This 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.
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.
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.
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).
"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.
I was pleased to see that MARTY ROBBINS had a contender for the column.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
THE DILLARDS have always been an under-rated band.
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.
Before rock & roll hit us all, to my young brain there were only a few interesting singers. One of those was 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.
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.
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.
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.