360 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up for the First Half of 2015

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

Oh my goodness, what a year it's been so far. There have been so many fine musicians, and others associated with the music industry, die so far this year that we decided that we'd feature some of them at the end of the first half of the year so that there won't be an unwieldy column or two at the end where some may be overlooked.

B.B. King

Riley King began his professional career as a disk jockey in Memphis calling himself the Beale Street Blues Boy. That got shorten to Blues Boy and yet again to B.B. KING.

B.B. was of the same generation as other great blues artists such as Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf but he went further than those, who stuck to the blues. B.B. influenced jazz, rock & roll and even classical musicians.

His single note guitar playing looked back to the jazz style of T-Bone Walker and forward to rock & roll, particularly Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton (as well as numerous lesser performers) and modern blues performers like Buddy Guy and Robert Cray.

He was the most important blues musician of the last half century. B.B. performs Five Long Years. (He as 89 years old)

♫ B.B. King - Five Long Years

TREVOR WARD-DAVIES was the bass player and harmony singer for the sixties' rock group Dave Dee, Dozey, Beaky, Mick and Tich. He was Dozey.

They had a number of top selling singles in Britain and other places (including Australia). Over the years Dave Dee, Dozey and Tich were always the original musicians but they had several different Beakys and Micks. (70)

TIM DRUMMOND was a session bass player who, over the years, graced the records and concerts of Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Ry Cooder and James Brown among others. He often teamed up with the great drummer Jim Keltner to produce one fine rhythm section. (74)

Aldo Ciccolini

ALDO CICCOLINI was a classical pianist who was born in Italy but spent most of his life in France. He started his career with the usual suspects of Liszt, Rachmaninov, Tchaikovsky and so on, but later eschewed the standard concert repertoire and concentrated on then lesser known composers such as Debussy and Satie.

It's because of his championing these that they are now regularly performed. He plays Satie's now famous Gymnopedie No. 1. (89)

♫ Aldo Ciccolini - Erik Satie ~ Gymnopedie No. 1

DEMIS ROUSSOS was a Greek singer who began his career in the successful group Aphrodite's Child. He later had a career as a solo singer performing middle of the road music (and often dressed in large kaftans). He sold millions of records. (68)

Rod McKuen

ROD MCKUEN was a poet, disk jockey, song writer and occasional singer. He wrote songs for the Kingston Trio, including one he translated by Jacques Brel called Le Moribond and called it Seasons in the Sun which became a huge hit.

Rod even persuaded Frank Sinatra to record a whole album of his songs and poems. (81)

EDGAR FROESE was the founder and keyboard player of the German electronic music group Tangerine Dream. Besides their own records, which were best sellers but not to my household, he also wrote scores for many films. The Dream were pioneers of new age and ambient music. (70)

Lesley Gore

LESLEY GORE had a bunch of hits in the early Sixties, most notably It's My Party, Judy's Turn to Cry and You Don't Own Me. Those three songs showed a progression from aggrieved, angst-ridden teenager to defiant self assertion.

Lesley was discovered by Quincy Jones and he signed her to his record company. Besides those hits, she also acted – she was Catwoman's sidekick in the TV version of Batman and appeared on Broadway in several roles.

Lesley was working on a stage version of her life when she died. Here she is with the third of the songs mentioned above. (68)

♫ Lesley Gore - You Don't Own Me

SAM ANDREW was a founder member, guitarist and songwriter for the rock band Big Brother and the Holding Company. The group had a triumphant performance at the Monterey Pop Festival and their subsequent album was hugely successful.

When Janis Joplin left Big Brother, Sam went with her as lead guitarist for her new band. He later studied composition and formed his own band and was music director for some stage shows. (73)

Louis Jourdan

LOUIS JOURDAN was a suave French leading man in many films. His father's career moved the family around to several countries including England where Louis learned English which was invaluable for him in Hollywood as the go-to actor for a debonair Frenchman.

For this music column, he was notable for singing the title song in the musical Gigi and won the hearts of millions of (mostly female) viewers. He was an active member of the French Resistance during the war. (93)

WILLIE C. JACKSON was the last remaining member of The Spaniels, a DooWop group who were responsible for the mega-hit Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite that's been used in many films and TV programs. He founded the group along with several friends from high school. (79)

Percy Sledge

PERCY SLEDGE hit it big with the very first song he recorded, When a Man Loves a Woman. He couldn't ever top that one, but then, no one else could either.

He was considered the master of the slow soul ballad and no one did those better than he did. In recent years he recorded a couple of very fine albums. Rather than his famous song, I've chosen one that's a particular favorite of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, True Love Travels on a Gravel Road. (74)

♫ Percy Sledge - True Love Travels On A Gravel Road

FRANK MUSIC COMPANY was the last remaining shop in New York that sold classical sheet music. The changing times means most people who require such get it from the internet. (78)

JIMMY GREENSPOON was a classically trained pianist who found fame as a founder member and keyboard player for the rock group Three Dog Night. He also performed with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and The Beach Boys. (67)

Clark Terry

CLARK TERRY was a jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player as well as a composer and educator. He began as a swing player and moved on to bebop, performing along the way with Charlie Barnet, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Quincy Jones and Oscar Peterson amongst others.

He also had a hand in starting the careers of such musicians as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves and on and on. Clark performs The Swinging Chemise. (94)

♫ Clark Terry - The Swinging Chemise

GRAEME GOODALL was an Australian record producer who was a key figure in the development of the Jamaican record industry. He set up a studio and recorded Desmond Dekker, Leslie Kong and The Ethiopians and many more. (82)

Bob Montgomery

BOB MONTGOMERY was a songwriter and musician who went to school with Buddy Holly. Buddy's first band was a duo with Bob and they opened for Elvis in Lubbock, Texas. Elvis tried to get them on other shows but the promoters didn't want them.

Later, Bob wrote Heartbeat for Buddy and Misty Blue for various people but most especially Dorothy Moore. They also wrote songs together, most notably Love's Made a Fool of You, a hit for Buddy and covered by quite a few others.

They had plans to set up a publishing company when Buddy was killed. Later Bob was a successful record producer of mainly, but not exclusively, country performers. (77)

Joe Mauldin

It hasn't been a good year for Buddy Holly's friends. JOE MAULDIN started playing the upright bass after seeing Bill Black backing Elvis. Buddy needed a bass player and he chose Joe.

Joe also co-wrote several of their famous songs with Buddy, including I'm Gonna Love You Too and Well All Right. (74)

DAEVID ALLEN, born here in Melbourne, was a guitarist and poet and hung out with the writer William Burroughs in Paris. Later he went on to form the prog rock group The Soft Machine and also founded the group Gong, who I must admit, are a complete mystery to me. (77)

Ronnie Ronalde

RONNIE RONALDE was an English siffleur (the A.M. insisted I use that term) and music hall singer. He was a singer, whistler and yodeller extraordinaire.

As a youth, he found he had a talent for imitating bird calls and that people paid money to hear him perform. He joined a choir and eventually record companies discovered him. He toured the world and was hugely popular in the forties and fifties. He kept performing well into his eighties.

Here he performs in his own inimitable way, Mockin' Bird Hill. (91)

♫ Ronnie Ronalde - Mockin' Bird Hill

BOB BURNS was the drummer and one of the founding members of the rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd. He was in a car crash – this group really had bad luck when it came to modes of transport. He played on their famous early songs but had left the group before several were killed in a plane crash. (64)

JACKIE TRENT was an English singer but mainly a songwriter, usually with her husband Tony Hatch and together they wrote hits for Petula Clark, Scott Walker and Val Doonican. As a singer, she managed to knock the Beatles off top spot on the charts. (74)

Don Covay

DON COVAY was a soul singer and songwriter who didn't quite make it into the top rank of performers but the songs he wrote and recorded were made into big hits by a wide variety of performers. Steppenwolf, Chubby Checker, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and The Kinks all took Don's songs to the top of the charts.

Don began his musical career in a gospel group but he soon switched to secular music, playing with Little Richard and for a time writing songs in the Brill building. He was headhunted by Atlantic records as a writer and studio musician.

He was also in several groups with other famous musicians. One of his much-covered songs is Mercy Mercy. (76)

♫ Don Covay - Mercy Mercy

CYNTHIA LENNON was John Lennon's first wife and the mother of Julian. John treated them both appallingly. (75)

A.J. PERO was the drummer for the hard rock band Twisted Sister. He also played in the group Adrenaline Mob. Before his foray into rock & roll he began his musical career as a jazz drummer. (55)

Stan Freberg

STAN FREBERG made comedy records in the fifties that are still funny today. He didn't like rock & roll and would send up the genre on most of his records.

He was also a disk jockey, an actor and he was often used to voice cartoon characters. He and his crew perform Banana Boat Song, made famous by Harry Belafonte. (88)

♫ Stan Freberg - Banana Boat Song

DALLAS TAYLOR was the drummer for Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young) in the early days of their performing and recording together. (66)

BRIAN COUZENS founded the record company Chandos that, along with Naxos, showed the big labels what could be done in the classical music field.

They recorded little known composers and works that hadn't seen the light of day and worked with up and coming musicians. The big boys finally had to take note of what was going on. (81)

Maria Radner

MARIA RADNER was a German contralto who specialized in the works of Wagner, particularly his Ring Cycle. She also sang Bach's works, especially his cantatas, as well as those of Handel, Mendelssohn, Mozart and Haydn.

She had started to become an international star in opera – Mozart, Verdi and, of course, Wagner - and was to make her Bayreuth Festival debut later this year singing the role of Flosshilde.

Maria, her husband and baby were on the flight that the crazy co-pilot deliberately crashed. Maria sings Es sungen drei Engel from Mahler's Symphony No 3. (34)

♫ Maria Radner - Es sungen drei Engel

ANDY FRASER was a multi-instrumentalist but best known as the bass player for the rock group Free. He wrote most of their songs as well as for others such as Robert Palmer and Chaka Demus & Pliers. (62)

JAMES LAST was not my cup of tea but he sold millions of records so someone liked his music. He made big band arrangements of popular tunes. (86)

Ben E King

BEN E KING's first professional gig was a singer for a group called the Five Crowns, later just The Crowns. They were playing a gig at the Apollo and The Drifters were also on the bill.

The Drifters were going through a lean patch as their lead singer Clyde McPhatter had been drafted and the rest weren't very good. The Drifters' manager heard the Crowns and was so impressed he sacked his group and hired The Crowns on the spot and changed their name to The Drifters.

It was this incarnation that produced all those wonderful songs from the late fifties and early sixties with Ben singing lead. He didn't last long even though he recorded a lot of those songs.

As a solo artist, he was just as good and had many hits - Stand By Me, Don’t Play That Song, I (Who Have Nothing) and many more, especially Spanish Harlem.

Ever modest, Ben has said that he thought his career was accidental and he was really just cheating.

No Ben, you were one of the finest singers of the last century who sang some of the best songs I've ever heard. (76)

♫ Ben E King - Spanish Harlem


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.

When I was a whippersnapper here in Oz, chickens referred to those little fluffy yellow things that were only a few days old. Later the word evolved to mean the grown-up birds as well. Of course, we don’t like to call them that; here they are universally referred to here as chooks.

So, here are a bunch of songs about chooks.

Just in case you’re interested, the way I roast a chook is thus: I juice two or three lemons and stuff the chook with the lemon skins along with 6, 8, 10 cloves of garlic (peeled or not, it doesn’t matter. I slice them in half but it’s not necessary).

About a third to half way through cooking, I pour the juice over the bird. With it, I throw in some combination of potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips. Whatever takes your fancy.

I also throw in a whole bunch of garlic cloves (not peeled). Mash these on the potatoes when you eat them. Yum. They are mild and gentle cooked this way (they steam in their skins) and don’t exhibit that harsh garlic burn.

Takes an hour or so (depending on the size of the bird – mine usually only big enough for the two of us) at 200C (about 400F).

Anyway, back to the music. This column started as purely jump blues in content which I know that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, would like.

When I showed it to her she suggested some others I had completely forgotten about.These were from other genres and makes for a more varied column. Well, slightly.

I’ll start with one of the jump blues tracks, and a particular favorite of the A.M., AMOS MILBURN.

Amos Milburn

Amos is renowned for his songs about partying and booze, often with double entendres all over the place. I don't know if this one counts in that way but it fits our category today. Chicken Shack Boogie.

♫ Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie

Here is the first of two contributions from LOUIS JORDAN.

Louis Jordan

What can I say about Louis Jordan that I haven't said a dozen times before? Well, nothing really especially as he turns again at the bottom of this column. I'll just say his song is A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird, written by Emmett Wallace that's been covered by many musicians.

♫ Louis Jordan - A Chicken Ain't Nothin' But A Bird

The band LITTLE FEAT was created by Lowell George and Billy Payne when Frank Zappa kicked them both out of the Mothers of Invention.

Little Feat

The band was only marginally successful but they were considered a "musicians' band" as they were held in high esteem by others in the business.

Quite a number of their songs have been covered by other artists, including this one. However, here is the original and best version of Dixie Chicken.

♫ Little Feat - Dixie Chicken

BIG MAMA THORNTON’s contribution is a song that was a hit for Howlin’ Wolf and an even bigger one for the Rolling Stones. Folks who have taken an interest in that sort of music will know immediately which song I’m talking about.

Big Mama Thornton

The song was written by that prolific writer of blues songs, Willie Dixon, and after Wolf recorded it, Sam Cooke had a go at it as well, closely followed by the Stones.

Many others performed it, including Big Mama Thornton. Little Red Rooster.

♫ Big Mama Thornton - Little Red Rooster

TOM RUSSELL wrote the best chook song ever.

Tom Russell

Here he is joined by his good friend IAN TYSON to perform it.

Ian Tyson

The song is about the nasty business of cock fighting and it’s a tribute to Tom that he can make such wonderful art from such a sordid enterprise. It tells of the journey of a rooster traveling north along the coast of California, fighting all the while, raising the stakes as he goes.

The song is Gallo del Cielo which in Oz parlance would be something like “Heavenly Chook” (there are probably shops called that). The backing certainly shows the huge influence Marty Robbins had on Tom.

♫ Tom Russell - Gallo del Cielo

THE DEEP RIVER BOYS started out as a gospel group but their song today is a far cry from standard gospel songs.

Deep River Boys

They got together at what is now Hampton University in Virginia where they won a talent contest. That led to radio and stage appearances. After the war, they toured with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and later appeared on TV (Ed Sullivan and so on).

They were very popular in Europe and toured that continent extensively. Their song is That Chick's Too Young to Fry, a song written and recorded by Tommy Edwards. Louis Jordan and The Prisonaires also had a go at it too.

♫ The Deep River Boys - That Chicks Too Young To Fry

The CRUEL SEA is an occasional Oz rock band fronted by the charismatic Tex Perkins (calm down, A.M.) who also has his own considerable solo career.

Cruel Sea

Here is the band with Momma Killed a Chicken. This was taken from an old blues song variously known as Bottle Up and Go or Borrow Love and Go. Probably other names as well.

♫ Cruel Sea - Momma Killed A Chicken

At last, I get to include LITTLE RICHARD. Okay, I have had him before but I haven't included him as often as I'd expect.

Little Richard

Richard is, of course, one of the half dozen most important people in the development of rock & roll. That's all that needs to be said except that his song is Chicken Little Baby. The song rather fades out at the end.

♫ Little Richard - Chicken Little Baby

Several really fine artists made their professional debut singing with BILLY WARD AND THE DOMINOES.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

One such is Clyde McPhatter who later went on to front The Drifters and later than that had a solo career. Alas, he was a bit too fond of the bottle for his own good which led to his premature death.

Here he is way back singing lead for The Dominoes and Chicken Blues.

♫ Billy Ward - Chicken Blues

There are a lot more chook songs but I'll finish with someone we have already heard, LOUIS JORDAN. There are others I could have used but Louis is the chicken man so I think he deserves a couple of tracks. The A.M. certainly agrees with that.

Louis Jordan

Louis performs one of his most famous songs, Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens.

♫ Louis Jordan - Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens

ELDER MUSIC: They Wrote the Songs

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

Today I'm devoting a whole column to a topic I occasionally rabbit on about, and that is the original writer of songs made famous by others.

I'm sure that you'll know all of the selections today but perhaps you won't be quite as familiar with the original versions by the people who created them in the first place.

In my not too humble opinion, the versions by these folks are superior to the famous covers. You may disagree with that - after all, the first version of a song is usually the one that gets implanted in the brain. That happens to me all the time.

However, I think it's always instructive to hear how the writer intended the song to sound.

Let's get started with a sadly neglected singer and songwriter, TOM JANS, and the song that really inspired me to write the column.

Tom Jans

Tom made a bit of a name for himself in the seventies in singer/songwriter circles as a performer and writer of fine songs. Not only as a solo artist, but he teamed up for a while with Mimi Fariña, Joan Baez's sister.

Alas, he had a serious motorcycle accident and died not too long afterwards, almost certainly due to serious injuries sustained to his kidneys.

His most famous song would have to be Loving Arms, covered really well by Dobie Gray and also recorded by Elvis and a whole bunch of others. Here is Tom with his song.

♫ Tom Jans - Loving Arms

What annoys me is those people who claim to be knowledgeable about music and then claim that, because he's a songwriter himself, Harry Nilsson wrote Everybody's Talkin'. No he didn't.


Sorry, I've calmed down now that I've got that off my chest. It, of course, came from FRED NEIL who did a far superior version of the song some years earlier.

Fred Neil

♫ Fred Neil - Everybody's Talkin

HANK BALLARD, along with his band mate Cal Green, were inspired by a gospel song by The Sensational Nightingales. They put new words to the tune and came up with a song that rather inspired a new dance craze. They called it The Twist.

Hank Ballard

Hank and his band The Midnighters recorded the song and it was moderately successful. It came to the ears of Dick Clark who wanted to feature them on American Bandstand but the group was unavailable at the time.

Dick loved the song and got his friend Earnest Evans to record it. Earnest was a great admirer of Fats Domino and changed his name to Chubby Checker as an homage. As you know, this new version went through the roof.

Today, though, I'm playing Hank and The Midnighters' original. I think Chubby studied this one very closely.

♫ Hank Ballard - The Twist

JOHN STEWART was a fine singer and songwriter who first came to prominence writing songs for, and then eventually joining, the Kingston Trio.

John Stewart

Later, as a solo performer, when he wasn't on the road, he'd spend time writing songs. Well, that was his job after all.

One day he wrote Daydream Believer and he thought the day a total failure as that's all he produced and he didn't think much of it. His good friend Chip Douglas heard the song and thought it would be good for The Monkees. Chip was a producer on their TV program.

The Monkees really loved the song and wanted to record it but the record company demanded that they change the word "funky" to "happy.” John replied that meant that the song made no sense at all and he wouldn't let them.

Well, came the reply, they won't be able record it. John decided that "happy" was really growing on him. He said that the song set him up for the rest of his life. Here it is.

♫ John Stewart - Daydream Believer

Pretty much everyone featured today are known to some degree but we come to someone who isn't, at least not by me. He was certainly a writer of famous songs, but I imagine few people who listen to music know his name. He is MARK JAMES (or Francis Zambon to his mum and dad).

Mark James

The person who covered his song, in complete contrast, was the most famous person on the planet, Elvis. As you'll hear, Elvis not only listened to the song but the arrangement as well and copied it pretty much exactly. Suspicious Minds.

♫ Mark James - Suspicious Minds

BRENDA HOLLOWAY had the help of her sister Patrice, Frank Wilson and Berry Gordy in writing her song.

Brenda Holloway

Brenda was going to be the next big thing at Motown after a couple of well-charting singles. However, The Supremes, who had done nothing much at all before, suddenly had a worldwide number one hit and Berry concentrated on them from then on.

Back to Brenda and the song she co-wrote, You've Made Me so Very Happy, a big hit for Blood Sweat and Tears a couple of years later.

♫ Brenda Holloway - You've Made Me So Very Happy

Okay, I'll admit that Ray Charles did a wonderful cover of I Can't Stop Loving You, even better than the one by DON GIBSON whose version is pretty good.

Don Gibson

Don was a writer and singer of the saddest, lonesome-est songs ever recorded. Here's his take on his own song.

♫ Don Gibson - I Can't Stop Loving You

DAN PENN was another who had someone cover one of his songs better than he did it.

Dan Penn

Not just better than his but better than anyone else who has tackled the song and there have been quite a few of them. I'm talking about James Carr who did the terrific version of one of the great soul songs, The Dark End of the Street.

However, here is Dan.

♫ Dan Penn - The Dark End of the Street

BOBBY CHARLES wrote a number of songs you'd recognise immediately.

Bobby Charles

He was a New Orleans native and wrote songs for various musicians from that city but most notably for his friend, Fats Domino. This is one of Fats' biggest hits but it's Bobby's take we're interested in today: Walking to New Orleans.

He has a little help from the great man himself on this version.

♫ Bobby Charles - Walking to New Orleans

JIMMY WEBB has written songs for a whole bunch of people but he's probably most associated with Glenn Campbell.

Jimmy Webb

I could have chosen a dozen (or more) from Glenn's repertoire, however, I have a previous column devoted to Jimmy so I've decided on one I didn't include in that one. Well, not Jimmy's version anyway.

Here is Wichita Lineman.

♫ Jimmy Webb - Wichita Lineman

ELDER MUSIC: Unchained Melody

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 prison film Unchained made in 1955, had only two things going for it. One was the appearance of Dexter Gordon as a jazz saxophone player (he was serving time for drug offences in Chino where the film was shot) and the other was for the theme song written by Alex North and Hy Zaret, called Unchained Melody.

The song really had little to do with the film but it scored an Oscar nomination and has become one of the most recorded songs ever, and that's what we're featuring today.

Two performers who deserved inclusion but missed out are Marty Robbins and Roy Hamilton. They only missed the cut because they were too similar to some already present. In an ideal world they'd be included as they are easily the third and fourth best versions of the song.

I'm going to top and tail the column with the two best and everyone else will be between those.

Leading the charge today is AL HIBBLER.

Al Hibbler

Al's version is the first that I can recall from my childhood. He released it back in 1955, just when music was seriously being imprinted on my brain. It still holds up as number two (it was number one for about ten years).

♫ Al Hibbler - Unchained Melody

BRENDA HOLLOWAY was a real contender on Motown records.

Brenda Holloway

Unfortunately, just when she was about to break out as a real star, someone like the Supremes had a mega-hit that put her somewhat in the shade. It's a real shame because she deserves to be much better known.

Her version is a bit string heavy for my taste but she's a good enough singer to overcome that.

♫ Brenda Holloway - Unchained Melody

The odd man out today is CHET ATKINS.

Chet Atkins

That's because his is an instrumental version of the song. Naturally it's played on guitar, Chet's natural environment (as it were). He was one of the original guitar heroes - he backed many country and rock & roll performers from the fifties.

Of course, that's not all he did. For one thing, he recorded our song.

♫ Chet Atkins - Unchained Melody

About this time, DooWop performers liked to take classic songs and give them the full DooWop treatment. The Marcels were past masters at this sort of thing but it's not their turn today. Instead, I present VITO AND THE SALUTATIONS.

Vito & the Salutations

They consisted of Frankie Fox and Sheldon Buchansky with other members who came and went over the years, including Vito Balsomo, after whom the group was named.

The group had a minor hit with Gloria and a marginally less minor hit with our song today.

♫ Vito & The Salutations - Unchained Melody

The most unlikely presence is that of JONI MITCHELL.

Joni Mitchell

Hers isn't a conventional reading of the song. That's not at all surprising. It's two songs stuck together really. They are Chinese Café and Unchained Melody.

Joni Mitchell - Chinese Cafe~Unchained Melody

THE FLEETWOODS perform an interesting a capella version.


They started out in high school as a female duo of Gretchen Christopher and Barbara Ellis. They added fellow student Gary Troxel as a backup singer.

Once they became successful the record company wouldn’t go with the bloke in the background in spite of all of them insisting that's the way it should be. Threats ensued and, well, you know how that came out.

Here, however, are The Fleetwoods as they wanted to be.

♫ The Fleetwoods - Unchained Melody

If you're wondering what the original version in the film sounded like, wonder no further. Here it is, sung by TODD DUNCAN.

Todd Duncan

Todd's not like the other kiddies included today. He was a trained opera singer who had music degrees from several universities. He was also an actor of some renown, and was chosen to play Porgy in the original stage production of Porgy and Bess.

He had a long successful career in opera and as a concert performer and was a music teacher as well. He appeared in the film mentioned above and sang the song as part of the plot (rather than just over the credits).

♫ Todd Duncan - Unchained Melody

From the sublime to the ridiculous, here's PETER SELLERS.

Peter Sellers

Peter liked to record his own take on popular songs of the time and this one is no exception. Those familiar with the Goon Show will know what to expect.

♫ Peter Sellers - Unchained Melody

On his continuing quest to sing every song in the world and perform with every singer as well, here's WILLIE NELSON (although that latter isn't in evidence today).

Willie Nelson

You could pretty much guarantee that he would be here. He gives the song the full Willie treatment (and that's not a bad thing). It's from his period when he was releasing albums of old classic songs.

♫ Willie Nelson - Unchained Melody

Okay, here we are at the end. It doesn't get any better than THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS.

Righteous Brothers

Actually, this is only a Righteous Brother: Bobby Hatfield sings the song and Bill Medley is nowhere to be found. It doesn't matter, it's one of their best known songs, and no one does it better.

♫ Righteous Brothers - Unchained Melody

ELDER MUSIC: Musicals Part 2

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

As I mentioned in my first column on this topic, I'm not a big fan of musicals; there are only a few I like. However, I know others like them (love them to bits in some cases), so I'll see what I can find that won't make me gag.

This won't be like most columns about musicals.

One musical I really like is “The Music Man.” I see that they've remade this with Matthew Broderick as Professor Harold Hill. Oh come on. What were they thinking?

It's also about half as long again as the original film. I started watching it and gave up after about quarter of an hour. If you've not seen “The Music Man,” go straight to the original with ROBERT PRESTON and Shirley Jones.

Robert Preston

I featured this musical first time around but I think it's worth another go (with a different song). Here is Robert with the most famous song from the musical, Seventy Six Trombones.

♫ Robert Preston - Seventy Six Trombones

Musicals come in all shapes and sizes. THE BEATLES created a wonderful one on the smell of an oily rag and a brilliant director in Richard Lester.


For those who have been on Mars for the last 50 years, I'm talking about "A Hard Day's Night.” From that, the Fabs perform And I Love Her.

♫ The Beatles - And I Love Her

"The Firefly" is an operetta that first saw the light of day in 1912. It was transformed into a musical by removing most of the plot and adding a new song. That song is The Donkey Serenade.

ALLAN JONES was in the film of the musical (along with Jeanette MacDonald) and he had a hit with it. Film buffs will also remember Allan from the films "A Night at the Opera" and "A Day at the Races" with the Marx Brothers.

Allan Jones

♫ Allan Jones - The Donkey Serenade

I have never seen "The Sound of Music.” Initially, it was probably accidental that I missed it but now I plan to spend the rest of my life not seeing it, thus becoming the only person on the planet who hasn't clapped eyes on the thing.

You probably know me a bit by now and can anticipate that I won't feature something from the soundtrack. You're right.

Here's JOHN COLTRANE with My Favorite Things. The tune does go on for quite a while, something for which Coltrane was noted.


♫ John Coltrane - My Favorite Things

"Rose-Marie" was another operetta written by Rudolph Friml who was also responsible for "The Firefly.” This one appeared on Broadway in 1924 and it was made into a film a number of times but most famously in 1936 with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.

I won't use their version of the song you all know from that film. Instead, from a little later, here is SLIM WHITMAN with Indian Love Call.

Slim Whitman

♫ Slim Whitman - Indian Love Call

Most of the music for "Kismet" was pinched from the works of ALEXANDER BORODIN.

Alexander Borodin

About half the score of the musical was taken from The Polovtsian Dances from his opera “Prince Igor.” The rest came from his first two symphonies, his two string quartets and other minor works.

Alex was not only a composer but also a professor of chemistry who made a number of important discoveries in the field of aldehydes. He was also a doctor and a surgeon and he established medical courses for women at his university (something unheard of in Russia before he did it).

Besides all that he wrote really good tunes.

It's only fair that the “Kismet” music should return to its rightful place. The song This is my Beloved was set to the tune of the third movement of Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 in D Major.

♫ Borodin - String Quartet No. 2 in D Major (3)

ELVIS made a bunch of musicals, most of which you can safely ignore.

Elvis Presley

However, the first three or four films he made weren't too bad and had the best songs that appeared in his films. Probably the pick of them was "Jailhouse Rock.”

The title song is so well known I won't bother with it. It was even in another musical we have today, down there at the bottom. Instead here is Don't Leave Me Now.

♫ Elvis Presley - Don't Leave Me Now

The Broadway musical "Gay Divorce" gave us the song Night and Day, written by Cole Porter. A film was made and it was called "The Gay Divorcee" which starred FRED ASTAIRE and Ginger Rogers.

Fred Astaire

This isn't from the actual film but was something Fred recorded a couple of decades later and to my mind is a superior version. Of course, we don't have him dancing, but this is a music column.

♫ Fred Astaire - Night and Day

"Gigi" started life as a short novel by Colette. It was made into a film of the same name and it involves training Gilberte, generally known as Gigi, as a courtesan in Paris in the early years of the 20th Century.

I'm surprised that a film on such a topic could be made in Hollywood in the fifties, but it was.

I'll skip over most of the songs and land on one that's appropriate for all of us who read these columns. It is MAURICE CHEVALIER and HERMIONE GINGOLD with I Remember It Well.

Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold

♫ Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold - I Remember It Well

If Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney could make films about "putting on a show," so can later performers. I'm thinking in particular of "The Blues Brothers" (who made two of them but you can ignore the second one).

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd performed She Caught the Katy in the film. TAJ MAHAL did it earlier and did it better.

Taj Mahal

♫ Taj Mahal - She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride

ELDER MUSIC: Trad Revival

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

In the late fifties and the early sixties when the original rock & roll was on the wane and The Beatles hadn't yet resuscitated it, traditional jazz had a huge resurgence in Britain and Australia (and elsewhere as well).

This, of course, was the style of music played in New Orleans in the early years of the century (and elsewhere later). Today's column will feature music from that revival rather than the originators of the style, and they will be artists with whom I'm very familiar.

Thus you're getting mainly British and Australian acts today. If nothing else, this music will get your toes a'tapping.

I'll lead off with a group from England, CHRIS BARBER'S JAZZ BAND.

Chris Barber Jazz band

Like a couple of others featured today, they were blessed with having a fine female singer fronting the group, in this case it was OTTILIE PATTERSON.

Ottilie Patterson

Ottilie started as a blues singer in Northern Ireland and then joined Chris's band. She also married him (and later divorced him). She was one of the best at this kind of music. Here they are with Beale St. Blues.

♫ Chris Barber - Beale St. Blues

One of the finest exponents of this style at the time, and even today, came from the Netherlands and they are THE DUTCH SWING COLLEGE BAND.

Dutch Swing College

The group began in 1945 and quickly gained an international reputation and following. There has been, by necessity, a large turnover in membership - after all they've been going for almost 70 years. That's nearly as long as the Rolling Stones have been performing.

The College performs Willie the Weeper.

♫ Dutch Swing College Band - Willie The Weeper

ACKER BILK was given a clarinet by a friend who didn't want it.

Acker Bilk

Acker's first taste of this music was with Ken Colyer's band in London. He wasn't too impressed with the big smoke and went to Bristol where he became a member of the Bristol Paramount Jazz Band.

This group got a gig in Düsseldorf where they had to play for hours on end (and thus honing their skills), pretty much what The Beatles did a few years later.

On returning to Britain, Acker was the de facto leader of the group (and soon the real leader) and they recorded a tune called Stranger on the Shore which became a world-wide hit.

NOTE: For those who couldn't play this earlier, it now works.

♫ Acker Bilk - Stranger on the Shore

KENNY BALL took up the trumpet as a teenager during the war.

Kenny Ball

He worked semi-professionally at the time and started playing music full time in 1953. Kenny was a member of several bands until he started his own. He was one the leading lights of the revival and kept the flag flying for this music until he died in 2013.

He had a huge international hit with Midnight in Moscow.

♫ Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen - Midnight in Moscow

THE TEMPERANCE SEVEN usually had Plus Two added to their name. I guess because there were nine of them.

Temperance Seven

The Temps didn't take themselves too seriously, not surprising really, as they have links to a number of people who later became the Monty Python Flying Circus.

The three founder members were Paul McDowell who originally played trombone, Philip Harrison, who originally plucked the banjo, and Brian Innes. Quite obviously, more members joined over the years.

Here they play You're Driving Me Crazy with vocal refrain by Mr. Paul McDowell, as it says on the disk.

♫ The Temperance Seven - You're Driving Me Crazy

Now to the real thing. One of the few Americans I can remember playing in this style at the time (well, there was Louis too) is SIDNEY BECHET.

Sidney Bechet

Sidney was one of the real genuine Dixieland players from New Orleans and had a huge influence on the style. Alas, he died in 1959 but his records were still being played (perhaps because of that).

One of his most famous tunes is Petite Fleur.

♫ Sidney Bechet - Petite Fleur

In the early days of the sixties, we who lived south of the Yarra - that's the river that splits Melbourne in two - would take the train to South Yarra, there to visit the Yarra Yarra Jazz Club to see and hear the YARRA YARRA JAZZ BAND.

Yarra Yarra Jazz Band

We (the males) were snappily dressed in black tight pants, black pointy shoes, black socks and black skivvy. In winter we'd add a cardigan and if it was really cold, a black duffle coat.

We also affected a hair style that The Beatles stole from us a couple of years later. That is, those with straight hair did that. We curly tops did the best we could. Of course, when Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix made it big, we were the cool dudes.

An added attraction of the Yarra Yarras was the singer of the band, JUDY JACQUES. She was an extraordinary performer but that wasn't the only attraction she held for young lads.

Judy Jacques

Only a hint of Judy's live performances was captured on record – a slight glimmer towards the end of this tune, the old gospel standard, Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen.

♫ The Yarra Yarra Jazz Band (Judy Jacques) - Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen

These days JUDITH DURHAM is best known for her years as the singer for The Seekers.

Judith Durham

Before that she was more recognised in these parts as a jazz singer, particularly for her time with FRANK TRAYNOR'S JAZZ PREACHERS.

Frank Traynor

Frank started his own club called, not too surprisingly, Traynor's. I guess he figured he'd always have a place to play. It's still going today, although Frank died in 1985, and is still the go-to place for fine jazz in Melbourne.

Here is Frank and the band, with Judith singing Trombone Frankie, which references the man himself.

♫ Frank Traynor's Jazz Preachers (Judith Durham) - Trombone Frankie

Every weekday here in Melbourne in the early sixties, radio station 3XY had a jazz program at 7PM. Fortunately for my musical development, they weren't discriminating about what they played – Coltrane, Miles, Ray Charles, Lambert Hendricks and Ross and FRANK JOHNSON'S FABULOUS DIXIELANDERS. Many others as well, of course.

Frank Johnson

Frank played regularly around the traps back then – well, all those mentioned did that. We teenage lads really liked it when the station played Frank's version of Sweet Patootie (which was quite regularly – they knew their audience) as we thought it rather risqué.

♫ Frank Johnson - Sweet Patootie

THE RED ONIONS JAZZ BAND was a Melbourne institution.

Red Onions

However, when The Beatles and Stones hit, they saw the writing on the wall and put down their clarinets and trumpets and picked up electric guitars and basses and became The Loved Ones.

They were a lot more musically proficient than others who started playing rock & roll at the same time as they were already trained musicians. They were also blessed with having a lead singer who was as good as anyone in rock music.

The Loved Ones recorded a hugely influential album, had several top 10 records and imploded, not to be heard from again. This, though, is about the Red Onions with Buddy's Habit.

♫ Red Onion Jazz Band - Buddy's Habit

ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Favorite Baroque Pieces (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 radio station had a listeners' poll on their favorite Baroque (and earlier) pieces of music. These are the big guns, as selected by the listeners, and my goodness I find it a bit on the popular side (well, I guess that was the point of it after all).

However, as much as I admire Mr Handel, four selections seem a bit much considering Papa Bach only managed one.

Okay, counting down from 10 to 1.

10. THOMAS TALLIS - Spem In Alium


Not much is known about Tom's early life. He was probably born in 1505 and lived a long time – through the reigns of Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary and Elizabeth I. That's not counting Jane and Philip who might also be included by nitpickers.

Elizabeth granted him (and William Byrd) a really nice deal: they had exclusive rights to print any music in any language for 21 years. A nice little earner, that one.

In between, he wrote a lot of music, best known of which is Spem in alium. Here it is.

♫ Tallis - Spem in alium

9. GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL - Music for the Royal Fireworks


After The Messiah, the two best known works would be Music for the Royal Fireworks and Water Music. Not surprisingly, as this column is the result of a popular vote, both are included today.

First off is the Fireworks, the third movement.

♫ Handel - Music for the Royal Fireworks (3)

8. GEORGE HANDEL - Four Coronation Anthems


George again. There are four Coronation Anthems (the title probably gave that away) including the most famous of the lot, Zadok the Priest. In spite of its being played often, I still like it, even though I'm not into kings or gods.

♫ Handel - Zadok the Priest

7. HENRY PURCELL - Dido and Aeneas


Henry is considered the finest English composer ever, a big call as he was only 36 when he died. One theory of his demise is that his wife locked him out in the middle of winter after he returned late from the theatre and he caught a chill (or something worse).

Another theory is that it was tuberculosis that did him in. Before that he wrote vast amounts of music in all the styles of the day and a few he invented for himself.

One of those is the opera “Dido and Aeneas”, one of the very first English operas. From that is Thy hand, Belinda - When I am laid in earth sung today by the incomparable Jessye Norman.

Jessye Norman

♫ Purcell - Thy hand, Belinda ~ When I am laid in earth

6. JOHANN PACHELBEL - Canon and Gigue in D for violins and basso continuo


This was played a bit when Jo wrote it in 1694 for Johann Christoph Bach's wedding – he was J.S.'s oldest brother – and then put away and forgotten about for a couple of centuries until it was rediscovered in the 20th and has become extremely popular ever since.

I've omitted the Canon and have just included the Gigue.

♫ Pachelbel - Gigue

5. JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH - St Matthew Passion BWV 244


I decided to play this all the way through to see which bit I'd select. That'll put paid to the afternoon but there are worse ways to spend the day. (Time passes – a considerable amount of time).

Okay, I've settled on O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross.

♫ JS Bach - O Mensch, bewein dein Sünde gross

4. G. HANDEL - Water Music


Georgie once more. This time in an aquatic mode with the Gavotte from his Water Music Suite.

♫ Handel - Water Music Suite (Gavotte)

3. GREGORIO ALLEGRI - Miserere mei, Deus


There is a famous story about the Miserere. All the various popes since the time when Greg wrote the piece refused to allow anyone to perform it other than at the Sistine Chapel. No one was permitted to publish the work or copy it in any way.

This was under pain of excommunication (and probably worse, knowing of some of those popes at the time).

Anyway, one year Leopold Mozart and his 12-year-old son Wolfgang were visiting the city and went along to a performance. Upon returning home, young Wolfie wrote out the entire work from memory. He returned a couple of days later to ensure he got it right – only a couple of very minor corrections were needed, and the work subsequently became widely known.

I suppose this is the first instance of a teenager (or nearly so) illegally downloading music.

The complete Miserere is a bit long for this column, running around 15 minutes, so here is the first half of it (more or less) performed by the Choir of New College, Oxford.

♫ Miserere mei, Deus

2. ANTONIO VIVALDI - The Four Seasons


These are really just four violin concertos linked by a common theme. They are certainly Tony's most famous work and most often played (over-played, if you ask me).

I'm sure most of you would have at least a passing familiarity with these, so I'll do something different. In spite of these being written for violin and orchestra, I have a transcription for solo guitar. So I thought I'd play that instead.

Here is what would normally be called the Concerto no. 1 in E major, RV 269 (Spring), but in this case is just a guitar playing it. The first movement.

♫ Vivaldi - Concerto no. 1 in E-major, RV 269 (Spring)

1. Mr HANDEL - Messiah


Top of the pops is the big man himself with his best known work, The Messiah. Not all of it, but you can catch the lot every Christmas, or at least around my neck of the wood that is so.

The section I've chosen is aptly titled The Sound is Gone Out. Trevor Pinnock conducts The English Concert and Choir.

♫ Handel - The sound is gone out

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

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

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

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

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

20. CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI - Vespers of the Blessed Virgin


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

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

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

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

♫ Monteverdi - Psalm 109 (Dixit Dominus)

19. ARCANGELO CORELLI - 12 Concerti Grossi, Op 6


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

♫ JS Bach - Christe eleison

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


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

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

♫ JS Bach - Jesu bleibet meine Freude

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


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

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

♫ JS Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No 3 (1)



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

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

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

Nuria Rial

♫ Pergolesi - Cujus animam gementem

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


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

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

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

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

13. ANTONIO VIVALDI - Gloria RV 589


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

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

Here is Gloria in excelsis Deo from the Gloria.

Vivaldi - Gloria in excelsis Deo

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ JS Bach - Goldberg Variations (Variation 1)

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


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

♫ JS Bach - Concerto for Two Violins (3)

The top 10 will appear next week.

ELDER MUSIC: The Voice is the Thing

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

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

Jennifer Warnes

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

Here's that song.

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

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

Jessye Norman

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

♫ Jessye Norman - Between Yesterday And Tomorrow

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

Tanita Tikaram

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

♫ Tanita Tikaram - This Story In Me

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

Audrey Morris

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

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

♫ Audrey Morris - Guess Who I Saw Today

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

Janiva Magness

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

♫ Janiva Magness - I Won't Cry

LINDA WRIGHT is a fine jazz singer from Louisiana.

Linda Wright

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

♫ Linda Wright - Satin Doll

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

Missy Andersen

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

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

♫ Missy Andersen - No Regrets

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

Bonnie Raitt

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

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

♫ Bonnie Raitt - Guilty

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

Sarah Jane Morris

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

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

♫ Sarah Jane Morris - Wild Flowers

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

Tami Neilson

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

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

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

♫ Tami Neilson - Cry Over You

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

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

♫ Tami Neilson - Whiskey and Kisses

ELDER MUSIC: Not Rhymin', Simon

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

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

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

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

Okay, sharpen up your ears and have a listen.

I'll start with TRACY CHAPMAN.

Tracy Chapman

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

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

♫ Tracy Chapman - Fast Car

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

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

This time it's JOHNNY HARTMAN.

Johnny Hartman

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

♫ Johnny Hartman - Moonlight In Vermont

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

Fleetwood Mac

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

♫ Fleetwood Mac - Dreams

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

The Melodians

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

♫ The Melodians - Rivers of Babylon

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

Camper Van Beethoven

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

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

♫ Camper Van Beethoven - Take The Skinheads Bowling

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

Sheryl Crow

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

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

♫ Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do

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


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

♫ R.E.M. - Losing My Religion

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

Percy Sledge

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

♫ Percy Sledge - When A Man Loves A Woman

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

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

Velvet Underground

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

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

♫ Velvet Underground - Stephanie Says

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

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

Simon and Garfunkel

♫ Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge over Troubled Water

ELDER MUSIC: Answer Songs

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

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

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

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

Jim Reeves

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

♫ Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go

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

Jeanne Black

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

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

♫ Jeanne Black - He'll Have To Stay

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

Johnny Cash

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

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

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

Jerry Lee Lewis

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

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

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - Ballad Of Billy Joe

Even the great RAY CHARLES makes an appearance today.

Ray Charles

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

♫ Ray Charles - Hit The Road, Jack

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

Nina Simone

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

Nina's song is Come on Back, Jack.

♫ Nina Simone - Come On Back, Jack

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

Buddy Holly

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

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

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue

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

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

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

♫ Buddy Holly - Peggy Sue Got Married

It comes as no surprise that ELVIS is included today.

Elvis Presley

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

♫ Elvis Presley - Little Sister

LAVERN BAKER is Elvis's answerer.

LaVern Baker

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

♫ LaVern Baker - Hey Memphis

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

Neil Sedaka

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

♫ Neil Sedaka - Oh! Carol

The Carol mentioned was CAROLE KING.

Carole King

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

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

♫ Carole King - Oh Neil


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

What happened in 1975?

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

By 1975 THE EAGLES were the hottest band around.

The Eagles

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

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

♫ The Eagles - Lyin' Eyes

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

Freddy Fender

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

♫ Freddy Fender - Before The Next Teardrop Falls

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

Emmylou Harris

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

♫ Emmylou Harris - Before Believing

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


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

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

♫ Skyhooks - All My Friends Are Getting Married

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

Michael Martin Murphey

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

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

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Wildfire

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

Joan Baez

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

♫ Joan Baez - Blue Sky

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

The Band

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

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

♫ The Band - Rags and Bones

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

Judy Collins

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

♫ Judy Collins - The Lovin' of the Game

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

Jesse Colin Young

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

♫ Jesse Colin Young - Josiane

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

Elvis Presley

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

♫ Elvis Presley - If You Talk In Your Sleep

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

We return to normal service next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Songs with Street Names

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


(That's Beaconsfield Parade – see below)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Doors

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

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

♫ The Doors - Love Street

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

Shearing and Wilson

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

♫ George Shearing and Nancy Wilson - On Green Dolphin Street

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

John Hammond

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

♫ John Hammond - Fannin Street

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

Cab Calloway

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

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

♫ Cab Calloway - Beale Street Mama

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

Chet Atkins

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

♫ Chet Atkins - Main Street Breakdown

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

Dave Van Ronk

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

Anyway, Dave's contribution today is Sunday Street.

♫ Dave Van Ronk - Sunday Street

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

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

Joni Mitchell

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

♫ Joni Mitchell - In France They Kiss On Main Street

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

JJ Cale

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

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

♫ J.J. Cale - Cherry Street

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

Nat King Cole Trio

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

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Vine Street Jump

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

Julie London

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

♫ Julie London - Easy Street


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

What happened in 1974?

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

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

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

Bob Marley

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

♫ Bob Marley - No Woman, No Cry

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

Gordon Lightfoot

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

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Sundown

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

Maria Muldaur

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

♫ Maria Muldaur - Midnight at the Oasis

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

Terry Jacks

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

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

♫ Terry Jacks - Seasons In The Sun

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

Jesse Winchester

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

♫ Jesse Winchester - Mississippi You're on My Mind

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

Billy Joel

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

♫ Billy Joel - Piano Man

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

Tom Rush

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

♫ Tom Rush - Jenny Lynn

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

Jackson Browne

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

♫ Jackson Browne - For a Dancer

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

Ry Cooder

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

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

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

♫ Ry Cooder - Tattler

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

John Sebastian

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

♫ John Sebastian - Sportin' Life

1975 will appear in two weeks' time.

Tuesday 7 April 2015

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

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

So, happy birthday Ronni.

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


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

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

The Beatles

♫ The Beatles - Birthday

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

Bobby Charles

♫ Bobby Charles - Happy Birthday Fats Domino

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

Dutch Swing College

♫ Dutch Swing College - Birthday Blues

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

Pixies Three

♫ Pixies Three - Birthday Party

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

Thelonious Monk

♫ Thelonious Monk - Boo Boo's Birthday

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

John Hartford

♫ John Hartford - I Shoulda Wore My Birthday Suit

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

The Tune Weavers

♫ The Tune Weavers - Happy Happy Birthday Baby

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


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

ELDER MUSIC: St Louis Blues

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

It's time for another variation on a song.

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

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

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

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

Billy Eckstine

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

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

♫ Billy Eckstine - St Louis Blues

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

Doc Watson

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

♫ Doc Watson - St Louis Blues

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

Big Joe Turner

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

♫ Big Joe Turner - St Louis Blues

MARIA MULDAUR has a variation on the theme.

Maria Muldaur

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

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

♫ Maria Muldaur - The Ghost of the St Louis Blues

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

Chuck Berry

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

♫ Chuck Berry - St Louis Blues

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

Asleep At The Wheel

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

Merle Haggard

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

♫ Asleep at the Wheel - St Louis Blues

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

Les Paul and Mary Ford

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

♫ Les Paul & Mary Ford - St Louis Blues

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

Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan

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

♫ Dave Brubeck & Gerry Mulligan - St Louis Blues

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

The Mills Brothers

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

♫ The Mills Brothers - St Louis Blues

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

W.C. Handy

♫ W C Handy and Orchestra - St Louis Blues


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

What happened in 1973?

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

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

Stevie Wonder

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

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

♫ Stevie Wonder - Living for the City

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

David Bowie

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

♫ David Bowie - Space Oddity

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

Dobie Gray

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

♫ Dobie Gray - Drift Away

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

Gladys Knight & the Pips

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

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

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

Van Morrison

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

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

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

♫ Van Morrison - Snow in San Anselmo

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

Jimmy Cliff

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

♫ Jimmy Cliff - Many Rivers to Cross

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

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

Billy Paul

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

♫ Billy Paul - Me and Mrs Jones

This was some year for ELTON JOHN.

Elton John

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

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

♫ Elton John - Daniel

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

Ike & Tina Turner

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

♫ Ike and Tina Turner - Nutbush City Limits

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

Jim Croce

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

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

♫ Jim Croce - Time In a Bottle

1974 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Jerusalem

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


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

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

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


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

♫ Odetta - O Jerusalem

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

Shawn Colvin

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

♫ Shawn Colvin - American Jerusalem

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ Gesualdo - Venit lumen tuum Jerusalem

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

Southern Jubilees

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

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

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

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

JS Bach

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

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

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

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

Don McLean

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

♫ Don McLean - Jerusalem

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

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

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

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

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

STEVE EARLE is multi-talented.

Steve Earle

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

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

♫ Steve Earle - Jerusalem

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

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

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

Lesley Garrett

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

♫ Lesley Garrett - Jerusalem

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

David Olney

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

♫ David Olney - Jerusalem Tomorrow


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

What happened in 1972?

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

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

Dr Hook

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

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

♫ Dr Hook - Sylvia's Mother

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

Albert Hammond

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

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

♫ Albert Hammond - It Never Rains in Southern California

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

Johnny Nash

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

♫ Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now

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

Rod Stewart

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

♫ Rod Stewart - You Wear It Well

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

The Temptations

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

♫ The Temptations - Papa Was a Rolling Stone

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

Don McLean

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

♫ Don McLean - Vincent

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

Billy Thorpe

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

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

♫ Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know

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

Gilbert O'Sullivan

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

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

♫ Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)

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

Ricky Nelson

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

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

♫ Ricky Nelson - Garden Party

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

Joe Tex

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

The song is I Gotcha.

♫ Joe Tex - I Gotcha

1973 will appear in two weeks' time.

ELDER MUSIC: Franz Schubert

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


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

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

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

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

♫ String Quartet No. 1 (2)

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

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


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

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

♫ German Dance No 1 in C major


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

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

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


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

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

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

The second is No. 32 in C Major.

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


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

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

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

♫ Die Verschworenen (Overture), D. 787

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

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

Jessye Norman

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

♫ Jessye Norman - An die Natur, D.372

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

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

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

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

♫ Symphony No. 5 (1)


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Marian Anderson

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

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

♫ Marian Anderson - Der Erlkonig