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October 2016

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Albuquerque

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

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I've visited Albuquerque quite a few times; my sister lived there for a few years before hightailing it to San Francisco, and I've also visited several times since. I've stretched the criterion a bit today because although there are some songs about the city, most of them just mention it in passing.

As I said, a lot of the songs are about passing through or over Albuquerque. That's common to places that aren't on either coast. A prime example is by CHUCK BERRY.

Chuck Berry

Chuck woke up high over Albuquerque on a jet to the Promised Land.

♫ Chuck Berry - Promised Land

Most of us reading this would be familiar with the song Route 66 from the original by the writer of the song, Bobby Troup, through to Nat King Cole's version (my favorite), Mel Tormé's and on to the Rolling Stones and many more besides.

None of these mention Albuquerque (even though the road runs through it). There is one that does though, and that's by PERRY COMO.

Perry Como

I don't know if all the others (including Bobby) just used a chopped down version of the song or whether Perry (or someone close by) added some extra verses mentioning a lot more places along the way.

Whatever is the case here's Perry with the expanded Route 66.

♫ Perry Como - Route 66

Jimmy Webb was fond of name-checking places in the songs he wrote, and probably the most famous interpreter of these would be GLEN CAMPBELL.

Glen Campbell

The song I have in mind is By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Albuquerque is in there as one of the place he "by the time he gets to.”

♫ Glen Campbell - By the Time I Get to Phoenix

ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL play Western Swing, in the mould of Bob Wills and others.

Asleep At The Wheel

They are certainly the best at that genre playing today – that's not their only style, they're very versatile. They have a song that's actually about the city. It's called Albuquerque.

♫ Asleep at the Wheel - Albuquerque

There's only a single mention of our city in FRANK SINATRA's song, but that's enough.

Frank Sinatra

Albuquerque isn't a place you tend to associate with Frank but if the songwriter slips it into a song, well there you go. In this case, the writers were husband and wife team Mann Holner and Alberta Nichols. The song is Why Shouldn't It Happen To Us.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Why Shouldn't It Happen To Us

Johnny Burnette and his brother Dorsey were two thirds of the JOHNNY BURNETTE TRIO, also know as the Rock and Roll Trio. The third member was Paul Burlison.

Johnny Burnette Trio

They grew up in Memphis and used to jam with Elvis before any of them were well known. Johnny later had a solo career before he had a boating accident, as did Dorsey (the career, that is), but a heart attack eventually brought him down.

Paul lived to a reasonable age. Probably the best known song the trio recorded was The Train Kept A'Rollin', and that mentions our city.

♫ Johnny Burnette Trio - The Train Kept A Rollin'

I've crossed the Rio Grande in Albuquerque – it flows through the city. It's quite easy - just a single step across it and you're somewhere else. Where you are is a metre or two from where you were. No big deal.

TOM RUSSELL, though, is going lengthways, Down the Rio Grande, and it gets quite a bit wider down river.

Tom Russell

Tom has written some excellent songs about the Rio Grande, set both north and south of the border. As I said, this one is along the length of it.

♫ Tom Russell - Down the Rio Grande

Here are the Sons of the Desert.

Stan & Ollie

Oops sorry, wrong SONS OF THE DESERT.

Sons of the Desert

The band named themselves after Stan and Ollie's film. They formed in Waco and contain a couple of members whose surname is Womack. There seems to quite a number of people named that in the music business, most of them unrelated.

Anyway, The Sons perform Albuquerque, a different song from the one above.

♫ Sons Of The Desert - Albuquerque

TIM MCGRAW is a country singer and a bit of an actor as well, appearing is several well-regarded films.

Tim McGraw

He's married to Faith Hill who is also a country singer and actor. They are well known for their philanthropy. Tim's song is Everywhere, and Albuquerque is the first mentioned place.

♫ Tim McGraw - Everywhere

There were three Glaser Brothers and they performed as a trio. Two of them had solo careers as well, the most prominent of those was Tompall. However, today I'm interested in JIM GLASER.

Jim Glaser

Besides his solo career and with his brothers, Jim was a long time member of Marty Robbins' band. Can't do better than that. Jim's song is The Lights of Albuquerque.

♫ Jim Glaser - The Lights of Albuquerque

INTERESTING STUFF – 3 September 2016


Didn't we all have an AOL account at one time? Here's the guy who greeted us every time we opened the program with “You've got Mail.”

Actually, from the email addresses TGB readers supply for identification or subscriptions (only I ever see them), quite a few of you are apparently still hearing, “You've got mail.”


The most famous love story in history, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, was first published 419 years ago in 1597.

For at least the past 100 years, Giulietta's Club, located in the city where the play is set, Verona, Italy, has been answering letters that arrive from all over the world asking for advice about their love lives. Take a look:


I know I've seen this before but I don't recall if I posted it. Doesn't matter – I'm as charmed this time as before. Thank reader Nancy Leitz for sending it.


Wow – wait until you see these zucchinis. And other great big veggies. Philip Vowles of Llanharry, Wales has been supersizing the ones he grows for more than 30 years.


I can still hear my mother's voice repeating the aphorisms and sayings of which she seemed to have one for every situation.

One of them was “There is nothing new under the sun” and this story backs her up on that one. A new book, Writings From Ancient Egypt, is an anthology of millennia-old papyri, letters and stone carvings translated from hieroglyphs.

”In addition to glamorous accounts of war and royalty, it’s packed with extraordinarily personal tales of life and the social anxieties of the time,” reports Quartz.

”The 1147 BCE will of a twice-married mother dictates leaving three adult children out of her inheritance because they took her for granted.

“A 2300 BCE memoir by a desert scout recounts traveling across Africa in search of new goods and novelties.

“And one particularly instructive text, titled Teaching of Ptahhotep, invites comparison to other ancient 'how to get ahead' teachings by the likes of Sun Tzu and Machiavelli.

Mom was right – this is same kind of stuff we read today. The book is available in the U.K. now and at Amazon in January 2017. Meanwhile, you can read more about it at Quartz.


It's not that I didn't know humans are inherently attracted to soft round things like babies of any kind. But it is fun in an odd way to see the idea presented as science.

You can read more here about what makes us ooh and aww at anything cute but like me you probably already know this stuff.


The village of Nagoro, Japan, has been losing population and is now down to about 30 people. One woman is turning the town into a memorial for the people who have died or have moved away by sewing life-size dolls of them.

It's eerie and fascinating, and we can thank Wendl Kornfeld for sharing it with us.

You can read more here.


I make all my own salad dressings and didn't realize until this video that one of my recipes is pretty much the same as this commercial dressing that is ubiquitous in U.S. supermarkets. Here's the backstory:


This doesn't need any explanation. It's from Gillian Noble and I'll bet you can't watch it just once.

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Interesting Stuff is a weekly listing of short takes and links to web items that have caught my attention; some related to aging and some not, some useful and others just for fun.

You are all encouraged to submit items for inclusion. Just click “Contact” at the top of any Time Goes By page to send them. I'm sorry that I won't have time to acknowledge receipt and there is no guarantee of publication. But when I do include them, you will be credited and I will link to your blog IF you include the name of the blog and its URL.

When Elder Couples are Forced Apart

A couple of weeks ago, when we discussed sex and old age, TGB reader Kate in Maine left this heart-breaking story in the comments [slightly edited for space]:

”My late widowed Mother had a beautiful assisted living apartment over looking the ocean in Maine. I began to see, when I visited her, she and a lovely man holding hands while ocean surf watching. The internal me thought 'say what?'

“...The gentleman eventually asked my Mother to marry - my second 'say what'???? They were both in their early 80's. My folks never interfered in my private life and I wasn't going to in this situation either.

“I saw what the relationship brought to her life and I was happy to see that. Fast forward a little, the gentleman asked my official permission to marry. Two weeks after that coversation, I showed up to visit and he was gone. His family didn't approve and moved him out in the dark of night.

“They both had all their wits intact, knew what they needed and wanted and it became a role reversal where the 'adult children' took away his voice and choice.”

Kate in Maine's story had been haunting me when another forced separation gained some attention on the internet.

It started with a photo of Wolfram and Anita Gottschalk of Surrey, British Columbia, taken by their granddaughter. Here is what the Global News reported about the couple:

Separations like that of the Gottschalks happen, and certainly not only in Canada, when one of them needs more care than the other or the caregiver spouse can no longer do it all alone.

I know a man whose wife needs round-the-clock care in a memory unit but they were lucky enough to find and be able to afford to live in the same continuing care community so he can visit every day.

She no longer recognizes him but after more than half century of marriage he doesn't love her any less and their living arrangement allows him to be with her any time, every day. And who is to say that somewhere inside, somehow, she still knows him and knows that he is there.

But that kind of care is not easy to find. It might be a question of money or of availability of space or out-of-date rules in elder care communities or the awful children of Kate's mother's friend.

Kate answered Darlene Costner's question about whether money or inheritance was an issue with her mother's friend being snatched away:

”Yes, Darlene, it was all about the $$. He was quite well to do and my Mother was fine financially so no inheritances were going to be changed. My mother and he were going to stay in the same assisted care but move to a larger apt. I already had that in the works.

“They both had long marriages 60+ years and I was delighted to see the happy glint in my Mother's eyes. He was someone special just for her and vice a versa. I totally fault his adult children (who rarely visited) for taking their Father's voice from him.

“Whatever years each had remaining to share was stolen by greedy, selfish, insensitive adult children. That spark left my Mother's eyes and for that I will always be sad. She lived well into her 90's and I think about what those years together could have been.

“The staff at the assisted care were very sympathetic, but due to privacy laws they wouldn't give us his address or phone number. He was taken out of state...

“None of his adult children ever attempted to connect with me or my Mother to discuss the issue (marriage). I never knew the last names of his children (married daughters) to try to connect with. When he was gone he was gone.”

How unutterably sad. It doesn't take any imagination at all to know how you would feel if you were torn away from the person you love and you have no say in the matter, apparently just because you are old. What kind of monsters - bureaucratic or especially family - would do that? And when do they get their payback?