607 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Together at Home 4

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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We are all still locked up at home (okay, maybe we can get out for various things, but still). I really want to thank these and other musicians who make this a bit less grim.

Several of the DOOBIE BROTHERS reunite (virtually) to perform their most famous song, and one that’s really appropriate for this column Listen to the Music.

Alas, we can’t have John Lennon performing his most famous (solo) song. In his place here is STEPHEN RIDLEY. Stephen performs Imagine (and bits of other songs) in a (nearly) deserted London railway station. This piano has been used for many musical videos from back when people could congregate.

Here is a video I had originally had in the first of these columns. It got the flick when I found other songs by both these performers. It’s still worth a listen. It’s by BRIAN MAY (guitarist from Queen, of course) and SHUBA. They perform a Queen song, written by Freddie Mercury and first performed by him, Love of My Life.

The CELLISTS OF THE SEATTLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA could easily have fitted into the classical version of “Together at Home”, but that was full, so I decided to include them here. It’s one of J.S. Bach’s most famous tunes, Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring, from his cantata “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147”.

PAUL KELLY is one of the world’s finest singer/songwriters. Here he is with JESS HITCHCOCK. Jess is an up and coming singer, if you can call 10 years as a singer, songwriter, teacher, backing singer, composer as “up and coming”. Together they perform one of Paul’s songs, Every Day my Mother’s Voice.

It was JOHN FOGERTY who was my inspiration to produce these columns in the first place – his were the first of these videos I found. He performs with his kids, a daughter who usually plays guitar, but she’s playing drums on this clip, and two sons who play bass and guitar. Not to forget the family dog.

That means today’s instrumentation matches that of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Here’s the Fogerty family with Tombstone Shadow. This might be the best garage band ever.

IAN MOSS was the guitarist and one of the songwriters for iconic Australian rock group Cold Chisel. JIMMY BARNES was the charismatic singer for the group whose vocal style made Joe Cocker sound like Pavarotti.

On this clip there are some others, including Jimmy’s daughter Mahalia Barnes singing harmony. The song is When the War is Over.

DELTA GOODREM is often described as “The Voice of Australia”. It’s a pity she’s not widely known elsewhere so I’ll do my little bit to help that along. She performs the quintessential Australian song Down Under, first performed and written by Men at Work.

Speaking of Men at Work, here is the main man from that group, COLIN HAY. He’s a solo performer these days, although he often calls on a couple of friends to join him. He does that today when he performs the song Ringo Starr made popular, Photograph. Ringo knew what he was talking about as he was a photographer of some note.

Hands up all those who don’t remember PETER FRAMPTON from the seventies. Okay, a few of you, but back then he was everywhere with one of the biggest albums of all time. You know the one, at least those who didn’t put their hands up. Here’s another Ringo song, It Don’t Come Easy.

KRISTEN MOSCA channels Scott Joplin with her tune, Quarantine Rag. She says that it’s her first original rag, and based on the way it sounds, she has a real future in this genre. Scott is smiling down on her and the rest of us.

I was going to end there but thanks to Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, I found this one, and it’s an appropriate way to end. Here is ARLO GUTHRIE performing the old Stephen Foster song, Hard Times Come Again No More.

Arlo has the help of Jim Wilson on piano, Vanessa Bryan as co-lead singer, the great Stanley Clarke playing bass, a terrific choir and others who are mentioned at the end of the video. It’s amazing how relevant a 160-plus year old song can be.

ELDER MUSIC: ...and Poor

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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We’ve been rich, just last week, and now we’re poor. I don’t know what happened, something to do with the economy, I imagine. Today we have the poor songs.

I’ll start with the poor boy who became very rich indeed, ELVIS.


Elvis performed the song Poor Boy in his first film, Love Me Tender. Unlike later films, there weren’t enough songs to release them as a soundtrack album. Instead they were released as an EP (remember EPs?).

Neither the song nor the EP went to the top of the charts. That was about the last time that happened with Elvis. The song is Poor Boy.

♫ Elvis - Poor Boy

JOHNNY RIVERS isn’t as well known today as many of his ilk.

Johnny Rivers

He had several chart topping songs in the sixties and seventies and also wrote a bunch of really good songs. One of those is Poor Side of Town that was covered by Mel Tormé and Ray Charles amongst others.

♫ Johnny Rivers - Poor Side of Town

On his “John Wesley Harding” album, Bob Dylan had a song called I Pity the Poor Immigrant. JUDY COLLINS recorded that same song, but truncated the title to Poor Immigrant.

Judy Collins

This was from her album “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”, probably the most country sounding of hers, but not really a country record.

♫ Judy Collins - Poor Immigrant

CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL didn’t get the respect of some of their colleagues when they were first popular.


That was probably because they produced well-crafted songs that the general public really liked, and bought by the millions. However, time is the great arbiter and their songs are still admired and loved today, unlike the 20 minute noodlings their original critics used to indulge in.

Their song is Down on the Corner, which is about Willy and the Poor Boys, from the album that shares that name.

♫ Creedence Clearwater Revival - Down On The Corner

The EVERLY BROTHERS sing an absolute tale of woe about their girlfriend.

Everly Brothers

It seems that our lads took Jenny to a party that got out of hand. She was assaulted, the cops were called, they left her in the lurch and Poor Jenny was banged up in the clink. They don’t seem very contrite; I don’t think this relationship will continue.

♫ Everly Brothers - Poor Jenny

From around about the same time, there’s no mistaking LITTLE RICHARD on this song.

Little Richard

However, it isn’t one of his usual frantic songs. Well, not entirely. It’s a mid-tempo (for him) song called Poor Boy Paul.

♫ Little Richard - Poor Boy Paul

There’s probably an interesting story behind GORDON LIGHTFOOT’s contribution today. That’s because with Gordie there’s always a story that leads to his songs.

Gordon Lightfoot

This one is called Poor Little Allison.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Poor Little Allison

Linda Ronstadt had a huge hit with the song Poor, Poor Pitiful Me. This was written by WARREN ZEVON and he recorded it first.

Warren Zevon1

This was from his early self-titled album that had many of his best songs on, many covered by Linda (and other lesser musicians). Here’s what Warren makes of it.

♫ Warren Zevon - Poor Poor Pitiful Me

VAN MORRISON teams up with TAJ MAHAL on an album where Van rerecords some of his songs helped by other singers.

Van Morrison & Taj Mahal

That album is called “Duets - Re-Working the Catalogue”, a fairly obvious title for such an endeavour. Of course, anything by Van is worth the cost, and if we have Taj along as well, that’s a bonus. They perform How Can a Poor Boy.

♫ Van Morrison - How Can a Poor Boy

I always liked RICKY NELSON. I still do.

Ricky Nelson

He had the advantage over other similar performers early on in that he was on television each week, always ending the program with a song. An added bonus was that he had the best lead guitarist around at the time, James Burton, playing for him. Here’s Ricky with Poor Little Fool, written by Sharon Sheeley.

♫ Ricky Nelson - Poor Little Fool

I’ll go out with a blaze of glory with the lesser known and underappreciated blues man JOHN PRIMER.

John Primer

Before going out on his own, John was a guitarist for the great Muddy Waters. You really had to be good to get that gig as Muddy could get anyone he wanted by the time that John played with him. Here’s John with Poor Man Blues.

♫ John Primer - Poor Man Blues


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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We have a couple of columns about rich and poor. Today it’s rich songs. I imagine that most people would prefer to be rich but alas, most people don’t get to be that way. We can appreciate rich songs though.

SAFFIRE, THE UPPITY BLUES WOMEN hung up their guitars, pianos and basses in 2009.


Unfortunately, they won’t be getting back together as founder member Ann Rabson has since died. We still have their records though and really good ones they are too. To kick off the rich list here they are performing The Richest Guy In The Graveyard.

♫ Saffire The Uppity Blues Women - The Richest Guy In The Graveyard

Here is an old song by TONY BENNETT and it’s one of his biggest hits.

Tony Bennett

Given the topic most of you will figure out that the song is Rags to Riches. The young Tony’s voice was in terrific shape when he recorded this one.

♫ Tony Bennett - Rags To Riches

The next song was written by Mississippi John Hurt, and he does a fine version of it. However, I think it should be performed by a woman, and the one I have in mind is MARIA MULDAUR.

Maria Muldaur

John had a really lovely laid-back style of guitar playing and Maria employed her old friend John Sebastian to emulate him on her record. This is one of my favourite of Maria songs that’s not on her first two albums.

Mississippi John called his song variously Rich Woman Blues or Richland Woman Blues. Maria used the latter name.

♫ Maria Muldaur - Richland Woman Blues

The first song I thought of for this category is by DARYL HALL AND JOHN OATES.

Hall & Oates

It’s another big hit, one of their biggest. It’s also something of an earworm, or at least it is for me. See what you think, it’s Rich Girl.

♫ Hall & Oates - Rich Girl

During his lifetime there was not another cooler performer than TONY JOE WHITE.

Tony Joe White

He could entertain an audience with just his guitar and himself singing, I know because I’ve been there. Alas, he died a couple of years ago so you won’t be able to experience his magic if you haven’t already. There are still records though, and videos.

There were few more enjoyable performers than Tony Joe in my opinion. Let’s hear Rich Woman Blues.

♫ Tony Joe White - Rich Woman Blues

PATSY CLINE could have fitted in both rich and poor columns with her song. It was just a matter of how the songs panned out.

Patsy Cline

So, here she is trying to decide which one to go for. Listening to the song, I found that she thinks she’d go for poor, so perhaps I put her in the wrong category. It doesn’t matter, any appearance of Patsy is fine by me. A Poor Man's Roses (Or a Rich Man's Gold).

♫ Patsy Cline - A Poor Man's Roses (Or A Rich Man's Gold)

Many, many years ago I went to a one man show by Nehemiah Persoff. He talked about his life, his acting and many other things. It was an extraordinary performance.

He mentioned the stage show “Fiddler on the Roof”. If I Were a Rich Man was a song from the musical. I don’t have Nehemiah performing it (if he ever did). In his place I’ve found a rather good version by ANTHONY NEWLEY.

Anthony Newley

Anthony was the all round performer – singer (many of his songs hit the charts), songwriter (quite a few film scores), actor (more than 50 films) and writing plays, some of which he performed in.

I liked the line in the song that seems just relevant today: “It won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong, when you’re rich, they think you really know.”

♫ Anthony Newley - If I Were a Rich Man

I mentioned above what a great live performer Tony Joe White was. In concert there was one that might just have been better. If any of you, like me, had the pleasure to see MARTY ROBBINS live you are blessed.

Marty Robbins

We all know what a fine singer he was, possibly the best in country music, but that’s not all he sang. He could do anything as far as I’m concerned. His contribution to today’s topic is Little Rich Girl.

♫ Marty Robbins - Little Rich Girl

THE BLACK SORROWS is the most successful of the several bands founded by Australia’s living national musical treasure, Joe Camilleri.

Black Sorrows

The Sorrows started as a reggae band but expanded to become a rhythm & blues, rock & roll and pop band. They could play anything really, with a bunch of superb musicians and singers. I’ll let you consider who The Richest Man in the World is.

♫ Black Sorrows - The Richest Man In The World

The DESERT ROSE BAND was essentially a vehicle for Herb Pederson (from The Dillards) and Chris Hillman (from The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers).

Desert Rose Band

These days they don’t even bother with the band, they perform as an acoustic duo, and mighty fine they are. However, back when they were still a band, here is For the Rich Man.

♫ Desert Rose Band - For the Rich Man

C. J. CHENIER is a zydeco musician; he plays the accordion and sings. He’s the son of the most famous zydeco accordionist, Clifton Chenier.

CJ Chenier

C.J. was brought up in Texas and was more into jazz and funk. Rebelling against his dad, I suspect. However, over time he absorbed his father’s music and became a master of that style of music, bringing his own musical influences into it. Here he performs Richest Man.

♫ C. J. Chenier - Richest Man

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Allen Toussaint

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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Allen Toussaint

Allen Toussaint may be the best unknown songwriter of the last 70 years. Most of you will know these songs, but perhaps not realise that they were all written by him.

Besides being a songwriter, Allen was also a superb New Orleans pianist – that’s really a tautology as every New Orleans pianist is superb. He was also an arranger of note as well as a record producer and occasional performer himself.

He was characteristically modest about his talents, but he really didn’t need to be.

Allen produced most of the great New Orleans records, including those of The Meters, Dr John and all the ones mentioned below. He was also in demand by rock and pop musicians, such as Elvis Costello, Boz Scaggs, Robert Palmer, B.J. Thomas, Willie DeVille and many more.

Allen performed regularly at local haunts around the city as well as more formal concerts further afield.

He died in Spain in 2015 after performing a concert there. He was 77.

Coincidentally, CHRIS KENNER was born in Kenner, Louisiana.

Chris Kenner

It’s not just a town full of Kenners, it’s quite large (for Louisiana). He started singing gospel music in a choir and then worked as a longshoreman. Upon relocating to New Orleans, Chris encountered Allen and they formed a bit of a songwriting partnership.

One of the songs they wrote together is I Like It Like That, that Chris took to the pointy end of the charts.

♫ Chris Kenner - I Like It Like That

There are several performers with whom Allen had a long association, one of whom is LEE DORSEY.

Lee Dorsey

In spite of having several hits over the years, all written and produced by Allen, Lee didn’t give up his day job of running his own auto repair business. Of course, he took time off now and then to tour and record, but he always had that to fall back on.

One of his biggest songs was Working in the Coal Mine.

♫ Lee Dorsey - Working In The Coal Mine

And now for something completely different from all the rest of today’s music. Here is AL HIRT.

Al Hirt

Not completely different, Al was born and bred in New Orleans, as is the case of a lot of the musos today. It’s really that he is an instrumentalist and doesn’t sing on records, at least not on this one.

Oh, one day when he was having lunch with Ennis Marsalis (Miles Davis was there too) he gave the really young Wynton his first trumpet. This is Al’s biggest hit, Java.

♫ Al Hirt - Java

ERNIE K-DOE began his recording career under his birth name of Earnest Kador.

Ernie K Doe

He met with little success until he changed his name. I don’t know if that was the reason, but he certainly hit the charts with his nom de plume (nom de recording, perhaps).

One of the songs that became a hit with his new name is Mother-In-Law, a song that Allen’s mother-in-law was none too happy about. That is, until the royalty cheques started rolling in and she changed her mind completely.

♫ Ernie K-Doe - Mother-In-Law

A few performers have tackled the song Play Something Sweet, the pick of the bunch is MARIA MULDAUR.

Maria Muldaur

It was on her second solo album, “Waitress in a Donut Shop”, a terrific album, only overshadowed by her first. Three Dog Night had a hit with the song and others, notably Levon Helm and Allen himself, have recorded good versions. No one beats Maria’s though.

♫ Maria Muldaur - Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)

BENNY SPELLMAN was the first (but far from the last) to record the song, Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette). It’s a staple for soul, country, blues and even pop performers.

Benny Spellman

Benny later was first cab off the rank with another much-covered song of Allen's, Fortune Teller (not included today). Benny later retired from the music biz and worked in the beer industry. I won't say a word.

♫ Benny Spellman - Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)

Allen had a long association with THE BAND.

The Band

He did the horn arrangements for the concerts they gave in New York at New Year’s 1971 into 1972 that were recorded and released as the double album “Rock of Ages”. Most notably he arranged the music for their final concert known as “The Last Waltz”.

Some of the songs on “Cahoots” were arranged by him and The Band performed his song Holy Cow on “Moondog Matinee”. The song was first recorded by Lee Dorsey.

♫ The Band - Holy Cow

I don’t feature MILLIE JACKSON nearly enough.

Millie Jackson

I think it’s because many of her songs run into others making them double or triple songs (or more on some of her live albums). It’s often hard to split them and make them sound okay. That happened with the song today, but fortunately she recorded it several times so there is a standalone version.

The song is If You're Not Back in Love by Monday. Incidentally, she’s not related to the family of musicians with the same surname.

♫ Millie Jackson - If You're Not Back in Love By Monday

Allen’s music is not restricted to soul and R&B performers. His influence covers most styles of music. I’ve mentioned several alternate versions of some of the songs I’ve included, and here’s one well away from the others, GLEN CAMPBELL.

Glen Campbell

Glen heard Allen’s version of the song Southern Nights and it struck a chord with him. Allen wrote it about visiting relatives in the backwoods of Louisiana and it reminded Glen of his growing up. He took the song to the top of the charts.

♫ Glen Campbell - Southern Nights

IRMA THOMAS is generally known as the soul queen of New Orleans.

Irma Thomas

Although not as well known as her contemporaries Etta James and Aretha Franklin, she’s certainly their equal. Her songs have been used in films and TV series, particularly the one we have today, It's Raining.

♫ Irma Thomas - It's Raining

We have ERNIE K-DOE again because I really wanted to include this song, and his was the best (and first recorded) version.

Ernie K-Doe

It’s a little bit silly, but I really like it. Ernie boasts of his new (or not so new, if you listen to the words) gal, but won’t tell anyone who she is. The song is A Certain Girl.

♫ Ernie K-Doe - A Certain Girl

You could have guaranteed that the Neville Brothers, either as a group or individually, would be present today. I listened to all their recordings of his songs (that made for a pleasurable time) and decided to use AARON NEVILLE quite early in his career.

Aaron Neville

Okay, not all that early, it’s from 1973. However, this was before the brothers organised themselves into the great band they later became. The song in question is Hercules.

♫ Aaron Neville - Hercules

We’ve had everyone else, here’s the man himself ALLEN TOUSSAINT.

Allen Toussaint

He performs Just a Kiss Away, not to be confused with the Rolling Stones’ song with a similar title.

♫ Allen Toussaint - Just A Kiss Away

ELDER MUSIC: Together at Home 3

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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I’ve previously published two columns with musicians at home performing during lockdown. Here’s another one, this time featuring classical musicians. It would be considerably harder for them as there are generally quite a few more to corral. The ones below do a good job though.

The self-titled JERUSALEM STREET ORCHESTRA play the first two thirds or so of the first movement of Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, K 525, which technically means “a little serenade”, not what most people (including me) think it means.

The Jerusalem Street Orchestra doesn’t seem to be actually out on the street, they’re safely tucked up at home.

Famed pianist LANG LANG is joined by his wife GINA ALICE REDLINGER to play the Chopin Nocturne op.9 No.1. Gina is an excellent pianist in her own right and I wish this had been longer.

Here is part of an even more famous symphony from the most famous composer who ever lived, Beethoven. Musicians from the ROTTERDAM PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA play the famous “Ode to Joy”, a small part of the fourth movement of his Symphony No 9.

In spite of its seemingly frivolous name, the ARCTIC PHILHARMONIC is a real orchestra based in Norway. Naturally they play something from Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. That something is the “Preludium”, which they subtitle “á la Quarantine”, from his Holberg Suite.

The next is a made-up group calling themselves THE SWAN PROJECT, consisting of 24 cellists in 24 different cities around the world, accompanied by Inah Chiu on the piano.

The cellists don’t play together, they are featured separately via some impressive editing. They perform “The Swan” from the suite, The Carnival of the Animals composed by Camille Saint-Saëns.

The SOCIALLY DISTANT ORCHESTRA is another where many disparate musicians get together to play, and play beautifully on Dvořák’s Symphony No 9, the New World Symphony. This is the second movement, the theme of which was adopted for the song, Going Home.

The much acclaimed TRIO ZADIG consists of childhood French friends who play violin and cello and an American pianist. They all got together in Paris and clicked immediately (okay the French two were already playing together). They have played all around the world.

Today they play from their homes the Gabriel Fauré Cantique de Jean Racine, arranged for Piano Trio. This was originally written for a choir and organ, but it sounds fine this way.

Members of the TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA get together to perform Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring, one of his most performed and loved pieces of music.

This is a real hoot. Here is a string quartet, the UCELI QUARTET playing in Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house to an audience of plants. It was the first concert in the opera house since their shutdown.

Instead of people we have the plants, all 2,292 of them – one for each seat in the house. They applaud wildly at the end, although that reminded me somewhat of triffids, which was a bit disturbing. The quartet play Puccini’s I Crisantemi (Chrysanthemums, singularly appropriate).

Here are some musicians from the MILWAUKEE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA performing Edward Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme Enigma, Op. 36 - Variation IX (Adagio) called “Nimrod”. This is from his famous Enigma Variations.

You knew this one had to be here somewhere. Here are some musicians from the NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC to play a shortened version of Ravel’s Bolero.


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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Guy Clark

GUY CLARK was born in Monahans, Texas, which is famous for producing Guy Clark.

Guy was the focus around whom many other fine singers and songwriters congregated. The most notable being Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Steve Earl, Rodney Crowell, Nanci Griffith and a couple of others.

As Ian Crouch said in a tribute to Guy in The New Yorker when Guy died,

”It's tough to pin down precisely what made his songs so distinctive. He wasn't a poet genius like Townes Van Zandt, or a blazing, righteous performer like Steve Earle. He never enjoyed wide popularity like Willie Nelson or Waylon Jennings. Mostly his songs were strong and steady, projecting a deep, indisputable, and ultimately persuasive confidence and sense of self.”

There are many really good Texas songwriters, and there three great ones. They are Guy, Willie Nelson and Townes. I’d also like to include Buddy Holly (and wonder how much better he might have been). However, today it’s Guy’s turn.

Guy Clark & Susannah

The first song of Guy’s that I heard was L.A. Freeway. That encouraged me to buy his first album “Old No. 1”, on which the song appeared.

That album encouraged me to buy every album Guy recorded from then on, so we have all his music from which to select wonderful songs. One of those is that first song.

♫ L.A. Freeway

Guy Clark

Rita Ballou was a song that appeared twice on Guy’s albums. The first time was on that first album. The second was from my favorite album of his, “South Coast of Texas”. I’ll use the latter version, just for a bit of change of pace.

♫ Rita Ballou

Guy Clark

Quite independently, Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I both came to the same conclusion and that is that Dublin Blues is each of our favorite Guy Clark song. This is in spite of all the other superb songs of his, many of which are here today. Here it is, with Nanci Griffith singing harmony.

♫ Dublin Blues

Guy Clark

As mentioned, I really like South Coast of Texas. Any song that mentions swimming snakes, shrimp boats, whooping cranes and Gilbert Roland is okay as far as I’m concerned. Here is the title song.

♫ South Coast of Texas

Guy Clark & Rodney Crowell1

Guy was really happy to collaborate with other songwriters. He thought that if they could make the song better he was for it. One person he wrote with several times is Rodney Crowell. One of those songs is from “South Coast of Texas”, and it’s called She’s Crazy for Leavin’. Rodney has also recorded this song. It’s not really a deep song, but lots of fun.

♫ She's Crazy for Leavin'

Guy Clark

Another song that lacks gravitas but is a lot of fun is Crystelle. This is yet another from “South Coast of Texas”. If nothing else, I would urge you to check out that album (and the first one as well). It seems to me to be a song about someone who is just out of reach.

♫ Crystelle

Another of the fine songs from his first album is Desperados Waiting for a Train. This is about getting old, something that fits in our website. However, Guy was young when he wrote it, I think he always had an old soul. Rather than the version from that album, here he is performing it live.

♫ Desperados Waiting for a Train

Guy Clark

Another song about one of his relatives is New Cut Road. In this case it was someone he didn’t ever meet, but had heard stories about. It’s about his fiddle-playing great-uncle who stayed in Kentucky when Guy’s grandmother boarded the family’s covered wagon and headed for Texas.

It’s yet another song from “South Coast of Texas”. I could have done an entire column on this album if it weren’t for all the other good songs.

♫ New Cut Road

The next song is generally known by Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and me as The Train Song. That’s not its title though. Its official name is Texas 1947.

When I was selecting songs for the column, the A.M. noticed this one and asked what it was. “That’s the Train Song”, I said.

“Oh, so that’s what it’s called”, she replied.

So, here is The Train Song. Oops, sorry, Texas 1947. To get an idea of what Guy was like in person, here’s a video clip from one of his concerts.

Guy Clark

It might seem to be an aberration to write a song about Picasso, but Susannah, his wife, was an artist (as well as a serious songwriter in her own right) and they both had an appreciation of art. It’s a bit of a throw-away song, but entertaining. It’s Picasso's Mandolin.

♫ Picasso's Mandolin

“My Favorite Picture of You” was Guy’s final album.

Guy Clark-Picture

The title song, My Favorite Picture of You, Guy sang to Susanna (the "you" in this case) who was seriously ill and she seemed to like it, he said. She died not much later.

The story of the song is that Susanna had been away for a weekend and returned to find Guy and Townes drunk (again). She packed her bags and was going to leave.

When she came out of the house, someone took that picture. She didn't leave, but things were a bit tense at the time. The song has some lovely harmony singing by Morgane Stapleton.

♫ My favorite picture of you

ELDER MUSIC: Boccherini

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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LUIGI BOCCHERINI was born in Lucca in Italy. His dad was a cellist and double bass player and he taught the young Luigi to play the cello from the age of five, and he turned out to be pretty good at it.

When Luigi was 14, he and dad went to Vienna where they were both employed in the court orchestra.

At the age of 25, Luigi went to Madrid at the behest of the Spanish ambassador whom he met in Paris. He remained in Spain for the rest of his life, being employed to play and compose music for various bigwigs around the place.

He became a cello maestro and many of his compositions feature the instrument to one degree or another. He was greatly influenced by the music of Joseph Haydn and a large percentage of his output consists of chamber music - trios, quartets, quintets, sextets and so on - as will be demonstrated today.

His compositions have been catalogued by Yves Gérard, hence the G number attached to each.

Luigi’s music has been characterised as warm, gentle and elegant but often with an undertow of melancholia - his two wives and three daughters died before he did.

Luigi’s string trios published as Opus 47 are mature works (he was 50 when he wrote them) and although still definitely in the classical mode, they rather suggest to me the coming Romantic style of music that was fast approaching.

This one is his String Trio Op 47 No 5 in D major (G 111), the second movement.

♫ String Trio Op 47 No 5 in D major (G 111) (2)


Although. as I mentioned, Luigi’s composition are Classical in style, this next rather seems to look backward to the Baroque era. It’s not a bad thing to mix the two styles and this is a delightful piece.

It’s his Octet in G (G 470), the first movement. It’s scored for oboe, bassoon, French horn, two violins, viola and two cellos.

♫ Octet G 470 (1)

Luigi wrote a series of arias called “Aria Accademica” based on texts written for operas by Pietro Metastasio. The complete set had 16 of these. He collected 12 of them and presented them to music publisher Ignaz Pleyel (who was also a fine composer as well as a piano maker).

These actually didn’t see the light of day until the 20th Century. One of those is G 549, also known as Care luci che regnate, sung by CECILIA GADIA.


♫ Care luci che regnate (Cecilia Gadia)

Besides chamber music, Luigi liked to write music for his favoured instrument, the cello. Joseph Haydn wrote the two finest cello concertos in music, but Luigi wasn’t far behind him with his 13.

His Cello Concerto No. 9 in B-Flat Major, (G 482) is the most popular and widely performed of his. It’s often used as a teaching tool for budding cellists. This is the first movement.

♫ Concerto for Cello in B-Flat No 9 G 482 (1)


Early in the 1770s, Luigi started composing for the flute. It was at this time he wrote a series of flute quintets, called “little quintets” at the time. These are in contrast to later ones where he was more adventurous.

One series was his opus 19 (which has had several number changes over the centuries) and from that we have his Quintet No 2 for flute and strings in G minor (G 426), the second movement.

♫ Quintet No 2 for flute and strings in G minor G 426 (2)

Another aria from the series “Aria Accademica”, mentioned above, is the G 557, Se d'un amor tiranno. This one is sung by MARTA ALMAJANO.


♫ Aria Accademica in B-Flat Major G. 557 Se d'un amor tiranno


Perhaps it was because he lived in Spain, but Luigi seemed to be fond of the guitar and he wrote a number of guitar quintets, that is a guitar with a regular string quartet. He “cheated” with some of them by using old string quintets or piano quintets and re-scoring them for guitar. It doesn’t matter, they still sound fine.

See what you think of the second movement of his Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D major (G 448). This one is nicknamed "Fandango".

♫ Guitar Quintet No. 4 in D major (2)

Luigi’s Quintet No.3 for Oboe and Strings in D major, Op 45 (G 433) is essentially a string quartet with an oboe plonked on top of it. A lot of his quintets are like that - just string quartets with an extra instrument. Nothing wrong with that, they all sound fine. Here is the second movement of that work.

♫ Quintet No.3 for Oboe and Strings in D major Op.45 (G 433) (2)


Known mostly for his chamber music, Luigi was “asked” by the King of Spain’s younger brother, Luis, Count of Chinchón, to write a liturgical work for him. He produced his Stabat Mater (G 532). From that we have the seventh movement sung by Michele Minne.

♫ Stabat Mater G. 532 (7)

Like all composers of his era, Luigi wrote symphonies. It seems it was a rite of passage for composers back then. He wrote 30 of them that are called symphonies and several more works that really are but under different names.

From his Symphony No 3, op 37 in D minor (G 517) here is the fourth movement.

Symphony G 517 (4)


I’ll end with his most famous, and popular, composition: the String Quintet Op 13, No 5 (G 281). In this case the third movement, a minuet, that is also quite often performed as a standalone work. It’s been featured in many movie scores, most notably the Ealing comedy The Ladykillers from 1955.

String Quintet No. 17 in A Major Op. 13 No. 5 G 281 (3)

ELDER MUSIC: The Forgotten Angel

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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Clyde McPhatter

“The Forgotten Angel” is a name that has been applied to CLYDE MCPHATTER these days. I think it sums him up - somewhat forgotten and singing like an angel - his singing style set the stage for many who followed him.

If you’re looking for a really good musical trivia question, he is the answer to: “Who was the first person inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice?”

Since then, others who have done the same refer to themselves as belonging to the “Clyde McPhatter Club”. He was a member of two seminal groups before he became a solo artist, so he could have made it three times.

Clyde began singing in his father’s gospel choir, the starting point for many of the finest singers of the era. His brothers and sisters were there as well and there were enough of them such that they could have been a choir on their own.

After moving to New Jersey, Clyde entered talent nights at the famous Apollo Theatre in New York and won. He was snapped up by a band led by Billy Ward to sing in his group, Billy Ward and the Dominoes.

Billy Ward & Dominoes

The first three songs are by that group, all of them with Clyde singing the lead vocal (as he did on most of their songs). The first of these is Have Mercy Baby.

♫ Billy Ward - Have Mercy Baby

Billy Ward & Dominoes

The song Harbor Lights was written back in the thirties by Hugh Williams (a pseudonym for Will Grosz) and Jimmy Kennedy. It was recorded by many artists, most especially The Platters. They had a hit with the song with the great Tony Williams singing lead, as he did on all their best songs. As good as Tony was, I think that Clyde was more soulful in his interpretation.

♫ Billy Ward - Harbor Lights

Billy Ward & Dominoes

I’ll end the Billy Ward section with possibly the most overwrought song in recorded history. Johnnie Ray had the reputation of crying on his records. He has nothing on Clyde. This is The Bells.

♫ Billy Ward - The Bells

Billy was a real tightwad and didn’t pay much and he also deducted from his musicians’ pay packet for food, taxes, hotel bills and anything else that he could get away with. After Clyde decided to leave, Billy said he had to come up with a replacement singer. Clyde found the young Jackie Wilson.

Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic Records, then signed Clyde to his record company on condition he create a group to lead. He rounded up some singers and called them The Drifters.

After recording a couple of songs, Ahmet was dissatisfied and suggested a different lot of singers. Clyde did that and called the new group The Drifters (well, if you’re on a good thing…)

They worked out better than the previous lot, such that they became one of the best loved groups in singing history.

Drifters (Clyde)

One of the first songs they recorded was Such a Night. This was a reasonable hit for them even though it was the B-side of the record. It was covered by Johnnie Ray and later still by Elvis who took it to the top of the charts.

♫ Drifters - Such A Night

Drifters (Clyde)

Their next song was a huge hit. The song is Money Honey, and it’s been covered by many over the years. The song was written by Jesse Stone.

♫ Drifters - Money Honey

During his time with The Drifters, Clyde was inducted into the army. Fortunately, he wasn’t sent overseas and could continue recording during his time off. After his discharge, he decided to go out as a solo singer.

The Drifters’ manager then disbanded the group and started a new group (and called them The Drifters) built around Ben E King. Goodness, this column contains some of the finest singers from that time (or any time).

Clyde sold his share in the group to the manager. He regretted that decision for the rest of his life.

One of the first things he did as a solo singer was perform a duet with RUTH BROWN, with whom he toured. They were close. Very, very close. Their son now performs as one of the current Drifters.

One of the songs Clyde and Ruth performed together is Love Has Joined Us Together.

Clyde & Ruth

That’s Jerry Wexler, who produced their song; Ruth; Clyde; LaVern Baker and Ahmet Ertegun.

♫ Clyde McPhatter - Love Has Joined Us Together

Clyde McPhatter

Without Love (There Is Nothing) was written by Danny Small. Clyde was the first to record it. Over the years everyone from Elvis to Ray Charles to Tom Jones (to a whole bunch of lesser singers) have recorded it. Of course, as I’ve often said, the first is the best (okay, not always).

♫ Clyde McPhatter - Without Love (There Is Nothing)

Clyde McPhatter

No Love Like Her Love was the B-side of the single that had That’s Enough For Me on the A-side. Neither song made the charts, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any good. Lots of fine songs don’t manage to do that.

♫ Clyde McPhatter - No Love Like Her Love

Clyde McPhatter

Now we get to the songs that most of us remember. A Lover’s Question is my favorite of his.

♫ Clyde McPhatter - A Lovers Question

Clyde McPhatter

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist prefers Lover Please.

♫ Clyde McPhatter - Lover Please

Towards the end of his life, and it was brief, he died at 39, Clyde thought that his fans had deserted him. That wasn’t true but he turned to alcohol such that many of his concerts were canceled or he didn’t turn up for them. He died of various complications due to his serious drinking.

I’ll end with a video of Clyde back when he was young and singing like an angel. A lovely smile at the end because he knew that he had nailed it.

ELDER MUSIC: Strange Days

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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These are certainly strange days we’re living through, and that means I get to play some strange songs. Okay, not necessarily strange songs, but those with strange in their title. Quite a few of these are blues which seems strangely appropriate.

Given the title of the column, many people could guess that THE DOORS would lead off proceedings. They are right.

The Doors

They actually have a song called Strange Days, taken from their second album also called “Strange Days”, but that song was a bit too strange. Instead, I’ve gone for one of their more famous songs, People are Strange from the same album.

♫ The Doors - People Are Strange

PATSY CLINE is always welcome in my columns and judging from past comments, you readers rather agree with that.

Patsy Cline

On this song I think that Patsy sounds like Tami Neilson. Of course, Tami wasn’t even born when Patsy died, so it should be the other way around. If you have a chance check out Tami’s music (particularly her song Cry Over You) I suggest you do that to see what I’m talking about. Anyway, here’s Patsy with Strange.

♫ Patsy Cline - Strange

ELMORE JAMES was a particular favorite of the British bands of the Sixties, especially Brian Jones who developed his guitar playing style from listening to his records.

Elmore James

Elmore worked in an electrical store early on and devised his own electric guitars that were in advance of the standard versions of the time. It took years for the others to catch up. He had a wide variety of styles which is probably why he was so influential. Here he performs Strange Kinda Feeling.

♫ Elmore James - Strange Kinda Feeling

Love is Strange was a big hit for the Everly Brothers. However, before them MICKEY & SYLVIA also hit the charts with the song.

Mickey & Sylvia

Bo Diddley claimed that he wrote the lyrics and Mickey and Sylvia also claimed to have done so. Bo was the first to record the song, but his version didn’t see light of day until a recent box set of his complete recordings. Buddy Holly also recorded it, but he didn’t claim to have written it. I’m going with Mickey & Sylvia.

♫ Mickey & Sylvia - Love Is Strange

JAMES HUNTER has recorded Strange But True twice.

James Hunter

The first time was on his album “Kick it Around” with a band and backup singers. He later did it again on “The Hard Way” with minimal accompaniment. I like the stripped back version, but the other isn’t bad either. Actually anything that James records is worth a listen.

♫ James Hunter - Strange But True

OTIS SPANN was easily the finest post war Chicago blues pianist.

Otis Spann

Besides his solo work, he was also Muddy Waters’ pianist for many years. He was also involved in one of the two or three best blues albums ever (“Super Black Blues”) with T-Bone Walker and Big Joe Turner. That’s another one to check out.

Here is Otis, with some of Muddy’s band, with Strange Woman.

♫ Otis Spann - Strange Woman

NICK CHARLES is a particular favorite of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, such that we’ve seen him live many times over the years.

Nick Charles

Besides playing in Australia, he’s performed all over the world and played at some of the best blues festivals around the world. He’s a superb acoustic guitar player and quite a decent singer. Here he is with a reasonable sized band backing him with Strange Things Happen at Night.

♫ Nick Charles - Strange Things Happen At Night

Racism has always been present in yours and my societies, but it’s been somewhat hidden until recently when the American president essentially gave licence to the darkest elements of society to raise their heads and spew their vile filth over all of us.

The next song by BILLIE HOLIDAY is as relevant today as it was 80 years ago.

Billie Holiday

The song is Strange Fruit, written as a poem by Abel Meeropol and put to music by him and his wife, Laura Duncan.

♫ Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit

From his fine, but rather underrated album “Believers”, DON MCLEAN gives us the song Isn't It Strange, one he wrote himself.

Don McLean

It is a wry, ironic song about love and the way that men and women see their relationships. On the surface is a pleasant gentle song, but digging deeper into the lyrics reveals the clever and bittersweet exploration mentioned before.

♫ Don McLean - Isn't It Strange

I’ve always thought of CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE as an old bluesman, however, when I investigated him I discovered that he’s only a year older than I am. Okay, that could still make him an old blues man, but not in the way I had in mind.

Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie’s instrument is the harmonica and he also sings a bit (not while playing the harp, of course). He came to prominence in the early sixties with other white blues players like Michael Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield.

Although mainly a bluesman, he has also played with such musicians as Cyndi Lauper, Hot Tuna and Jools Holland. To fit into the column he performs Strange Land.

♫ Charlie Musselwhite - Strange Land

I’m really surprised to find a song by ELVIS from the Fifties I didn’t know.

Elvis Presley

Yep, that can happen even to your musical guru (“That’s a joke, Joyce” – that’s for my Australian readers). The song I discovered hidden somewhere on my computer is Is It So Strange.

♫ Elvis Presley - Is It So Strange

JIMMY JOHNSON is a blues guitarist, and a fine one at that.

Jimmy Johnson

A couple of decades ago he recorded an album called “Johnson’s Whacks” (ho ho) which contained a blues guitar rendition of Paul Desmond’s jazz classic Take Five. It’s worth seeking out. This has nothing to do with today’s selection, I just thought I’d mention it.

From a completely different album (“Every Day of Your Life”), Jimmy plays and sings Strange Things Happening.

♫ Jimmy Johnson - Strange Things Happening

ELDER MUSIC: Ain’t it Funny…

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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.

* * *

You’d expect that songs that have funny in their titles would be, well, funny. Having collected these songs, it seems that that isn’t so (mostly). They’re good songs nonetheless, if a little on the depressing side of things. Let’s get to the funny songs.

Funny is certainly not the way to describe BILLIE HOLIDAY’s life.

Billie Holiday

She had a really hard life but in spite of that (or maybe because of it), she produced some of the most sublime music ever put on vinyl. He's Funny That Way was written by Neil Moret and Richard Whiting and it first appeared in the film “Gems of M-G-M” in 1929, sung by Marion Harris.

Since then it’s been tackled by many singers of both genders, changing He to She whenever appropriate. This is the way Billie does it.

♫ Billie Holiday - He's Funny That Way

In the early sixties, BURL IVES had a rather unexpected worldwide hit with the song, Little Bitty Tear.

Burl Ives

He followed that pretty much immediately with what to me was a follow-up song, trying to explain what had happened in the first one. A bit like someone trying to talk their way out of an embarrassing situation. I’ll let Burl try to explain that with Funny Way of Laughin'.

♫ Burl Ives - Funny Way Of Laughin'

My Funny Valentine was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. It first appeared in the musical “Babes in Arms” sung by Mitzi Green to Ray Heatherton. Since that time, it’s usually sung by a male to a female, although, if you listen to the words, it makes more sense the original way.

However, you’re probably like me and have pretty much only heard male performers sing and play it, and my goodness, there are a lot of them. It’s certainly popular with jazz musicians, and here’s one of those, CHET BAKER.

Chet Baker

Chet was a fine trumpeter and terrific singer and he threw it all away on drugs. Before his decline this is the way he sounded.

♫ Chet Baker - My Funny Valentine

JESSE BELVIN could have been a contender, up there with Sam Cooke, but he was killed in a car accident in 1960.

Jesse Belvin

The accident was almost certainly orchestrated by the Klan or another white supremacist group as he was returning from the first integrated concert in Little Rock, where there were several death threats.

Coincidentally, Sam was at that one too, along with Jackie Wilson and others. Jesse sings Funny.

♫ Jesse Belvin - Funny

JOHN SEBASTIAN sings a rare happy song in our category today.

John Sebastian

The song She's Funny was from his album “Welcome Back” which was based around the song of the same name that became a big hit when it was used as a theme for the TV program “Welcome Back, Kotter”.

♫ John Sebastian - She's Funny

Funny (But I Still Love You) was an early single for RAY CHARLES.

Ray Charles

That was back in 1953 and was the flip side to his big hit, Mess Around. I image people were surprised when they flipped over the record as it’s a complete contrast to that one. Ray wrote the song and that guitar playing is by ace session guitarist, Mickey Baker.

♫ Ray Charles - Funny (But I Still Love You)

HELEN SHAPIRO was easily the finest female English singer of the sixties, maybe ever (excluding classical ones of course).

Helen Shapiro

Helen toured with The Beatles very early in their career. Actually, it was a matter of The Beatles toured with Helen, it was that early.

She was offered a song they had written but her manager refused it as he didn’t want her recording songs by unknowns who’d be forgotten in a couple of months. She would have been the first person other than themselves to record one of their songs. This isn’t one of them: It's so Funny I Could Cry.

♫ Helen Shapiro - It's so funny I could cry

Things Aren't Funny Anymore was MERLE HAGGARD’s 17th number one song on the country charts. He went on to have 38 of those.

Merle Haggard

Hag was the master of the tear-jerker songs, although not as blatantly as some others, and this is an excellent example of that genre of country music. Of course, there are some who’d say that’s all country music is, but I’m not one of those.

♫ Merle Haggard - Things Aren't Funny Anymore

It probably comes as no surprise that BOB DYLAN is present today.

Bob Dylan

What is a bit unusual is the song he sings: It's Funny to Everyone but Me. It was written by Jack Lawrence in 1939. The Ink Spots were the first to record it and Frank Sinatra followed soon after when he was still with the Harry James Orchestra. Also unusual is the way Bob turns himself into a crooner.

♫ Bob Dylan - It's Funny to Everyone but Me

Okay, just insert here my usual rave about what the record companies insisted on accompanying NAT KING COLE with, rather than his terrific trio.

Nat King Cole36

Good, I’ve got off my chest. Nat recorded and released Funny (Not Much) in 1952 and since then it’s been recorded by a bunch of people. However, I can’t imagine anyone surpassing Nat, even with that orchestra behind him.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - Funny (Not Much)

Funny How Time Slips Away has become a classic, a standard, over the decades which isn’t surprising as it was written by Willie Nelson. The first time I heard it wasn’t by Willie, it was JIMMY ELLEDGE.

Jimmy Elledge

It was some years before I knew of Willie, but I obviously knew his songs – not just this one, but others by Patsy Cline, Faron Young and so on. I’ve found that the version you first hear tends to make a big impression and that is so with this song. I still prefer Jimmy’s.

♫ Jimmy Elledge - Funny How Time Slips Away

ELDER MUSIC: Songs about Cities: San Antonio and El Paso

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.

* * *

After searching for songs about certain cities I found that some didn’t have enough good ones, or even enough songs, to justify a column.

However, there were certain good songs that deserved an airing so I’ve decided to put two Texas cities together in the one column because they both had terrific songs about them. San Antonio has more variety than El Paso as it really only has the same song four times (and another one).

First, San Antonio.


You could probably guess that BOB WILLS would be present.

Bob Wills

He wrote and recorded a song called San Antonio Rose, then some time later he updated it to New San Antonio Rose. The newer one is the better of the two and it’s what we have today.

♫ Bob Wills - New San Antonio Rose

DOUG SAHM deserves his place today, not just for a fine song, but he was born and bred in San Antonio.

Doug Sahm

Doug was a musical prodigy, playing several instruments before he even got to school. He also appeared on stage with Hank Williams when he was just 11 years old. This was Hank’s last concert.

If you’re not familiar with his name, he was the founder of the Sir Douglas Quintet and also the leading light of the Texas Tornados. As a solo artist he’s appeared with some of the finest Tex-Mex performers, including Freddy Fender, Flaco Jiménez, Augie Meyers and, dare I mention him in this company, Bob Dylan.

Doug performs (Is Anybody Going To) San Antone.

♫ Doug Sahm - (Is Anybody Going To) San Antone

Susanna Clark was the wife of Guy Clark and friend (or “friend”, who knows?) of Townes Van Zandt. She was an artist by trade, but dabbled in song writing. More than dabbled, she wrote some wonderful songs, including this one sung by EMMYLOU HARRIS.

Emmylou Harris

Emmy performed a few of her songs but the one we’re interested in today is I'll Be Your San Antone Rose.

♫ Emmylou Harris - I'll Be Your San Antone Rose

LOS LOBOS may be from East L.A. but their music covers the territory today.

Los Lobos

Their song is Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio, which sort of means I leave you in San Antonio. My Spanish isn’t good enough (I took French at school) to determine if they’re coming back or not. As this is a song and not real life, I suspect not.

♫ Los Lobos - Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio

The HOT TEXAS SWING BAND takes its cues from Bob Wills, but they are a contemporary outfit. Asleep at the Wheel comes to mind when listening to them.

Hot Texas Swing Band

Like many fine Texas musicians, they are resident in Austin where they have regular gigs. They tour as well, of course. The membership seems to fluctuate between four and eight, depending on the circumstances.

Today, with quite a few of them by the sound of it, they perform Somewhere South of San Antone.

♫ Hot Texas Swing Band - Somewhere South Of San Antone

And El Paso…

Roses Cantina

I’ve been to El Paso, but I’m afraid it didn’t inspire me to return (sorry, readers from that city). The city did produce one of the greatest pop/country songs of all time though and you know what it is.

Before we go hard-core Marty Robbins, here is DON WALSER to kick off the El Paso section.

Don Walser1title=

Prepare yourself for some yodelling because it seems that cowboys must yodel. Don demonstrates that in El Paso Cowboy.

♫ Don Walser - El Paso Cowboy

Marty Robbins

I hope you like MARTY ROBBINS as much as I do as the rest of the songs are either by him, comments on his most famous song or both. I’ll start with the famous song, the one you expected to be present, El Paso.

This is a terrific song made extraordinary by Grady Martin’s guitar playing.

♫ Marty Robbins - El Paso

Marty Robbins

If you thought that song was long – it certainly was for the time it was released – then prepare yourself for the next one which is twice as long. It’s really the same song, only from the point of Feleena.

It’s called Feleena (From El Paso). It’s also sung by MARTY.

♫ Marty Robbins - Feleena (From El Paso)

Marty Robbins

But wait, there’s more. I hope you’re not tired of MARTY yet because we have another one of his. This time it’s a modern take on the same song, El Paso City.

♫ Marty Robbins - El Paso City

Tom Russell

I guess TOM RUSSELL is getting tired of all this because he’s Leaving El Paso. Naturally, he referenced Marty’s song as well.

♫ Tom Russell - Leaving El Paso

I nearly included Kinky Friedman’s Asshole from El Paso, then thought better of it.


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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In 1935, I wasn’t even a glint in my dad’s eye. The glint in his eye was mum who worked in the same store that he did, he was in men’s ware (he was a tailor) and mum was over the aisle selling haberdashery.

It took 10 more years (or really nine, I suppose) for the glint that led to me to appear. This preamble is really to tell you that I don’t remember any of these songs when they first appeared. That doesn’t matter as I know about them now.

Someone I’ve known about from a very young age is BING CROSBY, as he was one of my dad’s favorite singers.

Bing Crosby

The song, Red Sails in the Sunset, I remember from my youth thanks to Fats Domino and Tab Hunter. Bing’s version has an introduction that the later versions lacked.

♫ Bing Crosby - Red Sails In The Sunset

The SONS OF THE PIONEERS were about the best harmony group from this era, well in the genre of country music, as there were many harmony groups around who should be recognized.

Sons Of The Pioneers

In 1935, they still had their most famous lead singer. Regular readers will know that I’m talking about Leonard Slye, better known to us all as Roy Rogers. He was helped by Bob Nolan and Tim Spencer. They must have liked Santa Fe as they recorded four or five songs with it in the title, including Over the Santa Fe Trail.

♫ Sons Of The Pioneers - Over The Santa Fe Trail (1935)

SLEEPY JOHN ESTES was a blues performer from Tennessee.

Sleepy John Estes

He went blind when he was young due to a friend hitting him with a rock (some friend). His songs are pretty much about people he knew or encountered, or about events he participated in or “observed”.

He was a big favorite of blues revivalists in the early sixties. His song is Stop That Thing.

♫ Sleepy John Estes - Stop That Thing

One of the most enduring songs from this year is I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter. It was written by Fred Ahlert and Joe Young. The first recorded version, and one of the best, was by FATS WALLER.

Fats Waller

We know Fats for his wonderful singing (and mugging and whatnot), but he demonstrates his piano playing in the introduction. He then sings the song with a fine jazz band backing him.

♫ Fats Waller - I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter

Speaking of harmony groups, as I was above, SOL K. BRIGHT & HIS HOLLYWAIIANS were certainly up there with the best.

Sol Bright

I only discovered them a few years ago, but since then I’ve become a fan. You can probably guess that they were from Hawaii, and they integrated that island’s musical culture with what was going around at the time. One of those things was Irving Berlin’s song, Heat Wave.

♫ Sol K. Bright & His Hollywaiians - Heat Wave (1935)

BENNY GOODMAN was at his best when he performed in his small groups.

Benny Goodman & Helen Ward

Of course, at the height of the swing era he knew on what side his bread was buttered, so he organised an orchestra. That included singers as was normal for such things. One of those was HELEN WARD who sang “vocal refrain” on their record of Blue Moon, a Rogers and Hart composition.

♫ Benny Goodman - Blue Moon

Naturally, FRED ASTAIRE was making films in 1935.

Fred Astaire

Also, naturally, his partner in those was Ginger Rogers. The one we’re interested in today is “Top Hat” where Fred sang Cheek to Cheek while dancing with Ginger.

I’ll refrain from saying things about high heels and backwards. The song is yet another written by Irving Berlin, and Fred’s is the first recorded version.

♫ Fred Astaire - Cheek To Cheek

Often cited as the finest guitarist whoever plucked a string, DJANGO REINHARDT achieved that with only three functioning fingers on his left hand. The others were injured, along with quite a bit of the rest of him, by a fire.

Django Reinhardt

Here he is jamming with his long time musical partner, violinist Stéphane Grappelli, on the tune Djangology.

♫ Django Reinhardt - Djangology

Okay, take your partners for a foxtrot, or a hybrid I’d not heard of before, a tango foxtrot. Waving the baton in front of his orchestra is RAY NOBLE, and we have AL BOWLLY on vocal refrain.

Ray Noble & Al Bowlly

The song Isle of Capri was written by Wilhelm Grosz and Jimmy Kennedy. Ray’s and Al’s version was one of the early ones, only being pipped a month earlier by Lew Stone.

♫ Ray Noble and his Orchestra ~ Al Bowlly - Isle of Capri

I’ll end with LOUIS ARMSTRONG in mellow mood.

Louis Armstrong

By 1935, Louis had left his Hot 5 and Hot 7 groups behind him, and he was pretty much going with the mood of the times, employing a larger orchestra. Anything with him playing his trumpet is worth listening to, including I'm In the Mood for Love.

♫ Louis Armstrong - I'm In the Mood for Love

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up So Far in 2020

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.

* * *

It’s only half way through the year and already too many important musicians have died (a couple because of Covid-19 – it has a lot to answer for).

Little Richard

LITTLE RICHARD Penniman was one of the three or four most important and influential figures in the early days of rock and roll. He, along with the others, took the music to a wider audience, worldwide really, and made it the dominant force in popular music.

Unlike most other rockers, Richard played piano and wrote his own songs. He gave up music and turned to religion at least twice while he was still popular, but always came back to the music.

His songs have been covered by many artists, most appallingly by Pat Boone. No one performed them better, or more outrageously, than Richard himself. The song that kick started his career is Tutti Frutti. (He was 87)

♫ Little Richard - Tutti Frutti

BOBBY LEWIS was a soul singer who had a giant hit in 1960 with Tossin’ and Turnin’. He had a couple more songs that made the charts, and he kept performing until quite recently, which is remarkable when you consider his age. (97)

JIMMY COBB was a jazz drummer best known for playing on the Miles Davis album, “Kind of Blue”, one of the most important albums in history. He played on other Miles’ albums and later teamed up with several others who played on “Blue” to form their own group. Over the years Jimmy played with all the important jazz players. (91)

Barry Tuckwell

For much of his life, BARRY TUCKWELL was the world’s foremost French horn player. He initially studied piano, violin and organ but was given a French Horn when he was 13. He took to it right away, such that he was giving concerts within six months.

He was a member of both the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras while still a teenager. He later was a member of the London and many other renowned Orchestras. He later went out on his own as a soloist, forming his own chamber group and also became a much in demand conductor.

Barry plays the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata for Horn and Piano in F, Op.17. (78)

♫ Beethoven - Sonata for Horn and Piano in F Op.17 (1)

JULIE FELIX was an American born singer whose biggest successes came in Britain. It was there where she recorded, toured and appeared on TV, most notably hosting her own program that featured many of the sixties biggest acts early in their careers. (81)

ELLIS MARSALIS was a jazz musician from New Orleans who started out playing saxophone but switched to piano which became his main instrument. He was the father to a family of jazz musicians who have become household names. (85)

David Olney

DAVID OLNEY died with his boots on. He was performing at a festival when he apologised to the crowd and died of a heart attack.

He was a songwriter of great skill and a poetic bent whose songs were recorded by many others, including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Tim O’Brien and Del McCoury.

He began performing in the band X-Ray that he formed himself. After a couple of records he went out as a solo performer. Besides his songs, he also wrote poems and sonnets, appearing in Shakespeare festivals. He recorded more than 20 albums. From one of those, “Eye of the Storm”, David performs Queen Anne's Lace. (71)

♫ David Olney - Queen Anne's Lace

CARL DOBKINS JR was a singer and songwriter best known for his fifties hit My Heart is an Open Book. He appeared on TV frequently and later joined an Oldies tour. (79)

MILLIE SMALL was the first person to bring ska music to the world at large. Indeed, her song, My Boy Lollipop, is still the best selling ska record. She was born in Jamaica but went to live in England as a teenager and remained there for the rest of her life. (72)

Bill Withers

BILL WITHERS seemed destined to a career in engineering until he had a chance encounter with famed musician and producer, Booker T Jones (of Booker T and the MGs).

Booker produced Bill’s first album that contained the song, Ain’t No Sunshine. This song became a world number one hit for him. He had several other hits, including Lean on Me, Lovely Day, Just the Two of Us and others.

His music career was brief, only about 10 years as a big record company took over his contract and insisted he make music their way, in spite of his previous success. Bill was one of music’s good guys, maybe the best of the lot. Here is that first hit (with the 26 “I know”s). (81)

♫ Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine

STEVE MARTIN CARO was a founding member and singer for the rock group, The Left Banke. He wrote and sang their first and biggest hit, Walk Away Renée, about his brother’s girlfriend on whom he had a crush. (71)

PAUL ENGLISH was Willie Nelson’s long time friend, drummer and bodyguard – he started with Willie in 1955, and was with him until he died. He was the subject of a terrific song Me and Paul, one of Willie’s best. (87)

Kenny Rogers

KENNY ROGERS was a singer, songwriter, actor, record producer and entrepreneur. Although generally considered a country music performer, he had many crossover hits in the pop charts.

He started his career in the New Christy Minstrels. After that, he and some of the other Christys formed their own group, The First Edition. It was, as the lead singer of that group, he had his first hits.

He later performed on his own and occasionally collaborated with other artists, most notably Dolly Parton. Besides that, he acted in films and in TV programs. Instead of one of his famous hits, I’ve decided to include a lesser known, but really good song, Even a Fool Would Let Go. (81)

♫ Kenny Rogers - Even A Fool Would Let Go

JOSEPH SHABALALA was the founder and director of the singing group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. They achieved worldwide fame when Paul Simon used them on his “Graceland” album and they toured with him to promote that record. Because of that, the group sold a huge number of records of their own music. (78)

MCCOY TYNER was a jazz pianist who initially worked with John Coltrane and later had a long solo career. His piano style was hugely influential and later jazz pianists started out imitating his style. (81)

Robert Parker

ROBERT PARKER was yet another fine New Orleans musician. He started out playing saxophone for Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Huey “Piano” Smith, Irma Thomas and others.

He turned his hand to singing and started making records. Most of these were minor or regional hits, but he had one major success with the song Barefootin’. (89)

♫ Robert Parker - Barefootin'

PHIL PHILLIPS wrote the song Sea of Love, recorded it and saw that it hit the top of the charts. However, he received a pittance for it due to the nefarious dealings of his record company. The song has been used often on film soundtracks (especially the one with the same name). (94)

PETER SERKIN was a classical pianist most noted for his interpretation of the works of J.S. Bach. (72)

John Prine

JOHN PRINE was a songwriter who could break your heart with his songs. Then he would make you laugh with others, or even occasionally the same one. He wrote sensitively and movingly about old age while still in his twenties.

He was generally the best interpreter of his songs, but there are several memorable versions by other artists, generally female. John was done in by Covid-19. I like to think he’d find humor in that, although the rest of us wouldn’t.

I’ll play possibly my favorite song of his, Lake Marie. (73)

♫ John Prine - Lake Marie

BONNIE POINTER was a founding member of the singing group The Pointer Sisters. The four of them really were sisters. They were big in the seventies. Bonnie later had a successful solo career. (69)

BOB SHANE was the last of the original members of the Kingston Trio. The group pretty much single-handedly put folk music on the charts in the late fifties. (85)

Mirella Freni

MIRELLA FRENI was an Italian operatic soprano who started out singing lighter roles. Halfway through her career (of 50 years) she changed tack and started singing meatier parts.

She was born at the same time and lived next to Luciana Pavorotti. They appeared together numerous times. She was best at Mozart, Puccini, Donizetti and Verdi roles. You can hear just a bit of that from her interpretation of Un Bel Di Vedremo (One Fine Day) from Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”. (84)

♫ Mirella Freni - Un bei di (Madama Butterfly)

ERIC WEISSBERG was an American multi-instrumentalist who became known as a banjo player after his version of Dueling Banjos was featured in the film “Deliverance”. Otherwise he had a successful career as a session musician and appeared on many artists’ records.


DON BURROWS was Australia’s most important and celebrated jazz musician for the last 70 years. He played flute, clarinet and saxophone. Over the years he’s played with the cream of the world’s jazz players as well as with symphony orchestras. (91)

Harold Reid

HAROLD REID was the bass singer for the Statler Brothers, probably the finest harmony singing group in country music. There was no one named Statler in the group, and only two of them were brothers, Harold and lead tenor Don.

Harold was the driving force of the group who achieved their initial success as Johnny Cash’s backing group. Johnny was instrumental in getting them a recording contract of their own. One of their biggest hits was Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott with Harold starting it off. (80)

♫ Statler Brothers - Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott

BETTY WRIGHT was a soul and rhythm and blues singer whose biggest success was in the seventies. She won a Grammy for best soul song and her music was sampled often by lesser performers. (66)

FLOYD LEE was a blues guitarist and singer who performed in New York’s subways and streets for many decades. He later found success as a recording artist and as the subject of an excellent documentary of his life. (86)

Lynn Harrell

LYNN HARRELL was one of the finest cello players of recent times. He had a good start in the classical music biz with a father who was an opera singer at the Met and a mother who was a violinist.

Lynn attended Juilliard but both parents died when he was in his late teens. By that time he had a gig in the Cleveland Orchestra. After that he played with many of the world’s great orchestra and often teamed up with pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy to play cello sonatas, especially those of Beethoven.

Here they are with the first movement of Sonata for Cello and Piano No.5 in D, Op.102 No.2. (76)

♫ Beethoven - Sonata for Cello and Piano No.5 in D Op.102 No.2 (1)

DARICK CAMPBELL was one of three brothers in The Campbell Brothers (as well as their nephew). They played “sacred steel” music, religious music with heavily amplified guitars, including the pedal steel. They were often joined by master blues pedal steel player Robert Randolph. The group was much admired by rock and blues musicians. (53)

KEITH TIPPETT was a British jazz pianist who also played prog rock. Although not a member, he played with such groups as King Crimson and the Soft Machine, as well as gigs with his wife, the musician Julie Driscoll. (72)

Vera Lynn

VERA LYNN was a British singer, songwriter and entertainer who became a huge success with her songs during the Second World War, not just in Britain but around the world as well. She performed for troops in Egypt, Burma and India and elsewhere.

She thought that her singing career would be over when war broke out but that was proved wrong. She kept singing afterwards for several decades and never lost her popularity. I had to play her most famous song, We’ll Meet Again, her signature tune. (103)

♫ Vera Lynn - We'll Meet Again

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Whatnot 3

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.

* * *

Here is another container to hold various things. Those things are some interesting classical music. Well, they’re interesting to me; I hope they are to you too.

When the name Water Music is mentioned most of us (including me) think of Mr Handel. However, that Georg wasn’t the only one who wrote music with that name. Another was GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN.


This Georg was a good friend of J.S. Bach and J.S. named one of his sons after him. Georg is generally considered to be the most prolific composer in history, and pretty much everything he wrote was of the highest order, and these aren’t short pieces – Table Music went on for hours.

This one’s a bit shorter, well the bit I have included is, the whole thing is quite lengthy. This is the Overture in C Major, TWV 55D3, from his Water Music.

♫ Telemann - Water Music Overture In C Major

Speaking of Mr HANDEL, here he is with something from his best known work.


That, of course, is “The Messiah”, these days mostly called Handel’s Messiah. From that we have How Beautiful are the Feet, sung by SIOBHAN STAGG.

Siobhan Stagg

I don’t know whose feet he was talking about. It could be my mum’s which were really splendid, and she complained that her best feature was generally covered up.

♫ Siobhan Stagg - How beautiful are the feet (Handel's Messiah)

A double bass concerto is not something you hear every day. They’re pretty rare but there are examples. Some of the best were by Ditters Von Dittersdorf, a friend of Haydn and Mozart with whom he played string quartets.

Another is Johann Vanhal, who was the fourth member of the group. I can imagine the chat after they were done playing: “You know, nobody has written a double bass concerto”. “You’re right, why don’t you do it?” “No, you do it.” “No, you.” “Your turn.” And so on.

None of these folks are who we have today, it is GIOVANNI BOTTESINI.


Gio didn’t play music with any of the others because he was born too late. He was a double bass virtuoso though, something that really didn’t happen again until jazz occasionally put the instrument front and centre.

Gio was taught music by his father, who played the clarinet. I imagine that he kicked himself whenever he had to lug his instrument around that he didn’t follow dad’s lead.

Anyway, he wrote several dozen compositions for the instrument as well as more standard fare, like operas, string quartets, symphonies and the like. Getting back to his instrument, here is the first movement of his Double Bass Concerto No 2 in B Minor.

♫ Bottesini - Double Bass Concerto in B Minor (1)

DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH wrote his second piano concerto for the birthday of his son, Maxim.


Maxim played the premiere of the work at his graduation from music college. This is an uncharacteristically cheerful composition (although less so in this movement), unlike most of Dmitri’s output; well he had to satisfy Stalin, no mean enterprise.

As often happens with such works, the critics dismiss it and the public really likes it. I’m one of the public. Thus, here is the second movement of his Piano Concerto No. 2 in F major, Op. 102.

♫ Shostakovich - Piano Concerto No. 2. in F major Op. 102 (2)

I’ve devoted a whole column (I’ll finish it one day) to LUIGI BOCCHERINI but before I get to that, here’s a sample of his music.


Although Italian, Luigi spent much of his life in Spain. He was a cello player (as was his dad, who taught him) and he wrote many works that featured the instrument prominently. He also used the guitar quite a bit, probably due to the Spanish influence.

Today we’re back to his first love, along with a bunch of other instruments in his Concerto for Cello, 2 Oboes, 2 Horns and Strings in D No 10, G 483. The third movement.

♫ Boccherini - Concerto for Cello 2 Oboes 2 Horns and Strings in D No 10 G 483 (3)

JOHANN NEPOMUK HUMMEL, what a splendid name, wasn’t the first to write a trumpet concerto for the new keyed trumpet, the sort we have today, but he came close.


At the time he was Kapellmeister at the Esterházy court, a post that Joseph Haydn held for 30 years before him. It was this Jo who pipped our Jo at the post with the first such concerto.

The instrument was designed by famed trumpeter Anton Weidinger who commissioned the work today. He was a friend of both of them and they both saw the possibilities in the new instrument. So, here’s Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E or E flat major, WoO 1, S. 49, the third movement.

♫ Hummel - Trumpet Concerto in E or E flat major WoO 1 S. 49 (3)

PHILLIP WILCHER is possibly not generally known to most of the readers of this column, but just ask someone under 7 or 8 years old and they can probably tell you.

Phillip Wilcher

Phillip was an original Wiggle, but he didn’t have a distinctive colored shirt as he left the group before they adopted those. Others might say, “What’s a Wiggle?” That’s why you need to ask a young person.

Besides his Wiggling activities Phil is a composer of really fine music, including his Trio for Piano, Violin and Cello. This is the fourth movement.

♫ Wilcher - Piano Trio (4)

RADAMÉS GNATTALI was a Brazilian composer, conductor and orchestrator of the 20th century.

Radamés Gnattali

Boyd & Metcalf are Australian classical guitarist RUPERT BOYD with American cellist LAURA METCALF, acclaimed soloists in their own right, and just happened to be married to each other.

Boyd & Metcalf

They perform the first movement of Rad’s Sonata for Cello and Guitar.

♫ Gnattali - Sonata for Cello & Guitar (1)

Along with Mozart, GIACOMO PUCCINI is my favorite composer of operas.


One of his best known is La Bohème. From that we have the scene from the first act where Rodolfo and Mimi get to know each other. Here we have David Hobson (especially for Norma, The Assistant Musicologist) and Cheryl Barker (especially for me) from a performance staged by the Australian Opera a little while ago.


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.

* * *

We were taught in English class at school that we shouldn’t begin sentences with a conjunction. Great writers learn those rules and break them whenever it’s necessary.

Today I’m breaking the rule too, at least musically, and featuring songs that begin with “And”. I might cheat and include those whose titles start with that word, even if the songs don’t.

If you think I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one, I can assure you that the barrel is virtually bottomless when it comes to silly ideas for columns.

The first is from that vastly under-rated group THE ZOMBIES.


They were one of the more interesting bands from the sixties. They had a couple of hits and released a couple of albums but weren’t supported by their record company so that after their first couple of hits, the record buying public weren’t able to hear their music.

Now they have been reassessed and all their music re-released to considerable acclaim. One of their initial hits is Tell Her No.

♫ The Zombies - Tell Her No

There are three excellent versions of the song And When I Die. They are Laura Nyro, who wrote the song, Peter, Paul and Mary, which was the first I heard and the one you were probably expecting, BLOOD SWEAT AND TEARS.

Blood, Sweat & Tears

This was from their second album, the first with David Clayton-Thomas as lead singer. Before that, Al Kooper, who formed the band, did the honors. However, by this stage he had moved on to other projects like solo albums, producing, session work and so on.

Blood, Sweat & Tears - And When I Die

The song She Cried was written by Greg Richards and Ted Daryll. Ted was the first to record the song. It became a hit when Jay and the Americans tackled it. The song is a quintessential teenage angst song. Those two versions are pretty mournful, so I’ve gone with DEL SHANNON instead.

Del Shannon

Okay, Del’s take isn’t all that jolly either but it’s better than the other two.

♫ Del Shannon - She Cried

TALKING HEADS was formed in New York by a bunch of former art students, most notably David Byrne.

Talking Heads

It’s interesting how many bands were started by all or mostly ex-art students – I guess they could create their own album covers.

About the only notice I took of the Heads at the time was the song Once in a Lifetime. I’ve since come to appreciate them more as time has passed. The song of theirs that fits our category is And She Was.

♫ Talking Heads - And She Was

Paul McCartney wrote the song And I Love Her about his relationship with Jane Asher as things were going well with them at that stage. It appeared in THE BEATLES’ first film A Hard Day's Night.

The Beatles

John wrote most of the music for the film as Paul was somewhat distracted by Jane. He made up for it later.

♫ Beatles - And I Love Her

The London Olympic Committee used the song Jerusalem in the opening ceremony of their Games. This was so excruciatingly awful it set my teeth on edge.

I’m not perverse enough to use that version – I wouldn’t inflict it on you, but more to the point, I wouldn’t inflict it on myself. After all, I’d have to listen to it first.

There are many far superior versions out there – all of them, in fact. This is a version sung by four clean cut young men who sing for a British program called Songs of Praise but I don’t know who they are. We’ll just have to make do with the music.

Oh, there seems to be some discussion about whether it’s a song or a hymn. Consensus seems to be falling on the side of song, so that’s what I’ll call it. The song was taken from a poem by William Blake, the strange but brilliant poet of the 18th and early 19th century. That’s him below.

William Blake

♫ Jerusalem by William Blake

DON MCLEAN would certainly have had a nice little earner from his song And I Love You So.

Don McLean

It’s become a “middle of the road” classic and pretty much everyone from Elvis on down has recorded it. However, Don did it first and he did it best.

♫ Don McLean - And I Love You So

The song Comme D’habitute was written by Jacques Revaux. Paul Anka heard it when he was holidaying in France and got together with Jacques and others and did a deal. Paul wrote English lyrics and called the song My Way.

He rang Frank Sinatra and suggested he might like to record it. Frank did just that and it became a mega-hit, so much so that Frank came to detest the song.

I’m with Frank; it’s a song I really, really don’t like. That is why I’m including what I think is the least worst version around, and boy, there are a lot of them. I can’t imagine there will be many who agree with my choice. Here is SID VICIOUS.

Sid Vicious

Sid was once the bass player for the Sex Pistols. His skill with the instrument was so rudimentary that their guitarist played bass on the records, and they often employed another bass player to play behind a curtain at live gigs.

♫ Sid Vicious - My Way

It’s surprising that HOYT AXTON didn’t become far better known.

Hoyt Axton

After all, he had a fine singing voice, wrote terrific songs and was an actor of considerable ability as well. That’s the way show biz works, I guess, the deserving don’t always get the acclaim. Anyway, here’s Hoyt with Evangelina.

♫ Hoyt Axton - Evangelina

There’s an obvious and clichéd way to finish off and I’m going to go with it. THE BEATLES with The End, their second song today. Well, if they can’t break the rules, who can?

The Beatles

Okay, I’m cheating a bit as there are a few “Oh yeahs” and the like before the song itself kicks in. I like to think of that as introduction. It’s not really a song, more a songlet, one of several from “Abbey Road”.

♫ The Beatles - The End


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.

* * *

Okay, is everyone sitting still? Make of this what you will. I hope I haven’t descended into columns that just contain random words but, you never know, there could be some good songs that way.

Well, there are probably not many songs about sesquipedalian, palaeichthyology or callipygian. Although now that I think about it, there are quite a few about that last one. Here are the “still” songs.

This column was inspired by one of my guilty pleasures. This first one is probably the quintessential country song. Certainly Norma, the Assistant Musicologist would say that, given her criterion for a country song is that there should be a talkie bit in there somewhere.

This one is almost all talkie bit. The talker, and occasional singer, is BILL ANDERSON.

Bill Anderson

I remember this from my teenage years when songs like this helped me get even more miserable after breaking up with a girlfriend. The song is Still. I don’t know how many of you will like this one, but I have a soft spot for it.

♫ Bill Anderson - Still

From its title, I thought that WILLY DEVILLE had cut a cover of the previous song, but on playing it I found I was wrong.

Willy DeVille

Often associated with the music of New Orleans, Willie’s from all over the place. Born and bred in Connecticut, he played in New York, cut his first records and first came to notice in San Francisco, he eventually ended up in New Orleans where he made some his best music.

He was really big in Europe where he toured often. From one of those New Orleans albums (“Loup Garou”) is Still (I Love You Still).

♫ Willy DeVille - Still (I Love You Still)

After blasting onto the music scene in the fifties, JERRY LEE LEWIS hit a bit of a flat patch by the start of the sixties.

Jerry Lee Lewis

He left Sun Records, where he recorded those famous early songs, and for much of the sixties was rarely seen much by the listening public (sorry, that didn’t make much sense).

Then in 1969, Jerry had three massive country hits that brought him back into the limelight from which he’s not strayed since. One of those hits is She Still Comes Around (To Love What's Left of Me).

♫ Jerry Lee Lewis - She Still Comes Around (To Love What's Left Of Me)

I was overwhelmed with choice for the next song, some of the finest performers who ever put their voice on disk – Elvis, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt, Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, Isaac Hayes, Ricky Nelson, Roy Orbison and on and on and on.

In the end, not too surprisingly, I went with the gentleman who wrote the song and recorded it first, HANK WILLIAMS.

Hank Williams

Probably my favourite version is by Ricky because it was on one of the records I had as a kid. That was before I’d heard any of the other versions. These things stick in the brain, even after more than 60 years. However, it’s Hank’s turn today to sing I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You).

♫ Hank Williams - I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)

What can I say about RAY CHARLES that’s not been said before? Well, nothing is the answer to that question.

Ray Charles

Given most of the rest of the songs, you might imagine that Ray’s song came from one of his several country albums, but that’s not the case (although listening to it, it would have fitted in there). The song is Funny (But I Still Love You).

♫ Ray Charles - Funny (But I Still Love You)

One of the finest examples of Doowop music from the mid-fifties was a song by THE FIVE SATINS.

Five Satins

The song has been covered by many artists, parodied by quite a few as well. The original is still the best and I think it still holds up today. In The Still of the Night (or Nite, as some records would have it).

♫ Five Satins - In The Still Of The Night

It amazes me when I consider the songs that artists think not worthy of including on their albums. They often turn up later on box sets, compilations and the like, and I wonder what they were thinking? EMMYLOU HARRIS is one such.

Emmylou Harris

Of course, she’s recorded so much good music that it might be hard to fit it all in. Perhaps she should get me to select her songs (Are you reading this, Emmy?)

One such song is Love Still Remains that turned up on her “Songbird” box set but not on any other record. She has a little help from Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings on this one.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Love Still Remains

Some of the finest singers in country music have recorded the song She Thinks I Still Care. I was wavering about which to include: Marty Robbins, The Statler Brothers, Michael Nesmith, Glen Campbell, John Fogerty, George Jones (who did it first) or MERLE HAGGARD, who’s a better singer than George (Ooo, that’s put the cat among the pigeons).

Merle Haggard

I liked Merle’s as it had a rather stripped back feel. The song was written by Dicky Lee and Steve Duffy, neither of whom recorded it to the best of knowledge.

♫ Merle Haggard - She Thinks I Still Care

After returning to this column after a few months of ignoring it, I wondered why I had selected THE SHIRELLES.

The Shirelles

There didn’t seem to be anything “still” about the song Will You Love Me Tomorrow. That is, until I played it. That was the title of the song, but after the first verse they sing Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow. Good enough for me.

♫ The Shirelles - Will You Love Me Tomorrow

JOHNNY ADAMS really should have been better known during his lifetime.

Johnny Adams

Yet another great talent from New Orleans, Johnny was equally at home singing blues, rock, jazz, even big band music. His song Still in Love leans towards that last genre.

♫ Johnny Adams - Still in Love

I always see CHRIS SMITHER when he’s in my neck of the woods; he’s such a wonderful performer.

Chris Smither

Just put him on stage with an acoustic guitar, a tapping foot and his supply of great songs and there are few better musical experiences. Today, Chris seems to think that Time Stands Still.

♫ Chris Smither - Time Stands Still

ELDER MUSIC: Together at Home 2

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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Starting with a few people performing at home and putting their songs out on the internet, it’s now become a flood of music. There are so many people performing in all sorts of genres of music that it’s hard to keep up. Here are just a few I’ve found and really liked.

I’ll start with LUKAS NELSON with one of his songs, Just Outside of Austin. He’s joined by his brother MICAH and his father, some little-known journeyman named WILLIE who I believe he is also a singer and songwriter of some renown himself.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN and his good lady wife PATTI SCIALFA get into the act with two songs. The first of these is one of Bruce’s, Land of Hope and Dreams.

The second is one of Tom Waits' that Bruce has performed regularly over the years, Jersey Girl. It really sounds like one he could have written himself.

BRIAN MAY makes quite a few of these videos. I originally had him with Shuba (down below), but then I discovered this instrumental he did with master double bass player, BOŽO PARADŽIK.

They perform one of Queen’s songs, usually sung by Freddie Mercury back in the day, Love of my Life. Back then Brian usually played a 12 string acoustic guitar, but here he plucks an electric.

THE DEAD SOUTH is a blue grass band from Canada. They perform the traditional song, This Little Light of Mine. This will get your toes a’tapping.

A feature of this venture is discovering musicians I didn’t know about; there are several in the column today. Another couple of those are SIERRA BOGGESS and JOSHUA DELA CRUZ. They perform the song, One Day from the musical “Dancers at a Waterfall”, written by Richard Maltby and David Shire. Brad Haak plays the piano.

JACK JOHNSON performs his song, Better Together on his front steps. This is a nice gentle piece with Jack playing acoustic guitar. The song first appeared on his album “In Between Dreams”.

Here is the talented and gorgeous MISSY HIGGINS accompanied by TIM MINCHIN on the piano performing one of Tim’s songs. Missy said that she put on her wedding dress for the occasion just because she could.

I don’t think that’s Tim’s wedding outfit, but you never know with him. The song is Carry You.

I featured NEIL FINN on the first of these columns, but I thought he deserved another go. Here he is accompanied by his sons LIAM on guitar and ELROY on drums.

They perform the Crowded House hit Better Be Home Soon. Of course, Neil was the founder and leading light of that group.

Until today. I hadn’t heard of SHUBA. She has certainly bored into my brain after discovering several of her videos, especially the ones she performed with Brian May.

Here she is on her own with something completely different from what she does with Brian, Samjhawan, written by Sharib-Toshi, Jawad Ahmed, Kumaar and Ahmad Anees.

It doesn’t get any better than this. This being the METROPOLITAN OPERA ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS, conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin, performing Va, pensiero from Verdi’s “Nabucco”.

No matter what governments might say, this thing isn’t over and won’t be for a long time. Here are a bunch of Australian musicians and comedians telling you what you should do.

There is a serious language warning for this one so if you’re offended by that sort of thing, don’t watch. For others, take their advice: Stay at Home. This song will really cement the perception of Australians held by others. It even has a Wiggle, for those who know about such things.

ELDER MUSIC: Good Evening

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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If you’re reading this in the morning or the afternoon, just squint your eyes slightly and pretend it’s evening for that’s what we’re on about today.

Although a blues singer, CHARLES BROWN is more akin to Nat King Cole than Howlin’ Wolf.

Charles Brown

Charles was classically trained on the piano but couldn’t get any work in that field. After a time as a chemistry teacher and jobs in the chemical industry, he took up music as a profession, initially with Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers and then as a solo performer.

Charles is a particular favorite of Norma, The Assistant Musicologist. He opens proceedings with In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down.

♫ Charles Brown - In the Evening When the Sun Goes Down

ARLO GUTHRIE’s album “Alice's Restaurant” had other songs on it besides the famous one.

Arlo Guthrie

One of those is Chilling of the Evening. Arlo rerecorded the album with all the same songs 30 years later. I think that the later versions are superior. It’s not too surprising, he had all those years to hone his craft and if you listen to the songs side by side as I did, it’s quite obvious.

♫ Arlo Guthrie - Chilling of the Evening

BING CROSBY teams up with JANE WYMAN for his contribution.

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman

You all know that Jane was once married to Ronald Reagan until she saw the light and divorced him. That has nothing to do with the song, it’s just some filler type stuff. Here is In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.

♫ Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman - In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening

DEAN MARTIN was also a contender for the previous song but I preferred Bing’s. Besides Dean has another evening song.

Dean Martin

Dino has yet another ditty about Rome. It’s also about evening, which is useful for us. It is On an Evening in Roma (Sott'er Celo de Roma). There are a few dodgy rhymes, but we can’t blame him for that.

♫ Dean Martin - On an Evening in Roma (Sott'er Celo de Roma)

I remember DON RONDO from the fifties for just one song - White Silver Sands.

Don Rondo

It seems he recorded others as well (well, of course he did). One of those is Evening Star.

♫ Don Rondo - Evening Star

PAUL SIMON has written a bunch of songs so it’s not too surprising that there’s an evening song in there somewhere.

Paul Simon

Late in the Evening was a hit for Paul and it was on the album “One Trick Pony”, sort of the soundtrack album of the film in which he appeared. I say “sort of” because there were songs in the film that weren’t on the record and vice versa.

♫ Paul Simon - Late In The Evening

JUDY GARLAND hasn’t appeared often in these columns. Nothing to do with her, it’s just her songs didn’t seem to fit the various criteria I used. She’s here today though.

Judy Garland

In the Valley (Where the Evening Sun Goes Down) was written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer and first came to public notice when Judy sang it in the film “The Harvey Girls” in 1946.

♫ Judy Garland - In the Valley (Where the Evening Sun Goes Down)

Rather uncharacteristically, THE SUPREMES sing a blues song.

The Supremes

The song was first performed on record by Leroy Carr in 1928. It was a big hit and has since been covered by many blues performers. Not just blues, as you’ll hear today when The Supremes sing How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone.

♫ The Supremes - How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone

The actual title of this song is St. Louis Blues. However, it fits today because the first line of the song is “I hate to see the evening sun go down”. That’s good enough for me. Many people have recorded this song, but the pick of them that I have is BILLY ECKSTINE.

Billy Eckstine

Here is part 1 and 2 of the song. I assume when it was originally released they were on separate sides of the record. These days they get smashed together, and on the second part Billy does some scat singing to rival the best of those who did this (about three or four of them, apart from those most weren’t very good at it).

♫ Billy Eckstine - St. Louis Blues (Parts 1 & 2)

The INK SPOTS started in the early thirties and kept performing into the fifties.

The Ink Spots

You can still catch “The Ink Spots” as there are about a hundred groups going around claiming to be them. I wouldn’t bother with any of these imposters, the original is still the best, and here they are with A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening.

♫ The Ink Spots - A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening

Recently I featured a video clip of BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL from a concert version of the musical “South Pacific”, playing Emile De Becque. I’m sure many of you went on to Youtube to find more of him.

For those couple who didn’t, here he is again from the same concert with the most famous song from the musical, Some Enchanted Evening. It’s worth it just to see Reba McEntire’s reaction at the end.

ELDER MUSIC: Playing for Change 2

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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Some might think that these are the also-rans, the songs that didn’t make the cut on the first of the Playing for Change. I’ll say yes and no.

Yes, because some of these were thrown out only because they didn’t fit in with the others and because there were too many songs already.

Others I discovered later and thought, “They should have been in the first one”. So, here are some more wonderful songs by wonderful performers.

Here we have Keith Richards being rather cute, singing and playing an acoustic guitar. Based on this, I wish he’d sung the lead on more of the Stones’ songs. To my ears, he sounds a bit like Mark Knopfler.

The song Words of Wonder was written by Keith, Waddy Wachtel and Steve Jordan. It segues into Get Up Stand Up, written by Bob Marley. Keb Mo makes an appearance as well.

Clandestino was written by Manu Chao and it was the lead track from his first album (named after the song). It’s about people who leave their own country, often involuntarily, in search of a better life. They are often undocumented (“clandestine”). Manu knows something of that as his parents fled Spain during Franco’s regime in fear of their life and settled in Paris.

This is another song that really expresses the purpose and joy of Playing for Change. Nothing more needs to be said about it except that Dr John takes part in this one.

The late great Sam Cooke wrote and first recorded Bring It on Home to Me. Here we have a fine lot of soul sounding singers, kicked off by Roger Ridley, who is a street artist in Santa Monica. Grandpa Elliott and others take up the reins.

Over the last several decades, pretty much any news from Colombia involved drugs, murders, cartels and so on, so it’s really good to highlight some good news instead.

The good news is music. It shows that no matter how bad the situation, music can bring people together. Sorry if that sounds a bit idealistic. All the musicians are from Columbia.

Reggae legend Bunny Wailer kicks off Rebel, another of Bob Marley’s songs. Bunny was the main man in The Wailers who backed Bob on that record (and many others). After Bob’s death the Wailers continued as an independent entity. They are still playing to this day.

Love was written especially for and about this project, and it builds to one big sing-along. Imagine trying to organise that over six continents and many countries.

Besides the singing, this one contains virtuoso didgeridoo player William Barton who is usually heard on classical compositions.

Cotton Fields isn’t a “trad” or “anon” song; it was written by Huddie Ledbetter (Lead Belly) in 1940 and first recorded by him. Many have performed it since from Odetta to Creedence Clearwater Revival, from Harry Belafonte to the Beach Boys and everyone in between. Naturally, we have a bunch of people, lead off by Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton.

Pemba Laka is essentially a jam, from an idea by Hugo Soares from Angola. All the musicians and onlookers seem to be having lots of fun playing, singing and dancing. Another tune in the spirit of Playing for Change.

Gimme Shelter is a Rolling Stones song from their best period for writing songs. It was written by Keith, featured above, and Mick Jagger of course.

I hesitate to single out one group of musicians, as everyone is good, but the Jamaican musicians are outstanding. The always interesting Taj Mahal makes an appearance singing and playing harmonica.

Down by the Riverside is a spiritual that traces its roots back to the American Civil War. Naturally, because of its lyrics, it has been used extensively over the years as an anti-war song. One of our regulars, Grandpa Elliott, kicks this one off and is the main singer for much of the song.

Yes, this is the Doobie Brothers’ song, and Tom Johnston from that group leads off the singing. Also present are Patrick Simmons and John McFee, current members of the band, along with Tom’s Daughter Lara who’s a singer/songwriter as well.

The idea for using this song was hatched when the Doobies played at the Byron Bay Bluesfest in Australia. It’s a good way to end, enjoining all to listen to the music.

If you want to find out more about Playing For Change, you can find their website here. They also have all the videos, although some are blocked unless you become a member. If you prefer to go through Facebook, you can find them here.

ELDER MUSIC: Wynton Marsalis

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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Wynton Marsalis

WYNTON MARSALIS was born and bred in New Orleans which gave him a head start in this whole music lark. He was born into a musical family – his father is a jazz pianist and three brothers are also jazz musicians and it looks as if the next generation is going in that direction as well.

It seems that when Ellis, his father, was sitting at the table one day with Al Hirt, Miles Davis and Clark Terry (holy moley) he joked that he might as well get Wynton a trumpet too. Al gave him one, thus from the age of six he was already blowing his own horn (sorry about that).

Wynton studied classical music at school and his father taught him jazz at home and he eventually ended up at Juilliard studying classical music. Wynton is adept at both genres (and others as well) as we’ll see.

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton recorded six albums under the title “Standard Time” that delved into the history of jazz and popular music in general. I’ll be playing selections from some of these today starting with number one.

This album consists of ballads mainly from the thirties, tunes you’ll all know, particularly this one, A Foggy Day, written by George and Ira Gershwin. Wynton has always been generous towards the other members of his groups, such that he ensures that each gets a turn in the spotlight.

♫ A Foggy Day

From another of the “Standard Time” albums, this one featuring the music of Thelonious Monk, we get the tune Hackensack. The tune is reasonably well known, but on the album Wynton generally plays lesser known ones.

♫ Hackensack

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton writes music in different styles, including classical music. He’s written several symphonies and I’m going to feature part of one today, the fourth, also called The Swing Symphony. It owes a lot to Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, and Wynton has acknowledged that himself. Here is the third movement, subtitled Midwestern Moods.

♫ Symphony No 4 (3)

Wynton Marsalis

Buddy Bolden is the great mysterious figure of early jazz. He’s credited with inventing the music and it was said that he was a superb improviser. No records of him exist and the closest we can get is with the music of those who played with him, including King Oliver and Bunk Johnson.

A bio-pic of his life was recently released with Wynton playing his music. From that we have the tune Didn't He Ramble, a famous early jazz tune.

♫ Didn't He Ramble


Pachelbel’s Canon is one of the most played pieces in classical music. It’s used, probably over-used, for all sorts of things.

JOHANN PACHELBEL didn’t write this with trumpets in mind, however, Raymond Leppard, head honcho of the English Chamber Orchestra, scored it for three trumpets, perhaps because he thought that it might sell a few more records as John is very popular with classical music buyers.

Anyway, he succeeded in giving a rather tired old warhorse a kick in the nether regions and turned it into something rather interesting. At the time of recording, Ray couldn’t find two more trumpeters of the quality required, so Wynton played all three parts. So, here he is three times with Pachelbel’s Canon for Three Trumpets and Strings, P. 37.

♫ Canon for Three Trumpets and Strings P. 37

Wynton Marsalis & Eric Clapton

ERIC CLAPTON has a vast amount of music behind him. There was one stage when he tried to disappear, pretending that he was just a member of a group called Derrick and the Dominoes. We weren’t fooled, but this aggregation produced probably his finest hour on record with the song Layla.

He had the help of an equally fine guitarist, Duane Allman, on that track (and others on the record). Duane is no longer with us, but Eric has performed the tune in several different settings, including this one, a jazz/blues interpretation with Wynton, probably unrecognizable to fans of the original.

♫ Layla


JOSEPH HAYDN wrote concertos for pretty much every instrument because he had a decent orchestra at his command, thanks to Prince Paul Esterházy who employed him (and them).

Jo wanted to keep his musicians happy, and they liked a spot in the limelight to strut their stuff. One of his works was the Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra, in E-Flat Major Hob.VIIe. Here is the first movement.

♫ Concerto for Trumpet and Orchestra in E-Flat Major Hob.VIIe (1)

Wynton & Ellis Marsalis

The third of the “Standard Time” albums consists of standards from the thirties and forties. Wynton is joined by his father, pianist ELLIS MARSALIS on this record.

The song they perform is I Cover the Waterfront which has been recorded memorably by Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan and many others.

♫ I Cover the Waterfront


As with Pachelbel, above, Wynton again triples himself. I imagine that when GEORG PHILIPP TELEMANN wrote his Concerto in B-flat Major for Three Trumpets and Orchestra he couldn’t envisage that the one person would be able to play all three of the trumpet parts.

Of course, doing that in concert is a different matter. Here is the first movement of his Concerto in B-flat Major for Three Trumpets and Orchestra.

♫ Concerto in B-flat Major for Three Trumpets and Orchestra (1)

Wynton Marsalis & Willie Nelson

On his never ending quest to play with every musician on the planet, WILLIE NELSON has performed in concert several times with Wynton. A couple of those have been recorded. These show what I’ve always suspected: that Willie is really a jazz musician.

From one of those we have one of Willie’s compositions, Night Life. I had culled the songs I was going to include down to three and asked Norma, The Assistant Musicologist, which I should use. This is the one she insisted on.

♫ Night Life

Wynton and KATHLEEN BATTLE have performed and recorded together a number of times.

Wynton Marsalis & Kathleen Battle

Kathleen has a reputation for being “difficult”. I find that when women are described that way it means they are intelligent, strong and don’t suffer fools (mainly men) gladly. I don’t know if Kathleen fits that description, but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt.

From their album of Baroque music, we have Mr Handel’s Eternal Source of Light Divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, HWV 74).

♫ Eternal Source of Light Divine (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne HWV 74)

Wynton Marsalis

The sixth in the “Standard Time” series is subtitled “Mr. Jelly Lord” and is devoted to the music of Jelly Roll Morton, one of the most important figures in the development of early jazz.

Wynton shows what a fine scholar he is of this style of music, but he doesn’t treat the music as museum pieces, they really swing, as he demonstrates on Black Bottom Stomp, a good way to end the column.

♫ Black Bottom Stomp