400 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: 1929

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

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The most appropriate way to start a column on 1929 is with the song Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out. After all, this was probably the theme tune for that year. There is no one better to perform this song than the great BESSIE SMITH.

Bessie Smith

Many people recorded the song at the time and over subsequent years, but upon hearing Bessie's version, I stopped looking.

♫ Bessie Smith - Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out


I'm sure pretty much everyone reading this would associate Singin' in the Rain with Gene Kelly and the classic film of the same name. However, the song wasn't written for the film, it's much older than that.

Although it might have been recorded earlier, its first established version was in this year, 1929, initially by Doris Travis in "The Hollywood Music Box Revue.” CLIFF EDWARDS also recorded it this year.

Cliff Edwards

Cliff was occasionally known as Ukulele Ike, as he played that instrument. I don't know where the Ike comes from.

He performed the song in a film called Hollywood Revue of 1929 which I think is different from the previous revue. Anyway, here's Cliff (or Ike) with the song.

♫ Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike) - Singin' In The Rain


LOUIS ARMSTRONG makes another of his regular visits to my column this year.

Louis Armstrong

St. James Infirmary has been recorded many times but it was Louis' version that was the first to become a big seller. It's considered by some to be a descendant of several songs that go back centuries. Having heard some mentioned in this context, I think they sound quite different from this one but that's musicologists for you.

♫ Louis Armstrong - St. James Infirmary


RUTH ETTING was billed as yet another of "America's Sweethearts.”

Ruth Etting

However, her life was anything but sweet. I'll omit the sordid details (only because they are far too long to relate in a brief piece like this, but Wikipedia has a very interesting account and I recommend it for anyone who likes a bit of scandal).

In the meantime, I'll have her singing Exactly Like You.

♫ Ruth Etting - Exactly Like You


In 1929, MAURICE CHEVALIER recorded what came to be his signature song from then on, Louise.

Maurice Chevalier

Early on he developed a love of acting and was involved in that as well as singing. Douglas Fairbanks urged him to go to Hollywood and Maurice did that just as talkies began.

He quickly became The Frenchman in films whenever one was called for. Here he is with his signature.

♫ Maurice Chevalier - Louise


BEN SELVIN recorded many, many songs - more than just about anyone at the time.

Ben Selvin

Ben played the violin so that's probably him in the top middle. He introduced to the world the cream of musicians from later years, including Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers, Jack Teagarden, Red Nichols, and Bunny Berigan.

This is Ben with his orchestra (I don't know if any of the aforementioned are present) with My Sin. It's probably Smith Ballew on vocal refrain, but no one really knows.

♫ Ben Selvin & His Orchestra - My Sin


Am I Blue? was written this year by Harry Akst and Grant Clarke and the first recording of it was by ETHEL WATERS.

Ethel Waters

She showcased the song in the film On With the Show. Since then it's been recorded by a plethora of musicians ranging across the full gamut of styles, but Ethel did it first.

♫ Ethel Waters - Am I Blue


If anyone could lay a claim to have invented jazz, KING OLIVER would have to be at the front of the queue.

King Oliver

He was also one of the first to write jazz tunes, many of which are still played today. Unfortunately, by 1929 he wasn't playing trumpet very much due to a gum disease, so he employed others to do that.

He was still writing and arranging, however. One hit from this year by King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band is New Orleans Shout.

♫ King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band - New Orleans Shout


I think a certain long-haired performer from the sixties listened very carefully to NICK LUCAS (and his Troubadours) performing the song Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips with Me.

Nick Lucas

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist asked if you had to have a very high voice in order to sing it. Probably.

Nick introduced the song to the world in the talkie (and "singie" too, I guess) Gold Diggers of Broadway and it sat on the top of the charts for 10 weeks this year.

♫ Nick Lucas Troubadours - Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me


FATS WALLER wrote the song Ain't Misbehavin' along with Harry Brooks and Andy Razaf.

Fats Waller

Fats recorded the song in our year (as well as subsequently). He wasn't the only one who has had a go at it. Here's Fats with the original version.

Fats Waller - Ain't Misbehavin'



ELDER MUSIC: Never Talk to Strangers

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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That's what our parents told us when we were kids. Actually, mine didn't because we knew everyone in the country town where we lived.

The point of this is that I was sitting idly at my computer playing some songs and The Stranger Song came up. Not at random; I select what I listen to. That got me thinking.

I know a few songs about strangers, maybe half a dozen or so. There may be more; if so, I could make something of this, so I performed a search.

Lorks a’mercy, more than 100 songs appeared with stranger in the title. This will be easy, I thought. Then I realized I had to cull them down to a manageable column’s worth. In the end, The Stranger Song didn't make the cut. Sorry Lennie.

Kicking off the strangers we have GORDON LIGHTFOOT, one I definitely had in mind before the search.

Gordon Lightfoot

The original title of his most famous album was “Sit Down Young Stranger.” After the song, If You Could Read My Mind, became a big hit, the album was retitled after that song.I still think of it with its original name.

Here is the song after which the album rightfully was named.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Sit Down Young Stranger


I think that MERLE HAGGARD has the best male singing voice in country music. That’s a big call – cop that, George Jones. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, goes for Willie. He's in this column too.

Merle Haggard

I really only discovered Merle after I had read Larry McMurtry’s book, All My Friends Are Going to be Strangers, and discovered that Merle had a song of the same name.

Okay, that was some decades ago now. That got me hooked on Merle (and Larry as well). This is Merle with (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers.

♫ Merle Haggard - (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers


TOM WAITS takes the title of the column to heart with his song, I Never Talk to Strangers. On this one, he has the able assistance of BETTE MIDLER.

Tom Waits & Bette Midler

It's from his fine album "Foreign Affairs" and they may seem an odd pairing but it works really well. Hear for yourself.

♫ Tom Waits - I Never Talk to Strangers


JOAN BAEZ didn't start writing songs until about ten years after she started performing professionally.

Joan Baez

However, once she started she came up with some rippers. This is one of her best - in my opinion it's number one. Love Song to a Stranger. It's from her often overlooked, and underrated album "Come from the Shadows.”

♫ Joan Baez - Love Song To A Stranger


JIMMY BUFFETT is a musician who appreciates irony, indeed his career has been built around it.

Jimmy Buffett

I don’t know if this song fits into that category but I find it amusing, and that's enough for me. Who's the Blonde Stranger?

♫ Jimmy Buffett - Who's the Blonde Stranger


Doo-be-doo-be-doo. You knew this song was going to be here when you read the opening paragraph. I wouldn’t want to disappoint you, so here it is. This is FRANCIS ALBERT SINATRA from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Frank Sinatra

I really don’t think I need to say anything about Frank as his life is so well known. Strangers in the Night was written by Avo Uvezian, a musician from Lebanon who later emigrated to America. There he studied piano and composition at Juilliard.

The song he wrote was called Broken Guitar. Charles Singleton wrote English lyrics to that song and Bert Kaempfert was involved somehow or other, but I don’t know how.

Eventually it got to Frank and he recorded it. It sold squillions. Frank hated the song (although I imagine he didn’t mind the royalties).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Strangers in the Night


WILLIE NELSON recorded a whole album about a stranger; it was called “Red Headed Stranger” and it should be in the collection of anyone who is serious about music.

Willie Nelson

He performed the title song a couple of times on the album. Here is the first and longer version.

♫ Willie Nelson - Red Headed Stranger


Occasionally I’ve selected a track that I thought may be rather challenging just to see what the reaction will be. I’ve been surprised with the positive result. However, now and then, things turn out as expected.

This happened when I last included NICK CAVE. Then he sang his rather eccentric version of Stagger Lee (in the column of the same name). Here he is again with a stranger song.

Nick Cave

The song is taken from his really interesting album called "Murder Ballads" (as was Stagger Lee), so you know what to expect. The title of the song has a nod to Tennessee Williams; it's called The Kindness of Strangers, and Nick has a little "help" from Anita Lane.

♫ Nick Cave - The Kindness of Strangers


Don’t go to Strangers has been recorded by many jazz, and a few blues, singers over the years. It's a matter of selecting one of them. The one that caught my ear is by ETTA JAMES.

Etta James

Etta can fit into both those categories and many more besides.

♫ Etta James - Don't Go To Strangers


I'll finish with another song you could pretty much guarantee would be present. All I have to say is TONY BENNETT.

Tony Bennett

Also, all I have to say is Stranger in Paradise.

♫ Tony Bennett - Stranger In Paradise


ELDER MUSIC: Variations on Work Song and Round Midnight

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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Today's column is another where there are variations on two tunes. This is because I didn't have enough versions that were dissimilar enough to fill a whole column, but there were some fine versions of both tunes.

As you can gather from the heading they are Work Song, written by Nat Adderley, and Round Midnight written by Thelonious Monk.

When Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and I were checking tracks for a previous column on the tune Moanin' we were struck how similar it was to Work Song.

That gave us the idea for this column (or half of it anyway). It seems we aren't the only ones who noticed that.

The first cab off the rank is by DION DIMUCCI and he starts with Moanin' and segues into Work Song.

Dion

Dion started his career as front man for the DooWop group Dion and the Belmonts and has evolved into a very interesting singer indeed.

♫ Dion - Work Song


THE BUTTERFIELD BLUES BAND was one of the finest blues/rock groups from the sixties.

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Paul Butterfield knew talent when he saw and heard it and he collected them into his band – Muddy Waters' rhythm section and two of the best guitarists around, Elvin Bishop and the best of the lot, Michael Bloomfield.

Butterfield was a good singer and an excellent harmonica player. He shows that in this version along with Elvin and Michael soloing separately. Mark Naftalin gets into the act as well on organ.

♫ Paul Butterfield - Work Song


JOE & EDDIE were Joe Gilbert and Eddie Brown.

Joe & Eddie

Joe and Eddie had similar backgrounds, both born the same year, grew up in the south and moved to Berkeley, California where they met at school and started singing together.

They won several talent shows and turned professional. They were prominent in the folk boom of the early sixties. Unfortunately, Joe was killed in a car accident in 1966.

They sing Work Song with Eddie singing the solo part.

♫ Joe & Eddie - The Work Song


NINA SIMONE recorded the song a couple of times.

Nina Simone

In one version she looks back to the big band era; in the second she anticipates sixties rock music with a bit of jazz tossed in as well. Today I've included the latter one, recorded in 1961.

♫ Nina Simone - Work Song


The final version is by NAT ADDERLEY, who wrote it.

Nat Adderley

Work Song was Nat's most famous tune and it came from an album of the same name, generally regarded as his finest. An interesting aside is that it featured Bobby Timmons playing piano. He's the one who wrote the tune of Moanin'.

♫ Nat Adderley - Work Song


Thelonious Monk wrote Round Midnight in the early 1940s. Brian Hanighen later added words to the tune.

Brian also wrote with Johnny Mercer and Clarence Williams. He was instrumental in getting Billie Holiday a recording contract at Columbia. She had nothing but praise for him in her autobiography, and not just for that.

I'll start the second half of this column with a vocal version by MEL TORMÉ.

Mel Torme

Mel employs a stripped back, understated backing which suits the song superbly. You really should wait until late night for this one - oh, sometime Round Midnight (or tell yourself it's midnight somewhere in the world).

♫ Mel Torme - Round Midnight


MILES DAVIS recorded the tune in an album called "Round About Midnight."

Miles Davis

It's generally considered that Miles received a recording contract with Columbia Records after he and Monk performed the tune together at the 1955 Newport Jazz Festival. He recorded the album not too long afterwards. This is the track.

♫ Miles Davis - 'Round Midnight


STEFAN GROSSMAN first came to my notice when he made an interesting album with Danny Kalb, guitarist for the Blues Project.

JOHN RENBOURN was an English guitarist who often collaborated with Bert Jansch. Stefan and John got together and recorded an album together.

John Renbourn & Stefan Grossman

On that album they performed an acoustic guitar version of 'Round Midnight. Here it is.

♫ John Renbourn and Stefan Grossman - 'Round Midnight


There's nothing much I can say about LINDA RONSTADT that hasn't been said before.

Linda Ronstadt

Besides, I've already featured her in two columns, so I'll just play her version of Round Midnight from her album "For Sentimental Reasons," one of the ones she made with Nelson Riddle.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Round Midnight


As is traditional (if two columns and four tunes can establish a tradition), I'll end with the person who wrote Round Midnight, and that is THELONIOUS MONK.

Thelonious Monk

Monk recorded it several times – as a solo piano piece and with various bands. The one I've chosen features GERRY MULLIGAN prominently.

Gerry Mulligan

This is taken from an album called "Mulligan Meets Monk.”

♫ Thelonious Monk - Round Midnight


ELDER MUSIC: A Barrel of Bachs

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

* * *

When the name Bach is mentioned, it's usually in reference to the great Johann Sebastian, often cited as the greatest composer ever. Sometimes his four sons who became composers are considered.

Besides these there are quite a number in the extended family who wrote music. Some of those will be featured today (along with the famous five, of course).

It didn't start with J.S.; around the area where little Johann was born, the word Bach was already used as a nickname for musician.

As I implied, the line of musicians didn't start with JOHANN SEBASTIAN BACH, but I will.

J.S. Bach

Already in J.S.'s time he was considered old-fashioned. Indeed, his music was completely forgotten for a century or more until Mendelssohn and others started playing it again in the nineteenth century. J.S. will not be forgotten again.

Some of his best known works are the six Brandenburg Concertos, especially number three which seems to be the one played most often, so I'll go for another. This is the first movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No 6.

♫ Johann Sebastian Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No 6 (1)


J.S. was married twice, the first time was to second cousin Maria Barbara Bach.

Maria Barbara Bach

They had seven kids, three died early. The survivors were Catharina who was described as unmarried and that's all we know of her. There was a son, Johann Gottfried Bernhard who was an organist and he died under "mysterious and unknown circumstances" at age 24.

That left two others who became quite well known composers and they'll be featured today.

They are Wilhelm Friedemann, known as the "Dresden Bach" or "Halle Bach,” and Carl Philipp Emanuel who had the nicknames the "Hamburg Bach" or "Berlin Bach." I'll start with the oldest son, WILHELM FRIEDEMANN BACH.

Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

Willy had a pretty good music teacher – his father – and later studied law and mathematics at university. Naturally, he went into the family trade becoming the organist at a church in Halle. He was very unhappy there and got into scrapes with the bigwigs (one of whom embezzled funds due him).

He left without another job in the offing and couldn't get another position. He supported himself and his family (only just) by teaching and he eventually died in poverty.

Willy lived in the shadow of his father but he wrote a bunch of cantatas and orchestral works. Here is the third movement of Sinfonia in D Major (used as prelude to his cantata "Dies ist der Tag").

♫ Wilhelm Friedemann Bach - Sinfonia In D Major (3)


The next son is CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach

In Mozart's and Haydn's times (which is really just Haydn's times as he was born before Mozart and outlived him by many years), whenever anyone referred to "the great Bach," it was always C.P.E. they were talking about, not his father who had slipped from the public gaze by then.

C.P.E. received his middle name from the great Georg Philipp Telemann who was his godfather and a good friend of his father's. C.P.E.'s first job was in Berlin at the service of Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia who liked a bit of a tune, and later became king Freddie the Great.

He was a handy person to know. C.P.E. stayed there for 30 years and then, after considerable negotiation, he joined his godfather in Hamburg where he became composer in residence for Freddie's sister, Anna Amalia.

He stayed there for a further 20 years. In all that time, he wrote copious amounts of music, perhaps not as much as his father, but lots in all sorts of genres. Here we have the third movement of the Cello Concerto No 1 in A minor.

♫ Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach - Cello Concerto No 1 in A minor (3)


After the death of his first wife, J.S. married Anna Magdalena Wilcke (or Wilcken).

 Anna Magdalena Bach

This union produced 13 kids, seven of whom died young. Of the remainder there were Johanna Carolina and Regina Susanna, both of whom were described as unmarried (again, that's the extent of our knowledge).

Another sister was Elisabeth Juliana Friderica who married Johann Christoph Altnikol who was J.S.'s pupil and quite a decent composer himself.

Then there was Gottfried Heinrich who was mentally handicapped but played the organ quite well, it seems, and died at 39.

Which brings us to two more composers, Johann Christoph Friedrich (the "Bückeburg" Bach) and Johann Christian (the "London" Bach).

JOHANN CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH BACH.

Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach

This name has caused confusion as J.S. had a cousin, an uncle, a great uncle and an elder brother all with this name, thus "our" J.C.F. was usually called by his nickname as he resided in London, and played harpsichord there.

He may have lived there, but he liked the Italian style and many of his compositions reflect this. Everyone seemed to be writing trio sonatas around this time and he was no exception. The first movement of the Trio sonata in F major.

♫ Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach - Trio sonata in F major (1)


I'll finish the immediate family with JOHANN CHRISTIAN BACH, who is my favorite of the Bach sons.

Johann Christian Bach

That's because his style is reminiscent of Haydn and Mozart who were both friends of his. He gave lessons to the young Wolfie and later on, instructed him on the intricacies of the Sinfonia Concertante of which he was a master.

He lived in Italy for quite a few years before moving to London where he spent the rest of his life. As happened to his oldest brother, someone (his steward in this case) embezzled his considerable wealth and he also died in poverty.

Instead of one of the aforementioned Sinfonia Concertantes, I'll go with something else - the first movement of the quintet for flute, oboe, violin, viola and continuo, Op. 11 No. 3 in F major.

♫ Johann Christian Bach - Quintet Op. 11 No. 3 In F Major (1)


The musical talent managed to reach the next generation, but only just. WILHELM FRIEDRICH ERNST BACH was J.C.F.'s son and he seems to be the only one of his generation who took up the family business.

After him, the musical line ends; indeed he apparently said himself, "Heredity can tend to run out of ideas."

Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach

It was a useful family to be born into if you wanted to make music. W.F.E. received training from two of his uncles, C.P.E. and J.C. Indeed, he was in London when this latter uncle died. He stayed on there for a couple more years before returning to Germany to take up the post of Kapellmeister in Berlin, a position he retained until he retired.

Here is the first movement of his Sinfonia in C major.

♫ Wilhelm Friedrich Ernst Bach - Sinfonia in C-major (1)


Now we get to some of the others and confusion may set in. It certainly did for me trying to keep straight who all these are, often with similar (or the same) names.

As I mentioned earlier, there were several in the extended family named JOHANN CHRISTOPH BACH, and here's one of those.

Johann Christoph Bach

This particular one is the son of Heinrich Bach, Johann Sebastian's great uncle. I don't know what relation that makes him to the great man, but we'll just skip over that.

This particular J.C. had a reputation as the greatest of the Bach composers until J.S. (and his sons) came along and now he's been relegated to the reserve bench. More than that, pretty much forgotten, but we'll do something about that today, even if it's only a little bit. I've included one of his motets, Fürchte dich nicht

♫ Johann Christoph Bach - Fürchte dich nicht


JOHANN LUDWIG BACH (the "Meininger Bach") was J.S.'s second cousin, or something like that. He was approximately contemporaneous with J.S.

Johann Ludwig Bach

He was a writer of cantatas and some of his were attributed to the great man until the original folios were discovered. The confusion probably arose because he'd often perform his cousin's works at the various courts where he worked.

No cantata this time, but another motet, Unsere Trübsal.

♫ Johann Ludwig Bach - Unsere Trübsal


JOHANN MICHAEL BACH (the "Gehrener Bach") was sort of a second uncle to J.S. as well as his father-in-law – he was the father of J.S.'s first wife.

Johann Michael Bach

He wrote works for the organ as well as cantatas. Besides composing, he was renowned at the time for making musical instruments, particularly harpsichords.

Those early Bachs liked their motets and here's yet another (that's about all I have of these particular gentlemen). This is a Christmas motet. I should have kept it for then. Oh well. Furchtet Euch Nicht.

♫ Johann Michael Bach - Furchtet Euch Nicht


To add to the confusion, we have another JOHANN MICHAEL BACH who was a nephew of J.S. I couldn't find a picture of him anywhere.

He was mostly a lawyer (as were several other members of the family) and later a music teacher. However, he wrote music as well and like many of the others, he specialised in cantatas.

Here is one of the called Das Volk, so im Finstern wandelt, and this is the fourth movement called “Rheinische Kantorei.”

♫ Johann Michael Bach III - Rheinische Kantorei


There are quite a few more Bachs that I've left out. I must admit that some of the very early Bachs' music is, to put no fine point on it, boring, so they won't be missed. Fortunately there is enough interesting music to fill the column.


ELDER MUSIC: Jennifer

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.

* * *

Whenever someone asks me who my favorite female singer is I'll usually say Cecelia Bartoli. Sometimes I'll say Jessye Norman or to be different, Kathleen Ferrier.

Of course, most people who ask that question aren't interested in classical music, or they think I'm being perverse (always a possibility) so they modify the question.

I then mentally review the situation – Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, Nina Simone, Etta James, Julie London, Patsy Cline. However, on reflection, the one I seem to enjoy most is JENNIFER WARNES.

Of course, that could change next week. In the meantime, here is a column of her music.

Jennifer Warnes

I'll start with the first song I first heard that registered her name in my brain. This is from her excellent album from the seventies called "Shot Through the Heart." It wasn't her first but I didn't know that at the time.

The song is I Know a Heartache When I See One.

Jennifer Warnes

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


From that same album comes a song from Norma, the Assistant Musicologist's favorite Bob Dylan album, "New Morning." The song is Sign on the Window.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Sign on the Window


Jennifer Warnes

Here's a song I can empathise with although less so today than it was when I was younger. I imagine Jennifer feels the same way. Pissed Off 2 AM.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Pissed Off 2 Am


Early on, Jennifer was a back-up singer for Leonard Cohen.

Jennifer Warnes

She later progressed to co-singer and later still recorded an album of his songs called “Famous Blue Raincoat,” easily the best covers of Lennie's songs anyone has done. From that album we have the title song.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Famous Blue Raincoat


From the beginning Jennifer sang duets with many people - Bob Dylan, Harry Belafonte, Roy Orbison, Warren Zevon, Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Sam & Dave, Bobby Womack, and Tina Turner are just a few of them.

There are a couple of others you can probably come up with (who won't be in the column, even though they won Oscars). I've selected JACKSON BROWNE.

Jennifer Warnes & ;Jackson Browne

They recorded a couple of the songlets from The Beatles' "Abbey Road" album. They call it Golden Slumbers.

♫ Jennifer Warnes and Jackson Browne & Jennifer Warnes - Golden Slumbers


Jennifer Warnes

Another song from her Lennie album is the first on that disk, and maybe the most interesting, First We Take Manhattan.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - First We Take Manhattan


Another duet, and they don't get much better than HARRY BELAFONTE with whom to sing. The song is Skin To Skin, and Harry sounds as if he's 20 years old. I imagine Jennifer would do that for any red blooded male.

Jennifer Warnes & Harry Belafonte

♫ Jennifer Warnes & Harry Belafonte - Skin To Skin


From considerably earlier in her career, Jennifer recorded one of Jimmy Webb's songs (well, probably more than one, but it's a particular one we're interested in today).

Jennifer Warnes

In this case, it was a song that I've not heard anyone else perform apart from Jimmy himself. That song is P.F. Sloan. It's about another singer/songwriter whose main claim to fame is that he wrote the song Eve of Destruction.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - P.F. Sloan


I had half a dozen songs penciled in for this spot, so I ran them past the A.M. She chose this one. It's another duet, this time Jennifer has DOYLE BRAMHALL along to help out.

Doyle Bramhall & Jennifer Warnes

Doyle also plays guitar on the track which is the Eddy Arnold/Cindy Walker classic, You Don't Know Me. On this they really give Ray Charles a run for his money in pure passion. It's terrific.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - You Don't Know Me


From her album "The Hunter” thus the following photo, I've selected the song Lights of Louisianne.

Jennifer Warnes

You can probably tell from the title that there's a Cajun influence in the song. You'd be right.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Lights of Louisianne


ELDER MUSIC: Singing with Willie

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 think it's WILLIE NELSON's plan to sing with everyone on the planet, at least everyone who can hold a tune.

Willie Nelson

Because there are so many songs out there it makes my job easy but it makes it hard as well because there are so many songs out there. Of course, I'll only select people I like so that will make my job a bit easier.  Here they are...

A while ago Willie teamed up with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings in a group called The Highwaymen. I'm not including anything from their albums, but as a bit of a link I'll start with the daughter of one of those and she is ROSANNE CASH.

Willie Nelson & Rosanne Cash

Rosanne is a fine writer, interpreter and performer of rock & roll but because of her pedigree she often gets a gig in country music shows. She can do both really well as is evidenced by her duet with Willie, Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends.

♫ Willie and Roseanne - Please Don't Tell Me How the Story Ends


After Hank Williams died, RAY PRICE managed Hank's band to some success.

Willie Nelson & Ray Price

He later started his own band and throughout the years it was the spawning ground for some of the greats of country music. Some of those are Roger Miller, Darrell McCall, Van Howard, Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Bush, Buddy Emmons and Willie.

Willie later wrote songs that Ray performed to some success. They remained good friends until Ray died in 2013. They perform Home in San Antone.

♫ Willie and Ray Price - Home In San Antone


I have a fine vinyl album by TRACY NELSON that I haven't thought about for years until I decided to do this column. I'm glad I did as I started listening to it again.

Willie&Tracy11

Tracy is noted mostly for singing blues but she makes a good country singer as well. She's not related to Willie but he joined her on that album to produce a fine duet, After the Fire is Gone.

♫ Willie and Tracy Nelson - After the Fire is Gone


Townes van Zandt's most famous song would have to be Pancho and Lefty. Willie has the help of MERLE HAGGARD on this one.

Willie Nelson & ;Merle Haggard

You couldn't call the song a duet; Merle sings only a single verse. He may have had a larger role in this single if Willie hadn't decided to record the song in the middle of the night and woke Merle at 3AM to record it.

Merle did his one verse (perfectly) in a single take and then went when back to bed.

♫ Willie and Merle Haggard - Pancho and Lefty


CYNDI LAUPER seems an unlikely pairing with Willie.

Willie Nelson & Cyndi Lauper

However, like Willie, Cyndi is a songwriter of some substance – not as many songs as Willie, but who has? She's even had hers covered by Miles Davis so that should be good enough for anyone. Willie and Cyndi tackle the rather twee song written by George and Ira Gershwin, Lets Call the Whole Thing Off.

♫ Lets Call The Whole Thing Off (feat Cyndi Lauper)


Old Age and Treachery always overcome youth and skill is an appropriate sentiment for this website. I hope you all take it to heart and apply that lesson in your daily lives.

Willie's co-conspirator on the song is his most famous singing partner, WAYLON JENNINGS.

Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings

Willie and Waylon performed and recorded together quite often so there's a lot of material to work with. Instead of some of their more famous collaborations, I've gone with this one.

♫ Willie and Waylon - Old Age And Treachery


EMMYLOU HARRIS would have to be present in any exercise involving duets and today is no different.

Willie Nelson & Emmylou Harris

I really don't need to tell you about the lovely Emmy, just sit back and listen to her and Willie sing Gulf Coast Highway.

♫ Willie and Emmylou Harris - Gulf Coast Highway


ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL carry on the western swing tradition made famous by Bob Wills (and some others) in the thirties and forties.

Willie Nelson & Asleep at the Wheel

Hesitation Blues goes way back, such that it's usually attributed to "Traditional.” Because of that, several people have claimed authorship (and added their own words to the song); Willie and the Wheel don't do that, they just perform it.

♫ Willie and Asleep at the Wheel - Hesitation Blues


Like Willie, ALISON KRAUSS seems to like singing with other people, lots of other people – not as many as Willie yet but he has a few years on her.

Willie Nelson & Alison Krauss

Alison recorded her first album when she was only 14. Back then she played the fiddle and mandolin. Later she started singing as well and she has a fine voice as you can hear on No Mas Amor.

♫ Willie and Alison Krauss - No Mas Amor


KIMMIE RHODES and Willie have been friends for years and have recorded together intermittently.

Willie Nelson & Kimmie Rhodes

Those tracks have been gathered together and an album called "Picture in a Frame" is the result. The song Love Me Like a Song is taken from that album.

♫ Willie and Kimmie Rhodes - Love Me Like A Song


ELDER MUSIC: The Oscars

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.

* * *

Oscar

I've not always agreed with the songs that won the Academy Award for best song. That's really an understatement, there are very few with which I'd concur and that will probably be evident again tonight when this year's Oscar awards are given out in Los Angeles.

Most of the ones I think deserved it didn't even get nominated. The Grammies are even worse – they're supposed to be about music.

Now that I have that off my chest, I'll present some of the songs that did win the Oscar. These will be in order of the year they won. The envelope please...

1934: The Continental from "The Gay Divorcee"
FRED ASTAIRE and Ginger Rogers performed it in the film. However, Fred rerecorded it years later and I think that this later version is far superior. Here it is.

FredAstaire

♫ Fred Astaire - The Continental


1936: The Way You Look Tonight from "Swing Time"
More Fred and Ginger; Fred sings the song playing the piano rather than dancing. We've had Fred, so I thought I'd check the other versions I have. None of the other singers were a patch on Fred, so I've gone for an instrumental treatment of the song by GERRY MULLIGAN.

GerryMulligan

It doesn't sound much like the original, but that's okay.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - The Way You Look Tonight


1939: Over the Rainbow from “The Wizard of Oz"
Okay, no messing around with this one. There's only one I could have chosen here and you know who it is. Here is the original from the film by JUDY GARLAND.

JudyGarland

♫ Judy Garland - Over the Rainbow (MGM Soundtrack Version)


1949: Baby It's Cold Outside from "Neptune's Daughter"
The song was performed twice in the film, first by Ricardo Montalbán and Esther Williams and the second by Betty Garrett and Red Skelton (roles reversed in the second version).

In a more modern version here is WILLIE NELSON and NORAH JONES with tongues firmly in both their cheeks.

Willie Nelson &Norah Jones

♫ Willie Nelson - Baby, It's Cold Outside (featuring Norah Jones)


1950: Mona Lisa from "Captain Carey, U.S.A."
The song was performed in the film by Charlie Spivak but everyone who is reading this knows that this is NAT KING COLE's song. Nat recorded this several times, but they are pretty similar. This is one of them.

Nat King Cole

♫ Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa


1951: In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening from “Here Comes the Groom"
This song was the product of a couple of great songwriters - music by Hoagy Carmichael and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. In the film, BING CROSBY and JANE WYMANperformed the song and they are doing it here as well.

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman

♫ Bing Crosby - In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening


1952: High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin') from "High Noon"
Most people think of Frankie Laine when this song is mentioned, however, he didn't perform the song in the film. That honor went to TEX RITTER.

Tex Ritter

Tex also recorded it a couple of times but this is the way it sounded in the film.

♫ Tex Ritter - High Noon~Do Not Forsake Me~Film Soundtrack


1961: Moon River from "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
The song was written by HENRY MANCINI and JOHNNY MERCER and performed in the film by Audrey Hepburn.

Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini

Numerous others have also recorded it. I won't use any of those. In 2014, Henry's son found an acetate of a demo that Henry and Johnny recorded just after they composed the song. Here it is, Henry playing piano and Johnny singing.

♫ Henry Mancini, Johnny Mercer - Moon River [1961 Demo]


1971: Theme from Shaft from "Shaft"
It seems that the producers of the film promised ISAAC HAYES the lead role in the film if he'd write the score for the film.

Isaac Hayes

Isaac kept his side of the bargain but the producers reneged on their promise. The song and the album from which it was taken sold millions.

♫ Isaac Hayes - Theme From Shaft


2000: Things Have Changed from "Wonder Boys"
This isn't a film with which I'm familiar but checking on Mr Wiki it seems to have a fine cast. Not just that, the music in it meets my approval – Tom Rush, Buffalo Springfield, Tim Hardin, Little Willie John, Leonard Cohen, Van Morrison, John Lennon and, of course, the song that won the Oscar by BOB DYLAN.

Bob Dylan

♫ Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed


ELDER MUSIC: Lipstick, Powder and Paint

TIME GOES BY 2016 DONATION WEEK ENDS TODAY
This is the final day of the 2016 donation campaign to help support the increasing costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing will change. TGB will always remain advertising-free for everyone with never a membership fee or paid firewall.

* * *

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.

* * *

Lipstick Powde r& Paint

This column comes from the song of that name that has been recorded by many artists over the years. There are songs about all three, powder being the hardest one about which to find good songs.

I'll start with the name of the column; my favorite version is one of the oldest by BIG JOE TURNER.

Big Joe Turner

Joe, almost single-handedly, changed rhythm and blues into rock and roll. This is from an earlier period when he was performing jump blues (but wouldn't be out of place at a rock concert), Lipstick, Powder and Paint.

♫ Joe Turner - Lipstick, Powder and Paint


So, that's the track with all the elements present. Now, we split them up. In order I'll start with lipstick and who better than BENNY SPELLMAN.

Benny Spellman

His song has been recorded often by others but no one that I know of does it better than Benny. Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette).

♫ Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)


I know that you'd be expecting this one and I don't want to disappoint you. Here is CONNIE FRANCIS.

Connie Francis

In the late fifties, early sixties Connie had many hits. This is one of them, Lipstick On Your Collar.

I always wondered what Mary-Jane was doing kissing his collar but maybe I'm just lacking in imagination. Also, he was going out for a soda pop and didn't invite Connie along. She's well rid of him.

♫ Connie Francis - Lipstick On Your Collar


By rights, JOHN HIATT should be a superstar.

John Hiatt

Naturally, the various media prefer "celebrities" rather than talent. I could go on (indeed, I did for some time, but I removed it as just too boring and ranty, a word I just made up). John performs Lipstick Sunset.

♫ John Hiatt - Lipstick Sunset


Not much in the way of powder songs. Apart from the title track, I only have one and that is by STEFAN GROSSMAN.

Stefan Grossman

Stefan is a really fine acoustic guitarist and not a bad singer but today, he just lets his fingers do the talking. Here is Powder Rag.

♫ Stefan Grossman - Powder Rag


To the paint songs. There are far too many of these to fit into this column, so I have the luxury of selecting the best of them. The one that stands out from the others is by THE BAND.

The Band

Levon Helm is the singer on this song which is from their "Cahoots" album, not their best but a pretty good one nonetheless. The song is When I Paint My Masterpiece, a song written by Bob Dylan.

♫ The Band - When I Paint My Masterpiece


Old Bill Jones had a daughter and a son. One went to Denver and the other went wrong. His wife, she got killed in a poolroom fight. My goodness, the Jones family led a colorful life.

Those who have been singing along already know that this is from the song, I Ride an Old Paint (or variations on that theme).

In some versions there are two daughters and a son and the wife is nowhere to be seen. There are many twists on the story out there and it's my job to pick one. So, here goes: MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY.

Michael Martin Murphey

Michael's version segues into another song just so you won't get bored. He calls it I Ride an Old Paint etc.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - I Ride an Old Paint etc


Back in the first incarnation of the ROLLING STONES, Brian Jones liked to bring in various instruments to add color to their records. This is one example of that.

Rolling Stones

He really was a prodigy. Give him an instrument and he could play it really well in no time at all. All of that leads me to Paint It Black.

♫ Rolling Stones - Paint It Black


After all the songs for which he is known, GORDON LIGHTFOOT kept recording albums, and really good ones at that.

Gordon Lightfoot

Some of us (well, me at least) kept collecting them. One of those later albums was called “A Painter Passing Through” and here is the title song.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - A Painter Passing Through


TAJ MAHAL yet again ends one of my columns.

Taj Mahal

I know that because I write them. Readers may not realise this as the columns could be months apart when they see light of day on TGB. Taj is doing some painting, nothing major like a house.

He's Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue.

♫ Taj Mahal - Going Up to the Country, Paint My Mailbox Blue


ELDER MUSIC: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

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.

* * *

CSN

Regular commenter Larry suggested I do a column on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. My old friend Tony once said the same thing. I hadn't considered them before because, although I liked them well enough, I was never a huge fan.

However, with those four, separately and together, there's a lot of material to work with, so here goes.

Each of the members came from successful groups that have reached (and forgive me for using this word) iconic status over the years.

Indeed, a couple of the bands were considered that way while they were still around as functioning units. I'm going to include something from these groups before we get to CSN&Y.

First off, DAVID CROSBY.

David Crosby

He was a founder member of The Byrds, one of the finest rock groups from the sixties. They were better than any band from that time except for a couple whose initial letter is also B.

He wrote a song called Triad which is about the pleasures of threesomes (and even more-somes). The rest of The Byrds were uncomfortable with the song, and although they recorded it, it didn't appear on any album until decades later when they released their excellent box set.

David did perform it with Grateful Dead at least once, and Jefferson Airplane also recorded it.

♫ The Byrds - Triad


Buffalo Springfield weren't together long - just over two years, around 1967 and 1968 - and they only made three albums. Any group that contained STEVE STILLS and Neil Young was bound to be volatile, as was also born out in their later group.

However, that volatility was a spur to both of them to produce even better music than they thought was possible.

Steve wrote and performed Everydays for the group.

Steve Stills

♫ Buffalo Springfield - Everydays


GRAHAM NASH came from Birmingham, England, by way of The Hollies, a group noted for their harmony singing.

Graham Nash

Graham became rather dissatisfied with the music his group was recording and went on vacation to America and caught up with David whom he'd met when The Byrds toured England a few years earlier.

They found they sang well together and one day Steve joined them in some harmony singing and the rest is history. Before that though, there were The Hollies with What's Wrong With The Way I Live.

♫ The Hollies - What's Wrong With The Way I Live


As mentioned above, NEIL YOUNG was also from Buffalo Springfield.

Neil Young

However, by the time their final album was released, he really wasn't with them. He did contribute a good song to it though. It is On The Way Home.

♫ Buffalo Springfield - On The Way Home


Before there was Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young there was CROSBY, STILLS AND NASH.

CSN

Their first album was an instant success and has sold squillions. Although a trio, Steve played pretty much every instrument on the record (except for the drums). They all contributed songs.

One of Steve's was Suite ~ Judy Blue Eyes, about Judy Collins.

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - Suite ~ Judy Blue Eyes


It seems to me that Steve's songs from that album have aged better than the others have. Here is another of his, You Don't Have to Cry.

CSN

♫ Crosby, Stills and Nash - You Don't Have to Cry


By the time of their second album, "Déjà vu," with the addition of Neil to the group, they were barely speaking to each other. All but a couple of tracks were essentially solo performances with the others coming in (separately) to add to the tracks. Pretty much the same as some of the Beatles' last albums. Nonetheless, it produced a fine record.

CSNY

Before Neil came on board, Steve tried to convince Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and George Harrison to be their fourth member. They all refused.

From that album (that they actually managed to complete and it turned out to be not too bad at all), is another song of Steve's, 4 + 20.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - 4 + 20


CSNY

We probably have to have their big hit, Teach Your Children, a song written by Graham. They slid into country mode here with that pedal steel guitar, played by the old Deadhead himself, Jerry Garcia.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Teach Your Children


Neil added some grit to their sound. He wrote the song Ohio in a white hot fury when he heard that the Ohio National Guard had shot four students at Kent State University. The group recorded the song, mastered it and released it in a very short time, even though their previous song was still on the charts.

♫ Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - Ohio


NEIL YOUNG was easily the most successful of the group as a solo performer.

Neil Young

He also wrote songs that have been covered by many other artists (who perform them a lot better than he does them, in the opinion of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist).

I'm a bit perverse; I rather like it when he straps on his Les Paul Gibson, cranks up the amp and blasts out his long distorted guitar solos. Cortez the Killer is a prime example of this on record, however, that might be a tad too much for a Sunday morning.

Neil has also always been a rather perverse performer, going his own way completely disregarding his audience. In that spirit, I'll do something similar and have him perform a song he didn't write.

This was by fellow Canadian, Ian Tyson, maybe Ian's most famous song, Four Strong Winds. Neil had some help from Nicolette Larson on this one.

♫ Neil Young - Four Strong Winds


As of my writing this, they are one of the very few top groups from the sixties whose members are all still with us (a bit of a surprise in the case of David).

CSNY


ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias (10-1)

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

* * *

As I mentioned last week in the countdown from 20 to 11, Australia's ABC Classical station had a listeners' poll on their favorite opera arias. These are the big cheeses, so counting down from 10 to 1.

10. RICHARD STRAUSS - Der Rosenkavalier - Hab' mir's gelobt, ihm lieb zu haben

StraussR4

Rich isn't related to the Strauss family who wrote all those waltzes. He's probably best known for the tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra because the initial part of that was used at the beginning of the film "2001, A Space Odyssey.”

“Der Rosenkavalier” was wildly successful when it was premiered in 1911 and has remained popular ever since. The trio Hab mir (etc) is towards the end of the opera when the main bloke has to decide between the two women in his life (one of them saw the light and left him to the other).

Today we have ELISABETH SCHWARZKOPF, ANNELIESE ROTHENBERGER and SENA JURINAC playing those roles.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf&Anneliese Rothenberger&Sena Jurinac1

♫ Richard Strauss - Der Rosenkavalier ~ Hab mir's gelobt, ihm lieb zu haben


9. CHRISTOPH GLUCK - Orfeo and Euridice - Che faro senza Euridice

Gluck1

“Orfeo and Euridice” belongs to the genre of the azione teatrale. Ah ha. Dr Google informs me that that means an opera on a mythological subject with choruses and dancing. Okey doke, it looks as if everything is covered there.

From that we have the contralto MAUREEN FORRESTER performing Che Faro Senza Euridice or What shall I do without Euridice?

What he does is to decide to top himself – a lot of that goes on in opera – but his mate Amore talks him out of it. In spite of Orfeo being a bloke, his part is usually sung by a woman. Strange things, operas.

MaureenForrester2

♫ Gluck - Orfeo and Euridice ~ Che Faro Senza Euridice


8. GIUSEPPE VERDI - Rigoletto - Bella figlia dell'amore (Act III quartet)

Verdi7

We have the big guns now, Giuseppe with the opera, and JOAN SUTHERLAND and LUCIANO PAVAROTTI as Gilda and the Duke. Sounds like a TV program from the eighties.

Luciano&Joan4

They perform Bella figlia dell'amore, which is called a quartet on the CD, but I don't know who the other two are.

♫ Verdi - Rigoletto ~ Bella figlia dell'amore


7. RICHARD WAGNER - Tristan and Isolde – Liebestod

Wagner2

Rules are meant to be broken and I'm about to break one of my own self-imposed rules that has held sway for the entire life of this column until now. That is, I wasn't ever going to play any Wagner. Oh well, the good burghers of Australia have ensured that that's gone by the wayside.

The only thing that has made this palatable to me is that I have the incomparable JESSYE NORMAN performing Liebestod from “Tristan and Isolde.”

Jessye Norman

♫ Wagner - Tristan and Isolde ~ Liebestod


6. GIACOMO PUCCINI - Madame Butterfly - Un bel dì (One fine day)

Puccini9

Just about every soprano worth her salt has had a crack at this one. I have quite a few versions of this particular aria but I'm rather fond of RENATA SCOTTO's version.

RenataScotto1

Okay, I'm rather fond of them all but Renata's is the one you're getting (just to vary the singers a bit).

It's mostly known as One Fine Day, or Un Bel Dì Vedremo in Italian. Cio-Cio San sings about how Pinkerton is going to return one day and take her back to America as his wife. Is she in for a surprise.

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Un Bel Dì Vedremo


5. HENRY PURCELL - Dido and Aeneas - Thy hand, Belinda… When I am laid in earth (Dido's Lament)

Purcell4

Dido and Aeneas was Henry's first opera and one of the first operas written in English. It was initially performed around 1688 at a girls' school in London.

It is based on Virgil's Aeneid (or part of that work, anyway). JESSYE NORMAN is on hand to sing Thy hand, Belinda, When I am laid in Earth.

Jessye13

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


4. WOLFGANG MOZART - Così fan tutte - Soave sia il vento

Mozart

My favorite operas of Wolfie's weren't selected but I can't quibble because any from him is worth listening to.

Actually, this aria is sublime and it's performed by MONTSERRAT CABALLÉ, JANET BAKER and RICHARD VAN ALLAN. It's Soave sia il vento (or May the wind be gentle).

Montserrat&Janet&Richard1

♫ Mozart - Così fan tutte ~ Soave sia il vento


3. LÉO DELIBES - Lakmé - Sous le dôme épais (Flower Duet)

Delibes2

This aria is hugely popular so it's no surprise that it came in at number three. It's been used in other settings – in films, TV and (alas) advertisements.

The opera is set in India and all the bigwigs go off to the temple to do whatever they do leaving Lakmé behind. She goes down to the river to gather flowers with her servant and they sing this as they collect them.

Performing those roles are ELINA GARANCA and ANNA NETREBKO who sing together quite a lot.

ElinaGaranca &AnnaNetrebko1

♫ Delibes - Lakmé ~ Sous le dôme épais


2. VERDI - Nabucco - Va, pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew slaves)

Verdi4

Va, pensiero/dm (or Chorus of the Hebrew slaves) gives choral music a good name. It makes you want to sing along or conduct along as I was doing as I played this piece of music.

The choristers are the Ambrosian Opera Chorus. Be warned: there are three really loud chords about 30 seconds in.

♫ Verdi - Nabucco ~ Va pensiero


1. GEORGES BIZET - The Pearl Fishers - Au fond du temple saint

Bizet1

The voting public got this right. There are many duets in opera but none of them are better than this one.

Georges is better known as the creator of "Carmen" (which was a total flop when first performed) but I prefer “The Pearl Fishers” as does the listening public here in Oz it seems.

Again, I had several versions from which to choose, and settled on JUSSI BJÖRLING and ROBERT MERRILL performing Au fond du temple saint (or In the depths of the temple).

JussiBjörling&RobertMerrill3

♫ Bizet - The Pearl Fishers ~ Au fond du temple saint



ELDER MUSIC: Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias (20-11)

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

* * *

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

This time it was opera arias and that gives me a chance to play some terrific singers and not worry about which piece of music to include as the selection has been done for me.

We're doing the Top 20, the first half today and the rest next week. Here we go, counting down from 20 to 11.

I could very well rename this "The Puccini Column" as he makes six appearances. He's also in next week (but only once). I'll start with him and one of his lesser known operas “Gianni Schicchi,” but hardly a lesser known aria.

20. GIACOMO PUCCINI - Gianni Schicchi - O mio babbino caro

Puccini

This is one of a trio of one-act operas Gia released around 1917, is the only one of those regularly staged these days and that's probably only due to this aria which is more often performed as a concert piece.

Here is the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING performing O Mio Babbino Caro (or "Oh My Beloved Father").

Renee Fleming

Puccini - Gianni Schicchi ~ Mio Babbino Caro


19. PUCCINI - Madama Butterfly - The Humming Chorus

Puccini

Gia again with one of his famous pieces. Actually, all the ones included are famous because of the selection method. Just the chorus, no individual singers. The Humming Chorus or Coro A Bocca Chiusa.

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Coro A Bocca Chiusa


18. WOLFGANG MOZART - The Magic Flute - Der Hölle Rache

Mozart

Wolfie is sadly under-represented in these columns, only one today and one next week. If I were choosing... (yeah, yeah, yeah, I hear you say).

Wolfie wrote this originally for his sister-in-law (Josepha Hofer) to sing in the premiere. She must have been quite the performer because those who have tackled the role of Queen of the Night since have complained about its difficulty.

This is the Queen of the Night aria or Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen, performed today by SIMONE KERMES.

Simone Kermes

♫ Mozart - The Magic Flute ~ Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen


17. GAETANO DONIZETTI - Lucia di Lammermoor - Mad Scene

Donizetti

There are a number of mad scenes in opera, some of them even on the stage. This is the most famous of them.

JOAN SUTHERLAND made this one her own over the years; she performed it many times. It's Il dolce suono or just "the mad scene" from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Joan Sutherland

♫ Donizetti - Lucia di Lammermoor ~ Il dolce suono


16. PUCCINI - Madame Butterfly - Vogliatemi bene (Act I love duet)

Puccini

The love duet is performed early on in the opera by Cio-Cio San and the American Pinkerton expressing their undying love for each other. Poor old Cio-Cio is in for a big disappointment.

RENATA SCOTTO and CARLO BERGONZI play those roles today.

Renata Scotto & Carlo Bergonzi

♫ Puccini - Madama Butterfly ~ Vogliatemi Bene, Un Bene Piccolino


15. PUCCINI - La Bohème - Che gelida manina

Puccini

Now for two in a row from the same opera, La Bohème, one of the most famous in the repertoire and one of the most performed. First off it's the turn of LUCIANO PAVAROTTI who made a bit of a name for himself as a singer.

Luciano Pavarotti

He performs Che gelida manina (or "What a cold little hand").

Puccini - La Boheme ~ Che gelida manina


14. PUCCINI - La Bohème - O soave fanciulla

Puccini

There was a terrific production of this opera by the Australian Opera some years ago. Fortunately, it was preserved on DVD (and CD). The two singers are DAVID HOBSON and CHERYL BARKER.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist selected the photo of David as she's a bit of a fan.

David Hobson

I chose the picture of Cheryl as the same applies for me with her.

Cheryl Barker

The aria is O soave fanciulla (or "Oh lovely girl", the famous love duet).

♫ Puccini - La Boheme ~ soave fancuilla


13. VINCENZO BELLINI - Norma - Casta diva

Bellini

“Norma” is the A.M.'s favorite opera and it's not just because of its name. Or so she says. It's all to do with that final act where the singing just builds and builds and just when you think they can't do any more they up the ante.

The selection today, though, is from early in the opera and we have the incomparable CECILIA BARTOLI performing Casta Diva.

Cecilia Bartoli

♫ Bellini - Norma ~ Casta Diva


12. PUCCINI - Turandot - Nessun dorma

Puccini

LUCIANO PAVAROTTI makes a return visit with almost certainly the most famous aria in opera, Nessun dorma ("None shall Sleep").

Luciano Pavarotti

He performed this as a stand-alone piece numerous times, however, here he is from a recording of the complete opera – that way we get all the extra background stuff usually missing when it's performed on its own.

Because of that, the ending is a bit abrupt as the opera continues without a break.

♫ Puccini - Turandot ~ Nessun dorma!


11. ANTONIN DVORÁK - Rusalka - Song to the Moon

Dvorák

Antonin is better known as a composer of instrumental music, especially symphonies, however, he wrote a few operas. Only one of these is regularly performed these days and it's this one.

From that we have the aria Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém (generally known as "Song to the Moon") performed by LUCIA POPP.

Lucia Popp

♫ Dvorák - Rusalka ~ Song to the Moon


The top 10 of Australia's Classic 100 Opera Arias will appear here next week.


ELDER MUSIC: 1951 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.

* * *

This year saw the debut of the song The Thrill Is Gone that B.B. King made his own over the years. However, he wasn't the first to record it. That honor goes to ROY HAWKINS who wrote the song with some help from Rick Darnell.

Roy Hawkins

Roy was a blues pianist and his breakthrough record was Why Do Everything Happen To Me? that he wrote after his arm was paralysed as a result of a car accident.

Many of his songs were covered by other artists, unfortunately for him, mostly after he died.

♫ Roy Hawkins - The Thrill Is Gone


JOHNNIE RAY's professional career began this year with a couple of crying songs, a genre that he used to great effect over the years. Cry was probably his most famous song but I've used that in previous versions of this year, so we have the other one, Little White Cloud That Cried.

Johnnie Ray

Like a number of his early records, he was backed on this one by The Four Lads who had their own successful career over the years.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Little White Cloud That Cried


You could pretty much count on DORIS DAY being on the charts around this time and 1951 was no exception.

Doris Day

This isn't one of her best known songs, but it's one I remember. It must have played on radio in the country town where I lived at the time for that to be so. The song is (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to) Shanghai, a bit of a strange song.

Oh Doris, that's what you get for fibbing even if it was a little white lie. Why did you say you were going to Shanghai rather than just to the beach or somewhere? Now you regret it and he thinks you're on a slow boat to China or some such. What if he comes across you in the street? Cooked goose then.

♫ Doris Day - (Why Did I Tell You I Was Going to) Shanghai


JOE LIGGINS started his professional career as a member of Sammy Franklin's California Rhythm Rascals.

Joe Liggins

When Sammy refused to record Joe's song, The Honeydripper, Joe went out and started his own band (called The Honeydrippers). That song became a huge hit, one of the best selling R&B records ever, spending weeks at the top of the charts.

I don't think Joe went nyah nyah nyah nyah (or some such) - he was too much of a gentleman. This isn't that song, it's another of Joe's called Frankie Lee.

♫ Joe Liggins - Frankie Lee


Ahh, now we have one of the best songs from the entire decade. Many people recorded this one but none did it better than TOMMY EDWARDS.

Tommy Edwards

This is just a beautiful version of the song It's All In The Game. Nothing more needs to be said.

♫ Tommy Edwards - It's All In The Game


There were a bunch of "four" groups around this time. We had the Four Lads up there with Johnnie, now we have the FOUR ACES.

The Four Aces

I'd have put in the Four Preps and the Four Freshmen but they were just a little later. Hmm, could be a column in this. Anyway, the Aces had a bunch of hits in the fifties, including this one, Tell Me Why. A bit strident for my taste.

♫ The Four Aces - Tell Me Why


BILLY WARD AND HIS DOMINOES perform Sixty Minute Man.

Billy Ward & the Dominoes

The record was banned in a number of places at the time for its perceived naughtiness. Although graced with a couple of excellent lead singers over the years – Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson – on this song, the lead is sung by their bass singer Bill Brown.

A few years later the group recorded a tongue in cheek response called Can't Do Sixty No More. Tell me about it.

♫ The Dominoes - Sixty Minute Man


PATTI PAGE had enough good songs that, although I've already used a couple of them in previous incarnations of this year, there are enough left over to feature her again. Besides, I really like Patti.

Patti Page

Detour was written in 1945 and a number of people had recorded it over the years. Patti gave it her trademark double tracking of her voice that she used successfully on a number of her hits.

♫ Patti Page - Detour


GUY MITCHELL is another singer who was really popular around this time.

<>Guy Mitchell

Guy's first half dozen or so records were flops and he was about to be dropped by his record company when Frank Sinatra decided not to record a couple of songs he had scheduled.

Guy was hastily substituted in the sessions and these became his first blockbusters. Not long after that, he recorded Sparrow in the Treetop.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Sparrow in the Treetop


With the on-going saga of what was the first rock & roll record, this next one often gets the nod. Of course, it was a slow evolutionary process and there's really no cut-off line – there were records before this one that could be considered as well, but people like tight categories.

Now I've got that off my chest I'm going to play JACKIE BRENSTON performing Rocket 88 because it's worthy of inclusion.

Actually Jackie's name is on the record pretty much because of the whim of Ike Turner whose record this really is. It was Ike's band that recorded the song, Jackie was the saxophone player and sang on this one.

Although this was released by Chess records, it was actually recorded by Sam Phillips in Memphis before he started Sun Records. Little Richard must have listened closely to Ike's piano intro to the song.

♫ Jackie Brenston - Rocket 88


ELDER MUSIC: Give My Regards to Broadway

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.

* * *

Broadway

I was collecting songs for a column on the Streets on New York and thought if I were short ,I could use Broadway songs. As it turned out, I had more than enough for that one and ample for a column on Broadway. Indeed, so many there could be another one.

Because of the embarrassment of riches, I could pick and choose and have a variety of styles of music today, from old time to funk to soul to jazz to country to pop and a couple of indeterminates. I like to mix things up a bit.

An obvious place to start is with the title of the column and the obvious presenter of that song is the man who wrote it, GEORGE M. COHAN.

George M Cohan

George could do, and did, everything in the theatre. He started in vaudeville as a kid with his parents and sister. He began writing musicals in 1904 with "Little Johnny Jones" in which this song appeared.

George directed the musical and appeared in it along with mum, dad and sis. So, remember me to Herald Square, and definitely Give My Regards to Broadway.

♫ George M. Cohan - Give My Regards to Broadway


A complete change of pace with WILSON PICKETT. I told you we'd be all over the place.

Wilson Pickett

Wilson was in the first rank of soul singers and could give James Brown a few lessons in the funk department. Here he is with Funky Broadway.

♫ Wilson Pickett - Funky Broadway


GERRY MULLIGAN gives us the first taste of jazz today.

Gerry Mulligan

Gerry was that rare player of the baritone sax. I'm not surprised others didn't play it as it looks pretty heavy to me. This is from his great early quartet and you can catch (rather briefly) Chet Baker player trumpet. The tune is simply called Broadway.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - Broadway


JOHN PHILLIPS was probably best known as Papa John from The Mamas and The Papas.

John Phillips

After that he made a couple of really good solo albums. The other members of the group were somewhat miffed as they thought he should have used the material for group albums.

From one of those John performs Black Broadway and it sounds as if he's trying to amalgamate all the musical styles present today in the one song.

♫ John Phillips - Black Broadway


Some more jazz with someone who wrote tunes about all sorts of places, so it's not unreasonable that Broadway would be in there somewhere. I'm talking about DAVE BRUBECK.

Dave Brubeck

This is from an album called "Jazz Impressions of New York" which was an extension of Dave's work for the TV program Mr Broadway (starring Craig Stevens who will always be Peter Gunn as far as I'm concerned).

The track is Theme from Mr. Broadway.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Theme from Mr. Broadway


I first discovered DICK POWELL playing Richard Diamond on radio and a bit later on the Dick Powell Theatre on TV.

Dick Powell

I always thought of him as a serious actor and had no knowledge of his earlier career as a song and dance man and light comedian. I was a bit stunned when I saw him in those early films on the box.

Anyway, here he is in his earlier incarnation singing Lullaby of Broadway.

♫ Dick Powell - Lullaby of Broadway


BOBBY WOMACK could do it all.

Bobby Womack

He was a gospel singer, a soul singer, rock & roll, DooWop and country as well. He played guitar so well that he was an in-demand session musician. He wrote songs that were covered by the Rolling Stones, George Benson, Patti LaBelle and others. He wrote movie soundtracks.

He also had his own career and made numerous records and appearances. Alas, he died recently. He performs Broadway Walk.

♫ Bobby Womack - Broadway Walk


HARRY NILSSON produced one of the shortest songs I've used in any of my columns and this is it.

Harry Nilsson

It's called Marchin' Down Broadway and that's all I need to say otherwise reading this will take longer than the song (I've probably blown that already).

♫ Harry Nilsson - Marchin' Down Broadway


ALISON KRAUSS is mostly thought of as a bluegrass fiddle player. She does something different here.

Alison Krauss

It could be folk, it could be country or pop. Whatever it is it's not too bad at all. This is another song simply called Broadway.

♫ Alison Krauss - Broadway


THE DRIFTERS put everything into perspective with one of their most famous songs, On Broadway.

The Drifters

The song had two of the best songwriting teams responsible for it – Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Well, that four created a large percentage of the songs from around that time.

To add to that there is also Phil Spector playing lead guitar (but not producing – that was Jerry and Mike's task). It could have been top heavy, but they all produced a great record.

♫ The Drifters - On Broadway


ELDER MUSIC: Every Picture Tells a Story

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 is a column of songs about pictures, mostly of the photographic kind but not exclusively. This was the idea of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, who probably just wanted to get JIM CROCE into another column.

Jim Croce

In his brief performing lifetime ,Jim came up with some of the most beautiful songs of his time. Other types of songs as well. The one that fits in today is Photographs and Memories.

♫ Jim Croce - Photographs & Memories


RAY PRICE was a country singer whose band was a breeding ground for serious talent – Willie Nelson, Johnny Paycheck, Buddy Emmons and Roger Miller are just some who started their careers with him.

Ray Price

Willie, especially, became a lifetime friend and Ray performed many of Willie's songs. This isn't one of them, Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold).

♫ Ray Price - Kissing Your Picture (Is So Cold)


"You're going need some rock and roll," said the A.M., so here it is. I played this for her and she said, "I don't remember him taking so long to get to the point.” The point being the name of the song, and it took nearly five minutes before it got sung.

We had to have the song, though, as it supplies the title of the column: Every Picture Tells a Story, by ROD STEWART.

Rod Stewart

♫ Rod Stewart - Every Picture Tells A Story


I was pleased to see that MARTY ROBBINS had a contender for the column.

Marty Robbins

If Marty is a possibility, I'll usually include him. This was a song I wasn't familiar with when I first noticed it but I am now, due to repeated listening to it to see if it deserved a place. That's my excuse; I really just wanted to listen to Marty sing Only a Picture Stops Time.

♫ Marty Robbins - Only A Picture Stops Time


The next was another suggestion by the A.M. For a while we couldn't think what it was called or who performed it but with various search criteria we found it. It is JOE BROWN AND THE BRUVVERS, and their song is A Picture of You.

Joe Brown & The Bruvvers

I initially found the Kalin Twins performing the song and thought that was the one and stopped looking, but the A.M. assured me that there was another hit version from our younger days. So it proved, and here it is.

♫ Joe Brown & The Bruvvers - A Picture Of You


WILLIE NELSON recorded an album with Kimmie Rhodes called “Picture in a Frame.” They sang a song of that name on the album, not surprisingly.

Willie Nelson

It wasn't the first time Willie had recorded the song; it was also on an album of his called "It Always Will Be.” I've gone for that version rather than the one with Kimmie, as I didn't think the duet added anything to the original.

♫ Willie Nelson - Picture In A Frame


In concert once, JACKSON BROWNE introduced the song Fountain of Sorrow saying it was about an ex-girl friend. He'd taken some photos of her and some time later he pulled them out and wondered why they'd ever split up. Then he wrote the song.

We've all been there, except for the writing a great song part of it.

Jackson Browne

♫ Jackson Browne - Fountain of Sorrow


THE DILLARDS have always been an under-rated band.

The Dillards

They almost certainly created country rock years before all the others who are generally credited. Besides writing their own songs, they recorded some excellent covers, probably the best covers of Beatles' songs for a start.

There's some lovely harmony singing on this track, Pictures.

♫ The Dillards - Pictures


Before rock & roll hit us all, to my young brain there were only a few interesting singers. One of those was GUY MITCHELL.

Guy Mitchell

Of course, as I got older I came to appreciate all the others but back then it was a different matter. Guy's song is I've Got a Frame Without a Picture.

♫ Guy Mitchell - I've Got A Frame Without A Picture


The next was a mandatory inclusion. It's GUY CLARK with the song My Favorite Picture of You, the title song from a recent album.

Guy Clark

The "you" in this case is his wife Susanna who died not long before the album was recorded and he wrote the song, and named the album, as a dedication to her.

The story of the song is that Susanna had been away for a weekend and returned to find Guy and fellow singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt drunk (again).

She packed her bags and was going to leave. When she came out of the house, someone took that picture. She didn't leave, but things were a bit tense at the time.

♫ Guy Clark - My Favorite Picture of You


Here's an extra. I filled my quota but I decided this one had to be present so I've included it as a bonus. Don't say I never do anything extra for you.

I wanted it as I believe it's the highlight of today's column. Here's TINY TIM with the old classic, If I Had a Talking Picture Of You.

Tiny Tim

Tiny Tim - If I Had A Talking Picture Of You



Ray's Music Exchange

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.

* * *

Ray's Music Exchange

Movie buffs will possibly recognise the name of today's column; others can take it at face value. The above picture might give the game away.

It's an impossible job to do justice to RAY CHARLES in a single column or two so I won't even try. The column is really just to demonstrate the many different styles of music Ray made his own.

Ray Charles

Ray started out emulating his hero Nat King Cole and he didn't do a bad job of it as you will hear in Roll With My Baby.

♫ Roll With My Baby


Ray Charles

It didn't take him long to develop his own voice and style. Ray was on the road listening to some gospel music and he was taken by one song he heard and he got together with his trumpet player, Renald Richard. Together they came up with the song I Got A Woman. The song turned out to be a pretty big hit, Ray's first, and here it is.

♫ I Got A Woman


RayCharles19

Ray was also recording instrumental albums around this time. One of those was called "The Great Ray Charles." It was released later on CD as "The Genius After Hours.” I have problems with the word genius, it's thrown around far too much for my liking. Okay, enough raving from me.

One tune that wasn't on the original album but surfaced on the later release is Hornful Soul.

♫ Hornful Soul


Ray Charles

A completely different direction came in the early sixties when Ray recorded a country music album called "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.” To my mind and ears, this really showed the country music establishment how their music should be performed.

They took no notice of me but Ray's album was very successful and he recorded a sequel (and others in the same vein later on). From that first one is You Don't Know Me.

♫ You Don't Know Me


DAVID (FATHEAD) NEWMAN played tenor (and occasionally alto) sax and he began his performing career in Ray's band.

Ray Charles & David Newman

He later went out on his own playing both jazz and rhythm and blues, equally adept at both styles.

From an album, rather clumsily named "Fathead, Ray Charles Presents David 'Fathead' Newman" comes the tune Sweet Eyes. It has Ray playing piano and it's in the jazz mode.

♫ Sweet Eyes (David Newman)


Ray Charles

The first (and better) Blues Brothers film featured Ray performing Shake Your Tailfeather. Here is the original studio version of that song, rather than the one from the film soundtrack.

♫ Shake Your Tailfeather


Some more jazz from Ray, with a stellar lineup including Milt Jackson, Connie Kay, Oscar Pettiford and Kenny Burrell. In spite of its name, Soul Meeting, this is straight ahead jazz.

That's Ray with Milt Jackson in the picture.

Ray Charles & Milt Jackson

♫ Soul Meeting (with Milt Jackson)


Ray Charles

Here's some more country music, and somewhat later than the earlier one. Ray took John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads and put his own stamp on it. Well, maybe not completely his own. It strikes me that he had a close listen to Toots Hibbert's interesting reggae version of the song.

♫ Take Me Home, Country Roads


Ray Charles

Losing Hand is an atmospheric song from early in Ray's career, and his voice hadn't yet taken on its distinctive timbre. The song is pretty much straight ahead blues. Of course, Ray can perform in any style of music he set his mind to. That's the point of the column, after all.

♫ Losing Hand


Ray Charles

The great success of What'd I Say earned Ray larger royalties for his records and eventual ownership of all his record masters, a hugely lucrative deal in the long run.

Here is that song that set him up financially, and there's no better way to end the column.

♫ What'd I Say



ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up for the Second Half of 2015

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

* * *

Oh my goodness, what a year it's been. In the past we usually had two columns on consecutive days. This year there were so many notable musicians who died early on that we had an interim Toes Up half way through the year, so if you think there was someone important missing from this column it'll be there (I hope).

Ronnie Gilbert


RONNIE GILBERT had a long career as a solo artist but at least to we readers of a certain age, she'll always be associated with The Weavers.

This group did more than any other to bring folk music to a world-wide audience. In doing so, they topped the charts and were blacklisted in the U.S. for their political views (but we welcomed them here in Australia and elsewhere).

After The Weavers, she continued singing, both solo and with others, notably with Holly Near. Here, with The Weavers, is Hard, Ain't It Hard. (She was 88)

♫ The Weavers - Hard, Ain't It Hard


JOHN RENBOURN was an influential person in Britain's folk revival in the sixties both as a solo performer and as a member of Pentangle, a group that also included jazz and blues elements.

He made a number of solo albums but his best work was in collaboration with fellow guitarist Bert Jansch. He also loved teaching guitar to anyone who wanted to learn. (70)


OLEG BRYJAK was a bass-baritone from Kazakhstan. He was renowned for his Wagner roles, particularly that of Alberich in the Ring Cycle. He also sang the works of Beethoven, Mozart, Donizetti and Verdi to considerable acclaim. (54)


JIMMY GREENSPOON was the keyboard player for the rock group Three Dog Night. He also played with Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, the Beach Boys and others. (67)


Ornette Coleman

ORNETTE COLEMAN was one of the most innovative jazz musicians ever. He put the cat among the jazz pigeons when he put aside rhythmic and harmonic ideas and created an avant-garde approach to playing, becoming a leader of the free jazz movement.

His influence on jazz playing was enormous and it spilled over into other genres including rock – Jerry Garcia played on several of Ornette's records. He won many awards through the years, including a Pulitzer Prize for his music. Ornette plays Una Muy Bonita. (85)

♫ Ornette Coleman - Una Muy Bonita


LITTLE JIMMY DICKENS was, as his name suggests, quite diminutive. He was a country music performer whose career spanned from before the war to the present day. He also helped establish others including song writers Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and singer Marty Robbins. He continued performing until days before he died. (94)

Fans of British comedy series may remember NICHOLAS SMITH as Mr Rumbold in the comedy Are You Being Served? Besides being a character actor of considerable facility, he was also a musician of note. He was a singer, appearing in Gilbert and Sullivan works and straight opera.

Besides that, he was an accomplished pianist, guitarist and trumpeter and wrote music – he has more than a dozen string quartets to his name and many more works for voice and strings. (81)


KIM FOWLEY was a songwriter, record producer and manager who, early on, was associated with novelty records - Alley-Oop, Nut Rocker, Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow and the like. Later he was instrumental in getting the careers of Van Halen, The Runaways, Joan Jett, The Soft Machine and Traffic off the ground. He also ensured that Jimi Hendrix got a record contract. (75)


KURT MASUR was one of the most respected conductors in the world. He was associated with many of the top orchestras, but famously with the New York Philharmonic to which he brought new vigor after they'd become somewhat slack. He was also largely instrumental in the somewhat peaceful transition of East Germany (where he lived at the time) to a united country. His reputation was such that the protesters listened to his advice to avoid provocation and the government listened when he said they shouldn't shoot or otherwise harm the protesters. (88)

LEW SOLOFF was a jazz trumpeter who reached a wider audience as a member of the group Blood Sweat and Tears. He crossed many genres - he had no time for restrictive categories - and was a session musician for such artists as Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra and Lou Reed. He also performed with Gil Evans, Paul Simon and Dizzy Gillespie as well, and he played classical music at the Lincoln Centre. (71)


P.F. Sloan

P.F. SLOAN was a singer-songwriter who had a little success as such in the sixties but whose songs became hits for others. He was associated with Dunhill Records early in his career as a songwriter and also as a musician and singer – it's him singing with Jan Berry on The Little Old Lady from Pasadena, not Dean Torrance.

Besides Jan and Dean, he wrote songs for Herman's Hermits, Johnny Rivers, Ann-Margaret, The Turtles and others. He was also a session musician associated with the Wrecking Crew who performed on Phil Spector's productions, as well as the Beach Boys and many others – his guitar work is featured on several Mamas and Papas' songs.

His biggest chart success was Barry McGuire's cover of his song Eve of Destruction. This is P.F.'s version. (70)

♫ P.F. Sloan - Eve of Destruction


SAMUEL CHARTERS was an American musical historian particularly in blues, folk and jazz. He, along with Alan Lomax and Harry Smith, brought to the general public the extraordinary array of talent in these fields, particularly Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell.

He and his wife Ann, another renowned author, were later involved in civil rights and anti-Vietnam war campaigns. (85)


JULIE WILSON performed on Broadway in such musicals as "Kiss Me Kate" but she was best known as a cabaret performer who could perform with equal facility such composers as Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, the Gershwins and Cole Porter. (90)


MICHAEL MASSER was a songwriter who pretty much launched the career of Whitney Houston. He also wrote successful songs for Diana Ross, Roberta Flack, George Benson, Barbra Streisand and Crystal Gayle. He received early encouragement and support from his idol Johnny Mercer. (74)


Jack Ely

JACK ELY didn't write the song Louie Louie (that was Richard Berry) but he took it to the top of the charts singing it in the group The Kingsmen.

His version became so notorious that the F.B.I. took time (and no doubt spent a lot of money) analyzing it in case it was subversive or naughty or something (who can know the thought processes of this organization?) They came to the conclusion that it was incomprehensible.

See if you can do better than the Feds. (71)

♫ The Kingsmen - Louie, Louie


GUNTHER SCHULLER was an American classical composer and musician who worked with many jazz greats, particularly John Lewis, Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and Dizzy Gillespie, to produce an interesting hybrid. Fans of both forms of music were too narrow in their appreciation and hated it. He also wrote about music and for children as well. (89)


ERROL BROWN was born in Jamaica and moved to England when he was 12 years old. It was in that country where he first recorded some covers of John Lennon's songs. He gained worldwide fame in the group Hot Chocolate who had several huge hits with disco-styled songs. (71)


Left Banke

MICHAEL BROWN was classically trained but found fame playing keyboards in the sixties rock group the Left Banke (that's him second from the left).

He was also a songwriter and produced their most famous songs Pretty Ballerina and most especially Walk Away Renee about the girl friend of another band member.

He brought classical instruments into the group, particularly the harpsichord and clavinet, generally unheard of in such a group (except occasionally in The Crickets' songs). (65)


GUY CARAWAN was a folk singer who had a bit of a hand in writing the song We Shall Overcome and also helped popularize it. (87)


Mattiwilda Dobbs

MATTIWILDA DOBBS was the third African-American singer to appear at the Metropolitan Opera, New York (after Marian Anderson and Robert McFerrin). She made her debut in “Rigoletto” and later sang many coloratura soprano parts.

Even early on, during her operatic career, she performed recitals. Mattiwilda travelled extensively, pretty much all over Europe and to Australia and countries nearby. She was a champion of civil rights and refused to sing before segregated audiences, so many cities missed her (that was their bad luck).

Mattiwilda sings Caro Nome from Verdi's “Rigoletto.”

♫ Mattiwilda Dobbs - Caro nome


BOBBY IRWIN was a studio and touring drummer particularly associated with Nick Lowe and Van Morrison. He also graced albums by Bryan Ferry, Carlene Carter and Lene Lovich. (62)


Jean Ritchie

JEAN RITCHIE was a giant of the American folk music scene who influenced pretty much everyone who followed in her wake – Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Mimi Fariña, Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Judy Collins and on and on.

Her instrument of choice was the dulcimer, not heard much these days but it has a distinctive sound. She was the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship and used that to research songs in various parts of Britain and Ireland which set her (and many others) up for material. (92)


MARTY NAPOLEON was a jazz pianist who was a long-time member of Louis Armstrong's All Stars. He also appeared in groups lead by Chico Marx, Joe Venuti, Charlie Barnet and Gene Krupa. Marty had a prolific recording career with, amongst others, Coleman Hawkins, Red Allen and Charlie Shavers as well as his own groups. (93)


LOUIS JOHNSON was a bass player who added punch to records of artists such as Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Earl Klugh, and Grover Washington, Jr. He was also in a band with his brothers called, not too surprisingly, the Johnson Brothers Band. (60)


Jim Ed Brown

JIM ED BROWN was the middle sibling, along with sisters Maxine and Bonnie, in the group The Browns. They were quite a success in the fifties with their smooth country-like sound. They later performed folk music in the same manner.

The three of them were good friends with Elvis before he was famous and used to hang around with him and give him singing tips. Later Jim Ed had a considerable solo career and The Browns would often get back together and perform.

Here is the group, with Jim Ed singing lead, with their biggest hit, The Three Bells. (81)

♫ The Browns - The Three Bells


CHRIS SQUIRE was the bass player and co-founder of the prog-rock group, Yes. He was the one constant in that group whose personnel kept turning over. Not just a bass player, he was the singer and main composer as well. He was considered by his peers as one of the finest bass player in rock & roll. (67)


JAMES HORNER was a film score composer who won an Oscar for Titanic and was nominated many times for other films such as A Beautiful Mind, Braveheart and Avatar. (61)


VAL DOONICAN was an Irish singer and guitarist who specialised in folk style material and was hugely successful on British TV as a presenter and singer. (88)


WILL HOLT wrote a number of musicals that appeared on Broadway, sometimes collaborating with Kurt Weill. As well as that, he was a successful folk singer in a duo with his first wife, Dolly Jonah. He also wrote folk style songs, the most famous of which was Lemon Tree, a huge hit for Peter, Paul and Mary (and others as well). (86)

The GRATEFUL DEAD played their last concert in 2015. Some say they went toes up when Jerry died. (50)


BRUCE ROWLAND was a session drummer who for a time was also a member of the Grease Band who were Joe Cocker's backing band. He was in the group when Joe played at Woodstock and redefined the song, With a Little Help From My Friends. After Joe, Bruce joined the folk-rock group Fairport Convention. (76)


THEODORE BIKEL was a singer, actor, political activist and much more. He played the original role of Captain Von Trapp in the Broadway premiere of The Sound of Music, and was the quintessential Zoltan Karpathy in the film version of My Fair Lady.

He played southern sheriffs, Russian officers, rabbis and pretty much everything else. He helped start the Newport Folk Festival and introduced Bob Dylan to the world, both there and on TV. He championed human rights everywhere and was on the board of Amnesty International. (91)


Jon Vickers

JON VICKERS was a Canadian opera singer, a tenor, who had a huge voice and brought intensity to every role he performed. Most notably, he performed Wagner, Verdi and Britten roles to universal acclaim (except for Benjamin Britten who didn't like his interpretation of Peter Grimes).

He also recorded definitive versions of works by Handel and Schubert. As an example of his voice here he is playing Don José in Bizet's “Carmen” singing the aria La fleur que tu m'avais jetée. (88)

♫ Jon Vickers - La fleur que tu m'avais jetée (Carmen)


I beg your pardon, LYNN ANDERSON never promised you a Rose Garden. This song, written by Joe South, became a massive hit for her. She didn't want to record it, she thought it was a "man's song" but she was prevailed upon and the rest is history.

The song set her up to be a successful country performer. Her personal life wasn't as successful. (67)


DOTTIE DILLARD was a backup singer and a member of the Anita Kerr singers. She appeared on about half the country records made in the fifties and sixties and a substantial proportion of the pop records as well. The group also toured with many famous country musicians, Jim Reeves, Bobby Bare, Chet Atkins and so on. (91)


LUDMILA DVORAKOVA was a Czech soprano who specialised in Wagner roles. Besides these, she liked to perform works by such composers as Smetana, Janacek, Martinu and Dvorak. Ludmila performed in all the great opera houses and with every conductor who twiddled a baton in that field. (92)


JOHNNY MEEKS became the lead guitarist in Gene Vincent's band when the previous one had become too exuberant in his personal life. He also wrote songs for Gene. After that he was a member of the group The Champs. Later he worked with Michael Nesmith and Merle Haggard. (78)


PHIL WOODS was a jazz saxophone player, one of the next generation following, and hugely influenced by, Charlie Parker. In fact one of his earliest gigs was in Dizzy Gillespie's band taking the role Charlie once performed. He also played with Clark Terry, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel, Paul Simon and many others. Later he formed his own group. (83)


Cilla Black

CILLA BLACK started at the Cavern Club which spawned The Beatles. Indeed, they occasionally were her backing band at that venue and later wrote songs for her. She had hits all over the world and later became the youngest female entertainer to host her own TV program in Britain.

She was a natural for the medium and made a career on the box. She also kept singing. Here is one of her big hits, You're My World. (72)

♫ Cilla Black - You're My World


The CHEQUERBOARD LOUNGE in Chicago was started by guitarist Buddy Guy and over the years featured the finest blues musicians, from Muddy Waters and Buddy himself to the Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton. (44)


BEN CAULEY was a trumpeter who famously played in the band the Bar-Kays and he was in the plane that crashed killing Otis Redding and the rest of the band. Ben was the only one who survived.

He later worked as a session musician at Stax Records and toured with Isaac Hayes, Aretha Franklin, the Doobie Brothers and many others. (67)


LADY BO, or Peggy Jones, to her mum and dad, was a pioneering electric guitar player who played on many of Bo Diddley's most famous records. She toured with Bo and her guitar playing inspired many young people in England (and elsewhere) to play the instrument. She later toured with James Brown and Sam & Dave as well. (75)


ROGER SMALLEY was born in Britain and was a classical composer and a leading figure in the avant-garde. Not surprisingly, he was a long term pupil of Karlheinz Stockhausen who pretty much started all that sort of thing.

Besides composing, Roger was a fine pianist who played not only modern compositions but the great Romantic era works as well. He later moved to Australia where he changed his composing style to create considerably more accessible works. (72)


Frankie Ford

FRANKIE FORD had one really big hit called Sea Cruise. It seems that Huey "Piano" Smith had recorded the song with Bobby Marchan singing. However, Bobby left Huey's group as he was planning a solo career. Huey scrubbed the vocals and got Frankie to sing instead.

It became a world wide hit and the song has been covered by hundreds of performers over the years. Later Frankie owned, and performed in, his own club in New Orleans and made occasional records. Here he is with the big hit. (76)

♫ Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise


CYNTHIA ROBINSON was a trumpeter who was a founder member of the group Sly and the Family Stone. She was one of the few in the group who weren't part of the family, although she and Sly had a daughter together. She also worked with George Clinton, Grand Funk Railroad and Prince. (71)


If you wanted a steel guitar on your records, the go-to man was BUDDY EMMONS. He started out on a six string lap steel guitar and it was a natural progression to the pedal steel instrument.

Early on he played with Little Jimmy Dickens, Ernest Tubb and Ray Price. Roger Miller asked him to join his band and he was instrumental in getting Buddy into studio work. Buddy also designed his own instruments and set up a company to sell these with considerable success. (78)


MASABUMI KIKUCHI was a jazz pianist who was born in Tokyo just before the war. He was educated there and caught the ear of Lionel Hampton whilst touring the country. He joined his band and relocated to New York.

Over the years he made his own records and played, or collaborated, with Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Gary Peacock and others. He was a key figure in the avant guard jazz scene. (75)


AL ABRAMS was Motown Records first publicity man. He was instrumental in getting their music heard and appreciated all around the world. It could be said that the Motown legacy is as much Al’s as his lifetime friend Berry Gordy's. (74)


GAIL ZAPPA was Frank's wife as well as his muse and manager. After he died, she took charge of his considerable recorded legacy and ensured that the music was released properly and not exploited as had happened to others. (70)


BILLY SHERRILL was a songwriter and producer who was probably the most influential man in country music for several decades. He was responsible for making Charlie Rich and Tammy Wynette household names. He produced albums by George Jones, Tanya Tucker, Janie Fricke, Lacy J Dalton, Barbara Mandrell and many other performers.

Besides the country musicians, he produced albums for Cliff Richard, Elvis Costello and Ray Charles. (78)


Mark Murphy

MARK MURPHY was an original jazz singer whose improvisational skills made him a cult favorite with jazz fans (including Norma, the Assistant Musicologist). He was from New York but spent a lot of time in London and San Francisco. He was admired by the cream of jazz musicians – Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald at the top of those.

He also brought the works of Jack Kerouac to the jazz canon (before Jack did so himself). He won Downbeat's poll of the best jazz singer many years. From his Kerouac album, this is Be Bop Lives. (83)

♫ Mark Murphy - Be Bop Lives (Boplicity)


BILLY JOE ROYAL, while still in his teens, became friends with songwriters and singers Joe South, Jerry Reed and Ray Stevens. This set him in good stead in later years as they sent songs his way, the most famous of those were Down in the Boondocks and Hush, both written by Joe South. (73)


ANDY WHITE was a session drummer who worked with Burt Bacharach, Anthony Newley, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Tom Jones, Chuck Berry and others. He also had his own rock group when younger.

However, his main claim to fame is that it was he who played the drums on The Beatles' first three singles – the record producers didn't think Ringo was up to the task. (85)


BRYN MERRICK was the bass player for the punk bank The Damned. At the same time, he played in other bands under assumed names. He died from neck cancer rather than as a result of fast living which is how he spent his life. (56)


Allen Toussaint

ALLEN TOUSSAINT was arguably the most important music person from New Orleans in the last 50 years. He was a record producer, songwriter, pianist, singer and more besides. He wrote so many songs that became famous for others that it would astound you if I listed them all.

Besides performing on his own and with The Meters, "his band," he collaborated with artists as diverse as the Rolling Stones, Herb Alpert, Elvis Costello, The Band, Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Glenn Campbell as well as the cream of New Orleans musicians.

After Katrina, he was one of the first to return as an example to others to do the same. I understated the first sentence – he was one of the most important music persons in the world.

He had a heart attack after a concert, so he was performing right to the end. Here he performs one of his own songs, Working in the Coalmine, that Lee Dorsey took to the top of the charts (several times). (77)

♫ Allen Toussaint - Working In The Coalmine



ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2015

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

* * *

ChristmasOz20

Well, here it is again (deep sigh). Christmas. Bah humbug is too mild a phrase for what I'm thinking so I'd better stop and get on with the tasteful music I have in mind.

In the spirit of the season, this is LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III who really does get into the Christmas spirit with his song.

Loudon Wainwright III

It's a cheerful little ditty called I'll Be Killing You This Christmas. I thought I'd throw that one in just to make your Christmas complete. It certainly did mine.

♫ Loudon Wainwright III - I'll Be Killing You This Christmas


In contrast, ROOSEVELT SYKES certainly doesn't want to off his baby, as Loudon seems intent on doing.

Roosevelt Sykes

Roosevelt was a blues pianist and he always thought that his music was for chasing away the blues and his records and live playing certainly did that. I'm sure he was chasing away the blues with Let Me Hang Your Stockings in Your Christmas Tree.

♫ Roosevelt Sykes - Let Me Hang Your Stockings In Your Christmas Tree


Now a tune that we in Australia would naturally call Summer Wonderland:

...Later on we'll perspire
As the temperature gets higher
We're living in a summer wonderland

ChristmasOz

However, for some reason best known to CHET BAKER, he calls it Winter Wonderland. I've heard others call it that as well. I shake my head.

Chet Baker

♫ Chet Baker - Winter Wonderland


Soul singer and songwriter MACK RICE started his career in a group called The Falcons.

Mack Rice

Also in that band were another couple of handy performers: Eddie Floyd and Wilson Pickett. Mack's songs have been covered by pretty much every soul and blues performer around (particularly Wilson).

Mack suggests that Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'. Well, it looks as if Shemekia (down below) is willing to give him some.

♫ Mack Rice - Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'


JULIA LEE specialised in singing "the songs my mother taught me not to sing.”

Julia Lee

See if you think that her song Christmas Spirit fits into that category.

♫ Julia Lee - Christmas Spirit


CHIP TAYLOR is a songwriter of some repute – he wrote Angel of the Morning and Wild Thing.

Chip Taylor & Carrie Rodriguez

Besides that ,he is the brother of the actor Jon Voight (and thus Angelina Jolie's uncle). On this track, as on several of his recent albums, Chip has the help of CARRIE RODRIGUEZ. The song is Merry F'n Christmas. I can't imagine what he means by that.

♫ Chip Taylor - Merry F'n Christmas


ChristmasOz

KANSAS CITY KITTY was a name used by several women recording in the early thirties. No one knows exactly who sang on any particular record under that name. A few are thought to be possibilities – Victoria Spivey, her sister Addie Spivey and Mozelle Alderson are generally considered the front runners.

Whoever it is, she's a real blues singer because she "woke up Christmas morning." The song is Christmas Morning Blues.

♫ Kansas City Kitty - Christmas Morning Blues


A song that will date us, those who can remember when this seemed like a good idea, is I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas and the singer BETTY JOHNSON.

Betty Johnson

The song has been used over the years referencing various other singers, but Betty's was the first and the best. Okay "best" is an interesting word for what we have here today. Make up your own mind on that.

♫ Betty Johnson - I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas (1954)


SHEMEKIA COPELAND wants the big man to hang around for a while and with all that loot in his sack, who can blame her?

Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia is the daughter of the great bluesman Johnny Copeland - however, she doesn't need nepotism; she's a terrific performer in her own right. Here's Shemekia with Stay A Little Longer, Santa.

♫ Shemekia Copeland - Stay A Little Longer, Santa


For your moment of Christmas couth we have CRISTOFORO CARESANA.

Cristoforo Caresana

Cris had been pretty much written out of music history until he was rediscovered only a couple of decades ago. He lived back in the 17th century, was born in Venice and the family moved to Naples when he was a teenager (we think, his birth year is a bit uncertain).

It was there he developed his music skills, singing and playing the organ initially and then turning to composition. This is Coronati viatori from "L'Adoratione de' Maggi."

♫ Caresana - L'Adoratione de' Maggi - Coronati viatori


ChristmasOz


ELDER MUSIC: Variations on Take Five and Moanin'

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

* * *

I've done several columns devoted to a single song and there are more in the pipeline. I started this one and, although I had enough for a complete column, half of them were too similar to be of interest.

I kept the other half and introduced another tune that had half a column's worth of interesting versions as well. This second one was at the suggestion of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist.

The first tune I thought of is the great jazz classic written by Paul Desmond. It's the largest selling jazz single in history, and most of you will know Take Five.

My favorite version of the tune, apart from the original, was recorded by bluesman JIMMY JOHNSON.

Jimmy Johnson

This is on a pretty good album of his called "Johnson's Whacks" (ho ho). Jimmy didn't release his first album until he was 50; he worked as a welder before that.

He was inspired to become a professional musician after his younger brother Syl had a successful career as a soul singer. Jimmy and Syl have made a couple of records together. Take Five is all Jimmy though.

♫ Jimmy Johnson - Take Five


Somewhere along the way, the tune gained some words - as far as I know also written by Paul Desmond. I'm sure someone will correct me if this is not so. The first vocal version I remember is by CARMEN MCRAE.

Carmen McRae

Carmen recorded the song with the Dave Brubeck Quartet – well, who could perform it better. Here they all are.

♫ Carmen McRae - Take Five


I expected GEORGE BENSON to produce a tasteful guitar offering of our tune.

George Benson

He does that, accompanied by a drummer for about half the record then a full band charges in and takes over. I could have done without that but the first half is pretty nice.

♫ George Benson - Take Five


AL JARREAU has an interesting scat (as I call it) or vocalese (as the A.M. calls it) version of the song.

Al Jarreau

Besides singing the standard jazz repertoire, Al also performs songs written by soul singers like Bill Withers and Al Green. However, today we're interested in Take Five. The song has become a staple of his live performances and here he is from one of those.

♫ Al Jarreau - Take Five


The tune started out as some solo drumming by Joe Morello and Dave suggested to Paul that he come up with a tune to go with it. With a little help from Dave, Paul did just that and produced the tune in the unusual time signature of 5/4 (thus the title).

It was included of the best selling album "Time Out" where all the tunes were in unusual, and different, time signatures. Here's the original and the best by the DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET.

Dave Brubeck

Paul specified in his will that proceeds from the tune, which are considerable, would go to the Red Cross.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Take Five


Now to the tune suggested by the A.M., Moanin', written by Bobby Timmons (the tune) and Jon Hendricks (the words).

Speaking of Jon Hendricks, first up we have LAMBERT, HENDRICKS & ROSS.

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

The tune had been around for a while before Jon added words and recorded it with the others. It became a hit and made the already quite popular tune even more so.

♫ Lambert, Hendricks and Ross - Moanin'


I was unfamiliar with ART FARMER's take on Moanin' before I started searching my collection.

Art Farmer

I had a pleasant surprise when I played it. There's some big band sounding brass, arranged by Benny Golson, some Miles-sounding trumpet playing by Art and Bobby Timmons, who wrote the tune of course, having a guest spot playing piano.

♫ Art Farmer - Moanin'


As with the previous tune, we have a blues take on it. This time by BUDDY GUY.

Buddy Guy

Given the words, it's well suited to the blues, however Buddy doesn't sing on this, just plays his guitar. The A.M. says that's just fine as he's one of the best blues guitarists around.

♫ Buddy Guy - Moanin'


GREGORY PORTER was part of a record called "Great Voices of Harlem."

Gregory Porter

The band is Paul Zauner’s Blue Brass and there are some fine soloists evident in the song – Paul on trombone, some nice trumpet by Barney Girlinger and Martin Reiter playing piano. This really is a fine version, and does it swing.

♫ Gregory Porter etc - Moanin


Going back to the first appearance of the tune on record which was by ART BLAKEY'S JAZZ MESSENGERS.

Art Blakey

As mentioned above, the tune was written by Bobby Timmons, the pianist in the Messengers who was noodling around a bit with the opening bars when Benny Golson who played tenor sax encouraged him to add a bridge to complete the tune.

This version goes here, there and everywhere and stretches out for nine and a half minutes before it returns to where it started.

♫ Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - Moanin'



ELDER MUSIC: Willy DeVille

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.

* * *

Willy DeVille

In spite of his music suggesting a New Orleans origin, Willy DeVille was born as William Borsey in Stamford, Connecticut. He said he was “A little of this and a little of that; a real street dog,” having Basque, Irish and Pequot among his ancestors.

He eventually relocated to New Orleans for a time where he found a musical home.

Willy DeVille

Willy’s most famous band before he went solo was Mink DeVille. Willy formed this band in San Francisco from the remnants of other groups. They used to play in leather bars on Folsom Street for a while as Billy de Sade and the Marquis.

They changed their name to Mink DeVille and hightailed it to New York where they took up residency at CBGBs, a club that featured punk bands. I’ve always been a bit wary of this categorization. Okay, The Ramones would fit in but I don’t see Blondie as a punk band. Neither was Mink DeVille as far as I’m concerned.

They were the most interesting group who came out of the club and were the house band there for several years. Later Willy had a somewhat successful solo career but he had more of a cult following than general popularity.

Unfortunately Willy died in 2009 just a few days short of turning 59, thus he didn’t even rate as a real elder musician. He died from pancreatic cancer.

Willy DeVille

Willy was taken with the R&B sound of the fifties, particularly groups like The Drifters. He would later write songs with Doc Pomus who wrote a lot of the songs from the time.

An example of this style is the early MINK DEVILLE track, Just To Walk That Little Girl Home.

♫ Just to Walk That Little Girl Home


Two hits brought Willy some public recognition with Mink DeVille, particularly in Europe.

Willy DeVille

The first of these is Spanish Stroll, where they seem to be channeling the Velvet Underground, if the Velvets performed in Spanish.

♫ Spanish Stroll


Willy DeVille

The second hit was Cadillac Walk.

♫ Cadillac Walk


Willy DeVille

Apart from Willy, the members of Mink DeVille kept turning over. Eventually he just recorded under his own name.

As I mentioned earlier, his style seemed to suggest he'd be happy in New Orleans and so it proved. With soulful singing with Latin rhythms mixed with New Orleans R&B style, he was one of a kind.

He recorded several albums in the city. For the first of them, "Victory Mixture," he recruited the artists who put the city's R&B style of music on the map. Such musicians as Earl King, Dr John, Eddie Bo and Allen Toussaint. Here they all are with Every Dog Has Its Day.

♫ Every Dog Has Its Day


Willy DeVille

This next song is the most blatant paean to drugs, heroin in particular, I think I've heard in a popular song except maybe Lou Reed's song about the drug.

It was written by Champion Jack Dupree and you can hear Jack's version in Elder Music 1941 but Willy took it several steps further on. He knew a thing or two about what he was singing. The song is Junker's Blues.

♫ Junker's Blues


Willy DeVille

For a complete contrast to the previous song, we have another from one of his New Orleans' sessions. This one is Who Shot the La-La.

♫ Who Shot the La-La


From the final album as Mink Deville ("Sportin' Life") we get the song Something Beautiful Dying. Willy wrote several songs (including this one) with legendary songwriter Doc Pomus, who had become a good friend by this stage.

The album was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals studio and Willy used the great session musicians attached to that studio rather than his band. That probably contributed to the demise of the band.

♫ Something Beautiful Dying


Back to nearly the beginning, from the second album from Mink DeVille, we have I Broke That Promise.

Willy DeVille

This was the last album that featured the original members of the band. It was only their second album so the turn-over was considerable.

♫ I Broke That Promise


A rather unexpected singer turns up next to perform a duet with Willy, and she is BRENDA LEE.

Brenda Lee

Okay, when she recorded the song, Brenda was a bit older than she appears in that photo. I just threw that one in because I can. The song is You’ll Never Know, from his fine album, "Loup Garou.”

♫ You'll Never Know


Willy DeVille

From the album “Horse of a Different Color,” here’s his version of Across the Borderline. I think a column could be done using all the great versions of this song; when I’ve run out of other things to do maybe.

The song was written by John Hiatt, Ry Cooder and Jim Dickinson.

♫ Across the Borderline



ELDER MUSIC: 1910

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 was an interesting exercise. Could I fill a column with songs from 1910?

Well, that was easy, of course I could. The hard part was, could I fill a column with songs recorded in that year and have it sound acceptable to you? Well, as we have a column I imagine the answer to that question is obvious.

So, here are songs from back then and no one reading this would have heard them when they were first released. I hope you enjoy them; Norma, the Assistant Musicologist rather lacked enthusiasm for the whole idea, particularly after hearing the music.

The recording quality of some is a little problematic but remember these were laid down more than 100 years ago. It surprised me a little how many of these songs are still well known today. Of course, that could be due to my selection process.

GERALDINE FARRAR was an opera singer and movie actress.

Geraldine Farrar

She was good friend with Caruso and had a torrid affair for many years with renowned conductor Arturo Toscanini. Her marriage to film actor Lou Tellegen was torrid, ending in divorce and the suicide of her husband. Looks like the world of film and music hasn't changed in a hundred years.

Geraldine performed in opera until she was 40 and then performed recitals and sang on the radio. Here she is with the old Stephen Foster song, My Old Kentucky Home.

♫ Geraldine Farrar - My Old Kentucky Home


MANUEL ROMAIN was born in Massachusetts or Gibraltar or Spain.

Manuel Romain

Wherever he was born, he grew up in Boston where he initially sang in church but later branched out into the secular world singing on the concert stage. He also lent his hand (and voice) to minstrel shows but we'll just glide over that.

He wrote songs but I must admit I hadn't heard of any of them. Here he sings a song just about all of us would know, I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now.

♫ Manuel Romain - I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now


JOHN MCCORMACK's name is still quite well known today.

John McCormack

He was an Irish tenor who sang in opera as well as performing popular songs. He toured Australia (and elsewhere) with Nellie Melba around this time to great acclaim.

I noticed when I looked him up that he died on the day I was born. Alas, his singing talent didn't transfer to me. He sings Annie Laurie.

♫ John McCormack - Annie Laurie


NORA BAYES started her career as a teenager in vaudeville, criss-crossing America.

Nora Bayes

She became friendly with George M. Cohan and during the first great unpleasantness, George insisted that she was the first to record his song, Over There. It became a huge hit for her.

Before that, though, she recorded the rather famous song Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly.

♫ Nora Bayes - Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly


THE PEERLESS QUARTET must have had tickets on themselves, as we say in Australia. It just means they were a bit up themselves to come up with that name.

The Peerless Quartet

They began their career as the Columbia Male Quartet and started out recording on wax cylinders in the 1890s. They went through a couple of name changes and several members before they got to the group we have today (today being 1910, of course).

There were even more changes after this. They perform a song you'll all know, By the Light of the Silvery Moon.

♫ The Peerless Quartet - By the Light of the Silvery Moon


Now for someone who will be familiar to every reader, one of the most famous singers in history, ENRICO CARUSO.

Enrico Caruso

Caruso was the model for every famous (and not so famous) tenor in the twentieth century and beyond. It's impossible from this distance, and given the primitive recording equipment at the time, to judge the quality of his voice. From the evidence of this track I prefer Pavarotti, and more especially, Gedda.

However, Enrico is who we have singing Il Fior Che Avevi A Me Tu Dato (the Flower Song) from Bizet's “Carmen.”

♫ Enrico Caruso - Carmen ~ The Flower


LUCY ISABELLE MARSH was a soprano who made a living making records for the Victor Talking Machine company. Most of these were anonymous, but she also recorded under her own name.

HARRY MACDONOUGH was a Canadian tenor who started out making cylinders very early on. He later also made some records for Victor including duets with Lucy.

Lucy Isabelle Marsh & Harry MacDonough

One of those was the song, Every Little Movement.

♫ Harry Macdonough & Lucy Isabelle Marsh - Every Little Movement


BERT WILLIAMS was one of the biggest stars of vaudeville in his day.

Bert Williams

He was also the biggest selling black artist before the 1920s. He was described by W.C. Fields, with whom he shared a stage several times, as the funniest man he'd ever seen, but also the saddest. Bert performs Play That Barber-Shop Chord.

♫ Bert Williams - Play that barbershop chord


Irving Berlin died in 1989, not all that long ago. He's present in the column as the writer of the next songs. That slightly boggled my mind. The singer of the song is BOB ROBERTS.

Bob Roberts

Irving's song isn't one of his best known; I hadn't heard of it before I found it. It's called Sadie Salome (Go Home).

Bob started out touring in his father's troupe of performers. He's also responsible for The Woodchuck Song. You know, "How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Deep sigh.

♫ Bob Roberts - Sadie Salome (Go Home)

When I first saw the name of this song, I thought it was the song Aba Daba Honeymoon under a different name. I was wrong, but I decided to include it anyway.

Besides, ARTHUR COLLINS AND BYRON G. HARLAN recorded that one too, and you'll be able to hear it in 1914 (if I ever get around to that year).

Collins & Harlan

The song from this year is called >On a Monkey Honeymoon.

♫ Collins and Harlan - On A Monkey Honeymoon


Whew, I made it. That was fun (for me, I don't know about you), but I don't think I'll be able to do any earlier years than this one; the recordings are really not worth listening to.