You never know who you're going to meet on the internet and I came to know Peter Tibbles (bio here) via email over the past couple of years. His extensive knowledge of most genres of music and his excellent taste became apparent only gradually (Peter's not one to toot his horn) but once I understood, I knew he needed his own column at Time Goes By - or, better, that TGB needed his column - which appears here each Sunday. You can find previous Elder Music columns here.
Today’s column may seem a bit silly to some. It’s a little bit sensible too. It started out as a joke.
We were wondering how to get the song Fish Heads into a column. This was just after finishing a meal (of fish, surprise). “How about one on food,” posited Norma, the Assistant Musicologist. That sounded good to me. Naturally, we had to come up with some other food songs.
The songs came fast and furious, some of which are included, many got the flick. So here they are, our post-prandial (and post-wine) songs – some sensible and one or two silly.
The first song we came up with after Fish Heads is Home Grown Tomatoes. That is certainly food. It’s also a great song by Guy Clark. Well, that goes without saying.
Guy Clark is one of the finest songwriters of our time so he could certainly do a decent food song. I could have used Texas Cooking but the tomatoes it is.
“How about the okra song?” suggested the A.M. That’s not what it’s actually called, but that’s what we know it as. Chris Smither performs this and we saw and heard him play it about a week ago.
The song is actually called No Love Today which doesn’t sound very foodie but trust me, it is. It’s a good song too and not very silly at all.
It was at this point, after a couple of sensible suggestions, that the A.M. Said, “We have to include Hot Bananas. Couldn’t do this without Hot Bananas.”
“Of course, Hot Bananas it is. Ah, but will the readers know Hot Bananas?”
“Sure they will. It’s one of the most famous songs of the Fifties.”
So, Hot Bananas is next.
“And then there’s strawberries, cherries and whatever all those other things were in the song. Lee and Nancy.” That was my suggestion. I think the A.M. came up with better ones.
Those fruits were good enough for us anyway. Anything was good enough for us at this stage. The song is Summer Wine. It’s autumn here as I write this, but Summer Wine seems apt. This is one you’ll remember, perhaps - Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra.
“How about Cherry Pie?” asked the A.M.
“Cherry Pie?” was my reply.
“The Beatles, Cherry Pie.”
“Oh, you mean Honey Pie. From the 'White Album'.”
“Yeah, probably. I’m not expected to know about The Beatles,” she said, “They’re just fey pretenders as far as I’m concerned.”
Raised eyebrows. That should get the comments going, I thought. Fey or not, it’s in and the song doesn’t sound very modern, so that should be enough for the A.M. and that’s a good enough reason to include it. Another reason is that I actually haven’t had anything by The Beatles in any column to date, so here’s a first.
Polk Salad Annie came into the conversation as well, whatever the hell polk salad is. Tony Joe White does explain it in the song but I must admit that I have never actually eaten a mess of polk salad. It doesn’t matter though, this is a music column not a food one.
Tony Joe must be about the coolest dude on the planet. If you’ve ever been to one of his concerts I’m sure you’d agree.
Okay, the song that prompted this column, Fish Heads. This was recorded by Barnes & Barnes.
Barnes & Barnes are twin brothers, Art Et Barnes and Artie Et Bet Barnes. Well, actually, they are Bill Mumy and Robert Haimer. If the name Bill Mumy seems familiar, think Lost in Space.
You may not remember this song but we do. It’s one of those tunes that lodges in the brain and refuses to move out of there. We figured why should we be the only ones who know this one? Let’s inflict it on the world. Here it comes, world.