424 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Franz Hoffmeister, et al

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

♫ Dittersdorf - Double bass concerto E major (1)

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

ELDER MUSIC: 1962 Yet Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bobby Vee

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

♫ Bobby Vee - The Night Has A Thousand Eyes

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

The Crystals

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

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

♫ The Crystals - Uptown

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

Del Shannon

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

♫ Del Shannon - Little Town Flirt

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

Barbara Lynn

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

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

♫ Barbara Lynn - You'll Lose a Good Thing

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

Mary Wells

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

♫ Mary Wells - You Beat Me to the Punch

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

Everly Brothers

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

♫ Everly Brothers - Crying In The Rain

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

Joanie Sommers

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

♫ Joanie Sommers - Johnny Get Angry

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

Etta James

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

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

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

Barbara George

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

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

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

There were no better singers this year than HELEN SHAPIRO.

Helen Shapiro

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

It is Little Miss Lonely.

♫ Helen Shapiro - Little miss lonely

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

ELDER MUSIC: The Late Great Townes Van Zandt

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

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


Michael Hall in the Texas Monthly sums up Townes best:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

♫ Townes Van Zandt - (Quicksilver Daydreams Of) Maria

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

Emmylou Harris

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

♫ Emmylou Harris - If I Needed You

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


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

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

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Pancho & Lefty

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

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

Nanci Griffith & Arlo Griffith

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

♫ Nanci Griffith and Arlo Guthrie - Tecumseh Valley


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

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

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Snowin' on Raton

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

Guy Clark

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

♫ Guy Clark - To Live's to Fly

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


This is his version of the song.

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

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


♫ Townes Van Zandt - Fare Thee Well, Miss Carousel

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

Willie Nelson

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

♫ Willie Nelson - Marie

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


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

♫ Townes Van Zandt - Come Tomorrow

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Albuquerque

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

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

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

Chuck Berry

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

♫ Chuck Berry - Promised Land

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

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

Perry Como

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

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

♫ Perry Como - Route 66

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

Glen Campbell

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

♫ Glen Campbell - By the Time I Get to Phoenix

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

Asleep At The Wheel

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

♫ Asleep at the Wheel - Albuquerque

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

Frank Sinatra

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

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

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

Johnny Burnette Trio

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

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

♫ Johnny Burnette Trio - The Train Kept A Rollin'

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

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

Tom Russell

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

♫ Tom Russell - Down the Rio Grande

Here are the Sons of the Desert.

Stan & Ollie

Oops sorry, wrong SONS OF THE DESERT.

Sons of the Desert

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

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

♫ Sons Of The Desert - Albuquerque

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

Tim McGraw

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

♫ Tim McGraw - Everywhere

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

Jim Glaser

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

♫ Jim Glaser - The Lights of Albuquerque

ELDER MUSIC: The Song Whisperer

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Les Gilliam

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

♫ Les Gilliam - The Shifting, Whispering Sands

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

Dell Vikings

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

♫ Del Vikings - Whispering Bells

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

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

On this one she has the help of GORDON MACRAE.

Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae

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

♫ Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae - Whispering Hope

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

William Hayes

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

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

Evelyn Tubb

♫ William Hayes - Still it whispered promised pleasure

THE INK SPOTS were a huge influence on DooWop music.

Ink Spots

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

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

♫ Ink Spots - Whispering Grass

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

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

Nino Tempo & April Stevens

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

♫ Nino & April - Whispering

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

The Band

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

♫ The Band - Whispering Pines

We in Australia have known about RENEE GEYER for decades.

Renee Geyer

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

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

♫ Renee Geyer - Stares and Whispers

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

Patti Page

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

♫ Patti Page - Whispering Winds

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

Iris Dement

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

♫ Iris DeMent - Whispering Pines

Ronni Bennett's and John Oliver's Vacation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ELDER MUSIC: Top 10 Jazz Albums

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

* * *

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

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

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

THELONIOUS MONK is THE bebop pianist.


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

♫ Thelonious Monk - Monk's Dream

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


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

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

♫ Miles Davis - Someday My Prince Will Come

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


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

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

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

♫ John Coltrane - Spiritual

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


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

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

♫ Dave Brubeck - Kathy's Waltz

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


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

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

♫ Chet Baker - If You Could See Me Now

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


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

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

♫ Johnny Hartman - Lush Life

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


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

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

♫ Coltrane & Ellington - In a Sentimental Mood

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


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

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

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

♫ Bill Evans - Waltz For Debby (Take 1)

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


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

♫ Mel Tormé - Mountain Greenery

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


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

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

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Blue Boy

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

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

* * *

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


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

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

Margaret Marshall

♫ Exsultate Jubilate K165 - Allelujah

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

Piano Concerto N° 23 ~ II. Adagio

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

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

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

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

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

Luciana Serra

♫ The Magic Flute - Der Hoelle Rache

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

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

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Vesperae solennes de confessore K339 - Laudate Dominum

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

♫ Requiem K626 - Lacrymosa (A Day Of Tears)

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

Cecilia Bartoli

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

♫ Così fan tutte K588 - Soave sia il vento

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

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

♫ Piano Concerto N° 21 ~ II. Andante

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

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

♫ Ave Verum Corpus

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

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

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Adagio

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

♫ Requiem - Dies Irae (Day Of Wrath)

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

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

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

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

♫ Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K 525 - 1. Allegro

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

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Rondo_ Allegro


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

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

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

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

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

♫ Sinfonia Concertante E flat major KV 364 ~ II Andante

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

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

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

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

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

SANDRINE PIAU sings Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben.

Sandrine Piau

♫ Zaïde - Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben

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

♫ Marriage of Figaro K492 - Overture


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

♫ Clarinet Concerto in A Major KV 622 - Allegro

The ten biggies will appear next week.


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

* * *

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

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

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

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

Collins & Harlan

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

♫ Arthur Collins and Byron Harlan - The Aba Daba Honeymoon

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

Billy Murray

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

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

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

Ada Jones

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

♫ Ada Jones & Billy Watkins - By The Beautiful Sea

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

George MacFarlane

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

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

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

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

Arthur Fields

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

♫ Arthur Fields - Along Came Ruth

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

Henry Burr, Albert Campbell and Will Oakland

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

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

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

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

Nora Bayes

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

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

♫ Nora Bayes - The Good Ship Mary Ann

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

The Peerless Quartet

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

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

♫ Peerless Quartet - While They Were Dancing Around

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

Charles Harrison

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

♫ Charles Harrison - Peg O' My Heart

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

Elizabeth Spencer & ArchibalVernon1

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

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

ELDER MUSIC: Seasons - Winter

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.

* * *


Well, it's winter here as I write this, and it's damn cold – well, cold for Australia but it could be summer when it's published, or some other season. That's okay, it'll be winter somewhere, but perhaps not for long if global warming continues unchecked.

I'll start with a track from Norma, the Assistant Musicologist's favorite album by BOB DYLAN.

Bob Dylan

The A.M. isn't like the other kiddies. Regular readers with really good memories will know of which album I speak. For everyone else, let me say that it's "New Morning". The song from that one is Winterlude.

♫ Bob Dylan - Winterlude

GORDON LIGHTFOOT makes another welcome appearance in these season columns.

Gordon Lightfoot

As a Canadian, he should know about winter and I won't dwell on that any further as I did so in one of the earlier columns. From quite an early album of Gordie's ("The Way I Feel") we have Song for a Winter's Night.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Song for a Winter's Night

Now, an Australian singing about winter: DOUG ASHDOWN. Of course, he had to leave the country to do so.

Doug Ashdown

Doug started out playing guitar in a rock band and later went to Nashville in the seventies to write songs for others. It was there that he wrote this one for himself that became a bit of a hit.

After returning to Oz he made a career as a singer/songwriter/troubadour. Here he is with Winter in America.

♫ Doug Ashdown - Winter In America

The second incarnation of BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS saw them produce a number of world-wide hits sung by newcomer David Clayton-Thomas.

Blood, Sweat & Tears

The song Sometimes in Winter is from that period - however, it's sung by original member Steve Katz who wrote it. It's a bit of an anomaly on their second album, but a good one, nonetheless.

Blood, Sweat & Tears - Sometimes in Winter

SIMON AND GARFUNKEL's album "Bookends" had some of their finest recorded moments. Unfortunately, it also contained some of their wankiest moments.

Simon and Garfunkel

A Hazy Shade of Winter is far from their best song but it doesn't fit into that second category either. Here it is.

♫ Simon & Garfunkel - A Hazy Shade of Winter

DAVE BRUBECK has managed to get into three of the seasons, summer was the only one he missed (and he could have been in that one too).

Dave Brubeck

From his album "Jazz Impressions of New York" (which contains tunes about all four seasons, and so was very useful to me in this series), he and the quartet play Winter Ballad.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Winter Ballad

DON MCLEAN recorded an album that everyone knows about.

Don McLean

I don't have to tell you which one it was. There were other songs on it, and this is one of them, Winterwood.

♫ Don McLean - Winterwood

The A.M. and I both consider GARLAND JEFFREYS to be one of the under-sung heroes of popular music.

Garland Jeffreys

This isn't one of his best efforts but anything he recorded is well worth a listen. This one seems to anticipate the musical development of the last couple of decades. Sorry about that. Coney Island Winter.

♫ Garland Jeffreys - Coney Island Winter

I first encountered RODNEY CROWELL as guitarist and songwriter in Emmylou Harris's Hot Band.

Rodney Crowell

After going solo, he recorded some excellent albums, worth checking out if you like that sort of thing. He has collaborated with Emmy often over the years – touring together and making a couple of good albums.

From the album "Sex and Gasoline" is the song Forty Winters. Sorry, no Emmy on this one.

♫ Rodney Crowell - Forty Winters

TANITA TIKARAM is one of my musical finds over the last few years. She shows that some young folks are still making real music.

Tanita Tikaram

Okay, not so young any more, but she still is to most of us who are reading this. She should know about winter as she lives in London. Her song is Heart in Winter.

♫ Tanita Tikaram - Heart In Winter

ELDER MUSIC: Seasons - Autumn

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

* * *


That's one of my pics, taken in Daylesford (Victoria, Australia).

There must be something about autumn that brings out the jazz in musicians; much of the music today is in that style.

When I searched my collection of music for autumn I found a hell of a lot. However, on closer inspection, it seems that most of those were just different versions of two songs. They were Autumn Leaves and the first one today, Autumn in New York.

I started through all the versions of it and there were some nice takes on the song but when I came to BILLIE HOLIDAY I didn't bother going any further.

Billie Holiday

You probably know by now, if you're a regular reader, that if Billie is in the mix she is pretty much an automatic selection. So it is today.

♫ Billie Holiday - Autumn In New York

THE KINKS weren't like the other English kiddies of their time who were all trying to be American blues or soul performers.


No, the Kinks celebrated their Englishness even more so than The Beatles did and that set them apart from the others. They liked to sing songs of the small charms of their immediate surroundings. Not for them the big picture and for that they produced minor masterpieces.

I don't know if this belongs in that category, but it's fun. Autumn Almanac.

♫ Kinks - Autumn Almanac

As I mentioned, I have dozens of versions of Autumn Leaves and I employed Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to help me in deciding which one we needed. There were some that should have been included, but we had them performing other songs today, so they were out.

It came down to ÉDITH PIAF who had the most interesting version.

Edith Piaf

Édith, of course, mostly sang in French but not exclusively. Here's her take on Autumn Leaves with quite a bit of vibrato.

♫ Edith Piaf - Autumn Leaves

Both CHET BAKER and BILL EVANS were considered for the previous track but I already had them down for this one.

Chet Baker & ;Bill Evans

Here they play together, fortunately for me as I don't have to choose one or the other. The tune they play is called 'Tis Autumn.

♫ Chet Baker & Bill Evans - 'Tis Autumn

If there's any chance of getting BILLY ECKSTINE in a column, The A.M. will put up her hand and go, "Yes, yes, yes.”

Billy Eckstine

I haven't actually mentioned his appearance to her, so her hand raising is implied. Billy's song in today's category is Early Autumn.

♫ Billy Eckstine - Early Autumn

Not content with playing both the trumpet and the flugelhorn, ART FARMER commissioned an instrument he called the flumpet, a combination of the previous two (which aren't all that different really).

Art Farmer

Art played with pretty much every great jazz (and a few blues) performers in the forties and fifties. He was very popular in Europe and settled in Vienna for many years before returning to New York.

My ears aren’t good enough to tell if Art is playing the trumpet, flugelhorn or flumpet on Autumn Nocturne,

♫ Art Farmer - Autumn Nocturne

JOHNNY HARTMAN made a terrific album a long time ago with JOHN COLTRANE.

John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman

This is one I had in my collection way back when it was on vinyl, and it's one I still play (not on vinyl anymore). It's a pity that that was all they did together (on record anyway), but at least we have that one.

From it we have Johnny singing and John playing Autumn Serenade.

♫ John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman - Autumn Serenade

VAN MORRISON shows in Autumn Song that he would have made quite a decent jazz singer.

Van Morrison

There's background: in his great early album "Astral Weeks" he was backed by a jazz group rather than a rock band. Besides that, he's had a long-term musical relationship with Georgie Fame who is an excellent jazz singer himself, so I shouldn't really be surprised. See (or hear) what you think.

♫ Van Morrison - Autumn Song

For a complete change of pace from all the other songs today I give you GIT.


Git were a short-lived all female band from Melbourne who were country-ish, folk-ish, rock-ish. Hard to pin them down really. Git were Trish Anderson, Philomena Carroll, Sarah Carroll and Suzannah Espie.

Sarah sings lead on Autumn Love. April, of course, is autumn in this neck of the woods.

♫ Git - Autumn Love

Getting back to the predominantly jazz theme today, I'll end with one of the most popular exponents of the art, Dave Brubeck, well the DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET to be precise.

Dave Brubeck

Their contribution is Autumn in Washington Square from the album "Jazz Impressions of New York.”

♫ Dave Brubeck - Autumn in Washington Square

ELDER MUSIC: Seasons – Summer 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.

* * *

Summer in Australia

There are so many good summer songs that you're going to get two column's worth. I complained about Spring last week and I'll keep that going with Summer. The hay fever's gone but it gets too bloody hot in my neck of the woods. Maybe it's better where you are.

As I mentioned, summer can get a little, well hot is the really the only word for it, around here. That always gives me the blues, the Summertime Blues.

That sounds like a cue for a song, and EDDIE COCHRAN is the obvious person to start proceedings.

Eddie Cochran

Eddie could have been a contender in rock & roll (indeed, he already was) but he was killed when his taxi in London blew a tyre and the cab crashed into a lamppost.

♫ Eddie Cochran - Summertime Blues

JERRY KELLER only had one big hit in his career and it's this one.

Jerry Keller

Later on he wrote songs that were quite successful for others as well as writing songs for films and television jingles. I imagine they paid better than being a music performer.

Here is his charted song, Here Comes Summer.

♫ Jerry Keller - Here Comes Summer

I imagine you all expected this next song to be present so I won't disappoint you. There was a previous column devoted entirely to various versions of the song Summertime, so I'm not using anything from that one.

That didn't really reduce the choices much at all as I have quite a number of options from which to choose. So many, that I selected enough for a second column devoted to the song.

In the mean time we need one today. I pencilled in several over a few days but finally decided on PAUL ROBESON.

Paul Robeson

I was surprised I hadn't used him in the original Summertime column, but there you go. Here he is today with the song.

♫ Paul Robeson - Summertime

MUNGO JERRY is an English rock(ish) group who were formed in the late sixties and are still going today. However, the only member who has been there for the entire journey is Ray Dorset.

Mungo Jerry

They had a big hit in 1970 with the song In the Summertime. There were other songs of theirs that made the charts but I imagine few people will remember what they are. I certainly can't.

Anyway, here is their biggest hit.

♫ Mungo Jerry - In The Summertime

The album "Quiet Nights" was far from MILES DAVIS's finest.

Miles Davis

He had so many good albums that this one pretty much slipped down the back of the sofa along with all the change, paper clips and other things that gather there.

It did, however, have a couple of summer tunes on it, one of which we have today, Once Upon a Summertime. It's very atmospheric and even lesser Miles is well worth a listen.

♫ Miles Davis - Once Upon a Summertime

NAT KING COLE had a huge with with Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.

Nat King Cole

His record company insisted that he rush into the studio and produce an album because of the success of the single. It was a long way from Nat's best album. Indeed, the single was far from his best either but it is Nat which means it's going to get a place in the column.

♫ Nat King Cole - Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

Normally I'll try to use the original version of the song, particularly if that person also wrote it. Today, though, after playing both versions, I really like the way JOAN BAEZ performs this one.

Joan Baez

I don't wish to denigrate Stevie Wonder but Joannie really nailed it, I think. It was from her excellent, and best selling, album "Diamonds and Rust". The song is Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer.

♫ Joan Baez - Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer

CLIFF RICHARD started out as a rock & roller but turned into, well Cliff.

Cliff Richard

I suspect that he has a painting of himself in a locked room in his attic that he never shows to anyone. Anyway, from his early days, Cliff's going on a Summer Holiday.

♫ Cliff Richard - Summer Holiday

For people of a certain age, that is somewhere around mine, you only have to hear the first couple of bars of this next one to recognise it immediately. The players are the LOVIN' SPOONFUL.

Lovin' Spoonful

The song is Summer in the City. No more needs to be said.

♫ Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City

It was pretty much certain that WILLIE NELSON would turn up somewhere in this series, and here he is.

Willie Nelson

Willie's song was one I wasn't familiar with before searching my music collection for these columns (hey, I've got a lot of Willie). I'm now very familiar with the song, Summer of Roses. I could have used this one in any of the seasons.

♫ Willie Nelson - Summer of Roses

Summer - Part 2 is here.

ELDER MUSIC: Seasons - Spring

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

* * *


That's one of my pics, taken in Daylesford (Victoria, Australia).

This is the first of a series about the seasons. There will be five of them, not five seasons so don't try to call Vivaldi, although some say that Melbourne has at least that many, often in the one day.

No, it just means that summer had so many good songs that it deserved two columns.

Okay, let's start. I really, really, really hate spring. I cannot abide it. From September to November (for that is when spring is in my part of the world) my eyes water and itch, my nose runs, I'm sneezing all over the place, my face is puffy.

It's wall to wall hay fever for the entire time. Spring! Bah, you can have it.

There have been several years when I avoided it by visiting San Francisco and Portland for the duration. That works a treat but it is an expensive option that I can't afford too often. Well, that's my rant out of the way, let's have some Spring music.

I had a number of choices for the first song – musical heavyweights Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Red Garland and Roland Kirk, not to mention Deanna Durbin, Joni James and Anita O'Day. So if you're a fan of any of those (and you probably are), I'm sorry. I've gone with my favorite, JULIE LONDON.

Julie London

Julie sings Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year.

♫ Julie London - Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year

The DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET turns up for the first, but far from the last, time in this series.

Dave Brubeck

Taken from their album Jazz Impressions of New York we have Spring in Central Park.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Spring In Central Park

We may have missed SARAH VAUGHAN in the first song, but we have her now.

Sarah Vaughan

Her song is really very well known, It Might as Well Be Spring, a Rodgers and Hammerstein song from "State Fair.” She wasn't the only person to record the song (that's thrown in for a bit of understatement).

♫ Sarah Vaughan - It Might as Well Be Spring

As you'd expect, the BEACH BOYS have a bunch of summer songs, but they have something for spring as well.

The Beach Boys

The members of the group had long since left school but they still remembered their Spring Vacation.

♫ Beach Boys - Spring Vacation

I'm going to slip a little bit of country amongst the jazz and standards today. The first of these is IAN TYSON.

Ian Tyson

Ian writes excellent songs and is a terrific singer. He started professionally in his native Canada and moved to New York as part of the folk boom with his then wife and they performed as Ian and Sylvia.

Besides that, Ronni informs me that he was far and away the most handsome of the folkies. Well, let's see if he can live up to all that with Springtime in Alberta.

♫ Ian Tyson - Springtime In Alberta

WILLIAM TABBERT played Lieutenant Joseph Cable in the original Broadway production of the musical "South Pacific."

William Tabbert

He didn't get to play the part in the film; that went to John Kerr, but I have the Broadway cast album so we have Will singing Younger Than Springtime.

♫ William Tabbert - Younger Than Springtime

MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY takes a familiar song and changes it radically.

Michael Martin Murphey

That song is Springtime in the Rockies. I was a bit unsure about using it at first but playing it several times changed my mind. I like what he's done to the song. Here it is with a little help from Carin Mari.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Springtime In the Rockies

FRANK SINATRA's spring song is from his excellent album from the fifties called "Only the Lonely.” This was one of the first albums as we know them today - that is, not just a few hits and a bunch of fillers.

Frank Sinatra

In spite of its rather cheerful sounding title, Spring Is Here, the song is more in line with the rest of the album as suggested by its title.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Spring Is Here

When it's Springtime in Alaska it's probably not very warm at all. As JOHNNY HORTON tells us in the song, it's 40 below at that time (that's the one temperature when Celsius and Fahrenheit are the same).

That doesn't sound very spring-like to me.

Johnny Horton

Johnny had a couple of Alaskan songs around this time. Perhaps he didn't like the California climate (although I can't imagine why he wouldn't). Probably it was his songwriters' idea.

♫ Johnny Horton - When It's Springtime In Alaska

MARK MURPHY was one of the most interesting of the jazz singers.

Mark Murphy

He learned from Lambert, Hendricks and Ross and ran with what they did. He thinks that Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most. Given what I said about hay fever, I totally agree with him.

♫ Mark Murphy - Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most

ELDER MUSIC: 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.

* * *

This column has absolutely nothing to do with the dreadful series of records that came out some time ago with that name. I played these for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and asked her what I should call the column and that was her reply.

There's no linking theme today; these are just some pieces I've saved over time that I thought might interest you, or appeal to you. I liked them, that's why I saved them.

I was lying in bed listening to the radio this morning (when I wrote this) wondering when would be a good time to get up (not for a while, I decided) when they played this next piece of music.

"Gee, that's nice," I thought. My facility with words is not at its peak at that time of day. The announcer said that it was GIOACHINO ROSSINI.


I was somewhat taken aback as I haven't been a fan of that composer. I might have to start listening to some of his other works (that don't involve themes for imaginary western characters).

They played the entire piece but I'm only going to give you the first movement, the one that really took my fancy. Wind Quartet No 1 in F major.

♫ Rossini - Wind Quartet No 1 in F major (1)

Henrik Ibsen wrote his famous work Peer Gynt initially as a verse drama, but then he decided to turn it into a play. He contacted his old mate EDVARD GRIEG and asked him if he'd like to write some music for it.


Eddie was enthusiastic about the idea but after a while, as time went on and the work dragged on as well, it became a real chore for him. He finished it but kept rewriting it over the years.

The finished work is not only for orchestra but for a chorus and solo singers as well. Because it's so long and requires a whole bunch of people, it's seldom performed in its entirety.

Eddie himself pulled out what he thought were the best tunes and turned them into short orchestral suites (Peer Gynt No 1 and 2). These became hugely popular and are still so today.

However, I thought I'd go back to the original and play a part of it with the full trappings. This is Arabisk Dans (Arabian Dance) from Peer Gynt, Op. 23, with Barbara Bonney and Marianne Eklöf singing.

♫ Grieg - Peer Gynt Arabisk Dans

JIŘÍ DRUŽECKÝ, also known as Georg Druschetzky (and various other spellings of his name) was a Czech composer, drummer and oboe player.


He studied the oboe in Dresden and then joined the army where he became a handy drummer. Later he moved to Vienna which was where he started composing proper music (he created some drum stuff when he was in the army).

His work mainly centred around the oboe and other blowing instruments although there were some operas and ballets. This is the first movement of his Quintet in C Major for Oboe, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello.

♫ Druschetzky - Quintet in C Major for Oboe, 2 Violins, Viola and Cello (1)

ALESSANDRO ROLLA was an Italian virtuoso on both the viola and violin.


He also wrote music, mainly for those instruments, and he was a teacher as well. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame is that he taught Paganini how to play. He obviously taught him well.

He was chief conductor at La Scala for some time and besides conducting operas, he played the works of Haydn and Mozart as well as introducing new compositions from Beethoven. All the while writing his own music.

This is a bit of that, the third movement of Duo for Violin and Cello in B flat major.

♫ Rolla - Duo in B flat major (3)

Speaking of BEETHOVEN, here he is with something unusual. Actually, there are a number of unusual things in his canon that seldom get played.


In 1806, Ludwig was somewhat lacking in the loose scratch department so he trawled through his old works to see what he could put out there to earn him a bit of loot.

One of the things he found was his Trio for 2 Oboes and Cor Anglais in C Major. This was something he wrote many years earlier when he was still under the influence of Haydn and Mozart.

Of course, if you're going to be influenced by anyone those two are at the very top of the tree; Ludwig wouldn't admit that influence, of course.

Naturally, he was dissatisfied with his youthful work so he tinkered with it before it was published. Here's the finished product, the second movement.

♫ Beethoven - Trio for 2 oboes & cor anglais in C Major, Op. 87 (2)

People often take the music of JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH and put their own stamp on it, or try to anyway.

JS Bach

This was initially a sonata for harpsichord and violin but we have the piano instead (the piano wasn't around back when old J.S. was performing). I'm including it because of a new album with MICHELLE MAKARSKI and KEITH JARRETT that I really like.

Michelle Makarski & Keith Jarrett

Keith is a jazz pianist but he was classically trained and has released several classical albums in the past. It's interesting to get a jazz player's interpretation as J.S. was essentially a jazz musician himself. He was renowned as one of the finest improvisers of his time, particularly on the organ but other instruments as well.

Michelle plays the violin and as far as I know doesn't play jazz. They perform the second movement of the Sonata for Violin and Piano No 1 in B minor, BWV 1014.

♫ JS Bach - Sonata No. 1 in B minor, BWV 1014 (2)

Continuing with the baroque, GEORG TELEMANN was a composer almost the equal of the great J.S.


Actually, they not only knew each other, they were good friends. Georg was the godfather of one of J.S.'s sons (C.P.E. Bach, probably the best known of the sons). He was also a friend of Mr Handel who will appear a little further down.

Georg was one of the most prolific composers in history with more than 3,000 known works (and his awful wife destroyed many others besides taking lovers and spending all of Georg's money).

Out of his many compositions, I've gone with the third movement of the Sonata in D for Trumpet, strings and continuo. This is essentially a trumpet concerto as far as I'm concerned.

♫ Telemann - Sonata in D (3)

I rather agree with MOZART when he once said, "I become quite powerless whenever I'm obliged to write for an instrument which I cannot bear.”


Okay, I don't compose music; it was about the particular instrument he had in mind. He was talking about the flute. However, he couldn't help himself and wrote an exquisite piece.

Similarly, I think, "Well, that's not too bad at all". Okay, it is Mozart. Make up your own mind while listening to the Andante for Flute and Orchestra C major K315.

♫ Mozart - Andante for flute & orchestra C major K315

SLAVA and LEONARD GRIGORYAN are the best guitarists to come out of Australia since John Williams.

Slava & Leonard Grigoryan

From their album of various baroque guitar works I've chosen something from GEORGE HANDEL.


That something is the first movement of his Concerto in B-flat for two guitars.

♫ Handel - Concerto in B-flat for two guitars (1)

IGNAZ PLEYEL was the most successful and popular composer of his time, and considering that his time overlapped with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven that's a big call.


He was also a music publisher and because of that, he was easily the richest composer of the era. Besides that, he made and sold pianos. This man was a serious workaholic.

Unfortunately, since then he has rather dropped below the radar, undeservedly so, I think. His compositions didn't match those of the previously mentioned composers but they are pretty good and really should be played more often.

Here is one of them, the first movement of the Octet in E flat-Major.

♫ Pleyel - Octet E flat-Major (1)

ELDER MUSIC: Wedding Bells

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

* * *

The selected songs might suggest a rather jaundiced view on my part but no, I had a really good wedding way back in 1971. It's just the marriage that didn't work out so well.

Peter's Wedding

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist is no help in this regard today – she's never been married or ever wanted to. Incidentally, for lovers of gossip, she was a guest at my wedding.

I'll start on a positive note with a song I know very well. This was the B-side of Yes Tonight Josephine by JOHNNIE RAY.

Johnnie Ray

My sister had this one when we were quite a bit younger than we are now. Because we had so few records when we were that age we got to know them all really well. This one is No Wedding Today.

♫ Johnnie Ray - No Wedding Today

Another one we had and it was another flip side, possibly of A White Sport Coat, but I could be wrong. I'm not wrong in saying it's MARTY ROBBINS.

Marty Robbins

Marty sings Just Married, but it's not him that's tying the knot.

♫ Marty Robbins - Just Married

PATTI PAGE has to be present as she was the queen of these songs. I was going to include Go on with the Wedding but it was too much even for me. Far too much talkie stuff and the A.M. would have gagged at that one, not that that would have stopped me.

Patti Page

So, we have the better known song, I Went to Your Wedding.

♫ Patti Page - I Went To Your Wedding

JEAN KNIGHT had several options I could have used. I wonder about her personal life.

Jean Knight

One I considered was The Last One to His Wedding which is just as you'd expect, and like the others today. She also had several other songs where she was not going to get anywhere near the altar.

The one I chose is Don't Break My Heart. I think Jean's just a tad too optimistic for her own good – he's not coming back, Jean.

♫ Jean Knight - Don't Break My Heart

LLOYD PRICE turned up for his wedding but it seems that his intended decided she had something better to do that day.

Lloyd Price

It's a bit odd because if you listen to the words he apparently said "I do" anyway. What? "Do you take this empty space for your wife?" or something like that. Beats me.

To learn all about it, listen to Lloyd singing Where Were You on Our Wedding Day?

♫ Lloyd Price - Where Were You on Our Wedding Day

AL TERRY seems more pragmatic about the whole thing than Lloyd.

Al Terry

Actually, more so than just about everyone present today. Very sensible. Let's Postpone Our Wedding, he sings, after the ex-boyfriend returned and rang the bride-to-be, and she's getting a bit dithery about it all.

♫ Al Terry - Let's Postpone Our Wedding

It's a bit hard to tell if THE BIG BOPPER went through with his wedding or not.

Big Bopper

Okay, the last line gives the game away. Even if he did, I wouldn't give it much of a chance to succeed. Here is Big Bopper's Wedding.

♫ Big Bopper - Big Bopper's Wedding

Anyone who listens to this next song and doesn't burst out laughing must have a heart of stone. The singer is KITTY WELLS.

Kitty Wells

I Gave My Wedding Dress Away sings Kitty. Now it's interesting that when there's a male cad in these songs (there some females ones as well – cadettes perhaps), he always seems to be named Jim. Not just the ones today but many of the others I auditioned.

If you're thinking of marrying someone, I'd steer clear of anyone named Jim. Here's Kitty.

♫ Kitty Wells - I Gave My Wedding Dress Away

ETTA JAMES gets a little overwrought here because she wants to Stop the Wedding.

Etta James

I've always wondered if anyone has ever spoken up when asked if there was anyone present who... well, you know the drill. It's not happened at any wedding I've been to, not that there have been many of those.

Etta decided to do just that.

♫ Etta James - Stop The Wedding

The only way I can end this column is with this next song. The Drifters had the original and it's a really fine version. However, for once I'm going with a cover by NICOLETTE LARSON.

Nicolette Larson

I really like the way she did this song. She recorded a couple of really good albums in the seventies, and some others a little later.

Actually, looking back over the songs today, I don't think that a Mexican Divorce will be necessary, as none of them actually seemed to have become hitched. Oh well.

♫ Nicolette Larson - Mexican Divorce

ELDER MUSIC: Romeo and Juliet

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.

* * *

Old Will Shakespeare created the most famous lovers in history. Of course, things didn't end too well for them.

It's instructive that Juliet was 13 years old, or "she hath not seen the change of fourteen years" to be exact. Romeo's age is not stated so there seem to be conflicting ideas about this; everywhere between 13 also and mid twenties. That latter age sounds a bit creepy to modern audiences.

The thing about this is that, in spite of her age, Juliet is easily the most mature character in the play. Not just more so than Romeo and his friends, but all the adults as well who carry on their silly vendetta.

So, songs about them separately and together.

This column came about when Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I watched a vid of a DIRE STRAITS concert.

Dire Straits

We saw the Straits way back, both as the original quartet and their later incarnation as a somewhat bombastic big band. We preferred the original, stick-in-the-muds that we are (well, I am. I wouldn't categorize the A.M. that way).

Naturally, they played one of their most popular and entertaining songs, Romeo and Juliet. "Ah," we said, and a column was born.

The song came from their third album, "Making Movies," when they were a trio as David Knopfler had left by then. This was just before their big band era.

♫ Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet

STEVE FORBERT has made an honest living singing and writing songs for several decades now.

Steve Forbert

I always thought he could be a contender, achieve more than he has, however, he seems to be doing okay. Early on he had a hit with his song, Romeo's Tune. The distinctive piano playing on that track was by Bobby Ogdin, who used to play in Elvis's band.

There's a warning to this one but not your usual one. No, I find that this song is a real earworm. You'll be singing it for a week; well I will be. Actually, the previous song is a bit earwormy as well.

♫ Steve Forbert - Romeo's Tune

The story is a favorite of opera composers. For this first selection in that vein, I had considerable choice - Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland, Diana Damrau and more. After playing a bunch of them, including those mentioned, this version was next.

The A.M. came in and said, "That one.” I was leaning towards it too. When I checked out NICOLE CABELL's photo, it was a done deal (so sue me, I'm a bloke).

Nicole Cabell

Here we have the aria Je veux vivre from "Roméo et Juliette" by CHARLES-FRANÇOIS GOUNOD. Nicole sings (as Jules) that she would like to live inside her dream where it is eternally spring, rather than think about marriage.

♫ Nicole Cabell - Gounod ~ Romeo et Juliette ~ Je veux vivre

CAB CALLOWAY gained a whole new generation of fans when he had a prominent role in the Blues Brothers film.

Cab Calloway

Cab gives his song the standard Cab treatment. It's called Hi-De-Ho Romeo.

♫ Cab Calloway - Hi-De-Ho Romeo

I wasn't going to include the next track but the A.M. came in and said, "Play that again, it sounds like Bob Wills" - that's a good enough reason for her. The singer is GARTH BROOKS.

Garth Brooks

I hadn't really considered Garth and western swing to be synonymous, but I suppose he can do anything these days. Garth's song is Rodeo and Juliet.(Ho ho).

♫ Garth Brooks - Rodeo And Juliet

For a complete change of pace, I give you TOM WAITS.

Tom Waits

Tom gives his song a nice gentle romantic treatment. Okay, that's a bunch of lies, it's standard Tom and that's good enough for me. Romeo Is Bleeding.

♫ Tom Waits - Romeo Is Bleeding

THE REFLECTIONS had only one big hit and it's this one, (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet.

The Reflections

They had a few others that rattled around at the bottom of the charts. They kept on trucking though and are still performing today with a couple of their original members still present.

♫ The Reflections - (Just Like) Romeo & Juliet

For some reason the critics don't seem to like ELINA GARANČA very much. It's their loss, I think. The public loves her. I'm with the public.

Elina Garanca

She is a mezzo-soprano and I prefer the deeper tones of her singing to standard sopranos - Cecilia Bartoli sings in the same range. Here from the opera "I Capuleti ed i Montecchi" by VINCENZO BELLINI, is the aria, Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio, sung by the lovely Elina, without the usual (rather intrusive) chorus in the background.

♫ Elina Garanca - Se Romeo t'uccise un figlio

I really know nothing about PAUL PERRYMAN.


The lack of a booklet in the CD didn't help, and Dr Google let me down. I'll just play his song, Teenage Romeo.

♫ Paul Perryman - Teenage Romeo

LOU REED is an unlikely romantic.

Lou Reed

However, with Lou anything is possible including Romeo and Juliet. Actually, his song is called Romeo Had Juliette, which sounds more like the Lou we know and love.

♫ Lou Reed - Romeo Had Juliette

ELDER MUSIC: 1958 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.

* * *

1958 was a really good year for music as you can tell by checking the previous two times I've featured the year. There are still enough good songs left over for another column. You never know, there might be a fourth.

It's Only Make Believe was written by CONWAY TWITTY and Jack Nance.

Conway Twitty

Conway recorded it and took it to the top of the charts around the world. Before all that, Harold Jenkins didn't think his name was show biz enough and got out a road map where he spied Conway, Arkansas and Twitty, Texas. He really should have looked a bit further for a surname but it seems to have served him well over the years.

♫ Conway Twitty - It's Only Make Believe

BUDDY HOLLY was at his peak this year.

Buddy Holly

If you've been reading my column for some time you knew that Buddy would have to be present today. Yet another of his fine songs for the year is Maybe Baby.

♫ Buddy Holly - Maybe Baby

THE FOUR PREPS were renowned for their comedy records where they impersonated singers of the day.

Four Preps

However, they acquitted themselves admirably on serious songs as well. This is one of their biggest and I still don't really understand what it's about. It doesn't matter, it's a good record. Big Man.

♫ The Four Preps - Big Man

Many people recorded this next song, usually under the name Volare. The big hit in Australia, although some of the others were also on the charts, was by DOMENICO MODUGNO and he called it Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, which he wrote with some help from Franco Migliacci.

This is, of course, the original version of the song.

Domenico Modugno

I think Dom's version was successful in Australia as we had (and still have) a really large Italian community, particularly here in Melbourne.

Besides being a singer, songwriter, actor and guitarist he was also a member of Italy's parliament where he championed human rights, particularly in Chile under the egregious Pinochet who banned him from that country.

♫ Domenico Modugno - Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu (Volare)

JANE MORGAN attended Juilliard intending to be an opera singer. To make ends meet, she performed in clubs and the like to earn a little loose scratch. Discovering that this actually paid better than opera, she decided on a pop career instead.

Jane Morgan

A French impresario caught her act and he took her to Paris where she became a big success. She was also popular in Britain. Upon returning to her home country she recorded a song by Gilbert Becaud called Le jour où la pluie viendra.

Actually, hers was an English language version of the song called The Day the Rains Came.

♫ Jane Morgan - The Day The Rains Came

Westerns were popular around this time, especially on TV, and of course they were still making Western Movies as THE OLYMPICS had a wont to tell us.


The band got together when they were still at school in Los Angeles. They recorded a song under a different name that didn't do much at all. This was their first as The Olympics. It was a big hit around the world.

♫ The Olympics - Western Movies

According to his song, JIMMIE RODGERS is a ring-a-ding daddy. Oh my. I think he listened to too much Frank Sinatra.

Jimmie Rodgers

Anyway, the song in question isOh-Oh, I'm Falling in Love Again. Uh oh, uh oh.

♫ Jimmie Rodgers - Oh Oh, I'm Falling In Love Again

RICKY NELSON was at the height of popularity in 1958.

Ricky Nelson

He had half a dozen or more songs that hovered around the top of the charts. One of them is Believe What You Say. This one has the unmistakable sound of The Jordanaires as backing vocalists and the great James Burton playing guitar.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Believe What You Say

THE ELEGANTS seem to symbolise the ethos of DooWop music.


They were from Staten Island and used to practise their harmonies under the boardwalk near their homes. They hit it big while still in their teens with their first record, Little Star but couldn't repeat that one's success.

♫ The Elegants - Little Star

There's a touch of irony in that the most successful record by CHUCK WILLIS is called What Am I Living For? This is because he died from peritonitis during an operation shortly after recording the song. He was only 30.


All that aside, in his short professional career he wrote and recorded a bunch of fine songs, many of which have been covered by other artists over the years. Here he is with that song.

Chuck Willis - What Am I Living For

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of the Gershwins

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

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George & Ira Gerswhin

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

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

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

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

Billie Holiday

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

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

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

JULIE LONDON is another regular.

Julie London

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

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

♫ Julie London - 'S Wonderful

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

Chet Baker

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

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

♫ Chet Baker - But Not For Me

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

Judy Garland

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

♫ Judy Garland - How Long Has This Been Going On

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

Fats Waller

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

♫ Fats Waller - I Got Rhythm

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

Etta James

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

♫ Etta James - The Man I Love

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

Nat King Cole Trio

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

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

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Embraceable You

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

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

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

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong - They All Laughed

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

Duke Robillard

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

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

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

Linda Ronstadt

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

Today Linda sings Someone to Watch Over Me.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Someone to Watch Over Me

ELDER MUSIC: The Singing Dead

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

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Not to be confused with the Grateful Dead.

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

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

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

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

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

Lefty Frizzell

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

♫ Lefty Frizzell - Long Black Veil

MARTY ROBBINS is represented by his most famous song.

Marty Robbins

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

♫ Marty Robbins - El Paso

It was a tossup whether to include ROY ORBISON.

Roy Orbison

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

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

♫ Roy Orbison - Leah

You knew JOHNNY CASH had to be present.

Johnny Cash

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

♫ Johnny Cash - 25 Minutes to Go

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

Pat Campbell

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

♫ Pat Campbell - The Deal

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

Nick Cave & Kylie Minogue

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

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

♫ Nick Cave - Where the Wild Roses Grow

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


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

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

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

Bee Gees

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

♫ Bee Gees - I Started a Joke

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

Sons of the Never Wrong

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

♫ Sons of the Never Wrong - Dead on the Highway

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

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

Kingston Trio

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

Here are the Kingstons with their take on the song.

♫ Kingston Trio - Seasons in the Sun