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.
We had Cats last week, so of course we have to have dogs,
That's Scragger (or Sid, depending on who you ask), mascot for the Footscray (aka Western Bulldogs) Football Club. They won the flag for the first time in a hell of a long time (Yaaaaay, Whoopee!).
Australians from the real football states will know what I'm talking about (and where my allegiances lie). Americans can glean a little understanding from the analogy of the Chicago Cubs winning the pennant. Those who aren't interested in sport (Hi Ronni) can just ignore this bit.
One of Elvis's early big hits was Hound Dog, but his wasn't the first recording of the song. That honor went to Willie May Thornton, better known as BIG MAMA THORNTON.
The song was written by the prolific, and excellent, songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was only the second or third of their songs that made the charts.
BOB DYLAN recorded a couple of rather quirky albums in 1970.
There was the poorly regarded (by critics, but I liked it) "Self Portrait". This was quickly followed by the much better received "New Morning". For some reason this one has somewhat fallen out of favor over the years. I don't know why, I think it's terrific (and it's Norma, the Assistant Musicologist's favorite of Bob's).
From that one comes the very un-Bob-like If Dogs Run Free.
As with Big Mama, RUFUS THOMAS had a bit of a hit only to see someone else, in this case The Rolling Stones, take it to the top of the charts.
Rufus was a disk jockey, singer, songwriter and many more things besides. He wrote Walking the Dog and of course, was the first to record it.
Although not their first hit, Bird Dog was very early in the EVERLY BROTHERS' canon.
At the time, pretty much everything they released made the charts, often going to the top. This is no exception. I had no idea at the time what a Bird Dog was (apart from one that retrieves birds). I've just googled the term and found that it's American slang that didn't reach Oz at the time (or since).
RONNIE SELF performed one of the greatest of early rock & roll songs with Bop-A-Lena.
From the same session that gave us that song we have his dog song. This isn't as frantic (as they used to say back then) as the other song, but it fits the bill today. Ain't I'm a Dog.
This is a variation on the Sherlock Holmes' story about the dog that didn't bark in the night. We have a song by HOWARD TATE, rather than a story.
It's the same principle, of course and Howard wonders: How Come My Bulldog Don't Bark. I could suggest that it's a very well behaved bulldog, but I think Howard thinks otherwise.
JESSE WINCHESTER's first album was a masterpiece.
Most of his other albums weren't far behind either. All I can say is go out and check them all, particularly that first one. From that we have Black Dog.
NOEL COWARD is here to perform his best known song.
Noel claimed that he wrote the song without the aid of pen, pencil, paper or piano while he was driving between Hanoi and Saigon. Actually, he was passenging, not driving, and he'd sing it to his driver so he wouldn't forget it before he could write it down.
The song is, and I know you're ahead of me, Mad Dogs and Englishmen.
The previous song was the inspiration for The Mad Dogs And Englishmen Review, a rock package and tour overseen by LEON RUSSELL and headlining Joe Cocker back in 1970.
Leon's contribution is a song about that tour. It's called The Ballad Of Mad Dogs And Englishmen. From all reports, mad dogs and Englishmen was an apt description of what transpired.
PAUL SIMON manages to come up with the most enigmatic song title today.
That's not too unusual; he rather liked doing that sort of thing, particularly early in his career. He also liked to parade his erudition but I won't fault him for that as I've been known to get a bit up myself in these columns.
Anyway, here is Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War.