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.
With global warming we may or may not get more storms, but we will get far more powerful and ferocious ones. It’s probably too late to stop this happening. In the meantime, let’s have some songs about storms.
We’ll start proceedings with TOM RUSH and approximately the title of the column.
The song is actually called Galveston Flood, but it has been recorded under the name Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm. Even Tom has done that.
There are two songs today where I found dozens of versions and you’d think it might be difficult to select one. As it turned out, the job was easy as the best one stood out in both. The first of these songs is Stormy Monday, and the standout is T-BONE WALKER.
Just about every blues performer, and quite a few in other genres, has recorded the song. However, T-Bone did it first and did it best. He also wrote the song. He was one of the most influential guitarists of the twentieth century.
Goodness, it’s been a while since I had LINDA RONSTADT in a column. That will be rectified immediately.
Linda seems to have the help of the celestial choir on her song, Cry Like a Rainstorm.
“Blood on the Tracks” was BOB DYLAN’s finest album from the seventies. It was also his “divorce album”, I don’t know if there’s a correlation there.
There were several vicious songs on the album. Okay, it’s not the only album where that occurred. The song Shelter from the Storm isn’t one of them. Well, it is a bit.
TERRY EVANS and HANS THEESSINK also recorded Shelter from the Storm, but it’s a different song.
Hans, a Dutch bluesman, wrote this one, but I can’t help thinking that he was very familiar with Bob’s song. Terry once sang backup on one of Hans’ records and after that they recorded and toured together. Terry died recently and his last record was with Hans.
BUDDY KNOX started his career on a radio program in Texas that also featured Roy Orbison.
Roy suggested that Buddy should go to Clovis, New Mexico, where Norman Petty was recording Buddy Holly. Buddy did just that and recorded his best known, and biggest selling song, Party Doll.
He also recorded Storm Clouds. He had another go at that song again later and it’s that version we have today.
JOHN PRINE can write songs that will break your heart, others that will make you laugh and everything in between.
Whatever category into which a song falls, his attention to details is immaculate. The song Storm Windows seems to be from the in between category, and it’s a bit rockier than most of his songs.
The other song that I mentioned above with all the versions is Stormy Weather. I can hear you yelling your favorites but I’ve gone with LENA HORNE.
The song was around before Lena had a go at it, but she sang it in a film of the same name and since then it’s mostly been associated with her.
BOZ SCAGGS went to school and university with Steve Miller. They were firm friends.
After trying to make a go of it as a solo artist, Boz joined Steve in the Steve Miller Band for their first two albums as a guitarist and singer. After that he once again ventured out for a solo career recording the album “Boz Scaggs”, which in my opinion is his best.
However, it’s not that album that concerns us today, it’s a later one called “A Fool to Care”, from which we get There's a Storm a Comin'. Just setting the mood for the next track.
There’s only one way to finish the column and that is to ride out the storm. Quite a few of you are already saying THE DOORS.
Riders on the Storm was the very last song that the original four members of The Doors recorded together. They went out with one of their great songs and so are we, at least for this week.