449 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Send More Chuck Berry

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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The spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 have now left the solar system (or not, depending on how you define it, but we won't go into that) and both have a gold record attached that have sounds of the Earth, people speaking and so on.

There is also music – Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Blind Willie Johnson, Louis Armstrong and more. CHUCK BERRY was on there as well.

It seems that at least one of these has been intercepted by aliens and a message they sent back has recently been decoded and it read, "Send more Chuck Berry". Alas, there is no more Chuck but there's plenty of his music in the vaults.

You all probably think you know Chuck's music: Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven, Sweet Little Sixteen, etc.

I'm not here to prove you wrong. After all, those songs and many like them were the template for rock & roll and the world of music would be the poorer without them. Today I hope to show there was more to Chuck than those famous songs.


Chuck started out playing the blues and he got together with fellow blues-man Johnnie Johnson. Indeed, Chuck pretty much took over Johnnie 's group, who became his backup band for some years. Johnnie can be heard playing piano on Wee Wee Hours.

♫ Wee Wee Hours


I'm not completely eschewing his famous songs; I've included two of them (a couple more if you're really familiar with Chuck's oeuvre). You Never Can Tell was always a bit of the odd one out when it came to his biggest hits. It's one I really like.

♫ You Never Can Tell

Decades early, Chuck seems to be anticipating dub and reggae as well as hip hop all in the one song. Cuban music too, given the title: Havana Moon.

♫ Havana Moon


An interesting combination of classic blues style and DooWop with Chuck's lyrics pertaining to school days, young girls and the like. Make of this what you will, Childhood Sweetheart.

♫ Childhood Sweetheart


Chuck as lounge singer, with some tasteful guitar playing it goes without saying (even though I've done just that). This was from a rehearsal for a record where someone left the tape rolling. It only surfaced when, as with many other artists, just about everything has seen the light of day. The song is I'm Through With Love.

♫ I'm Through With Love (Rehearsal 1986)

Chuck seems to have had an excessive interest in Brenda Lee in the song named after her. I'm not going to comment further.

♫ Brenda Lee

Now a rare cover song. Drifting Blues was written by Charles Brown, who Chuck, at least initially, sounded awfully like in his singing. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, wouldn't think that's a bad thing as she's a huge fan of both performers. Here it is.

♫ Drifting Blues


Too Much Monkey Business is one of his songs that's rarely covered, probably because it's such a tongue twister. You really have to be on your mettle to perform this one. Lots of the phrases from the song have been usurped for other purposes over the years.

♫ Too Much Monkey Business

Chuck regrets that he can't be understood in Spanish, at least according to this next song. Of course, all he had to do was plug in his guitar and start playing and he'd be understood immediately. I suppose that the guitar might get in the way of what he seemed to be trying to achieve. We'll never know. The song is Lajaunda (Espanol).

Lajaunda (Espanol)


I'll end with one of his hits, one of the famous one. I just have to say "Hail, Hail Rock and Roll" and quite a lot of you will know that I'm talking about School Days.

♫ School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes The Bell)

Not quite the end. Chuck deserves an extra, one that pretty much defined him and all he stood for: Brown Eyed Handsome Man.

♫ Brown Eyed Handsome Man

ELDER MUSIC: More Hooked on Classics

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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The name was suggested by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and has nothing to do with that dreadful bunch of records that came out some decades ago.

This is the second in the series; it's a sister to the columns called "Classical Gas" (another lot named by the A.M.). In this case, I feature more well-known composers, unlike the other ones which are devoted to lesser knowns.

Let's begin with one of the most important composers in history, JOSEPH HAYDN.


Papa Jo is most noted for his symphonies, string quartets and other instrumental music - however, he wrote quite a lot of vocal music as well. Actually, he wrote quite a lot of every sort of music.

While he was in the employ of Esterhazy (father and son), he not only wrote and produced his own music, he also staged operas by other composers. One of those was Guiseppe Anfossi and his opera La Metilde Ritrovata. However, it needed something extra so Jo wrote the aria “Quando la Rosa non ha più Spine” for inclusion in it.

Here we have NURIA RIAL performing that aria.

Nuria Rial

♫ Haydn - Quando la rosa

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS was best known for his symphonies, particularly the Organ Symphony as well as works like The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre and so on.


These really don't float my boat. He wrote smaller works like string quartets, piano trios, violin sonatas and the like. One smaller piece I particularly like is his Romance for Horn and Piano, Op 36. This is for French horn and piano obviously.

♫ Saint-Saens - Romance for Horn and Piano Op 36

I was lying in bed the other morning listening to the radio (which is how I get inspiration for quite a few of these tracks) and they played a beautiful piece of music. That's obviously MOZART, I said to myself but I don't recognise it.


Fortunately, they told me what it was and naturally I searched my music and there it was (several times). A version I have was even better than the one they played, not surprisingly it's by RENÉE FLEMING.

Renee Fleming

The aria is L'amerò, sarò costante from one of Wolfie's lesser known operas, “Il Rè Pastore” or The Shepherd King. K 208 for those who are interested in such things.

♫ Renée Fleming - Mozart Il re pastore K.208 - L'amerò sarò costante

Not too long after they played the previous piece of music, they featured this one. I could lie in bed and have my column organised for me I thought at the time. This one was by LUIGI BOCCHERINI.


Old Boccers is another favorite of mine and he had a string quartet augmented by another instrument, in this case a guitar. Actually, two instruments - there are some castanets towards the end of it. Not really needed, but I suppose they add color and movement.

This is the third movement of his Guitar Quintet No. 4. It has the name Fandango (thus the castanets, I suppose).

♫ Boccherini - Guitar Quintet No. 4 (3)

CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH was the second son of the great J.S. Bach to go into the family trade.


He was hugely successful in his time and his music is still played today, probably more so than his brothers'.

I want to play for you what is called a Symphony for Strings. It's an interesting amalgam of baroque (although it's gone somewhat beyond baroque) and classical (it isn't quite a fully fledged classical piece). It's as if Vivaldi and Haydn sat down and wrote it together, although that would be unlikely as Haydn was only nine years old when Vivaldi died.

Anyway, here is the first movement of his Symphony No 2 in B flat major.

♫ CPE Bach - Symphony no 2 in B flat major (1)

I think that VINCENZO BELLINI ranks just behind Puccini and Mozart as an opera composer.


Vince is not only a favorite of the public; other composers admired him as well. Verdi raved about his compositions and Wagner, who pretty much didn't like anyone but himself, said he was spellbound by his works. Liszt and Chopin were both fans.

Quite a few of his operas are regularly performed today. However, what I've selected is far from his most famous and is not often performed. It's the opera "Adelson e Salvini" and the aria is Dopo l'oscuro nembo sung by LENA BELKINA.

Lena Belkina

♫ Bellini - Adelson e Salvini Dopo l'oscuro nembo

PYOTR TCHAIKOVSKY sure could write a good tune.


Actually, he wrote a whole bunch of good tunes, many of which have become the most popular works in classical music (and some of the best – I'm thinking of his fifth symphony)

Besides writing ballets, symphonies and concertos he also wrote operas, the best known of which is "Eugene Onegin". From act two of that opera is the Waltz, often performed as a stand-alone orchestral piece, as it is today. This is a real earworm. Sorry.

♫ Tchaikovsky - Eugene Onegin - Waltz

It's difficult to say what is BEETHOVEN's most famous composition, more than a dozen could fit the bill.


The one I've selected today certainly makes the short list. I had not thought about it for a long time until I was reminded of it by my sister, and that was enough for me to include it today.

It's a solo piano work, officially called Bagatelle No 25 in A Minor, and it was probably written for Therese Malfatti, a student of Ludwig whom he wished to marry. She turned him down.

Over the years, Ludwig's original title of Für Therese got lost along the way and these days it's known as Für Elise. The pianist is Gerard Willems.

♫ Beethoven - Für Elise (Bagatelle in A minor) WoO 59

GUSTAV MAHLER wrote nine and a half symphonies – that half, the tenth was incomplete when he died.


These are quite long and are considered, by those who dwell on such things, to be important. "Important" is always in implied capital letters. All except number 4, which is shorter and considered of lesser note  That one's my favorite of his.

Like Beethoven's Ninth, it has a vocal final movement, in this case a single soprano, not a choir. One of the versions I have has KIRI TE KANAWA performing that role.

Kiri Te Kanawa

So, here is the fourth movement of Symphony No 4.

♫ Mahler - Symphony No 4 (4)

ELDER MUSIC: Put a Tiger in your Tank

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.

* * *

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

William Blake, of course, something we learnt at school, and wondered about rhyming eye with symmetry at the time. Still do.


The column on Lions seemed to be pretty popular so naturally when you're on a good thing = thus, tigers today.

I thought of other big cats but there weren't enough songs for any but tigers. In my opinion, the lions' songs were more interesting than these but they're not too bad. I'm sure you'll find something to tickle your fancy.

LEE HAZLEWOOD wrote many, many songs that others have covered but he also recorded quite a few, both on his own and with Nancy Sinatra.

Lee Hazlewood

Lee's on his own today; he wants A House Safe from Tigers. I know that will fit the bill as a song but I wonder where Lee lives if that's what he requires. Actually, I believe there are more tigers in Texas than in all of India so maybe that's what he had in mind.

♫ Lee Hazlewood - A House Safe from Tigers

I haven't featured much DJANGO REINHARDT, a grievous oversight.

Django Reinhardt

I'll make partial amends today because he has a tiger tune. Django, of course, was one of the most influential guitarists in history. He usually played with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, as he does on Django's Tiger.

♫ Django Reinhardt - Django's Tiger

RICHARD CLAPTON (no relation to another musician with the same surname) is an Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist.

Richard Clapton

He had a couple of hits in the seventies and quite a few albums that did well. He's still out there performing and recording. Goodbye Tiger is one of the songs from back then that did okay for him.

♫ Richard Clapton - Goodbye Tiger

Also in Oz, but a bit earlier, from the trad jazz revival of the late fifties, early sixties, FRANK JOHNSON'S FABULOUS DIXIELANDERS were one of the premier performers of that style.

Frank Johnson

When I was looking for tiger songs, I found that this one could have filled two or three columns on its own. You probably don't need me to tell you that it's Tiger Rag.

♫ Frank Johnson's Fabulous Dixielanders - Tiger Rag

MUDDY WATERS has probably performed songs about just about everything under the sun so I wasn't surprised when he turned up here.

Muddy Waters

Indeed, he supplies the title for the column (which of course came from a petrol commercial some time ago – yes, we had it here in Oz too). Muddy wants to put a Tiger In Your Tank. I don't think he's talking about filling up the car.

♫ Muddy Waters - Tiger In Your Tank

APRIL STEVENS had a solo singing career before she teamed up with her brother Nino Tempo. Together they had several really good songs that made the pointy end of the charts. She then went back to singing solo.

April Stevens

One of her hits, which she recorded a couple of times, is Teach Me Tiger.

♫ April Stevens - Teach Me Tiger

Although born in Texas and brought up there and later in Arizona, BUCK OWENS is mostly associated with Bakersfield, California.

Buck Owens

He's credited with creating the "Bakersfield sound", a stripped back form of country music rather akin to honky tonk. Much more interesting than the sausage-factory country music out of Nashville. Buck's song is I've Got A Tiger By The Tail. As long as he keeps away from the other end.

♫ Buck Owens - Ive Got A Tiger By The Tail

Here's one for those of us who grew up in the fifties. There's some dialogue in Stan Freberg's The Old Payola Roll Blues that goes like this when they decided they needed a teenage idol for their record...

"Hey kid."

"Who me?"

"Can you sing?"


"Good, come with me."

That's Stan's idea of how FABIAN (or someone like him) became a recording artist.


He possibly became a film actor the same way, or maybe because he was already a pop idol. Anyway, good luck to him, I say. He had a hit with a song called Tiger.

♫ Fabian - Tiger

Whenever I hear the name RUSTY DRAPER, I always think of the song Freight Train.

Rusty Draper

That song is hardwired into my brain and has been that way since the fifties. Rusty recorded other songs, of course, one of those is Tiger Lilly.

♫ Rusty Draper - Tiger Lilly

JOE HILL LOUIS was a one man band.

Joe Hill Louis

He sang, played guitar, harmonica and drums (and probably other things as well) all at the same time. He recorded for a variety of labels but most notably for Sun Records.

He had a few disks released under his own name and he also played guitar and/or drums on other people's records. One of his songs is Tiger Man which was also covered by Rufus Thomas and Elvis.

♫ Joe Hill Louis - Tiger Man

There's an extra song today and it'll be obvious why. Back in the late fifties and early sixties, answer songs were all the rage. This usually meant putting new words to the previous tune, always a big hit.

As this is an answer column to the Lions one, it's only fair that we have an answer song to one of those from that column. This is provided by THE ROMEOS.

The Romeos

We had The Lion Sleeps Tonight, so now we have The Tiger's Wide Awake. Answer songs were seldom anywhere as good as the original and that is the case today. Oh lordy, this one's bad.

The Romeos - The Tiger's Wide Awake

ELDER MUSIC: Greg Brown and Family

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.

* * *

Greg Brown

GREG BROWN is the best unknown singer/songwriter around at the moment and he's held that status for the last 20 or 30 years now. I will do my best to remedy that situation a little bit.

Greg's recorded more than 30 albums over the years; few, if any, have made a dent on the charts. I have many of them and they are really good, some superb.

I think one of the reasons for his lack of recognition is due to his insistence on living and recording in his native Iowa rather than hanging out at the usual places musicians hang out. Some of you may have heard him as he performed regularly on A Prairie Home Companion.

The songs are in no particular order, except that I'll end with what I consider his best song. There are also a couple from members of his family and a friend. Most of the songs have his long time friend and collaborator BO RAMSEY playing lead guitar.

Bo Ramsey

"44 & 66" is an album from very early in Greg's career and it already points the way that his songwriting would take in later years. That album contains the song Ring Around The Moon and he has the help of Prudence Johnson who was once a singer in the jazz group Rio Nido.

♫ Greg Brown - Ring Around The Moon

Greg Brown

Jumping a couple of decades to the album "Slant 6 Mind". I recount down below how I came across this one, the first of Greg's that I owned. With the song Speaking in Tongues, he really gets into a slow-burning gospel groove.

♫ Greg Brown - Speaking in Tongues

Greg is married to noted singer/songwriter IRIS DEMENT.

Iris Dement

Regular readers of the column will know what a fan I am of Iris's music. She mostly performs her own or (occasionally) traditional music but she has recorded some of Greg's songs. This is one of them, The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home.

♫ Iris DeMent - The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home

Greg Brown

Greg has written a number of songs that reference real people. This one is about the poet Kenneth Rexroth. Well, not him, but his daughter. However, Greg doesn't tell us which one as Ken had two of them.

Anyway, given the subject matter, it's no surprise that the song is called Rexroth's Daughter.

♫ Greg Brown - Rexroth's Daughter

Greg Brown

Another song about real people, well, one real and another for which the evidence is a little shaky. The song is quite tongue in cheek and I always smile when I hear it. Greg sings Jesus and Elvis.

♫ Greg Brown - Jesus and Elvis

Greg has three children, CONSTANCE BROWN, ZOE BROWN, and PIETA BROWN.

Pieta & Constie Brown

That's Pieta and Constie. I couldn't find a picture of Zoe (sorry, Zoe).

All three of them are musicians and Pieta is also a pretty good singer/songwriter. I can recommend her albums (well, the three I own anyway; I can't say about the others). The three of them got together and recorded one of dad's songs, Ella Mae.

♫ Pieta, Zoe & Constie Brown - Ella Mae

Greg Brown

The first song I remember hearing of Greg's, many years ago, is called Mose Allison Played Here. Another song about a real person, alas one who died not too long ago.

My local community radio station played it and mentioned it was from an album called "Slant 6 Mind". I went to my favorite record store and, goodness me, they had it.

They also had a couple more of his CDs which I also bought as I'm a bit compulsive when it comes to music. I wasn't disappointed. Here's that song.

♫ Greg Brown - Mose Allison Played Here

ELIZA GILKYSON is an old friend, so I'm counting her as part of the family.

Eliza is a good singer/songwriter herself. Perhaps it's in the genes, as her father, Terry Gilkyson, was a songwriter in the fifties who also sang as well. Her brother was in a couple of bands and works as a studio guitarist.

Eliza has recorded for Greg's own record label, Red House Records, since 2000 and there are many fine albums out there. Here she covers one of Greg's songs, Sleeper.

Eliza Gilkyson

♫ Eliza Gilkyson - Sleeper

Greg Brown

I kept changing my mind about which song to include in this spot. It depended on my mood. I finally decided to go with You Drive Me Crazy because it was a little different from the other songs, a nice contrast to them. It's more grinding blues than folk music.

♫ Greg Brown - You Drive Me Crazy

Greg Brown

As I said in the introduction, I'll end with the song I consider Greg's best, Poet Game, from the album "The Poet Game". It was recorded in 1994 and is still relevant today. Besides, it's a terrific song.

♫ Greg Brown - Poet Game

ELDER MUSIC: Surf Side Ten

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.

* * *

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist suggested the title. She thinks that inflation has taken its toll over the years and instead of six we have 10. That's fortunate, as that's the number of tracks we have today.

In the late fifties and early sixties there was a craze for surf music. Well, this wasn't universal; it was pretty much confined to the east coast of Australia, particularly Sydney, and the west coast of America, particularly Los Angeles.

Pretty much all the music today will come from those two cities, and from that time (with a couple of outliers).

When you hear surf music, pretty much the first name that will come into your brain is the BEACH BOYS.

Beach Boys

Naturally they'd have to be present but selecting a song of theirs is a bit difficult as there so many of them. In the end I decided on one of their early ones, Surfer Girl.

♫ Beach Boys - Surfer Girl

Although they made quite a few records, THE SURFARIS are best known these days for just two of them.


One of them is the instrumental Wipe Out, probably the quintessential surfer tune. The other is the one we're interested in today, Surfer Joe (which was on the flip side of the single of Wipe Out).

If you know the song, the version today might come as a surprise. It's a longer version than was on that record, there are several extra verses.

♫ The Surfaris - Surfer Joe (long version)

BARRY MANN was a songwriter from the time of most of these, usually with his wife Cynthia Weil.

Barry Mann

He recorded some of their songs as well. These were usually rather tongue in cheek (remember Who Put the Bomp?), and this one is no exception. It is Johnny Surfboard.

♫ Barry Mann - Johnny Surfboard

LITTLE PATTIE had a huge hit in Australia when she was only 15 years old. She was the biggest thing in the country at the time (a little irony there, as she's not very tall, under five foot in American measurements, thus the name).

Little Pattie

For those who are into rock & roll trivia, Pattie's name is Patricia Amphlett and she is a cousin of the late great Chrissie Amphlett, head honcho (honcha? honchess?) of The Divinyls.

Anyway, Pattie's song is (takes a deep breath) He's My Blond Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy.

♫ Little Pattie - He s My Blond Headed Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy

After the Beach Boys, JAN & DEAN are the group most synonymous with this music.

Jan & Dean

It's not too surprising as they often sang on Beach Boys' records at the time and vice versa. I listened to quite a bit of their music but I always came back to the obvious song, Surf City. Sounds just like the Beach Boys.

♫ Jan & Dean - Surf City

A lot of surf music was purely instrumental. I've mostly left those out of the mix today but there's one performer who deserves his place in the sun (and the surf).

Some say he invented the genre of surf guitar music. Some may be right. I give you DICK DALE.

Dick Dale

Dick plays several instruments and he claims his style developed because he started out playing the tarabaki, a Lebanese drum.

As a kid he developed his style, a mixture of rhythm and lead playing so he could do everything himself. It was hugely influential on later guitarists.

Dick plays Surf Beat. He once played with a group called The Del-Tones, no relation to the next item.

♫ Dick Dale - Surf Beat

THE DELLTONES formed in Australia back in 1958 and are still going strong (with one original member still present).

The Delltones

They were originally a DooWop group but later morphed into a fully fledged band. Their biggest success was in the sixties where they had several songs up at the pointy end of the charts, and these days they are one the most entertaining live acts around.

One of their hits from back then is Hangin' Five.

The Delltones - Hangin' Five

Just so you won't be bored with all the surfing music (which, I must admit, has caused my eyes to glaze over), here's a bit of change of pace. It's included purely because of the title (and also because the male singer is – or was – an Australian).

The group, really just a duo, is TRUCKSTOP HONEYMOON.

Truckstop Honeymoon

Their song is Couch Surfing with a Family of Six, a song about their family (well, duh).

♫ Truckstop Honeymoon - Couch Surfing with a Family of Six

Okay, you might think that the songs so far aren't very classy, so now we are going to raise the stakes to a considerable degree. This next one could even be classified as classical music. It's about as high class as is possible in this genre.

This is up there with Bach and Mozart. I give you THE TRASHMEN and Surfin' Bird.

The Trashmen

This really is the zenith, the acme, the ne plus ultra of musical culture of the 20th century.

♫ The Trashmen - Surfin' Bird

The final song didn't come from the time period of most of the other songs today. It's quite recent and isn't really in the same genre but it amused me enough to include it. The performer is JIMMY BUFFETT.

Jimmy Buffett

He says that Einstein Was a Surfer. He's not the only one to make that connection; Philip Glass wrote an opera called Einstein on the Beach. I don't think Philip mentions Einstein surfing though, not in the parts I've listened to.

♫ Jimmy Buffett - Einstein Was a Surfer


ELDER MUSIC: A Fifth of Classical Gas

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

* * *

Continuing 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, although some of the music today may be familiar to many of you.

JOHANN GEORG KNECHTEL was a horn player (what we call the French horn these days) in Dresden in the mid 1700s. Jo doesn't seem to have had his photo taken, so no picture for him.

He was principal horn player in the court of Dresden at the time and he wrote many works for the instrument. Alas, few remain as many of his manuscripts were destroyed during the egregious firebombing of the city during the war.

Here is the first movement of his Concerto for horn in D major, with the best French horn player from the last 50 years, BARRY TUCKWELL, doing the honors on the instrument.

Barry Tuckwell

♫ Knechtel - Concerto for horn in D major (1)

Felix always contended that his sister FANNY MENDELSSOHN was a better musician and composer than he was (and that's a big call).

Fanny Mendelssohn

Alas, given the mores of the time, it wasn't the done thing for a woman to earn a living doing that sort of thing. However, with the love and support of both her brother and husband, the artist Wilhelm Hensel, Fanny managed to play (a little) and compose (a lot of) music, and even had some published in her lifetime (under Felix's name mostly).

She did manage to get some out under her own name at the time (a lot more now). There are 460 compositions of hers that are known, and are increasingly becoming part of the musical performing repertoire. She and Felix both died of complications due to massive strokes only six months apart. They were both too young.

Her string quartets are far in advance of any at the time, including her brother's, and even today are somewhat challenging. I had one pencilled in, but sorry, I changed my mind and have gone instead for the third movement of the Piano Trio in D Minor Opus 11.

♫ Fanny Mendelssohn - Piano Trio D-Minor Op. 11 (3)

LOUIS SPOHR was a German composer, violinist and conductor.

Louis Spohr

Besides that, all the violinists since his time are indebted to him because he invented the violin chin rest. It seems such an obvious thing but nobody came up with it until Louis did so.

Aside from that, he was a really prolific composer and his compositions are really worth listening to. One of those is the sixth movement of the Nocturne for Winds and Turkish Band in C-major, Op.34. Turkish themes were all the rage back then, even Mozart did some in that vein.

♫ Spohr - Nocturne for Winds and Turkish Band in C-major, Op.34 (6)

Many of you, perhaps most, would know the name BERNARD HERRMANN, especially the film buffs amongst us.

Bernard Herrmann

Bernie was a major writer of film scores, most notably for those of Alfred Hitchcock. Not just Hitch's films, he also wrote the music for Orson Welles' films likeCitizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons and so on. Lots of others, more than 50 in total.

However, he's here today because he also wrote what those inclined in that direction like to call serious music – a symphony, concerto, sonatas etc. One of his compositions was called The Fantasticks, not to be confused with the musical with the same name (he did it first).

This was a piece of music that charted the months of the year. Unfortunately, he only got as far as May and the rest didn't see light of day. That's okay as April is really good (I'm sure April birthday people would applaud that, particularly Ronni, my sister and the A.M.).

Here it is with GILLIAN HUMPHREYS singing the part.

Gillian Humphreys

♫ Hermmann - The Fantasticks April

There's a theme to the remaining tracks, and theme is a singularly appropriate word as you'll see and hear.

ARAM KHACHATURIAN was born in Armenia in 1903. Thus for much of his life he was a citizen of the U.S.S.R.

Aram Khachaturian

He held high positions in the Union of Soviet Composers. Then he was officially denounced as a "formalist" (whatever that is – "anti-people" was the official reason) along with Prokofiev and Shostakovich. Later he was reinstated. A bit of a yoyo existence being a Russian composer of that time.

Anyway, he wrote music for a ballet called Spartacus. I assume Kirk Douglas wasn't in that one. The movement called Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia may be familiar to people who are long time watchers of BBC TV drama programs, and I'm thinking specifically of The Onedin Line.

♫ Khachaturian - Spartacus ~ Adagio of Spartacus and Phrygia

Australian readers will need no introduction to the next piece by RONALD HANMER. It's called Pastorale.

Ronald Hanmer

The rest of the world probably does though. However, I can hear the Oz readers saying, "What are you talking about?" When I say this was the theme to "Blue Hills, I can already hear them going dar dar dar dar dar dar dar dar dar dum dum dum dum.

For the rest of the world, Blue Hills was a long-running radio serial that was broadcast from 1949 to 1976.

Ron was an English composer who eventually settled in Oz in 1975 and he really had no idea the impact his composition had on my country before then.

♫ Ronald Hanmer - Pastorale

CHARLES-FRANÇOIS GOUNOD is probably mostly remembered these days for his opera Faust.

 Charles-Francois Gounod

However, there was a lot more to Charlie than that. He wrote more than a dozen other operas, motets, masses, ballets, lots of songs and the usual symphonies, concertos and so on.

One of the "so on" is a piece called Funeral March of a Marionette. I probably only have to say the words Alfred Hitchcock and you'll know this piece of music.

♫ Gounod - Funeral March of a Marionette

FRANCISCO TÁRREGA was a Spanish composer and guitarist of the 19th century.

 Francisco Tarrega

As a guitarist, he probably did more than anyone to bring the instrument into the classical canon. He also wrote music for it.

Probably his most famous work is Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Memories of the Alhambra). Today it's played by Eduardo Fernández.

Although not its theme, it was included in the film Sideways, which managed to bump up the price of pinot noir and reduce the price of merlot. Swings and roundabouts, I suppose.

♫ Tarrega - Recuerdos de la Alhambra

SERGEI RACHMANINOV (or Rachmaninoff) was a Russian composer who left the country when the Bolsheviks came to power. He spent the rest of his life in America.

Sergei Rachmaninoff

He was an excellent pianist and many of his compositions feature that instrument. People who have seen the film Shine will remember the "Rach 3", that is, his piano concerto no 3. That's not one I like at all, but his Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor is a particular favorite.

Here is the second movement. For lovers of old films, this was used extensively in Brief Encounter.

Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2 C Minor (2)

ELDER MUSIC: From the Cutting Room Floor

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

* * *

Here are some random songs from the cutting room floor, as it were. These are pieces I've written over the years that didn't really fit into the category I was writing about at the time, but I didn't want to just throw them away.

I can't call it recycling as these weren't cycled in the first place. There are now enough of them for a column of their own.

The song Misty Blue was written by Bob Montgomery, whose first paying gig was as a duo with Buddy Holly when they were both teenagers. The song was first recorded by Waylon Jennings and it was closely followed by a number of other country artists. It wasn't until Joe Simon, and more especially, Dorothy Moore recorded it that it became a soul classic.

I have recently heard another version I found really interesting and I thought I'd share it with you. However, I'm going to be really obnoxious and not tell you who the singer is. I won't leave you completely in the dark; I'll let you know at the end of the column.

When I played it for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, she said, "She's not a soul singer". Norma was right. She also said that the singer sounded young. She was wrong. So, here's SOMEONE singing Misty Blue.

♫ Someone - Misty Blue

While I'm on a quizzical bent, here's a question: Can you tell me the name of a first generation rock & roller from Lubbock, Texas, who recorded with The Crickets and who died in a plane crash at age 21?

For those who said Buddy Holly, I hit the buzzer: bzzzzzzzz. You're out. No, Buddy was 22. The answer is DAVID BOX.

David Box

David recorded an album with The Crickets after Buddy died to fulfil some contractual arrangement. Alas, he also took a light plane to a gig that didn't get to its destination.

Buddy recorded a rare cover version of a song: Fats Domino's Valley of Tears, and I think he improved on the original, difficult to do when it's Fats. Here, David performs a cover of Buddy's cover of Fats.

♫ David Box - Valley Of Tears

Given the title of the column, this next song is a mandatory inclusion. It's by the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

The song was written as a joint effort by a couple of the Nittys', Jeff Hanna and Jimmy Ibbotson, as well as their friend, now sadly departed, Steve Goodman. It's a tale of woe. Face on the Cutting Room Floor.

♫ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Face On The Cutting Room Floor

In 1981, seemingly out of nowhere, BILLY FIELD released an album here in Australia that went to the top of the charts. Indeed, it was the biggest seller for the year.

Billy Field

Several singles from the album did the same. He released another album that did almost as well and then, apparently, completely vanished. He didn’t of course.

Billy is a pianist and he tours with his own jazz band. Also, with the proceeds of the album and singles, as well as from those who covered his songs, he built a recording studio where he records jazz and blues artists.

What was distinctive about him is that in that era when grown men wore tight Spandex on stage and had big, nay giant hair, sang as if they were produced by a computer voice synthesizer and played instruments that sounded the same way, Billy always dressed in an elegant suit and wore a bow tie.

His music was nominally pop but on his song Bad Habits, the backing sounds as if it is a big band from the forties and his singing was that of a blues musician from the thirties. This is Bad Habit.

♫ Billy Field - Bad Habits

Whenever early rock & roll is discussed JOHNNY BURNETTE doesn’t seem to get much of a mention.

Johnny Burnette

There’ll be any amount of talk of Chuck, Richard, Elvis, Buddy, Fats and on and on. A lot of that comes from me of course - however, Johnny is usually not there.

He started out as The Johnny Burnette Trio (or the “Rock ‘n’ Roll Trio” as it was also called). This group included his brother Dorsey and Paul Burlison. It was a blazing outfit that showed Elvis a few things about rock & roll trio playing.

The Burnettes were actually from Memphis but didn’t record for Sun records.

Sam Phillips turned them down as he thought they sounded too much like Elvis. Elvis was a friend and would visit them and sing and play. “He didn’t know but two or three chords on that guitar, but he was a good singer” was the way Johnny summed up his performance. This is the Trio with Tear It Up.

♫ Johnny Burnette - Tear It Up

In the eighties and nineties THE DOUG ANTHONY ALL STARS (the name itself is an Australian joke that'd take too long to explain to non-Australians) were the most outrageous and anarchic comedy troupe in the country (and probably the world).

The Doug Anthony All Stars

The group consisted of Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson and Richard Fidler. They are also gifted musicians, especially Paul about whom Tim once said, "We asked Paul to sing one day and he sang like an angel coming down from a bourbon bender".

Paul has not made a musical album and the only way we can hear him sing is on old TV programs. Here they perform Throw Your Arms Around Me, written by the members of the group Hunters and Collectors, who first performed the song.

PAUL SIEBEL has claimed he wrote his most famous song, Louise, as a joke to see if he could write the ultimate country song. Some joke, it sold squillions by Linda Ronstadt and others.

Paul Siebe

He made a couple of good albums - "Woodsmoke and Oranges" in 1970 and "Jack-Knife Gypsy" in 1971 - and well, just stopped. He performs once in a very blue moon.

Paul’s more known as a songwriter than a performer. Some of the folks who have covered his songs, besides Linda, are Jerry Jeff Walker, Emmylou Harris, Leo Kottke, Willy DeVille and many others. I was going to go with one of his other songs but I thought: what the hell, here’s Louise.

♫ Paul Siebel - Louise

Back in high school – that's Oakleigh High for those who want to know about such things, but don't try to find it on Google Maps as it was sold off for condominiums in the nineties – we had a reciprocal agreement with a school in Adelaide.

This was all to do with sports, of course, such that we'd alternate sending male and female teams over there and vice versa. I was in the tennis team, but they only sent four not eight, so I missed out and stayed home.

This wasn't really a bad thing as we got the cream of this other school's girls and with all our jocks over there, well I'd be in with a chance, I thought. And so it proved, sort of.

There was one in particular who caught my eye, and she smiled at me as well. Alas, there was another left-behinder who was similarly struck. I can't imagine what she saw in him.

At the school social (sort of like your prom, I guess) she'd alternate dances with us and be quite amused by the whole situation. Neither of us walked her home – the parents of the family she was staying with picked her up. She (and the rest of them) was (were) only here for a week and I still remember her name but I'm not telling you all, just in case she reads this blog (yeah, fat chance of that). I never saw her again.

Quite coincidentally, BOBBY VEE's song Sharing You was high on the hit parade at the time. As you can imagine, it struck a chord.

Bobby Vee

♫ Bobby Vee - Sharing You

RUSSELL SMITH is the singer, main songwriter and occasional rhythm guitarist for the rock group, The Amazing Rhythm Aces.

Russell Smith

He organized that group and he is one of only two of the original members left. Whichever incarnation of the Aces you want to consider, they were and still are the best southern (USA) rock group ever, and yes, I include the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Drive By Truckers in that assessment.

It's mainly because their songs are better, I think. Russell has also recorded several solo albums and here is a track from one of them, I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight.

♫ Russell Smith - I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight

There's someone I really shouldn’t like. His performances are outrageous, which is no bad thing, but it's all tongue in cheek. He plays golf and hangs around with rightwing politicians. That should put him in my “don’t go there” list. However, I really like Vincent Furnier, or as you probably know him, ALICE COOPER.

Alice Cooper

When he puts his mind to it he can come up with some fine songs. This is one of those, You And Me.

♫ Alice Cooper - You And Me

You don't get a prize for guessing correctly, just a warm inner glow of satisfaction. The answer to who is sing Misty Blue is ELLA FITZGERALD. Yes, really.

Chuck and Jess, in the comments below are correct - it's Dorothy Moore singing, not Ella. See - even I didn't get it right.

ELDER MUSIC: 1957 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.

* * *

In 1957 we were right in the middle of the first flush of rock & roll, although that wasn't necessarily reflected on the charts as all sorts of music were still being played on the radio. I'll demonstrate that today.

THE RAYS had a couple of minor hits over the years but I must confess that I don't remember any of them.


They did have one biggie though and I certainly remember that one. It was called Silhouettes. In the way of things at the time, a white group, The Diamonds, also released an almost identical version which, unusual for that era, didn't sell as well.

♫ The Rays - Silhouettes

In 1956 LAVERN BAKER had big hit called Jim Dandy.

LaVern Baker

Because of its success, Lincoln Chase, who wrote it, came up with another in the saga called Jim Dandy Got Married. That one proved quite popular as well, this time in 1957, fortunately for us today.

♫ LaVern Baker - Jim Dandy Got Married

THURSTON HARRIS first started performing in a band called The Lamplighters.

Thurston Harris

He later went solo (often backed by that band). Bobby Day (of Rockin' Robin fame) wrote and recorded a song called Little Bitty Pretty One. This made the low reaches of the charts. Thurston recorded it and took it way up close to the top. This is what it sounds like.

♫ Thurston Harris - Little Bitty Pretty One

MICKEY AND SYLVIA were Mickey Baker and Sylvia Robinson.

Mickey & Sylvia

Mickey was a music instructor and they met when Sylvia came in for lessons. Mickey was an ace guitarist and later made a good living as a session musician.

He was inspired by Les Paul and Mary Ford's music and decided to start a similar unit with Sylvia (and playing Les Paul Gibson guitars). They were successful enough to start their own record company and a publishing company as well as buying a nightclub.

Their biggest success was with the song Love Is Strange, later covered with equal success by the Everly Brothers.

♫ Mickey and Sylvia - Love Is Strange

By 1957 THE CHORDETTES were on a roll.


A few years earlier, they had recorded the first version of Mister Sandman which even I will admit was better than Emmylou, Linda and Dolly's version. So if they can beat that trio they must be pretty good.

Theirs wasn't the first version of that song (Vaughn Monroe, for heaven's sake, has that honor), but they did it best. Sorry to disappoint but it's the wrong year for that one.

Here is a song from this year that's nearly as good: Just Between You and Me.

♫ Chordettes - Just Between You And Me

LITTLE RICHARD produced some of the most raucous songs in early rock & roll (and, if I might editorialise for a moment, some of the best).

Little Richard

However, now and then he released a song that wasn't like that. This is one of those, Send Me Some Lovin'.

♫ Little Richard - Send Me Some Lovin'

DEBBIE REYNOLDS had a hit with the song Tammy.

Debbie Reynolds

This was taken from a film in which she appeared called Tammy and the Bachelor. She played Tammy and the bachelor was Leslie Neilson. He played it straight, which must have been a bit a strain for him.

♫ Debbie Reynolds - Tammy

JACKIE WILSON's treatment of Reet Petite is rather interesting.

Jackie Wilson

He sings it as rock & roll or maybe anticipating soul music. However, the backing for the song sounds as if it comes from a decade earlier, closer to big band than the music of the time. In spite of that it seemed to work.

♫ Jackie Wilson - Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet)

In my part of the world, THE HILLTOPPERS had a big hit with the song Marianne.


Elsewhere, I believe this version was eclipsed by the one by Terry Gilkyson & The Easy Riders. Terry was something of a songwriter but he didn't write this one. He was also the father of another terrific singer/songwriter Eliza Gilkyson. However, the version I remember is the one we have today.

♫ Hilltoppers - Marianne

JIMMIE RODGERS was the name of a couple of recording artists, but only one of them was alive in 1957 and that's the one we have today.

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie had quite a few hits in the fifties. This is one of his biggest, Honeycomb.

♫ Jimmie Rodgers - Honeycomb

ELDER MUSIC: Sweetheart of the Rodeo

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.

* * *

Self indulgence time once again. Today I’m featuring one of my favorite albums of all time by one of my favorite groups of all time: THE BYRDS and "Sweetheart of the Rodeo".

This column is for the nit pickers and obsessives among us (like me), baby boomers and those who like hardcore country music.

Byrds - Sweetheart3

Back in 1968, The Byrds released this album that proved to be hugely influential but at the time was rather scorned. The album, due to the influence of Gram Parsons who was in the group at that stage, consisted of their own songs plus those of other writers old and new.

There is a lot of country music, but not exclusively, there’s some Bob of course and a bit of soul music. Wherever The Byrds performed someone else’s song on the album, I’m going with the original version just so you can hear how it sounded before they got to it.

The Byrds didn’t slavishly copy the originals, they put their own stamp on the tunes, but you won’t know that unless you’re as familiar with the album as I am.

The Byrds at this stage were the two original members Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman plus Gram Parsons and Kevin Kelley.


They had some help from their friends and studio musicians. The album is credited with inventing country rock. It didn’t, of course, there were others before it. It may be the one that brought this style into prominence, but I doubt that, as it sold about 17 copies at the time (a couple of which I bought).

It is only in retrospect that the album has gained the kudos it deserves.

The songs today are in the order they were on the album, starting with a BOB DYLAN song, You Ain’t Going Nowhere.

Bob Dylan

In this version, Bob names McGuinn as he believed that he (McGuinn) changed the lyrics on a previous version of the song. On a later version, McGuinn names Bob just to show he was listening (or something).

Anyway, this is (one of) Bob’s version(s).

♫ Bob Dylan - You Ain't Goin' Nowhere

Next is an original song written by MCGUINN and HILLMAN, the two original Byrds still in the group at the time (as I said in the intro): I Am a Pilgrim.


That’s them with Gene Clark, another of the original Byrds with whom they formed a really fine trio after The Byrds split. The banjo player on the track is John Hartford.

♫ The Byrds - I Am a Pilgrim

Now a song written by Ira and Charlie Louvin.

Louvin Brothers

Here they are as the LOUVIN BROTHERS with the song they released in 1958, The Christian Life. The Byrds did it better.

♫ Louvin Brothers - The Christian Life

The Byrds didn’t just cover country songs for the album, although that was their main source of songs, there was a soul singer in the mix as well. That was WILLIAM BELL.

William Bell

The song was written by William to express his homesickness when he was in New York, a long way from home. Many people have recorded it but his is the definitive version of You Don't Miss Your Water.

♫ William Bell - You Don't Miss Your Water

Next, a song written by LUKE MCDANIEL. He recorded it under a pseudonym, Jeff Daniels.

Luke McDaniel

It seems that Luke didn't like the contracts he was offered as a singer and he decided to write some songs and send them to other artists under his pseudonym. Later he also recorded under that name.

Whoever he was, what we're interested in is You're Still on My Mind.

♫ Jeff Daniels - You're Still On My Mind

Pretty Boy Floyd was written by WOODY GUTHRIE and contains some lines that are still relevant today. It’s not alone in Woody’s canon in that regard.

It wasn’t Pretty Boy’s tale so much as the line “Some will rob you with a six gun and some with a fountain pen” that caught my ear. Nothing seems to have changed in seventy or eighty years.

Woody Guthrie

Here is Woody’s original version.

♫ Woody Guthrie - Pretty Boy Floyd

Now I can indulge myself with a couple of songs that GRAM PARSONS wrote. The first of these is Hickory Wind.

Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris

Gram later rerecorded the song on his "Grievous Angel" album. That album has also been rereleased with alternate versions of various songs, so I’m going with one of those.

Unlike all the others today, this one was recorded later than The Byrds’ album. Here, of course, we have Emmylou providing harmony.

♫ Gram Parsons - Hickory Wind

These days there are at least three (that I have) versions of the next song. The one from the album that McGuinn sang, a rehearsal version by Gram included on the super duper rereleased CD version of the album with a bunch of extra tracks, and the original recorded version that didn’t appear on the album but has surfaced on their box set.

It seems that McGuinn stripped Gram’s vocals from this one and recorded his own (with some nice harmony in The Byrds’ style from Hillman). Here is the version with GRAM PARSONS singing lead on One Hundred Years From Now, one of his own songs.

Gram Parsons

♫ The Byrds - One Hundred Years from Now

WILF CARTER was Canadian and he was a huge success in his native country, as well as America and elsewhere (including Australia).

Wilf Carter

He also had a parallel career as Montana Slim. His song refers to his native country - The Blue Canadian Rockies.

♫ Wilf Carter - The Blue Canadian Rockies

MERLE HAGGARD needs no introduction from me for people who are interested in this style of music.

Merle Haggard

Merle is one of the half dozen most important people in country music for the last 50 years. He performs his song Life in Prison. He knew about prison life. Fortunately for us (and him), it wasn't life that he spent there.

♫ Merle Haggard - Life In Prison

The original album ended as it began with a BOB DYLAN song.

Bob Dylan & The Band

Bob’s version is from the famous/infamous “Basement Tapes”. This is from when he was holed up in Woodstock after his motorcycle accident with The Band and they’d try out new songs and play old songs and do whatever they liked.

They recorded these to see how they could improve on them. Naturally, as this was Bob, somehow these tapes managed to escape and were released in bootleg form.

When the record company eventually released a “real” version, as with anything of Bob’s from that time, it sold like a new iPod (although I've never understood why they sell so well).

This surprised Bob: he said then that he thought everyone already had a copy. The song is Nothing Was Delivered. This is far from Bob's best, at least this version, and I generally skip it. However, I've included it so the album is complete. The Byrds did a much better job of the song.

♫ Bob Dylan - Nothing Was Delivered

ELDER MUSIC: Name Dropper Hummel

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 heading is rather scurrilous because there's no evidence whatsoever that JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL engaged in that sort of thing but, my goodness, he could have been the greatest name dropper in musical history if he'd wanted to.

After all, he was taught by Joseph Haydn; he lived for a couple of years with the Mozarts; he was a good friend of both Beethoven and Schubert and he taught Mendelssohn.

He was also good friends with Goethe (but he wasn't known for his musical accomplishments, although a lot of his poems have been set to music by several of the finest composers). Besides all that, Jo had a serious influence on the works of Schumann, Chopin and Liszt.

He really could have given up the composing lark and made a career appearing on TV talk shows chatting about all those. So, it's Hummel and the others today, which gives me a good excuse to play some of my favorite composers (and some others).

I'll start with the man himself, JOHANN HUMMEL.


Jo was born in Pressburg which these days is called Bratislava in what we now know as Slovakia. Back then it was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

He showed great promise early on, such that he caught the ear of Mozart who decided to take him on as a pupil, and also invited him to live with the Mozart family for a while (that turned into two years).

The musical piece I've chosen isn't from that early period living with the Mozarts; I'm going to jump ahead and play something from later on, his Cello Sonata in A Major, Op. 104, the second movement.

♫ Hummel - Cello Sonata In A Major, Op. 104 (2)

As I mentioned, Hummel lived with the Mozarts (from the age of eight to ten). WOLFGANG MOZART was impressed with his talent and gave him lessons during that time. I imagine Wolfie's father was possibly in the mix as well as he was considered one of the finest music teacher at the time (or since, for that matter).


Wolfie probably taught him a thing or two about piano playing as that turned into the main instrument for which he wrote. I thought that, as all the other selections here are instrumental, I'd have some vocal work from Wolfie who was a master at producing great music for the voice, particularly for female singers.

This is the first movement from his Exsultate, jubilate, K. 165, sung by KIRI TE KANAWA.

Kiri Te Kanawa

♫ Mozart - Exsultate, jubilate (1)

After Wolfie, MUZIO CLEMENTI was the next to give Jo some music lessons.

Muzio Clement

The Muz was born in Italy but spent most of his life in England which is where he met Jo and taught him. He was a teacher to several of the next generation of composers. Besides all that he designed and built pianos and was also a music publisher, which probably paid more than composing.

However, it's his compositions we're interested in, and the one I've chosen is the Violin and Piano Sonata Op.2 No.3 in G Major, the first movement.

♫ Clementi - Sonata Op.2 No.3 In G Major (1)

All up, Hummel spent about four years in London and he was there when the French Revolution broke out. His next gig was going to be a tour of France but he changed his mind about that.

Coinciding with his stay, JOSEPH HAYDN was on one of his regular London visits.


Papa Jo composed a piano sonata for him and Hummel gave the first performance of it for which Papa Jo thanked him and gave him a guinea (a reasonable sum at the time). They both returned to Vienna after that and more lessons eventuated.

Around this time, the keyed trumpet was invented and Haydn, being an adventurous soul (musically), wrote some music for this new instrument. Here is the third movement of his Trumpet Concerto in E flat major.

♫ Haydn - Trumpet Concerto in E flat major (3)

Hummel was a bit of a one for lessons, as he also received some more from JOHANN ALBRECHTSBERGER.


He must have been the most educated musician around and considering who gave the lessons, oh my goodness. Besides being a teacher, Albie was a composer of some note as well, demonstrated by his Partita No. 2 in C major, the first movement.

There's some harp in there as well as flute and keyboard.

♫ Albrechtsberger - Partita No. 2 in C major (1)

ANTONIO SALIERI has had the worst press of any composer in history what with all the books, films and plays about him and Mozart.


So, let's set the record straight – he did not murder Mozart, he had no hand in his death. Indeed, they quite liked and supported each other in their musical endeavors. I'm sorry that the truth is a lot less interesting than all that plotting, but that's the way it was.

He's in the mix because he's another who taught our man of the day. So, I'm quite happy to play his music, in this case the first movement of his Chamber Concerto for oboe, two violins, viola and cello in G major. That's really just a string quartet plus oboe.

♫ Salieri - Chamber concerto for oboe, two violins, viola and violoncello in G major (1)

LUDWIG BEETHOVEN was a friend of Hummel for many years but it probably won't surprise you to learn that they had a falling out.


It's conjectured that this occurred because Ludwig didn't like Hummel's piano transcriptions of his symphonies and other works. This might not have been entirely an artistic difference because copyright didn't exist then and Ludwig didn't see a penny for these.

It might also have to do with the singer Elisabeth Röckel, who was a friend of Beethoven's. More than a friend from his point of view but Hummel raced her off and married her.

Much later, on hearing of Ludwig's serious illness, Hummel rushed to Vienna and visited Ludwig several times before he died. Apparently they reconciled in the last days of Beethoven's life.

Here's something from Beethoven that's a little off the beaten track for him, the sixth movement of his Sextet for 2 horns & string quartet in E flat major, Op. 81B.

♫ Beethoven - Septet for strings & woodwinds in E flat major, Op. 20 (6)

FRANZ SCHUBERT dedicated his last three piano sonatas to Hummel. They have the Deutsch numbers 958, 959 and 960.


Some say that these are derivative of Beethoven and who could blame him in the sphere of piano sonatas? However, if you listen with open ears, they are distinctly by Franz. See what you think.

Here is the great Daniel Barenboim playing the third movement of hisPiano Sonata No. 21 in B Flat, D.960.

♫ Schubert - Piano Sonata No.21 In B Flat, D.960 (3)

As I mentioned in the introduction, FELIX MENDELSSOHN was one of his pupils.


Admittedly it was only for a short time. Robert Schumann thought of becoming a pupil too but didn't, although he did practise a lot of Hummel's piano pieces.

Franz Liszt also wanted to become a pupil but his dad wouldn't pay the tuition fee (which was fairly high by all accounts). So, we're left with Felix and his Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64, the third movement.

♫ Mendelssohn - Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 (3)

I'll end with the man himself again. HUMMEL is the only person who has ever come close to matching Mozart for writing music for the clarinet.


As an example here is the fourth movement of his Clarinet Quartet.

♫ Hummel - Clarinet Quartet(4)


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.

* * *

Little Tommy Rush from New Hampshire (as he once called himself on record) started out as a folkie and an interpreter of blues songs. He began his career in Boston, as he majored in English at Harvard. He became a regular on the folk circuit of the time and is still performing to this day.

Tom Rush

Way back, there was a train that ran between Chicago and New Orleans that had no name, or maybe it was called “The train that ran between Chicago and New Orleans”.

In 1911, in honor of the anticipated opening of the Panama Canal, this train was named the Panama Limited. In 1974, this train had a name change to the City of New Orleans (named after the song).

However, it's the Panama Limited we're interested in and it was still called that when Tom recorded the song early in his career. Tom actually got the source of the train wrong in the song – he said it was Washington rather than Chicago. That doesn't spoil a good song.

♫ Tom Rush - Panama Limited

Tom Rush

Way back in the sixties, some time before Bob Dylan went electric, Tom recorded a (semi-) rock album that nobody commented on at the time except me who thought it was brilliant. I still do.

The album was "Take a Little Walk With Me". If you don't have it, search it out; it's one the finest albums ever recorded.

Side one had Tom backed by a rock band and side two was more traditional, except that he had Bruce Langhorne playing very tasteful lead electric guitar behind him.

So, putting on side one, we find that Tom covered songs by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly and others, as well as one of his own in the same vein. I've chosen Who Do You Love.

This has been recorded many times over the years. One of the interesting ones was by Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks (The Hawks later left Ronnie and became The Band).

Another was by Quicksilver Messenger Service who devoted a whole side of an album to the song. As much as I like Quicksilver, that was a tad too much. There was also the original by the great Bo Diddley.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, says that Tom's is the best version because she can understand the words. I don't know if that's a good thing in a rock song but we're going with it.

♫ Tom Rush - Who Do You Love

Tom Rush

Turning the record over we have several contenders for inclusion. The one I've chosen is Joshua Gone Barbados written by Rick Von Schmidt.

♫ Tom Rush - Joshua Gone Barbados

I can't help myself; I'm flipping the record back to side one. The song that Tom wrote is called On the Road Again. There have been quite a few songs with that title but this is the best of them.

♫ Tom Rush - On the Road Again

Tom Rush

As a youth I decided to teach myself to play guitar. I learnt the chords, even some of the more esoteric ones - diminished, thirds, sixths and so on. I even managed to change chords without hesitation.

However, whenever I played an album of Tom's, instead of it inspiring me to practise harder and get better, I'd say, "Oh, I'll never be able to do that" and not play for a month or two.

That's why I'm writing this column rather than heading the bill at some guitar fest or other.

Recently (recently in terms of most of the readers of this column), Tom brought out an instructional DVD showing how he played a dozen or so of his best known tunes.

I bought it, not because I wanted to play them - by that stage my arthritis had reached the stage where I couldn't play for more than five minutes or so before it got too painful. No, I bought the DVD because Tom also played those songs right through just accompanying himself on guitar.

I've now given up entirely trying to play guitar. Fortunately, Tom hasn't. From that DVD we have a song and a tune he originally recorded on his "Circle Game" album, No Regrets and Rockport Sunday, joined into a single track.

♫ Tom Rush - No Regrets ~ Rockport Sunday

Tom Rush

Tom was a discoverer of talent before anyone else. He was the first to record songs by Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne even before they had recorded albums themselves. It's been said that Tom is the only male who should be allowed to record any of Joni's songs.

I originally had a couple of hers penciled in but alas, hers got the chop. As did Jackson's. James managed to survive with one of his earliest songs, Something in the Way She Moves.

♫ Tom Rush - Something in the Way She Moves

Tom Rush

I gather from what Tom says about it that Child’s Song is one of his favorites. It was written by Murray McLauchlan and Tom's version first appeared on an album called "Tom Rush" that was the one that came out in 1970 - there was an earlier album with the same name.

♫ Tom Rush - Child's Song

Tom Rush

Like quite a few others, Tom recorded a country(-ish) album called "Ladies Love Outlaws" that included that song, but I won't. A more enjoyable one from my point of view is one called Jenny Lynn.

♫ Tom Rush - Jenny Lynn

Tom Rush

Getting right up to date, I'll finish with a couple of songs from his most recent album "What I Know" and after all this time in the business, Tom should know quite a bit.

One of those songs is East of Eden, which as far as I can tell has nothing to do with the Steinbeck novel or the film.

♫ Tom Rush - East Of Eden

Tom Rush

Another song from the album, and one very appropriate for this website, is What an Old Lover Knows.

♫ Tom Rush - What An Old Lover Knows

Tom Rush

These days I've noticed that new albums occasionally have a bonus track. I think that rather strange.

Okay, if they rerelease an old album there may be some songs that weren't originally included that deserve seeing light of day. However, if it's a new one why call it a "bonus" rather than another track? Well, if they can do it so can I.

Here's a bonus track, suitable for all of us reading this called Remember Song.

♫ Tom Rush - Remember

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2016 - Part 2

(You will find Part 1 of Toes Up here.)

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.

* * *

Merle Haggard

MERLE HAGGARD was one of the three or four most important country artists of the last 50 years. He had a huge influence of those who came after him and even on some who preceded him.

He decided to make a career in music when he first heard Johnny Cash play at San Quentin where he was banged up at the time for armed robbery. He turned his life around and country music along with it.

I think he had the finest singing voice in country music. He also wrote many of his songs. It was difficult to come up with one song but I decided on Footlights rather than one of his more famous songs.

The song is about a musician who doesn't always enjoy being onstage the way he used to but doesn't really have a backup plan. Pretty much sums up Merle. (78)

♫ Merle Haggard - Footlights

CARLO MASTRANGELO was an original member of Dion and the Belmonts who had many hits in the fifties and early sixties. He and two classmates formed the Belmonts (named after the street where he lived). Dion DiMucci, also from the same area, later joined and one of the great vocal groups of the era was born. (78)

Kitty Kallen

KITTY KALLEN was a successful singer in the forties, during the war, but more especially just after when her songs hit a nerve with the returning troops and their families.

She sang with all the big bands of the period and her career continued through the fifties and on into the sixties. She began performing as a kid on radio and she never stopped singing. From the fifties is a song I remember of hers, Little Things Mean A Lot. (94)

♫ Kitty Kallen - Little Things Mean A Lot

ROBERT STIGWOOD was an Australian entrepreneur who managed the Bee Gees and Cream. He is also responsible for the films Saturday Night Fever and Grease.

He produced the initial versions of the stage musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita giving Andrew Lloyd Webber his initial success (deep sigh). (81)

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

NIKOLAUS HARNONCOURT was an innovative conductor who was a leader in the use of period instruments in playing baroque and classical music. He also conducted many operas as well.

Nik was trained on the cello and later took up the viola da gamba. He played with, and conducted, pretty much all the great orchestras of the world. Here he plays cello on J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No.1 in G, BWV 1007. The Minuet I & II. (86)

♫ JS Bach - Minuet I & II

PRINCE Nelson was a guitarist, songwriter, singer, performer, record producer and all round strange person. He released a considerable number of albums many of which sold millions of copies. He was one of the most influential musicians of the last 30 years. He wasn't my cup of tea but I'll admit he was a really fine guitar player. (57)

Lonnie Mack

LONNIE MACK was one of the electric guitar masters as well as being a fine blue-eyed soul and country singer. He was an extremely influential guitarist and many who followed paid tribute to him.

He started playing early and was busking on the streets of Aurora, Indiana, before he was a teenager. He began playing professionally when he was 13.

Although generally eschewing big cities, he performed in most of the famous venues and besides his own records, he can be heard on albums of others such as The Doors, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ronnie Hawkins, Albert Collins, Dobie Gray, Arthur Crudup and others.

He can be honored (or blamed) for the development of the rock guitar solo, combining finger picking and power chords. From his fine album "Glad I'm In The Band", this is Let Them Talk. (74)

♫ Lonnie Mack - Let Them Talk

CHIPS MOMAN was a record producer, guitarist and songwriter who was best known for his work at Stax records. Later, he produced records for Elvis, Bobby Womack, Carla Thomas, Willie Nelson and others.

He wrote songs that were hits for Aretha Franklin, Waylon Jennings, James Carr and B.J. Thomas. He also played guitar on most of those records. (79)

David Bowie

DAVID BOWIE was a singer, songwriter, performer, guitarist, actor, producer and many other things as well. He changed the face of popular music several times.

David was taken into the collective hearts and bosoms of the generation who were too young for Elvis, The Beatles and Bob Dylan and they installed him on their own pedestal. I've always thought his music, good as it was, to be rather calculated and ultimately there was always something cold at the centre of even his greatest work.

To give him his due, he refused a knighthood; other British performers should have followed his lead. This is a song that made the charts a couple of times, Space Oddity. Even people unfamiliar with his music will know this one. (69)

♫ David Bowie - Space Oddity

JEAN SHEPARD was a pioneering country music singer and songwriter. She first made the charts (with Ferlin Husky) with A Dear John Letter. They followed that with Forgive Me John where she was trying (unsuccessfully) to get back into John's good books after John's brother gave her the flick.

Jean had many country hits, although fewer than she might have as she didn't follow the country music line and went her own way. She was a fine honky tonk musician when that style was out of favor with the controllers of the genre. (82)

Buckwheat Zydeco

BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO or Stanley Dural to mum and dad, was a zydeco musician who was one of the few of that genre who crossed over to the mainstream charts. This was probably due to his performing English language songs as well as the standard zydeco repertoire.

He played the accordion and was inspired to take up that instrument when he played with the master, Clifton Chenier. Buckwheat played with many musicians over the years, including Eric Clapton, U2, the Boston Pops Orchestra , Willie Nelson, Keith Richards and on and on.

Here he performs the Bob Dylan song, On a Night Like This.

♫ Buckwheat Zydeco - On A Night Like This

EMILE FORD was a musician and singer from Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. Besides singing, he was also a sound engineer and he also invented a system called "Music Minus One" that was the basis for karaoke (deep sigh).

He was responsible for the all-time champion earworm song, What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For? (78)

Glenn Yarbrough

GLENN YARBROUGH was an internationally successful folk, country and pop singer. He started out performing in clubs in Chicago and later moved to Aspen where he started a club called the Limelite where he formed a group that he named, The Limeliters.

They had a number of hits and Glenn went solo and had some more, including The Honey Wind Blows. (86)

♫ Glenn Yarbrough - The Honey Wind Blows

PETER MAXWELL DAVIES was an English classical composer and conductor. He started out writing avant-garde music but later turned his hand to music that people actually liked listening to. He conducted orchestras in Britain, America, Germany and elsewhere. (81)

Sonny James

SONNY JAMES was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, fiddle player and record producer. He had a multi-million selling song in the fifties, that he wrote himself, called Young Love. It was covered by several others at the time.

He was also a bit of an actor appearing with such as Jayne Mansfield, Basil Rathbone, Lon Chaney and others. Like Johnny Cash, he recorded a rather successful live album from a prison, Tennessee State Prison in his case. He also wrote music for several films. Sonny performs his biggest hit. (87)

♫ Sonny James - Young Love

PHIL CHESS, along with his brother Leonard, founded Chess Records, the foremost label for recording blues. Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Robert Lockwood Jr are only a few of the great musicians associated with the label.

Not just blues - Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Etta James all began their careers there as well. (95)

Bobby Vee

BOBBY VEE's career began when he and his band were hastily substituted for Buddy Holly after Buddy's death in the aircraft accident. Soon after they had a regional hit which brought him to the notice of big record companies.

After that he had dozens of Top 100 hits. The hits dried up after the sixties but he kept touring and recording. One of the hits he had, written by Sonny Curtis and Jerry Allison, both members of The Crickets (Buddy's band, who weren't on the fateful tour), was More Than I Can Say. (73)

♫ Bobby Vee - More Than I Can Say

Like a lot of singers, SHARON JONES started singing in a choir at her church. She later made a living as a wedding singer. It took her some time to become a real singer, as it were, but when she did, she and her band The Dap-Kings became one of the most exciting acts around.

They recorded a number of albums and toured constantly (quite often to Australia where she was immensely popular). Alas, pancreatic cancer took her far too soon. (60)

HERB HARDESTY was a New Orleans saxophone player who recorded and toured with Fats Domino for nearly 60 years. He also played on other New Orleans artists' records. He played jazz and was a member of several big bands - Duke Ellington and Count Basie most notably. Besides that he played behind Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, Dr. John and Tom Waits. (91)

Leon Russell

LEON RUSSELL was the super-star who never was. I saw him in San Francisco in 1970 and expected a meteoric rise in his career. I was wrong. However, he was a fine musician; he played piano and guitar with equal facility, and probably other instruments as well.

While still a teenager he became a session musician for the "Wrecking Crew", the group who played on all of Phil Spector's hits as well as others such as the Beach Boys. He also wrote many songs with which you'd be familiar. This is Leon with one of his songs that B.B. King covered so well, Hummingbird. (74)

♫ Leon Russell - Hummingbird


PAUL BLEY was a Canadian jazz pianist who one of the notable players in free jazz. (83)

GOGI GRANT had a big hit with The Wayward Wind, and also recorded soundtrack records. (91)

DALE GRIFFIN was a drummer for Mott The Hoople and a record producer. (67)

JOE RIVERS was the "Joe" in the fifties' pop duo Johnnie & Joe. (79)

MADELEINE LEBEAU was a French actress notable for her appearance in the film "Casablanca" leading the crowd in the nightclub singing La Marseillaise. (92)

ROB WASSERMAN was a classically trained violinist and double bass player who turned to jazz and pop. (64)

FRANK SINATRA JR continued in the style of music made famous by his father. (72)

PRINCE BUSTER was a Jamaican musician who was one of the principle developers of ska and rock steady music. (78)

BILLY PAUL was a soul and R & B singer who is most famous for the song Me and Mrs. Jones, and was an outspoken champion of civil rights. (81)

OSCAR BRAND was a Canadian folk singer and had a long running radio program in New York that went for 70 years. (96)

DANIELA DESSÌ was an Italian operatic soprano who performed in all the expected roles. (59)

JIMMY LEVINE was session musician (keyboards) for soul and R & B records. (62)

RICHARD HAMLETT was lead singer for the gospel group The Fairfield Four who modernized the music they recorded. (84)

GIB GUILBEAU was a Cajun, country and rock musician who was a sometime member of The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Swampwater. (78)

CLIFFORD CURRY was a soul singer who had several hits in the sixties and seventies. (79)

KAY STARR was a fifties' pop singer who crossed many genres of music, best known for the song Rock & Roll Waltz. (94)

RAY COLUMBUS was New Zealand's first rock star. He was a singer, band leader and songwriter who had considerable success in his home country as well as Australia and elsewhere. (74)

JIM LOWE was a singer, songwriter and radio host most noted (by me) for the original version of Green Door. (93)

JOE LIGON was the founder and lead singer for the gospel group The Mighty Clouds of Joy. (80)

RALPH JOHNSON was the lead singer for The Impressions after Jerry Butler and Curtis Mayfield left the group. (67)

ELLIOTT SCHWARTZ was a classical music composer and music professor. (80)

GEORGE MICHAEL began his career as half of the pop duo Wham and later went on to have a very successful solo career as a singer and an advocate for gay rights. (53)

RICK PARFITT was the guitarist, singer and songwriter for the rock group Status Quo who had many hits in the seventies (68)

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2016 - Part 1

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

* * *

Oh my, there are a lot this year. This is the first of two columns.

Guy Clark

GUY CLARK was one of the finest of the Texas singer/songwriters. He was the epicentre of likeminded performers, including Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Jeff Walker and others.

His songs were an interesting blend of poetry and wit and he turned it all into a musical art form that few have matched. All his albums are worth listening to and there are two that I prefer (slightly) more than the others – "South Coast of Texas" and "Dublin Blues".

I listened to them both to select a track; there were many in contention. It was just how I felt on the day of selection, which is as it should be. Today it's South Coast of Texas. (He was 74)

♫ Guy Clark - South Coast of Texas

PIERRE BOULEZ was a French classical composer and conductor. His compositions are generally "challenging" (which translates as unlistenable-to) and as a conductor he presented the works of 20th century composers such as Berg, Stravinsky, Bartok, Debussy and so on.

He also brought electronic music and such into the classical repertoire and was a champion of the works of Frank Zappa. He did more than anyone to bring modern classical music to the forefront. (90)

Glenn Frey

GLENN FREY was the guitarist, songwriter and one of the singers for The Eagles, a band that had the two biggest selling albums in history.

He was born in Detroit and began his recording career there, playing guitar on his friend Bob Seger's early albums. After that, he left for Los Angeles where he encountered Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and others, with whom he performed and wrote songs.

Around this time Linda Ronstadt needed a backing band for an up-coming tour. Taking the advice of her companion, J.D. Souther, she hired Glenn and three others. This group meshed so well that at the end of the tour they decided to stay together as a separate band.

They called themselves The Eagles. They became hugely successful both as a recording group and in performances. They later split (and re-formed several times) and Glenn had quite a successful solo career – his songs were used in films and TV programs and he acted in some as well.

Here is Glenn with a song he wrote and sang with The Eagles, Tequila Sunrise. (67)

♫ The Eagles - Tequila Sunrise

LONG JOHN HUNTER was from Louisiana but he's more associated with the Texas blues scene. He was a singer and guitarist of the first order - however, he's little known outside lovers of electric blues style, possibly because he spent many years in Mexico playing his music there. (84)

Paul Kantner

PAUL KANTNER was one of the founders of the San Francisco rock group Jefferson Airplane. They were blessed with a fine lead guitarist in Jorma Kaukonen and two excellent singers in Marty Balin and Grace Slick but it was Paul who kept the group on track, at least for a few years.

They were the first of the San Francisco groups to receive a recording contract and had a hit album and several hit singles. By the early seventies the band had evolved into Jefferson Starship who were essentially a group playing just the hits and Paul quit amid multitudinous lawsuits. He really didn't do much musically after that. (74)

Signe Anderson

By an amazing coincidence, SIGNE ANDERSON died the same day as Paul. Signe was the original singer for the Airplane but left to care for her baby daughter; that's when Grace Slick came on board.

Signe can be heard on the original album by the group called "Jefferson Airplane Takes Off". (74)

From that album here are Paul and Signe singing Run Around.

♫ Jefferson Airplane - Run Around

OTIS CLAY was a blues and R & B singer who was from Mississippi but made Chicago his home. He could belt out blues with the best of them and sing tender songs that could break your heart. Besides his musical achievements, Otis was known for his charitable work in his adopted city. (72)

Dan Hicks

DAN HICKS was a musician who went against the trends of music in the sixties when he was at his peak.

Not for him the ever increasing volume of the rock bands at the time. He took his inspiration from western swing, Django Reinhardt, the Andrews Sisters, Fats Waller and put his own spin on all of it. He surrounded himself with fine musicians who played in his band the Hot Licks, who shared his musical views.

Although never a top seller, he was very influential and many other musicians took his example to heart. Here Dan and the Licks perform How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away. (74)

♫ Dan Hicks - How Can I Miss You When You Won't Go Away

The first and definitely the best trio in rock & roll history was Elvis, Scotty and Bill. The last remaining member of that group, SCOTTY MOORE died recently (Bill was Bill Black, and you probably know who the other one was).

Scotty was a session guitarist at Sun Records and was called in by Sam Phillips to play on Elvis's first recordings (along with Bill). They worked well together and eventually recorded a lot more and toured together (later adding D.J. Fontana on drums). (84)

Neville Marriner

NEVILLE MARRINER was an English violinist and one of the world's finest conductors. He founded (and was conductor with) the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, an orchestra that is second to none.

He studied at the Royal College of Music and joined the army when war broke out. Later he was in several orchestras and string quartets and went to America where he started the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and was conductor at several other orchestras.

Upon returning to England he formed the Academy and remained musical director there until recently. He was one of the first to use authentic period instruments in recordings of Baroque and early Classical works. He conducted all round the world.

This is Neville conducting the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with the third movement of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No 5. (92)

♫ Neville Marriner: Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No 5 (3)

GEORGE MARTIN was the most important record producer in history because he was the one who allowed The Beatles to do what they wanted to do.

He managed to achieve the sounds they could only hear in their heads. Before the fab four, he produced comedy records, classical ones, pop music and early rock & roll so he was the perfect person for them. He was also classically trained on piano, oboe and composition. (90)

Jon English

JON ENGLISH was an English-born Australian singer, actor and songwriter. He was the singer and guitarist for the group Sebastian Hardie, but he first made it big playing Judas in "Jesus Christ Superstar".

He was an in-demand actor on TV playing serious and comic roles. He was a stage actor as well and appeared in a number of Gilbert and Sullivan works. He also recorded songs, many of which became hits. One of those is Carmilla. (66)

♫ Jon English - Carmilla

STEVE YOUNG was a country music singer and songwriter who brought elements of folk, blues, gospel and rock into his work. He was essentially a country-rock performer before that genre had been invented.

Although not very well known to the general public, he wrote songs that were covered by many, including The Eagles, Joan Baez, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jnr, Rita Coolidge and others. (73)

Ralph Stanley

RALPH STANLEY performed with his brother Carter as the Stanley Brothers. They were a major influence in the development of bluegrass and country music from the forties onwards. His "high, lonesome" style of singing was emulated by many and the brothers' harmony was a huge influence on the Everly Brothers and others.

After his brother died, Ralph formed the Clinch Mountain Boys that started the careers of several modern bluegrass musicians, such as Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley. This is Ralph with his brother performing It's Never Too Late To Start Over. (89)

♫ Stanley Brothers - It's Never Too Late To Start Over

MACK RICE was a soul singer and song writer – he wrote Mustang Sally, a big hit for Wilson Pickett.

He first came to notice in a group called The Falcons that also included Wilson and Eddie Floyd. He had a bit of a career as a singer, but his main claim to fame is as a songwriter for musicians, both at Stax records and Motown. The number of singers who recorded his songs is far too extensive to list here. (82)

Ross Hanaford

ROSS HANNAFORD was considered by everyone to be Australia's finest rock guitarist. He had a long collaboration with his friend Ross Wilson with whom he was in several bands starting with The Pink Finks when they were still teenagers.

Later they formed Sons of the Vegetal Mother inspired by the music of Frank Zappa. The two are best known for the band Daddy Cool, one of the most important and loved bands in Oz history.

They were in a later band, Mighty Kong and Ross (Hannaford) later formed several of his own groups, most notably Dianna Kiss.  He also played on many musicians' albums.

Here is Ross with Paul Madigan performing There's Really Nothing You Can Do. Paul sings the first half of the song and Ross plays electric guitar and sings the second half. (65)

♫ Ross Hannaford & Paul Madigan - There's Really Nothing You Can Do

Speaking of Daddy Cool, WAYNE DUNCAN was the bass player for the group. He was also a member of Sons of the Vegetal Mother and was respected by his peers as one of the finest bass players in Oz rock. (72)

Fred Hellerman

FRED HELLERMAN was the last remaining member of The Weavers. He was the main guitarist of the group and wrote songs for them (as well as for others).

They had quite a few hits in the early fifties until the right-wing nut cases blacklisted them from radio and TV. They still performed in concert to great acclaim.

After the Weavers, Fred also produced records (Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant and its successor, as well as Joan Baez's and Judy Collins' first albums). His songs have been recorded by Harry Belafonte, Sam Cooke, Don Williams, The Kingston Trio, Roberta Flack and others.

Fred sings lead vocal with The Weavers on Sixteen Tons.

♫ The Weavers - Sixteen Tons

PETE FOUNTAIN was a New Orleans jazz clarinet player. He didn't restrict himself to traditional jazz but also played in the modern style as well as dabbling in pop, honky tonk and Creole music.

He first came to prominence as a member of Lawrence Welk's orchestra but left after a difference about Pete's wanting to play jazz. He returned to New Orleans and opened his own club that featured most of the best musicians over the years. (86)

Marni Nixon

You've all heard MARNI NIXON sing many, many times and most of you are saying, "Ah yes, of course". There may be a few of you, however, who are going, "Who, who? I know not of what you speak".

To remind you: Marni supplied the singing voice of Deborah Kerr in "The King and I", Natalie Wood in "West Side Story", Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady", Deborah again in "An Affair to Remember" and many others.

She was much in demand for that role because she was classically trained (in violin as well as voice), had perfect pitch and could sight-read extremely well.

Outside of films, Marni was a specialist in the works of modern classical composers such as Stravinsky, Webern, Copland, Schoenberg, Ives, Berg and so on. From Aaron Copland's "8 Poems of Emily Dickinson", this is No 4, Heart, We Will Forget Him. (86)

♫ Marni Nixon - 8 Poems of Emily Dickinson No. 4. Heart, we will forget him

JOHN D. LOUDERMILK was a songwriter and singer whose songs were covered by many famous singers – The Everly Brothers, Glen Campbell, Roy Orbison, Sammy Davis Jnr, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash and on and on.

He also had some hits himself. I remember fondly Angela Jones and Language of Love. Also, who could forget Calling Doctor Casey? (82)

Mose Allison

MOSE ALLISON was a jazz pianist, singer and songwriter who was influenced by the blues that surrounded him where he grew up in Mississippi. In turn, he had a huge influence on later musicians, particularly those of the first wave of British bands in the sixties.

This is most evident in Georgie Fame's style but also Van Morrison and The Who acknowledge their debt to Mose. His songs have been covered by hundreds of performers over the years and you can also hear hints of him in Randy Newman, J.J. Cale, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits and many lesser performers.

Mose sings and plays Lost Mind. (89)

♫ Mose Allison - Lost Mind

JUAN GABRIEL was a Mexican singer who was a superstar in that country and elsewhere in Latin America. He wrote songs for himself and others and performed in many genres. He also sold more than 100 million records; few musicians anywhere have beaten that. (66)

Leonard Cohen

LEONARD COHEN was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and author. He spent much of the sixties on the Greek island of Hydra writing poetry, novels and eventually songs that became the basis of his first two albums. Many other performers took notice of those songs and recorded them as well.

He produced only 14 albums, but all of them contained songs as good as anyone else has written. Although lacking a conventional good singing voice, his concerts were always eagerly anticipated. Nobody sang his songs as well as he did himself (well, almost nobody).

From the first album is the song Sisters of Mercy. (82)

♫ Leonard Cohen - Sisters of Mercy

By a coincidence, MARIANNE IHLEN died this year as well. She was the inspiration of several of Lennie's early songs, most especially So Long Marianne. It's her picture on the back cover of "Songs From a Room". (81)


KEITH EMERSON was one third of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, in which he played various keyboards. (71)

GREG LAKE makes it two thirds of the group; he played bass. Carl Palmer must be looking over his shoulder. (69)

LEE ANDREWS was lead singer for the Doowop group Lee Andrews and The Hearts who had several hits in the fifties. (79)

NED MILLER was a country music songwriter and singer best known for his world-wide hit From a Jack to a King. (90)

AMJAD SABRI was a Pakistani singer of Sufi devotional music, murdered by mad men. (39)

HENRY MCCULLOUGH was a Northern Irish guitarist who played in the Grease Band, Spooky Tooth and Paul McCartney's Wings. (72)

GIORGIO GOMELSKY was a music promoter and record producer who started the careers of the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll. (81)

DALLAS TAYLOR was a session drummer who played for Crosby, Stills and Nash and toured with The Doors and Paul Butterfield's band. (66)

JOAN MARIE JOHNSON was a member of the Dixie Cups who had several hits in the sixties, most notably Iko Iko and Chapel of Love. (72)

JEREMY STEIG was a jazz flute player who also dabbled in rock music and wrote several soundtracks. (73)

GARY PAXTON was a songwriter, singer and record producer who was responsible Alley-Oop and other novelty songs. (77)

DAVE SWARBRICK was an English folk singer and violinist, and a member of Fairport Convention. (75)

MAURICE WHITE was the founder and guiding light of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. (74)

AL CAIOLA was a session guitarist who had instrumental hits of his own. He also performed TV and film theme tunes. (96)

MENTOR WILLIAMS was a song writer, and occasional singer, best known for writing the song Drift Away. (70)

ALAN ZAVOD was an Australian jazz pianist who was discovered by Duke Ellington. He was a student at the Berklee College of Music, and later became a professor there. He played with Frank Zappa, Sting, Eric Clapton, Nigel Kennedy and others. (71)

This has been an awful year (in more ways than one). You can read Part 2 of Toes Up 2016 here.

ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2016

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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Oh dear. Here we go again. Let's see what heartwarming Christmas tunes I can come up with this year. I like songs that you won't hear in your neighborhood mall, so let's see what Santa has packed in his bag this year.

We'll start with the most famous reindeer of them all. You know the one, or at least you probably think you do. We have JUSTIN WILSON performing Randolph, the Rouge Nosed Reindeer.

Justin Wilson

Okay, it wasn't quite the one you thought it was, but it's more entertaining than the other one and sounds rather like it.

♫ Justin Wilson - Randolph, The Rouge Nosed Reindeer

ROOMFUL OF BLUES is a blues and swing band who formed in the unlikely blues state of Rhode Island.

Roomful Of Blues

They began way back in 1967 and are still going strong. One of their founder members is the great Duke Robillard, who's not with them anymore. Some other interesting performers have been in the group – Ronnie Earl, Lou Ann Barton, Ron Levy amongst them.

The current incarnation of the group wonders: Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get the Blues?

♫ Roomful Of Blues - Santa Claus, Do You Ever Get The Blues

AMOS MILBURN is a regular in my columns.

Amos Milburn

He's a particular favorite of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist. Amos made a career performing songs about drinking, partying and generally having a good time. Well, at this time of the year he has it all covered.

This one is rather a slow song, but his heart's in the right place: Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby.

♫ Amos Milburn - Let's Make Christmas Merry, Baby

LORD BEGINNER was from Trinidad and was known to his mum and dad as Egbert Moore. Egbert? No wonder he took a pseudonym.

Lord Beginner

Lord (or Egbert) emigrated to England in the late forties where he established his musical career based on the sound of his native land. It seems he imbibed a little too much, as he says that Christmas Morning the Rum Had Me Yawning.

♫ Lord Beginner - Christmas Morning The Rum Had Me Yawning

EDDIE CAMPBELL was from Mississippi but like many who were musically adept from that state, he moved to Chicago (in his case his family did the moving, Eddie went along as he was quite young).

Eddie Campbell

He was another cog in the wheel that invented Chicago blues, one of the finest genres of music from the twentieth century. He played in the bands of musicians such as Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and others before striking out on his own.

Eddie thinks that Santa's Messin' With the Kid.

♫ Eddie Campbell - Santa's Messin' With The Kid

Continuing in the heavy blues vein, we have TEXAS PETE MAYES.

Texas Pete Maye

You can probably guess whence Pete hails. He was also called T-Bone Man, as he played guitar rather like T-Bone Walker (but not nearly as well, in my opinion. Of course, no one played guitar as well as Mr Walker did). Pete's contribution today is Christmas Holidays.

♫ Texas Pete Mayes - Christmas Holidays

Okay, we're on a roll here with some more blues. It's pretty much the theme of the year, after all. Next up is HARRY CRAFTON with the Doc Bagby Orchestra.

Harry Crafton<

Harry is rather upset as his baby has nicked his Cadillac, apparently on Christmas Eve. That's not a good thing to do and he is asking her to Bring That Cadillac Back.

♫ Harry Crafton With Doc Bagby Orchestra - Bring That Cadillac Back

A slight change of pace. MARCIA BALL is also known as a blues performer, and a really good one too, but she does something a little different today.

Marcia Ball

She's channelling some Zydeco music. Not too surprising as she's from Louisiana, so she knows all about that type of music. Here is Christmas Fais Do Do. This will get you all up rocking around the Christmas tree.

♫ Marcia Ball - Christmas Fais Do Do

Back to the blues – I couldn't keep away from them this year. FLOYD DIXON is really laid back and rather resigned to being alone on Christmas day.

Floyd Dixon

Floyd was another Texas blues man, in his case the piano was his main instrument. He took over from Charles Brown when he left the Three Blazers, one of the great cool blues groups.

Floyd eventually tired of the performing life and retired to Texas, emerging now and then to play a concert or two. Floyd has the Empty Stocking Blues.

♫ Floyd Dixon - Empty Stocking Blues

I'll end with my traditional moment of couth. This is SEQUENTIA.


They recorded an album of Christmas music from Aquitanian Monasteries from 12th Century. The composers of this music are long forgotten but the music lives on. This is really gorgeous so get a glass of Champagne or eggnog and listen. O Maria, Deu mai.

♫ Sequentia - O Maria, Deu maire


A Special Elder Music: Time Goes By

Due to bad weather where I live for most of last week, a whole lot of appointments got pushed into this week and it has been difficult for me to keep up with the blog.

Not long ago, Peter Tibbles, who writes the exceptional Elder Music column you read here each Sunday, sent this special Elder Music that I'm posting today. I'll let Peter take it from here.

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For many years Ronni and I have missed the most bleeding obvious category for a music column and it's this one. After all that time the light bulb finally flickered on above our heads and now we have it.

To some it was a pretty obvious category to consider. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, for one, waited patiently without saying anything for the two dummies to catch up.

So, it's a column about the column (as it were). I hope you'll forgive the self-referencing. Anyway, there are a couple of songs with the same title. And a couple of others, including the most famous one, that are quite similar. Then there are others.

I'll start with the column's title by CHIP TAYLOR.

Chip Taylor

Chip started out as a song writer – Wild Thing and Angel in the Morning are both his – before giving it away to earn a living as a professional gambler.

About 20 years ago he returned to music and has released some interesting albums, several with Carrie Rodriguez. As a trivial aside, he's the brother of actor Jon Voight but he can't help that. Here's Chip with Time Goes By.

♫ Chip Taylor - Time Goes By

Okay, here's the famous one, with the version that film lovers prefer. You know I'm talking about DOOLEY WILSON.

Dooley Wilson

For those who have been on Mars for the last seventy years, this is from the film Casablanca. Dooley was an actor, a singer and a drummer but not a pianist. He just played one in the film. You must remember this:As Time Goes B.

♫ Dooley Wilson - As Time Goes By

MARTY ROBBINS recorded a song with the column's title, a different one from Chip's.

Marty Robbins

Marty was one of the finest live performers around and he was a great singer and decent songwriter (name any of his hits and it's pretty certain to be one he wrote). This is one of his, far from his best, but it fits today's criterion. Time Goes By.

♫ Marty Robbins - Time Goes By

For a complete change of pace, here is SHIRLEY HORN.

Shirley Horn

Shirley was a jazz pianist and singer and she performed with all the greats in that field – Miles, Dizzy, Toots, Carmen, Wynton and on and on. Shirley seems a little surprised about the passing of time (she's not alone) or perhaps just resigned. As she says: My, How The Time Goes By.

♫ Shirley Horn - My, How The Time Goes By

CHAD AND JEREMY have a different song with the same title as the last one.

Chad & Jeremy

C & J were a duo who hung on to the coattails of the Beatles and had quite a successful career at the time, more so in America than in their native country. It doesn't matter, as they were quite good at what they did.

One of those things is a song calledMy How The Time Goes By.

♫ Chad & Jeremy - My How The Time Goes By

Who Knows Where the Time Goes is the name of a rather good album by JUDY COLLINS.

Judy Collins

The song of the same name was written by Sandy Denny, from Fairport Convention. She did a fine version as well, but today it's Judy's turn.

♫ Judy Collins - Who Knows Where the Time Goes

CHRIS HILLMAN from The Byrds and HERB PEDERSEN from The Dillards have been recording together for quite some time. Initially it was in the Desert Rose Band, but lately just as a duo.

Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen

Both of their bands were notable for their harmony singing. Chris and Herb continue that tradition in their current incarnation. For them, Time Goes So Slow.

♫ Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen - Time Goes So Slow

Getting slightly away from the actual name of the column, but still with the same basic concept is a song written by Willie Nelson. Willie's wasn't the first version I heard way back; that was by JIMMY ELLEDGE.

Jimmy Elledge

Most of the time the first one you hear is the one that sticks in the brain and is the one you prefer. So it is with me, sorry Willie. Funny How Time Slips Away.

♫ Jimmy Elledge - Funny How Time Slips Away

In their first album, CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH recorded several songs that have become classics of the genre.

Crosby, Stills and Nash7

It depends on your point of view whether this is one of those. It's a bit rockier than the other tracks on the album – Stephen obviously pulled out his electric guitar for this one. This one being Long Time Gone.

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - Long Time Gone

I'll end with a song we had earlier, the most famous one today. This is the first recording of that one, it's by RUDY VALLEE.

Rudy Vallee

Besides singing, Rudy played clarinet, saxophone and drums and he is considered to be the first pop star, as we know that concept today. He used the microphone the way others who followed in his wake (Bing, Frank, Elvis) did. He sings As Time Goes By, from 1931.

♫ Rudy Vallee - As Time Goes By

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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.

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.

* * *


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.

* * *

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