 and 3 of the same album. They are quite different in mood but that still doesn't disabuse me of the idea.

From the third of those comes the song, Street Choir, which resonated with me at the time and still does.

♫ Van Morrison - Street Choir

Van has always been supportive of other artists, even sharing his stage with them. This is particularly so of those he loved as a boy, particularly Jimmy Witherspoon, Junior Wells and most especially, JOHN LEE HOOKER.

Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker

John Lee said that he'd be happy to perform with Van any time at all (and they did appear together quite often). Here they sing one of Van's songs that turned up on an album they recorded together imaginatively titled "Together.”

The song is The Healing Game.

♫ Van Morrison & John Lee Hooker - The Healing Game

In 1998, Van brought out a double CD, called “The Philosopher's Stone,” of outtakes from various albums and a few alternate takes as well. Most of the songs had not seen the light of day before. For just about anyone else, this would be an indulgence.

Van Morrison

Some of the songs are so good it's hard to imagine why they were omitted from the earlier albums. Of course, when you check back on those you'd be hard put to think of any song that could be kicked off to make room for one of these.

So, this release was especially welcome rather than having the songs molder in some vault. The song I've selected is Not Supposed to Break Down.

♫ Van Morrison - Not Supposed to Break Down

The song Moondance, as those who are conversant with Van's oeuvre know, came from the album of the same name. However, it wasn't the only time he recorded it.

Van teamed with GEORGIE FAME and they performed it more in the style of bebop than the original rock/blues. It's such a good song that it works no matter how it's performed. Or by whom.

Van Morrison and Georgie Fame

♫ Van Morrison - Moondance

JAMES HUNTER is an English soul and R&B singer whose voice takes you back to the days of Sam Cooke and Clyde McPhatter. Van championed him in his early career and appeared on his first album, duetting on a couple of songs.

Van Morrison and James Hunter

James deserves to be much more widely known, he's a terrific performer. From that initial album, he and Van sing Ain't Nothing You Can Do.

♫ James Hunter and Van Morrison - Ain't Nothing You Can Do

Van Morrison

I'll end with a very long track indeed, so if you get bored with it you can go off and do something else, make a cup of tea or whatever. Of course, if you're like me you'll never get bored with Van.

This isn't his only long track, he was quite fond of them back in the mid-seventies. The song Listen to the Lion was the last tune of side one (remember when records had two sides?) of the album Saint Dominic's Preview. Side two ended with the equally lengthy, Almost Independence Day.

♫ Van Morrison - Listen to the Lion

ELDER MUSIC: 1954 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 1954?

  • Elvis Costello was born
  • Lord of the Rings was published
  • The first flight of the Boeing 707 (well, a prototype)
  • The Vietnam War ended with Vietnam beating the French (stay tuned)
  • The first transistor radio went on sale
  • Rear Window was released
  • Footscray were premiers (Yay!! – Their first and, alas, so far their only premiership)

Let Me Go, Lover was written by Jenny Lou Carson and Al Hill (that latter name is a pseudonym for three other people). It was first featured on TV, sung by Joan Weber, and it caught the public's attention.

Her version sold heaps, possibly the first time TV was used successfully to promote a song. TERESA BREWER recorded it and she sold a lot as well, and that's the one we have today.

Teresa Brewer

♫ Teresa Brewer - Let Me Go, Lover

FRANK SINATRA was back with a vengeance by 1954.

Frank Sinatra

Frank was the first to record the song Young at Heart which was a huge hit at the end of 1953 and spilled over into, and kept selling in, 1954.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Young At Heart

We know there have been rock & roll tunes before but this next song, along with Bill Haley's Rock Around the Clock, really kickstarted the genre. Bill also covered this one, but the original by BIG JOE TURNER is still the one.

Big Joe Turner

The song is Shake, Rattle and Roll. It was written especially for Joe by Jesse Stone.

♫ Big Joe Turner - Shake, Rattle & Roll

The song Skokiaan is imprinted on my tiny brain. We went to the beach for our annual post Christmas holidays that year and, as normal, at least back then, there was a carnival in town. It seemed to me that they played this song about every 10 minutes the entire time we were there.

The song was originally written and performed by a Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe, of course) musician called August Musarunwa. The version that's become an integral part of my brain is by THE FOUR LADS.

The Four Lads

♫ The Four Lads - Skokiaan

ROY HAMILTON seemed to follow the lead of Al Hibbler (as did the Righteous Brothers later on) and record the same songs.

Roy Hamilton

Ebb Tide is another of those songs and he does a fine job of it.

♫ Roy Hamilton - Ebb Tide

DORIS DAY had been making records for about a decade but this is her first visit to these columns.

Doris Day

The song is If I Give My Heart to You and it made the pointy end of the charts this year.

♫ Day - If I Give My Heart To You

I Don't Hurt Anymore started its musical life as a country song written and performed by Hank Snow. DINAH WASHINGTON got to it and changed it into a soul song (before soul music was invented).

Dinah Washington

I've always thought of Dinah as a jazz singer but there was more to her than that.

♫ Dinah Washington - I Don't Hurt Anymore

I don't want to creep you out but I'm going to play Misty for you. Those who saw that film will know what I'm talking about. I'll also use the same version. Here is ERROLL GARNER playing Misty for you, a tune he wrote himself.

Erroll Garner

♫ Erroll Garner - Misty

Cross Over the Bridge was written and published in 1945 and as far as I can tell just sat around until PATTI PAGE recorded it in 1954.

Patti Page

In a reversal of the usual policy at the time, a black group, The Chords (responsible for the original version of Sh-Boom) recorded it after Patti. Their version pretty much went nowhere, unlike Patti's.

♫ Patti Page - Cross Over The Bridge

LES PAUL AND MARY FORD make their first appearance even though they had been recording and having hits for some years. I guess I overlooked them.

Les Paul and Mary Ford

Here they perform I'm a Fool to Care with the wonderful voice of Mary and the equally wonderful guitar playing from Les.

♫ Les Paul and Mary Ford - I'm a Fool to Care

You can find more music from 1954 here.

1955 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Greyhound Bus

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.

Greyhound Bus

The Greyhound Bus Company turns 100 years old this month and as their buses are mentioned in many songs, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I thought there could be a column in that.

First, honorable mentions to Chuck Berry's Promised Land, Simon and Garfunkel's America and The Drifters' On Broadway.

These were the first three songs we thought of but because I have used them recently, or will use them soon (depending on the timing of these things) I decided to omit them as there are enough other good songs.

To begin, the A.M. insisted on this song being present - not just present but leading off. After all, the protagonist "was born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus" so it deserves the prime spot. I'm talking about the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND.

Allman Brothers

I assume they weren't all born in the backseat, maybe just Dickey Betts, who wrote the song, sang it and played guitar on the record. The A.M. says that this song is the world champion steering-wheel thumper. It's Ramblin' Man.

♫ Allman Brothers - Ramblin' Man

Next, a song described by the A.M. as the offspring of Promised Land and Johnny B. Goode: Bye Bye Johnny. Of course, the father of them all is CHUCK BERRY.

Chuck Berry

It continues the adventures of Johnny B. Goode as a grown man trying to restart his career.

♫ Chuck Berry - Bye Bye Johnny

For something completely different from the first couple of tracks, and some decades earlier, here are the DINNING SISTERS.

The Dinning Sisters

These were real sisters (not all brothers and sister acts in show biz are actually related, you might be surprised to learn). They were Lou, Jean and Ginger. There was also a younger brother named Mark who was a bit of a pop star in the late fifties, early sixties.

The sisters were signed by Capitol records as an answer to the Andrews Sisters. As you know, they didn't eclipse the Andrews but they had several charting records. This isn't one of them, Love on a Greyhound Bus.

♫ The Dinning Sisters - Love On A Greyhound Bus

One that surprised me is by ROD STEWART.

Rod Stewart

It's one that Rod wrote about a friend of his (and The Faces, his group at the time). It surprised me because I'd forgotten about the Greyhound reference. This is The Killing Of Georgie (Parts 1 & 2).

♫ Rod Stewart - The Killing Of Georgie

Musicians of all genres are probably familiar with Greyhound buses. Here's a country take on our subject by THE LOUVIN BROTHERS.

The Louvin Brothers

The Louvins were a dichotomous duo (certainly in their personal life, but we won't go there today). They wrote some exasperatingly self-righteous songs and then some of the finest country songs around. Fortunately, today's is of the latter kind, Cash on the Barrelhead.

♫ The Louvin Brothers - Cash on the Barrelhead

SAM COOKE wrote and recorded Somebody Have Mercy.

Sam Cooke

It made the lower ranks of the charts and is not remembered as amongst his best but anything that Sam performed is worth a listen from my point of view. See if you agree.

♫ Sam Cooke - Somebody Have Mercy

ERIC CLAPTON's Greyhound Bus was not on the original release of the album “Slowhand,” his biggest selling record.

Eric Clapton

However, when the album was rereleased recently, there it was along with a whole bunch of other tunes that hadn't seen light of day before. As with Sam, it's far from his best work but anything from Eric deserves your attention also.

♫ Eric Clapton - Greyhound Bus

Here THE LOVIN' SPOONFUL, after their driving force and main man, John Sebastian, had left for a solo career, perform Never Going Back.

Lovin' Spoonful

There doesn't seem to be any pictures of them as a threesome, so ignore that person on the left. At this stage, they weren't far away from disintegrating completely but were performing as a trio. The vocals on this track were sung by the drummer, Joe Butler.

♫ Lovin' Spoonful - Never Going Back

JOE SOUTH is probably best remembered for a bunch of hits in the late sixties.

Joe South

However, there was more to him than that. He was a skilled songwriter and a much in demand session guitarist – he played on Bob Dylan's "Blonde on Blonde" album as well as backing Aretha Franklin, Simon and Garfunkel and many others.

His Greyhound song, Don't It Make You Want To Go Home, is one of those hits mentioned earlier.

♫ Joe South - Don't It Make You Want To Go Home

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL are represented by one of their best songs.

Creedence Clearwater Revival

That song is Lodi. It came out as a single before the album from which it was taken was released. It was the B-side. On the flip was Bad Moon Rising - you got your money's worth on that record.

♫ Creedence Clearwater Revival - Lodi

Originally on the list, but missing the final cut are Robert Johnson's Me and the Devil (a contender for the earliest Greyhound bus song) and Billy Joel's New York State of Mind. Many others as well, but those others weren't serious contenders.

The Australian Greyhound Bus Company, which is entirely separate from the American one, is older.

ELDER MUSIC: 1953 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 1953?

  • Nanci Griffith was born
  • East of Eden was published
  • Watson and Crick (and Rosalind Franklin) discovered the structure of DNA
  • The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial premiered in New York
  • Salk polio vaccine announced
  • The Wild One" was released
  • Collingwood were premiers

I was playing this first track, auditioning it so to speak, and I thought I wouldn't use it. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, was listening in and said, "Keep that one, I like it". So, on her say so it is in.

The singer is KAY STARR, notable for the song Rock and Roll Waltz, which you'll hear in later years.

Kay Starr

The song today is Half a Photograph. My objection was that choir which I find a bit too intrusive.

♫ Kay Starr - Half A Photograph

RUTH BROWN was not only a singer, and a really good one at that, she was instrumental in getting recognition for performers' rights and for obtaining the royalties they were due.

Ruth Brown

This led to the establishment of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation that carried on this fight. Before all that though she sang (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean.

♫ Ruth Brown - (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean

Hey, we finally have DEAN MARTIN in the mix.

Dean Martin

We're also starting with possibly his most famous song, That's Amore. The song was first featured in a film he made with Jerry Lewis (The Caddy), and was even up for an Oscar (but lost to Doris Day).

♫ Dean Martin - That's Amore

JUNIOR PARKER was one of several blue musicians who were playing around the traps in Memphis, performing wherever they could get a gig.

Junior Parker

Ike Turner caught his act and recommended him to Sam Phillips who signed him to Sun Records. One of his first records, and the most successful, was Mystery Train. Another Sun alumnus, some bloke name Presley, later covered the song rather successfully.

♫ Junior Parker - Mystery Train

HANK WILLIAMS wrote and recorded so many great and famous songs that calling one of them his most famous may seem a bit silly but I'll go out on a limb.

Hank Williams

This is probably Hank's most famous song. There, I said it and the sky didn't fall. Your Cheatin' Heart reached the top of the charts, almost certainly because of Hank's then recent death.

♫ Hank Williams - Your Cheatin' Heart

Here's another song that Elvis covered. As much as I admire the King, BIG MAMA THORNTON really shows him how the song should be sung.

Big Mama Thornton

“You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog.” This is not an old blues song, but it was written by those writers of myriad hits, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

♫ Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog

Just like the hit parades from the time, something different pops up. In this case it's PERRY COMO.

Perry Como

The song, Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes, was recorded by several people with no success at all until Perry wrapped his chops around it and took it to the top of the charts.

♫ Perry Como - Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes

The first time around with 1953 I featured the very first recording of Crying in the Chapel. That was by Darrell Glenn. His father wrote the song so it's not too surprising he had first go at it.

The biggest hit, however, and the one I remember, is by SONNY TIL AND THE ORIOLES.

Sonny Til1

Of course, they weren't the last to record it either, even The King had a go at it.

♫ The Orioles - Crying in the Chapel

BIG JOE TURNER was always good at adlibbing words to songs he was performing.

Big Joe Turner

A prime example of that is an album he made with T-Bone Walker and Otis Spann where he made up the words as he went along apparently. This song is no different – he had a few lines for the song and he created it as the tape was rolling. The result is Honey Hush.

♫ Big Joe Turner - Honey Hush

Another first-timer this year is TONY BENNETT.

Tony Bennett

This was far from Tony's first record or even first chart success but alas, I can't fit everything into these columns that I'd like to. The song is Rags to Riches.

♫ Tony Bennett - Rags To Riches

You can find more music from 1953 here.

1954 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Melbourne

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.


Okay, first up I'm going to tell you how to pronounce the name of my city. Australians reading can skip this bit and go on to listen to the music.

Still with me? Good.

If you don't wish to appear to be a bit of a drongo when you speak its name should you visit these sea-girt shores, listen up.

First of all, you don't pronounce most of the letters in the name. Really only 55.5 percent of them, or perhaps to be slightly more accurate because of what I'll describe, 44.4 percent (sorry, I used to be a mathematician in a previous life).

The first approximation of how it should sound is Melb'n. That's not bad, it'll get you some kudos, but there are more subtleties to come.

First off, the B and the N should be rather dismissed. They are there but only in a minor capacity. Swallow them or mumble them is the best I can come up with.

Next, and now if you really want to sound like a native Melburnian, here's the real secret. We who live in the fair city pronounce the name with a vowel shift – the E moves towards A.

So, if you really want to sound like one of us, it's more Malb'n than Melb'n. Do that and we will think you've lived here for years.

The great singer/songwriter Paul Kelly said about the city:

"Melbourne is a city divided by a river. The river also divides sensibilities. You either live in the north or south. Most of my friends lived north of the city - Fitzroy, Carlton, Brunswick.

“I moved to Elwood and St Kilda where the rents were kind of cheaper and the atmosphere was different. There was more air, there were beaches, big old buildings. Houses with gardens."

Paul's correct. People move around but they seldom change from north to south or vice versa. In case you're wondering, I live south of the river (not far from Paul).

Now I've got that out of the way, let's play some music.

CROWDED HOUSE was created in Melbourne and it consisted of one New Zealander (Neil Finn) and two Australians (Paul Hester and Nick Seymour).

Crowded House

Over time, some others came and went in the band but these three remained the core until they called it quits. Melbourne has a reputation in this country for having changeable weather. The House tackles that topic with Four Seasons in One Day.

♫ Crowded House - Four Seasons In One Day

Before the early seventies, Australian songwriters didn't write songs about this country (except for a couple of country singers). That all changed with Greg Macainsh, bass player and main songwriter for the group SKYHOOKS.


Their first album was full of songs referencing parts of Melbourne including this one, Balwyn Calling. Balwyn is your ultimate middle class suburb in the leafy eastern area and thus ignored by both northerners and southerners (except Skyhooks, of course).

♫ Skyhooks - Balwyn Calling

It's been a traditional for more than a century for people to meet "under the clocks". These are the clocks that tell when the next train is due to depart on the various lines at Flinders Street Station, the main suburban railway station in Melbourne.


WEDDINGS PARTIES ANYTHING are far from alone in celebrating this custom.

Wedding Parties Anything

Over the years, there have been several attempts by bureaucrats to remove the clocks or replace them with electronic devices. The outcry each time has been so overwhelming that it's come to naught (and no one has suggested doing that in recent times).

Here are the Weddoes with Under the Clocks.

♫ Weddings Parties Anything - Under the Clocks

ARCHIE ROACH's song Charcoal Lane is about life on the streets for young indigenous people. In this case, it's on the streets of Fitzroy, just to the north of the central business district.

Archie Roach

This was Archie's early life before he met his life companion, wife and musical partner Ruby Hunter, turned his life around and became one of the most important and loved singer/songwriters in the country.

Alas, Ruby died a couple of years ago and Archie suffered a stroke not long after. However, he is a survivor and he has come through that and is recording and performing again.

He has often appeared with a couple of other musicians featured here today – Paul Kelly and Dan Sultan (and others as well).

♫ Archie Roach - Charcoal Lane

Mark Seymour, head honcho for HUNTERS & COLLECTORS, wrote one of the all time classic songs called Throw Your Arms Around Me. It achieved that status without ever having been a hit. I'm not using that song today, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Hunters & Collectors

The song of the Hunners (as they're universally known) that I am using, because it is about Melbourne and the other isn't, is January Rain.

♫ Hunters & Collectors - January Rain

DAN SULTAN's song is Old Fitzroy.

Dan Sultan

I had Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, choose the photo for me. I had to fan her down afterwards.

In an interview, Dan was asked about the song. He said,

"I grew up around there and I remember seeing homeless people hanging out. It makes you think if things had of been a bit different, maybe if they had come from a nicer socio-economic background, things might have been a bit easier for them, you know?”

When asked if the now highly sought after Dan Sultan could comfortably ride the Number 86 tram in peace these days, he replied,

“It’s not too bad. People are pretty cool. And you know what it’s like in Melbourne. They see someone they recognise from the paper or from telly and no one really gives a shit.”

The amazingly talented Dan Sultan sings Old Fitzroy.

♫ Dan Sultan - Old Fitzroy

Here is the Poet Laureate of Melbourne (even though he was born in Adelaide), PAUL KELLY.

Paul Kelly

There are a couple of dozen songs I could have chosen; I actually had to restrain myself from including three or four of them today. In the end, I settled for Leaps and Bounds, thanks to advice from the A.M. (I originally had a different song and she convinced me to use this one).

♫ Paul Kelly - Leaps and Bounds

AUSTRALIAN CRAWL was formed in one of the outer southern bayside suburbs.

Australian Crawl

They not only sang of life on the beach but also tackled serious topics. It's just that most people didn't realize this as no one could understand what they were singing. So don't worry if you can't catch the words because we can't either.

However, I can assure you the song is about Melbourne, in particular the suburb of Toorak, the richest enclave in Australia, home of "old money" (and some new). It's called Beautiful People.

♫ Australian Crawl - Beautiful People

BERNARD BOLAN was born and bred in Britain but has called Australia home for several decades now.

Bernard Bolan

He's a lawyer, gardener, traveller, wordsmith, musician and many other things. When asked if he regretted leaving his birth country he said definitely not. In Britain it would not have been possible to combine the several careers to the same degree as he had in Australia.

He writes love songs, humorous songs, reflective and poetic songs and more besides. I'll let you decide into which category Toorak Tram falls.

♫ Bernard Bolan - Toorak Tram

I'll end with a disaster. In 1970, the Westgate Bridge, being built at the time, collapsed. Well, the main span of it did so.

This was a large bridge to cross the Yarra River (the one that separates Melbourne) at its mouth where it flows into the sea. This made international headlines – I know that as I was in Vancouver at the time and saw Melbourne above the fold in their newspapers and wondered what was up (or down, as it transpired).

Westgate Bridge

MARK SEYMOUR has written a song about it.

Mark Seymour

It wasn't the only bridge of ours to collapse. The King Street Bridge did so as well (in that case there were no casualties, fortunately). Also, as I'm writing this, a few days ago, probably due to a prolonged unprecedented heat wave, cracks appeared in the Westgate Bridge.

I think I'll keep away from it for a while. Here is Mark Seymour with Westgate.

♫ Mark Seymour - Westgate

1952 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 1952?

  • Nicolette Larson was born
  • East of Eden was published
  • Helsinki staged the Olympics Games
  • Dr. Jonas Salk developed polio vaccine
  • First edition of Mad Magazine published
  • Sun Records released its first disk (Bear Cat by Rufus Thomas)
  • Singin' in the Rain was released
  • Geelong were premiers

LLOYD PRICE wrote the song Lawdy Miss Clawdy and his performance of it caught the ear of record producer Art Rupe.

Lloyd Price

Art decided to record him but found that Lloyd didn't have a regular band, so a few jobbing musos were roped in for support – Dave Bartholomew, Fats Domino, Herb Hardesty and Earl Palmer.

It became the biggest selling R&B record for the year and has been covered many times since.

♫ Lloyd Price - Lawdy Miss Clawdy

TERESA BREWER's first public performance was when she was just two years old.

Teresa Brewer

Her mum entered her in a radio talent show. Later, as a teenager, she started winning these sorts of things for real which got her gigs in various clubs in New York. There was no stopping her then.

The amusing thing about Till I Waltz Again with You is that it isn't a waltz. Okay, it's not that amusing, either.

♫ Teresa Brewer - Till I Waltz Again With You

THE RAVENS seem to have one foot in the forties and another in the fifties.

The Ravens

Obviously, the subject matter of Rock Me All Night Long is pure fifties but their style still seems to be from earlier. That's just my ears, yours might tell you something different.

♫ The Ravens - Rock Me All Night Long

"Answer" songs were all the rage in the fifties. It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels was one of the rare answer songs that was superior to the original.

This was a response to Hank Thompson's The Wild Side of Life, a traditional "she done him wrong" song. Jay Miller wrote the new one and KITTY WELLS sang it to great success.

Kitty Wells

♫ Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels

RUTH BROWN's father was director of his local choir when she was growing up.

Ruth Brown

Ruth, however, was more interested in the music of Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan. She ran away from home when she was just 17 with the trumpeter Jimmy Brown and they were soon married.

She sang in bars and clubs and caught the ear and eye of Blanche Calloway, Cab's sister, and she kick-started Ruth's career. That career would take a very thick book indeed to recount so I'll stop there and play her song, Daddy Daddy.

♫ Ruth Brown - Daddy Daddy

Several good singers came through BILLY WARD AND HIS DOMINOES.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

The "His" is important because Billy was a strict disciplinarian and he didn't pay his musicians much, which is why they left. Two notable singers to have graced the group with their presence are Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.

Billy wrote the song Have Mercy Baby with Rose Marks. The group performed it while Clyde was still a member, and he gives it his trademark crying ending.

Billy Ward - Have Mercy Baby

EDDIE FISHER brings us back to pop territory with Tell Me Why.

Eddie Fisher

The song was first recorded by Jerry Gray. The Four Aces then had a crack at it and they reached the pointy end of the charts. It was then Eddie's turn and he also made the top 10.

♫ Eddie Fisher - Tell Me Why

We all know about Bill Haley and the Comets. However, before them there was BILL HALEY AND THE SADDLEMEN.

Bill Haley & the Saddlemen

These were the precursors to the Comets and sound pretty much like them, thanks to Bill mainly. They covered the song by Jimmy Preston called Rock The Joint that was featured back in 1949.

♫ Bill Haley & The Saddlemen - Rock The Joint

Yet another French song that gained popularity with English lyrics. This time it is LINE RENAUD.

Line Renaud

Actually, in this case it went in reverse. Guy Mitchell's My Truly, Truly Fair is the song in question. Line's song is called Ma p'tite folie.

♫ Line Renaud - Ma p'tite folie

It wasn't just Clyde McPhatter who cried on his records. An even more famous crier is JOHNNIE RAY.

Johnnie Ray

He recorded a couple of songs this year with crying as the theme, the most famous (to me anyway) is just called Cry.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Cry

You can find more music from 1952 here. 1953 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Jimmy Webb

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.

Jimmy Webb

Although he's recorded a whole bunch of albums over the years, JIMMY WEBB is best known for writing songs for other people. I first heard of him in the sixties when Glen Campbell had a string of hits that Jimmy had written. I imagine it was the same for most of you who know his work.

Jimmy was from Oklahoma where his father was a minister who wandered around that state and west Texas presiding over rural churches in the area. Young Jimmy learnt piano and organ early and accompanied dad in his services along with mum on accordion and dad himself on guitar.

Dad was a bit of a crank and restricted Jim's radio listening to country music and white gospel. Hmm. He obviously hadn't listened to the words of country songs.

After a time Jimmy discovered other music and was taken by Glenn Campbell's voice when he first heard him. It was around then he started writing songs.

You're going to hear only a fraction of those he's written over the years. Jimmy is the master of regretful or resigned songs. Songs of philosophical acceptance I guess you could call them. There will certainly be some of those.

Naturally, I'll start with GLEN CAMPBELL.

Glen Campbell

The inspiration for the song was when Jimmy was driving through Oklahoma, a long stretch of road through Washita County. He noticed the power lines stretching on to the horizon with an occasional workman up a pole with a phone in his hand.

He thought that would make a good song and so it proved. He changed the name to Wichita Lineman as it sang better than Washita.

♫ Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman

A song, and a version, that resonates with me. More to do with my life than the intrinsic qualities of the song and that's all I'm going to say on that matter.

It is MacArthur Park, the singer is RICHARD HARRIS, the actor and famous drinker.

Richard Harris

♫ Richard Harris - MacArthur Park

Another song with which Richard had a hit was Didn't We. However, I'm going with Jimmy's version.

Jimmy Webb

It turned up on his fine CD called "Ten Easy Pieces" where he recorded some of his most famous songs, mostly just accompanying himself on piano.

♫ Jimmy Webb - Didn't We

One of my favorite soul tracks was written by Jimmy and recorded by AL WILSON.

Al Wilson

That's the soul singer Al Wilson, not the guitarist from Canned Heat, and the song is Do What You Gotta Do. Linda Ronstadt did a pretty good version which Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, prefers.

She said that it's one of those great songs that sounds good no matter who performs it. I agree, but for me it's Al's version that's the pick of the bunch.

♫ Al Wilson - Do What You Gotta Do

Another song that was a big hit for Glenn Campbell is Honey Come Back. Here is Jimmy's version of the song helped along by KRIS KRISTOFFERSON.

Jimmy Webb and Kris Kristofferson

To say that Kris's voice sounds lived in these days would be a gross understatement, although given the life he's led it's probably an apt description.

♫ Jimmy Webb and Kris Kristofferson - Honey Come Back

This one had to be present as it's been recorded by many people and is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Given all those others, I still like JUDY COLLINS' version best, which is why I'm playing it.

Judy Collins

It came from her album, "Judith," which is an odd, but interesting nonetheless, mix of pop tunes, art songs and several of her own compositions.

♫ Judy Collins - The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress

P.F. Sloan was a singer/songwriter in the sixties who wanted to be the next Bob Dylan, or perhaps he wanted to be Jimmy Webb. He didn't succeed at either of those.

He did have one song he wrote that was a huge hit for Barry McGuire, and that was Eve of Destruction. Jimmy wrote a song about P.F. called P.F. Sloan that he (Jimmy) recorded quite some time ago. Here it is.

Jimmy Webb

♫ Jimmy Webb - P.F. Sloan

ROBERTA FLACK recorded See You Then on her third album, "Quiet Fire.”

Roberta Flack

That album didn't get much critical acclaim when it was released and even now it's dismissed somewhat. It does contain Jimmy's song though, and it's worth it for that alone.

♫ Roberta Flack - See You Then

I contemplated playing Isaac Hayes' version of By the Time I Get to Phoenix but it does go on a bit, even longer than MacArthur Park, close to 19 minutes which is just a tad too long, so I gave it a miss. Instead I've gone for Jimmy performing it.

Jimmy Webb

♫ Jimmy Webb - By the Time I Get to Phoenix

There were two groups over the years called THE HIGHWAYMEN. One was a folk style one from the early sixties, the other was much later and it was a quartet consisting of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, a handy bunch of performers.


Yes, that really is a beardless Willie on the right. I don't know if they were inspired by Jimmy's song, Highwayman, to name their group, but they certainly performed it. Here it is.

♫ The Highwaymen - Highwayman

ELDER MUSIC: 1951 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 1951?

  • Bob Geldof was born
  • Australia celebrated its 50th birthday as an independent country by shrugging its collective shoulders
  • The Catcher in the Rye was published
  • Elizabeth Taylor obtained her first divorce
  • Strangers on a Train was released
  • Geelong were premiers

Irving Gordon wrote Mister and Mississippi which was a big success for PATTI PAGE.

Patti Page

Because of its popularity, Irv decided to write more songs based on states' names the most successful of which was the pun-filled Delaware, a hit for Perry Como.

It's the Mississippi we have today though.

♫ Patti Page - Mister And Mississippi

CHARLES BROWN would certainly be considered the smoothest blues singer around.

Charles Brown

Although he was too mellow a performer to survive the rock & roll surge, paradoxically, he was a great influence on Chuck Berry whose earliest records were quite similar in style to those of Charles.

In the eighties and nineties he made a comeback and produced some fine albums. His song is Seven Long Days.

♫ Charles Brown - Seven Long Days

Another pianist, but quite a different one, BUD POWELL.

Bud Powell

He was influenced by Thelonious Monk, who became a friend of his, and he became a key figure in the development of BeBop. Unfortunately, he suffered from schizophrenia and he was in and out of mental institutions all his life. It's probably this that has stopped him gaining the recognition he deserves.

This is his own composition, Un Poco Loco.

♫ Bud Powell - Un Poco Loco

EDDIE FISHER makes his first appearance here but not yet in Elizabeth Taylor's life.

Eddie Fisher

Eddie gained a degree of local stardom singing around his native Philadelphia. He was discovered there and gained some success elsewhere until he was drafted.

After his stint, his star rose nationally and he had a number of hits in the first half of the fifties. This is one of them, Turn Back the Hands of Time.

♫ Eddie Fisher - Turn Back the Hands of Time

Thankfully, LOUIS ARMSTRONG is still around in 1951.

Louis Armstrong

This tune didn't change jazz history, as many of his past tunes did, but it's a really nice one, A Kiss to Build a Dream On.

♫ Louis Armstrong - A Kiss to Build a Dream On

ELMORE JAMES was one of the best slide guitarists ever. He also liked to pump up his amplifier as far as it could go. You could say he pretty much invented heavy metal.

Elmore James

Brian Jones was a big fan of his and emulated his slide style on the early Stones' records. Dust My Broom was written either by Elmore or Robert Johnson, nobody is really sure. Probably neither of them, like most blues songs it evolved over time.

What is certain is that it's been recorded by more musicians than we have all had hot breakfasts.

♫ Elmore James - Dust My Broom

JO STAFFORD has the unenviable task of following Elmore.

Jo Stafford

Shrimp Boats was written by Paul Howard and Paul Weston. The latter Paul was married to Jo so she had first call on the song. There are other versions but this is the one with which I'm familiar.

♫ Jo Stafford - Shrimp Boats

BILLY ECKSTINE had one of the smoothest voices around.

Billy Eckstine

In the forties, Billy formed his own band and, my goodness, did he ever nurture some talent. Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Charlie Parker have all had gigs in his band.

He's most remembered these days for his singing, and what a singer. This is I Apologize.

♫ Billy Eckstine - I Apologize

Now we go to the other extreme with HOWLIN WOLF.

Howlin' Wolf

The Wolf was another favorite of The Stones, they even covered his song, The Red Rooster. That's for another day, though, today it's How Many More Years.

♫ Howlin Wolf - How Many More Years

CHARLES TRENET has written a song about writing songs.

Charles Trenet

The song is L'Ame Des Poètes (Longtemps, Longtemps, Longtemps) which pretty much means The Poets’ Soul (for a long time). It's about how a song can have a life independent of its creator, or even of his original intention.

We see that all the time but it's seldom expressed so beautifully.

♫ Charles Trenet - L'Ame Des Poètes (Longtemps, Longtemps, Longtemps)

You can find more music from 1951 here.

1952 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: The Beethoven Obsession

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 Beethoven Obsession is a book about three men - well, four if you include Ludwig. It was written by BRENDAN WARD.

Brendan Ward

Brendan's mum was a trained pianist and played to concert standard. Most days began with her playing, usually Beethoven, and young Brendan grew up loving this music and became a decent pianist himself.

When he grew up he moved to Sydney from country New South Wales and naturally went to concerts there. It was at these he discovered pianist GERARD WILLEMS.

Gerard Willems

Gerard was born in The Netherlands and his family came to Australia when he was a boy. He learned the piano, both in the country of his birth, and with some difficulty it must be said, in his new country.

After some time he began a career playing the piano and teaching. He discovered a piano made by WAYNE STUART and was taken by the instrument.

Wayne Stuart

Wayne was a cabinet maker in Tasmania and he was fascinated by pianos. As a boy, youth and adult he'd like to take old pianos apart and put them back together again, both to repair them and to see how they worked.

It was through doing this that he discovered that standard pianos lacked something at the extremes – the very high and very low notes didn't ring as clearly as those in the middle.

Eventually he found a way of overcoming this and built his own pianos (that also had more keys such that it spanned a full eight octaves).

Brendan noticed that no Australian had ever recorded the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven. Indeed, few anywhere had done that. He thought that Gerard would be the man for the job and suggested it to him.

Gerard realized it was a big undertaking but agreed to do it; but it had to be using the Stuart piano.

Brendan approached the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) and they thought it was a good idea. However, they had doubts about the piano as some visiting pianists had tried it (notably Christopher Hogwood, who insisted on a Steinway) and didn't like it much.

They were unused to the clear sound all the way along the keyboard. The ABC suggested they used a different piano. Gerard said he would only do it if he could play the Stuart.

The ABC asked Brendan if he could think of someone else but he said he'd only be involved if Gerard was the one playing.


Eventually it was all sorted out the way it was originally intended to be and the box set was released to universal acclaim (including by me). That was some years ago.

Brendan wrote the book about the experience (and much more) and it was released recently. In the mean time, some previously little-known Beethoven piano works were discovered and Gerard recorded those as well as the piano concertos and the Dirabelli variations.

The original works were remastered and released in an even bigger boxed set along with the new works, again to overwhelming acclaim.

I'm going to play some music from the box as well as some other pieces of Beethoven for a bit of variety.

The three "new" sonatas (I'll be playing parts of two of them) Ludwig wrote when he was 11 and 12 years old.


We're used to prodigies in classical music – Mendelssohn, Schubert and Mozart in particular – but we don't usually lump Beethoven in with them. Perhaps we should rethink that.

This is the first of the pieces. Just think what you were doing when you were 11 years old.

The first movement of the Piano Sonata in E-flat major, WoO 47, No 1.

♫ Piano Sonata in E-flat major, WoO 47, no 1 (1)

The Duo for Two Flutes in G Major, WoO26 is the final work Ludwig composed while he was still in Bonn (where he was born and raised). He left for Vienna soon afterwards.

He wrote it for a friend of his to play and it wasn't intended for public performance, and wasn't published in his lifetime. It has two movements and we'll hear the first of these.

It has the great Jean-Pierre Rampal and the not quite so well known Alain Marion playing the flutes.

♫ Allegro & Minuet for 2 flutes, WoO26 (1)


Ludwig composed five sonatas for cello and piano. He pretty much invented the genre as the cello had only recently come into its own as a solo instrument. It had been around in string quartets of course (thanks to Haydn) but no one had thought to bring it to the fore.

Although this one is called number two, it's actually the last of the five that he wrote. So, to the third movement of the Cello Sonata in D major Op.102 N°2. Heinrich Schiff plays the cello and Till Fellner the piano.

♫ Cello Sonata in D major Op.102 N°2 (3)


Back to the piano sonatas. The sonata No 4 was dedicated to the Countess Babette Keglevich, who was his pupil at the time. Ludwig apparently had the hots for Babette (this wasn't unusual for him), but as normally happened, nothing came of it.

Not quite nothing. We got this piece of music, generally considered the first of his great sonatas. The fourth movement of the Piano Sonata No 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7.

♫ Piano Sonata No 4 in E-flat major, Op. 7 (4)

To mix things up a bit, here is some singing. We have something from an oratorio called Christus am Ölberge, or Christ on the Mount of Olives. It was the only oratorio that Ludwig composed and he was very dissatisfied with it, revising it several times both before and after it was first performed.

He remarked at the time that he'd much prefer to set secular works to music than religious ones. Here is a duet called So Ruhe Denn, sung by Maria Venuti and Keith Lewis.

♫ Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85 (9)


Another work that wasn't published in his lifetime, indeed, it wasn't finished – only two movements were written. It's a Duo for Viola and Cello in E flat major WoO 32. It has a subtitle by Ludwig "With two eyeglasses obbligato.”

It's pretty well established that he played this with his friend, the amateur cellist Nikolaus Zmeskall, who apparently lent his glasses to Ludwig at the time. Alas, we don't have those two to play for us, instead it's a couple of members of the Zurich String Quintet.

The CD doesn't specify which two are playing.  It's the second movement.

♫ Duet for Viola & Cello in E flat major WoO 32 (2)

Yet another composition Ludwig wrote just before leaving Bonn. He wrote most of his works for wind instruments when he was quite young, possibly he was still overawed somewhat by Haydn and didn't yet have the confidence to tackle Papa Jo's domain of symphonies and string quartets. He certainly overcame that reticence.

Anyway, here's the first movement for the Octet for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons & 2 horns in E Flat Major, Op.103.

♫ Octet for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons & 2 horns in E Flat Major, Op.103 (1)

The third of the very early sonatas – Ludwig was all of 12 when he wrote (and presumably played) this one. It's the first movement of the Piano Sonata in D major, WoO 47, No 3.

♫ Piano Sonata in D major, WoO 47, No 3 (1)


Everything else I've included today is for small ensembles or a single instrument. However, Ludwig's most famous works (except for the piano sonatas) involve full orchestra so I've decided to include a token one of those, a part of one of his symphonies.

That's not as easy as it seems as the movements of most of them are really too long for a column such as this and the shorter movements from my favorite (number 6) actually flow into each other so there's no distinct cut off point.

I turned to Symphony No 8 in F, Op 93 and have included the third movement.

♫ Symphony No 8 in F Op 93 (3)

I'll finish with one of the most famous piano sonatas - and one of the most beautiful. The first movement of the Piano Sonata No 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2, usually known as the Moonlight.

♫ Piano Sonata No 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27, No. 2 (1)

Declaration: I was sent the book, The Beethoven Obsession by the author. However, I was going to buy it when I heard about it (or perhaps get it from the library). If you're interested in the book or the disks of Gerard playing the piano sonatas you can find out about them here.

Gerard Willems & Brendan Ward

ELDER MUSIC: 1950 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 1950?

  • Stevie Wonder was born
  • First TV remote control was marketed
  • Diners Club issued credit cards for the first time
  • Rashomon was released
  • Essendon were premiers

The first time around for 1950 I had ANTON KARAS play the theme from that great film, The Third Man.

Anton Karas

Anton had more than one hit; admittedly, they were all from that film. Here is The Cafe Mozart Waltz. I can still picture the scene. Well, I've seen the film so many times that's not unusual.

♫ Anton Karas - The Cafe Mozart Waltz

We have quite a diverse lot of music today. To illustrate that, here's PERCY MAYFIELD.

Percy Mayfield

Percy was a major writer of blues and R&B songs. He was also a pretty good singer. Unfortunately, he was seriously injured in a car accident in 1952 that put paid to his performing.

He kept writing songs though. There is a great cover of Please Send Me Someone to Love by Fred Neil but this is Percy's version.

♫ Percy Mayfield - Please Send Me Someone To Love

TERESA BREWER started out singing pop and novelty songs. She later got serious and turned her voice to jazz.

Teresa Brewer

Speaking of banned records, which we did in these columns quite some time ago, several radio stations banned Music Music Music because they thought it was naughty. Can't see it myself, but then I can't figure out why any song is banned. Make up your own mind.

♫ Teresa Brewer - Music Music Music

I'm keeping the changes coming. Here's MUDDY WATERS.

Muddy Waters

Muddy's tune today is called Rolling Stone. This is the actual song after whom a rather successful musical combo was named. Brian was playing this record when a promoter asked for the name of the group. They didn't have one at that stage and -

♫ Muddy Waters - Rolling Stone

YVETTE GIRAUD's song may sound familiar to those of us who listened to music in the fifties.

Yvette Giraud

This is yet another example of a European, usually French, song given English lyrics. It actually started out as a Portuguese song – not surprising given its title. It then had French lyrics attached to the tune and later still, English ones. Probably other languages as well.

The version today is called Avril au Portugal which even folks who can't speak French can probably translate.

♫ Yvette Giraud - Avril au Portugal

Be My Love was written by Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodzsky for the film The Toast of New Orleans. It was sung by Kathryn Grayson and MARIO LANZA. Kathryn and Mario sang some bits from opera in the film as well. David Niven, who was also in the film, didn't sing anything.

Mario Lanza

Mario then recorded a solo version (well, except for that choir warbling in the background).

♫ Mario Lanza - Be my Love

Here is the Queen of Rhythm & Blues, RUTH BROWN.

Ruth Brown

Ruth brought a bit of pop sensibility to R&B or maybe vice versa. The song Teardrops From My Eyes established Ruth as a performer in that genre and was on the charts for some considerable time. It was also the first tune that Atlantic records released as a 45 (remember them?).

Before this song, Ruth was considered a torch singer and she was initially reluctant to record it but was talked into it.

♫ Ruth Brown - Teardrops From My Eyes

I was surprised I hadn't included this next song in my column for this year the first time around. I'm glad I didn't as I can have it today. PATTI PAGE is the singer. Tennessee Waltz is the song.

Patti Page

Nothing else needs be said, except that that's Patti singing with herself – one of the earliest instances of double tracking.

♫ Patti Page - Tennessee Waltz

Here is a really smooth 12 bar blues. That's almost an oxymoron but in this case it seems to work. The singer is IVORY JOE HUNTER and he sings his own song, I Almost Lost My Mind.

Ivory Joe Hunter

It was later covered by that notorious coverer of R&B tunes, Pat Boone, who made the charts with his version. Not a patch on Joe's though.

As an aside, Joe might be the only person who performed at both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Grand Ole Opry.

♫ Ivory Joe Hunter - I Almost Lost My Mind

I'll finish with another French song, another you might recognize. The singer is the famous actor YVES MONTAND.

Yves Montand

Yves sang the song Les Feuilles Mortes (The Dead Leaves) in the film Les Portes de la Nuit. Johnny Mercer later got hold of it and wrote English lyrics to it and called it Autumn Leaves.

♫ Yves Montand - Les Feuilles Mortes

You can find more music from 1950 here.

1951 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Triskaidekaphilia

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.

Or Triskaidekaphobia, take your pick.

I'm always amused by the number of buildings in the United States that lack a 13th floor (although the sensible Empire State Building is an exception I know of). Do the owners think that they'll get attacked by the boogie man or some such?

Thirteen is a rather ordinary number but it does have some interest. It's a prime for a start, one of an infinite number of those and there's an elegant proof of that statement that I won't bore you with today.

It's also one of a prime pair, sharing that with eleven. That is two primes separated by two. There is a conjecture that there is an infinite number of prime pairs as well but that hasn't been proved yet.

I'm not investigating it; I'm writing these music columns instead. Besides, maths research is a young person's game. Thirteen is also a part of the Fibonacci series. I'd better stop here before you all fall asleep.

It's not all 13 today because for the first time I did this the wrong way round. Normally, I collect the music and then write about it. This time I started writing, assuming I'd have enough to play, and found only four "thirteen" tracks and one of those I rejected as not good enough to include.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and a bit of a mathematician herself, suggested I use prime numbers. After all, I'd already been rabbiting on about them. So it shall be.

The first two thirteen songs I'm including probably came out about the same time, but they couldn't be more different. Leading off we have CHUCK BERRY.

Chuck Berry

Chuck's song sounds quite atypical of his usual style. It's as if it came from the Caribbean islands or a sea cruise around them or some such. It is Thirteen Question Method.

♫ Chuck Berry - Thirteen Question Method

Next up is JULIE LONDON.

Julie London

Julie is always welcome around these parts. This is from an album she recorded with a song for each month of the year, plus an extra one - this one in fact, The Thirteenth Month.

♫ Julie London - The Thirteenth Month

This is a much later thirteen song but by someone who was performing around the same time as Chuck and Julie and that person is JOHNNY CASH.

Johnny Cash

The song is from one of the series of albums Johnny made towards the end of his life with producer Rick Rubin. When all the other record companies had gone on to other glitzier, trivial stuff, Rick contacted Johnny and suggested he record him, usually with the simplest of backing.

Those of us who like good music can only applaud this. Even at the very end when Johnny's voice is gone, there's still power and dignity present. Johnny's song is just called Thirteen.

♫ Johnny Cash - Thirteen

Well, that's put paid to thirteen - now on to the other primes.

Here are a couple of seventeen songs, followed by a nineteen. Those two are another example of paired primes. First up is MARTY ROBBINS.

Marty Robbins

Marty's song was from fairly early in his career when he was trying to appeal to the teenagers. The song is She Was Only Seventeen.

♫ Marty Robbins - She Was Only Seventeen

The second seventeen is by THE CRYSTALS.

The Crystals

The song, What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen, was taken from their first album and their second album. After the success of the song, He's a Rebel, the Crystals' producer, the notorious Phil Spector, put out the same album again with that song and another in place of two on the original.

The song today wasn't the best song The Crystals ever did but it was far from the worst – that would be He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss).

♫ The Crystals - What A Nice Way To Turn Seventeen

At least the age is increasing, up to nineteen now with MUDDY WATERS.

Muddy Waters

The song, She's Nineteen Years Old came from 1958 when Muddy ruled the roost when it came to Chicago blues.

♫ Muddy Waters - She's Nineteen Years Old

Seven and eleven are often associated together; I assume it's the influence of crap shooting. The next two songs have both seven and eleven in their titles so you get two for the price of one (or four for the price of two, technically).

It's been said (by the A.M. certainly) that all guitar music of the twentieth century comes from CHARLIE CHRISTIAN.

Charlie Christian

I like to throw T-Bone Walker in the mix as well. On the track, Seven Come Eleven, you have the added bonus of Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and Fletcher Henderson.

The tune has a nice loose feel, not usually associated with anything to do with Benny.

♫ Charlie Christian - Seven Come Eleven

Here's something quite different from the rest of music today. I give you AKI TAKASE.

Aki Takase

Aki is a Japanese jazz pianist and composer. These days she lives in Berlin with her German husband but tours all over the place. Here is Seven Eleven, a bit of reversion to big band sound. Well, sort of.

♫ Aki Takase - Seven Eleven

Now some seven on its own. There are lots of seven songs and I've selected two of them. The first is by GEORGIA GIBBS.

Georgia Gibbs

Seven Lonely Days has been recorded by many people, probably the pick of them is the one by Patsy Cline. However, Georgia's version isn't too far behind and that's the one I've included.

♫ Georgia Gibbs - Seven Lonely Days

CHARLES BROWN first made a name for himself musically in Los Angeles where a smoother style of blues singing was in vogue influenced, no doubt, by Nat King Cole.

Charles Brown

Charles was probably the smoothest of the lot and a fine pianist as well, very similar to Nat in fact. His seven song is Seven Long Days.

♫ Charles Brown - Seven Long Days

Finally an eleventh song and it's about eleven.

JESSE WINCHESTER hasn't included the song Eleven Roses on any of his albums.

Jesse Winchester

He sang it here in Victoria when he visited some time ago. Parts of his appearances were recorded and released as a CD for 50 very lucky people. I was one of them and I'd like to share it with you.

We've just heard that Jesse died last week.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Eleven Roses


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 1949?

  • Bonnie Raitt was born
  • Death of a Salesman opened; it ran for years
  • Hopalong Cassidy began on TV, the first TV western
  • J. Edgar Hoover gave Shirley Temple a tear gas fountain pen. Hunh?
  • The best film ever made, The Third Man, was released
  • America won the Davis Cup
  • Essendon were premiers

Although, as we've seen and heard in previous years, songs that could be called rock & roll were around earlier, this next one by FATS DOMINO is often credited with being the first.

Fats Domino

It's The Fat Man, the first of many, many hits for Fats.

♫ Fats Domino - The Fat Man

Here is VAUGHN MONROE with his most famous song.

Vaughn Monroe

Or maybe the most famous of his is They Call the Wind Mariah. It could be either one as far as I'm concerned.

The song we're interested in today is Ghost Riders in the Sky. Burl Ives was actually the first to record the song but Vaughn wasn't far behind.

♫ Vaughn Monroe - Riders in the Sky

ROY BROWN was one of the foremost exponents of jump blues.

Roy Brown

His vocal style was influential as well; Jackie Wilson listened closely to him. James Brown and Little Richard probably lent an ear as well.

The song Miss Fanny Brown is rather unusual. Fanny's an older woman, not a girl of seventeen as is often (too often, probably) the case in these songs.

♫ Roy Brown - Miss Fanny Brown

Bill Haley obviously listened closely to JIMMY PRESTON.

Jimmy Preston

I know that because he covered this song and pretty much pinched the arrangement. Jimmy was a sax player as well as a singer, although the wailing on this track wasn't his. It belonged to Danny Turner.

Okay everyone, let's Rock This Joint.

♫ Jimmy Preston - Rock This Joint

It's not all jump blues and rock & roll this year. Here is EZIO PINZA.

Ezio Pinza

Ezio was an Italian opera singer. He sang bass. Outside of opera, he's best known for playing Emil de Becque in Rodgers and Hammerstein's “South Pacific" on Broadway. He wasn't in the film because he died the previous year.

Here is Some Enchanted Evening.

♫ Ezio Pinza - Some Enchanted Evening

Back to the rocking with WYNONIE HARRIS, another great jump blues musician.

Wynonie Harris

All She Wants to Do is Rock was the most successful song of Wynonie's career. I notice in the song she hucklebucks as well. That's yet another euphemism that's gone into the language to mean something different, just like rock & roll.

♫ Wynonie Harris - All She Wants To Do Is Rock

Okay, that's it for the rocking for this year. MEL TORMÉ is the antithesis of that style of music.

Mel Torme

I don't know about all that hand clapping throughout the song, but the Velvet Fog gives us another great performance with Careless Hands. This has been covered by such diverse performers as Bing Crosby, Dottie West and Jerry Lee Lewis. A good song will work in any milieu.

♫ Mel Torme - Careless Hands

Black Coffee was recorded first by SARAH VAUGHAN.

Sarah Vaughan

She wasn't the last – Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and scads of lesser singers have had a go at it. It's a fine, mellow song until that blast of brass in the middle woke me up. I could have done without that.

♫ Sarah Vaughan - Black Coffee

Both Sarah and CHARLES BROWN are favorites of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist.

Charles Brown

Charles had classical training on the piano and he also earned a degree in chemistry that he put to good use for a while. He later lit out to Los Angeles to pursue a musical career, initially with Johnny Moore's group and then with his own trio. Trouble Blues was a hit for him.

♫ Charles Brown - Trouble Blues

FRANKIE LAINE enters the picture. Well, our picture; he'd been around for a few years by 1949.

Frankie Laine

Get out your stock whips so you can sing and crack along to Mule Train. Frankie's version was the first recorded, pipping Bing Crosby by a couple of weeks. I think Frankie makes a more authentic mule driver than Bing.

♫ Frankie Laine - Mule Train

1950 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Celebrate the Curves

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 would like to say at the outset that the name of this column was suggested by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist. Not just the name of the column, she chose the music as well. For a change, she’s also written some of it too. Not a great deal of it, mind you, I had to write most of it.

As she says in her opening statement:

“I started out thinking of this column as a bluesy follow up to our earlier selections of blues women where we heard some early blues singers, then newer interpretations of the old songs.

“But as I listened to some favourite blues and R&B artists, some of the songs that said, "Play me, play me!" tended more towards the ballads or soul-tinged efforts. “So be it. The bluesier set is still in the works.

“Once again, I've had the fun of selecting the tracks, leaving Peter to fill this out with facts and photos.”

Peter here again. We'll kick off today with LOU ANN BARTON, another of the many musicians out of Texas. Way back in the seventies, she worked with blues bands like Double Trouble and Roomful of Blues.

Today's track, Brand New Lover, is from her album “Old Enough” which apparently didn't sell all that well, but the A.M. liked it. So did I.

Lou Ann Barton

♫ Lou Ann Barton - Brand New Lover

MARCIA BALL got together with IRMA THOMAS and TRACY NELSON to produce an album called “Sing It!”

Marcia Ball-Sing It

Why settle for one great singer when you can have three of them? Not only that, we also have the best of Memphis and New Orleans session musicians backing them on the album.

The three women have said that they were fans of each others' music but their paths had rarely crossed before this album. That’s a bit of a pity; imagine the great music that could have been made.

However, we have this terrific album. The track is Love Maker.

♫ Marcia Ball et al - Love Maker

The first of our “Australian content” tracks today is the effervescent LIL' FI.

Lil Fi

Lil' Fi is a fine blues/roots musician from Queensland. Unusually, for a front person, Fi is a drummer. She doesn’t lug around the full modo; just a basic setup plus feather boas, is all she really needs.

Fi co-founded The Flannelettes, a large a capella group. She is also the co-founder of the East-Coast Queen Bees which brings together Australia's finest women blues musicians all in the one band.

This is Lil' Fi with Celebrate the Curves and I can now see where the A.M. got the name for the column.

♫ Lil' Fi - Celebrate The Curves

What can I say about BONNIE RAITT that hasn’t been said before? She’s a fine singer and a great guitarist, especially when she plays slide guitar, something she learnt from Fred McDowell, the master of this musical form.

Bonnie Raitt

After more than 20 years of performing, Bonnie became an overnight success in 1989 with the release of the album “Nick of Time.” The fans knew her long before that.

I remember seeing her in Albuquerque way back playing to a packed house. The rest of the world finally caught up. Here she performs Home.

♫ Bonnie Raitt - Home

ELLEN MCILWAINE often gets a guernsey in the A.M.’s selected columns.

Ellen McIlwaine

Like Bonnie, Ellen plays a mean slide guitar. Born in Nashville, she grew up in Japan where she was exposed to Japanese and other international music as well as a variety of American rhythm and blues and country music.

Back in the US, she spent a while in the 1960s playing in Greenwich Village with the young Jimi Hendrix and opening for a number of the older bluesmen. These days she lives in Canada and is still performing and recording.

Here she is with Steal Him Away.

♫ Ellen McIlwaine - Steal Him Away

Ah, now we have someone who really does live up to the promise of the title of this column, KATE CEBERANO. However, she’s actually been included because she’s a terrific singer.

Kate Ceberano

We've played Kate here before, and on this track she is joined by another Oz singer, DEBRA BYRNE. Debra started out on a junior talent show on TV, then was a teenage pop star, but has moved on to a broader career on stage and TV, both singing and acting.

Debra Byrne

They sing You've Always Got the Blues.

♫ Ceberano & Byrne - You've always got the blues

MARCIA BALL again, this time on her own or, to be more precise, without Tracy and Irma.

Marcia Ball

Marcia was born in Texas but grew up in Louisiana and it’s the music from both those areas that influence her playing and singing.

She started playing the piano when she was only five years old and was, not unnaturally, hugely influenced by Fats Domino, Professor Longhair and other New Orleans pianists.

Irma Thomas was an inspiration on her vocal style and since recording the album mentioned above, they have collaborated on several projects. Here is Marcia with Why Women Cry.

♫ Marcia Ball - Why Women Cry

JANIVA MAGNESS was unknown to me until recently, I’m ashamed to admit, because she’s a wonderful singer. It seems I’m not the only one who thinks that. The A.M. happened upon a CD several years ago.

Janiva Magness

Janiva’s from Detroit with influences from Motown, blues and country music. She has a right to sing the blues, having had a tough early life.

She has said she was saved by music when, upon seeing an Otis Rush blues show, she knew that’s what she wanted to do. Fortunately, she had the talent to carry this through.

This is Slipped, Tripped and Fell In Love.

♫ Janiva Magness - Slipped, Tripped And Fell In Love

It's been quite a few years since we first heard Susan Tedeschi with her rootsy singing and guitar. These days, with marriage and kids, she and hubby guitarist Derek Trucks have combined to record and tour together as the TEDESCHI-TRUCKS BAND instead of separately, and what a good idea that has been.

Derek learnt his guitar style in the Allman Brothers Band where his uncle was one of the original drummers. From their first joint CD, “Revelator,” we'll hear Midnight in Harlem.

Tedeschi Trucks

♫ Tedeschi-Trucks Band - Midnight In Harlem

TONI PRICE took her performing name when she entered a local talent quest as a kid. When the compere asked her name, she said Toni, after the advertisements for Toni home perms. The A.M. says she remembers the ads in women's magazines, but doesn't know of anybody who used the product.

Toni Price

Toni took her musical inspiration from Bonnie Raitt. Well, you could do a lot worse. Then she went back to the source and found Victoria Spivey, Sippie Wallace and others, and came in the other direction to check out Aretha Franklin, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Patsy Cline.

Given all that, Toni's a bit hard to categorise, not that I like doing that sort of thing, so I find that refreshing. There's country in there, definitely some blues and some raunchy rock & roll. Something for almost everyone.

Toni's song today is Richest One.

♫ Toni Price - Richest One


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 1948?

  • Jackson Browne was born
  • FX Holden released (that's for the Australians reading)
  • The long playing record (33⅓) invented
  • Olympic Games held in London
  • Key Largo was released
  • America won the Davis Cup
  • Melbourne and Essendon played a draw in the Grand Final
  • Melbourne were premiers in the replay

Nature Boy is a bit of a strange song written by a bit of a strange songwriter – eden ahbez (he used the lower case).

He was born George Arbele in Brooklyn and was later adopted by a family in Kansas where he went by the name George McGrew. Later, he grew his hair long, had a beard and wore sandals and white robes.

He may have been the first hippie. He lived with his family in the woods under the first L of the Hollywood sign. They lived on fruit and nuts (appropriate) and vegetables.

He got the song to NAT KING COLE who was mightily impressed with it and recorded it. It became a big hit.

Nat King Cole

♫ Nat King Cole - Nature Boy

PAULA WATSON recorded A Little Bird Told Me and it started to make a mark on the charts.

Paula Watson

A big record company, Decca, had Evelyn Knight record the song. She did that and it was virtually identical to Paula's version – vocals, backing instruments, the lot, such that many people couldn't tell them apart. Yet another example of white artists ripping off the black originals.

Paula's record company sued. Unfortunately, they lost; the judge said that arrangements aren't copyrightable. Hmm. Anyway, here's the original by Paula.

♫ Paula Watson - A Little Bird Told Me

Speaking of black originals, here's one of a kind JOHN LEE HOOKER.

John Lee Hooker

The tune today was John Lee's first release and it's been called "the riff that launched a million songs.”

It inspired, and was used in, countless blues and rock tunes. It's amazing how far you can get on a single chord. The song is Boogie Chillen'.

♫ John Lee Hooker - Boogie Chillen'

Yet another great blues artist, the great MUDDY WATERS made a musical dent this year.

Muddy Waters

Muddy recorded this song for the Aristocrat label, the forerunner of Chess records. He created it from two of his previous songs, ones that Alan Lomax recorded when Muddy was still on a plantation in Mississippi.

This was the song that broke Muddy to a wider audience, I Can't Be Satisfied.

♫ Muddy Waters - I Can't Be Satisfied

EDDY ARNOLD was born on a farm in Tennessee.

Eddy Arnold

His father played the fiddle and his mother the guitar so he had a good head start on this music caper. He started singing on radio stations in the area and then further afield.

He caught the eye and ear of "Colonel" Tom Parker (now, where have I heard that name before?) who got him a record deal with RCA. Eddy's song today is Anytime, a song that's been recorded by quite a few people over the years.

♫ Eddy Arnold - Anytime

If you think rock & roll didn't begin until the fifties, point your ears at this next song by WILD BILL MOORE.

Wild Bill Moore

All I need to do is say that the title is We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll.

♫ Wild Bill Moore - We're Gonna Rock, We're Gonna Roll

In 1948, NELLIE LUTCHER had a string of hits on the R&B charts.

Nellie Lutcher

Nellie was a jazz and R&B singer and also played piano. She was a major influence on Nina Simone.

Nellie was from Louisiana, one of 15 kids. Her parents both played instruments (I'm surprised they had time) and young Nellie received piano lessons. At 12, she played piano for Ma Rainey and at 14 she joined her dad's jazz band.

She later moved to Los Angeles where she became friends with Nat King Cole. They duetted on several records of Nat's over the years. Her song today is probably her most successful, Fine Brown Frame.

♫ Nellie Lutcher - Fine Brown Frame

ARTHUR SMITH is a pretty mean guitar picker.

Arthur Smith

He first played cornet and later switched to banjo and guitar. In 1955, he wrote and recorded a tune called Feudin' Banjoes. This was later renamed Dueling Banjoes and used memorably in the film Deliverance (it wasn't his version that was used though).

The tune today is called Boomerang and for the life of me I can't see any connection to Australia in it.

♫ Arthur Smith - Boomerang

THE ORIOLES were one of the first DooWop groups to become successful.

Sonny Til

They were lucky in having Sonny Til as lead tenor. Indeed, the group later became known as Sonny Til and The Orioles. They were originally called The Vibra-Naires (I'm glad that one didn't last) and about that time Deborah Chessler became their manager.  She was also a songwriter of some skill and wrote the song, It's Too Soon to Know.

♫ The Orioles - It's Too Soon to Know

THE INK SPOTS turn their hand to a song written by William Faber and Fred Meadows called You Were Only Fooling.

The Ink Spots

Like a lot of songs around this time, there were several versions all of which made the charts. The Ink Spots were the ones who made the highest rung.

♫ The Ink Spots - You Were Only Fooling

1949 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Elvis Covers

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 have previously done columns on songs that were covered by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. I might as well go for the trifecta and do the same for Elvis Presley.

There is a bit of a difference because both of those groups pretty much wrote their own songs after their first couple of albums. Elvis never did that so a lot of his songs were cover versions already. The others were written especially for him so they don't count, or at least not in the context of today's column.

Elvis listened to a wide range of music, as we all did back then. Indeed, initially his ambition was to be a crooner like Dean Martin. Well, he did a bit of that in his career, as will be reflected in the choices today.

HANK SNOW sounds as if he wandered on to the set of one of Elvis's Hawaiian films: all that lap steel guitar work.

Hank Snow

Hank was a country music singer (which explains the lap-steel guitar) who wrote a bunch of songs that achieved considerable success. He didn't write this one though, that honor goes to Bill Trader. The song is A Fool Such As I.

♫ Hank Snow - A Fool Such As I

BIG MAMA THORNTON had the original version of one of Elvis's biggest hits.

Big Mama Thornton

That hit is Hound Dog, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller who also produced Big Mama's recording. They were responsible for many of the king's hits and those of many other artists as well.

♫ Big Mama Thornton - Hound Dog

If I mention AL JOLSON in the context of today's topic, there's really only one song it could be.

Al Jolson

The song, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, was written in 1926 by Lou Handman and Roy Turk. There were quite a few versions recorded before Al got to it in 1950. Really rather late in his career as he died that same year.

Here's his version.

♫ Al Jolson - Are You Lonesome Tonight

Elvis wasn't the only artist inspired by the INK SPOTS.

The Ink Spots

Many DooWop and soul artists acknowledge them as influences, also a few rock & rollers. I was rather surprised by their song; I hadn't realized that they had recorded it until I went hunting for this column.

The song is That's When Your Heartaches Begin.

♫ The Ink Spots - That's When Your Heartaches Begin

I mentioned Elvis's Hawaiian films above. Well, here is the real deal. It's Blue Hawaii, one of his flicks of course. The original version of the song though is by BING CROSBY.

Bing Crosby

Der Bingle was in a few Hawaiian films himself (or at least, Hawaiian-like films). This particular song was written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger for the film Waikiki Wedding that starred Bing and Shirley Ross (who occasionally appeared with Bob Hope in such things).

♫ Bing Crosby - Blue Hawaii

DAVID HILL sang one of the King's biggest hits (okay, there were a lot of them, so that doesn't narrow things down much).

David Hess

This was a "musical name" for David who was mostly known as David Hess.

Although he recorded and sometimes wrote songs, including some lesser known ones for Elvis, his main gig was as an actor. Listening to his insipid version almost made me cringe.

Elvis sure improved on this one. This one being All Shook Up.

♫ David Hill - All Shook Up

While in the army in Germany, Elvis heard a song called There's No Tomorrow by Tony Martin. He really liked the song, but wasn't taken with the words.

He mentioned this to his music publisher who just happened to be visiting Germany at the time and he (the publisher) got some songwriters to come up with new words and that song became It's Now or Never. And that became a huge hit.

Going backwards in time, Tony's song was based on an Italian tune called O Sole Mio written by Giovanni Capurro and Eduardo di Capu at the end of the nineteenth century. A very popular version was recorded by EMILIO DE GOGORZA.

Emilio de Gogorza

Emilio was born in Brooklyn but was brought up and trained musically in Spain. Due to his severe near-sightedness he didn't appear in opera, but he had a long concert and recital career. He also recorded prodigiously.

This is just one of those recordings, O Sole Mio.

♫ Emilio de Gogorza - O Sole Mio

ARTHUR GUNTER started in the music biz very early; as a kiddliewink he was in a gospel group with his brothers and cousins.

Arthur Gunter

Somewhere along the way he picked up a guitar and started playing. He also wrote songs, one of which was Baby Let's Play House. He recorded it in 1954 and it was a local hit in Tennessee which is where Elvis heard it and the rest is history.

Here's Arthur with the original.

♫ Arthur Gunter - Baby Let's Play House

Most people who take an interest in these things are familiar with Sonny Til and the Orioles' version of Crying in the Chapel. They possibly even think it was the first recording of the song. Not quite.

DARRELL GLENN was first into the studio earlier the same year.

Darrell Glenn

That's not too surprising as Darrell's dad, Artie Glenn, wrote the tune and suggested he have a go at it. Although still at school, Darrell did just that. It was quite a hit until Sonny and the boys released their version which was huge.

I think theirs is the superior version, but I'm going with the original.

Darrell Glenn - Crying In The Chapel

DEL SHANNON was first out of the blocks with His Latest Flame written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman.

Del Shannon

Although he recorded it first, Del's version only appeared on an album at the time and it only preceded the Elvis version by two months. That's enough for this column though. Del didn't do a bad job, but Elvis really nailed it.

♫ Del Shannon - His Latest Flame


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 1947?

  • Tim Buckley was born
  • A Streetcar Named Desire premiered on Broadway
  • Edwin Land demonstrated the Polaroid camera
  • A weather balloon crashed at Roswell, New Mexico
  • "The Paradine Case was released
  • America won the Davis Cup
  • Carlton were premiers.

ROY BROWN recorded Good Rockin' Tonight after offering it to Wynonie Harris who turned it down.

Roy Brown

After Roy's version became a hit, Wynonie recorded it after all, making it more energetic. It became a bigger hit than Roy's but he didn't mind as he collected the royalties.

It was later memorably covered by Elvis and others including Pat Boone (cringe).

♫ Roy Brown - Good Rockin' Tonight

CHARLES TRENET didn't perform any songs he didn't write himself.

Charles Trenet

Fortunately, he was a prolific tunesmith, way over a thousand, so there were enough that he wouldn't have to wonder what to do next. Certainly the most famous of his songs in the English-speaking world is La Mer.

♫ Charles Trenet - La Mer

Now for the great T-BONE WALKER with his song, Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad).

T-Bone Walker

That's the official title of the song. It's usually just called Stormy Monday but there are other songs with that title. Given all that, this is by far the best known of them so there's generally no confusion (unless we're playing one of the others).

♫ T-Bone Walker - Stormy Monday

Next up, FRANK SINATRA with one of his memorable songs. Okay, that doesn't narrow it down too much.

Frank Sinatra

This is September Song, written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson supplied the lyrics. The song was written especially for Walter Huston, of all people, to sing in the film, Knickerbocker Holiday.

Frank recorded this song a couple more times, not counting live albums, of course, but here is the one recorded in 1947.

♫ Frank Sinatra - September Song

Now the man we have to thank/blame (take your pick) for rock & roll. Without him, it's possible it wouldn't have happened, certainly not the same way. I'm talking, of course, of BIG JOE TURNER.

Big Joe Turner

Even in these songs of his from the forties we have a taste of what was to come. This is My Gal's a Jockey.

♫ Big Joe Turner - My Gal's a Jockey

THE MILLS BROTHERS certainly kept on keeping on.

The Mills Brothers

Although they started singing around the house earlier and at their father's barbershop (making them a barbershop quartet, I guess), they began professionally in 1926. Unfortunately, one brother (John) died 10 years later.

They contemplated breaking up but dad (also John) stepped in to take his place. After celebrating their 50th year in show biz, dad left due to various medical complications.

They carried on as a trio. Harry died in 1982 (that's 56 years by now) and Herbert and Donald kept going until Herbert died in 1989 (63 years in the business). At this stage John III, Donald's son, joined up.

They kept going until Donald died in 1999 (that brings us to 73 years performing). Young John continues the tradition going with a bit of outside help.

Here they are with Across the Alley from the Alamo.

♫ The Mills Brothers - Across The Alley From The Alamo

American universities certainly indulge in some strange practices: in too many of them the overwhelming emphasis on sport rather than learning springs immediately to mind. Then there are fraternities and sororities. What are you thinking of?

That brings me to the Whiffenpoofs who at least seem to be just a choral group (at Yale). They have their own song, Whiffenpoof Song. Here's BING CROSBY to sing it.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - Whiffenpoof Song

Open the Door, Richard started out as a black vaudeville routine. The performer half spoke, half sang the refrain. It was turned into a song by Jack McVea who generally played saxophone.

It was such a runaway success that more than a dozen other versions were recorded, many of them were also hits. Here is one of them by LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

♫ Louis Jordan - Open the Door, Richard

Golden Earrings was a spy film from this year with Ray Milland. The song was sung in the film by Murvyn Vye, who is new to me. This was quite popular so folks were lining up to record it.

Bing was first out of the starting blocks, but the big hit was by PEGGY LEE.

Peggy Lee

♫ Peggy Lee - Golden Earrings


Hank Williams

The song Move It on Over, Hank's first hit, like some other songs this year, presages rock & roll. It sounds like pure country but the structure is really that of a blues song.

The solo guitar would not sound out of place in any later rock song.

♫ Hank Williams - Move It on Over

1948 will appear in two weeks' time.

The Courage and Bravery of Elders

Recently, I ran across a quotation from Muriel Spark on the subject of growing old:

”Being over 70 is like being engaged in a war. All our friends are going or gone and we survive amongst the dead and the dying as on a battlefield.”

Spark reminded me of a blog post I have intended to write for a long time (see above headline). But first, I wanted to be sure I know the difference between courage and bravery which most of us – me too and even some dictionaries – use interchangeably.

Fortunately, there is a respectable website called DifferenceBetween and I'm going to quote at length their explanation of the difference between courage and bravery. Added emphasis is mine:

Bravery is the ability to confront pain, danger or attempts of intimidation without any feeling of fear. It is strength in character that allows a person to always be seemingly bigger than the crisis, whether he is indeed more powerful or is lesser than what he is tackled with.

Courage, on the other hand, is the ability to undertake an overwhelming difficulty or pain despite the eminent and unavoidable presence of fear. More than a quality, it is a state of mind driven by a cause that makes the struggle all worth it.

“Unlike in the case of bravery, a person fueled by courage may feel inevitably small in the face of peril, pain or problems. The essence of courage is not the feeling of being certainly capable of overcoming what one is faced with, but rather is the willful choice to fight regardless of the consequences.”

So the basic difference is that bravery involves no feeling of fear in the face of danger and courage is the will to keep going in the face of fear.

Certainly there must be elders who bravely keep on truckin' without fear as the years pile up. I am not one of them. It is in quiet moments alone and in the dark of night sometimes, when I can't sleep, that I am fully aware of the disasters that can befall me.

Fully aware even when pretending that none of them will happen to me.

Fully aware even when recalling that actor Bette Davis was speaking from first-hand knowledge when she said, “Old age ain't no place for sissies.”

In 1983, Ms. Davis underwent a double mastectomy for breast cancer and two weeks later suffered four strokes followed soon by a broken hip – three of the most common scourges of old age crammed into one year.

Bette Davis and her Pillow

There was a long period of recovery but Ms. Davis worked her way back to make several more films before she died in 1989 at age 81. The epitaph on her tombstone reads, "She did it the hard way.”

No kidding. And so do a lot of old people. Actually, I suspect that one way or another, we all do it the hard way:

Weathering the kind of loneliness Muriel Spark speaks of when too many old friends have died and there is no one left who knew you when you were young.

Of the medical horrors like those of Bette Davis. Not everyone comes back as far as she did but so many are surprisingly resilient in making do with limitations.

The drip, drip, drip of declining strength and energy in old, old age. Nevertheless, elders accommodate and keep going. I've known and continue to know many.

The bone-deep sadness (not to mention exhaustion) of caregivers watching spouses decline while they still find things to laugh about.

Approaching the end of our days wondering so much more seriously than when we were younger, what comes afterward. Hurray, I suppose, to those who are convinced of life ever after.

Those who are not convinced are left to contemplate oblivion.

There is courage in just walking around when you know that every year, one-third of people 65 and older fall and 20 percent who suffer a hip fracture die within a year. Remember when a fall meant a bruise or at worse, a broken bone that would heal quickly? No elder can count on that anymore.

Old age requires that elders become aware, as much as possible, of the catastrophes that can befall them and they do that with amazing good cheer most of the time as they arrive closer each day to the inevitable and only outcome life grants us.

All old people are amazingly brave and courageous, and none get enough credit for it.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Vicki E. Jones: The Advertising Lesson

ELDER MUSIC: Songs about the King

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

There are many songs about Elvis out there and we can ignore most of them as they rank from ordinary to awful. There are a few worth listening to though and those are the ones you will hear today.

Elvis Presley

One of the performers today who actually met Elvis is JIMMY WEBB.

Jimmy Webb

In fact, his song is all about that meeting. I imagine if I had ever met him I'd write about it too. I didn't so you'll just have to go with Jimmy's version rather than mine. The song is Elvis and Me.

♫ Jimmy Webb - Elvis and Me

GLENN CARDIER is an Australian singer/songwriter and, well, a bit eccentric. Given that, he's a terrific writer and a wonderful performer. If you ever get a chance to see him, take it (although you might have to fly over to this wide brown land to do that).

Glenn Cardier

Glenn can make you laugh and cry in the one song. This is one of those, Elvis at the Checkout.

♫ Glenn Cardier - Elvis At the Checkout

There are a few versions of My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Elvis, most of them out of England. The one I've chosen is by MIKE SARNE.

Mike Sarne

Mike is best known as an actor, writer and director - however, in the early sixties he had a few records that made the charts, most notably Come Outside. This is another song from the same period.

♫ Mike Sarne - My Baby's Crazy 'Bout Elvis

A particular favorite song of mine on this theme is by GREG BROWN.

Greg Brown

This is from probably his best album, "The Poet Game.” The song is Jesus and Elvis - that's all that needs to be said. I'll just let you listen.

♫ Greg Brown - Jesus and Elvis

Gather round cats and I'll tell you a story about an all-American boy. We know who that boy is; the singer in this case is BOBBY BARE.

Bobby Bare

That may not be obvious if you have the old 45 of the song as it claimed the singer to be Bill Parsons.

Bill was a bit of a singer and a friend of Bobby's who was in the studio the day it was recorded. Accidentally or not, his name made the record and he toured when the song became a hit as Bobby had been drafted and couldn't do that. Audiences soon found out he wasn't the one who recorded the song.

Here's the real Bobby with All American Boy.

♫ Bobby Bare - All American Boy

Now for a song from a most unexpected source, JOAN BAEZ.

Joan Baez

Joan's song is also rather unexpected. It sounds like a cross between early fifties' rock & roll and Chicago electric blues, neither of which we usually associate with Joan. There's more to her than we realize.

She's said in interviews that she started singing rock & roll and rhythm & blues before becoming famous for her folk style. Here she sings Elvis Presley Blues.

♫ Joan Baez - Elvis Presley Blues

As with Greg Brown, the BELLAMY BROTHERS conflate others besides Elvis into their song.

Bellamy Brothers

In their case, they use real people not an imaginary one. Theirs are Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. The song is called Elvis, Marilyn and James Dean.

♫ Bellamy Brothers - Elvis, Marilyn And James Dean

TEX, DON AND CHARLIE consists of Australians Tex Perkins (from The Cruel Sea, The Beasts of Bourbon and a solo career), Don Walker (from Cold Chisel) and Charlie Owen (a respected guitarist).

Tex Don & Charlie

Tex had heard Charlie and thought he'd like to perform with him. A producer suggested to him (Tex) that he record with Don. Tex said he'd do it if Charlie was involved as well. Thus a new group was born. Their song is Postcard from Elvis.

♫ Tex Don & Charlie - Postcard from Elvis

I'll end with a song that's not about Elvis but it is one that he recorded.

I really have no time for Elvis impersonators; they're a blot on the musical landscape. There is one artist, though, who was cursed with a voice that was as near as damn identical to Elvis's. That man is RAL DONNER.

Ral Donner

Ral wasn't an Elvis impersonator but there was no escaping his voice. For all of his career he tried to forge a musical existence separate from the King, with a little bit of success.

Even allowing for that, he was given the task of providing Elvis's voice for the documentary This is Elvis in 1981.

In spite of trying to distance himself from El, one of Ral's biggest hits was a cover of a song Elvis recorded first, Girl of my Best Friend.

It may sound like sacrilege but he did a far better job of the song than Elvis did. Maybe it was because El recorded it in the mid-sixties when he wasn't really trying.

♫ Ral Donner - Girl Of My Best Friend

There'll be some more Elvis related music in two weeks' time.


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 1946?

  • Linda Ronstadt was born
  • The League of Nations was dissolved (I didn't realize it was still around then)
  • Tupperware was sold for the first time
  • The bikini made its first appearance (in Paris)
  • The Big Sleep was released
  • America won the Davis Cup
  • Essendon were premiers.

The song To Each His Own was written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. It made the charts four times this year, the final time by THE INK SPOTS, easily the best version of them all.

The Ink Spots

♫ The Ink Spots - To Each His Own

Choo Choo Ch'Boogie is the epitome of jump blues but in spite of that, it was written by three songwriters who, before this one, had only written country songs (Vaughn Horton, Denver Darling, and Milt Gabler).

One of those songs was Mocking Bird Hill, so they knew how to come up with a decent tune. Choo Choo Ch'Boogie was LOUIS JORDAN's biggest hit – it stayed on top of the R&B charts for 18 weeks.

Louis Jordan

♫ Louis Jordan - Choo Choo Ch'Boogie

Les Trois Cloches is a Swiss song by Jean Gilles. It first became a hit when sung by ÉDITH PIAF et Les Compagnons de la Chanson.

Edith Piaf

Edith sang this extensively when she toured America that year and it was very popular. So much so that The Browns recorded it and had a big hit with English words written by Bert Reisfeld.

♫ Edith Piaf - Les Trois Cloches

CHARLIE PARKER's tune is a sly joke about his nickname (Bird). He called it Ornithology.

Charlie Parker

The tune started out as How High the Moon but the jazz great turns that into something completely different. The trumpet player rather surprisingly isn't Dizzy Gillespie, but Miles Davis. The pianist is Dodo Marmarosa. The trumpeter Benny Harris is credited with co-writing the tune.

♫ Charlie Parker - Ornithology

THE RAVENS were one of the first DooWop groups, or at least an early precursor of that style.

The Ravens

They were greatly influenced by The Mills Brothers and The Ink Spots. Hear what they do to Ol' Man River.

♫ The Ravens - Ol Man River

ARTHUR CRUDUP wrote and recorded the song That's All Right.

Arthur Crudup

Later he added (Mama) to the title. It really is a bunch of lines from blues songs thrown together. It doesn't matter, they work. This song was also Elvis's very first hit.

♫ Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup - That's All Right (Mama)

Are you ready for your yearly dose of NAT KING COLE?

 Nat King Cole Trio

Well, even if you're not that's who's next. Nat and the trio are performing one of their famous songs, (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, written by Bobby Troup who was married to another regular here, Julie London.

♫ Nat King Cole - (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66

To keep the interesting musicians coming, I next present THELONIOUS MONK.

Thelonious Monk

Monk was there with Diz and Bird developing BeBop. He has a style of playing the piano that's all his own although on this one he plays it pretty straight. He does tend to divide people's opinions. That's okay, there's plenty of music out there if you don't like it.

Monk had composed Round Midnight some years earlier and he wasn't the first to record it. His is still the definitive version though.

♫ Thelonious Monk - Round Midnight

Here's something and someone to bring a smile to your faces, HOAGY CARMICHAEL.

Hoagy Carmichael

The song is Ole Buttermilk Sky, one of his own. I really like the piano playing on this – that's Hoagy tinkling the ivories. He is underrated as a pianist. It really is a nice song (if that's not damning it).

♫ Hoagy Carmichael - Ole Buttermilk Sky

From a piece of faux country to the real thing, although back then there were more instruments in the mix than is generally the case these days. This is MERLE TRAVIS with Divorce Me C.O.D.

Merle Travis

♫ Merle Travis - Divorce Me C.O.D.

1947 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Burt Bacharach

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.

Burt Bacharach

With a title like that I imagine that you could fill in the songs without drawing a breath. But I might surprise you today.

When I investigated the topic, I found that he had written an enormous number of songs. That's no secret, of course, but it means I can pick and choose. So, I have picked and chosen songs that you might not be expecting.

I'll say from the start that there are no songs by Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield, Jack Jones, Aretha Franklin or Herb Alpert. I have nothing against any of those performers, it's just that they are so associated with Burt's music that I've come up tracks that aren't so famous.

That's not quite true. Many, maybe most, are famous but it was a bit of a surprise to me that they were written by him. I hope some of them surprise you too.

I'll start with some tunes from very early in his career, the first of which is performed by MARTY ROBBINS.

Marty Robbins

I really didn't know at the time that this was written by Burt but then I wouldn't have known who he was in 1957. It was also one of the first times I was aware of Marty - not quite the first, that'd be White Sport Coat.

Anyway, The Story of My Life was co-written by Hal David.

♫ Marty Robbins - The Story of My Life

I'm going to stop saying that I didn't know the song was written by Burt as most of them today fall into that category. I'll just say the name GENE MCDANIELS.

Gene McDaniels

Gene had a number of really good songs on the charts in the early sixties; this is one of them. This time Burt had the help of Bob Hilliard. Tower of Strength.

♫ Gene McDaniels - Tower of Strength

Around the same time that Marty had his hit, PERRY COMO had one as well.

Perry Como

This was the second song from Burt and Hal David to make the charts (Marty's was the first) and, coincidentally or not, they both feature whistling. I don't think that that's significant.

Of course, at this time Perry could do no wrong so it wasn't a surprise that it sold so well. Unfortunately, Magic Moments has been used in all sorts of inappropriate places. I wish they'd stop doing that.

♫ Perry Como - Magic Moments

I wasn't aware of ETTA JAMES' contribution until recently. It had sailed past me without waving.

Etta James

It came from Etta's third album and that's about all I know about it except that Bob Hilliard wrote the words. The song is Waiting for Charlie to Come Home.

♫ Etta James - Waiting for Charlie to Come Home

There are a few versions of this next one: Elvis had a crack at it as did Luther Vandross, Don Gibson and James Brown. Percy Sledge did a really good version but none of those mentioned are as good as the one by CHUCK JACKSON.

Chuck Jackson

Chuck was once a member of the Del Vikings, one of the best of the DooWop groups, but that's not obvious from his interpretation of Any Day Now. Bob Hilliard was co-writer and it was from the days when he and Burt were both slaving away in the Brill building.

♫ Chuck Jackson - Any Day Now

A song that sounds as if it came from south of the border is, not surprisingly, Mexican Divorce. The original version of the song is by THE DRIFTERS.

The Drifters

This was the rather short-lived version of The Drifters led by Ben E King. On this song, Ben had some outside help, a rather handy quartet of singers consisting of Dionne Warwick, her sister Dee Dee Warwick, her aunt Cissy Houston and friend Doris Troy.

With that array of talent how could they miss? Well, they didn't. It was at this session that Burt and Dionne first met. He was mightily impressed with her and asked if she'd like to record his next song. It was far from the last time they collaborated.

There must be something about the tune, co-written by Bob Hilliard, because there are at least two other versions that would be worthy of inclusion by Nicolette Larson and Ry Cooder. Probably others as well.

♫ The Drifters - Mexican Divorce

TOM JONES sings What's New Pussycat in his own distinctive style.

Tom Jones

This was from the film of the same name which had a great cast but calling it ordinary would flatter it. It was the first film that Woody Allen wrote (he was also in it). He rather disowns it now as the studio completely changed his script. He said that the experience taught him always to have complete control of his films.

The song was co-written by Hal David.

♫ Tom Jones - What's New Pussycat

My Little Red Book was also written for that film. The version used in it and the original recording, was by MANFRED MANN.

Manfred Mann

This is from the days when they still had that fine singer Paul Jones out in front doing the warbling. Hal David had his hand in this one too.

♫ Manfred Mann - My Little Red Book

GENE PITNEY wrote quite a few of his own songs but not this one, obviously.

Gene Pitney

It was one of his biggest hits. After his success with The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, also written by Burt and Hal David (it was intended for the film but not used), they decided to write another in the same vein but without the movie plot to go with it.

They invented their own story with Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa.

♫ Gene Pitney - Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa

I think that THE SHIRELLES were the pick of the "girl groups" from the early sixties.

The Shirelles

They could sure teach The Supremes and others a lesson in soulful singing. They actually used Burt's demo recording as the backing for the song, which is Baby It's You.

It was co-written by Luther Dixon (credited as Barney Williams) and Mack David – Hal's older brother. Mack was also responsible for the song Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

♫ The Shirelles - Baby It's You

Missing the cut is The Blob sung by The Five Blobs from the film The Blob which starred Steve McQueen in his first lead role. I bet you're sorry I didn't include that one.


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.

1945 was a significant year – the war ended and I was born (in that order). I was a "Dad's home from the war for Christmas" baby (the previous year, obviously) as I popped out in the middle of September.

This is the year where we really started getting some interesting music – BeBop, Rhythm & Blues and so on. My kind of music. There will be others featured as well for those who prefer the older style.

What happened in 1945?

  • Jessye Norman was born
  • United Nations founded in San Francisco
  • Franklin Roosevelt died with victory in sight
  • John Curtin (Australia's Prime Minister) died with victory in sight
  • Winston Churchill was defeated in general election
  • The Lost Weekend was released.
  • Carlton were premiers.

BeBop has begun and the two main purveyors of the style are DIZZY GILLESPIE and CHARLIE PARKER.

Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker

The tune, Salt Peanuts, was composed by Diz with a little help from drummer Kenny Clarke. That's Diz performing the "vocals" for want of a better word. Naturally, he plays the trumpet as well and Bird is on alto sax.

♫ Dizzy Gillespie & Charlie Parker - Salt Peanuts

There's still some old style music around, in this case it's THE ANDREWS SISTERS.

The Andrews Sisters

The original music of Rum and Coca Cola was written by Lionel Belasco for a song called L'Année Passée. Later, Lord Invader (Rupert Grant to his folks) and Lionel Belasco wrote the new words and turned it into a calypso tune.

Morey Amsterdam copyrighted the song in America after he heard it on a visit to Trinidad. It became a huge hit for the Andrews. Later, the true credits were restored after a plagiarism lawsuit.

♫ The Andrews Sisters - Rum And Coca Cola

Caldonia Blues was written by LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

However, Louis' wife at the time, Fleecie Moore, is credited with writing it. He did that so he could use a separate publishing house. Unfortunately, when the song became a big hit they had divorced and Louis was rather miffed as Fleecie was getting all the moulah.

♫ Louis Jordan - Caldonia Blues

It's Only a Paper Moon was written by Harold Arlen, E. Y. Harburg and Billy Rose. It was intended for a Broadway play called "The Great Magoo.” This play bombed, but the song lives on. The version today is by ELLA FITZGERALD.

Ella Fitzgerals

Ella is assisted by the Delta Rhythm Boys who were sort of Mills Brothers, Ink Spots clones. They don't do a bad job though.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Delta Rhythm Boys - It's Only A Paper Moon

JOE LIGGINS performs The Honeydripper Parts 1 & 2.

Joe Liggins

Back when it was released it had Parts 1 and 2 on either sides of the record. These days you can hear them both without going to the trouble of flipping it over.

Joe had written the song a couple of years earlier and it was so successful he named his group after the song (without the Parts 1 and 2, of course).

♫ Joe Liggins - The Honeydripper Parts 1 & 2

Nancy (With the Laughing Face) was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Phil Silvers (yes, that Phil Silvers). It was originally called Bessie (With the Laughing Face) after a friend's wife who was having a birthday. They changed the name each time they sang it for different women's birthdays.

When they sang it for little Nancy Sinatra, Frank broke down as he thought it was written especially for her. They didn't correct him. Here is FRANK SINATRA with Nancy (With the Laughing Face).

Frank Sinatra

♫ Frank Sinatra - Nancy (With the Laughing Face)

Lover Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?) was written especially for BILLIE HOLIDAY by Jimmy Davis, Ram Ramirez and James Sherman.

Billie Holiday

Others have performed it, of course, but no one has done it better.

♫ Billie Holiday - Lover Man

BIG MACEO MERRIWEATHER was a blues pianist and singer, although there are no vocals on the track we have today.

Big Maceo

Maceo was originally from Atlanta but moved to Detroit while quite young to play in the clubs there. Once established, he moved to Chicago so he could record and stayed there for the rest of his life which wasn't too long as he drank a bit.

Here he plays Chicago Breakdown.

♫ Big Maceo - Chicago Breakdown

You Belong to My Heart was written by Augustin Lara, a Mexican songwriter, and was originally called Solamente Una Vez. The English words were written by Ray Gilbert and we have BING CROSBY to sing it.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - You Belong To My Heart

To finish we have JAY MCSHANN and His Blues Men with Confessin' the Blues.

Jay McShann

Jay played both blues and BeBop jazz in the early forties. Several well known musicians played in his band, most notably Charlie Parker and Ben Webster. This track is more blues oriented and has Jimmy Witherspoon on vocals.

♫ Jay McShann & His Blues Men - Confessin' The Blues

1946 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - New Orleans

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.

New Orleans

This is easy for me today and it's hard. Easy because there are so many good songs about the city, hard because there are so many good songs about the city and trying to figure out which to omit is the hard part.

These are the tunes I selected. I could do another column with completely different music that would be just as good (musically, that is). It's all rather arbitrary. These are the tracks that caught my fancy today.

New Orleans is synonymous with the birth of jazz but the music from that city I prefer is from a later period, artists like Fats Domino, Professor Longhair, Dr John, Lee Dorsey, the Neville Brothers and so on. A couple of those will be present today as well as a bit of New Orleans jazz. Other things as well.

The most obvious place to start - well, it is to me - is with a singer who is the musical heart and soul of New Orleans, FATS DOMINO.

Fats Domino

Fats has several New Orleans songs in his canon so I chose one, not quite at random. He didn't write this song, the composer was Bobby Charles, but he said he had Fats in mind when he wrote it.

The song is one of Fats' most famous tunes, Walking to New Orleans.

♫ Fats Domino - Walking to New Orleans

LOUIS ARMSTRONG was born and bred in the city and probably more than anyone else, he developed jazz from a trivial entertainment into the art form it has become.

Louis Armstrong

Louis recorded a number of tunes where he introduced the band. This is one of them, Where the Blues Were Born in New Orleans.

♫ Louis Armstrong - Where The Blues Were Born In New Orleans

You'd think that with ELVIS next up there'd be a complete change of pace, but that's not entirely so.


There's certainly some Dixieland jazz on this track. Not surprising, really, as it was from the film King Creole which was the last of the decent films that Elvis made. All the rest after this were rubbish. The song is New Orleans.

♫ Elvis Presley - New Orleans

Another song just called New Orleans is by HOAGY CARMICHAEL.

Hoagy Carmichael

This is one Hoagy wrote himself and on the record he has the help of ELLA LOGAN.

Ella Logan

Here they are with that song.

♫ Hoagy Carmichael - New Orleans

PROFESSOR LONGHAIR was known to his mum and dad as Henry Byrd, to others as Roy and to his fellow musicians as Fess.

Professor Longhair

Pretty much every pianist from that city who came after him was seriously influenced by his playing. Most of them acknowledge that debt. Fess's track is Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

♫ Professor Longhair - Mardi Gras in New Orleans

BLUE LU BARKER was born Louise Dupont in New Orleans, of course.

Blue Lu Barker

Louise was an accomplished blues and jazz singer both on her own and with husband Danny Barker. She was a regular in the New Orleans music milieu and lived to the age of 84. Here she sings New Orleans Blues.

♫ Blue Lu Barker - New Orleans Blues

JIM PEARCE is a pianist and composer.

Jim Pearce

He has written themes for many TV programs as well as performing around the traps. Jim seems to have attracted a cult following which means that he's a really good muso but few people know about him. More should.

Here is My Last Parade in New Orleans.

♫ Jim Pearce - My Last Parade in New Orleans

WILSON PICKETT was one of the premier soul singers.

Wilson Pickett

Along with many, perhaps most, singers in the genre he started in a church choir. After that he was a member of a gospel quartet and graduated to a soul group, singing pretty much the same way.

He left the group and became a solo singer and soon became as a good as soul singer as anyone (except Otis Redding and Sam Cooke). Wilson sings New Orleans.

♫ Wilson Pickett - New Orleans

JOE LIGGINS & The Honeydrippers were at their prime in the forties and early fifties.

Joe Liggins

Joe was from Oklahoma but moved to California in his teens. He lived in San Diego for a time and then went to Los Angeles, already a seasoned performer.

He formed The Honeydrippers with sax player Little Willy Jackson. The group was named after their first hit (or vice versa). Joe was one of the pioneers of the small jump blues band after the war that presaged rock & roll.

Here they are with Goin' Back to New Orleans.

♫ Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers - Goin Back to New Orleans

Now for a complete change of pace, a pop song from 1959. I give you FREDDY CANNON.

Freddie Cannon

Frederick Picariello, for that was the name his mum and dad gave him, had nothing to do with our city initially – he was from Massachusetts. However, he seemed to specialize in songs about places from all over the country.

Here is one of them, an old song that Freddy rocked up, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans.

♫ Freddy Cannon - Way Down Yonder In New Orleans


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 1944?

  • Robbie Robertson was born
  • Allied forces landed in France
  • Hitler escaped an assassination attempt when the bomb in the briefcase was moved away from him
  • Paris was liberated (and not burnt)
  • Double Indemnity was released
  • Fitzroy were premiers

As I did last year, I'm starting with NAT KING COLE.

Nat King Cole Trio

I might as well begin at the top. This is a song Nat wrote with the help of Irving Mills. He performs it with his trio. The song is one you all know, Straighten Up and Fly Right, one of his most popular and recognizable tunes.

♫ Nat King Cole - Straighten Up and Fly Right

BOB WILLS is in an uncharacteristically subdued mood on his tune today, although it picks up a little half way through.

Bob Wills

Also unusual is that Leon Huff sings rather than Tommy Duncan who was generally the singer in Bob's band. The song, We Might As Well Forget It, was written by Johnny Bond.

♫ Bob Wills - We Might As Well Forget It

THE MILLS BROTHERS are here to sing a song covered by many over the years.

The Mills Brothers

The song, You Always Hurt the One You Love, was written by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher. I won't even try to mention all the versions except to say that Clarence (The Frogman) Henry did a terrific version of the song in 1961.

♫ The Mills Brothers - You Always Hurt The One You Love

I remember TEX RITTER mostly for singing the theme for the film High Noon, giving the plot away in the song before the film had even started. There was a lot of that going on around that time.

Tex Ritter

We won't have that song today, wrong year. Instead it's I'm Wasting My Tears on You.

♫ Tex Ritter - I'm Wasting My Tears On You

I'll Be Seeing You was written by Sammy Fain and Irving Kahal and was inserted into the Broadway musical, Right This Way, which lasted only 15 performances.

It was later used extensively throughout a film named after the song starring Joseph Cotton and Ginger Rogers. BING CROSBY recorded it that year and it became a huge hit.

Bing Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby - I'll Be Seeing You

HARRY JAMES performs Memphis Blues.

Harry James

I don't know if this is the tune that W.C. Handy wrote. I played them back to back and they sound different to me, but those big band folks were known for arranging things so they didn't sound the way I expect them to.

There are no details about who wrote or arranged Harry's version, so I guess we just sit back and listen.

♫ Harry James - Memphis Blues

LOUIS JORDAN & His Tympany Five released Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby as the B-side of a record.

Louis Jordan

However, folks turned it over (remember when you did that with records?) and this song hit the top of the hit parade instead. Many others have covered this song, including Tom and Jerry.

♫ Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five - Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby

I first encountered the music of LOUIS PRIMA in the fifties when he was performing with Keely Smith.

Louis Prima

However, he goes back considerably further than that. Here he performs Oh Marie without Keely.

♫ Louis Prima - Oh Marie

I hope you like THE INK SPOTS because here are some more of them.

The Ink Spots

The song today was written by Fred Ahlert and Roy Turk way back in 1928 and the first version was by Aileen Stanley. Billie Holiday recorded it quite a few times but now it's the Ink Spots' turn.

The song is I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You).

♫ The Ink Spots - I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)

I'll end with ELLA FITZGERALD.

Ella Fitzgerald

There's a bit too much big band arrangement for my taste but at least they have the sense to tone it down when Ella sings. This is the old jazz standard, When My Sugar Walks Down the Street.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald - When My Sugar Walks Down The Street

1945 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Roger McGough

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.

Roger McGough

ROGER MCGOUGH is an English poet who has in the past dabbled in music as well. He's one of those very rare beasts – someone who makes a living from writing and performing poetry.

He is from Liverpool and is a member of a group called The Liverpool Poets who were influenced by both the Beat poets and sixties' rock & roll.

A collection of their poems sold in numbers usually associated only with pop music singles. Indeed, Roger was in a pop group in the sixties that sold a bunch of records.

Besides poetry he also wrote the dialogue for the animated film, Yellow Submarine, for which he was paid but didn't receive screen credit.

Musically, Roger is most famous for being in the band THE SCAFFOLD, a trio whose other members were John Gorman and Mike McGear.


That last name was just a stage name for Michael McCartney who had an older, slightly more famous brother named Paul.

The Scaffold had a million selling record (and others that did pretty well too) in the sixties and played to sold-out audiences all over the place. They released four albums as well. Their biggest song was Lily the Pink.

♫ The Scaffold - Lily The Pink

In 1968, Roger and Mike recorded an album called McGough & McGear where they had the help of a number of musicians who may be familiar to you on that album – Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce, John Mayall, Spencer Davis and others.

A song from that album is Yellow Book.

McGough & McGear

♫ McGough & McGear - Yellow Book

Here Roger reads his poem, A Fine Romance, which he wrote for the Alzheimer's Society. It seems to me to fit in well with TimeGoesBy. It explores the theme of dementia and its impact on relationships.

Roger McGough

♫ Roger McGough - A Fine Romance

The Scaffold's other big seller was Thank You Very Much.


The song was written by Mike and has a number of obscure references which he has assiduously refused to explain the meaning.

♫ The Scaffold - Thank You Very Much

The Scaffold weren't just about singing and playing; there was always some poetry, Roger's of course, as well as vaudeville elements.


One track where Roger contributes a little of his works is Buttons of Your Mind.

♫ The Scaffold - Buttons of Your Mind

Those with long musical memories might recall a song from the early fifties called The Deck of Cards. In north western Victoria where I lived as a whippersnapper, the local radio station would play Wink Martindale's version of this song.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, lived in south western Victoria and she said her station played Tex Ritter's. We discuss why there was a difference now and then when we'd run out of trivial things to talk about.

Anyway, The Scaffold recorded this song and I imagine that those who remember it are already thinking of skipping it and going on to the next one. I suggest you don't do that as they perform it the way it should have been done in the first place.

They call it The Pack of Cards for reasons that will become obvious.


♫ The Scaffold - Pack of Cards

Almost certainly, Roger's most famous poem is Summer with Monika.


I have that in an actual book and it's a beautiful, wry, poignant work. He has recorded it several times over the years, including a recent one with a symphony orchestra.

With that one, Roger performed the complete poem but at more than 32 minutes it's a bit much for this column. There's a shorter version Roger did back in the sixties on the McGough & McGear album that captures the essence of the poem and I'll share it with you.

Paul McCartney produced the album and you can hear him briefly at the beginning of this track. That's Andy Roberts playing guitar.

♫ McGough & McGear - Summer with Monika


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 1943?

  • Jim Morrison was born
  • Things were still grim but slowly improving
  • Italy surrendered, then switched sides
  • Assassination attempt on Hitler failed when the bomb on his plane failed to explode
  • The Ox-Bow Incident was released
  • Richmond were premiers

I can think of no better way to start this year than with NAT KING COLE.

Nat King Cole Trio

This is, of course, The Nat King Cole Trio we're talking about here and the song is All for You. It has the distinction of being the first of theirs to cross over and make the pop charts.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - All for You

Which brings up to BING CROSBY. This year certainly wasn't the first time he'd made the charts.

Bing Crosby

The song, Moonlight Becomes You, was written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke for the film Road to Morocco.

♫ Bing Crosby - Moonlight Becomes You

"You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can stand it, I can! Play it!"

Okay, you all know what I'm talking about. The film came out the previous year but the song was a hit this year, several versions of it in fact. There's only one I'd consider including though, and that's by DOOLEY WILSON.

Dooley Wilson

Dooley was a singer and a drummer, but not a pianist. He just acted playing the piano in Casablanca because he was an actor as well. Even though he appeared in a couple of dozen films, there's only one we remember him for. But what a film.

Here is As Time Goes By.

♫ Dooley Wilson - As Time Goes By

The song Stormy Weather had been around since 1933. In 1943 they made a film with that as its title. It was a bio-pic based roughly on the life of Bill Robinson (who played himself).

Dooley Wilson was in that film too as Bill's best friend along with Cab Calloway and Fats Waller. It goes without saying than LENA HORNE had a lead role as well and sang the title song.

Lena Horne

♫ Lena Horne - Stormy Weather

Why Don't You Do Right? was written by Kansas Joe McCoy. It was originally called The Weed Smoker's Dream and he recorded that with his band, The Harlem Hamfats.

Joe later wrote new words to the song and changed its name to the one we know. This was recorded by Lil Green with Big Bill Broonzy playing guitar. PEGGY LEE was impressed with Lil's version and she recorded it with Benny Goodman. She said that Lil was a big influence on her music.

Peggy Lee

♫ Benny Goodman & Peggy Lee - Why Don't You Do Right

Mister Five by Five was written by Don Raye and Gene DePaul. The song is all about Jimmy Rushing who was Count Basie's vocalist for many years.

Ella Mae Morse and Freddie Slack had a hit with it but the version we're interested in, also a hit, is by HARRY JAMES with HELEN FORREST singing.

Harry James and Helen Forest

♫ Harry James and Helen Forrest - Mister Five By Five

Here are THE INK SPOTS with I Can't Stand Losing You.

The Ink Spots

Nothing more needs to be said. Just sit back and enjoy it.

♫ The Ink Spots - I Can't Stand Losing You

This year saw early rumblings of the jump blues style of music that took off in the latter part of the decade. One of the first of the musicians who played in the style was LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

Five Guys Named Moe started life as a musical short created by Louis. It then became a fully fledged musical, again with the music written by our man. Here he is with the title song.

♫ Louis Jordan - Five Guys Named Moe

Next is CHARLES TRENET with a song he wrote himself called Que reste-t-il de nos amours?

Charles Trenet

That means "what remains of our love?" You might recognise it.

♫ Charles Trenet - Que reste-t-il de nos amours

The musical Oklahoma! opened on Broadway this year with ALFRED DRAKE playing the lead role of Curly.

Alfred Drake

Alfred appeared in many musicals as well as Shakespearean productions. He was an early TV actor as well but only made a few films. Oklahoma! was one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's many such vehicles and Alfred sings the title song.

♫ Alfred Drake - Oklahoma

1944 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: The World's Greatest Quartet

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 present today what was certainly the greatest quartet in musical history. No, I'm not talking about John, Paul, George and Ringo, nor am I thinking of the earlier Million Dollar Quartet.

The ones I have in mind are Jo, Wolfie, Carl and Jan or in other words, Haydn, Mozart, Dittersdorf and Vanhal. These four often jammed together playing string quartets.

I don't know whose quartets they played, probably Haydn's as he was the master of the genre and he wrote so many, but Mozart produced quite a few of them as well, inspired by those of Haydn's. Dittersdorf managed half a dozen and Vanhal didn't write any (although he wrote quartets for other instruments).

Haydn and Dittersdorf played the violins, Mozart, the viola and Vanhal, the cello. Alas, there were no tapes running at the time for us to hear what they sounded like so we'll just have to make do.

Michael Kelly, who was a composer and a tenor, was there and he reported that they played well but the performances were not outstanding. He probably wouldn't have liked the Beatles much either.

This is really just another excuse for me to play some of my favorite composers.


The picture is supposedly Haydn conducting a quartet but probably not the others. I wonder if that's Kelly standing behind them with the sniffy look on his face.

The obvious place to start is with one of HAYDN's string quartets as that was the most likely one for them to have played.

Of course, they may have improvised like jazz musos today as both Haydn and Mozart were masters at doing this, and composers of the day often left spaces in their compositions for performers to do exactly that. That sort of thing is rather frowned upon these days in the classical field.


Here is one they might have played (given the number of them. It's probably statistically unlikely) - the first movement of the String Quartet in D Major, OP 33 No 6.

♫ Haydn - String Quartet in D Major, OP 33 No 6 (1)

DITTERSDORF was born simply August Carl Ditters. Philipp von Schaffgotsch, the Prince-Bishop of Breslau - both a prince and a bishop, how greedy - gave him a title, so he was forever after called Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. That's a bit of a mouthful so I'll do as I always do.


Besides composing and playing the violin, Ditters was also a silvologist. "Well, get away," was my response to that. Then I employed Dr Google and found that was the science of forestry, understanding and studying the ecosystems of forests and woods. It takes in tree autecology as well.

A bit more googling. It seems that that deals with the dynamics of species population. There was more to old Ditters than just the musical strings on his bow.

To continue the string quartet theme, here is part of one from him. It's the third movement of his String Quartet No.1 in D Major.

♫ Dittersdorf - String Quartet No 1 (3)

MOZART needs no introduction from me.


They probably didn't play the string quintet I'm including unless they happened to ask that bloke standing behind them, "Hey, can you play the viola?" Mr Kelly didn't report that so it probably didn't happen.

Anyway, in keeping with the theme of chamber music, here is the third movement of the String Quintet No 1 in B flat major K174.

♫ Mozart - String Quintet No 1 K174 (3)

JOHANN VANHAL preferred Jan Waňhal as the spelling of his name as did at least one of his publishers. However, history has given us the former spelling and that's the way people know him these days.

Jo (or Jan) was born in Bohemia to a poor but honest family and received early training from a local musician. One of the local bigwigs, Countess Schaffgotsch, was impressed with his violin playing and she arranged lessons with Ditters.

Jo became a prolific composer and he turned out more than 100 quartets (but not string quartets.

Well, it would have been a bit difficult following in the footsteps of Haydn and Mozart), 70 or more symphonies, about 100 sacred words and scads of other instrumental and vocal works. He just had the bad luck to have been born at a time when those towering figures of music were around.


The composition I've chosen isn't any part of a string quartet or any chamber music piece. It's the second movement of his Symphony in G minor although to me it sounds more like a violin concerto. It doesn't matter, it sounds good whatever it is.

♫ Vanhal - Symphony in G minor (2)

Okay, let's go through them all again with something different. As before we'll start with Haydn.

This is a concertino for piano, two violins and cello. A concertino is sort of like a concerto (although in this case without the orchestra) and is freer in form. This one is the first movement of the Concertino in C Hob XIV-11.

♫ Haydn - Concertino in C Hob XIV-11 (1)

Dittersdorf is one of the few composers who treated the double bass as a solo instrument and he did it really well in several concertos for the instrument. This one is the second movement of the Concerto for Double Bass in E Major.

♫ Dittersdorf - Double Bass concerto E major (2)

Mozart created quite a few sonatas for violin and piano. The versions I have of these have Itzhak Perlman and Daniel Barenboim playing those instruments. You can't get better than that.

Here they are with the second movement of the Sonata for Piano and Violin in G major, K 301.

♫ Mozart - Sonata for Piano and Violin in G major, K 301 (2)

A variation on Mozart's theme is Vanhal's Sonata for Viola and Piano. I prefer the viola to the violin but the instrument doesn't have a good reputation amongst classical players. Many jokes are made about it. Never mind. This is the second movement.

♫ Vanhal - Sonata for Viola and Piano (2)

There's still a little time and space left over, so we'll have a couple more and the two composers I've chosen won't come as a surprise to you.

Haydn first, with the second movement of the Symphony No 38, called the Echo. It's called that because "of the use of mimicry motif in the cadential phrasing of the second movement". Okay.

I got that from Professor Google so don't blame me if you're as much in the dark as I am. Oh, Papa Jo didn't call it the Echo; someone later attached that name to it.

♫ Haydn - Symphony No 38 (2)

I haven't done much in these columns where the bassoon was prominent. So, here's something by Mozart. The second movement of the Bassoon Concerto in B flat major K 191.

♫ Mozart - Bassoon concerto K 191 (2)


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

What happened in 1942?

  • Jerry Garcia was born
  • Casablanca was released
  • Everything else was grim
  • Essendon were premiers

Cole Porter wrote the song Night and Day for the musical "Gay Divorce". This was Fred Astaire's last Broadway show. Later it was made into a film called The Gay Divorcee. Fred was in that one too.

You probably think you know who I've decided to play but you're wrong. I'm going with FRANK SINATRA's version of the song.

Frank Sinatra

♫ Frank Sinatra - Night And Day

I had a couple of versions of Blues in the Night lined up as well. It was a matter of selecting which I wanted. Finally, after playing them a couple of times, I went with DINAH SHORE.

Dinah Shore

The song was written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, and has been recorded by just about everyone. Let's hear what Dinah does with it.

♫ Dinah Shore - Blues In The Night

Even though it has been recorded by many others, A String of Pearls is pretty much associated with GLENN MILLER.

Glenn Miller

Glenn kept a bunch of arrangers on hand to write and arrange tunes for him. This is one such that was the brainchild of Jerry Gray.

♫ Glenn Miller - A String Of Pearls

T-BONE WALKER's style is an interesting mix of jazz and blues.

T-Bone Walker

He was one of the most influential guitarists ever – blues, jazz and rock & roll players all acknowledge a debt to him. Here he plays Mean Ol' World.

♫ T-Bone Walker - Mean Ol' World

Bands led by HARRY JAMES and Tommy Dorsey both recorded Manhattan Serenade around this time.

Harry James

As you can see, I've gone with Harry's version. Helen Forrest sings on this one. Before Harry she sang with Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.

♫ Harry James - Manhattan Serenade

This tune reminded me that I planned to do a column on citrus fruit – after all there are plenty of lemon songs, a few orange ones but I've only found one Tangerine. Lots of versions, but they're all the same song. That's what we have here today, and it's by JIMMY DORSEY.

Jimmy Dorsey

The singers on this one are Bob Eberly and Helen O'Connell. The song was written by Johnny Mercer and Victor Schertzinger.

♫ Jimmy Dorsey & his Orchestra - Tangerine

Ah, NAT KING COLE finally makes an appearance in these Years columns. I surprise myself that he hasn't popped up before. This won't be the last time, though.

Nat King Cole Trio

Here he is with the trio, the way I like him best, and That Ain't Right.

♫ Nat King Cole - That Ain't Right

BING CROSBY sang Be Careful It's My Heart in the film Holiday Inn.

Bing Crosby

That film was also the first time he performed White Christmas but we'll just skip over that one.

♫ Bing Crosby - Be Careful It's My Heart

The tune of Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree was originally a ninth century folk song called Long, Long Ago. Then Sam Stept got to it, modified it a bit and produced the song, Anywhere the Bluebird Goes.

The folk process in action then allowed Lew Brown and Charles Tobias to write lyrics and the song we know appeared. This was recorded by Glenn Miller and became quite a hit for him.

Next, THE ANDREWS SISTERS turned their hands (and voices) to it and it was a hit all over again.

The Andrews Sisters

♫ Andrews Sisters - Don't Sit Under The Apple Tree

PEGGY LEE makes her first appearance here today with the Benny Goodman Orchestra.

Peggy Lee

This was also her first number one hit, Somebody Else Is Taking My Place, written by Russ Morgan.

♫ Peggy Lee and the Benny Goodman Orchestra - Somebody Else Is Taking My Place

1943 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up In 2013 - Part 2

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

Continuing from yesterday, people associated with music who died this year.


LOU REED was one of the most important musicians in the second wave of rock & roll. He was intelligent, literate but aware of the limitations of his craft, saying that what he wrote wouldn't be considered a big deal if it appeared in a book or film.

Lou liked to alienate listeners and was fond of contradicting himself throughout his career.

He first came to notice as songwriter, singer and guitarist for the Velvet Underground, a group that didn't have much of a following but was hugely influential. Initially under the auspices of Andy Warhol, they soon went their own way.

In the early seventies, Lou began a solo career that was equally influential. Most bands that started after this time claim that his music was the most important factor in their becoming musicians.

Often dismissed by some for having a monotonous voice and perfunctory guitar skills, nonetheless what he produced was mesmerizing. Instead of the expected song, Walk on the Wild Side, I'll go with Lou in surprisingly mellow mood with Perfect Day. (Lou was 71)

♫ Lou Reed - Perfect Day

JOHN TAVENER was an English composer who admired and took inspiration from Stravinsky, Boulez and Messaien. He began as a concert pianist but couldn't overcome his stage fright so turned to composing. In later years he specialized in religious music. (69)

ROLAND JAMES was a session guitarist at Sun Records during its heyday. He played guitar on Jerry Lee Lewis's great first songs and also backed Roy Orbison, Charlie Rich and others from that time. (80)

NOEL HARRISON was an English singer and actor. He was also an accomplished sportsman and represented Britain in skiing at the Winter Olympics in 1952 and 1956. Noel had his first hit with the song, A Young Girl, written by Charles Aznavour.

As an actor he performed in the TV series, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. with Stephanie Powers. He later recorded and had a hit with the song Windmills of your Mind used in the film The Thomas Crown Affair. His father was the actor Rex Harrison. (79)


VAN CLIBURN was an American classical pianist. He came to international attention in 1958 when he entered the inaugural Tchaikovsky Competition, a piano competition intended to showcase Russian superiority in classical music at the time.

To the surprise of most he won. However, because of that, he started a thaw in east-west relations, particularly in the field of classical music.

On the basis of his win, he became an international star in the piano world. He was the first classical performer to sell a million albums. His forte was the music of the Romantic composers, particularly Rachmaninov and Chopin.

Here he plays probably the most famous of Chopin's polonaises, the Heroic. (78)

♫ Van Cliburn - Chopin Polonaise in A-Flat, Op. 53 Heroic

YUSEF LATEEF was a jazz saxophone and flute player. He started out as a straight sax player in bands led by Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Cannonball Adderley.

When he formed his own group he thought that the music needed more color so he introduced the flute, oboe, bassoon and a variety of non-western instruments. That led him to explore music from Asia, the Middle East and other parts of the world. He kept playing music until shortly before his death at 93.

RICK HUXLEY was the bass player for the British group The Dave Clark Five who came to prominence in the wake of The Beatles. Touted at the time as a rival to the fab four, history has shown their place in the scheme of things. Later Rick set up and ran his own electrical wholesale organization. (70)

TREVOR BOLDER played bass guitar with David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars and the heavy metal band Uriah Heep. He was also an accomplished trombone and cornet player. (62)

BEN TUCKER was a jazz bassist who played with Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee and others. He was also a successful songwriter who had his tunes recorded by many of the top jazz musicians. (82)


JIMMY DAWKINS was an American blues guitarist and singer. He performed Chicago blues as he moved to that city from his native Mississippi when he was 19. He found work there, both gigging in the clubs and as a session musician.

He eventually recorded his own music and toured internationally, especially to Europe and Japan where he was extremely popular. Jimmy performs Things I Used to Do. (76)

♫ Jimmy Dawkins - Things I Used To Do

KEVIN AYRES was an English guitarist, bass player and songwriter who was a founding member of the alternative psychedelic band, The Soft Machine.

This band often shared the stage with Pink Floyd and he became friends with several members of that band and they often played together. He later had a long solo career and recorded quite a few albums. (68)

CHICO HAMILTON was a jazz drummer and band leader whose group featured classical instruments such as cello and flute. As a native of Los Angeles, he often produced music for films.

He started his professional career at the very top with gigs with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. His first taste of fame came as a member of the Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker quartet. He later formed his own group as well as performing as a session musician in many styles of music. (92)


ANNETTE FUNICELLO was the most famous Mouseketeer, and she was the reason we young lads tuned in to the Mickey Mouse Club She later had several hits in that period between rock & roll's first incarnation and its second coming launched by The Beatles.

Most memorable, well sort of, were Pineapple Princess and Tall Paul. There were others as well.

She later made a bunch of films, usually set on the beach and mostly costarring Frankie Avalon. Annette was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the early nineties and she died from complications of that disease. (70)


SLIM WHITMAN was one of the biggest-selling musicians in the history of country music. He had a distinctive style and was not averse to having a bit of a yodel. He got that from listening to old Jimmie Rodgers' records when he was young.

He started singing on a ship when he was in the navy during the war. Later, he managed to get a recording deal thanks to "Colonel" Tom Parker. He had many hits, both country and popular, in the fifties and he kept performing until quite recently.

China Doll is one of those hits. (90)

♫ Slim Whitman - China Doll

BOBBY PARKER was a blues singer and guitarist whose recordings were so influential that his licks were pinched by John Lennon, Carlos Santana and Jimmy Page.

He also influenced James Brown with his performing style. Alas, he reaped little reward for all this and had to keep performing until his death to make ends meet. (76)

PAUL WILLIAMS was an American journalist and writer who created the music magazine Crawdaddy. This publication was probably the first to take rock music seriously as a viable art form (or at least, a decent craft). He wrote many books, usually on music themes. (64)


DONALD BYRD was a gifted jazz trumpet player who was at the forefront of bebop in the fifties and sixties. He later recorded soul and popular music to considerable success. This was rather frowned on by jazz purists.

He introduced a couple of his fine sidemen to Miles Davis and they went on to play with him. At one stage Donald took time off to study composition in Paris and also a law degree in Washington. He later earned a PhD in education from Columbia University and lectured on both music and law (and where they intersect). (80)

MARIE-CLAIRE ALAIN was a French organist and composer (as were her two brothers) and also a teacher of the organ. She was trained at the Paris Conservatory and recorded a vast number of albums in the organ repertoire, particularly the works of J.S. Bach. (86)

MARVIN RAINWATER was an early rock & roll performer. Initially, he was classically trained on the piano but an injury curtailed that and he switched to guitar. He left the navy after the war and performed country music.

He was taken by rock music and switched to play that style. He was particularly popular in Europe. Marvin also wrote songs, many of which were hits for other artists. (88)

Patty Andrews

PATTY ANDREWS was the last of the Andrews Sisters. She was the blonde one, usually in the middle, who sang lead vocals.

The Andrews Sisters initially modeled themselves on the Boswell Sisters whom they heard on the radio with Bing Crosby. Later, they would record a couple of songs with Bing (and several other performers). They became the most successful sister singing act of all time, selling millions of records.

Later there was more than a bit of tension in the ranks but they didn’t discuss their differences outside the group fearing it might dent their image. It did erupt publicly when Patty went solo at the behest of her husband. Lawsuits flew all over the place.

They reunited briefly in the mid-fifties but that was short-lived and the acrimony remained. From their first time around, here is Bei Mir Bist Du Schon. (94)

♫ Andrews Sisters - Bei Mir Bist Du Schon

ANDY JOHNS produced most of Led Zeppelin's albums. He was also responsible for the Rolling Stones' albums from the seventies. And he worked with Traffic, Blind Faith, Ten Years After, Rod Stewart, Joe Satriani, Van Halen and many others. He was the younger brother of another record producer, Glyn Johns. (61)


After leaving school, EYDIE GORME first worked at the United Nations as an interpreter. She made her first recordings in 1950 with the Tommy Tucker Band and later she worked with several other bands.

Eydie made her first TV appearance in 1953 on The Tonight Show (the Steve Allen version) where she met Steve Lawrence. They were soon married and started performing together. That continued until she died at age 84.

DEKE RICHARDS was born Dennis Lussier and he was a songwriter and record producer with a long association with Motown records. He wrote for and produced The Jackson 5, Bobby Darin, The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas among many others. (68)


JAMES DEPREIST was one of the first African-American symphony conductors. He was a director of the Juilliard conducting program and led the Oregon Symphony Orchestra for more than 20 years. He also twiddled the baton in Montreal, Tokyo, and Monte Carlo.

James was a nephew of the great singer, Marian Anderson. He also overcame polio and kidney disease and kept on creating music. (76)


BOBBY "BLUE" BLAND was described as having a voice as soft as silk. He created a delicate blend of the blues, gospel and soul genres and influenced Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding and many performers of the rock era.

Bobby was from Tennessee and started out singing in a choir. After hearing T-Bone Walker he was drawn to the blues and went to Memphis where he became a regular on Beale Street with such artists as Rosco Gordon, Earl Forest and B.B. King.

He became good friends with B.B. and they often performed and recorded together. Bobby performs I Just Tripped on a Piece of Your Broken Heart. (83)

♫ Bobby Blue Bland - I Just Tripped on a Piece of Your Broken Heart

PHIL CHEVRON was an Irish songwriter, guitarist and singer. He founded Dublin's first punk band, Radiators From Space. Later he joined the Pogues to play banjo, guitar and mandolin. (56)

JOHN HOPKINS was a British-born Australian conductor and music administrator. In Australia, he created the Prom concerts in Melbourne and Sydney and started a series of new classical music, mostly featuring (then little-known) Australian composers. Many of these were world premieres.

He started the Victorian College of the Arts and was director of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. (86)

MARSHALL LYTLE was a guitarist and bass player. He was most noted as the enthusiastic upright bass player for Bill Haley's Comets. After arguments with Bill over money, he left and founded The Jodimars, the first rock group to play Las Vegas regularly. (79)


CHRISSY AMPHLETT was an Australian rock & roll singer and songwriter. She was the lead singer for the group The Divinyls. This group had a revolving membership held together by Chrissy and Mark McEntree. In spite of this they recorded half a dozen albums and had chart topping songs in Britain and the U.S. as well as Australia.

She died of complications of both multiple sclerosis and breast cancer. The Divinyls perform their mega-hit, I Touch Myself. (53)

♫ Chrissy Amphlett and the Divinyls - I Touch Myself

BOB BROZMAN was an American guitarist and musicologist (a real one), who played many instruments, starting at the age of six. He collaborated with musicians from all over the world – Papua-New Guinea, India, Africa, Japan and many other places. (59)


CLEOTHA STAPLES was one of the Staple Singers. Not as well known as her younger sister Mavis, Cleotha's soprano voice added a soothing touch to the group's sound.

As the oldest, she was the mother figure and defused arguments, not just in the group but also when they were taunted by racist audience members (you wonder why they'd attend their concerts). She was plagued by Alzheimer's for the last several years of her life. (78)

BERNIE MCGANN was an Australian alto saxophone player and was one of the earliest of modern jazz performers in this country. He was also a session musician and contributed to many rock and pop records as well as jazz. He led his own jazz group for many years, decades really, and was performing until his death at 76.

The Miracles

BOBBY ROGERS was a founder member of The Miracles, a very successful band fronted by Smokey Robinson. That's Bobby on the right. He was also a songwriter and collaborated with Smokey on several of their hits.

He sang the tenor parts alongside Smokey's famous falsetto. Bobby's brother Sonny and sister Claudette were also members of the group (and she eventually married Smokey).

After Smokey left for a solo career The Miracles continued for a time with Bobby singing the lead parts but they eventually folded. There have been several reunion concerts over the years.

Here, the Smokey version of The Miracles sing You've Really Got A Hold On Me with Bobby singing lead. Smokey does the falsetto. (73)

♫ The Miracles - You've Really Got A Hold On Me

KATHARINA WOLPE was a classical pianist who went to England from her native Vienna when she was 16 to escape the Nazis.

Her greatest love was Schubert, however she also performed all the classical composers, especially Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn. Besides them, she championed the works of Berg, Scriabin, Schoenberg and Webern as well.

She later settled in Canada and became pianist in residence at the University of Toronto. (81)

CLIVE BURR was the original drummer for the heavy metal group Iron Maiden. He was with them for their first three albums whereupon they fired him.

Later he was in various groups in France, America and elsewhere. Various members of Iron Maiden later said it was a mistake to remove him as he was a far better drummer than his replacement. Alas, Clive died from complications of multiple sclerosis at the young age of 56.

JIM HALL was described as the father of modern guitar playing. He was universally considered a really nice person with a great sense of humor.

Besides that, he was an outstanding guitarist who played with the likes of Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan, Sonny Rollins and Chico Hamilton. He influenced many later guitarists, in particular Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell and John Scofield. (83)

Although he was a widely respected singer, songwriter and guitarist in his own right and played in a number of bands, STEVE HYAMS was best known for his time in the group Mott the Hoople. (62)

Marian McPartland

MARIAN MCPARTLAND was a jazz pianist who was born in England but spent most of her life in America. She made many albums over her long career but was even more influential through her long running radio program where she'd play with other musicians and interview them as well.

There were more than 800, including Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, George Shearing, Wynton Marsalis and, of course, many, many others. She started playing the piano at age three and she was later classically trained although after hearing jazz that was it for her.

Marian plays the old jazz classic, On Green Dolphin Street. (95)

♫ Marian McPartland - On Green Dolphin Street


MAGIC SLIM was born Morris Holt and was given his name by his friend and fellow bluesman, Magic Sam, because he was so tall, Sam said.

He moved to Chicago in the fifties with Sam where they started performing and eventually recording. Slim was an electrifying guitarist who was at his best in front of as live audience rather than in the recording studio. His distinctive slide work was made with his finger rather than a bottle neck or steel as is usual. (75)

JACK CLEMENT was a record producer, songwriter, publisher and musician in his own right. He produced artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong, U2 and Jerry Lee Lewis. He was the producer for Jerry Lee's groundbreaking early records. He also released several albums of his own music. (82)

DEBORAH CHESSLER was a songwriter and music manager and was one of the key figures in the success of DooWop. She managed and wrote songs for Sonny Til and The Orioles. (89)

RAY PRICE was a country singer and guitarist who stared his career playing honky tonk style music and later became famous for his ballad singing.

He hired then unknowns like Willie Nelson, Roger Miller and Johnny Paycheck to play in his bands and remained friends and occasional musical collaborators with them. He stared a music publishing company and kickstarted the careers of songwriters Harlan Howard, Hank Cochran and Willie. (87)


WENDY SADDINGTON was often referred to as "Australia's Janis Joplin". This did her a disservice, after all she lived way past the sixties and seventies.

Her early life is a mystery; even her friends know nothing of it. During the sixties, she started performing in Melbourne coffee lounges before joining a couple of rock and soul bands.

She was a founder member of the famous blues/rock band Chain but left before their big success. She wrote for a music magazine besides having her music career.

In 1970, she joined the band she's most associated with, Copperwire, and they recorded and toured Australia extensively for a couple of years. Later, Wendy performed in music theatre.

From her days with Copperwire, Looking Through a Window. This will take (some of) us back to 1971. (63)

♫ Wendy Saddington - Looking Through a Window

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Janet Thompson: The Results are Not In Yet

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up In 2013 - Part 1

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


MANDAWUY YUNUPINGU was an Australian musician and educator who was the singer, songwriter and guitarist for the rock group Yothu Yindi.

He was a Gumatj man, one of group of the Yolngu people from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. He was the first Arnhem Land Aborigine to obtain a university degree and established Aboriginal teaching alongside western methods.

By 1985, his love of music had led him to start Yothu Yindi which fused traditional indigenous music with rock and other popular music. The group toured extensively in Australia, America and Canada.

He has received several honorary doctorates and was named Australian of the year in 1993 (an honor his brother Galarrwuy received in 1978). Here is Yothu Yindi with their most famous song, Treaty. (He was 56 when he died.)

♫ Yothu Yindi - Treaty

DAMON HARRIS was a soul singer who was a member of the Temptations. He joined the group after Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams left. Damon actually started his musical career in a Temptations tribute band so I guess he knew the songs.

He spent the rest of his musical career coming and going into various incarnations of the group. (62)

It hasn't been a good year for the Temps, RICHARD STREET was another member of the group and he joined around the time that Damon did.

Richard started out singing in a group with Otis Williams that evolved into The Temptations. Initially, he wasn't a "real" member but travelled with them to fill in whenever anyone became "ill". He later left and had a reasonable solo career. (70)


CLAUDE KING was a country singer and songwriter, originally from Louisiana, who had a number of charting songs over the years on both country and pop charts. However, by far his biggest seller was Wolverton Mountain which he wrote with Merle Kilgore, apparently based on one of Merle's uncles.

Claude also appeared in several films and a number of TV series. He kept performing and recording right to the end of his life. (90)


PATTI PAGE, or Clara Fowler to her folks, occasionally didn’t get the respect she deserved. I put it down to that Doggie song - you know the one. It won’t be played in any column I write.

Many of her other songs will, though, indeed, she’s appeared many times already. Patti sold more than 100 million records (and still counting); there are few artists who could make that claim.

I always liked Patti (except for that song) and everything else she recorded I was happy with. She started singing in Tulsa in the forties and was picked up by a local band. That didn’t last long and she went out as a solo artist, and what a successful one she was.

Another of her accomplishments is being the first person to record a Burt Bacharach song. There are a lot of songs I could play, but I’ve gone for Allegheny Moon. (85)

♫ Patti Page - Allegheny Moon

WOLFGANG SAWALLISCH was a German pianist and conductor, noted for his conducting for opera – he was a regular at the Bayreuth Festival and at La Scala as well as elsewhere. He gained considerable fame conducting the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. (89)


PHIL RAMONE was a record producer who worked with pretty much every important artist in popular music. He was not associated with the rock group that shared his surname.

Phil started out as a classical violinist and won a scholarship to Juilliard. He eventually decided that jazz was more to his liking and started playing around town. He took a day job in a recording studio and the rest is history.

A short list of some of the musicians he's produced includes Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Simon and Garfunkel, Dionne Warwick, Ray Charles, Billy Joel, Stan Getz, Rod Stewart, Elton John and many others. (79)

JEWEL AKENS was an R&B singer who made his start singing in a church choir. When his family moved to Los Angeles he performed in a DooWop group and occasionally as a duo.

He was a backing singer for several artists, most notably Eddie Cochran. He first came to prominence with the huge hit, The Birds and the Bees. He had several other charting songs after that one, and he later turned to music production. (79)

MINDY MCCREADY described her life as a whirlwind of chaos, and this is reflected in her songs. She was a country singer with a large following outside that genre. She pushed country music to its limits as she did with her own life which she took at age 37.


RAY MANZAREK was the keyboard player and founding member of the rock group The Doors. He seemed to embody the contradictions of rock music as he resembled a tall college professor more than a rock star.

His piano lessons as a boy became tiresome to him until he discovered boogie woogie and he was hooked. He was a movie buff so he went to study film at UCLA where he met Jim Morrison.

They decided to start a band together and The Doors were born. For a few brief years they produced the most interesting music being made in America in spite of Jim's often erratic behavior.

This is Riders on the Storm, an apt title for the group's journey, from their final album together. (74)

♫ The Doors - Riders on the Storm

COLIN DAVIS was an English conductor best known for his days with the London Symphony Orchestra. He started out playing the clarinet but always wanted to be a conductor. He was also a teacher at various academies and universities. (85)

MARTIN SHARP was an Australian artist who also co-founded Oz magazine, first in Australia and later in London. He also created several record album covers, particularly for Cream, and designed many posters for music events which quickly became collectors' items as well as appearing in many galleries.

Martin wrote some songs with his friend Eric Clapton that Cream recorded. He later befriended, promoted and produced Tiny Tim. (71)


TOMPALL GLASER was a country musician who started out performing with his brothers as Tompall and the Glaser Brothers. They were fine harmony singers and were used by Marty Robbins on his groundbreaking "Gunfighter Ballads" album.

The brothers recorded their own albums to minimal success until 1973 when they called it quits. Tompall then went on to forge a successful solo career. He recorded with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, but he mostly went his own way. The brothers occasionally reformed the group for performances. (79)

SHADOW MORTON was a some-time record producer and a some-time songwriter. He's most noted for writing songs and producing records for The Shangri-Las.

He wrote their most famous hits, Remember (Walking in the Sand) and Leader of the Pack. He later produced Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. I suppose someone had to. (72)


ALVIN LEE was an English sixties' guitar hero mentioned in the same sentences as Eric, Jimi, Jeff, Jimmy and Pete. Born Graham Barnes, he changed his name as the sixties dawned. His father was a jazz guitarist and his mother played the ukulele, however young Graham took up the clarinet. That is, until rock & roll hit the world.

He was taken by his father's jazz music and he liked to use jazz idioms in rock & roll. He formed the group Ten Years After who had the great fortune to be invited to the Woodstock festival and their appearance, especially Alvin's turn as the "the fastest guitarist in the west" made them one of the biggest groups at the time.

He later had a solo career occasionally interrupted by reunions of the band. Here is Ten Years After with Alvin's incredible fingers playing the Woody Herman composition, Woodchopper's Ball. (68)

♫ Ten Years After - Woodchoppers Ball

GEORGE JACKSON was a soul, rhythm & blues and rock songwriter and singer. He started writing in his teens and a chance meeting with Tina Turner got him a recording date. The record wasn't successful but he kept up the songwriting, producing hits for Clarence Carter, Wilson Pickett, Candi Staton, Bobby Bland and others. (68)

PAT HALCOX was the trumpeter for Chris Barber's Jazz Band. He was with Chris from 1954 to 2008, an amazing length of time. He left the band as he said he'd got tired of touring, as the group was one of the hardest working in music. He also played some session work including a couple of Elton John's records. (82)


J.J. CALE was one of the most influential guitarists in rock & roll. He wasn't very well known to the general public but the musicians certainly knew him. His tunes were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton (who made an album with him), Santana, The Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Band, Chet Atkins, Freddie King, Maria Muldaur and many more.

John Cale couldn't use his real name when he started performing professionally as there was already another famous musician with that name. Initially he was unsuccessful and was about to give up the music biz when Eric Clapton recorded After Midnight which became a huge selling record.

His music was really closer to jazz, with a bit of blues thrown in, than rock & roll. He was asked if it bothered him that, although well known by other musicians, many people didn't know his name. He replied that it didn't, "What's really nice is when you get a cheque in the mail."

Here is that song, probably his most famous, After Midnight. (74)

♫ JJ Cale - After Midnight

AMAR BOSE founded the audio company that bears his surname. He was responsible for some of the finest home and professional audio equipment around. His early speaker designs were revolutionary and he produced speakers that were better than any that had gone before.

He donated the majority of his company to MIT's education and research facilities. (83)


TONY SHERIDAN was a British singer and guitarist whose early records were backed by the then unknown group, The Beatles. Tony started his musical career as a violinist and singer in Gilbert and Sullivan productions.  He switched to guitar when rock & roll reared its head.

In the fifties, he gigged around London in various bands and eventually wound up in Hamburg playing the clubs there. That is where he met the fabs. He became quite successful in Germany but he was always dogged by his link to The Beatles and didn't become as successful as he probably deserved. (72)

JOHN AMIS was a British broadcaster, classical music critic and musical administrator. From the fifties until his death he was a regular contributor to the BBC's musical output. For 20 years he was a member of the terrific panel show, My Music, which is where I first discovered him. (91)


RICHIE HAVENS was an American singer/songwriter and guitarist. He was born in Brooklyn, and his father moved the family to Montana (whence he came). There Richie and his brother joined a Wild West show (until they reached New York where he stayed).

He settled in Greenwich Village just as the musical ferment of the early sixties was happening. He soon gained a reputation for his singing and his singular guitar-playing style and made several records.

On the basis of this he was included in the Woodstock festival where he opened proceedings (allegedly because he was the only performer present who wasn't stoned out of his gourd). Richie sings Follow from his fine "Mixed Bag" album. (72)

♫ Richie Havens - Follow

KENNY BALL was an English trumpet player who, along with Chris Barber, was instrumental in reviving trad jazz in that country and around the world. His band had a huge hit with Midnight in Moscow and many of their other records made the charts.

His style of music took a bit of a downturn when The Beatles hit it big. Actually, several members of the fabs said they were huge fans of Kenny's music. (82)


CLAUDE NOBS was the co-founder and long time director of the famed Montreux Jazz Festival. One of his policies was to bring in great rock and blues bands as well as jazz musicians. He became close personal friends of many of the musicians who performed there.

Early in his career he signed The Beatles to appear on Swiss TV but the directors vetoed his selection as they believed they weren’t famous enough. (76)

PETER BANKS was an English guitarist who came to fame in the group Yes. He was fired from the group after a couple of years because he liked to perform extended jazz style solos upsetting the others in the group.

He joined Blodwyn Pig for a short time and later formed his own band, Flash. That was followed by Empire that he created with his wife of the time. He was also a successful session musician. (65)

SYBIL MICHELOW was a South African contralto who originally went to London to study piano. She later switched to singing was a great interpreter of Elgar and Handel. She also performed much 20th century music, particularly Tippett, Bliss and Merrick.

Besides singing, she also composed and scored music for Bertolt Brecht's plays amongst others. (87)


GEORGE JONES was a country singer with a voice that was as good as just about any around in that field. The life he led gave his songs an aura of authenticity – multiple arrests, divorces, lawsuits, drug busts, car crashes, alcoholism and bankruptcies were all in the mix.

Fortunately, he got himself together when he married his fourth wife Nancy Sepulvado. I'd need a very thick book indeed to tell you his complete history, I'm sure there are several being produced.

I'll let you hear his most famous song, one that he didn’t like at all. He refused to record it for quite some time but eventually weakened. He later admitted that the song revived his flagging career. That song is He Stopped Loving Her Today. (81)

♫ George Jones - He Stopped Loving Her Today

T-MODEL FORD, born James Ford, was a blues singer who taught himself to play guitar when he was 58. He recorded a number of albums in recent years and he always played longer than anyone else at his gigs. His music was rough and ready but very compelling. (about 90)


CECIL WOMACK and his wife Linda recorded some great soul music in the eighties under the name Womack and Womack. He was also a songwriter of some note and had his songs recorded by Debbie Harry, Hall & Oates, Bette Midler and Boz Scaggs amongst many others.

He was born into a musical family – one of his brothers is the great soul singer Bobby Womack. The Womack family saga reads like a soap opera. Sam Cooke noticed them and signed them to his record company.

After Sam was shot Bobby married Barbara, Sam's widow, rather sooner than you'd expect. Cecil married the singer Mary Wells, had three kids and they were divorced in rather quick time. Mary then had another with Curtis, Cecil's older brother.

Then Cecil married Linda Cooke, Sam's daughter. She's the Linda mentioned above. Somehow or other some great music was produced. (65)

BILL PUTT was the bass player for the hugely influential Australian blues/rock band Spectrum. This band also performed more commercial work under the name The Indelible Murtceps. After the demise of Spectrum, several members of that band, including Bill, formed the equally influential group Ariel. (66)

The Marcels

CORNELIUS HARP was the lead singer for the DooWop group The Marcels. That's him in the middle with the guitar. They had a world wide hit with their rocked up version of the old standard, Blue Moon in the early sixties.

They had success with similar treatment of other such songs, most notably Summertime and Heartaches. The Marcels were one of the first integrated DooWop groups, and here they are with Heartaches. (In his 70s)

♫ The Marcels - Heartaches

JOHN WHITWORTH was a counter-tenor who was very popular in the 40s and 50s. He started performing at King's College Cambridge, and later joined the choir of Westminster Abbey. He made numerous recordings of Renaissance and Baroque music. (91)


REG PRESLEY or Reginald Ball to his mum and dad, was an English singer/songwriter best known to the rest of the world as the lead singer of the band The Troggs. They had only a couple of hits but one of them was the hugely successful song, Wild Thing.

The band was very influential and many later groups like The Ramones and The Stooges have cited them as such. Reg had several strokes recently and finally succumbed to lung cancer. (71)

CEDAR WALTON was a jazz pianist and composer. His mother taught him classical piano and he later had formal training in this area. He went to New York where he played in groups led by Art Blakey, John Coltrane and others. He later formed his own group, but it was as a composer he was most renowned. (79)


JÁNOS STARKER was an American cello player who was born in Hungary. He was a child prodigy on the instrument and made his first performance when he was six. He started playing professionally at the age of 14.

Many of his family were murdered by the Nazis but he managed to survive. He left Hungary, initially for Switzerland, later to Paris and eventually emigrated to the United States.

He was the principal cellist for several symphony orchestras finally taking that role with the Chicago Symphony. He later settled in Indiana where he held the post of Professor of Music at Indiana University.

He recorded all the famous works for cello, especially the Bach Cello Suites which he managed to record five times. Let's hear some of it. This is the first movement of the Cello Suite No 1 in G Major. (88)

♫ Janos Starker - Bach Cello Suite No 1 in G Major

GORDON STOKER was the lead singer of The Jordonaires who backed Elvis on many of his early hits. He was the last remaining member of the group. They also backed Ricky Nelson, Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline and others. As well, they performed as a stand-alone group. (88)

ALLEN LANIER was the keyboard player, guitarist and songwriter for the heavy metal band Blue Oyster Cult of which he was a founding member. (67)

BOBBIE SMITH was co-lead singer for the soul group the Detroit Spinners (or just The Spinners). The group formed in 1954 and has been performing to the present day. Bobbie was one of the original members. (76)


MARVIN JUNIOR was the lead baritone singer in The Dells. The group started out as a standard DooWop group and evolved into a fine soul ensemble. His lead vocals along with Johnny Carter's falsetto voice defined the sound of The Dells.

The group met when they were at school. After singing around town and in Chicago they got a recording date with Chess records. They had a few minor hits before they hit it big with Oh What a Night. The group continued performing and recording well into this century.

Here is my favorite of their songs, O-O I Love You. (77)

♫ The Dells - O-O I Love You

Alas, there are more Toes Up tomorrow.

ELDER MUSIC: Christmas (Deep Sigh)

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.

Christmas in Oz

Most Christmas songs fall into two categories: entirely too cheerful and thus depressing or depressing and thus depressing. I tend to lean more to the latter but that won't be entirely the case today.

We're also leaning in the direction of the blues as well. That wasn't planned, it's just the way the tunes reared their heads and said, "Use me.”

The first, though, is not the blues. It's an old English ditty sung by the KINGSTON TRIO.

The Kingston Trio

Wassail in old English means "Be you healthy.” It also traditionally involves hot mulled cider. I guess that's to keep you warm while you wander about wassailing all over the place. I wouldn't know. At that time of the year I have no trouble keeping warm here in Australia. Keeping cool is another matter. Here the Trio sing Somerset Gloucestershire Wassail.

♫ Kingston Trio - Somerset Gloucestershire Wassail

JIMMY WITHERSPOON really has this time of the year sussed out.

Jimmy Witherspoon

His contribution to our festival of jollity is called How I Hate to See Christmas Come Around. Nothing more needs to be said as far as I'm concerned.

♫ Jimmy Witherspoon - How I Hate to See Xmas Come Around

Now for something I imagine few of you were expecting, BOB DYLAN singing a Christmas song.

Bob Dylan

In fact he's released a whole album of such material, singing everything straight (or as straight as Bob ever gets). The album is called "Christmas in the Heart" for those who want to search it out. Here is a taste, Must Be Santa.

♫ Bob Dylan - Must Be Santa

Christmas in Oz

B.B. KING comes closest today to a celebration of Christmas.

BB King

That doesn't detract from the quality of his song, fortunately. It's called Christmas Celebration and he gives us some of his fine trademark guitar playing.

♫ B.B. King - Christmas Celebration

BIG JOHN GREER was active professionally between the late forties and mid-fifties.

John Greer

He played tenor sax as well as being a singer and played with Wynonie Harris and Bull Moose Jackson amongst others. He was a bit too fond of the booze and died from its effects in 1972.

His song may be the jolliest one today, We Wanna See Santa Do The Mambo.

♫ John Greer - We Wanna See Santa Do The Mambo

Christmas in Oz

JONATHAN COULTON and JOHN RODERICK sing that they want to be warm at Christmas time.

Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick

Well, Jon and John, that's very easily done. All you have to do is ring Qantas and book a trip to Oz or any other southern hemisphere country. Or even somewhere in the tropics. Easy peasy. Their lament is Christmas in July.

♫ Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick - Christmas in July

If I gave a prize for double entrendre Christmas songs, this next one would be a contender. There are actually quite a few in this category but I've pretty much omitted them, or used them in past years. There are a couple that will probably turn up in next year's column.

In the mean time you'll have to be content with JIMMY BUTLER.

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy reveals hidden meanings in virtually every common Christmas image. So, let's get on with it. This is Trim Your Tree.

♫ Jimmy Butler - Trim Your Tree

Christmas in Oz

If you wanted to come up with a name for your group that would not age well, THE HEPSTERS would fit that bill admirably.

The Hepsters

They started out around 1953 as the 5 Stars and were still attending school when they started performing at weekends around the traps in Cleveland, whence they came.

They made the acquaintance of an "exotic dancer" who got them a recording date where they recorded Rockin' And Rollin' With Santa Claus under the name of The Hepsters. They were influenced by other DooWop groups of the time and this shows in the song.

♫ Hepsters - Rockin' And Rollin' With Santa Claus

Christmas in Oz

Old Santa doesn't look as if he has the Christmas blues in that picture, but LITTLE ESTHER and MEL WALKER certainly do. JOHNNY OTIS as well, as it's his orchestra.

Esther, Mel & Johnny

They all have the Far Away Christmas Blues.

♫ Little Esther & Mel Walker with Johnny Otis Orchestra - Far Away Christmas Blues

I'll end with my traditional moment of couth. I think I've been doing this long enough now to be able to call it a tradition. Here is something by J.S. BACH.


The music is Ich wuenschte mir den Tod, an aria from his Cantata At the 2nd Day of Christmas, BWV 57. The singer is Ruth Holton.

♫ J.S. Bach - Ich wuenschte mir den Tod

Christmas in Oz


PeterTibbles75x75This 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 1941?

  • Bob Dylan was born
  • Marlene Dietrich became an American citizen
  • The Bismarck was sunk (there could be a song in that)
  • America entered the war
  • Citizen Kane was released
  • Melbourne were premiers

Following on from 1940, I'll start this year with Lady Day. BILLIE HOLIDAY, that is.

Billie Holiday

Billie's song is one she wrote herself with Arthur Herzog, God Bless the Child.

♫ Billie Holiday - God Bless The Child

THE INK SPOTS had a number of hits in 1941.

The Ink Spots

This is just one of them, Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat written by Leon René and Emerson Scott.

♫ The Ink Spots - Someone's Rocking My Dreamboat

One of DUKE ELLINGTON's more famous tracks is Take the A Train.

Duke Ellington

Billy Strayhorn played for Duke after a concert and Duke was so impressed he invited Billy to his home. He gave him directions to get there, part of which was "Take the A train."

Billy liked the line and composed the tune at the party and wrote it down for Duke. It became the band's signature tune (another one of those).

♫ Duke Ellington - Take The A Train

ERNEST TUBB's song Walking the Floor Over You is generally considered the first honky tonk song.

Ernest Tubb

The first one to become a hit at any rate. Ernest recorded the song several times over the years, but the original one from this year had just him playing acoustic guitar and "Smitty" Smith on electric guitar.

His voice later improved on subsequent versions, but it's interesting to get the raw initial version.

♫ Ernest Tubb - Walking The Floor Over You

Key to the Highway is usually attributed to Chas Segar and BIG BILL BROONZY.

Big Bill Broonzy

Bill said that it was based on a traditional tune and Chas used to sing one version and he another. They got together and melded them and produced the one we know.

The song has had many cover versions, most notably by Little Walter, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. This is Bill from 1941.

♫ Big Bill Broonzy - Key To The Highway

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy is one of the iconic songs from World War II. It was recorded by THE ANDREWS SISTERS.

The Andrews Sisters

To my ears it sounds like an early take on jump blues, a style that became common later in the decade that lead eventually to rock & roll. The song was featured in the Abbott and Costello film, Buck Privates.

♫ Andrews Sisters - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

My goodness, jazz/swing from around this time produced some fine clarinet players. ARTIE SHAW is just one of them.

Artie Shaw

Artie wasn't quite like the other band leaders/arrangers at the time. He was influenced by Igor Stravinsky and he often introduced classical elements into his music. Not much of that on this one though, Frenesi.

♫ Artie Shaw - Frenesi

Now for something completely different, CHAMPION JACK DUPREE.

Champion Jack Dupree

Jack, or William to give him his birth name, was from New Orleans, born in 1908, 09 or 10 – nobody seems to know and Jack's not telling. Well, he can't any more.

He was orphaned when he was only two years old and sent to the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs. That place, incidentally, was where Louis Armstrong was sent as well. It was there that Jack taught himself to play piano.

He was later apprenticed to Tuts Washington and Willie Hall. It was from Willie that he learned the song, Junker's Blues.

♫ Champion Jack Dupree - Junker's Blues

Here is another song with TOMMY DORSEY and FRANK SINATRA.

Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra

Not just those two, but CONNIE HAINES and THE PIED PIPERS are on board as well.

Connie Haines and The Pied Pipers

All of these folks get together to perform Oh! Look At Me Now!

Tommy Dorsey with Frank Sinatra - Oh! Look At Me Now!

VAUGHN MONROE is best known around my place for the song They Call the Wind Mariah.


That's not what we have today though, after all he sang other things too, I remind myself. Besides being a singer he was a talented trumpeter and trombone player, although these are seldom in evidence on his records. The song is There I Go.

♫ Vaughn Monroe - There I Go

1942 will appear early next year.

ELDER MUSIC: Interesting Singers

PeterTibbles75x75This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

Here are some interesting singers. There's no linking theme, I just thought you might like to hear them. I certainly enjoyed selecting them (and many others who didn't make the cut but will certainly be present in future epistles).

These singers are a mixture of well known performers and others that may be new to some of you. I like to mix them up like that. Without further ado I'll get to the music.

To my ears it sounds as if MARK WINKLER and CHERYL BENTYNE listened very carefully to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. No bad thing in my estimation.

Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne

Their song is really two songs strung together, the second paying homage to the first. The first being the classic Paul Desmond composition Take Five and the second is Drinks on the Patio. That's Rich Eames on piano and Bob Sheppard on sax.

♫ Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne - Take 5-Drinks On the Patio

TIMI YURO had an amazing voice that she used to spectacular effect in the song Hurt. You won't hear that one today, but it will be featured in 1961, so be patient.

Timi Yuro

Timi was one of the first singers to perform in a style that's now referred to as Blue-Eyed Soul. Alas, in the eighties she was diagnosed with throat cancer from which she eventually died. Here she performs She Really Loves You.

♫ Timi Yuro - She Really Loves You

CÉCILE SALVANT was born and bred in Miami.

Cecile Salvant

She was the product, if that's not too crude a way of putting it, of a French mother and an Haitian father. She was classically trained on both piano and voice and studied in France where, besides extending her musical repertoire into Baroque and modern classical music, Cécile also earned a law degree.

It was in France that she discovered jazz. There's a lot more that could be mentioned but I only have a bit of space.

Here is her interpretation of the J. Russel Robinson song, St Louis Gal. Old J was active in the early part of the 20th century and collaborated with W.C. Handy, Cab Calloway, Fats Waller and James P. Johnson amongst others from that time.

♫ Cecile Salvant - St Louis Gal

HELEN SHAPIRO is another singer with an extraordinary voice, easily the finest of the female pop singers in the early sixties.

Helen Shapiro

It was difficult to believe that she was only 14 when she first burst on to the musical scene. Helen had many hits in the next few years and once toured as headlining act with an unknown, but up and coming, group called The Beatles.

They got on really well and they gave her a song to record. She would have been the first artist to record a Lennon/McCartney song but her record company nixed that saying that the group was a flash in the pan and they knew better what was best for her.

This isn't that song, it's It's so Funny I Could Cry.

♫ Helen Shapiro - It's so funny I could cry

TINY TOPSY started performing in the forties when she sang with the Al Smith band in Chicago.

Tiny Topsy

After that band split up, she went solo in the late fifties and early sixties, usually under the name Tiny Topsy and the Five Chances which featured saxophonist Ray Felder and the vocal group The Charms.

There's some doubt about her real name but the best guess is that she was born Otha Lee Hall. She died young, just 34. Whoever she was, today she's singing Miss You So.

♫ Tiny Topsy - Miss You So

I had a little help from Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, in selecting a song from SARAH VAUGHAN.

Sarah Vaughan

The A.M. is a big fan of Sarah's and I had the selection culled to two songs. She chose the one we have today, You're Not the Kind.

♫ Sarah Vaughan - You're Not The Kind

DORIS TROY was born Doris Higginsen and her rather strict parents disapproved of this music nonsense.

Doris Troy

She was later an usherette at the Apollo where she was discovered by James Brown. Doris eventually worked with the great Solomon Burke as well as The Drifters, Dionne Warwick, Cissy Houston and pretty much everyone else in show biz. Her song is Exactly Like You.

♫ Doris Troy - Exactly Like You

Although DOROTHY MOORE has recorded a couple of dozen albums and released quite a few singles, she's best known for just one song.

Dorothy Moore

I could have chosen something else, but that song is so good I'm going with it. Misty Blue.

♫ Dorothy Moore - Misty Blue

CATHERINE RUSSELL was obviously destined for a career in music. Her father was Louis Armstrong's long time musical director and her mother gained degrees in music from both Julliard and the Manhattan School of Music.

Catherine Russell

Besides being a singer Catherine plays keyboards, drums and guitar. An all-round entertainer. She's a terrific singer too as you'll hear in Don't Leave Me.

♫ Russell - Don't Leave Me

I had a little help from the A.M. on this next artist as well although I had pretty much chosen the track that the A.M. came up with. The singer is SUSANNAH MCCORKLE.

Susannah McCorkle

Those who know Susannah will realize what a great talent she was. They will also know the tragic circumstance of her premature death, which I won’t go into here.

Susannah sings I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle, a song popularized by Bessie Smith and Susannah sings the blues rather than her usual jazz performance.

♫ Susannah McCorkle - I Ain't Gonna Play No Second Fiddle


PeterTibbles75x75This 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.


  • Frank Zappa was born
  • Italy entered the war (on the wrong side)
  • Generally, little good news this year
  • Fantasia was released
  • Melbourne were premiers.

GENE AUTRY was the first person to record Blueberry Hill. There were five other versions recorded this year.

Gene Autry

He also reprised it in the film The Singing Hill the following year. The song was written by Vincent Rose, Larry Stock and Al Lewis. Here is that first recording. It's certainly not Fats Domino.

♫ Gene Autry - Blueberry Hill

DUKE ELLINGTON wrote this next song but he called it Never No Lament. He recorded it under that name.

Duke Ellington

Later, Bob Russell wrote words to it and changed the name to Don't Get Around Much Anymore. Duke recorded it again under its new name.

If you're interested, I've devoted a whole column to the song. Here is the original version when it was still called Never No Lament.

♫ Duke Ellington - Never No Lament

This next song is dedicated to Petrochelidon, a genus of birds which are cliff-nesting swallows. The genus includes all five species of birds commonly called cliff swallows.

It was noticed by Leon René that each spring they returned to their nesting grounds in Mission San Juan Capistrano in southern California just south of Los Angeles, so he wrote the song, When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano. The first recording of the song was by THE INK SPOTS.

The Ink Spots

♫ The Ink Spots - When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano

JIMMIE DAVIS was a singer of popular, country and sacred songs.

Jimmie Davis

He was also elected governor of Louisiana twice. Before that he wrote a song, along with Charles Mitchell, called You Are My Sunshine. Or perhaps not; some say that Oliver Hood wrote it.

Whatever is the case, he certainly recorded it. Here it is.

♫ Jimmie Davis - You Are My Sunshine

BING CROSBY is represented again with Trade Winds.

Bing Crosby

The song was written by Charles Tobias and Cliff Friend and Bing is backed by Dick McIntyre and his harmony Hawaiians.

♫ Bing Crosby - Trade Winds

You all know this one, it's GLENN MILLER with In the Mood.

Glenn Miller

It's one of the most recognized tunes of the 20th Century. The tune had been kicking around for a bit before Glenn got his hands on it and after he recorded it, all the previous versions were forgotten.

♫ Glenn Miller - In The Mood


The Andrews Sisters

I've always thought that Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar sounds a bit kinky. Maybe it's just me. The song was written by Don Raye, although Ray McKinley gets partial credit for it under his wife's maiden name, Eleanore Sheehy, due to a contract conflict.

Here are the sisters beating us eight to the bar.

♫ Andrews Sisters - Beat Me Daddy Eight To The Bar

Tommy Dorsey's name is on the record for this one but we all know that it's really FRANK SINATRA and the Pied Pipers.

Frank Sinatra

The song was written by Ruth Lowe and this is by far the most famous version of I'll Never Smile Again.

♫ Frank Sinatra - I'll Never Smile Again

BOB WILLS makes an appearance with yet another signature song.

Bob Wills

Bob originally recorded this as an instrumental – well, as much of an instrument Bob ever got. Various members of the band wrote words to it and they recorded it as New San Antonio Rose. That's Tommy Duncan on vocals.

♫ Bob Wills - New San Antonio Rose


Billie Holiday

Along with Billie we have such notables as Roy Eldridge, Teddy Wilson, Don Byas and Kenny Clarke as well as a couple of others. They all suggest that Practice Makes Perfect.

♫ Billie Holiday - Practice Makes Perfect

1941 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Lead Guitarists – Commenters' Choice

PeterTibbles75x75This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

This is your column, you the Time Goes By Music readers.

Not too long ago I did a column on Lead Guitarists. Those were my personal choices. However, you left enough suggestions for another complete column, so here are the ones you mentioned in those comments.

Just because they were omitted from my original column doesn't mean I don't like them - indeed, I would have selected some of them myself in part 2 or 3 if I ever got around to it. So, it's your choice today, and that will save me having to think who should be included.


Lindsey Buckingham

Lindsay is the guitarist for the most successful incarnation of Fleetwood Mac. There were several guitarists before him in that group, in particular one of the founder members, Peter Green. However, it's Lindsay's turn in the limelight today.

Here is the Mac with Lindsay singing and playing Blue Letter. There's a fine live version of the song on YouTube for those who'd like to hear more.

♫ Fleetwood Mac - Blue Letter

STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN was the real deal.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

He had already established himself as one of the finest guitarists around, respected by both rock and blues audiences when he met his death in a helicopter accident. Although thought of as a loud rock/blues player, he could also play jazz equally proficiently. Indeed, it is this style of his that I prefer.

However, today it's the blues and The Sky Is Crying from the album of the same name.

♫ Stevie Ray Vaughan - The Sky Is Crying

CARLOS SANTANA learned the violin when he was five and took up the guitar at age eight.

Carlos Santana

His family moved from Mexico to San Francisco but Carlos stayed behind. Not for long though, he joined them there and went to school in the city.

He first came to notice for his guitar work when the Paul Butterfield Band couldn't play at the Fillmore (various substances were involved). Bill Graham put together a band of musicians he knew or had heard of and Carlos blew everyone away with his playing.

He formed the band Santana and they were a regular act at the Fillmore. Here they perform Samba Pa Ti.

♫ Santana - Samba Pa Ti

ANGUS YOUNG plays for the Australian rock group AC/DC.

Angus Young

He and his brother Malcolm were founder members of the band. They have rock & roll in their genes as their older brother George was a member of one of the finest of Oz rock bands, The Easybeats.

Acker-Dacker (as they are universally known in Oz) are one of the hardest rocking bands around. Here's an example of that: Highway To Hell.

♫ AC_DC - Highway To Hell

I was a little surprised at MICKEY BAKER's inclusion. Not because he wasn't a fine guitarist, but because he isn't exactly a household name.

Mickey Baker

I should have realized that you, the readers, have great musical depth. That sounds as if I'm sucking up to you all. Well, of course I am.

Mickey was half of the fifties’ R&B duo Mickey and Sylvia (with Sylvia Robinson). He was also a much sort after session musician. As well, he recorded under his own name, mostly instrumental tunes. This is one of them, Midnight Midnight.

♫ Mickey Baker - Midnight Midnight

FREDDIE KING (or Freddy King, he used both spellings) was one of the great "King" bluesmen.

Freddie King

There were a bunch of these and I've even done a column on them all. However, it's Freddie's day in the spotlight with Five Long Years.

♫ Freddie King - Five Long Years

MARK KNOPFLER nearly made the cut in my first column, but he missed by that much. He wasn't alone in that regard.

Mark Knopfler

Mark first came to prominence as the main man for Dire Straits, a really fine group – particularly early on before all the overblown theatrics kicked in. I couldn't go past the first song of his I ever heard, Sultans of Swing.

♫ Dire Straits - Sultans of Swing

I mentioned JIMMY PAGE in the original column, but he didn't get an actual spot. I'll remedy that today.

Jimmy Page

Jimmy started his career as a session musician and he would also play at various clubs around London. When Eric Clapton left The Yardbirds, he recommended Jimmy as his replacement.

Jimmy didn't want to give up his lucrative session work so he suggested his friend Jeff Beck for the gig. Later on he joined Jeff in the group. After much coming and going Jimmy decided to form his own band.

Upon hearing them, The Who's drummer Keith Moon dismissed them suggesting they would go over like a lead zeppelin. They thought that was a good name for the band and changed its spelling to Led Zeppelin so there wouldn't be any misunderstanding on how to pronounce the first word of the group's name.

Here they are with Whole Lotta Love from their second album.

♫ Led Zeppelin - Whole Lotta Love

I also mentioned DUANE ALLMAN in my first column. He missed out then too, but here he is today.

Duane Allman

Besides playing in his own band, he was in demand as a session guitarist. He plays that beautiful slide guitar part in Eric Clapton's Layla as well as letting it rip alongside Boz Scaggs on his first album after leaving the Steve Miller Band.

Here are the Allman Brothers from their first album with Black Hearted Woman.

♫ Allman Brothers - Black Hearted Woman

I finished my first column with Chuck Berry. I'll end this one with another influential guitarist from the early days of rock & roll, BO DIDDLEY.

Bo Diddley

Like Chuck, Bo's trademark way of playing has been pinched by many later guitarists. The Rolling Stones built their early career on Bo's style. You have to admire someone who made a career performing songs named after himself.

This is one of them, Bo Diddley.

♫ Bo Diddley - Bo Diddley

Joe Walsh was the other one mentioned but I had my quota so he missed out.


PeterTibbles75x75This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.


  • Judy Collins was born
  • Word War II began
  • The Vienna Boys' Choir was stranded in Australia for the duration
  • Victoria experienced the worst bushfire in its history (until a worse one in 2009)
  • Patrick White published his first novel, Happy Valley
  • The Wizard of Oz premiered in New York
  • Australia won the Davis Cup
  • Melbourne were premiers

ART TATUM was one of the greatest jazz pianists and was a huge influence on later pianists.

Art Tatum

On Tea for Two, a tune written by Vincent Youmans (with words by Irving Caesar, but they're not in evidence in this version), he took stride piano playing to such heights that nobody could improve on it, so I guess they had to try something else, and BeBop was born.

♫ Art Tatum - Tea For Two

A signature tune (these years are full of them). This time it's GENE AUTRY.

Gene Autry

Gene wrote this himself with some help from Ray Whitley. I don't know if Gene was the first of the singing cowboys but he certainly the most famous (at least until Roy Rogers came along).

He invested wisely over the years and made a fortune such that he regularly made Forbes' 400 list. This is Back in the Saddle Again.

♫ Gene Autry - Back In The Saddle Again

Thank goodness for FATS WALLER to bring a little levity to the year.

Fats Waller

The song is Your Feet's Too Big which was written by Fred Fisher and Ada Benson. Naturally, Fats couldn't just sing the words as written but adlibbed his way through the song.

♫ Fats Waller - Your Feet's Too Big

As I mentioned in the introduction, this was the year of the Wiz, so you know who's coming up next. Yes, Frank Morgan. Just kidding. Here's JUDY GARLAND.

Judy Garland

The song needs no introduction but I'm going to give you one anyway: Over the Rainbow.

♫ Judy Garland - Over The Rainbow

WOODY HERMAN was a fine clarinet player as well being good on several types of saxophones.

Woody Herman

However, his most lasting legacy would be that he encouraged young talented musicians, more than any other band leader from the period. He also changed his repertoire to keep up with the times. Here he is with At the Woodchopper's Ball.

♫ Woody Herman - At The Woodchopper's Ball

THE INK SPOTS recording of If I Didn't Care is one of the biggest selling records of all time. So far it's clocked up more than 19 million copies.

The Ink Spots

Before all that happened, Jack Lawrence, who wrote the song, sent a copy to a bunch of his friends and asked them what they thought about it. The result was overwhelmingly that it was a lousy song and wouldn't sell a bean. He got the Ink Spots to record it anyway.

♫ The Ink Spots - If I Didn't Care

We had a few signature tunes back in 1938, not forgetting the one above, now here's one for GLENN MILLER.

Glenn Miller

It is, of course, Moonlight Serenade, that Glenn wrote himself. It's not music to my taste but folks at the time loved it. I imagine a lot still do.

♫ Glenn Miller - Moonlight Serenade

Easily the most serious and thought-provoking song in this whole series is this one by BILLIE HOLIDAY.

Billie Holiday

Certainly the most important. It is Strange Fruit, written as a poem by Abel Meeropol and put to music by him and his wife, Laura Duncan.

♫ Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

Begin the Beguine is a Cole Porter song recorded by many people. The version I know about is by CHICK HENDERSON.

Chick Henderson

The reason I'm familiar with this one is that my mum hated it. That's because she said it always seemed to be playing while she was waiting around for my sister to pop out (that was before my time). They seemed to play it every five minutes, she said.

I won't go into any further details, I'll just play it. Chick is backed by the Joe Loss band.

♫ Chick Henderson - Begin the Beguine

CRIPPLE CLARENCE LOFTON was a boogie woogie pianist and singer of considerable acclaim.

Cripple Clarence Lofton

He didn't just play and sing, he'd snap his fingers, whistle, bang the wood of the piano to accompany himself. He occasionally had Big Bill Broonzy accompany him on guitar.

He had a limp from birth which is how he acquired his nickname. In spite of that, he started his career as a tap dancer. This is I Don't Know.

♫ Cripple Clarence Lofton - I Don't Know

1940 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Eleven Eleven Eleven

PeterTibbles75x75This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

The most pointless war of the 20th century, the most useless, the one that should never have happened, is the First World War. The world fell into it by accident and it caused so much suffering, so many people dead, so much change that it altered forever what came after.

It was the cause of the Second World War and most of the ructions in the Middle East that are still going on, as well as most other conflicts in the last 90 years.

This was an awful war. I know, all of them are awful but without this one, things would have been different, at least I’d like to think so.

So, I’m starting with a song about it. It’s one from an Australian perspective. We were dragged into it as, although we were an independent country, the politicians tended to do the bidding of Britain back then.

During that war there was considerable opposition to our participation in the conflict; after all it was on the other side of the world and it really had nothing to do with us.

The government of the day tried to bring in conscription but it was defeated in Parliament. So they tried for a constitutional amendment to do the same and that was defeated.

The idiots tried a second time with the same result. So all the Australians forces in that conflict were volunteers.

Even given that, many lined up to participate. They thought it would all be over in a short time and, besides, it was a bit of an adventure. They soon found out that was not so.

One of the greatest songs about that war is called The Band Played Waltzing Matilda. There are many versions of this. The one I’ve chosen is by the man who wrote it, ERIC BOGLE, who was originally from Scotland but has called Australia home for many decades now.

Eric Bogle

♫ Eric Bogle - The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Everyone seems to think that the Second World War was the good war and given the circumstances at the time that’s quite right. However, if it hadn’t been for the first one, this one would not have happened.

Rather surprisingly, there’s a song about this one too, written sometime afterwards, of course. You may not be too surprised that this is another Australian song. Again, there was no conscription for overseas service.

As with the first war, if men were thought to be shirking their responsibilities, they were often accosted on the streets by people who would hand them a white feather as a sign of contempt for them, assuming they were cowards, without necessarily realising the circumstances.

It seems it was ever thus during wars. This is a song about that. The group is WEDDINGS, PARTIES, ANYTHING and the song is Scorn of the Women.

Weddings, Parties, Anything

♫ Weddings, Parties, Anything - Scorn of the Woman

It wasn’t just the First World War that this country was dragged into a conflict that was none of our business. The right-wing government of the time pretty much insisted that we should be part of the Vietnam War even though it was obviously going to end in disaster and these bastards did bring in conscription, but only if your number was pulled out of a barrel.

Well, Australians like a bit of a gamble, don't they? By far the best song about that sorry conflict was by REDGUM. It’s called I Was Only 19.


♫ Redgum - I Was Only 19

In the seventies Australia’s great rock band, COLD CHISEL, performed a song about the Vietnam veterans who had returned to this country. That song has become Australia’s unofficial national anthem. It’s called Khe Sanh.

Cold Chisel

♫ Cold Chisel - Khe Sanh

JUDY SMALL has an excellent overview of everything that's gone before.

Judy Small

Judy's songs cover a wide range of topics and styles with a particular emphasis on feminism and peace. Her song combines both of those topics. It is Mothers, Daughters, Wives.

♫ Judy Small - Mothers, Daughters, Wives

Well, that’s the Australian content out of the way.

I first discovered RICHIE HAVENS through what is often thought to be his first album (but is actually his third) "Mixed Bag," and a fine piece of work it is.

Richie Havens

Richie opened proceedings at the Woodstock festival because legend has it (and probably truth as well) that he was the only artist present at the time who wasn't stoned out of his gourd. As a consequence he played for about three hours, the longest of any artist.

One of the songs Richie performed is Handsome Johnny. Richie wrote the song along with Lou Gossett. Here is the version from "Mixed Bag.”

♫ Richie Havens - Handsome Johnny

I don't think too many people think of the song Galveston in the context of today's topic. That's probably due to the influence of Glenn Campbell's version of the song. However, when you hear JIMMY WEBB perform the song, one he wrote, it takes on a whole different perspective.

Jimmy Webb

♫ Jimmy Webb - Galveston

You probably figured I'd have the famous track by COUNTRY JOE MCDONALD from Woodstock, and you won't be disappointed.

Country Joe

Joe actually appeared twice at the festival, the only artist who did. In all its glory here is I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die Rag.

♫ Country Joe McDonald - I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die

I had originally penciled in Phil Ochs for the column - after all, he wrote many anti-war songs, but I changed my mind and decided to go with one of Phil’s good friends, TOM PAXTON.

Tom Paxton

It's not a standard antiwar song, it's about the losers plotting their revenge. A Thousand Years.

♫ Tom Paxton - A Thousand Years

I've come full circle and will finish with DAVID OLNEY who wrote and performed a song called 1917. Nobody could follow this one.

David Olney

The song has an alternate title, The French Prostitute. I first encountered the song when Emmylou Harris performed it (under the name 1917 - the song's name that is, not Emmy's) on her marvelous album, "The Western Wall" with Linda Ronstadt.

People who know me might be surprised to learn that I prefer David's version and that's the one I'm going with today. I can't imagine anyone not being affected by this song.

♫ David Olney - 1917


PeterTibbles75x75This 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.


  • Etta James was born
  • A new comic strip (Superman) appeared
  • Hitler and Mussolini got chummy
  • Orson Welles' radio play of War of the Worlds caused consternation
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood was released
  • America won the Davis Cup
  • Carlton were premiers

Today's column is unofficially, and inadvertently, a semi-Gershwin column. Not completely but more than I expected when I started it.

KENNY BAKER sang the song Love Walked In to Andrea Leeds in the film, The Goldwyn Follies.

Kenny Baker

The song was one of many by George and Ira Gershwin. Unfortunately, George died before the film was completed. Accompanying Kenny is an orchestra conducted by Harry Sosnik.

♫ Kenny Baker - Love Walked In

Another song by George and Ira, this time sung by FRED ASTAIRE.

Fred Astaire

This was one of nine songs they wrote for the film, A Damsel in Distress. Fred was in that one along with George Burns and Gracie Allen as well as Joan Fontaine.

You can also hear Fred tap dancing (now there's a surprise) and playing the drums as well. The song and footwork is to the tune of Nice Work If You Can Get It.

♫ Fred Astaire - Nice Work If You Can Get It

The SIDNEY BECHET Quintet perform another of George Gershwin's compositions.

Sidney Bechet

The tune is Summertime from Porgy and Bess, of course. I have previously written columns on both Summertime and Porgy and Bess but Sidney's version wasn't in either of them. It's time to rectify that omission.

♫ Sidney Bechet Quintet - Summertime

ALLAN JONES sang The Donkey Serenade in the film The Firefly.

Allan Jones

This was a film adaptation of the operetta by Rudolf Friml and Otto Harbach. It was a loose adaptation because although they used pretty much all the music, they completely changed the plot.

The one new song they added was the one we have today. Although technically serenading his donkey, it's really Jeanette MacDonald that Allan's interested in.

♫ Allan Jones - The Donkey Serenade

I Let A Song Go Out My Heart was written by DUKE ELLINGTON.

Duke Ellington

Later lyrics were added by Irving Mills, Henry Nemo and John Redmond but that's not relevant here as it's Duke's instrumental version today. Benny Goodman, Mildred Bailey, Dinah Washington and Thelonious Monk all later had a crack at it.

♫ Duke Ellington - I Let A Song Go Out My Heart

BING CROSBY is one of several artists who appear regularly in these early years.

Bing Crosby

You'll pretty soon discover the others too, if you haven't already figured out who they are. It means I'll run out things to say about them and I'll just waffle on like this. Bing's song is I've Got a Pocketful of Dreams.

♫ Bing Crosby - I've Got A Pocketful Of Dreams

So to Bing's sparring partner and golf buddy, BOB HOPE. Bob appeared in the film The Big Broadcast of 38 with SHIRLEY ROSS.

Bob Hope & Shirley Ross

W.C. Fields was in the film as well but that's not relevant to today's column. The film featured the debut of the song that became Bob's signature tune, Thanks for the Memory. The version here is from that film.

♫ Shirley Ross & Bob Hope - Thanks for the memory

BUNNY BERIGAN was an influential jazz trumpeter who died at only 33 from cirrhosis of the liver. Boy, he must have been hitting the bottle early.

Bunny Berigan

His recording of I Can't Get Started was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. I didn't realize the Grammies had a Hall of Fame. You'd think they'd want to keep quiet about some of their choices over the years.

Anyway, the song was written by Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke, and it's Bunny himself singing.

♫ Bunny Berigan - I Can't Get Started

Bulee (Slim) Gaillard and Elliott (Slam) Stewart performed under the name SLIM AND SLAM.

Slim & Slam

Slim played guitar and piano and Slam played bass. They both sang and Slim came up with this ditty, Flat Foot Floogie. The song is full of slang references to naughty carryings on.

♫ Slim And Slam - Flat Foot Floogie

Don't Be That Way was written by Edgar Sampson, BENNY GOODMAN and Mitchell Parish.

Benny Goodman

The tune has become associated with Benny and he opened with it in his famous Carnegie Hall Concert this very year (1938 that is, not this year).

♫ Benny Goodman - Don't Be That Way

1939 will appear in two weeks' time.