INTERESTING STUFF – 26 September 2020
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ELDER MUSIC: Friends

ELDER MUSIC: Friends

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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At times like this we need all the friends we can get, quite a few of whom these days will be on Zoom or Skype. Similarly, for a few years after I discovered Time Goes By and when I got this gig, I could count Ronni as the best friend I had never met.

That all changed of course when Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I visited Oregon (a couple of times) and stayed with her in Lake Oswego.

Here are some friends songs.

RAL DONNER was cursed by having a voice that was uncannily like Elvis’s.

Ral Donner

I bet all those Elvis impersonators wish they could claim the same thing. Ral was never an impersonator, indeed he really hated it when it was pointed out to him (which was quite often). See what you think when he sings Girl of my Best Friend.

♫ Ral Donner - Girl Of My Best Friend


MIKE MCCLELLAN would be a super-star if he lived in a bigger country. Well, he is here in Australia.

Mike McClellan1

Mike recorded several albums in the seventies and eighties, but they have been deleted. There are a couple of collection CDs as well as several more recent albums, but it’s still difficult to source his early music unless you have the vinyls.

From that early period, here is a song he still performs quite often, Lovers Never Wind up Friends.

♫ Mike McClellan - Lovers Never Wind Up Friends


Quite coincidentally, I discovered Larry McMurtry’s book, All My Friends are Going to be Strangers, around the same time that I first heard MERLE HAGGARD perform (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers.

Merle Haggard

I assume for Merle there was a bit of tongue in cheek going on as his backing band was called The Strangers.

♫ Merle Haggard - (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers


After his initial success as a pop star and member of a Doowop group DION DiMucci turned into a fine blues and folk performer.

Dion

One of the first albums of his that demonstrated that was “Sit Down Old Friend”. Here is the song Sit Down Old Friend.

♫ Dion - Sit Down Old Friend


PERCY SLEDGE is probably best known for one song and what a great song that is. It’s not the one we have today, however.

Percy Sledge

There was a lot more to him than that one. Besides being one of the finest soul singers, he was also a bluesman of note as this shows on My Old Friend the Blues, from the album with the same name.

♫ Percy Sledge - My Old Friend The Blues


On the surface. JIMMY BUFFETT seems to be the friendliest musician around. I hope he’s really like that.

Jimmy Buffett

From one of his early good albums (most of his early albums were good), “Son of a Son of a Sailor” Jimmy tells us about his African Friend.

♫ Jimmy Buffett - African Friend


By far the most critically successful and popular band in Australia in the seventies was SKYHOOKS.

Skyhooks

They liked to dress up in outlandish costumes but their musicianship was impeccable. Besides that they, thanks to main songwriter Greg Macainsh, addressed issues about Australian suburban life, particularly Melbourne whence they hailed.

The song All My Friends Are Getting Married is more laid back then their usual fare.

♫ Skyhooks - All My Friends Are Getting Married


From easily their finest studio album, “American Beauty”, the GRATEFUL DEAD want to be a Friend of the Devil.

Grateful Dead

Of course, although they only recorded two or three good studio albums, their milieu was live performances at which they excelled. As they are no more, it’s good that there are a number of fine live recordings. “A number”? I wouldn’t be surprised if every concert they ever performed is out there somewhere.

Anyway, here’s the song, with Phil Lesh playing bass as the lead instrument.

♫ Grateful Dead - Friend Of The Devil


HERMAN'S HERMITS came from Manchester (not far from Liverpool) at the height of Beatlemania.

HermansHermits

Unlike most of their contemporaries, they were a straight pop band and had a clean cut image – they didn’t frighten parents the way other bands at the time did. In spite of that (or maybe because of it) they produced really fine pop songs, most of which still hold up today, including My Sentimental Friend.

♫ Herman's Hermits - My Sentimental Friend


The members of the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND must be friends as they’ve been together with little change to their lineup since the sixties.

Nittys

They have even recorded a song along that line called Partners, Brothers and Friends. Here it is.

♫ NGDB - Partners Brothers And Friends


Back around 1970, I discovered a record by SPIDER JOHN KOERNER and WILLIE MURPHY.

Spider Joh n& Willie

This is a really wonderful album and in keeping with the theme of the column, my friends thought so too. The album is called “Running Jumping Standing Still” and I now have it on CD so it might still be around somewhere.

It’s the only thing they did together and it’s a collection folk-blues, ragtime piano, country and even a little jazz thrown in for good measure. In keeping with our category, their song is Friends and Lovers. Spider John sings the lead on it.

♫ Spider John Koerner & Willie Murphy - Friends and Lovers

There is one song I’m sure you were all expecting, but as you can see, I didn’t include it. I expect that there will be comments about that.

Comments

With a Little Help from my Friends?

And so WHY didn't you include the Beatles' I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends??

Or Carol's King's You've Got a Friend??

Too obvious? Too familiar? Or are rights not available for streaming?

I thought You've Got a Friend?

I always feel younger after listening to your posts. Thank you.

Geez what a nice assortment; I really liked what you wrote about Herman’s Hermits (never heard an HH song I didn’t like) and I think my favorite here was the Mike McClellan song—loved the guitar and his clear, genuine voice.

Peter I think Youtube has caught on I’ve been listening to your & Norma’s selections, a couple nights ago Skyhooks ‘Women in Uniform’ was on my Recommended channel. I never heard of ‘em but love their 70’s sound! Anyway, thanks for another great Sunday of music my friend :^)

Elton John, "Friends" from the movie soundtrack is a favorite of mine.

I've got friends in low places

You're now responsible for an increase in exports from Australia to the US. I got so hooked on the Mike McClellan song that I looked at Amazon - really only one MP3 to download which didn't include the Friends song. So I ordered it from his website. I think I"m in love.

thank you, you are fantastic!
I also would like to have listened to the Beatles' song, but enjoyed your choices very much

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