434 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Listen to the Lions

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

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This column started out as something completely different from the way it turned out. I thought I'd show the evolution of the song Mbube and got about halfway before I hit a brick wall.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist suggested that instead of just that, have a column about lions (all will be revealed). She's pretty smart, the A.M. So this is it, a column of two parts, the first five songs are from that original concept. I'll start with the one that set me on this path.

SOLOMON LINDA wrote and recorded a song that might sound vaguely familiar to you. That song is the aforementioned Mbube.

Solomon Linda

That's Solomon on the left; his group is called The Evening Birds. Solomon was South African and worked as a cleaner at a record company. One evening he was allowed to record this song with his group.

Over the years the song and its variants have sold millions but Solomon received a pittance. Recently, and far too late for him, a settlement was made to provide royalties to his descendants (but not nearly enough, it seems). Here is the song that started it all.

♫ Solomon Linda & The Evening Birds - Mbube

Most readers will probably know that THE WEAVERS recorded a version of Wimoweh.

The Weavers

I imagine, if you're like me, you'd think their version to be a cappella, or perhaps just a guitar or banjo backing them. We'd all be wrong. Well, not entirely – that's the way they performed it live, most notably in the Carnegie Hall concerts.

However, their original recording wasn't like that. That was back when their record company insisted on putting over-blown orchestral arrangements (devised by Gordon Jenkins) behind them.

Being a perverse sort of musical columnist, I decided to include that one. Here it is.

♫ The Weavers - Wimoweh

Returning to South Africa we have MIRIAM MAKEBA who was a fierce opponent of the appalling apartheid regime in that country and after leaving in 1959, was not allowed to return until democracy came to her country.

Miriam Makeba

Miriam performs a variation on the original Mbube.

♫ Miriam Makeba - Mbube

By far the best selling version of the song was by THE TOKENS.

The Tokens

They called it The Lion Sleeps Tonight. The Tokens were from Brooklyn and were founded in 1955 and have had a dozen or more members over the years (including Neil Sedaka at one time). They had quite a few hits, but who remembers any of the others?

♫ The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Thanks to Paul Simon featuring them on his album “Graceland” and the subsequent tour in support of it, LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO became know around the world.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo

The group was formed by Joseph Shabalala in 1960 and included brothers and cousins, and later on sons as well. As of this writing Joseph is still with the group. They perform the original song Mbube, updated somewhat from the original.

♫ Ladysmith Black Mambazo - Mbube

Well, that's got that out of the way, now we have some other songs. The A.M., since she changed the concept of the column, insisted the next track should be present. It's one her favorites by HOYT AXTON and LINDA RONSTADT.

Linda Ronstadt & Hoyt Axton

It's a pity they didn't record more songs together as they did it so well. As far as I can determine this is it. Lion in Winter.

♫ Hoyt Axton & Linda Ronstadt - Lion In Winter

A lot of lion songs seem to be from reggae musicians, which is interesting as there seems to be a dearth of lions in Jamaica. One such musician is Winston Rodney, better known to the musical world as BURNING SPEAR.

Burning Spear

Mr Spear, or Burn to his friends (okay, I made that up), has a song with the simple title of Lion.

♫ Burning Spear - Lion

IAN TYSON continues to write wonderful songs, and record them as well. Alas, the years have taken their toll on his wonderful voice but I'll keep buying his albums as long as he keeps putting them out.

Ian Tyson

From his recent album "Yellowhead To Yellowstone" Ian gives us a female perspective of our category today, with the song Lioness.

♫ Ian Tyson - Lioness

CARLOS SANTANA got together with ZIGGY MARLEY (son of Bob) for this next song.

Carlos Santana & Ziggy Marley

Also along for the recording was the Colombian hip-hop group CHOCQUIBTOWN.


I included this one, again, at the suggestion of the A.M. There were several I considered for this spot and played them for her and this was her choice. The song is Iron Lion Zion.

♫ Santana - Iron Lion Zion (feat. Ziggy Marley & ChocQuibTown)

People who are familiar with oeuvre of the Belfast Cowboy will recognise the (approximate) title of the column. I'm referring to VAN MORRISON, of course.

Van Morrison

Van recorded the song Listen to the Lion for his album "Saint Dominic's Preview", which was the fifth in a row of a string of albums that were as good as anyone has ever made. Listen to the lion for the next eleven minutes.

♫ Van Morrison - Listen to the Lion


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

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Water is very problematic in this country (Australia, for those who came in late). The top half has far too much of it and the bottom half, where pretty much everyone lives, not nearly enough.

Someone should invent a really big jack to lift up the top bit so the water all flows down to where it's needed.

Of course, there have been plans to divert rivers and where that's occurred, disaster has happened so I'll just forget about that jack. Quite obviously, we're talking and singing about water today. I'll start with one of my favorite songs on the topic.

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS were a very long lived group who had many songs over the years that made an impact on the charts and elsewhere.

Sons Of The Pioneers

One of the group's founding members was Leonard Slye who was their lead singer for some considerable time before he went off and made a (different) name for himself in films as Roy Rogers. The Sons often joined him in those flicks.

The song today doesn't feature Roy, he was long gone by this time. The lead singer is Bob Nolan and what a great job he does. There are many versions of the song Cool Water, but this is the original, written by Bob himself.

That's him in the centre of the photo.

♫ The Sons Of The Pioneers - Cool Water

WILLIAM BELL was one of the great soul singers from the sixties.

William Bell

William wrote this song and recorded it first (not surprisingly). Many others have covered it but who needs them when we have William.

Fortunately, at least as I write this, William is still with us and performing. You Don’t Miss Your Water.

♫ William Bell - You Don't Miss Your Water

PAUL KELLY was influenced by the great short story writer Raymond Carver and the song today is actually based on one of his stories, So Much Water, So Close to Home. It is also the name of the album from which the song is taken.

Paul Kelly

Paul is unusual in the ranks of male songwriters – he writes many songs from the female point of view. This is one of them, Everything's Turning to White.

♫ Paul Kelly - Everything's Turning to White

I had two songs by the SOUL STIRRERS but I couldn't decide which to include. I played them for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to get her advice. She said, "Use both of them". She's pretty smart.

Soul Stirrers

The first is Wade in the Water and it's a very old song that goes back to the Underground Railroad and gave instructions to slaves escaping and how to avoid capture.

Many have performed it over the years and there are many versions I could have included but I liked this one best of all. The Soul Stirrers is where Sam Cooke first made his name but that doesn't sound like Sam singing, although I could be wrong.

♫ The Soul Stirrers - Wade In The Water

The other song by the group definitely has SAM COOKE singing lead.

Sam Cooke

It's another song about Jesus and water, called Jesus Gave Me Water.

♫ Sam Cooke - Jesus Gave Me Water

There were two contenders for the song Pouring Water On a Drowning Man that stood out above the rest. The A.M. wanted Percy Sledge. I wanted JAMES CARR. I won because this is my column, and besides it's the better version (but not by much).

James Carr

James was the great unknown soul singer. He didn't like touring or performing. He wasn't all that keen on recording either. He was bi-polar so it's understandable.

The music we do have of his demonstrates what an extraordinary talent he was. Here is his version of the song.

♫ James Carr - Pouring Water On A Drowning Man

There are many versions of The Water is Wide out there and the pick of them is by KATHLEEN FERRIER. However, she calls the song O Waly, Waly.

Kathleen Ferrier

Kath was probably the finest singer of the 20th century - unfortunately, breast cancer brought her career and her life to a premature end in 1953. She was a great interpreter of the works of Bach and Mahler, but they're not what we're about today.

♫ Kathleen Ferrier - O Waly, Waly

HOWLIN' WOLF is an inspiration to all of us.

Howlin' Wolf

Functionally illiterate until his early forties, he went back to school to learn. Not just that, he went on to study accounting and business so that his band became really successful (it already was, but now it became more so).

He was able to pay his sidemen really well and offer them benefits not usually available in the world of touring blues musicians. Thus he attracted the best to perform with him.

He remained a faithful and loving husband for life. He was quiet and rather shy off-stage. His image is quite different from that, but image and reality often don't agree.

Wolf performs I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline).

♫ Howlin' Wolf - I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)

Everyone reading will know THE WEAVERS.

The Weavers

They were a serious influence on folk and rock performers who followed in their wake. They perform Bring A Little Water Sylvie, a song written by Huddie Ledbetter.

♫ The Weavers - Bring A Little Water Sylvie

It's a good week for soul singers, and here's another, WILSON PICKETT.

Wilson Pickett

You Left the Water Running has been performed by quite a few soul singers (and others) and I had fun auditioning them. It surprised me that Wilson's version was better than Otis Redding's (and all the rest as well). Otis is usually my go to man in these situations.

Here is the Wicked Mr Pickett.

♫ Wilson Pickett - You Left the Water Running

BOB WILLS is synonymous with western swing music, although there were others as well, of course.

Bob Wills

Bob generally kept up a running "commentary" through his songs which irritates me somewhat, especially when Tommy Duncan was singing, which he did on most of the songs that are familiar to us. You can hear what I'm saying with Deep Water.

♫ Bob Wills - Deep Water

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Santa Fe

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

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Santa Fe

Santa Fe is the oldest capital in the United States (founded in 1610), but you all knew that - I just threw it in for something to say.

After California and Massachusetts, I've spent more time in New Mexico than any other American state. Indeed, I've spent more time there than any Australian state except Victoria.

Naturally, having spent all that time there, I've visited Santa Fe a number of times. Santa Fe is known for its arts and crafts and it was in there I first discovered the art work of R.C. Gorman, Georgia O'Keeffe and John Axton. John was the only one of those whose work I could afford.

An interesting insight into the geography of the two countries is that Santa Fe is higher above sea level than the tip of the highest mountain in Australia (Mount Kosciuszko). So, let's go with songs about Santa Fe (or ones that mention the city).

I first discovered ELIZA GILKYSON when I was in New Mexico quite some time ago. Eliza was living there at the time.

Eliza Gilkyson

That was through a very early album of hers called "Love From the Heart" (and she was calling herself Lisa Gilkyson back then). I still have that one (on vinyl); I'm not getting rid of if it as I've never seen it on CD (or any other format).

From later in her career she sings Lights of Santa Fe.

♫ Eliza Gilkyson - Lights of Santa Fe

THE SONS OF THE PIONEERS had several songs that were contenders. I guess they like Santa Fe.

Sons Of The Pioneers

The two most famous members of the group were Roy Rogers (who doesn't appear in the song today) and Bob Nolan. Bob wrote many of their songs, but not this one.

After playing them, including two different versions of the one I chose, I decided on Along the Santa Fe Trail. This one they recorded in 1947.

♫ Sons Of The Pioneers - Along The Santa Fe Trail (1947)

ARTHUR CRUDUP is probably best known these days for writing That's All Right Mama, the first song with which Elvis made the charts. He recorded several others of Arthur's as well.

Arthur Crudup

Arthur is one of the most important links between rhythm and blues (and straight blues) and rock & roll. Many early (and not so early) rockers have covered his songs. The one we're interested in today is Mean Old Santa Fe.

♫ Arthur Crudup - Mean Old Santa Fe

I find it amusing that probably the most famous railway in America, the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe doesn't get to Santa Fe (and never has). I guess, because of that, technically, the song On the Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe isn't about our city.

That doesn't stop me though. There are a bunch of versions of this song and I'm going for the one I like best by BING CROSBY.

Bing Crosby

You don't need me to tell you about Bing, I'll just play the song. That's Six Hits and a Miss supplying backing vocals.

♫ Bing Crosby - On The Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe

After his motor cycle accident in 1966, BOB DYLAN went to Woodstock (in New York state) to rest and recuperate.

Bob Dylan

Coincidently (or perhaps not), the members of the band who backed him on that famous first electric tour were living just down the road. They were The Hawks but later became better known as The Band.

Naturally they couldn't help themselves and they started playing music together (in the big pink house a couple of The Band were renting).

They recorded a lot of these sessions as demos of new songs for other artists. This music made its way out to the general public and was later officially released as "The Basement Tapes". From that album Bob and The Band perform Santa-Fe.

♫ Bob Dylan - Santa-Fe

JIMMIE DALE GILMORE has two musical careers: as a solo artist and as a member of The Flatlanders with Joe Ely and Butch Hancock.

Jimmie Dale Gilmore

He's also a bit of an actor and has appeared in a number of films. However, we're interested in his music, and in particular, the song Santa Fe Thief.

♫ Jimmie Dale Gilmore - Santa Fe Thief

PAUL SIMON doesn't actually mention Santa Fe in his song.

Paul Simon

However, he does reference the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that are a backdrop to the city and that's good enough for me. The song is Hearts and Bones for the album of the same name.

That one is rather neglected in Paul's canon but I think it's a really fine and worth being in your collection if you like Paul's music.

♫ Paul Simon - Hearts and Bones

Although not a tribute band, THE SONS OF THE SAN JOAQUIN somewhat channel The Sons of the Pioneers.

Sons of the San Joaquin

Like their predecessors, they sing of life as cowboys (although they certainly didn't earn a living doing that).

These Sons are brothers Joe and Jack Hannah and Joe's son Lon. They have that sibling, or perhaps familial more to the point, harmony down pat, they make beautiful music together. Here they are with Santa Fe Lights.

♫ Sons of the San Joaquin - Santa Fe Lights

The Sons, just above, first came to notice singing backing on one of MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY's "Cowboy Songs" albums. He was so impressed he got them a recording contract.

Michael Martin Murphey

Michael has a few songs that could be considered today. I originally had him inked in performing Santa Fe Trail. However, going back over the others, I decided that I preferred Sante Fe Cantina, so that's the one you have today.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Sante Fe Cantina

VAN MORRISON is an unlikely contender today, but I'll use any excuse to include him.

Van Morrison

Van's song is really two for the price of one. They are Santa Fé and Beautiful Obsession.

♫ Van Morrison - Santa Fé ~ Beautiful Obsession

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Gas Goes Forth

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

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Continuing this series of columns (originally named by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist) to highlight lesser known composers who are seldom heard on radio or in concert.

We shouldn't confuse JOHANN SCHOBERT with similarly surnamed Franz Schubert because they were different people. Besides, Franz is too well known to fit into this category.


Jo was born in Silesia or Alsace or Nuremberg in 1720 or 1735 or 1740. We do know that he died, though, along with his wife, one of their children, a servant and four friends when Jo insisted that the mushrooms were edible.

In between all that he composed music and played the harpsichord and piano. Here is the first movement of his Piano Trio in B flat major, Op 16 No 1.

♫ Johann Schobert - Trio in B flat major, Op 16 No 1 (1)

Haydn is one of the biggest names in music, but it's not the famous Joseph we're interested in today, but his younger brother MICHAEL HAYDN.

Michael Haydn

Mike was also a gifted composer, so much so that quite a few of his works were attributed to his brother until recent times when modern scholarship has shown conclusively that they really belong to him. This is one such, the third movement of the Violin Concerto in B flat major.

♫ Michael Haydn - Violin Concerto in B flat major (3)

There have been several husband and wife composing teams, the most famous of whom would be Robert and Clara Schumann. They're a bit too well known for this column. In their place I give you the Dusseks, beginning with JAN DUSSEK.

Jan Dussek

Jan was a Czech composer and was widely travelled. He spent 10 years in London where he met Sophia. While in London he was instrumental (sorry) in the development of the modern piano. He wrote mostly for the piano, but he left quite a bit of music for the harp, Sophia's main instrument. This is the third movement of his Piano Quintet in F minor opus 41.

♫ Jan Dussek - Quintet in F minor opus 41 (3)

Jan's wife was SOPHIA DUSSEK.

Sophia Dussek

Sophia was born Sophia Corri in Edinburgh. Her father was Domenico Corri, also a composer of some note at the time. Besides, he was a music publisher, which was handy. Sophia was a singer, pianist and most notably, a harp player. It was for this that she wrote most of her music.

It wasn't all jolly times in the Dussek household, Sophia eventually went off and shacked up with another man (whom she employed to repair her harp – nudge nudge wink wink). Jan left town and they never saw each other again as he died soon afterwards.

This is the third movement of her Harp Sonata No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 2.

♫ Sophia Dussek - Sonata No. 1 in B flat major, Op. 2 (3)

JOHANN BACKOFEN was a German composer who also played the clarinet, harp, flute and bassett horn. Besides that, he was a painter of note.

Johann Backofen

That's really about all we know about Jo, even the year he died is unknown, but some say 1830 because some have to put a number to these things.

Okay, I'll mention the Basset horn: the Basset horn is rather like the clarinet but is larger and has a bit of a bend at the top near the mouth piece. Some examples have another bend in the middle or down the bottom near the horn where all the music comes out.

Here is the first movement of the Quintet in F Major for Bassett Horn and Strings.

♫ Johann Backofen - Quintet in F Major for Bassett Horn and Strings Op 9 (1)

BARBARA STROZZI was adopted by the Strozzi family; she was the daughter of papa (Giulio) Strozzi and his servant, Isabella Garzon.

Barbara Strozzi

It looks as if wardrobe malfunctions aren't only a modern phenomenon. That picture was painted by Bernardo Strozzi, who may be a close relative (or not – no one is quite certain).

Barbara was a singer of some renown and a composer as well, which is why she appears here. Dad was very encouraging of her talents, paying for her to study composition and he even had an academy built where she could perform.

It seems that she was the most prolific composer - man or woman - of secular vocal music in Venice in the middle of the seventeenth century. This is one of her compositions, Sete pur fastidioso, performed by the group LA VILLANELLA BASEL.

La Villanella Basel

♫ Barbara Strozzi - Sete pur fastidioso

FRANÇOIS DEVIENNE was a composer, musician (flute and bassoon mainly) and professor at the Paris Conservatory.

Francois Devienne

He managed to negotiate the Revolution successfully, possibly by setting up a Free School of Music that evolved into the National Institute of Music, and later the Paris Conservatory.

Most of his works are for various blowing instruments, the best known these days are for flute thanks to the work of the great Jean-Pierre Rampal. However, here is something slightly different, the first movement of his Oboe Sonata in G major, Op. 71 No. 1.

Francois Devienne - Oboe Sonata in G major, Op. 71 No. 1 (1)

JAN KALIVODA (or Johann Kalliwoda as the Germans would have it) was born in Prague and studied at the Prague Conservatory.

Jan Kalivoda

Jan was very prolific, and his work covers pretty much every genre of music (except opera, it seems). He was much admired by Robert Schumann who took note of what he was doing (particularly his symphonies).

He led a quiet life (unlike many composers) writing and playing music for many decades for Prince Karl Egon II of Fürstenberg. This is his Nocturne No. 3. Op. 186 for Piano and Viola.

♫ Jan Kalivoda - Nocturne No. 3. Op. 186

ANNA BON was born in Russia because her folks were also in the music biz and got about a bit.

Anna Bon

She was trained in Vienna and apparently became a virtuoso on several instruments but especially the flute. She continued the family tradition of travelling around until she married another musician and the rest of her life is missing from history.

Most of her works that are around today are for flute or harpsichord but here is one of her motets (for an alto singer) called Ad te Virgo caelestis Regina. It's performed by ENSEMBLE LA DONNA MUSICALE.

La Donna Musicale

♫ Ensemble La Donna Mujsicale - Ad te Virgo caelestis Regina

CARLOS BAGUER was taught music by his uncle who was the head organist and composer at the cathedral in Barcelona.

Carlos Baguer

Carlos took over that position when unc died. He's most noted for his symphonies (there are nineteen of them) and he quite obviously listened closely to those that Haydn wrote. He also wrote a lot of religious music, after all that's what he was employed to do.

We'll listen to a bit of a symphony, the second movement of Symphony No. 18 in B flat major.

♫ Carlos Baguer - Symphony No. 18 in B flat major (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.

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We have another really early year with music that was recorded at the time. This year we're deep in the first great unpleasantness, but I've eschewed all the songs that refer to that as I really don't like them at all.

The first song wasn't written in 1916, but it was recorded in this year. It's a Stephen Foster song that's still being sung today (as many of his songs are). The version from this year is by ALMA GLUCK.

Alma Gluck

Alma was born in Romania but her family moved to America when she was a kiddliewink. She was classically trained and had considerable success at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

When this new-fangled recording thingie became popular, she was one of the first to recognise its potential. Besides the classical repertoire, she recorded popular songs of the time and became the first classical singer to sell a million records.

Later she married the famous violinist Efrem Zimbalist with whom she had a couple of kids, including Junior (77 Sunset Strip, etc). One of her big sellers was My Old Kentucky Home.

♫ Alma Gluck - My Old Kentucky Home

JOHN MCCORMACK was an Irish tenor who eventually settled in Australia.

John McCormack

He was also classically trained and appeared at Covent Garden where he met Nellie Melba and toured with her (thus the Australian connection). There's another meeting that's interesting to me.

Early on in his old country, he used to sing with James Joyce (yes, the author) who fancied himself as a bit of a singer. Anyway, John sings The Sunshine of Your Smile.

♫ John McCormack - The Sunshine Of Your Smile

ARTHUR COLLINS and BYRON HARLAN make yet another appearance in these years series.

Arthur Collins & Byron Harlan

They were noted for their comedy records and others as well. This one has the rather inspired title of Oh How She Could Yacki Hacki Wicki Wachi Woo.

I remember when I was growing up my elders would berate me about the silly lyrics of the songs I'd listen to at the time. I wish I had known about this one (and others) back then.

♫ Collins & Harlan - Yacki Hacki Wicki Wachi Woo (That's Love In Honolulu) 1916

THE STERLING TRIO was yet another group with whom Henry Burr was associated.

The Sterling Trio

It seems that he was everywhere in the early days of the century, I'm surprised he had time to sleep. We're not in Hawaii, but we're not freezing our butts off either. This is In Florida Among The Palms, written by Irving Berlin (who lived a long time).

♫ The Sterling Trio - In Florida Among The Palms

OLIVE KLINE and LAMBERT MURPHY perform this next song (the recording quality of which is not good at all)

Olive Kline & Lambert Murphy

They both used stage names, they were really Alice Green and Raymond Dixon, but they weren't the first and were far from the last to assume a different name in show biz. Here they perform So Long, Letty.

♫ Olive Kline & Lambert Murphy - So Long, Letty

The sound quality of this next track is vastly superior to all the rest today. It was recorded by SCOTT JOPLIN who wrote the tune.

Scott Joplin

When I say recorded, he created a piano roll in 1916, which is a form of recording and is good enough for me. Some say that folks at Connorized Music Rolls, who did the recording, tinkered with it somewhat as Scott was suffering from terminal syphilis (from which he died a year later) and he was a bit shaky.

Others contend that what you hear is what was put down. I guess we'll never know. This is Pleasant Moments.

♫ Scott Joplin - Pleasant Moments

It's been said that THE PEERLESS QUARTET were The Beatles of their day. I don't know about that as I wasn't there.

The Peerless Quartet

They were certainly well recorded during the teens of the 20th century. I've featured them in most of these early years, and I'm doing so again as they are a handy resource for these columns.

They perform On the Old Dominion Line.

♫ The Peerless Quartet - On the Old Dominion Line

Initially, when I listened to this, I thought, "That's not AL JOLSON". As the song progressed it became clear that it was.

Al Jolson

The song really isn't indicative of his style that we're used to. I guess he was just starting out, trying various things to see what would work. I don't think this one did, but he did commit it to shellac so we have it for posterity.

The song is I Sent My Wife to the Thousand Isles.

♫ Al Jolson - I Sent My Wife to the Thousand Isles

There seems to have been a considerable number of songs about Hawaii this year, such that I could have filled the column with them. I refrained from doing that. However, here's another one by BILLY MURRAY.

Billy Murray

There's a bit of overlap today as Billy was the lead tenor for the Peerless Quartet. However, this is Billy on his own. The song is about the huge expense of phoning from New York to Hawaii. He should have written a letter (remember them?) Hello, Hawaii, How Are You.

♫ Billy Murray - Hello, Hawaii, How Are You

This could also be considered in the Hawaii category as well, it's called Paradise Blues. The singer is MARION HARRIS.

Marion Harris

Marion was the first white singer who was known for singing jazz and blues songs. There were probably others but she was the one who hit the big time with her songs.

Although this is called Paradise Blues, it doesn't sound very bluesy to me. Oh well.

♫ Marion Harris - Paradise blues

ELDER MUSIC: A Little Glass of Wine

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've done a couple of columns on drinking songs but I haven't produced one specifically about wine, the only alcohol in which I indulge.

If I had my druthers, I would pretty much drink some of these wines in the photo all the time (and a few others like them). My bank manager might have something to say about that though.


I don't like beer – I know, that makes me un-Australian. I don't like Vegemite either so I'm doubly beyond the pale. I don't drink whisky (or whiskey), brandy, vodka or any of those. It's just the grape for me.

Not just me it seems. I found more than 200 songs devoted to the subject (and that's just in their titles). A lot of culling was necessary.

TOM RUSSELL has recorded a number of albums about the area around New Mexico, Texas and Mexico region.

Tom Russell

The album from which this song is taken is not one of those. However, this song is set around the Russian River, a fine wine growing area in California. No matter where the setting is, any song from Tom is worth a listen, and this is no exception. Midnight Wine.

♫ Tom Russell - Midnight Wine

Yet another excuse for me to include JESSE WINCHESTER, and besides, he supplies the title of the column.

Jesse Winchester

Jesse was fond if a glass of wine which we found out when he was here for the Troubadour Weekend, run by winemaker and music buff Andrew Pattison for acoustic and similar performers.

Alas, Jesse is no longer with us and neither is the Troub weekend. Oh well, we still have Jesse's records from which is taken Little Glass of Wine. We also still have Andrew's wines.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Little Glass Of Wine

Almost certainly the most successful Australian rock band in this country, if not internationally, was COLD CHISEL.

Cold Chisel

They were blessed with several excellent songwriters, a great lead guitarist and a charismatic lead singer. They were the real deal. Their song isCheap Wine, something we all want but usually eschew because of its quality – but not always, says he speaking from experience.

♫ Cold Chisel - Cheap Wine

You could probably guarantee that DEAN MARTIN would be present in this column, so I wouldn't want to disappoint you.

Dean Martin

Dean recorded some country sounding albums during his career and the song Little Ole Wine Drinker Me is taken from one of them.

♫ Dean Martin - Little Ole Wine Drinker Me

Three great jazz singers, Dave Lambert, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross, got together in the fifties and called themselves LAMBERT HENDRICKS AND ROSS.

Lambert Hendricks and Ross

They were certainly the best jazz singing group that ever was. Over time, Annie left and was replaced by Yolande Bavan. Alas, Dave was killed in a car accident in the sixties. As I write this, Jon and Annie are still with us and I hope neither goes toes up for quite some time.

Their contribution today is Gimme That Wine.

♫ Lambert Hendrics and Ross - Gimme That Wine

I could write a whole column on GARY STEWART's drinking songs.

Gary Stewart

Indeed, I already have but Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, said that's far too much Gary Stewart on a single topic and besides, they're pretty much all the same song, she said.

So, that one has been shelved for now. However, I've used one of the songs today, Backslider's Wine.

♫ Gary Stewart - Backslider's Wine

KIERAN KANE first came to my notice as half of the group The O'Kanes (with Jamie O'Hara as the other half).

Kieran Kane

Since then he's performed on his own as well as with Kevin Welch as another duo, and occasionally adding multi-instrumentalist Fats Kaplin into the mix. From one of Kieran's solo albums we have Honeymoon Wine. Gotta watch that wine on your honeymoon.

♫ Kieran Kane - Honeymoon Wine

STICK MCGHEE (or Granville McGhee, as his folks knew him) was a jump blues singer, guitarist and songwriter.

Stick McGhee

He was also the younger brother of blues guitarist Brownie McGhee. Stick wrote the song Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee and it's been covered by many over the years, most notably by Jerry Lee Lewis.

The original lyrics to the song had to be cleaned up considerably before it could be recorded and let loose on a poor unsuspecting public. Here's the clean version.

♫ Stick McGhee - Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee

JOHNNY MERCER (and Henry Mancini) wrote the song The Days of Wine and Roses for the film of the same name.

Johnny Mercer

The film's a bit of a downer really but the song sounds quite nice and pleasant. Andy Williams had a big hit with it but we're going with Johnny's version.

♫ Johnny Mercer - The Days of Wine and Roses

I've included this next tune merely because it's such a wonderful title – judging a song by its cover, I suppose. The performers are DOC & MERLE WATSON, father and son.

Doc & Merle Watson

I thought I knew my wine grape varieties but Scuppernong was certainly a mystery to me. Thanks to Dr Google, I found that it's a variety of muscadine native to the southern areas of the United States. It also said that scuppernong is the state fruit of North Carolina.

Well, well, well. To the song, it's Broomstraw Philosophers and Scuppernong Wine.

♫ Doc & Merle Watson - Broomstraw Philosophers and Scuppernong Wine

ELDER MUSIC: Rodgers & Hart

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.

* * *

Rodgers & Hart

RICHARD RODGERS and LORENZ HART first met in 1919, when they were both at Columbia University. They were asked to write an amateur show, and just kept writing together after that.

Eventually they produced a couple of dozen musicals, a number of films and hundreds of songs until Lorenz died in 1943 at just 48 years old. Richard then teamed very successfully with Oscar Hammerstein but that's not pertinent to today's column.

This is a column of really mellow music. We need something like this every now and then.

My Funny Valentine is an odd sort of a song, a bit passive-aggressive if you listen to the words. Or is that just me being a bit up myself? Yeah, probably that.

It's been recorded by many over the years so others probably don't share my analysis of the song. This is one of the best of them by CHET BAKER.

Chet Baker

It was one of his biggest sellers.

♫ Chet Baker - My Funny Valentine

I was down to two versions of I Could Write a Book. Lovers of cool jazz will be disappointed that I finally threw out Miles Davis's version. People who know me well will be very surprised by that. The one that made the cut is by DINAH WASHINGTON.

Dinah Washington

There will be some who would think I made the wrong choice, but that's the way it goes in the music blogging business.

♫ Dinah Washington - I Could Write A Book

In contrast, there will be no argument about who should sing Mountain Greenery. Well, there may be but I will not listen to any. MEL TORMÉ is not only the obvious choice, he's the only one I considered.

Mel Torme

This is from his excellent album "Live at the Red Hill", and he had the help of one of the best in the business, as you'll hear.

♫ Mel Tormé - Mountain Greenery

Oh my goodness, what an array of talent we have today, and there's more to come. Next up in that category is TONY BENNETT.

Ton yBennett

This is a really nice laid back arrangement, suitable for late night listening, of My Romance.

♫ Tony Bennett - My Romance

I've already done a whole column devoted to the song Blue Moon so I thought I'd use a version that wasn't in that one. Rather surprising to me, I omitted NAT KING COLE. Thus, he's an automatic choice today.

Nat King Cole

I would have preferred that he had recorded the song with just his trio rather than having all those warblers in the background but you can't have everything I guess. Nat makes up for it. Just about.

♫ Nat King Cole - Blue Moon

An instrumental track next from JUNIOR MANCE who has played with all of the great jazz performers of the last 50 years. Not just them, you can add in Buddy Guy, Aretha Franklin and other such performers as well.

Junior Mance

Junior plays piano as well as anyone you can name and his contribution to our column is Falling in Love with Love.

♫ Junior Mance - Falling In Love With Love

BILLIE HOLIDAY performs I Didn't Know What Time It Was.

Billie Holiday

This is from the Ben Webster and Harry Edison Sessions that also had Barney Kessel along playing guitar. What a fine bunch of recordings this produced.

♫ Billie Holiday - I Didn't Know What Time It Was

When I noticed that JOHNNY HARTMAN had recorded It Never Entered My Mind I stopped looking further.

Johnny Hartman

There may be a better version but I'd find it hard to imagine. Besides, why would we want another?

♫ Johnny Hartman - It Never Entered My Mind

As with Johnny, if JULIE LONDON is in the mix I'll go with her.

Julie London

She certainly is today, with Where or When.

♫ Julie London - Where or When

ANITA O'DAY wasn't going to be the "girl singer" in a band, she was going to be one of the musicians.

Anita O'Day

She succeeded admirably and appeared with most of the great jazz bands of the time but alas, took to drink and drugs, especially the latter, like too many of her contemporaries.

In spite of that, Anita turned out a solid body of work that includes You Took Advantage of Me.

♫ Anita O'Day - You Took Advantage Of Me

Here is a bonus for you. I had selected all the songs and then remembered (or discovered) that I had forgotten about this next one. It's really a mandatory inclusion, but I didn't want to throw out any of the others. Besides that, I had already used MEL TORMÉ but having him twice is fine by me.

Mel Torme

The song Manhattan first appeared in the review "Garrick Gaieties" in 1925. Since then it's been in more than a dozen films and been recorded too many times to recount. As an extra treat, here's Mel again.

♫ Mel Tormé - Manhattan

ELDER MUSIC: Debut Albums

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's an old cliché that artists spend 25 years or so producing their first album but have to come up with a second one in six months. There's a bit of truth to that as there are a bunch of really good first albums and considerably fewer good second ones (The Band is the great exception to that).

These are mostly from the sixties because before that time (except for jazz albums and people like Frank Sinatra) albums were mostly vehicles for a few hit songs and a bunch of filler.

I’ve excluded the first solo albums by John Lennon, Paul Simon, Lou Reed and George Harrison as they, quite obviously, had come to prominence earlier in other guises. I also mention several others at the end who really deserve a place as well, so this isn't really the definitive selection.

I'll start with one of the finest first albums, THE DOORS – that's both the group's name and the album's.


There wasn't a dud track on the album but let's go with their most famous song, Light My Fire, the song that had them banned from The Ed Sullivan Show because they didn't censor the words as Ed requested at their first and only appearance.

♫ The Doors - Light My Fire

I first came across JESSE WINCHESTER's first effort because of a rave review in Rolling Stone.

Jesse Winchester

They also mentioned that there were a couple of members of The Band playing along. That was enough for me to go out and buy it pretty much immediately. I wasn't disappointed and I have every one of his albums and I've seen him perform a number of times.

As with The Doors, the album was named after himself. The song is Yankee Lady.

♫ Jesse Winchester - Yankee Lady

I mentioned above that I’m excluding solo artists who had previously become known in earlier bands. To be consistent I should exclude the next artist but, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.”

Also, not surprisingly, Oscar Wilde said something similar some years later ("Wish I'd said that." "You will, Oscar, you will").

So here is JESSE COLIN YOUNG who came to our notice as the head honcho of The Youngbloods.

Jesse Colin Young

While we're on inconsistency, nitpickers might aver that “Song For Juli” was actually his fourth album. It depends how you count these things, and what you include – things get a bit murky.

I don't care, I'm using it anyway because it's a great album, and the first of his I encountered. This is the title song, Song For Juli.

♫ Jesse Colin Young - Song for Juli

When Columbia records signed THE BYRDS, they were told they had one chance only and that was to record a single and if it didn't do any good they were out the door.


The song they recorded, with the help of session musicians, was Mr Tambourine Man which went gangbusters. The record execs decided that they could record a whole album after all. That was named after that single of course.

Taken from album is I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better, written by Gene Clark who was their main songwriter in the early days of the group.

♫ The Byrds - I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better

I changed my mind several times about who should be included at this point. You can see some of those I considered at the end of the column. Finally I settled on ARLO GUTHRIE.


Most of you will be familiar with the song after which the album is named – Ronni features it every Thanksgiving. I won't use that song, but one of the others on the album (yes, there were others). The one I've chosen is I'm Going Home.

♫ Arlo Guthrie - I'm Going Home

Every song on MARIA MULDAUR's initial release would be worthy of inclusion. What a ripper this one is (that's Oz talk signifying approval).

Maria Muldaur

Maria had previously made an album with her husband Geoff but that doesn't count as far as I'm concerned. Besides, this one is a quantum leap in quality over that one.

Choosing a song is the hard part but I've settled on the beautiful I Never Did Sing You a Love Song.

♫ Maria Muldaur - I Never Did Sing You a Love Song

The FLYING BURRITO BROTHERS could be considered in the exceptions too as all four members were previously in The Byrds at one time or another, but I won't let that stop me.

Flying Burrito Brothers

It had two of the finest exponents of country rock in the group – Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman – and a couple of others who were, as mentioned, also in The Byrds. They carried on from where they left off on The Byrds' album "Sweetheart of the Rodeo".

The Burritos' album had the wonderful name, "The Gilded Palace of Sin". From that is Do You Know How It Feels (To Be Lonesome).

Flying Burrito Brothers - Do You Know How It Feels (To Be Lonesome)

ELVIS COSTELLO burst on to the scene with the name of one early rocker (Elvis, of course) and the look of another (Buddy Holly).

Elvis Costello

In spite of these blatant plagiarisms (if the word can be used in the context of name and appearance), he turned out to be a very interesting artist indeed. A song that Linda Ronstadt covered quite well is Alison.

♫ Elvis Costello - Alison

JAMES HUNTER is a major talent who hasn't really made an impact on the wider listening audience.

James Hunter

That's a shame and I hope to do my little bit to bring him to a slightly wider audience. His first album had the added boost of Van Morrison duetting on two of the songs.

I won't use those (as I've featured them elsewhere). Instead here is James with a little help from Doris Troy singing Hear Me Calling.

♫ James Hunter - Hear Me Calling

I first noticed RODNEY CROWELL's name as one of the musicians in Emmylou Harris's Hot Band.

Rodney Crowell

I next noticed him as the writer of several songs Emmy included on her albums. Naturally, when his first solo album was released I grabbed it. I wasn't disappointed.

Here is Rodney with a bit of help from Emmy and one of the songs she covered, Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.

♫ Rodney Crowell - Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight

Honorable mentions to The Band “Music From Big Pink”, Kris Kristofferson “Kristofferson”, Tom Waits "Closing Time", Leonard Cohen “Songs of Leonard Cohen”, Norah Jones "Come Away With Me", Dire Straits and The Pretenders. All these deserved a place.

I would have liked to have included James Taylor "Sweet Baby James", Emmylou Harris "Pieces of the Sky" and Warren Zevon, but they were second albums – their first ones were pretty obscure (so much for my rave on Jesse Colin Young).

ELDER MUSIC: His Slight Muse Do Please These Curious Days

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.

* * *


William Shakespeare wrote songs into his plays. He also wrote poems and sonnets, some of the best ever. Naturally, over the years composers have put these to music. I'm going to feature some of these today.

There is a mixture of composers who actually worked with Will at the time, up to others who wrote the music just this year. This year is sort of important as it's 400 years since Will turned his toes up.

That most prolific of composers, Anon, starts the ball rolling today. To perform Mr or Ms A's composition we have ALFRED DELLER.

Alfred Deller

Alf was (and probably still is) the best known counter-tenor. This singing style replaced the previous castrato and is an improvement over that as the singer retains all the requisite parts of his anatomy.

Alf's contribution is O Mistress Mine, from Twelfth Night.

♫ Alfred Deller - Anon ~ O mistress mine (Twelfth Night)

Coming right up to date we have DAVID GILMOUR.

David Gilmour

Dave is best known for being a member of the group Pink Floyd which he joined as a replacement for founder Syd Barrett when Syd went off the rails in a big way.

Dave performs probably the most famous of Will's sonnets, number 18. That's the one that starts, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate..." and so on.

♫ David Gilmour - Sonnet 18

Speaking of "best knowns", BRYN TERFEL is almost certainly the world's best known bass-baritone.

Bryn Terfel

Bryn has sung in every famous opera house on the planet and a lot of other places as well. His song is It Was a Lover and his Lass from As You Like It. This was set to music by Gerald Finzi, who was a British composer best known for his choral works.

♫ Bryn Terfel - It was a lover and his lass

FLORENCE WELCH is the songwriter and singer for the English band Florence and the Machine.

Florence Welch

She (and they) has (have) had several albums that topped the charts but I'm afraid that I missed those. I haven't missed her Shakespeare though, and she performs Sonnet 29 (When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes).

♫ Florence Welch - When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes (Sonnet 29)

PHILIPPE SLY is another bass-baritone.

Philippe Sly

Phil was born and bred in Canada which is where he received his training. These days he's a member of the San Francisco Opera. He performs Hey, ho, the Wind and the Rain, a song from Twelfth Night.

♫ Philippe Sly - Hey, ho, the wind and the rain

RUFUS WAINWRIGHT recently released a complete album devoted to Will.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufe certainly has musical pedigree – his father is Loudon the third, mother Kate McGarrigle (making his aunt Kate's sister Anna). His sister Martha is also a singer and writer of songs (ones that bare her soul to a considerable degree). His step-mother is Suzzy Roche, and I'd better stop there as I'm running out of space.

I've selected Sonnet 20 from his album, that's the one about a woman's face.

♫ Rufus Wainwright - A Woman's Face (Sonnet 20)

The musical HAIR had some Shakespeare in it.


This might or might not surprise you. In my collection, whenever I collected this, I just labeled it "Hair" so I have no idea which version it is or who is singing (because that was quite a while ago). It's a chorus, so there are several people anyway.

What they perform is What a Piece of Work Is Man, from Hamlet.

♫ Hair - What a Piece of Work Is Man

IAN BOSTRIDGE and ANTONIO PAPPANO recorded an album of Will's songs.

Ian Bostridge & Antonio Pappano

Ian did the singing and Tony tickled the ivories. The song I've selected was again written by Gerald Finzi, who is a bit of a one for putting tunes to Will's songs. In this case it's Who is Silvia? from Two Gentlemen of Verona.

♫ Ian Bostridge - Finzi ~ Who is Silvia

Australian national treasure and most famous singer/songwriter PAUL KELLY was another who released an album this year devoted to the works of Will.

Paul Kelly

From that I have taken Sonnet 138. This one starts "When my love swears she is made of truth..." It sounds rather like one of Paul's own songs. He must have studied the master's works closely.

♫ Paul Kelly - Sonnet 138

I originally had this last song pencilled in first to be performed by Alfred Deller. However, on hearing EMMA KIRKBY perform it I knew she had to be the one, and Alf got a different song.

Emma Kirkby

Emma is one of the finest performers of early music and I can testify to her greatness as I had the good fortune of seeing and hearing her here in Melbourne.

From The Tempest, Emma sings Where the Bee Sucks, There Lurk I.

♫ Emma Kirkby - Thomas Arne ~ Where the Bee Sucks, There Lurk I


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

* * *


That's some Australian money if you're wondering. I didn't take that photo; I don't have that much loot lying around (those green ones are $100).

We were the first to use plastic money and producing them for other countries has been a serious export earner over the years. There's only about one country left these days that still uses paper money.

KEVIN JOHNSON is an Australian singer/songwriter who would be a superstar if he'd been born in New York or Los Angeles.

Kevin Johnson

For we folks in Oz, he is just that anyway. It's a pity that most of the rest of the world don't know about him. I'll do my little bit to spread the news.

His song is Grab the Money and Run. He mentions in the song about going to Mexico. This may seem normal to Americans but for folks from these parts, that's a major trek. I love the tongue in cheek lyrics.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Grab The Money And Run

ERNEST KADOR was a minor musician from New Orleans who had a couple of minor hits, including this one.

Ernie KDoe

He changed his name to Ernie K-Doe and became a star. However, the song is from his initial period as a musician. It's called No Money.

♫ Ernest Kador - No Money

After Hank Williams, LEFTY FRIZZELL would probably be the most influential person in country music.

Lefty Frizzell

Even super-duper stars like Willie Nelson cite him as an influence. Like Hank, Lefty wrote a bunch of songs that have gone into the country music canon. Other genres as well. This is one of his more famous songs, If You've Got The Money (I've Got The Time).

♫ Lefty Frizzell - If You've Got The Money (I've Got The Time)

LOUIS JORDAN was an extremely popular band leader in the thirties and forties - probably only the Duke and the Count could beat him (I'm excluding all those bland band leaders).

Louis Jordan

Unlike those other two, Louis didn't take himself too seriously. He was later one of the leading practitioners of Jump Blues, one of the main precursors to rock & roll. Louis urges us to Put Some Money in the Pot, Boy, 'Cause the Juice Is Runnin' Low.

♫ Louis Jordan - Put Some Money in the Pot, Boy, 'Cause the Juice Is Runnin' Low

KEB' MO' was born Kevin Moore but thought he'd shorten his already quite brief name (actually, it was all his drummer's doing).

Keb Mo

At least it distinguishes him from all the other Kevin Moores out there. Keb's a fine blues performer but is not restricted to that genre. He brings in elements of rock, jazz and folk into his music. His money song is More For Your Money.

♫ Keb Mo - More For Your Money

I remember this song from MARGARET WHITING back in 1956.

Margaret Whiting

We all dreamed that this would happen to us. I'm still having those dreams. Okay, more daydreams, my real dreams are far more disturbing, but we won't go there.

I give you (and I bet you wish I could) The Money Tree.

♫ Margaret Whiting - The Money Tree

JIMMY JOHNSON had a couple of brothers who preceded him into the music business.

Jimmy Johnson

Jimmy worked as a welder and was over 30 by the time he made music his full time work. In spite of the late start (or maybe because of it), he quickly became a well respected blues guitarist and pretty good singer.

Jimmy performs I Need Some Easy Money.

♫ Jimmy Johnson - I Need Some Easy Money

Several tracks came and went in this spot. I'd put one in and then go, "Nuuuhhhh" and throw it out again. Finally, I just threw up my hands and went with the last one I included.

The last person standing when the bell sounded is TOM RUSH from New Hampshire.

Tom Rush

Tom had a couple I could have used, both from the terrific album "Take a Little Walk With Me". The selected song is Turn Your Money Green, an old Furry Lewis song.

♫ Tom Rush - Turn Your Money Green

Here is TINY TIM. No, don't move on to the next song quite so quickly. This isn't the way you're used to hearing him.

Tiny Tim

Tim is singing with his real voice, as it were. It won't hurt to have a quick listen to him performing I Ain't Got No Money.

♫ Tiny Tim - I Ain't Got No Money

WARREN ZEVON comes up with the ultimate power trio in his song.

Warren Zevon

Those familiar with his oeuvre will know of what I speak. Here is Lawyers, Guns and Money.

♫ Warren Zevon - Lawyers, Guns and Money

Okay, I imagine you were expecting Barrett Strong's Money (That's What I Want) or The Beatles' cover of the same song. Another that's missing is the various versions of Money Honey.

Yes, I know I could have bumped Tiny Tim for one of those. Sorry to disappoint.

ELDER MUSIC: Franz Hoffmeister, et al

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

* * *

Franz Hoffmeister was a music publisher who managed to get the works of the most famous composers of his time (or any time if it comes to that) out into the world.

Besides that, he was a really prolific composer himself. Today we'll play some of his music as well as the published composers who are among my favorites, so it's yet another excuse for me to play music I love.

Franz was born in Rottenburg am Neckar, which is in the south of what's now Germany. He went to Vienna as a teenager and studied law there. It surprises me the number of great composer who started out in the law game but gave it up for something more useful – like making music.

While he was writing music, he started a music publishing house that attracted the cream of the crop. He published his own works as well as those of the important composers of the time including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Clementi, Albrechtsberger, Dittersdorf, Pleyel and Vanhal.

They are the ones we have today and they were also Franz's personal friends. Try as I might, I've only found the names of a few of the works that he published – I wanted to devote the column to those. So, I just went with compositions I like.

Before we get to the others, let's start with the man himself.

I could have done a whole column on music for the double bass, something that's very unusual in classical circles as a solo instrument. I'm going to start with it in a rather interesting way (well, interesting to me). Here is the man himself, FRANZ HOFFMEISTER.


He wrote several double bass quartets which were string quartets where he substituted the bass for the first violin, thus making it the lead instrument. It certainly makes a different sound from the standard string quartet, and is surprisingly melodic.

See what you think with the second movement of the Double Bass Quartet No. 2 in D Major.

♫ Hoffmeister - Double Bass Quartet No. 2 in D Major (2)

Next we'll have the elder statesman of the group, JOSEPH HAYDN.


Papa Jo wrote so much music it's difficult to untangle who published what, so I'll just go with a piece of music I heard on my radio a few days ago that really caught my fancy. It's the Piano Concerto in D, Hob XVIII-11, the first movement.

It's the last piano concerto he wrote. This one is as good as any that Mozart wrote (and that's saying something).

♫ Haydn - Piano Concerto In D, Hob XVIII-11 (1)

There is one composition we know that Franz published and it's the next one. He commissioned WOLFGANG MOZART to write three Piano Quartets, a rather new style at the time.


Wolfie came up with one, generally considered the first ever piano quartet. Franz was aghast as he thought it was too complicated – he wanted to sell sheet music to the general public to play – and released Wolfie from his contract to produce the others.

In spite of that, Mozart wrote a second piano quartet just because he could. He wasn't paid for that one. Here is that first one, the second movement of the Piano Quartet in G minor, K478.

♫ Mozart - Piano Quartet in G minor, K478 (2)

I also know of a few compositions by LUDWIG BEETHOVEN that Franz published.


These are the Piano Concerto Op. 19 (that's number 2), the Septet Op. 20, the Symphony Op. 21 (that's number 1, the one that sounds like one of Mozart's) and the Piano Sonata Op. 2 (that's number 11).

These were all quite early works. I really like the Septet, such that I've used one of its movements in an earlier column on Beethoven. I'll use another movement, the second, of the Septet for strings & woodwinds in E flat major, Op. 20.

In case you're wondering, it's scored for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.

♫ Beethoven - Septet for strings & woodwinds in E flat major, Op. 20 (2)

MUZIO CLEMENTI was born in Italy but spent most of his life in England.


He was also a music publisher, as well as a composer, pianist and piano maker. He was highly regarded as a pianist and once, in London when Mozart was visiting, he engaged in a piano contest with him. There's no report of who won, but I can imagine.

He's another who was famous in his day, second only to Haydn in that respect, but pretty much forgotten these days. In spite of his also being a publisher, he had Franz put some of his music out as well.

I don't know who published this, it's the second movement of his Sonata Op.35 No.1 In C Major. It's for piano, violin and cello.

♫ Clementi - Sonata Op.35 No.1 In C Major (2)

The trombone seems to be the forgotten instrument in classical music. It's pretty much always present in the orchestra but seldom gets to put up its hand in concertos and the like. Here we have just that, though, and the composer is JOHANN ALBRECHTSBERGER.


This one was originally written for the wonderfully named sackbut, a forerunner of the trombone. About the only real difference is that it was a bit smaller than the modern instrument and the bell isn't as pronounced.

Johann got the idea for this work after attending a concert of a similar concerto by Michael Haydn (Papa Jo's younger brother) and he fell into conversation with Mike about it.

The result of that meeting is the Concerto in B flat major for Alto Trombone, the first movement.

♫ Albrechtsberger - Concerto in B flat major for Alto Trombone (1)

Back to double bass. CARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF was one who featured the instrument rather prominently.


Old Ditters was anxious for a title and managed to get one, thus the von and the name repetition.

Like the rest today, he knew everyone and used to jam with Haydn, Mozart and Vanhal (who was his pupil) playing string quartets. We're not having that in his section, instead, as I implied earlier, this is the first movement of his Concerto in E major for Double Bass.

♫ Dittersdorf - Double bass concerto E major (1)

As I mentioned, JOHANN VANHAL was a pupil of Ditters and like him, he was also fond of featuring the double bass in his music.


However, we're going for the other end of the music spectrum and we are going fluting. Here is the first movement of his Flute Quartet, Op. 7, No. 2.

♫ Vanhal - Flute Quartet, Op. 7, No. 2 (1)

I like to feature IGNACE PLEYEL as he's a bit of a favorite of mine.


We have some cross pollination, as it were. Besides being a composer, Iggie was a publisher and published a number of the composers we have today too. In particular, and for this I raise my hat to him, quite a few of Haydn's string quartets.

However, we're interested in Iggie's music, and this is the second movement of his Symphonie Concertante in B flat major, B. 112.

♫ Pleyel - Symphonie Concertante in B flat major, B. 112 (2)

There are a few others I could have considered, but we'll return to the focus of this column and have something else by Franz Hoffmeister.


I started him off with the double bass but as I said already with Vanhal, we'll go to the other end of the orchestra and have some more flute. This is the third movement of the Flute Concerto No.16 in C major.

♫ Hoffmeister - Flute Concerto No.16 in C major (3)

ELDER MUSIC: 1962 Yet Again

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

* * *

Perhaps I've been doing this too long because I'm about to quote myself. The first time through for 1962 I said, "1962, what a dreary old year you were musically. This year could be considered the nadir of the sixties.”

Now I'm going to see if I can prove myself wrong without using any of the songs I've used previously and remember, there have already been two columns devoted to 1962. Quite a challenge I know.

I don't know if I succeeded but I found enough so I wasn't disappointed. Let's see if they are worth including.

Over the years there have often been "the next" when it come to popular music – the next Elvis, the next Bob Dylan, the next Beatles and so on. I'll start with one of those, the next Buddy Holly, BOBBY VEE.

That's not too surprising as Bobby was quickly substituted on the tour after Buddy was killed in the plane crash. Fortunately, Bobby evolved into a decent artist in his own right.

Bobby Vee

He was already established by 1962, and the song The Night Has a Thousand Eyes was probably the biggest of his career. He was one of the most underrated performers of this era.

♫ Bobby Vee - The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

THE CRYSTALS were a real group who had a number of hits.

The Crystals

However, their producer was Phil Spector and he really didn't care about the personnel of his various groups as long as they sounded good. That means that on a number of their records, it was actually Darlene Love and/or The Blossoms singing.

Not on this one though. It's the actual Crystals with one of their hits written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Uptown.

♫ The Crystals - Uptown

DEL SHANNON was one of the few bright lights who turned up between fifties rock & roll and sixties rock.

Del Shannon

Del had a bunch of fine songs during his career. This wasn't his best but it was the one from this year and we can't have everything. Little Town Flirt.

♫ Del Shannon - Little Town Flirt

BARBARA LYNN wrote and recorded You'll Lose a Good Thing, and took it up to the pointy end of the charts.

Barbara Lynn

It was later covered by Aretha Franklin and Freddy Fender who both had success with the song. Others have performed it too.

Barbara started out playing piano but later switched to electric guitar – it was unusual at the time for a woman to be out front playing lead. We hope things have changed but they may not have progressed to the point where this isn't remarked upon.

♫ Barbara Lynn - You'll Lose a Good Thing

MARY WELLS had a huge hit with the song My Guy, but that was in 1964.

Mary Wells

As she was on Motown Records, that song and most of her other hits were written by Smokey Robinson, including the one from this year, You Beat Me to the Punch.

♫ Mary Wells - You Beat Me to the Punch

Any year with the EVERLY BROTHERS having a hit can't be a complete write-off.

Everly Brothers

Most of their big hits were behind them by this year but they were still bringing out good music in spite of barely tolerating each other. This, alas, continued for the rest of their lives. Here is Crying in the Rain.

♫ Everly Brothers - Crying In The Rain

JOANIE SOMMERS made a singing career (she was also an actress) singing jazz and standards.

Joanie Sommers

However, she'll always be remembered (at least by me, and probably others around my age) for singing her only number one hit, Johnny Get Angry. Sorry, Joannie.

♫ Joanie Sommers - Johnny Get Angry

ETTA JAMES can be pretty much guaranteed to shake things up, and she does so today.

Etta James

Something's Got A Hold On Me was written by Etta along with Leroy Kirkland and Pearl Woods. It was recorded at the home of the blues, Chess records. It's been covered by many others but Etta did it first and did it best.

♫ Etta James - Something's Got A Hold On Me

As they always did, New Orleans musicians were guaranteed to produce good music, and they did it this year as well. One of those was BARBARA GEORGE.

Barbara George

Barbara wrote the song, I Know (You Don't Love Me No More) and it became quite a hit for her. It's been covered by quite a few others over the years.

Barbara wasn't able to match that song's success and she faded somewhat and retired from the music biz.

♫ Barbara George - I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)

There were no better singers this year than HELEN SHAPIRO.

Helen Shapiro

Actually, there have been few better singers than she in the history of popular music. The song I've chosen wasn't one of her biggest hits but I like it as I liked most of hers from around this time (before she became an "all round entertainer").

It is Little Miss Lonely.

♫ Helen Shapiro - Little miss lonely

Thank heavens for the women, they made this year acceptable.

ELDER MUSIC: The Late Great Townes Van Zandt

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.

* * *

All the other Texas songwriters claim that Townes Van Zandt was the most influential and best songwriter from that state, and as we have Guy Clark, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett in the mix, that's a big statement. Willie Nelson might have something to say about it, however.


Michael Hall in the Texas Monthly sums up Townes best:

”He remains today what he was all his wild, heartbreaking life: a cult artist honored by peers and ardent fans but largely unknown in the mainstream.

“He never released an album on a major label. He was never a music business professional and was never much concerned with his career. He was never concerned with much of anything in fact, but writing, touring, and hanging out with friends and family.

“He loved paradox - living it and spreading it. Born into comfort, he preferred the company of the poor and desperate and sometimes gambled away what money he had. He was a lighthearted prankster who wrote some of the saddest songs of the century. He sang about how precious it was to be alive yet spent a good deal of his life killing himself with drugs and alcohol.”


A man who can name one of his albums "The Late Great Townes Van Zandt" while he was still alive has something strange going on in his brain. When he died in 1997 at age 52, the most surprising thing was that he had lived so long.

On his first album, TOWNES recorded many of his best known songs, but he was dissatisfied with the result such that he rerecorded most of them on subsequent albums.

Having heard both versions of all of them, I agree that was the wise thing to do. One of those songs appeared on his very next album.

Although far from his best known song, it is my favorite of his. It's a really beautiful song with some gorgeous (and simple) guitar playing from Mickey White. His songwriting is so evocative you can picture Maria without any trouble. (Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria.

♫ Townes Van Zandt - (Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria

Many artists have recorded Townes' songs and I'm going to include a few of them. I'll start with one you could have pretty much guaranteed would be present. EMMYLOU HARRIS.

Emmylou Harris

Emmy has the help of Don Williams on If I Needed You.

♫ Emmylou Harris - If I Needed You

Townes once said, "I want to write songs so good that nobody understands them, even me". He succeeded with this next one.


Pancho and Lefty is certainly his best known song. He said it came through the window of a seedy hotel room to settle in his brain. "I was just tapped on the shoulder from above and told to write these songs, as opposed to wanting to be a success in the music business,” he said.

It's a mythical song that no one knows what it's about, but who cares? Bob Dylan would have been proud to own this one.

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Pancho & Lefty

NANCI GRIFFITH recorded a couple of interesting albums where she got a whole bunch of people to perform duets (and trios and on and on) with her.

Nanci is a fine songwriter but on these she performed songs written by others, I suspect mostly her favorites or those who have influenced her over the years. Naturally, there was a Townes song in the mix. On that one she had the help of ARLO GUTHRIE.

Nanci Griffith & Arlo Griffith

The song they performed is Tecumseh Valley, one of the most interesting songs that Townes wrote.

♫ Nanci Griffith and Arlo Guthrie - Tecumseh Valley


I imagine that people who haven't been there think of New Mexico as hot and dry. It is that, but they probably don't think of snow. I have been there when it snowed and it gets damn cold.

Raton is in the northeast of the state, nearly in Colorado and that's a state that is associated with snow. Put all that together and you have Snowin' on Raton.

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Snowin' on Raton

GUY CLARK was a close friend of Townes' and they occasionally shared a small glass of sherry together (well, that's the politically correct version of what they did).

Guy Clark

Guy rivals Townes in the Texan singer/songwriter department and since Townes' demise, Guy has always included one of his songs on each new album (as well as in concert, of course). Out of several I've chosen To Live is to Fly.

♫ Guy Clark - To Live's to Fly

Don't You Take It Too Bad has been recorded by many of Townes' friends and others as well. None did it better than Townes though.


This is his version of the song.

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Don't You Take It Too Bad

Townes wrote songs that were deceptively simple - not for him the epic stories of Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen. Now and then, however, he showed that he could match those two at their own game. This is one that either of those writers would be happy to call their own, Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel.


♫ Townes Van Zandt - Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel

As mentioned at the beginning, Townes wrote the saddest songs anyone ever committed to paper and disk, and the general consensus is that the saddest of the lot is Marie. This is a five hankie or full Kleenex box affair. WILLIE NELSON's stark approach to the song highlights this.

Willie Nelson

It's just Willie and guitar and that's all that's needed for it.

♫ Willie Nelson - Marie

I'll finish with a song that could have easily fitted into my "Seasons" columns. Townes sings Come Tomorrow.


I could say this is another sad song but that would be redundant.

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Come Tomorrow

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Albuquerque

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've visited Albuquerque quite a few times; my sister lived there for a few years before hightailing it to San Francisco, and I've also visited several times since. I've stretched the criterion a bit today because although there are some songs about the city, most of them just mention it in passing.

As I said, a lot of the songs are about passing through or over Albuquerque. That's common to places that aren't on either coast. A prime example is by CHUCK BERRY.

Chuck Berry

Chuck woke up high over Albuquerque on a jet to the Promised Land.

♫ Chuck Berry - Promised Land

Most of us reading this would be familiar with the song Route 66 from the original by the writer of the song, Bobby Troup, through to Nat King Cole's version (my favorite), Mel Tormé's and on to the Rolling Stones and many more besides.

None of these mention Albuquerque (even though the road runs through it). There is one that does though, and that's by PERRY COMO.

Perry Como

I don't know if all the others (including Bobby) just used a chopped down version of the song or whether Perry (or someone close by) added some extra verses mentioning a lot more places along the way.

Whatever is the case here's Perry with the expanded Route 66.

♫ Perry Como - Route 66

Jimmy Webb was fond of name-checking places in the songs he wrote, and probably the most famous interpreter of these would be GLEN CAMPBELL.

Glen Campbell

The song I have in mind is By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Albuquerque is in there as one of the place he "by the time he gets to.”

♫ Glen Campbell - By the Time I Get to Phoenix

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL play Western Swing, in the mould of Bob Wills and others.

Asleep At The Wheel

They are certainly the best at that genre playing today – that's not their only style, they're very versatile. They have a song that's actually about the city. It's called Albuquerque.

♫ Asleep at the Wheel - Albuquerque

There's only a single mention of our city in FRANK SINATRA's song, but that's enough.

Frank Sinatra

Albuquerque isn't a place you tend to associate with Frank but if the songwriter slips it into a song, well there you go. In this case, the writers were husband and wife team Mann Holner and Alberta Nichols. The song is Why Shouldn't It Happen To Us.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Why Shouldn't It Happen To Us

Johnny Burnette and his brother Dorsey were two thirds of the JOHNNY BURNETTE TRIO, also know as the Rock and Roll Trio. The third member was Paul Burlison.

Johnny Burnette Trio

They grew up in Memphis and used to jam with Elvis before any of them were well known. Johnny later had a solo career before he had a boating accident, as did Dorsey (the career, that is), but a heart attack eventually brought him down.

Paul lived to a reasonable age. Probably the best known song the trio recorded was The Train Kept A'Rollin', and that mentions our city.

♫ Johnny Burnette Trio - The Train Kept A Rollin'

I've crossed the Rio Grande in Albuquerque – it flows through the city. It's quite easy - just a single step across it and you're somewhere else. Where you are is a metre or two from where you were. No big deal.

TOM RUSSELL, though, is going lengthways, Down the Rio Grande, and it gets quite a bit wider down river.

Tom Russell

Tom has written some excellent songs about the Rio Grande, set both north and south of the border. As I said, this one is along the length of it.

♫ Tom Russell - Down the Rio Grande

Here are the Sons of the Desert.

Stan & Ollie

Oops sorry, wrong SONS OF THE DESERT.

Sons of the Desert

The band named themselves after Stan and Ollie's film. They formed in Waco and contain a couple of members whose surname is Womack. There seems to quite a number of people named that in the music business, most of them unrelated.

Anyway, The Sons perform Albuquerque, a different song from the one above.

♫ Sons Of The Desert - Albuquerque

TIM MCGRAW is a country singer and a bit of an actor as well, appearing is several well-regarded films.

Tim McGraw

He's married to Faith Hill who is also a country singer and actor. They are well known for their philanthropy. Tim's song is Everywhere, and Albuquerque is the first mentioned place.

♫ Tim McGraw - Everywhere

There were three Glaser Brothers and they performed as a trio. Two of them had solo careers as well, the most prominent of those was Tompall. However, today I'm interested in JIM GLASER.

Jim Glaser

Besides his solo career and with his brothers, Jim was a long time member of Marty Robbins' band. Can't do better than that. Jim's song is The Lights of Albuquerque.

♫ Jim Glaser - The Lights of Albuquerque

ELDER MUSIC: The Song Whisperer

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.

* * *

Since the book and the film The Horse Whisperer appeared, there seem to be all sorts of "whisperers" out there so why should I be left out?

Naturally, I would call myself The Song Whisperer. I figure all the rest just made it up, so why shouldn't I? Besides, I have a little bit of substance to my claim – all these songs about whispering.

Let the music commence (but too loudly, of course).

I'll begin with one of the first songs I thought of in this category, one written by Vivian Gilbert and Mary Hadler who were husband and wife in spite of Viv's funny name for a bloke.

He was often referred to as Jack (I don't know if that was in the country or in the town).

Anyway, this couple came up with The Shifting, Whispering Sands. This one's been recorded by a bunch of people and choosing one was difficult.

Back when I was a whippersnapper, Rusty Draper had a hit with it round where I lived. Somewhat later, Johnny Cash recorded an excellent version on his "Ballads of the True West" album. He also recorded it with Lorne Greene, but we'll skip over that one.

Roy Rogers' old group The Sons of the Pioneers had a go at it too. I listened to all those, and more besides, and decided the one I found most interesting today was by LES GILLIAM.

Les Gilliam

Like most versions, he has a talkie introduction – that's the way to tell it's a country song according to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist. Les is often billed as the Oklahoma Balladeer. This is the way he performs it.

♫ Les Gilliam - The Shifting, Whispering Sands

THE DEL-VIKINGS (or Dell-Vikings, both spellings were used over the years due to a split in the group early on producing two of them) were one of if not the best of the DooWop groups in the fifties.

Dell Vikings

They had quite intricate harmony as was shown most strikingly in their song Come Go With Me. Their song Whispering Bells isn't quite up to that one, but it involves whispering, so it's the one we have today.

♫ Del Vikings - Whispering Bells

This morning, quite out of the blue, I wondered if I had the song Whispering Hope among my collection for no discernable reason. I have these odd thoughts now and then.

Turns out I did have it, a couple of versions in fact, and it is this that prompted the column. The one I chose, as I'm sure it's the one from way back when I first heard it, is by JO STAFFORD.

On this one she has the help of GORDON MACRAE.

Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae

They made a couple of albums together over time. This was from one of those.

♫ Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae - Whispering Hope

WILLIAM HAYES was sort of contemporaneous with Mr Handel, born some years after the great man, but they were writing music around the same time.

William Hayes

Old Bill looks rather splendid in those robes and I especially like the early headphones.

Anyway, although influenced by Handel, Bill often wrote music in styles that Georg neglected, smaller vocal works and the like. This is an example of that called Still It Whispered Promised Pleasure from a larger work, simply called “The Passions.” The song is sung by EVELYN TUBB.

Evelyn Tubb

♫ William Hayes - Still it whispered promised pleasure

THE INK SPOTS were a huge influence on DooWop music.

Ink Spots

There are about 100 different groups going around calling themselves The Ink Spots but the one I have today is the original (and I won't say the best – they are the only ones who should be considered).

They started in the early thirties and kept performing into the fifties. One of their many hits is Whispering Grass.

♫ Ink Spots - Whispering Grass

Nino Tempo was a musical prodigy on clarinet and saxophone and made his first appearance at age four. He also acted in a number of films before he was a teenager. He later worked as a session musician, most notably as one of the Wrecking Crew, the musicians who worked for Phil Spector and others.

April Stevens began singing professionally when she was 15 and has been doing so ever since. At one stage they recorded together as NINO TEMPO & APRIL STEVENS, not too surprisingly as they are brother and sister.

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

They had a huge hit with the song Deep Purple (that Nino didn't like). They also did well with the old song Whispering.

♫ Nino & April - Whispering

I won't do my usual rave about how great THE BAND were because you've heard it all before.

The Band

I'll just play their whispering song, Whispering Pines, from their eponymous album. The tragic Richard Manuel sings this one.

♫ The Band - Whispering Pines

We in Australia have known about RENEE GEYER for decades.

Renee Geyer

When she ventured out into the rest of the world, she was often billed as "The greatest R&B singer in the world that you've never heard of". Too bad for the rest of the world, is all I can say.

I won't even mention the famous musicians' records she's graced with her presence as there are too many. Her contribution to the column is one that was a hit here, Stares and Whispers.

♫ Renee Geyer - Stares and Whispers

PATTI PAGE does her famous thing of double tracking her voice on her song (well, if you're on a good thing...)

Patti Page

It sounds like quite a few of her other songs but that doesn't bother me as I like them all (well, apart from that Doggie one). Her song today is Whispering Winds.

♫ Patti Page - Whispering Winds

I'll end with the best of the songs today, but I'm biased as it's IRIS DEMENT.

Iris Dement

I mentioned the film The Horse Whisperer in the introduction. This is from the sound track of that movie. It's Whispering Pines, a different song from the one with the same name by The Band.

♫ Iris DeMent - Whispering Pines

Ronni Bennett's and John Oliver's Vacation

The two people in that headline, John Oliver and me, don't really have anything to do with each other except that I think he is a national treasure, and we are both taking some time off.

Last Sunday's episode of Oliver's HBO program, Last Week Tonight, was the last before the show takes a month's hiatus. Me too. Not a month like John, just the rest of this week (unless I decide on some more). But I will not leave you with empty web pages.

Oliver sometimes records short web-only essays when the show is off air and taking his lead, I am filling in with some items that require little time and effort on my part but are still worth your time.

Today, it is John Oliver's essay from last Sunday.

Sometimes things happen that make you wonder if computers are not just tracking our digital travels around the internet but that they are also capable of reading our minds right through the screen.

Last weekend, for unknown reasons – particularly since I have no children or grandchildren to worry about - charter schools came to mind. I understood pretty well how they operate, or are supposed to operate, but I also had a sense that they are big-time failures and ripoffs - for the parents and students, if not the for-profit operators.

I didn't know that for a fact so I made a note, a real note on a piece of paper at my desk, to look into those schools to see what's up with them.

Before I could do that, John Oliver's most recent program turned up in my inbox Monday morning on, amazingly, the topic of charter schools. That sure saved me a lot of work and anyway, he has a whole bunch of researchers and writers to do it. I don't, so I'll let him take it from here with the brutal truth of what I suspected.

A new installment of Interesting Stuff will be in this space on Saturday as usual, but be sure to tune in on Friday too for an excellent story you are certain to enjoy.

ELDER MUSIC: Top 10 Jazz Albums

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

* * *

As with my previous Top 10, my criterion is a single album per artist although I rather stretch that somewhat today (almost to breaking point, some might say) as will be seen later.

This is a purely subjective list and I can't imagine anyone else's being the same (although there could be several in common). These tend to be older albums, ones I remember from when I was young.

I'm sure I could compile a column from more recent albums, and I might do that some time.

THELONIOUS MONK is THE bebop pianist.


He is represented by "Monk's Dream" but also "Criss-Cross" and others could be considered. A lot of others. But from Monk's Dream here is the title track.

♫ Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

MILES DAVIS could fill in the top 10 all on his own.


Naturally, "Kind of Blue" has to be present. I would also include "Someday My Prince Will Come", "Sketches of Spain", "In a Silent Way", "Bags' Groove", "Milestones" and his rock & roll album "A Tribute to Jack Johnson". Many more could also be considered.

Although I recognise that "Kind of Blue" is the great jazz album, I've decided to go for the very first Miles album I ever owned, and that is "Someday My Prince Will Come" and I'll go with the title track. Coltrane is present as he is further down.

♫ Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come

My favorite JOHN COLTRANE album remains "Live at the Village Vanguard.”


This has been released in several versions over the years from the initial single album to a later double album release. Then various CD versions until it finally saw the light of day in a terrific 4 CD set of his complete 4 day stay at the venue.

Complete-ists like me had to have that one, of course. The track I've chosen is rather long, but that pretty much goes without saying. There's a quote in Miles's autobiography where he says something along the lines of, "John, not every tune has to be two hours long.”

This isn't quite that long, it's called Spiritual.

♫ John Coltrane - Spiritual

The DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET is present with their best known album, the second biggest selling album in jazz history, "Time Out.” Miles pipped them.


I will also suggest "Time Further Out", "Time Changes", "Son of Time Out" and "Grandson of Time Out" (okay, I made up those last two). Several others deserve to be included as well.

Here is one of the lesser known tracks from the album, called Kathy's Waltz.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Kathy's Waltz

It was difficult to decide whether to have a vocal or instrumental album from CHET BAKER.


Either would be acceptable but I've gone for the all instrumental album "Chet". This shows off his considerable melodic skill playing the trumpet. It also has Pepper Adams on baritone saxophone sounding awfully like Gerry Mulligan.

Chet's tune is If You Could See Me Now.

♫ Chet Baker - If You Could See Me Now

I played Coltrane earlier, but he's here under a different guise when he made an album with JOHNNY HARTMAN.


It's hard to imagine anyone who had a better singing voice than Johnny. It's not too surprising as he was classically trained as a singer but like many who did the same he turned to jazz.

Speaking of classics, this album certainly was one, and from it we have the Lush Life.

♫ Johnny Hartman - Lush Life

While we're on a Coltrane kick, here's another album he made with one of the greatest musicians in the business, DUKE ELLINGTON.


This is such a fine album I wish they'd done another but as far as I know they didn't. With all the complete releases that the record companies come out with these days, it's probably all there is. Oh well, let's be happy they made this one.

The tune I've selected is In a Sentimental Mood, written by Duke way back in 1935. It was turned into a song when Marty Kurtz wrote some words for it, but it's just the tune today.

♫ Coltrane & Ellington - In a Sentimental Mood

BILL EVANS was yet another jazz muso who was classically trained. In his case it was the piano.


Bill first came to my notice as the piano player on Miles's "Kind of Blue" album. Miles held him in high regard and built a number of his tunes around Bill's playing.

When Bill left Miles, he mostly played as a trio with bass and drums accompanying him. From his most popular and best selling album "Waltz For Debby" this is the title tune.

However, this isn't the version on the vinyl release; when the CD came out there were extras and this is one that I prefer to the original.

♫ Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby (Take 1)

I discovered this album by MEL TORMÉ because the track I've chosen was played quite often on the jazz program on radio station 3XY here in Melbourne back in the sixties.


I didn't ever have a vinyl copy of the album (but I discovered that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist did). However, I have it on CD. The album is "Mel Tormé at the Red Hill". The track is Mountain Greenery.

♫ Mel Tormé - Mountain Greenery

I only had one album by GERRY MULLIGAN when I was growing up and that was "Jeru".


This album came after the fine work he did in his original quartet with Chet Baker. I've since acquired a multi-CD set of those and they're terrific but my rule is original albums (The A.M. thinks I'm too inflexible, but I like to follow my own rules. That is, until I don't).

The track from "Jeru" is Blue Boy, and it has Tommy Flannagan playing some nice piano on it.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Blue Boy

ELDER MUSIC: Australian Favorites - Mozart (10-1)

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

* * *

As I mentioned in the countdown from 20 to 11, Australia's ABC Classical station had a listeners' poll on their favorite Mozart works. These are the top guns, the big kahunas, so counting down from 10 to 1.


10. Exsultate Jubilate K165 – Allelujah
Wolfie didn't write many motets; this would be the best known of them. It was written for a castrato but as there are few of those around anymore, a soprano usually takes over.

In this case it's MARGARET MARSHALL with the Allelujah.

Margaret Marshall

♫ Exsultate Jubilate K165 - Allelujah

9. Piano Concerto No.23 in A K488 – Adagio
The first of two piano concertos today. This was written about the time he wrote the “Marriage of Figaro.” It was part of a subscription concert where Wolfie played the piano at the premiere of the concerto. Here is the second movement.

Piano Concerto N° 23 ~ II. Adagio

8. Serenade 'Gran Partita' in B flat K361 – Adagio
The Serenade number 10 has gained the nickname "Gran Patita", although Wolfie didn't call it that and it's misspelt anyway. There are seven movements but we're not going to sit through them all, just the third.

♫ Serenade No. 10 KV 361 ~ Gran Partita - Adagio

7. The Magic Flute K620 - Der Hölle Rache kocht
The Flute was the second last opera Wolfie wrote. At this time he was seriously involved in the local opera company and he wrote this one for them. He also conducted the first performance.

Emanuel Schikaneder, who wrote the words for the opera, played Papageno in that first production. Wolfie took note of the skills of the singers on offer and tailored the music to suit them.

The singer who performed the Queen of the Night (Josepha Hofer, Wolfie's sister-in-law) must have been a prodigious talent as performers since have complained about the difficulty of the role. LUCIANA SERRA plays the Queen here with Der Hoelle Rache.

Luciana Serra

♫ The Magic Flute - Der Hoelle Rache

6. Vesperae solennes de confessore K339 - Laudate Dominum
The complete work was composed for liturgical use in the Salzburg Cathedral. However, Laudate Dominum, the fifth movement of this work, is often performed as a stand-alone piece for soprano and choir.

I swoon for we have both Mozart's music and CECILIA BARTOLI to perform it.

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Vesperae solennes de confessore K339 - Laudate Dominum

We had a bit from the Requiem last week and here is another. As I mentioned then, Wolfie didn't complete this work but this was another that is undeniably his, Lacrymosa or A Day of Tears.

♫ Requiem K626 - Lacrymosa (A Day Of Tears)

4. Così fan tutte K588 - Soave sia il vento
Così is a favorite of opera goers and is often performed. I had another singer pencilled in for singing this but I did a further search of my music and found CECILIA BARTOLI performing it.

Cecilia Bartoli

Naturally, she gets the guernsey today (or any day). Lella Cuberli and John Tomlinson lend a hand (or a vocal cord) with Soave sia il vento.

♫ Così fan tutte K588 - Soave sia il vento

3. Piano Concerto No.21 in C K467 – Andante
This piano concerto became very well known after it was featured in the film "Elvira Madigan". I'm rather ambivalent about classical music in films but when they play it straight it's not too bad.

Sorry, that's sounds as if I'm up myself, forget I said that. The second movement.

♫ Piano Concerto N° 21 ~ II. Andante

2. Ave Verum Corpus K618
I wasn't familiar with the Ave Verum Corpus before I wrote this column although I had it in my big box set of everything Mozart wrote (there's a lot of music in those CDs, and it takes a long while to listen to them all).

It was written very late in his life and it sounds to me very reminiscent of his not too much later Requiem.

♫ Ave Verum Corpus

1. Clarinet Concerto in A K622 – Adagio
For once, I'm in complete agreement with the voting masses - well those masses who listen to Oz classical music radio. The Clarinet Concerto is the most beautiful piece of music ever written, and the second movement the jewel in the crown of the composition.

This was the last piece of music that Wolfie completed, the Requiem (above) was not finished. Just sit back and take this in.

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Adagio

ELDER MUSIC: Australian Favorites - Mozart (20-11)

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

* * *

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

This time it was the music of Mozart and it's a little different from the other polls inasmuch as compositions as such weren't chosen but individual movements from them.

Thus, in the top 20 his complete clarinet concerto is included as all three movements were selected. I've grabbed the top 20 to play (there was an official top 100, and an unofficial lot more). This way I won't have to think about choosing music, although they omitted several I would have selected, and naturally there are others I wouldn't have included.

However, I shall play them as selected, today counting down from 20 to 11 (as we used to do back in the day with pop music).


WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (or Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart as he was christened) died far too young; he was only 35, but he wrote his first pieces for piano when he was five.


In that short life he produced the most beautiful music that anyone has ever written. Today and next week you'll hear some of the best of it.

Wolfie was good friends with Johann Christian Bach (J.S.'s youngest son) and they influenced each other considerably. He also admired Haydn and was friends with Dittersdorf and Vanhal. He often played music with those last three.

Enough waffling, let's start with the last thing Wolfie wrote.

20. Requiem K626 - Dies irae
Count Franz von Walsegg commissioned a requiem (anonymously, he was a bit of an eccentric, the old Count) from Wolfie who set to composing it. Alas, illness intervened and he died before he could complete it.

The Requiem we know today was finished by one of his pupils, Franz Süssmayr. Most of the Dies Irae was completed by Wolfie.

♫ Requiem - Dies Irae (Day Of Wrath)

19. Symphony No.40 in G minor K550 - Molto allegro
I would have put this much higher than 19, in the top 3 or 4. This is a great symphony, the best of Wolfie's, although numbers 39 and 41 are both knocking on the door.

These three really set the bar high for later composers to emulate. Beethoven is one such who managed to achieve that, as did Schubert a couple of times and Mahler once. This is the opening movement.

♫ Symphony No.40 in G minor K.550 ~ I. molto Allegro

18. Eine kleine Nachtmusik K525 – Allegro
The title, naturally, literally means "A Little Night Music.” Wolfie though considered it "A Little Serenade.” Whatever you call it, it's one of his most famous compositions. Here is the first movement.

♫ Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K 525 - 1. Allegro

17. Clarinet Concerto in A K622 - Rondo. Allegro
The first of three appearances of the clarinet concerto and we're jumping all over the place with this one as this is the third movement. Goodness, this is a beautiful work in whatever order you play it.

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Rondo_ Allegro


16. Concerto for Flute and Harp K299 - Andantino
This is one I wouldn't have bothered with, not being a big fan of either instrument. Having said that, I admit that Wolfie is such a talent that he makes even them sound pretty good.

Make up your own mind, don't let me lead you astray. Here is the second movement.

♫ Flute and Harp Concerto in C major, K299 - 2. Andantine

15. Sinfonia concertante for Violin and Viola K364 – Andante
The viola is considered a bit of a joke by orchestra members (other than viola players, of course). I don't know why, I prefer it to the violin. I'm not alone; Wolfie loved it and played the instrument when he got together with his friends (mentioned above).

The other one mentioned, J.C. Bach was a master of the Sinfonia Concertante and he taught Wolfie all about it. Naturally, he went off and wrote his own things in this form. This is the second movement.

♫ Sinfonia Concertante E flat major KV 364 ~ II Andante

14. Piano Sonata in A K331 - Alla Turca. Allegretto
This is easily the most famous of his piano sonatas, that's probably why it's on the list, especially the third movement that's been named Alla Turca (or "Turkish March").

For a change, Wolfie named it thus. Usually, these names get tacked on to pieces of music without the writer's permission or knowledge, mostly after they're dead.

♫ Piano Sonata N° 11 in A Major KV 331- III. Alla Turca, allegretto

13. Zaïde K344 - Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben
In contrast to the previous tune, Wolfie didn't name this piece Zaïde. It's an unfinished opera that's set in Turkey, continuing the theme.

He decided to give this one the flick and started work on the opera Idomeneo, something from which I'd have selected for these columns. Oh well.

SANDRINE PIAU sings Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben.

Sandrine Piau

♫ Zaïde - Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben

12. Marriage of Figaro K492 – Overture
From probably the least known opera (or part thereof) to one of the best known. Alas, there's no beautiful singing, the voting public decided on the overture instead.

♫ Marriage of Figaro K492 - Overture


11. Clarinet Concerto in A K622 - Allegro
Some more of this wonderful work, this time it's the first movement. Sit back and enjoy.

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Allegro

The ten biggies will appear next week.


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.

* * *

Based on the response I received for the music of 1910, I've decided to do another early year. Again, this is not only music from 1914, but music that was recorded in that year.

I hope you like it – I'm a bit doubtful but I was somewhat overruled on the previous column.

I remember the song Aba Daba Honeymoon from the fifties sung by Debbie Reynolds and Carleton Carpenter. I didn't know at the time that this wasn't the first time this song had made the hit parades.

The song was written by Arthur Fields and Walter Donovan in 1914 and was first recorded by ARTHUR COLLINS and BYRON HARLAN.

Collins & Harlan

They were referred to by fellow recording artist Billy Murray as "The Half Ton Duo" as they were rather challenged in the weight department. That's not obvious in the picture. Anyway, here's their version of the song.

♫ Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan - The Aba Daba Honeymoon

One hundred years on we have forgotten what it was like in the early days of driving. BILLY MURRAY explains it all to us.

Billy Murray

Back then they didn't just jump in the car and tootle over to Auntie Elsie's place. No, most likely there would have been at least one stop on the way, perhaps more. Billy tells it better than I can withHe'd Have To Get Out and Get Under (To Fix Up His Automobile).

♫ Billy Murray - He'd Have To Get Out And Get Under (To Fix Up His Automobile) 1914

ADA JONES recorded with quite a few people over the years, most notably Len Spencer and Billy Murray (who got a gig just above).

Ada Jones

Apparently she only recorded one song with BILLY WATKINS and it's this one, By the Beautiful Sea. You will probably know this song. Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a picture of Billy.

♫ Ada Jones & Billy Watkins - By The Beautiful Sea

GEORGE MACFARLANE was from Canada and began his career performing in Gilbert and Sullivan and musicals in Montreal.

George MacFarlane

He then went to New York and where he was quite a success in musical comedies. He also appeared in films, both musical and in straight roles. Alas, his career was cut short when he was hit by a car and killed.

George performs Can't You Hear Me Calling, Caroline?

♫ George MacFarlane - Can't You Hear Me Calling Caroline

ARTHUR FIELDS started performing young, singing in minstrel shows and vaudeville.

Arthur Fields

He then started writing songs – he's responsible for Aba Daba Honeymoon (up above). He also recorded songs, both his own and those of others. This one is in the latter category; Irving Berlin is responsible for writing Along Came Ruth.

♫ Arthur Fields - Along Came Ruth

HENRY BURR, ALBERT CAMPBELL and WILL OAKLAND join together to give us I'm on My Way to Mandalay.

Henry Burr, Albert Campbell and Will Oakland

Will was a countertenor and sang the high parts, often the female role in songs (several with Billy Murray who seems to have recorded with everyone). Henry was a recording fool; he made more records than just about anyone in history – more than 12,000 are known.

He appeared often with the Peerless Quartet who included Will and Albert among its members at various times. As well as that group, Henry and Albert were a successful duo. The three of them got together for this song.

♫ Henry Burr, Albert Campbell and Will Oakland - I'm on My Way to Mandalay (1914)

NORA BAYES was already a success in vaudeville when she was still in her teens, touring everywhere from California to New York.

Nora Bayes

She was a good friend of George M Cohan and premiered many of his songs. Nora married songwriter Jack Norworth, and again she was the first with his songs.

What we have today wasn't by either of those, however. It's The Good Ship Mary Ann written by Grace Le Boy and Gus Kahn.

♫ Nora Bayes - The Good Ship Mary Ann

THE PEERLESS QUARTET was easily the most successful group in the early days of the 20th century.

The Peerless Quartet

They recorded under several different names but this is the one where they had the most success. They were the first to record many songs that became famous and quite a few are still performed today.

I don't know if this is one of those, While They Were Dancing Around. The song was written by Joseph McCarthy and James Monaco.

♫ Peerless Quartet - While They Were Dancing Around

Besides making records of popular music of the day, CHARLES HARRISON also recorded opera and similar concert songs.

Charles Harrison

He later was a successful performer on Broadway. His record of Peg o' My Heart was number 1 on the charts for a rather amazing 14 weeks. I guess there wasn't quite the competition then than there is today, but it's still a good effort, and you can only beat what was on offer at the time.

♫ Charles Harrison - Peg O' My Heart

ELIZABETH SPENCER and VERNON ARCHIBALD were associated with the Metropolitan Quartet.

Elizabeth Spencer & ArchibalVernon1

Charles Harrison was as well, so they probably knew each other. That's about all I know about Liz and Vern except they made quite a few records together. This is one of those from 1914, In the Valley of the Moon, written by Jeff Branen.

♫ Elizabeth Spencer & Vernon Archibald - In The Valley Of The Moon