475 posts categorized "Elder Music"


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

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JAM was an occasional conglomeration of three musicians: KEVIN JOHNSON,

Kevin Johnson


Doug Ashdown


Mike McClellan

These three are probably the finest singer/songwriters Australia has produced (if you discount Paul Kelly and Glenn Cardier, which I am only for the purpose of this exercise).

They all began their serious performing and recording careers from the sixties to the early seventies and have continued to the present day, although Doug is pretty much retired and doesn't perform often these days.

Mike and Kev, however, are better than ever: it's the decades of performances that hone the skills. The three of them got together for some gigs around about 2001, and were a great combination.

As I mentioned, JAM really was only an occasional thing, they were all mostly solo performers. I've seen them in both categories although in his early days Kev usually had a full band with him.

So, let's run though them in order of their collective name, starting with KEVIN JOHNSON.

Kevin Johnson

Kev's biggest hit, one that has set him up for life because many people have recorded this song and most have sold pretty well, was Rock & Roll I Gave You the Best Years of my Life. I've used that song in a couple of columns, so I'll go with another one from the same album.

This one is Bonnie Please Don't Go. This is about people leaving on ships rather than planes. Remember when people did that?

♫ Kevin Johnson - Bonnie Please Don't Go

DOUG ASHDOWN started as a rocker in Adelaide but became better known as part of the folkie scene in the sixties.

Doug Ashdown

He decided to become a professional songwriter and moved to Nashville with his co-writer and producer Jim Stewart. It was there they wrote Doug's most famous song, Leave Love Enough Alone, generally known as Winter in America, which he decided to record himself.

It was a considerable hit in his native country, to which he returned after the success of the song.

♫ Doug Ashdown - Winter In America

MIKE MCCLELLAN has been performing since the sixties and there's no sign of him slowing down.

Mike McClellan

He released his first album in the early seventies but his second "Ask Any Dancer" is the one that really established him. That one is a classic and contains so many great songs that he didn't need to release any more. Of course, he did.

From the album we have the story of Mike in song: Song and Danceman.

♫ Mike McClellan - Song and Danceman

KEVIN JOHNSON may be a Man Of The 20th Century, as his song posits.

Kevin Johnson

The sentiments are equally applicable to the current century. For most of the song he seems to be on a plane, that's something Australians take for granted, especially if they want to go somewhere else. People from other countries seem to grumble if it's suggested that they might want to come and visit us.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Man Of The 20th Century

I've seen all three performers many times and they mostly play solo with just an acoustic guitar. Late in the evening at some gigs DOUG ASHDOWN has been known to strap on a Fender Telecaster and play full tilt rock and roll.

Doug Ashdown

That's not what we have here. He usually performs the song Marianne without adornment. I prefer it that way, however, the only version I have is from his album from the seventies that has a band with added extras. They weren't needed.

♫ Doug Ashdown - Marianne

My favorite MIKE MCCLELLAN song, and that's really a hard call, would be Saturday Dance.

Mike McClellan

I originally had in this spot the version from his album mentioned above which had strings and heavenly choruses, the whole gamut. Just after I finished writing the column I bought a DVD of Mike playing at The Basement in Sydney with just an acoustic guitar.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I watched it over lunch and we both spontaneously applauded when this song finished. There might have been some Kleenex involved as well as some wine.

I hope you like it as much as we did. Here is that version, rather than the one from the album.

♫ Mike McClellan - Saturday Dance

If you listen to the words of KEVIN JOHNSON's song Grab the Money and Run, it seems to me that it would make a great film. It would be far from the first one made from a song.

Kevin Johnson

As far as I know no one has done that but you can imagine it as you listen carefully.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Grab The Money And Run

There are two songs that DOUG ASHDOWN has to sing whenever he performs.

Doug Ashdown

The first is the one featured at the top, the second is Willie's Shades. This is a version from one of his concerts, with Kirk Lorange playing lead guitar.

♫ Doug Ashdown - Willie's Shades

MIKE MCCLELLAN is still performing and recording. Indeed he's recently released a fine new album called "No Intermission".

Mike McClellan

His song isn't from that one, I thought I'd let you know in case you want to search for these albums. The song is Lovers Never Wind up Friends from earlier in his career.

♫ Mike McClellan - Lovers Never Wind Up Friends

JAM didn't ever record together but a couple of their performances were captured at the Troubadour Weekend back in 2001. This is Kevin with the others singing harmony and Kirk Lorange playing lead guitar. The song is Night Rider.

♫ Kevin Johnson (with Mike Doug & Kirk) - Night Rider

But wait there's more. When I mentioned to my friend Ann I was writing about JAM she sent me this track. It was also recorded at The Basement and it had the A.M. and me a'hoppin' and a'boppin' to it and we thought it should be included as a bonus track. Taking the Long Road Home.

♫ JAM - Taking The Long Road Home


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

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No introductory notes for 1925 as it was 20 years before I was born so I don't remember anything from that year.

FRANK CRUMIT was the first person to play the ukulele in a musical on Broadway.

Frank Crumit

Frank was originally going to be a doctor but switched to electrical engineering. That career didn't last long as he discovered music along the way. He thought of going into opera but that didn't work out. Somewhere he discovered the uke.

Here is probably the best known song about the instrument, Ukulele Lady.

♫ Frank Crumit - Ukulele Lady

From the ridiculous to the sublime, the great BESSIE SMITH.

Bessie Smith

Oh my goodness, this is superb: Careless Love Blues, a song that's been performed by countless people but none better than this.

♫ Bessie Smith - Careless Love Blues

There have been many really good versions of the Rodgers and Hart song Manhattan. This isn't one of them. It's by BEN SELVIN & THE KNICKERBOCKERS.

Ben Selvin

I can't think of anything positive to say about Ben's version except that it came from 1925.

♫ Ben Selvin & the Knickerbockers - Manhattan 1925

ETHEL WATERS was the first person, but far from the last, to record the song Dinah.

Ethel Waters

Apparently Ethel had a horrible childhood (she said she didn't have one really), and was married at 13 to an abusive husband. She got out of that and joined a vaudeville troupe.

After a bit she was performing with Bessie Smith who insisted that Ethel must not sing blues (we wouldn't want to upstage her), so she sang mostly pop songs and the like.

Eventually she found herself in New York and was a leading light in the Harlem Renaissance at the time. There's a lot more to her story, but we'll have to wait for another day.

♫ Ethel Waters - Dinah

THE HAPPINESS BOYS was a radio program in the early twenties that featured Billy Jones & Ernest Hare.

The Happiness Boys

They also recorded under that name which is why they are present today. Billy and Ernie were both trained opera singers and they would occasionally sing opera in a burlesque manner on their program. Their group name is from the fact that they were sponsored by the chain of Happiness Candy stores.

The song they sing today is still quite well known, it's Don't Bring Lulu.

♫ The Happiness Boys (Billy Jones & Ernest Hare) - Don't Bring Lulu

MARIAN ANDERSON recorded Nobody Knows the Trouble I Seen in this week's year.

Marian Anderson

However, for once I'm going against my policy of only using songs that were recorded, or released, in the particular year. I have that version but it's really scratchy.

This was another Marian made some time later and she is such an important musician, and person if it comes to that, that I feel you should hear how the song really should sound.

Marian Anderson - Nobody Knows the Trouble I See

JOHN MCCORMACK died the day I was born and obviously his singing talent passed on to me.

John McCormack

People who know me are now rolling around the floor laughing about that (including me, I hasten to add). John was an Irish tenor who later became an Australian tenor. He was a noted opera singer, but many of his recordings were of popular music, including this one, When You and I Were Seventeen.

John McCormack - When You and I Were Seventeen

VERNON DALHART was born Marion Try Slaughter. No wonder he changed his name.

Vernon Dalhart

Vernon received voice training at the Dallas Conservatory of Music and later he saw an advertisement for singers to record so he decided to check it out. He was auditioned by Thomas Edison himself and got a gig recording light classical pieces and dance band music.

The Prisoner's Song doesn't really fit into either category, so I guess he recorded other stuff as well.

Vernon Dalhart - The Prisoner's Song

We have two hugely important musicians this year, three maybe. The next one is PAUL ROBESON.

Paul Robeson

Paul was one of the most significant people of the 20th century and you don't need me to tell you about him. The only thing I'll say is that he was the first person to sing at the Sydney Opera House. That was when it was still a building site – he sang to the workers.

Today he sings the old spiritual, Steal Away.

Paul Robeson - Steal Away

MARION HARRIS was billed throughout her career as a jazz and blues singer.

Marion Harris

Perhaps things have changed over the years but she doesn't sound to me like either of those. She seems to be more a straight pop singer. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that when we've had Bessie and Ethel, she rather pales.

Anyway, she does a decent job of I'll See You In My Dreams.

♫ Marion Harris - I'll See You In My Dreams

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Gas Part 7

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

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I thought this series, named initially by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to highlight lesser known composers who are seldom heard on radio or in concert, would end after two or three, but that's not the case. There are always interesting composers around that aren't very well known.

Giacomo Puccini is one of the most famous classical composers; he created a bunch of the best loved (and best) operas ever, so he doesn't belong in this column. I just mentioned him because his dad was a bit of a composer as well.


Michele Puccini

The only thing I have of Mich's work is a Concertone for flute, clarinet, horn and keyed trumpet so I'll use that (well, that's pretty obvious).

The first two movements of this sound awfully like the overture to an opera. Maybe that's where young Gia got his inspiration. Instead, I'm using the third movement of that work. Actually, parts of this one also sounds a bit like opera music too.

♫ Michele Puccini - Concertone for flute clarinet horn and keyed trumpet (3)

Speaking of Puccinis, here's another one. This time it's DOMENICO PUCCINI.

Domenico Puccini

Dom was Mich's dad and his music is more in the mold of late classical – Haydn and early Beethoven – than the later operatic style of son and grandson. He was pretty much a contemporary of Beethoven's, although Ludwig outlived him by a bit over a decade.

Dom's contribution is the second movement of the Piano Concerto in B-flat major.

♫ Domenico Puccini - Piano Concerto in B-flat major (2)

Continuing the theme (which is a rather grand term for what is really a loose association), the next two composers were both princesses of Russia. I suppose if you were one of those you needed something to pass the time, particularly if you have the talent for it.

They both wrote singing things and we have the same singer in each case and the same instrumentalists as well. Not too surprising as they came from the same record.

Starting with NATALIA IVANOVA DE KOURAKINE (or Kourakin or Kourakina, take your pick). She hung around from 1755 to 1831, and apparently didn't stand still long enough to have her photo taken or picture painted.

Nat started out as Natalia Golovina and she married Prince Aleksei Borisovich Kurakin (when she was 16, but I guess that was the thing back then). He was a bigwig in the administration of Tsar Paul the first (until he fell out with him).

Nat was very well educated, spoke several languages, played the harp and guitar and sang. She also composed music, usually vocal with those two instruments accompanying.

Today we have Je Vais Donc Quitter pour Jamais. The soprano is ANNE HARLEY, guitarist OLEG TIMOFEYEV and violinist ETIENNE ABELIN.

Anne Harley & Oleg Timofeyev & Etienne Abelin

♫ Natalia Kourakine - Je Vais Donc Quitter pour Jamais

VARVARA DOLGOROUKY was also a Russian princess of some sort and lived from 1769 to 1849. That's about the sum total of information I've been able to find. Also, no picture of her either.

Her music is called Thémire Fuit and it has the same performers as the previous one.

Varvara Dolgorouky - Thémire Fuit

You'd think there was a connection between the next two, after all, they both have the same surname, both were born in Germany about roughly the same time, but that's it I'm afraid. No relation that I can find, but I'm including them both anyway.

The first is GEORG SCHNEIDER, born the same year as Beethoven.

Georg Schneider

Georg's main instrument was the horn, but he was proficient on others, particularly the violin, as well. He started out as court composer for Prince Frederick Henry Louis of Prussia, but when Napoleon invaded, he (Georg), fortuitously, was in Vienna where he decided to stay.

In spite of being contemporaneous with Beethoven, his music is much closer to the earlier composers Haydn and Mozart. That's fine by me. This is the first movement of his Flute Quartet in G minor, Op. 69 No. 3.

♫ Georg Schneider - Flute Quartet in G minor Op. 69 No. 3 (1)


Friedrich Schneider

Boy, old Fred looks like a rock musician from the sixties. He was an organist and a pianist, and he played piano at the premier performance of Beethoven's fifth piano concerto (the Emperor).

He wrote music for the piano, operas, masses, cantatas and symphonies (amongst a lot of other things). From his Symphony No 17 in C minor, this is the second movement.

♫ Friedrich Schneider - Symphony No 17 (2)

You'd imagine that poor old ANTON FERDINAND TITZ would have been teased mercilessly when he was at school, he certainly would have been if he lived in Australia or America.

Ferdinand Titz

However, we're above that sort of thing. So, old Titzie (sorry, I mean Anton) was from Nuremburg and he started out as a painter. He switched to music and became the organist at the local church. He also played the violin and viola d'amore.

For the last 40 years of his life he lived in St Petersburg where he was in the employ of Catherine II. A lot of his music has been lost and little of the remaining has been recorded. This is one of those, the fourth movement of the String Quartet in C minor, Op. 1 No. 4.

Ferdinand Titz - String Quartet in C minor Op. 1 No. 4 (4)

Now we have an interesting pair of instruments, the horn and cello. The person who put those together is FRÉDÉRIC DUVERNOY.

Frederic Duvernoy

Fred hit his peak around the time of the French revolution, probably not an auspicious time to do that. However, he survived and was in the orchestra that Napoleon had for his delectation along with his brother (that's Fred's brother) who played the clarinet.

He wrote quite a bit of music, mostly concertos and chamber works, but others as well. Here is the third movement of his Sonata No. 1 for Horn & Cello

Frederic Duvernoy - Sonata No. 1 for Horn & Cello (3)

You can tell by all the consonants in her name that MARIA SZYMANOWSKA was Polish.

Maria Szymanowska

Rather surprisingly for the time (late 18th, early 19th century), she made her living as a concert pianist and toured extensively throughout Europe. She eventually retired to St Petersburg where she spent the rest of her life composing music, performing and giving piano lessons.

Her compositions were mostly for the piano, and often quite short. Here is an example, Waltz No 1 in E-flat major.

Maria Szymanowska - Waltz No 1 in E-flat major

ANTONIO XIMÉNEZ was born into a family of musicians in Spain. Sorry, we don't know what he looks like. He toured extensively playing violin for an opera company, but they got into trouble because they were considered too frivolous.

Antonio wasn't affected by this and he was invited by King Carlos III to play for him. He remained there for the rest of his life, playing and composing. One such composition is his Guitar Trio No. 1 in D major, the first movement.

♫ Antonio Ximénez - Guitar Trio No. 1 in D major (1)

ELDER MUSIC: Better Than Bob?

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

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Whenever a headline in a newspaper ends with a question mark, the answer is always an emphatic "No!", and so it is today.

I'm always happy to produce a column featuring the songs of the finest songwriter from the second half of the twentieth century (and continuing into the twenty-first).This isn't the first time I've done this.

My preference is for him to perform the songs but there are some, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist among them, who contend that others perform them better than he does.

I don't generally subscribe to that thesis but I will admit that some others have produced fine versions of his songs and even a couple, I'll admit, that are better. Here are some of the better ones; I'll leave it up to you to decide if these artists perform Bob Dylan's songs better than he does.

My inspiration for the column was hearing DAVE ALVIN perform Highway 61 Revisited.

Dave Alvin

It's not one of Bob's songs that has been covered very often (okay, Johnny Winter springs to mind), and Dave's version I find particularly interesting. Perhaps it's the dichotomy of his fine baritone voice over a full tilt rock band that does it for me. Whatever it is, here's Dave.

♫ Dave Alvin - Highway 61 Revisited

Bob recorded the song Wallflower on a Doug Sahm album called "Doug Sahm and Band" where Doug managed to get some heavy hitters along to record with him. That's the only place where Bob's version appears (apart from the now ubiquitous "Bootleg" series of albums of his).

Others have tackled the song since; one of those versions is by THE HOLMES BROTHERS.

Holmes Brothers

This fine group consisted of Sherman and Wendell Holmes plus Popsy Dixon. They sound as if they should be a gospel group, and they did sing some of that, but they mostly performed soul, blues and even country music. Alas, as of the writing of this column, Sherman is the only survivor.

♫ The Holmes Brothers - Wallflower

GORDON LIGHTFOOT rarely recorded anyone else's songs.

Gordon Lightfood

He made an exception with Bob. Bob returned the favor and has recorded a couple of Gordie's tunes. Indeed, Bob is reported to have said that Gordie was his main rival in the songwriting department back when they were starting out.

Anyway, here's Gordie performing Ring Them Bells, one of Bob's lesser known songs. Gordie makes it sound like one of his own.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Ring Them Bells

The terrific duo of RODNEY CROWELL and EMMYLOU HARRIS can be counted on to make even inferior songs sound good. Bob's songs don't fall into that category.

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

Before he went out as a solo artist, Rodney was a member of Emmy's band, not just playing and singing, but writing songs that she recorded to great acclaim. Since then he has recorded them himself. Today, though, it's about Bob and the song they sing is Shelter from the Storm.

♫ Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris - Shelter from the Storm

ALAN PRICE started a group called The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo that later became The Animals.

Alan Price

He played keyboards, particularly the organ, an integral part of the music they made. Alan was instrumental in getting the group to the prominence it held in the sixties until a virtual coup d'état by the singer forced him out.

He later formed several other groups as well as performing with others such as Georgie Fame. Alan sings and plays a beautiful version of To Ramona.

♫ Alan Price - To Ramona

FAIRPORT CONVENTION had three of Bob's songs on their finest album, "Unhalfbricking".

Fairport Convention

For some reason, they sang one of those in French. Bands did pretentious things like that back then. This isn't that one, it's one they sing straight, Percy's Song.

♫ Fairport Convention - Percy's Song

There are two artists whose presence in this column you could pretty much guarantee, so I won't disappoint you. Here's the first, JOAN BAEZ.

Joan Baez

Farewell, Angelina was both the name of the song and the album from which it was taken.This was reasonably early in Joan's recording career but it gave hints of her move from straight folk songs to a more varied repertoire.

♫ Joan Baez - Farewell Angelina

RICHIE HAVENS made a name for himself covering songs written by Bob and The Beatles.

Richie Havens

He also made a name for himself for performing for three hours on the first day of the Woodstock festival when no other performer was in a fit state to go on. The song Just Like a Woman wasn't one he performed there, but it was on his fine early album "Mixed Bag".

♫ Richie Havens - Just Like a Woman

THEM was responsible for the classic rock song, Gloria.


They started out in Belfast and a young musician called Van Morrison joined them to play the saxophone. He soon took over as lead singer as well as their main songwriter.

Here is the young Van out front of Them singing It's All Over Now, Baby Blue.

♫ Them - It's all over now baby blue

We couldn't have a column about Bob's cover versions without THE BYRDS, the second mandatory inclusion.

The Byrds

Their song is from the time they, if not invented, were seriously involved in country rock. This was completely due to the influence of the tragic Gram Parsons. The song is You Ain't Goin' Nowhere.

♫ The Byrds - You Ain't Going Nowhere

ELDER MUSIC: A Bit of Jazz

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

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It's time for some more jazz. It may seem to you that these performers were chosen at random. You wouldn't be too far from the truth.

I was wandering through my jazz catalogue in search of something interesting and when something struck my fancy I put it in. Actually, I had about 30 tracks so I had to go through and take some out again, see which fitted best. This is the result.

Of course, those other tracks will turn up in another column one day. Waste not, want not.

CURTIS COUNCE was a bass player who was best known for playing bebop and hard bop (whatever that is).

Curtis Counce

Unfortunately he died of a heart attack when he was only 37. Before that (well, of course before that, dummy) he recorded several albums as leader of his group and a bunch more as sideman.

Here with his own group that included Jack Sheldon on trumpet, Harold Land on Sax, Carl Perkins (presumably not the rock and roll singer) on piano and Frank Butler on drums. This is a tune you'll know: Stranger In Paradise.

♫ Curtis Counce - Stranger In Paradise

CHUCK WAYNE was a jazz guitarist, one of the first to play bebop.

Chuck Wayne

He played with and was greatly influenced by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. His first major gig was with Woody Herman and he was the first guitarist in George Shearing's group. Later he was musical director and accompanist for Tony Bennett.

His style was a major influence on later jazz guitarists. Chuck plays Taking A Chance On Me.

♫ Chuck Wayne - Taking A Chance On Me

Bill Evans wrote the tune Waltz for Debby and it became one of his best known compositions. Later Gene Lees put words to it and today, singing those words, we have the incomparable JOHNNY HARTMAN.

Johnny Hartman

On this version Hank Jones played piano, rather than Bill, and he does an admirable job.

♫ Johnny Hartman - Waltz for Debby

TEDDY CHARLES was classically trained at Juilliard as a percussionist.

Teddy Charles

His main instrument as a jazz player was the vibraphone but he also played piano and drums. From one of his least known albums "Coolin'" we have him smacking those vibes, with the help of several others, with Reiteration.

♫ Teddy Charles - Reiteration

LOU DONALDSON is yet another alto saxophone player who was influenced by Charlie Parker – well, most of them were.

Lou Donaldson

Later Lou was also influenced by rhythm and blues but he still seems more bebop to my ears. Before he went in that direction he recorded an album called "Lou Takes Off" that the record company didn't like but the public and the critics for once agreed that it was a fine piece of work.

From that we have Dewey Square. Along with Lou there's Donald Byrd on trumpet, Curtis Fuller on trombone and Sonny Clark playing piano.

♫ Lou Donaldson - Dewey Square

The MODEST JAZZ TRIO shouldn't be confused with the similarly named Modern Jazz Quartet. It seems they are so modest they don't want their photo taken. I know someone else like that. This is the only one I could find of them.

Modest Jazz Trio

The MJT was the brainchild of the late great guitarist Jim Hall. The other two are Red Mitchell on piano (who is best known for playing the bass) and Red Kelly on bass. It's the same instrumentation as one of the greatest groups of all time, the Nat King Cole Trio but without a singer of Nat's quality.

That doesn't matter as they play really well and nobody sings, as you'll hear on I Remember You.

♫ Modest Jazz Trio - I Remember You

MAX ROACH was another classically trained percussionist, and he was the drummer you had to have if you were playing bebop in the fifties and sixties.

He played with everyone at the time – Diz, Bird, Monk, Miles, Bud and on and on. He has also led his own groups over the years. One of those recorded the album "Jazz in ¾ Time".

Max Roach

He had the great Sonny Rollins on this one playing sax and Bill Wallace tinkling the ivories. Blues Waltz.

♫ Max Roach - Blues Waltz

ELLYN RUCKER was classically trained on piano.

Ellyn Rucker

Like many others she discovered jazz and switched to that style of music. She not only plays piano, she's a pretty marvellous singer as well. Her piano playing reminds me of Bill Evans, and there's no higher praise then that.

On this track she has the help of Pete Christlieb on tenor sax. The track is The Night Has 1000 Eyes - not the Bobby Vee pop song.

♫ Ellyn Rucker - The Night Has 1000 Eyes

Amanda Petrusich, writing in The New Yorker, reported that jazz fan Jeff Caltabiano wants to rename the Williamsburg Bridge, the SONNY ROLLINS Bridge. That probably won't happen – even Jeff admits it.

He did say, however, that there should be a plaque on the bridge celebrating Sonny's music. This is because for about three years, back at the turn of the fifties into the sixties, Sonny used to practise playing his sax on the bridge rather than disturb his neighbours. Apparently there was less pedestrian traffic back then.

Before that time, Sonny recorded an album called "Way Out West" and from that we have the old tune, I'm an Old Cow Hand.

Sonny Rollins

Sonny seems an unlikely cowboy, but he sure can play that saxophone. He has the help of Ray Brown on bass and Shelly Manne on drums.

♫ Sonny Rollins - I'm An Old Cowhand

Is it just me, or does ANDY BEY sound like Tony Bennett? Could do worse.

Andy Bey

Andy started out in a trio with his two sisters. They were reasonably successful, toured Europe, performed with Chet Baker and made a couple of albums. As a solo performer, Andy has worked with Horace Silver, Stanley Clarke and (a surprise to me) Nick Drake.

He's made more than a dozen albums, including "The World According to Andy Bey" from which The Joint is Jumpin' was taken.

♫ Andy Bey - The Joint Is Jumpin'

ELDER MUSIC: The Jealous Kind

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

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"O beware my lord of jealousy! It is the green eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on".

That, of course, was from the greatest play about jealousy, Othello. So, the green-eyed monster rears its head today. Actually, I've always had a problem with that phrase as my eyes are green and I always think they are talking about me. Okay, that could be so, but let's skip over that and get to the music.

Possibly the most famous song on the topic was by JOHN LENNON.

John Lennon

From his best selling album as a solo performer, "Imagine", we have the song Jealous Guy. This was later covered by Bryan Ferry and Donny Hathaway. Donny's version wasn't bad, but neither is as good as John's.

♫ John Lennon - Jealous Guy

LES PAUL AND MARY FORD seem quite perky about it all.

Les Paul Mary Ford

Of course, Mary (double or triple tracking herself) doesn't seem to be jealous of anyone in particular, it's more about horticulture and such things as far as I can tell. Les plays his usual splendid guitar but it sounds as if they pinched Lawrence Welk's bubble machine. The song is Jealous.

♫ Les Paul & Mary Ford - Jealous

In total contrast, LULA REED really has the blues.

Lula Reed

Lula started her professional musical career as the featured singer in Sonny Thompson's band. Later, when she went solo, Sonny was still along to supply backing. They later married. Her song is Jealous Love and I assume Sonny is in there somewhere. I hope the song isn't about themselves.

♫ Lula Reed - Jealous Love

To the title of the column. It was a really tough call to determine which version of The Jealous Kind to use. Okay, I'm lying to you as I knew immediately which one I was going to include.

This song, written by Bobby Charles who did his own fine version, has many great covers – Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Johnny Adams and Clarence (Frogman) Henry all would have been an automatic inclusion if DELBERT MCCLINTON hadn't recorded the song.

Delbert McClinton

Delbert is a superb interpreter of songs (and he he's a good writer of them as well), and that's all I need to say.

♫ Delbert McClinton - The Jealous Kind

From the sublime to the pretty good. Okay, TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD has a technically better voice than Delbert, but I'd rather listen to Delbert.

Tennessee Ernie Ford

I'm sorry if it sounds as if I'm denigrating you, Ernie, I'm not. It's just that someone has to follow Delbert, and you lost the toss. Here is Jealous Heart.

♫ Tennessee Ernie Ford - Jealous Heart

Some of you might be expecting this next one, so I don't want to disappoint you. Here is FRANK SINATRA.

Frank Sinatra

Frank's recorded so many songs that I imagine there'd be one for any topic I could conceive of. In this case he sings Hey Jealous Lover.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Hey Jealous Lover

The song from PATTI PAGE called My Jealous Eyes had one really good thing going for it.

Patti Page

I'm talking about the original 45 release of the song. The thing about it was that if you played it, it means you weren't playing the flip side of the record. On that other side there was a song about a window, a dog and probably some money was involved. That's all I'm going to say about that.

♫ Patti Page - My Jealous Eyes

MUDDY WATERS goes all out with Jealous Hearted Man.

Muddy Waters

That's probably because he was reinvigorating his career when Johnny Winter recorded him, and played on the album, after Muddy seemed to be losing the ear of the public. The album "Hard Again" stopped the rot, as it were, and put him back on the charts and won him a Grammy.

♫ Muddy Waters - Jealous Hearted Man

After all the downers we've had so far I'll end with a couple that will really get your toes a'tapping, and you can't beat tapping toes on a Sunday morning.

There were a couple of good versions of the next song, I had to play them several times to determine which to include. They all tried to sound like Elvis and the backing group sounded like The Jordanaires in each case. Indeed, I wouldn't be surprised if it was them as they were the go-to backup singers at the time. Eventually, I settled on BOBBY COMSTOCK.

Bobby Comstock

Bobby not only sounds like Elvis, the song sounds to me like Teddy Bear. Well, if you're going to rip off someone, go for the best. This is Jealous Fool.

♫ Bobby Comstock - Jealous Fool

In the last years of his life, LEVON HELM, drummer, singer and player of other instruments for The Band, held regular concerts, jams, get-togethers in his barn in Woodstock, New York.

Levon Helm

Musicians who were in the area were roped in to perform. Actually, not much roping was required as pretty much everyone wanted to play with him.

One of the regular members of his group was LARRY CAMPBELL, also its guitarist and musical director. Besides that he sang occasionally, including on I’m a Jealous Man. Levon can be heard singing in the background, and drumming, of course.

Larry Campbell

♫ Larry Campbell - I’m a Jealous Man

ELDER MUSIC: 1961 Yet Again

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

* * *

There's a truism that the period between Buddy Holly dying, Elvis going into the army, Chuck Berry going to jail, Little Richard finding religion, Jerry Lee Lewis marrying his 13 year old cousin and the rise of the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the rest was a musical wasteland.

Today's column will put paid to that in no uncertain terms. Of course, I might be biased as this was the music that was around when I was in my mid-teens, the time when that sort of thing gets seriously imprinted on one's brain.

There's no better way to start the year than with the incomparable BEN E KING.

Ben E King

Ben first came to my notice as the lead singer of the Drifters. He then had a successful solo career. One of his first hits was one of the finest songs from that time, Spanish Harlem.

It was written by written by Jerry Leiber and Phil Spector and produced by Jerry and his usual writing partner Mike Stoller, not by Spector who was more noted as a producer than a song writer (if you can follow all that).

♫ Ben E King - Spanish Harlem

Another great singer from the period is GENE MCDANIELS.

Gene McDaniels

Gene started out as a jazz singer and that's where he ended up. However, around this time he was persuaded to sing some pop songs. Naturally, he did them better than most of the other singers who were around at the time. This is one of his big hits, Tower of Strength.

♫ Gene McDaniels - Tower of Strength

The Beatles had a big hit with this next song, but THE MARVELETTES did it first and did it better.

The Marvelettes

They had other songs that made the charts but the one for which they are most remembered is Please, Mr. Postman.

♫ The Marvelettes - Please Mr. Postman

CURTIS LEE left his native Arizona and went to New York to break into the music industry.

Curtis Lee

He initially found a little success writing songs with Tommy Boyce (who later became hugely successful in that area with his later writing partner Bobby Hart). Curtis recorded some songs under the direction of Phil Spector that became hits.

Later, without Phil's direction, the hits dried up and Curtis left the music biz. One of his biggies is Pretty Little Angel Eyes.

♫ Curtis Lee - Pretty Little Angel Eyes

FLOYD CRAMER was the go-to man whenever a pianist was needed on a country music recording.

Floyd Cramer

Floyd also recorded a few tracks himself, some of which made the charts. This is one such, an instrumental called On the Rebound. He had a distinctive style and you could always tell when he was present on a record. He was one of the great studio musicians.

♫ Floyd Cramer - On The Rebound

Billy CRASH CRADDOCK was a huge success in Australia, much more so than in his native country.

Crash Cradock

Because of that he toured here often. He later became a successful country singer but he will always be remembered in Oz for his many hits from the time. One of those is One Last Kiss. Bobby Vee was another who made the charts with this one.

♫ Crash Craddock - One Last Kiss

CLARENCE (FROGMAN) HENRY is another fine musician from New Orleans.

Clarence Frogman Henry

His first hit, Ain't Got No Home, was essentially improvised in the recording studio. It was from that song that he gained his nickname. He later toured with The Beatles. After all that he had his own club in New Orleans where he'd perform now and then.

He still appears in festivals (as of the writing of this column). A song of his from 1961 is But I Do, written by Bobby Charles.

♫ Clarence (Frogman) Henry - But I Do

My goodness, ADAM WADE had a great voice. Still does, as far as I can tell.

Adam Wade

Adam started out as a lab assistant to Jonas Salk on the polio research team. He left that to pursue a career in music. He had a number of hits around this time and later turned to television and films. One from this year is Take Good Care of Her.

♫ Adam Wade - Take Good Care Of her

I'm rather surprised that I didn't include this next song in either of the previous incarnations of 1961. I'm going to correct that oversight with THE SHIRELLES.

The Shirelles

I'm also talking about their biggest hit, at least it was around where I lived. I've always put them at the top of my list of female singing groups from the time. Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

♫ The Shirelles - Will You Love Me Tomorrow

I don't know if EDEN KANE was known in America, but he had a major success in both Britain and Australia with the song Well I Ask You.

Eden Kane

Eden was born in India and both his parents were classically trained musicians. He had two older brothers (Peter and Clive Sarstedt) with whom he also collaborated. Peter also had success with the song Where Do You Go to (My Lovely).

Eden (real name Richard Sarstedt) was the first of the brothers to hit the pop charts with this song.

♫ Eden Kane - Well I Ask You

I have a bonus track. Quite some time ago I rediscovered a song from my past, one I hadn't heard or thought about for decades, and thought, "Oh, I have to include that in a column". I found that it was from 1961 and as I hadn't created a third incarnation of the year at the time, that'd be where I would put it.

Time passed and I remembered that I was going to produce a 1961 column but I had forgotten about the catalyst for it. It was only later when I finished that I remembered.

Rather than throw something out, I've included it as an extra. Now, once you hear what it is, you might wonder why I bothered. That's 1961 for you. Here is PAUL EVANS with Show Folk.

Paul Evans

♫ Paul Evans - Show Folk

ELDER MUSIC: Even More Hooked on Classics

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

* * *

This is really classical music, nothing to do with the dreadful series of records that came out many years ago with that name. The name of the original column was suggested by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist. Over time when I hear something I like, I save it. When I have enough for a column, it magically appears (if only). Let the magic begin.

RALPH VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS was offered a knighthood several times during his life and he refused each time. I applaud him and that alone is enough to get him into one of my columns. However, this is a music column so that will do for my commentary.

Ralph Vaughan-Williams

Ralph wrote some beautiful music - The Lark Ascending and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis immediately come to mind. I'm not using either of those. Instead, here is something out of left field.

The tuba isn't used very often as a featured instrument. Before I found this I wouldn't have been able to name one instance. However, thanks to Ralph, we have a Tuba Concerto in F Minor, the second movement.

♫ Vaughan-Williams - Tuba Concerto (2)

Given his ubiquity these days, it might seem surprising that from soon after his death until the twentieth century, ANTONIO VIVALDI was completely unknown.


Even now new works of his are being discovered in attics and toolsheds (okay, perhaps not those places, but they are being found). One composition that was known and performed in his lifetime is "Juditha Triumphans", an oratorio celebrating the victory of Venice against the Turks, and the recapture of the island of Corfu.

From that we have Juditha’s aria Transit aetas, performed by JOHANNETTE ZOMER.

Johannette Zomer

There's some mandolin work going on as well.

♫ Vivaldi - ‘Juditha Triumphans’ RV 644 Juditha’s arias ~ ‘Transit aetas’ for soprano mandolin & strings

I've never been a big fan of FRANZ LISZT, he's a bit too much of a show-off for my taste. Obviously, many others think differently as he's very popular, but that's alright.


He was the rock star of his day and could show any of the modern musicians a thing or two in that regard. As you all no doubt know, his main instrument was the piano for which he wrote many compositions.

One of his compositions I like a bit is La Campanella in G Sharp Minor, although even this one has a bit too much extreme right hand work for my taste. This is from a series of six études for the piano based on compositions by Paganini. The pianist is Lang Lang.

♫ Liszt - La campanella in G Sharp Minor

GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN was the most prolific composer in history – he wrote more compositions than anyone, thousands, and they were all at least good, and many magnificent.


In spite of all that, he only wrote one viola concerto. Indeed, he is the first to have written one of those. His good friend Johann Sebastian Bach obviously listened closely to this as he wrote some violin concertos that sound almost identical, well, to the fourth movement anyway.

That's what we are going to listen to, the fourth movement of Georg's Concerto for Viola, Strings and Continuo TWV 51-G9 in G.

♫ Telemann - Concerto for viola strings and continuo TWV 51-G9 in G (4)

CAMILLE SAINT-SAËNS showed early promise, not just as a musician, but in all academic studies - Greek and Latin, literature, mathematics, astronomy and so on. He retained an interest in all these throughout his life.


His musical instruction was at the Paris Conservatoire where he found fellow (later) composers César Franck, Georges Bizet and Adolphe Adam. Camille later taught as well, and one of his pupils, Gabriel Fauré, became a life-long friend.

Camille's best known works are his Organ Symphony and the musical suite Carnival of the Animals. Those don't float my boat.

What does, though, is the Romance for Horn & Piano, Op.67, here performed by two of the finest musicians from the last 50 years - BARRY TUCKWELL on French horn and VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY playing piano.

Barry Tuckwell & Vladimir Ashkenazy

♫ Saint-Saëns - Romance for Horn & Piano Op.67

JOHANN FRIEDRICH FASCH was born in a small town just outside Weimar in 1688.

Friedrich Fasch

Later he travelled throughout what is now Germany and held a number of musical positions in various towns and cities. He was once offered the job of Kapellmeister and court composer in Prague but he turned it down. That went to the second-best applicant, J.S. Bach.

He wrote many cantatas, symphonies, concertos and chamber music but none of his music was published in his lifetime. It's all been discovered since. Not all; it's thought that quite a lot has been lost.

Something that hasn't is the Concerto for Bassoon, Two Oboes, Strings and Basso Continuo in C minor, FWV L c2. This is the first movement.

♫ Fasch - Concerto for bassoon, 2 oboes strings and basso continuo in C minor (1)

It's not surprising that today's musical offering from BEETHOVEN features the piano. After all, he was the greatest composer for that instrument who ever strode the planet.


However, it isn't one of his famous sonatas or concertos. It's a piano trio, so there's a clarinet and cello along for the ride. It was written early on when he was still living in Bonn, where he was born, before he moved to Vienna to become the most famous composer in history.

Here is the third movement of the Piano Trio in B-flat major, Op. 11.

♫ Beethoven - Piano Trio in B-flat major Op. 11 (3)

CÉSAR FRANCK, or to give him his full first name, César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck, was born in what's now Belgium but was then part of the Netherlands. However, he spent most of his life zipping around France.

Cesar Franck

Besides being a composer, he was considered to be a master of the organ and piano. As well, he had a reputation as a great improviser on both instruments. A century later he could have played jazz. He eventually settled down and became a professor at the Paris Conservatoire.

His compositions were the usual symphonies, chamber music and piano pieces. Besides those, he wrote the communion anthem Panis Angelicus. We have the sublime CECILIA BARTOLI singing that with harp, cello and organ playing along.

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Franck - Panis angelicus

These days, GIOACHINO ROSSINI is best known, maybe only known, for his operas. Perhaps even just for the overtures to those - think "The Thieving Magpie", "The Barber of Seville", "William Tell" (the A.M. insisted I mention the Lone Ranger at this point, but I'm above that sort of thing).


However, he wrote other works, some of which I'm amazed are not more well known or popular. One (or some, he wrote six of these) is what he called a string sonata. This is really a string quartet under a different name, with a double bass substituting for the viola.

He wrote all six of these when he was just 12 years old and before he had started formally studying music. What were you doing when you were 12?

The photo above was taken when he was a little older than that. The third movement of String Sonata No.3 in C Major.

♫ Rossini - String Sonata No.3 (3)

ELDER MUSIC: Twilight Zone

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

* * *

”There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call The Twilight Zone.”

They're Rod Serling's words, not mine, and they mean that it's twilight time.

Naturally, I'll start this column with THE PLATTERS, as they have the best twilight song that I know about.

The Platters

As I've said before (because I can't think of anything original to say), The Platters were by far the best vocal group in the fifties. This is one of their biggest hits, one that most of you will know. Twilight Time.

♫ The Platters - Twilight Time

The Band recorded a song called Twilight for their "Islands" album, their "financial obligation" record. It didn't appear on the original LP, and I've always wondered why as it's a better song than any of those that did.

It did appear on the rereleased CD with all the extras. RICK DANKO was the singer for the song.


Later, he recorded it a couple more times, one of which I think was better than he did with The Band. This is from one of the albums he made with Eric Andersen and Jonas Fjeld under the name Danko-Fjeld-Andersen. Here is that version.

♫ Danko-Fjeld-Andersen - Twilight

It's difficult to know what to say about ART PEPPER.

Art Pepper

He recorded a number of fine albums and played in Stan Kenton's and Buddy Rich's bands. However, all that was punctuated with a number of spells in prison for drug-related offences. What a waste of time and talent.

We have his records though, and his tune is Blues at Twilight.

♫ Art Pepper - Blues At Twilight

At the behest of the Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I quite agree with her because I hadn't thought of it, we have the next song in place of the one I had originally included. The singers are JO STAFFORD and GORDON MACRAE.

Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae

I didn't think of it as it doesn't have twilight in the title, however, it's certainly a twilight song. I'm talking about Love's Old Sweet Song. This is occasionally called Just a Song at Twilight.

♫ Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae - Love's Old Sweet Song

It's a bit hard to categorise KEIKO MATSUI.

Keiko Matsui

That's no bad thing in my opinion, I don't like pigeon-holing music. Keiko is ostensibly a jazz pianist but she brings elements of rock, classical and other genres into her music, as will be demonstrated by her contribution today, The Edge of Twilight.

♫ Keiko Matsui - The Edge of Twilight

Given the name of the column, we have to have a song that references the twilight zone, and it falls to CHUCK BERRY to do that.

Chuck Berry

Chuck's song is I'm In the Twilight Zone, not one of his biggest hits.

♫ Chuck Berry - I'm In The Twilight Zone

I need no excuse to include JULIE LONDON.

Julie London

Fortunately, she has a twilight song. It's from her album where she sang a song about each month of the year, useful to me way back when I did a column on the same topic. Julie sings November Twilight.

♫ Julie London - November Twilight

The DESERT ROSE BAND was really just two of my favorite singers from two of my favorite bands with some backup musicians.

Desert Rose Band

They are Chris Hillman from The Byrds and Herb Pedersen from The Dillards. These days they don't even pretend to be a band, they just perform as a duo. They harmonize wonderfully together, and that's not surprising as both bands were noted for that. Here they are with Twilight Is Gone.

♫ Desert Rose Band - Twilight Is Gone

SAM COOKE is rather out of his comfort zone with his song.

Sam Cooke

It sounds as if it could have come from western movie – perhaps it did, although I wasn't familiar with the song until I selected it. I could find out, but I'd rather just play it. Twilight on the Trail.

♫ Sam Cooke - Twilight On The Trail

There was considerable turnover of musicians in this spot. Initially, it was a tossup between Van Morrison and Dr John, but they both got the chop because, really surprisingly for those two fine musicians, their songs weren't very good.

Lou Reed took their place and he was there for quite a while. His song was good for the first half, but then he turned up his amplifier just to annoy us.

It was actually a few weeks later that I thought, "Why didn't I use DAVID LINDLEY with his song Tiki Torches At Twilight?"

David Lindley

The corollary is: why didn't it come up when I searched my database? I investigated and found (duhh) I had forgotten (over the years) to transfer my CD to my computer. So, Lou is out and David is in.

David is most noted as a guitarist, but if a musical instrument has strings he can play it brilliantly. Besides being a solo performer, he's worked with Jackson Browne a lot (as well as other performers). Here is the song I forgot about.

♫ David Lindley - Tiki Torches At Twilight

ELDER MUSIC: I Don't Want to Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes

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

* * *

This column was originally called "Songs About Rock and Roll", but Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, suggested the title above, based on the final song today.

The column might appeal only to people of a certain age and that age is round about mine. I was 10 years old when rock and roll blasted on to the entertainment scene, and that age is critical. It's like Pavlov's dogs; it imprinted on my brain and stayed there for all those many decades since.

I have done columns on rock and roll in one form or another, this one though is songs about rock and roll. These are not from that seminal era, well mostly not.

KEVIN JOHNSON wrote and recorded the best song ever about rock and roll.

Kevin Johnson

This is somewhat unusual as Kevin is an Australian singer/songwriter whose songs tend towards the folkie end of the scale, albeit with more instruments than is usual in that genre. This song was a mega-hit for him, it was one of those once in a lifetime songs that probably set him up for the rest of his life.

Those who know his name will know that I'm referring to Rock & Roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Rock & Roll I gave you the best years of my life

Even when rock and roll was a new phenomenon there were already songs about it, tributes indeed. I have a couple today, starting with DANNY AND THE JUNIORS.

Danny & Juniors

They were a fine DooWop and rock and roll group and even during that era they were writing songs about it. In this case it was Rock And Roll is Here to Stay. They certainly got that right.

♫ Danny & The Juniors - Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay

The column today was inspired by The A.M. and my watching a concert by the Righteous Brothers, one of the A.M.'s faves (and I like them too). They performed a couple of songs that would fit today, one of which was a cover of BOB SEGER's Old Time Rock and Roll.

Bob Seger

Rock and Roll Heaven was also originally in the mix but didn't make the final cut. So, here's Bob rather than Bill and Bobby with Old Time Rock and Roll.

♫ Bob Seger - Old Time Rock and Roll

Back in 1977 MUDDY WATERS' career had pretty much ground to a halt – his record company had dropped him and he attracted fewer people to his concerts.

Muddy Waters

Johnny Winter, who was a huge fan (well, who isn't?), got him a recording contract with Blue Sky Records and produced the record himself, as well as playing on it. It became one of Muddy's biggest selling albums and his career went into overdrive.

From that album comes The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock & Roll.

♫ Muddy Waters - The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock & Roll

The A.M. thought we should have Starship's We built This City on Rock and Roll because it offered a contrast to the other songs. While I agree with her reasoning, I really didn't go for the eighties' drum machines and synthesizers, so I over-ruled her. In its place I decided on LONNIE MACK, for this spot.

Lonnie Mack

Lonnie was a guitar hero before the category was invented. His guitar playing influenced several generations of pickers. Alas, he died last year, but his musical legacy lives on, in today's case with the song Rock And Roll Like We Used To.

♫ Lonnie Mack - Rock And Roll Like We Used To

THE SHOWMEN were from Virginia, but they all moved to New Orleans to record there.

The Showmen

They weren't stupid – they managed to get the great Allen Toussaint as their record producer. In spite of the many songs they recorded, only one really made a dent on the charts and it's this one: It Will Stand. It's another from the time when the music was still young, but they were already singing about it.

♫ The Showmen - It Will Stand

Australians universally know the next song as It's a Long Way to the Shop if You Want a Sausage Roll, by ACKER DACKER.


Okay, translating for those not conversant with Oz-speak, that's AC-DC performing It's A Long Way To The Top If Ya Wanna Rock And Roll. This is the rockiest song today, and as an added bonus there are bagpipes.

♫ AC_DC - Its A Long Way To The Top If Ya Wanna Rock And Roll

I Knew the Bride (When She Used to Rock 'n' Roll) was written by Nick Lowe. He was in a really good group called Rockpile in the seventies with DAVE EDMUNDS.

Dave Edmunds

Nick did a fine version of the song, but Dave's version really captures the essence of the song and it's his we have today.

♫ Dave Edmunds - I Knew the Bride

There must be something in the water here in Australia that causes the local singer/songwriters, who are mostly folkies, to write songs about rock and roll. It's probably because of our small population that musicians of any stripe have to be versatile and be able to play music in any genre so they can earn a living.

Also, some of them started out as rockers. MIKE MCCLELLAN would be a super-star if he lived in a bigger country. Well, he is here in Oz.

Mike McClellan

Mike's song is Rock ’n Roll Lady. Rick Nelson was really taken by the song and recorded it. Alas, that was shortly before he died so he didn't get a chance to perform it widely. Here is Mike's version.

♫ Mike McClellan - Rock’n Roll Lady

There is really only one way to end this column, and that's with CHUCK WILLIS.

Chuck Willis

Chuck was a great song craftsman who honed and polished his songs before he'd record them, or let anyone else do so either. His is another song from the rock and roll era because he died in 1958, at the peak of his career, from peritonitis while he was undergoing surgery. I Don't Want to Hang up my Rock and Roll Shoes.

♫ Chuck Willis - Hang Up My Rock And Roll Shoes

ELDER MUSIC: Try To Remember

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.

* * *

Ah yes, I remember it well, at least I hope I do – and that you do as well. If you don't, I have some songs that may jog your memory. If you think you've forgotten these you'll probably go, "Ah yes, that one is da dad dum dum dum doh" (or something like that). I hope my trigger works.

I'll start with one that wasn't really on my radar before I did a search for these songs. I really liked it, which is why it's here today. It's by JIM CROCE.

Jim Croce

Jim had a bunch of wonderful songs, and it's another tragedy that he died so young. His song is (And) I Remember Her.

♫ Jim Croce - (And) I Remember Her

FRANK IFIELD was probably the first Australian pop singer who made a dent on the charts of the rest of the world.

Frank Ifield

As was the case back then, he had to go somewhere else to make that dent. In Frank's case it was England. He got hold of an old pop song and put his own spin on it and it became a worldwide hit. I Remember You.

♫ Frank Ifield - I Remember You

THE STATLER BROTHERS were big on nostalgia.

Statler Brothers

They had a number of songs in their repertoire along those lines. A lot of people distain that sort of thing but not me. I really like it. I don't know what that says of me, but I don't care.

The song of theirs I've selected is Do You Remember These? I have to admit that I don't remember a lot of what they sing about because we grew up in different countries.

♫ Statler Brothers - Do You Remember These

There were too many versions of this next song to countenance. I pretty much threw my hands in the air (waited for them to come down, reattached them) and selected semi-at random THE FOUR LADS.

Four Lads

I don't think they were lads by this time, but when you've selected a name you're stuck with it (The Beach Boys comes to mind). Also, there was someone in there doing a talkie bit who didn't sound at all laddish. Oh well.

By now you've probably figured out what song I'm talking about because my readers are a smart bunch of people (how's that for sucking up?). Moments to Remember.

♫ Four Lads - Moments To Remember

Does it get better than OTIS REDDING?

Otis Redding

That was a rhetorical question; you don't have to answer that. I was listening to my dozen or so versions of Otis's song, just to select the best quality one, and to my surprise I discovered that he had recorded the song more than once, there are other versions out there. Well, I'll be gobsmacked.

I still preferred the original though, and here it is: I've Got Dreams to Remember.

♫ Otis Redding - I've Got Dreams To Remember

There are few people who could follow Otis, and one of those is ELVIS.

Elvis Presley

This is from way back in the fifties when he was at his best. I Forgot To Remember To Forget.

♫ Elvis Presley - I Forgot To Remember To Forget

A long time before he was Lennie Briscoe on Law and Order, JERRY ORBACH was a song and dance man.

Jerry Orbach

Indeed, he was in the very first production of the musical The Fantasticks, often considered the longest running musical in history. Jerry played the part of El Gallo and sang the musical's most famous song, Try to Remember.

♫ Jerry Orbach - Try to Remember (1960)

You probably remember FRANKIE LYMON AND THE TEENAGERS for just one song, but they had many others.

Frankie Lymon

One of those others is the one we have today, and I hope you remember it. If not, this might jog your memory, or if it's not there in the back of your brain, here's a new one for you. I Promise To Remember.

♫ Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers - I Promise To Remember

UTAH PHILLIPS wrote the song I Remember Loving You and he included it on his album "The Telling Takes Me Home".

Utah Philips

Somewhat later PRISCILLA HERDMAN recorded it as well, and she managed to get Utah along for the ride.

Priscilla Herdman

I like their version better than Utah's solo effort, and here it is.

♫ Utah Phillips & Priscilla Herdman - I Remember Loving You

I'll Remember April was another song for which there were many versions but I spotted JULIE LONDON in the mix and it was a done deal.

Julie London

There were many instrumental, mostly jazz, versions of the song but I ignored them all.

♫ Julie London - I'll Remember April

You knew this one had to be here. This could be the theme song of TimeGoesBy, I'm talking about MAURICE CHEVALIER and HERMIONE GINGOLD.

Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold

Those who are familiar with musicals will know the song, I Remember It Well from "Gigi".

♫ Maurice & Hermione - I Remember It Well


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.

* * *

You can find Part 1 here.

Naidoc Week

As I mentioned last week, it's NAIDOC Week here in Australia, celebrating the culture of the original people of the country. As this is a music column, that's what I'll be featuring.

KEV CARMODY is a songwriter and singer whose best known song is From Little Things Big Things Grow about the land rights movement that he co-wrote with Paul Kelly.

Kev Carmody

Kev had little formal education growing up in country Queensland; this was unfortunately the norm at the time for indigenous people. However, he managed to get into the University of Southern Queensland where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in music.

Fortunately he had lecturers who allowed him to supplement formal work with his guitar and oral histories.He later gained a Diploma of Education and a PhD in history.

He has made several studio albums and a bunch of live ones. His songs have been covered by musicians of all genres.Kev sings Cannot Buy My Soul.

♫ Kev Carmody - Cannot Buy My Soul

Last week we had the Warumpi Band with My Island Home. They are the ones who wrote the song, however, CHRISTINE ANU had a huge hit with it.

Christine Anu

Christine's version won song of the year at the APRA Awards (sort of the Oz version of the Grammys) and she performed the song at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics.

Christine has recorded the song three times now, with quite different arrangements, so if there are people who are familiar with one or the other, this one may come as a surprise. It's the most recent.

♫ Christine Anu - My Island Home

TROY CASSAR-DALEY is one of the biggest names and most successful performers in country music in Australia.

Troy Cassar-Daley

He started busking when he was eleven and began touring with his band at just 16. From the beginning he wrote his own songs and also wrote for others as well. One of his own songs is My Gumbaynggirr Skies.

♫ Troy Cassar-Daley - My Gumbaynggirr Skies

One of the young opera singers that Deborah Cheetham, mentioned last week, has mentored is SHAUNTAI BATZKE.

Shauntai Batzke

She is a graduate of the Short Black Opera Artist Program based at Melbourne University. Shauntai has performed in a number of contemporary roles as well as singing the traditional opera repertoire. In that latter role she performs Sì, mi chiamano Mimì from Puccini's La Bohème, accompanied by a piano.

♫ Shauntai Batzke - Puccini ~ La Bohème ~ Sì mi chiamano Mimì

YOTHU YINDI is the best known of the indigenous rock groups.

Yothu Yindi

They had several songs that made the pointy end of the charts over the years, the best known of these would be Treaty. Unfortunately, their lead singer and organizer of the band, Mandawuy Yunupingu, died several years ago. Gurrumul, mentioned last week, was also a member for a while.

♫ Yothu Yindi - Treaty

The STIFF GINS are Nardi Simpson and Kaleena Briggs. Emma Donovan was also a founding member of the group.

Stiff Gins

Gin was a Dharug word for woman but was used by some of the wider community for far too many years as a derogatory term for an Aboriginal woman. The group decided to reclaim the word. They perform Go Go from their album "Wind and Water".

♫ Stiff Gins - Go Go

NO FIXED ADDRESS were probably the first indigenous rock band to make an impact on the wider community.

No Fixed Address

The band was formed by the charismatic Bart Willoughby who sings and plays drums, and guitarist Les Graham. Besides performing, they also made a film in 1980 called Wrong Side of the Road with another Aboriginal band, Us Mob.

The film was about the trials and delights of life on the road for such bands. The band has split and reformed several times in their performing career. No Fixed Address play their best known song, We Have Survived.

♫ No Fixed Address - We Have Survived

Although born in Sydney, SHELLIE MORRIS is mostly associated with Darwin and other parts of the Northern Territory.

Shellie Morris

She has performed with many of the artists featured in these columns and has toured Europe and China as well as Brazil and South Africa. Shellie is also an ambassador for foundations concerned with diseases of the eyes and other health concerns, and has won awards for these as well as for her music.

Shellie enlists the help of the Borroloola Songwomen to perform Li-Anthawirriyarra A-Kurija (Saltwater People Song).

♫ Shellie Morris & the Borroloola Songwomen - Saltwater People Song

ZOY FRANGOS is a classically trained singer who also performs in musicals.

Zoy Frangos

He appeared in the world premiere of the Deborah Cheetham's indigenous opera "Pecan Summer" and has sung in other such productions as well as similar operatic roles.

Zoy was the first indigenous Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables". Here he sings Anthem from the musical "Chess".

♫ Zoy Frangos - Anthem (Chess)

EMMA DONOVAN was born into a musical family.

Emma Donovan

Three of her uncles were part of the award-winning country band The Donovans, and Emma performed with the group when she was young. She later helped co-found The Stiff Gins (mentioned above) before embarking on a solo career.

These days her singing style is a blend of soul, gospel and reggae as will be evident in the song Mother she performs with her band The Putbacks.

♫ Emma Donovan & The Putbacks - Mother

As a bonus treat, at least it is for me, I'll include DEBORAH CHEETHAM and SHAUNTAI BATZKE performing The Flower Duet from Léo Delibes' opera “Lakmé”.

Deborah Cheetham & Shauntai Batzke

♫ Deborah Cheetham & Shauntai Batzke - Flower Duet


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 is NAIDOC Week here in Australia. This is a week to reflect on and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Naturally, as this is a music column, I will feature some musicians who fit into that category and I'll extend it to two weeks to recognise a range of artists.

Some of the musicians today and next week, as well as many others, were taken from their families by the authorities at the time and fostered out or adopted.

Many were put into institutions that were little better than jails. They have come to be known as the stolen generations. This has brought great shame on this country.

One of those is ARCHIE ROACH.

Archie Roach

His most famous song, Took the Children Away, highlights that beautifully and graphically. Like a lot of the taken children, he found himself on the streets later on.

Fortunately for him, he had great talent at songwriting and he wrote of that experience in the song Charcoal Lane, which is about life on the streets for young indigenous people, set in Fitzroy, an inner suburb of Melbourne, but the song of Archie's is the one mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph.

♫ Archie Roach - Took the children away

When he was on those mean streets he met RUBY HUNTER.

Ruby Hunter

Ruby was another who was taken from her family but became Archie's life companion, wife and musical partner. She became one of the most important female singers in Australia but alas she died in 2010, at just 54 years old.

Musician Paul Grabowsky said of Ruby:

"Her sound nursed somewhere at its heart a moan, a lament, which came from a deep place, a place outside of particularities of space and time, but a singularity, nonetheless.”

Ruby sings Proud, Proud Women.

♫ Ruby Hunter - Proud Proud Women

GEOFFREY GURRUMUL YUNUPINGU is generally just known as Gurrumul. He has been blind since birth. He is from a musical and activist family in Arnhem Land, northern Australia.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

Like the great blues musician Elizabeth Cotton, he takes a right-handed guitar, turns it upside down and plays it lefty without changing the strings. This gives a distinctive sound to his playing. He has one of the most beautiful voices in the world. Here he sings and plays Wiyathul.

♫ Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Wiyathul

JESSICA MAUBOY is an actor as well as a singer.

Jessica Mauboy

She had a lead role in the fine film The Sapphires from which this track is taken. That film was based on a true story of four indigenous singers who went to Vietnam to entertain the troops.

Jessica came to prominence when she was runner-up on Australian Idol. Nobody remembers who the winner was. Her music is more rhythm and blues than most of those today. Today's song is no exception, I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch), originally recorded by The Four Tops.

♫ Jessica Mauboy - I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)

KUTCHA EDWARDS has made three solo albums; he was previously in a couple of bands - Watbalimba and later Blackfire.

Kutcha Edwards

Many of the songs he writes reflect the oral tradition of the indigenous people. He was one of the Stolen Generations and he presents a unique and personal insight into that. Besides singing, Kutcha has written and performed in theatrical works as well.

From his album "Hope", we have Stand Strong.

♫ Kutcha Edwards - Stand Strong

Unlike many of the others in this series, DAN SULTAN grew up in Fitzroy, a suburb of Melbourne mentioned at the top.

Dan Sultan

Dan performs mainly in rock bands as a singer and guitarist. He also writes most of the songs and also plays piano. But today, his song, Nyul Nyul Girl, is taken from the musical “Bran Nue Dae”, set in Western Australia. It has been made into a film that features Dan, Geoffrey Rush, Jessica Mauboy and many others.

♫ Dan Sultan - Nyul Nyul Girl

DEBORAH CHEETHAM is a soprano, actor, composer, playwright and educator.

Deborah Cheetham

She has performed in France, Switzerland, Germany, Britain, America as well as Australia and New Zealand. She's a role model and mentor to up and coming Aboriginal and other opera singers and helped found the Short Black Opera Company with this in mind.

Deborah performs Chi ll bel sogno di Doretta from Puccini's “La Rondine.”

♫ Deborah Cheetham - Puccini ~ La Rondine ~ Chi ll bel sogno di Doretta

Broome, on the northern western coast of Australia, is one of the most culturally diverse towns in the country. It consists of indigenous people, white folks from down south, descendents of groups such as Japanese pearl divers, Chinese gold miners, Afghan cameleers, Malays and Indonesians from just over the waters.

Among the inhabitants are the PIGRAM BROTHERS.

Pigram Brothers

This is a family of seriously good musicians, who play a variety of instruments. Before the current group, several of the family were in the band Scrap Metal, along with others that reflected the makeup of the Broome community.

These days the brothers play together and also as separate entities writing music for plays and film soundtracks and the like. They perform Saltwater Cowboy.

♫ Pigram Brothers - Saltwater Cowboy

TIDDAS is a three piece vocal group whose members are Amy Saunders, Lou Bennett and Sally Dastey.


They started out as backing singers for the band Djaabi and got their big break when invited to perform at a women's artist achievement celebration. Ruby Hunter, also present, gave them their name, a Koori word for sisters. Tiddas perform Anthem.

♫ Tiddas - Anthem

Neil Murray wrote the song My Island Home for his friend George Rrurrambu Burarrwanga. Both were members of the WARUMPI BAND, Neil played guitar and George was the charismatic lead singer.

Warumpi Band

The Warumpi Band mainly toured the Northern Territory and the Kimberly area in the north west of the country, but did have successful tours of Europe and America. Neil has had a solo career since the band's demise, but unfortunately, George died of cancer in 2007.

I've always liked this video clip of the Warumpis which is why I'm including it rather than just the audio of the song.

The SALTWATER BAND was formed by men from Elcho Island, on the northern tip of the Northern Territory, east of Darwin.

Saltwater Band

Their most famous member is Gurrumul, featured above, who was also once a member of Yothu Yindi (who will be in next week's column). Their songs are a mixture of traditional songs and reggae style pop. One of the former is Djilawurr.

♫ Saltwater Band - Djilawurr

NAIDOC Week Part 2 is here.

ELDER MUSIC: The Band, Revisited

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.

* * *


Very early in my blogging career I had a column on The Band. This isn't surprising as I think they were the most important band from the sixties and seventies (and I know many, nay most, will disagree with that assessment but that's the fun of blogging).

That first column rather concentrated on what the various members did after the demise of the group, so today it's The Band as an entity. And when I say THE BAND I mean the original consisting of Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson.


The rockabilly performer Ronnie Hawkins put them together as his backing band over a couple of years in Canada and all were from that country except Levon.

They were known as The Hawks. Later they went out on their own using that name (and a couple of others). John Hammond saw them perform and recruited them to record an album with him. He recommended them to Bob Dylan who was looking for a group to back him on his first electric tour. They were generally referred to on that tour as the band (lower case).

When they recorded their first album "Music From Big Pink" they were surprised that the record company called them The Band (they really hadn't decided on a name themselves). That turned out to be the most appropriate name for a group in the history of rock.


By the time they recorded that album they were seasoned professionals with more than 10 years experience behind them. From it is the first of their famous songs, The Weight.

♫ The Weight

Their second album, just called "The Band", is the best album in rock history. That's the one with The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down and Up On Cripple Creek, but I'm not going to play either of those.


Outside of Woody Guthrie, not many songs have been written about unionization. The Band did just that. It's also about bringing in the harvest. It's called King Harvest (Has Surely Come).

♫ King Harvest (Has Surely Come)


The album also contained probably the best song about ageing produced by relatively young men – they were in their twenties when they wrote and recorded the song Rockin' Chair.

♫ Rockin' Chair

After the first two albums, the critics liked to downplay their next album "Stage Fright". They were wrong; this is better than "Big Pink" and nearly as good as "The Band".


By this stage they were all disturbed about the adulation they were receiving, thus the name of the album. Also, after so many years as a tight group, brothers even, cracks were beginning to appear. I don't know if All la Glory is indicative of that, but it's the next song.

♫ All la Glory


The influence of Bob came to the fore in the next song. He liked to throw biblical allusions into his songs, and The Band, or Robbie who wrote most of the songs, took that on board now and then.

I'm pretty sure there was no sacred harp in the bible, but I could be wrong. It's a good song, though: Daniel and the Sacred Harp.

♫ Daniel and the Sacred Harp

By number four they seemed to have lost their mojo, as evidenced by "Cahoots".


Of course, a lesser Band album is better than just about anything else around. I surprised myself by selecting two songs from the album, the first of which is rather odd, Shoot Out in Chinatown.

♫ Shoot Out in Chinatown

The next is obvious (well, it is to me). They were living in Woodstock, New York, before that town got overrun by musical tourists. They were quite a few other musicians living there at the time as well. One of those was VAN MORRISON.


He dropped in a recording session one day and traded vocals with Richard Manuel on 4% Pantomime.

♫ 4% Pantomime

We'll skip over "Moondog Matinee", an album of cover versions of old songs they used to play when they were starting out, and return later to the next one, "Northern Lights – Southern Cross". That brings us to "Islands", the contractual agreement record – their last studio album.

It wasn't very good and the best song they recorded for it was left off. Fortunately, with reissues of the CD version with all the extras we got it. The song is Twilight.


♫ Twilight

The Band went out with a blaze of glory with a Thanksgiving dinner and concert that was one of the major events in rock history. The concert was filmed by Martin Scorsese and it produced the best rock concert film ever. Someone who was invited to perform but couldn't make it is EMMYLOU HARRIS.

Emmylou Harris

However, she got together with the group and they recorded a song that appeared in the film. That song is Evangeline (originally known as The Last Waltz). The song is excellent, and that is an extraordinary achievement as they recorded it only minutes after Robbie had finished writing it.

♫ Evangeline (with Emmylou Harris)

Getting back to "Northern Lights – Southern Cross", an album that ranks with the first couple, there's an obvious choice.


Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I agree the next song is their finest (and boy, that's saying something). I'll end with it, Acadian Driftwood.

This is the only distinctly Canadian song in their oeuvre. It's about the French settlers in that country after the English defeated the French in the 1750s. They had a choice of remaining and living under the English, returning to France or, as the song describes, moving down to Louisiana where there was an established community.

Acadian Driftwood

As of this writing, there are only two members left – Robbie and Garth.


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.

* * *

Frederick II

FREDERICK II was king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, quite a long time in the king business. Since then he's been known as Frederick the Great, or Old Fritz, depending on who you're talking to.

Like most of his ilk at the time, he was involved in several wars, the most famous of which was the Seven Years' War (which lasted about nine years).

At home, though, he was rather an enlightened ruler for the time and was a patron of the arts and the Enlightenment in general. He was especially fond of music, thus his inclusion in a music column.

Apparently, he was quite a good flute player and he had many composers write works for him to play. Besides that, he dabbled in writing music himself which aren't bad at all.

So, today's column will feature some of Old Fritz's compositions as well as some from the various composers who wrote for him. Not just the works written especially for him or we'd be all fluted out.

We might as well start at the top with Fred himself, and naturally the flute is involved. In this case it's the third movement of his Flute Concerto in C major.

♫ Friedrich II - Flute Concerto in C major (3)

Fritzy wrote a musical theme and gave it to JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH.


J.S. knew which side his bread was buttered on and he came up with a set of canons, fugues and other works he called The Musical Offering; it's BWV 1079 in the Bach category system.

This runs to 40 distinct movements so I might be a while checking them out to see which to include. Okay, I'm back, and I've decided on part of a trio sonata that was itself just a part of the complete work. It's the second movement of that Trio Sonata.

♫ Bach JS - Trio Sonata (2)

Working for the king must have been a good career move for the Bach family, because his second son CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH did the same.


CPE is generally considered the best of the next generation (although I have a soft spot for his younger brother JC), and he had considerable influence on Mozart and Beethoven (and other lesser composers).

He wrote lots of stuff, so it was easy coming up with something that would fit in but not sound too much like what we already have. In the end, I went for one of his keyboard sonatas.

I suspect this was written with the harpsichord in mind although it might have been the forte piano, just coming into vogue around about then. The track though is played on a modern piano. It's the third movement of his Sonata in F sharp minor, H37 Wq524.

♫ Bach CPE - Sonata in F sharp minor H37 Wq524 (3)

As well as the Bach family, musical talent ran in Fritzy's family too. PRINCESS WILHELMINE OF PRUSSIA was his older sister and a bit of a composer as well.


They were very close throughout their lives, probably because they had a nasty father and, in her case, a dreadful governess who used to beat her.

Willy married Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg-Bayreuth, who was once engaged to her younger sister Sophie. Their dads made the change and didn't consult Fred about that and he was a bit miffed when he found out. Willy didn't know about it either and she was none too happy about it all.

However, they got on well together for a while until things went downhill. The pair essentially built Bayreuth and made it what it is today. That pretty much cost them all their money.

Willy played the lute and wrote an opera and some chamber music. This is the first movement of her Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in G Minor.

♫ Wilhelmine - Concerto for Harpsichord and Strings in G Minor (1)

There's certainly a family affair going on today. The brothers Graun were attached to the court as well. Their composing styles are so similar that even today there are a number of their compositions that no one knows which of them wrote. However, we do know some.

I'll begin with the older and better known brother, JOHANN GOTTLIEB GRAUN.


From all reports, Jo was a violinist of the first rank and he was much praised in his day for the music he wrote which included operas, many violin concertos, sonatas for various instruments and string quartets. Naturally, I'll be a bit perverse and include his Concerto in C minor for Oboe, the third movement, rather than something for the violin.

♫ Graun JG - Concerto in C minor for Oboe (3)

CARL HEINRICH GRAUN is younger, but only just – he was less than a year behind Jo.


Carl started out as a singer in operas and then wrote a whole bunch of them. He was Fritzy's Kapellmeister (that is the bloke in charge of music) for 19 years until he (Carl) died.

A couple of musicians who went through his ranks were the young Joseph and Michael Haydn (again the family connection). I don't know if he learnt from them or vice versa. Probably both directions. Anyway, here is the second movement of his Sonata in F major for Flute and Oboe. Fritzy probably played the flute on this one.

♫ Graun CH - Sonata in F major for flute & oboe (2)

Continuing with the family theme, and a couple more brothers – the Bendas. We'll start with FRANZ BENDA (or František Benda in his native Bohemia).


Franz began his career in a troupe of travelling musicians as a singer and violinist. He settled down after a while and eventually caught the ear of Fritzy who hired him. He remained with him for the rest of his life, and he played a hell of a lot of music in that time.

He also wrote a whole bunch as well, and he was renowned for the quality of his violin playing. Franz had a daughter and grand-daughter who were also good composers. The line continued well into the 20th century with František Benda, a composer of film scores.

However, getting back to the original František, here is the third movement of his Concerto in E flat major for Violin.

♫ F. Benda - Concerto in E flat major for violin (3)

Franz's much younger brother was GEORG BENDA (or Jiří Benda).


Georg was only 19 when Fritzy grabbed him to be second violinist in his orchestra. Later his brother got him to be his arranger and to write music as well.

Georg is mostly noted for his operas – Mozart took especial notice of these. We're not having one of those, however. Instead here is the first movement of his Symphony No. 7 in D Major, conducted by Christian Benda, one of his modern day descendants.

♫ Benda G.A - Symphony No. 7 in D Major (1)

Now someone who didn't have a sibling to play with, JOHANN JOACHIM QUANTZ.


JJ's father was a blacksmith who died when JJ was just 11. On his deathbed he urged his son to continue in that trade but JJ was having none of that.

Fortunately, his uncle was a musician about town and he gave the young lad lessons. Later, he played all around Europe, doing the grand tour and caught the ear of Fritzy because he was a fine flute player. He accepted a position as flute teacher, flute maker and composer and hung around there until Fritzy died.

Again, I'm not going with flute, but a horn concerto played by the finest horn player in the last fifty years, Barry Tuckwell. This is the first movement of the Horn Concerto No. 3 in E Flat Major.

♫ Quantz - Concerto No. 3 In E Flat Major (1)

We'll end as we began, with the boss. FREDERICK wrote more than flute things as we'll see.


He also wrote symphonies (and other things). Here is the third movement of his Symphony in G major.

♫ Friedrich II - Symphony in G major (3)

ELDER MUSIC: Jazzical Gas

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 can hear you from here going, "Huh? What does that mean?" A long time ago (in blog years, rather similar to dog years) I wrote a column highlighting lesser known classical composers and I asked Norma, the Assistant Musicologist what I should call it. She suggested "Classical Gas" ('coz that's the way her brain works).

Since then I've continued that series with that name in various permutations. I decided that I liked the idea and decided to do a series on lesser known jazz performers.

Independently, the A.M. and I came up with the same name for the column (we have a similar warped sense of humor). So, here are some jazz performers whose names you might not recognize, but play really well. Based on the experience of the classical columns there will probably be more of them.

DONALD EDWARDS leads his group from behind the drum kit.

Donald Edwards

He's been a much in demand drummer, but has only recently formed his own band. There are some fine players along for the ride, in particular Walter Smith III on tenor sax and Orrin Evans on piano.

They perform the Thelonious Monk tune Skippy. This has nothing to do with the televisual kangaroo as it was written years before that marsupial made his debut.

♫ Donald Edwards - Skippy

SARA GAZAREK is a young jazz singer who has recorded half a dozen or so albums, the last of which is a duet record with JOSH NELSON.

Sara Gazarek &Josh Nelson

That album's called "Dream in the Blue", and Josh plays the piano (and Sara sings, of course). From that they perform the classic Mood Indigo, written by Duke Ellington and Barney Bigard with words by Irving Mills.

♫ Sara Gazarek - Mood Indigo

BILL CHARLAP is yet another classically trained pianist who turned to playing jazz.

Bill Charlap Trio

He has musical heritage: his mother, Sandy Stewart, is a singer who regularly appeared on Perry Como's TV program (and she was also the first person to record the song My Coloring Book – before Barbra) and his father, Moose Charlap, was a Broadway composer.

Bill has played with many jazz musicians but most especially with Tony Bennett. The Bill Charlap Trio perform Not a Care in the World.

♫ Bill Charlap Trio - Not a Care in the World

Jazz singers and performers have a history of taking the current pop songs and putting their own spin on them. Today's performers do the same but instead of Gershwin and Porter, today it's Dylan and Cohen. A prime example of this is BARB JUNGR.

Barb Jungr

Barb has a fairly recent album where she performs songs by those two as well as David Bowie, Joni Mitchell and others. The song I like from that is called Shelter from the Storm, also the name of the album. This is one of Bob's.

♫ Barb Jungr - Shelter from the Storm

When he started out, JIM ROTONDI was hailed as the next big thing in trumpet playing.

Jim Rotondi

That's proved pretty much to be correct, although his name isn't really a household word. He's released a dozen or so of his own albums and scores of others on which he performed. For the last ten years or so he's been professor of music at a university in Austria.

From his most recent album is the title track, Dark Blue.

♫ Jim Rotondi - Dark Blue

CAMILLA GEORGE has recently recorded her first album with her quartet called "Isang" (that's the album's name, not the quartet's).

Camilla George

Camilla is resident in London but she was born and bred in Nigeria. She and her pianist Sarah Tandy work really well together and I can hear influences of Coltrane in her music. I'm looking forward to hearing more from her.

The Quartet's tune today is The Night Has a Thousand Eyes. This isn't the old Bobby Vee pop song.

♫ Camilla George Quartet - The Night Has a Thousand Eyes

KITTY WHITE was not just a jazz singer, she also sang gospel and pop music as well.

Kitty White

Outside the jazz world, she's probably best remembered for singing Crawfish with Elvis in the film "King Creole". However, today we're interested in what she did in the jazz vein.

One of the things she did was If You Were Mine, a song written by Johnny Mercer and Matty Malneck. Gerald Wiggins played piano on this track, and the sax player was Georgie Auld.

♫ Kitty White - If You Were Mine

MORT WEISS is a clarinet player mostly – he has played other instruments as well.

Mort Weiss

Mort started out playing Dixieland jazz but after hearing Charlie Parker he became a devotee of bebop. He's also played rhythm and blues and all sorts of music – whatever he can do to make a living, I imagine.

Here he takes the old pop song I Remember You and puts his own spin on it. Playing along with him is the Don Friedman Trio.

♫ Mort Weiss - I Remember You

A lot of good jazz these days is happening outside its traditional home country. Another example of this (there are several today) is CYRILLE AIMEE, who is from France.

Cyrille Aimee

Cyrille performs Each Day with the help of her one-time band mate Matt Simons. Adrien Moignard and Michael Valeneau play some really nice guitar on this track.

♫ Cyrille Aimee - Each Day

You might think that KYLE EASTWOOD's surname sounds familiar and you'd be correct.

Kyle Eastwood

Kyle is Clint's son, and Clint is a well-known lover of jazz and I guess he passed that along. Kyle is a bass player, both the double bass and the electric instrument, and these days heads his own group.

From his recent album "Timepieces" we have Prosecco Smile, featuring Quentin Collins playing trumpet.

♫ Kyle Eastwood - Prosecco Smile

ELDER MUSIC: 1936 Again

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

* * *

I started this particular column only so I could include this first song. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I were driving to Daylesford (north-west of Melbourne, famed for its restaurants) when we heard it on the radio.

"What is that?" we said, and "We have to include that in a column." And so it shall be. Fortunately, we got the name of the song but not the performer. I have since discovered that it is SOL K. BRIGHT & HIS HOLLYWAIIANS.

Sol Bright

That's Sol, third from the left. What a treat the song is, so for your delectation here is the Hawaiian Cowboy. I challenge you not to smile while listening.

♫ Sol K Bright - Hawaiian Cowboy

BILLIE HOLIDAY was in full swing around this time.

Billie Holiday

Naturally, I'll include Billie whenever I can. The song I've chosen was written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields and first performed by Fred Astaire serenading Ginger Rogers in the film "Swing Time". It is The Way You Look Tonight.

♫ Billie Holiday - The Way You Look Tonight

Here is another unlikely cowboy. This time it's BING CROSBY.

Bing Crosby

At first I couldn't imagine Bing as a cowboy but after some research I found that he played one in the film "Rhythm on the Range" from 1936 – our chosen year, in fact.

Indeed, it was from that film that we get Bing's song I'm An Old Cowhand. There were about a dozen songs in the film which wouldn't have left much time for ridin', ropin' and rootin'.

♫ Bing Crosby - I'm An Old Cowhand

I could have included FRED ASTAIRE earlier, but I already had him for this next song.

Fred Astaire

Like the Billie's song, it was written by Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields, and was also from the same film. Fred sings A Fine Romance.

♫ Fred Astaire - A Fine Romance

LOUIS ARMSTRONG could have been included several times this year, but I restrained myself.

Louis Armstrong

I also restrained myself from saying that he was the most important musician of the twentieth century. Oops, too late. Here is Lyin' To Myself.

♫ Louis Armstrong - Lyin' To Myself

While we're on the subject of important musicians, probably the most influential blues musician of the first half of the century had several songs on the chart this year. I'm talking about ROBERT JOHNSON, of course.

Robert Johnson

He didn't get around to recording any more songs (after the 40 or so he produced in his first recording session) as he was murdered a few months later. He was one of the earliest members of the "27 Club". One of his most covered songs is Sweet Home Chicago. Here is the original.

♫ Robert Johnson - Sweet Home Chicago

FATS WALLER is another who can bring a smile to your face, even when he's being serious.

Fats Waller

Fats wrote hundreds of songs that are attributed to him, and apparently many more. Early on, he had to sell them to earn a little money and for which he wasn't credited with the authorship. Alas, he died young, 39, of pneumonia on a train between Los Angeles and New York. Fats' song from this year is All My Life.

♫ Fats Waller - All My Life

THE BOSWELL SISTERS were the main competition to the Andrews Sisters around this time.

Boswell Sisters

Fats Waller was probably the first person to record and popularize the song I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter, however, he didn't write it. That was Fred Ahlert and Joe Young. Hot on Fats' heels, the Boswells had a go at it. They included parts of the song that aren't heard these days.

♫ Boswell Sisters - I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

I'm sure that TAMPA RED had nothing but pure thoughts when he recorded Let's Get Drunk and Truck.

Tampa Red

Red started life as Hudson Woodbridge but from early on he was known as Hudson Whittaker. He was another influential blues man and was a master of the bottleneck guitar style. That's not evident on this song; piano and kazoo seem to be the dominant instruments.

♫ Tampa Red - Let's get drunk and truck

HAL KEMP played saxophone and clarinet and was a band leader in the thirties.

Hal Kemp

Unfortunately, he was killed in a car accident in 1940. BOB ALLEN was one of several singers who performed with Hal.

Bob Allen

Here they are with A Star Fell Out Of Heaven.

♫ Hal Kemp (Bob Allen vocal) - A Star Fell Out Of Heaven


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

* * *

Here's a column pretty much guaranteed to depress you. At first glance there may not seem to be much that the two artists today have in common except for the same first name. However, they both started out as folkies and both had a serious interest in jazz that showed in their work and both were extremely influential musicians.

Another unfortunate aspect that links them is their use of hard drugs, which was the cause of death of both of them. The first Tim wrote beautiful melodic songs and the second, well, less so on that score, but they were really interesting if you listen with an open mind.

The first Tim is TIM HARDIN.

Tim Hardin

I'm sure many readers know about this Tim and his songs. Those of you who don't know his name almost certainly will know several of his songs. They have been covered by many people over the years. I'll give you an initial for instance: If I Were a Carpenter.

♫ Tim Hardin - If I Were A Carpenter

I don't know if Tim wrote the next song as autobiographical. I suspect not as he mentioned that he was there "to steal her money". However, he mentioned that the lady's name was Susan Moore and Tim actually married Susan Morss.

Okay, not the same, but still...Lady Came From Baltimore.

♫ Tim Hardin - Lady Came From Baltimore

One of my all time favorite concert albums is "Tim Hardin 3" – Tim wasn't very creative in the naming of his records, his first two albums were called "1" and "2".

"3" was recorded at the Town Hall in New York with a crack jazz band backing him. From that session is Misty Roses.

♫ Tim Hardin - Misty Roses

Another song from that same live album. This one is called Lenny's Tune, and it's about Lenny Bruce. I don't want to psychoanalyze Tim, but the song really does reflect mostly on Lenny's drug problems.

♫ Tim Hardin - Lenny's Tune

Tim's final song would have been covered by even more people than the first one. It's really a very short song (as are most of his songs, but this one even more so). Maybe that's the reason people record it. Reason to Believe.

♫ Tim Hardin - Reason To Believe

Tim Hardin

Unlike the first Tim, the second one didn't really believe in brevity. There are few songwriters outside Dylan who wrote longer ones than he did.

I saw TIM BUCKLEY once, at Winterland in San Francisco in 1970, opening for the Mothers of Invention. Not to be out-weirded by that group, he spent most of his gig playing the bagpipes.

I thought that just a little bit strange, but maybe I was the only one in the audience who wasn't zonked out of his brain. It was an interesting evening.

Tim Buckley

After the first three or four albums, Tim seemed determine to alienate his fans. His experimental work got stranger and stranger and quite frankly wasn't very good.

However, before that he wrote and recorded some interesting songs which, like the other Tim, were covered by many others. One of those is Morning Glory, from the album "Goodbye and Hello" – his breakthrough album.

Well, as much of a breakthrough as Tim ever managed.

♫ Tim Buckley - Morning Glory

The consensus of those who like to speculate of these things is that his finest album is "Greetings From L.A." (I prefer the previously mentioned one). From that album comes the song, Make It Right.

♫ Tim Buckley - Make It Right

Going back to "Goodbye and Hello", here is I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain. Boy, does this one go on. And on and on. It's about Tim's relationship with his by then ex-wife and their son Jeff.

♫ Tim Buckley - I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain

For a complete change of pace, Tim channels his inner lounge singer. Well, as much of one as he was capable. Blue Melody is taken from the album "Blue Afternoon" most of which were songs Tim had meant to record on previous albums but hadn't got around to doing.

♫ Tim Buckley - Blue Melody

Finally, (you may hope) only one more song left. Another one from "Greetings From L.A." and another long song. Get on Top.

♫ Tim Buckley - Get on Top

Tim Buckley


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 surprised me that I haven't done a column completely dedicated to male soul singers, as I've already done one on the females - quite some time ago. Thus today I'm going to rectify that oversight.

Naturally, with today's title it's axiomatic that I begin with the soul men themselves, SAM AND DAVE.

Sam & Dave

That not only describes them, it's also the name of the song. Well, nearly, it's actually Soul Man.

♫ Sam & Dave - Soul Man

OTIS REDDING is guaranteed to be present today.

Otis Redding

There are scores of his songs that I'd be happy to include but I'll go with the first one he recorded. This was after some other performer's session had ended and there was still time on the clock and Otis pretty much said, "I have a song, could we do it?"

First take, cut, released and a classic was created. He was backed by the band in the studio, Booker T and the MGs. It was far from the last time they performed together. These Arms of Mine.

♫ Otis Redding - These Arms Of Mine

The next song is indelibly associated with Otis but others have performed it too. One of the best of those is ARTHUR CONLEY.

Arthur Conley

Arthur is best known for his song Sweet Soul Music where he name checks the best of the soul singers. Naturally, he left himself off the list, but perhaps he should have been included.

Let's see what he does with I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now), a song written by Otis and Jerry Butler.

♫ Arthur Conley - I've Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)

CLARENCE CARTER was born blind but he didn't let that set him back.

Clarence Carter

After achieving a degree in music, he began singing professionally with Calvin Scott as Clarence & Calvin later shortened to the C & C Boys (a bit unfortunate, that name).

He began a solo career when Calvin was seriously injured in a car accident. Clarence has recorded a bunch of songs and has had several that crossed over on to the pop charts, including Patches, Too Weak to Fight and the one we have today, Slip Away.

♫ Clarence Carter - Slip Away

Z.Z. HILL, like many soul singers, began his career in a gospel group, in his case The Spiritual Five.

Z. Z. Hill

Later he performed in clubs around Dallas until Otis Redding caught his act and encouraged him to record. Z.Z. went to Los Angeles and joined his brother, who fortuitously, was a record producer.

Z.Z. brought a more blues sound to his soul music, which is no bad thing. You can hear that, as well as some gospel, in Ain't Nothing You Can Do.

♫ ZZ Hill - Ain't Nothing You Can Do

I've stated before that James Brown learnt pretty much his entire act from DON COVAY.

Don Covay

He wasn't particularly grateful as he tried to shoot Don once (he missed).

I've always preferred Don as a performer, which might be the reason I keep mentioning that story. As well as singing, Don was a writer of songs, both for himself and others – Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Wilson Pickett, the Rolling Stones and Solomon Burke are only a few who have covered his songs.

Here, he gets a bit of a surprise in his song I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In.

♫ Don Covay - I Was Checkin' Out She Was Checkin' In

The life of Overton Vertis Wright, generally known as O.V. WRIGHT rather parallels that of Z.Z. Hill.

O.V. Wright

In O.V.'s case, he was from Tennessee and the gospel groups he fronted were The Sunset Travelers and later The Harmony Echoes. He was in the latter group with James Carr, one of the all time finest soul singers.

O.V.'s first recorded song was That's How Strong My Love Is, later covered by Otis Redding, The Rolling Stones, Percy Sledge and many others. Today he sings He Made Woman For Man, that sounds rather gospelly to me.

♫ O.V. Wright - He Made Woman For Man

Okay, this next one isn't entirely a soul man – we have both genders here today. This song has always tickled me but I know others don't like it. You can make up your own mind.

In the eighties one of the more interesting soul singers was RICHARD FIELDS. He generally went by the nickname Dimples because he had (and I bet you can't guess) dimples.

Richard Dimples Fields

One of his most interesting albums from that time was called "Dimples" which I have on vinyl, but I haven't seen on CD (but it's probably out there somewhere).

From that record is a song I think is a real hoot called She's Got Papers on Me. Listening to it the first time, you think that it's just another conventional soul song until towards the end when we get a bit of a swerve to the left when BETTY WRIGHT joins the party.

Betty Wright

♫ Richard Dimples Fields - She's Got Papers On Me

JAMES & BOBBY PURIFY were James Purify and his cousin Robert Dickey. In later years Ben Moore took over as the second Bobby Purify.

James & Bobby Purify

Most of us are probably familiar with the song, Shake a Tail Feather, particularly the version by Ray Charles, even if just from the "Blues Brothers" film. He wasn't the first to record it though, that was The Five Du-Tones.

Some years later James and Bobby tackled the song and did a really good job of it. See what you think.

♫ James & Bobby Purify - Shake A Tail Feather

JOE SIMON may not be a household name but he's had dozens of hits that made both the pop and R & B charts over the years.

Joe Simon1

I won't even try to list those, or even the most significant ones. I'll just play the song I selected, Message from Maria.

♫ Joe Simon - Message from Maria

Here is a very late bonus track. I only learned about this band last Saturday as Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I were driving to the South Melbourne Market.

This song came on the radio and we wondered who it was, it was so good. Several different people were suggested by us but we were wrong because it turned out to be someone we hadn't heard of. They are THE TESKEY BROTHERS.

Teskey Brothers

These are young folks from Warrandyte, an outer suburb of Melbourne, home of great wines, gorgeous scenery and now, terrific music in the form of Pain and Misery. It demonstrates that the young folks are still producing wonderful music.

♫ The Teskey Brothers - Pain and Misery

ELDER MUSIC: Singing Sisters

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 best harmony singing, with only rare exceptions, comes from siblings. There are many examples in the male singing world, but it holds just as well for females. This is the basis for today's column. Let the singing commence.

VIKA AND LINDA BULL are Australia's foremost female singing duo.

Vika & Linda

They have appeared on hundreds of records (besides their own) and been in quite a few bands. If you need some female backup singers or some lead singers, they are the go-to people. Here, from one of their own records, is Love is Mighty Close.

♫ Vika & Linda - Love is Mighty Close

The trio called the DINNING SISTERS were Lou, Jean and Ginger Dinning.

Dinning Sisters

Jean and Ginger were twins. There were nine kids in the family, all of whom sang really well. There was a young brother named Mark who was a bit of a pop star in the fifties for whom Jean wrote the song Teen Angel.

The trio was some record company's attempt to emulate the Andrews Sister but they were more restrained than their more famous rivals. They perform Better Not Roll Those Blue, Blue Eyes.

♫ The Dinning Sisters - Better Not Roll Those Blue Blue Eyes

THE ROCHES were Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche from New Jersey.

The Roches

Maggie and Terre performed as a duo for some years until Suzzy joined them and they became The Roches, as you will hear. Maggie wrote most of their songs with Terre contributing a few. Alas, Maggie died early this year. The group introduce themselves with their song We.

♫ The Roches - We

KATE AND ANNA MCGARRIGLE were not only performers, they wrote terrific songs as well.

Kate and Anna McGarrigle

There's also an older sister, Jane, who occasionally wrote songs and performed with them. Some of the songs that Kate and Anna wrote have been covered by the cream (as well as the milk) of singers.

It was difficult choosing just one song, but I finally decided on You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down.

♫ Kate & Anna McGarrigle - You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down

I could have continued the previous two a further generation. Loudon Wainwright III was once married to Kate McGarrigle and they have a daughter Martha (and a son Rufus). After their divorce, he married Suzzy Roche and they have a daughter Lucy. Martha and Lucy have played and recorded together. However, I thought their contribution was for another column.

Probably the most famous singing sisters were the ANDREWS SISTERS.

The Andrews Sisters

Readers of the column probably don't need to be told that they were LaVerne, Maxene and Patty Andrews. Rather than use one of their famous (and thus too well known) songs, I thought I'd use one I didn't know until I discovered it on my database. Of course those who know them better than I do might be familiar with it. Alone Again.

♫ The Andrews Sisters - Alone Again

THE MCGUIRE SISTERS were sort of the Andrews Sisters of the fifties.

The McGuire Sisters

Christine, Dorothy and Phyllis McGuire had a bunch of hits in that decade until they stopped performing because of (apparently quite founded) rumors that Phyllis was seriously involved with the mobster Sam Giancana.

Anyway, getting back to music, their biggest hit was Sugartime, which might be considered an answer song to Jimmy Rodgers' song Honeycomb. It certainly references that song.

♫ The McGuire Sisters - Sugartime

Whew, this next one brings back memories but I'm not going into details. Here are the POINTER SISTERS.

The Pointer Sisters

The group started out as June and Bonnie Pointer. Later Anita joined them. Later still Ruth turned them into a quartet. The group that was most successful consisted of June, Ruth and Anita. Later, after June died, Ruth's daughter Issa joined the clan.

These days Ruth's grand-daughter Sadako is in the mix. Okay, from the most famous of the various combinations is their most famous song, Slow Hand.

♫ The Pointer Sisters - Slow Hand

The KIM SISTERS were born in South Korea but made their name in America in the fifties and sixties.

The Kim Sisters

They were Sook-ja and her sister Ai-ja Kim and their cousin Minja Kim. Their parents encouraged them to learn instruments and each played several. American soldiers stationed in Korea were impressed with them and would encourage them by giving them records so they could learn the latest songs.

After arriving in America they were featured on many TV shows, most notably on Ed Sullivan's and Dean Martin's programs. They sing Going Back Together.

♫ The Kim Sisters - Going Back Together

The PARIS SISTERS started out in San Francisco and are best known for recording with Phil Spector.

The Paris Sisters

They were Albeth, Sherrell and Priscilla Paris. Priscilla, the youngest, was the lead singer in the group. They had one song that made the top five and several more that tickled the charts a bit lower down. Their big one was I Love How You Love Me.

♫ The Paris Sisters - I Love How You Love Me

Martha, Connee and Vet, known to us as THE BOSWELL SISTERS were all classically trained on piano, cello and violin.

The Boswell Sisters

However, by that stage they were living in New Orleans and the jazz scene there won them over. It also meant they got to experience the best musicians of that style which influenced them considerably.

Although not the first, they were one of the earliest to record the now evergreen song, I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter. They also sing verses that generally aren't heard these days.

♫ The Boswell Sisters - I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter