INTERESTING STUFF – 23 March 2019
Two Realities of Growing Old

ELDER MUSIC: Save Your Sugar For Me

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.

* * *

I thought that we all need a bit of sweetening so I'm serving you up a lump of sugar. It’s probably not very good for you, but at my age, I don’t care anymore. Okay, I tend not to eat much sugar anyway, so it’s not really a problem. It’s good for a music column though.

The GRATEFUL DEAD weren’t noted as a recording band but they were as good as anyone (when they were on song) as a live band.

Grateful Dead

However, they did record three excellent albums, one of which I’d include in my top ten. That album was “American Beauty” and from that one we have Sugar Magnolia.

Grateful Dead - Sugar Magnolia


BESSIE SMITH was known as the Empress of the Blues.

BessieSmith2

She was certainly the best known blues performer in the twenties and thirties and had a huge influence on other blues and jazz singers (as well as later rock singers such as Janis Joplin).

Her work challenged the elitist norms of her era encouraging woman, especially working class woman, to embrace their right to do things that men were doing. This is evident in Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl.

♫ Bessie Smith - Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl


In the early seventies JESSE COLIN YOUNG was extracting himself from his band The Youngbloods.

Jesse Colin Young

During that period he recorded a couple of excellent solo albums. The best of those was “Song for Juli” but it’s not that one we want today. Instead, the album is “Songbird” and from that the song we need is Sugar Babe.

♫ Jesse Colin Young - Sugar Babe


DJANGO REINHARDT could do more with playing with just two fingers on his left hand than just about any other guitarist can do with a full set.

Django Reinhardt

He lost the use of the others in a caravan fire where he was living at the time, early in his career. The doctors said he’d never play again. He showed them. From around about 1939 Django plays Sugar, with the help of an unnamed band.

♫ Django Reinhardt - Sugar


One of the first songs I thought of for this category is by the MCGUIRE SISTERS.

McGuire Sisters

They were all over the hit parade in the fifties, including several songs that hit the top of the charts. One of those was Sugartime.

♫ McGuire Sisters - Sugartime


NAT KING COLE has one of the most famous sugar songs, certainly one of his most famous songs.

Nat King Cole

This is from recordings he made with Billy May and a big band going full tilt behind him. The song is When My Sugar Walks Down the Street.

♫ Nat King Cole - When My Sugar Walks Down The Street


Besides her solo career, NANCY SINATRA had a long musical association with Lee Hazelwood.

Nancy Sinatra

As well as often recording together, Lee wrote many of her biggest songs. These Boots were Made for Walking was one of his. Jackson was another. Yet another that hit the top of the charts is Sugar Town.

♫ Nancy Sinatra - Sugar Town


Here's another song called Sugar Babe but it's a different one from Jesse Colin's. This one is by TOM RUSH.

Tom Rush

This was from his terrific early-ish album “Take a Little Walk With Me”, more than 50 years old and still one of the best albums around.

♫ Tom Rush - Sugar Babe


If the world was an equitable place JOE TEX would be a more important artist than James Brown, but it’s not, so I’ll just have to do my thing and play his music when I can.

Joe Tex

This song will get you up and dancing, or at least tapping your toes. The song is If Sugar Was as Sweet as You, a song he wrote himself.

♫ Joe Tex - If Sugar Was As Sweet As You


I can only remember one song by JIMMY GILMER & THE FIREBALLS.

Fireballs

However, checking Wiki, it seems he had quite a few that made the charts. I guess I wasn’t taking much notice at the time.

That song is Sugar Shack which was written by Keith McCormack and Jimmy Torres. Keith gave the rights to the song to his aunt, who helped him with some of the lyrics, for her birthday. That would have been a nice little earner for her as it hit the top of the charts around the world.

♫ Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs - Sugar Shack



Comments

The intro to the Jesse Colin Young offering is really lovely, I listened to it several times. My mother used to sing Sugartime when I was a kid, fun memory.

The Bessie Smith song is lovely.

(that Sugar Shack song is the biggest ear worm of All Time!! It's been in my head all morning!)

Thanks a lot, Peter. Another enjoyable evening's listening; this time in the Canary Islands. Amongst we Brits, it opened a debate whether Joe Tex was in any way political referencing sugar cane in Louisiana...
Regards, Mary Evans Young & Derek Evans

From Newport, Rhode Island here; home to the Newport Jazz & Folk Festivals..I'd like to say I enjoy your musical blogs on this website, Peter. I've seen Janis Joplin right here in Newport, back in '68, I believe, and the Grateful Dead in '71 (never thought I'd see the day the Dead was mentioned under "Elder Music")! Much thanks for your efforts for putting together a most interesting read.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)