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.
Well, everything I’ve ever said about BILLIE HOLIDAY still holds true today.
She was unique, and I use that word advisably. Often given second rate material to record, she made them into polished gems of songs. And when she tackled great songs Billie made them even greater.
Billie suggests that Everything Happens For The Best. I don’t know about that, but let’s hear what she sings.
KEITH JARRETT made a couple of albums with the late great jazz bassist CHARLIE HADEN which are really fine if you like elegant stripped back jazz.
Charlie’s swinging bass playing gives an added dimension to Keith’s lyrical piano playing. Everything Happens to Me.
With her contribution CATHERINE RUSSELL sounds like a throwback to the thirties.
She isn’t from that era, of course. Catherine is quite up to date. From her recent album “Strictly Romancin'” she sings in her inimitable style, Everything's Been Done Before. I can see her singing this in a Paris club, backed by Django and Stéphane.
PAUL KELLY is unusual in the ranks of male songwriters because he writes many songs from the female point of view.
He took a short story by Raymond Carver and turned it into the song, Everything's Turning to White. The story was called “So Much Water, So Close to Home”, which is the name of Paul’s album from which the song is taken.
JOHNNY ADAMS had a multi-octave singing voice that he used often to great effect.
He was yet another talent from New Orleans and was quite at home singing soul, jazz, blues, gospel and rock & roll. Today’s song, I Want To Do Everything For You, is mostly in the soul genre.
The BELLAMY BROTHERS are a successful country duo whose music has crossed over into the mainstream pop arena.
This isn’t confined to the obvious places – America, Australia, the UK – they’ve had charting songs in Europe, Japan and several African countries. The song today is from a rather fine album called “Rebels Without a Clue” called When The Music Meant Everything.
You don’t hear whistling much in songs anymore, it used to be quite common. The whistler today, okay, it’s quite short, is CHRIS SMITHER.
Chris is a blues/folk/singer-songwriter of renown. His life performances, usually just him and an acoustic guitar, are really worth catching. Here he sings (and whistles) Everything on Top.
I could have done without those strings on the next song. After all, when you have NAT KING COLE and THE GEORGE SHEARING QUINTET, that should be enough. It certainly is for me.
Nat and George and friends (and those damn strings) give us Everything Happens To Me.
SAM COOKE should need no introduction from me for the readers of this column.
It’s generally considered that he invented soul music, along with Ray Charles, but he didn’t live long enough to see its full blossoming. Such a pity. He sings I Lost Everything. I guess that’s a little prophetic.
I like to throw a song from left field into columns now and then, and today’s contribution is from the LOUVIN BROTHERS.
The Louvins were an influential duo whose songs were taken up by later country and rock performers, most notably The Byrds and Emmylou Harris. It seems they have Plenty of Everything but You.