607 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Together at Home

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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Covid-19 might have stopped the concerts but it hasn’t stopped the music. Initially, some people started performing at home. It quickly became an epidemic of its own. Musicians in all genres of music are doing it now. Here are just a few of the ones I’ve found.

I’ll start with the first one I discovered and he’s also one of the best singers, writers, performers from the last 50 years, JOHN FOGERTY. John performs one of the old Creedence hits, Lookin’ Out my Back Door, just on acoustic guitar.

It seems that TOM JONES is ageless. He still has a singing ability that most of us envy. Here he performs the old song Glory of Love, backed by a fine unknown (to me) piano player.

JOAN BAEZ has recorded a number of songs for this series. She’s not alone in that regard. I’m sure many of you have seen several of her songs. Rather than the ones you might expect, this is Chanson Pour L'Auvergnat, an homage to Georges Brassens.

The CAMDEN VOICES are a British choir who had to scrap their rehearsals. That didn’t stop them though. They got together virtually with some really fine audio and video. They perform the Cyndi Lauper song, True Colors.

This is a real hoot. It’s Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ronnie. You know them as the ROLLING STONES. They perform one of their most famous songs, You Can’t Always Get What You Want. I really liked Charlie’s drum kit.

LIZZO, or Melissa Jefferson, is a rapper, song writer, regular singer and actress. She performs Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come, just accompanying herself on the organ. She is new to me, but she sings really well.

NEIL FINN organised and was the singer and songwriter for Crowded House. He was also in Split Enz earlier when his brother Tim brought him into that group. Eschewing any of the songs from either group, Neil performs David Bowie’s Heroes.

JOHN LEGEND and STAN SMITH are also new to me, but they sure can perform. In this case it’s the song, Stand by Me, first recorded by Ben E King and written by him, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

NORAH JONES is another who has made a number of these videos. Here she sings a tribute to John Prine with his song, That’s the Way the World Goes Round.

STEVIE WONDER performs Lean on Me by his friend Bill Withers who died recently. He then segues into Love’s in Need of Love Today, one of his own songs from the album “Songs in the Key of Life”.

Here’s a bonus track just to show that not everyone is as successful as they’d hoped. It’s understandable as RAY DORSET has an injured finger. Ray was the main man behind Mungo Jerry in the late sixties/early seventies. He performs (a bit) of his/their biggest hit.

There are many more out there, these are just a few that I really liked.

ELDER MUSIC: Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone

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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Leon Redbone

Well, we’re not going to go along with the title of the column today.

LEON REDBONE died last year at the age of 127, or so claimed his obituary, which apparently he wrote himself. He was probably only a bit more than half that age, but who can tell with Leon.

He was born in Cyprus, and his birth name was probably Dickran Gobalian – I’m not surprised he changed it. He first came to be noticed as a performer in Toronto. He met Bob Dylan at a folk festival in the early seventies and Bob talked him up such that he was no doubt responsible for Leon getting a recording contract.

Leon specialised in songs from the early years of the 20th century, and he performed them as they were originally written, often with introductions that most of us hadn’t realised they had. He was a national treasure (of several nations) and he died too soon.

If you like music from the first half of the 20th century, this column is for you.

It’s only appropriate that we start with the name of the column. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone. It was written by Sam Stept and Sidney Clare, and it was published in 1930. Leon indulges in a little uncharacteristic yodeling on this one.

♫ Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone

Leon Redbone

A while ago I had a column on songs that had introductions that most of us didn’t realise had one, and as I mentioned, Leon likes to include those. This is one such.

Shine on Harvest Moon first made its appearance in the Ziegfield Follies in 1908, performed by Nora Bayes and Jack Norwortth. They also wrote the song. There have been at least two films made with the title – one a western and the other a musical.

♫ Shine On Harvest Moon

Leon Redbone

There seem to be two Christmas Islands, one in the Pacific and another in the Indian Ocean. The Pacific one was used by the British and later the Americans to test hydrogen bombs. Now, from my undergraduate physics studies, I know about the half-lives of the various radioactive by-products of such events so I'll give that one a miss.

The other is an Australian dependency not far from Indonesia. This is one of the places that our current appalling government occasionally sends refugees for processing in "facilities" that resemble maximum security prisons.

So when Leon sings "How'd you like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island?" my answer is "I wouldn't." It's a pleasant sounding song though, Christmas Island.

♫ Christmas Island

Leon Redbone

You Nearly Lose Your Mind was written by Ernest Tubb and he recorded the first version of the song. Leon’s version is quite different from Ernest’s which, of course, was a country song. Many others have recorded it, but Leon really does it justice.

♫ You Nearly Lose Your Mind

Leon Redbone

The song Roll Along Kentucky Moon is most associated with Jimmie Rodgers, but he didn’t write it. That was Bill Halley. I don’t know if he’s related to the astronomer who first tracked the comet that bears his name (the early rock & roller spelt his name differently). Leon performs it in the style of the Singing Brakeman.

♫ Roll Along Kentucky Moon

It was claimed by one critic that one real revelation of the album “Whistling in the Wind” is Leon's take on Love Letters in the Sand, a song that he said has been almost impossible to listen to since Pat Boone ruined it back in the 1950s. My sister would disagree with that sentiment, and even I would to an extent.

However, I’ll agree that Leon really nailed the song, and he also included the introduction that few of us knew existed.

♫ Love Letters in the Sand

Leon Redbone

Champagne Charlie refers to Charles Heidsieck, who started one of the more famous brands of champagne. Actually, a couple of others in his family also founded champagne brands bearing that name in part as well.

Charlie went to America and it’s claimed that he introduced the wine to that country. I have my doubts about this as both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were fond of French wines and both had considerable cellars.

Charlie was thought to be a Confederate spy during the Civil War, but nothing was proved. It seems that later he owned Denver until he sold it. He was certainly one of the more interesting characters in history. Here is his song.

♫ Champagne Charlie

Leon Redbone

Little Jack Little was doubly appropriately named as he was shorter than anyone reading this column, I’d imagine. Had he been Australian, he’d have been called Lofty or some such – we’re more into ironic nicknames than Americans are.

He was a band leader in the 1930s and also wrote songs. One of those was When I Kissed That Girl Good-Bye.

♫ When I Kissed That Girl Good-Bye

Leon Redbone

There are several songs called Mississippi River Blues. The one that Leon performs was written and first performed by Jimmie Rodgers. The semi-yodel at the beginning of the song, and later on as well, would have given that away.

♫ Mississippi River Blues

Leon Redbone

Ain’t Misbehavin’ (or as Leon calls it, only slightly more grammatically, Ain't Misbehaving) was written by Fats Waller and Harry Brooks. At least they wrote the tune. The words, which is what we most remember, were written by Andy Razaf.

The song is most associated with Fats who recorded it several times over the years. This is what Leon does for it, sounding more like Mississippi John Hurt than Fats.

♫ Ain't Misbehaving (I'm Savin' My Love For You)

Okay, imagine this: let’s get another singer to sing with you. That’s pretty easy. Perhaps he could also play the drums. Well, that reduces the field somewhat. Let’s say that he’s the most famous rock & roll drummer in history. Right, there’s only one RINGO STARR, and he’s present on the last song.

Leon Redbone & Ringo Starr

He and Leon perform My Little Grass Shack. We might also want a chorus as well. Put on your hula skirts for this one.

♫ My Little Grass Shack

ELDER MUSIC: Nearly / Almost

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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Here is another column based on a random word, or two words in this case that have similar meanings. I started with “nearly” but didn’t have nearly enough songs for a column, thus the extra word. The reason for the column is right down at the bottom, so have patience.

HAWKSHAW HAWKINS is rarely mentioned these days, and on the few occasions his name comes up it’s usually only in the context of one of the people on the plane with Patsy Cline when it crashed.

Hawkshaw Hawkins

Before that, he was quite a popular country singer, but unlike Patsy he was quickly forgotten. I’ll do my little bit to revive his status a little with You Nearly Lose Your Mind.

♫ Hawkshaw Hawkins - You Nearly Lose Your Mind

A song with almost the same title is I Almost Lost My Mind. There were several contenders for this one, but I decided, with the help of Norma, The Assistant Musicologist, that it should be SAFFIRE, THE UPPITY BLUES WOMEN.


Alas, Saffire called it quits in 2009, and founder member Ann Rabson has since died, so there will be no reunion of the original members. Here is their song.

♫ Saffire The Uppity Blues Women - I Almost Lost My Mind

Another suggestion from the A.M. is DOUG ASHDOWN.

Doug Ashdown

I thought that musicians never retire, but it seems that Doug has done just that. This is a pity as he’s one of Australia’s finest singer/songwriters. Never mind, we still have his records (and his memories for some of us who saw and heard him a lot).

From an early album of his we have the song, I Can Almost See Belfast From Here.

♫ Doug Ashdown - I Can Almost See Belfast From Here

There are many contenders for Almost Like Being in Love. I imagine that each of you can pick one that you like. There were many I liked, but I finally settled on PEGGY LEE, for no real reason.

Peggy Lee

I just thought that we haven’t had Peggy for a while, so let’s go with her, and here she is.

♫ Peggy Lee - Almost Like Being in Love

The A.M. said that I should have a different version of the next song, because I said that it was going to be Tammy Wynette. After some consideration, I decided she was right, and I would use the gentleman who wrote and first recorded it, DAVID HOUSTON.

David Houston

I think it works better as a song from a woman’s point of view, but it’s really a universal theme. David is Almost Persuaded.

♫ David Houston - Almost Persuaded

I remember this song back when I was a whippersnapper sung by Ernie Sigley. Now there’s a name to conjure with for those Australians reading this column (both of you). Sorry Ernie, but I’m going with THE DREAMWEAVERS.

The DreamWeavers

Again for the Aussies, Ernie and I are both supporters of the Footscray Football Club (I refuse to call them by their new name), and in keeping with the name of the column, they are pretty much nearly Premiers a lot of the time, they almost make it (Americans might substitute the Boston Red Sox).

That is until 2016 when they really did (yay). This has nothing to do with the song, I just thought I’d waffle on for a bit about nearly and almost. It's Almost Tomorrow.

♫ The Dreamweavers - It's Almost Tomorrow

Here’s another performer that The A.M. approved of once she discovered she was present today. She is RHIANNON GIDDENS.

Rhiannon Giddens

It’s impossible to categorise Rhiannon: she studied opera, plays bluegrass banjo (and many other instruments), sings the blues as well as any around, was a Grammy winner with the group the Chocolate Drops and has some terrific solo albums to her credit. She’s really worth getting to know.

From one of her solo albums we have The Love We Almost Had.

♫ Rhiannon Giddens - The Love We Almost Had

Those who have been listening to quality music for the last 50 years or more will need no introduction from me for VAN MORRISON.

Van Morrison

He is one of those rare artists who not only made great music when he was young and in his prime, he has kept on doing that right up to the present time. Here he is from quite some time ago with Almost Independence Day, from the album “Saint Dominic's Preview”.

♫ Van Morrison - Almost Independence Day

I don’t know why TANITA TIKARAM isn’t better known.

Tanita Tikaram

She a terrific singer and songwriter (and she looks pretty good too). I guess it’s this thing that talent is not enough, it probably comes down to how much exposure you get on the various social media.

Anyway, I’m not one for that sort of thing, but I’m happy to expose her (as it were) to people who like good music. She sings We Almost Got It Together.

♫ Tanita Tikaram - We Almost Got It Together

CHUCK BERRY thinks that he’s Almost Grown.

Chuck Berry

Of course when he wrote and recorded the song he was well into his thirties. That was the same for all his early songs, but he did have a talent for getting into the zeitgeist of teenagers at the time. The time being the fifties, naturally.

♫ Chuck Berry - Almost Grown

Now we come to the reason for this column. I found this clip on Youtube and was flabbergasted. I wondered when I had last heard and seen a male singer as good as this.

It’s taken from a concert version of the musical “South Pacific”. What I thought on seeing it was “Eat your heart out Ezio Pinza”. I won’t keep you in suspense any longer, the singer is BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, playing Emile De Becque.

For those like me who aren’t familiar with Brian, he’s a regular on Broadway and has won a Tony award (and was an on-going character of “Frasier” for a while – I remember him from this but he didn’t sing).

Here is the song that caused my flabbergastation, This Nearly Was Mine.

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Whatnot 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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Here is some more interesting music to add to your whatnot.

MADDALENA SIRMEN was born Maddalena Lombardini in Venice to a poverty-stricken family in the middle of the 18th century.

Maddalena Sirmen

One of the teachers at the orphanage where she lived was the famous composer and violinist Giuseppe Tartini who noticed her talents and took her under his wing. She later married another violinist, Ludovico Sirmen and they toured Europe together.

She was a better composer than Ludo, and reports from the time suggest she was a better violinist as well. From her Violin Concerto No 6 in C Major is the first movement.

♫ Sirmen - Concerto No. 6 in C major (1)

MARIE JAËLL started life as Marie Trautmann in Alsace.

Marie Jaell

She showed great promise on the piano from an early age and had serious lessons from age five. She joined the Paris Conservatoire at 16 and immediately won the piano prize. She later met and married fellow pianist Alfred Jaëll, who was friends of Chopin, Brahms and Liszt.

The couple embarked on an extensive piano playing tour of Europe, England and Russia. Later still, Marie settled down to write music and develop better piano playing techniques.

A lot of her compositions involve the piano, but not all of them. This one does though, the Piano Concerto No 2 in C, the fourth movement.

♫ Jaëll - Piano Concerto No 2 in C (4)

ELENA KATS-CHERNIN is Australia’s finest living composer, and I would contend that she’s in the top half dozen worldwide.

Elena Kats-Chernin

This one is rather tongue in cheek. I ran past Norma, The Assistant Musicologist, what we should play of Elena’s. She and I are big fans of the long running radio talk show Late Night Live.

This is serious stuff, one of the most intelligent of such things in the world. For some time its theme music was Russian Rag, which Phillip Adams, the host, referred to it as The Waltz of the Wombats. That’s the way the A.M. and I know it as well.

♫ Elena Kats-Chernin - Russian Rag (Waltz of the Wombats)

FANNY MENDELSSOHN wrote the best string quartets since Beethoven.

Fanny Mendelssohn

Indeed, they might even be better than his. Not better than Haydn’s or Mozart’s, but she’s up with the best in this regard. Her brother, the famous Felix, always said that she was a better composer than he was.

As more of her music comes to life, it’s obvious that there is some justification for what he said. Here is the fourth movement of her String Quartet in E-Flat Major.

♫ Mendelssohn F - String Quartet in E-Flat Major (4)

HENRIETTE RENIÉ was a French composer and harp player.

Reni é& Friend

That’s Henriette with a friend of hers, an even more famous harpist.

She started out on the piano but when her dad took her to a concert that featured the harp prominently, she was hooked. She was yet another prodigy and was a student at the Paris Conservatoire before she was ten.

Henriette won several prizes at the age as well, and later became famous or her playing, which was frowned on by polite society. She didn’t care.

A gifted teacher, Henriette also wrote the book on harp playing and was instrumental (sorry) in the creation of the chromatic harp. As you can imagine, most of her compositions are for the instrument, including the Concerto for Harp and Orchestra. This is the third movement.

♫ Renié - Concerto for Harp and Orchestra (3)

ANNA BON was an Italian composer and performer.

Anna Bon

Her dad was an artist who also wrote librettos, and her mum was a singer. Anna started music training when she was only four. In her late teens she joined her folks in Bayreuth, later to become famous for its Wagner operas. Anna was employed as “chamber music virtuosa”, and it’s there she wrote her six flute sonatas (before the age of 16).

Later the family joined the court of the Esterházy family and checking the dates, she would have overlapped with the great Joseph Haydn. So, here is one of those flute sonatas, Flute Sonata No 4, Op 1 in D Major. The first movement.

♫ Bon - Flute Sonata No 4 Op 1 in D Major (1)

CLARA SCHUMANN was born Clara Wieck and she was a child prodigy on piano, violin and as a singer. There seem to be a bunch of prodigies today.

Clara Schumann

It turns out that Robert Schumann was a pupil of her father’s and one thing led to another and they decided to get married (Clara and Robert, not her dad). Trouble is Clara was only 18 and dad wouldn’t give his permission, so they sued him and won their case.

Robert seems to have been a sickly and troubled lad, but they stayed together until he died. Clara outlived him by 40 years. She toured extensively giving piano concerts for the rest of her life – she lived to 76 – and she composed quite a few pieces, mostly for piano. One of those is the Romance for Violin and Piano, the third movement.

♫ Clara Schumann - Romance for Violin and Piano (3)

ANNA AMALIA was the ninth kiddie of Karl I, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Princess Philippine Charlotte of Prussia.

Anna Amalia

In the way of these things, she also had to marry some knob, in this case Ernst August II Konstantin, Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. Ernie died young, when Anna was only 19, but she had already had a son, and as he was too young to rule, she took over the responsibilities.

It seems she was really enlightened, turning Weimar (for that’s where she was) into a cultural hub, drawing many writers such as Goethe, Schiller, Herder and others to the area. Musicians as well. She established a library that’s still around and it’s one of the most important one in Germany.

Unlike many of her ilk, when her son came of age, she turned over running things to him and she concentrated on composing music. She was really good at that. One of her notable compositions is the Divertimento for Piano, Clarinet, Viola and Cello. Here is the second movement.

♫ Anna Amalia - Divertimento for Piano Clarinette Viola and Cello (2)

SOPHIA DUSSEK was born Sophia Corri in Edinburgh.

Sophia Dussek

Her father was Domenico Corri, also a composer of some note at the time. Besides, he was a music publisher in London, which was handy – the family had moved there. It was there where she met and married Jan Dussek, from Bohemia. The marriage wasn’t successful and they split up and went their separate ways.

Sophia was a singer, pianist and most notably, a harp player. It was for this that she wrote most of her music, including this one – the first movement of Sonata No. 3 in C minor, Op 2.

♫ Dussek S - Sonata No. 3 in C minor Op 2 (1)

MARIA SZYMANOWSKA was born Maria Wolowska in Warsaw, Poland.

Maria Szymanowska

Somewhere along the line she married Józef Szymanowski and they had three kids. They then split and later Jó died of cholera and Maria made a (very successful) living touring Europe as a concert pianist.

She eventually ended up in St Petersburg as a court pianist. Her compositions were mostly for the piano, as this one is. Nocturne in B-Flat Major.

Maria Szymanowska - Nocturne in B-Flat Major

ÉLISABETH JACQUET was born in Paris with a lot more names than that, as was the style at the time.

Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

All the members of her family were musicians, or had some connection to music – instrument makers and so on – so it was only natural that she’d going into the family biz.

She was yet another prodigy, and even when she was young she performed for all the bigwigs, including the biggest wig of the lot, Louis IV (the self proclaimed sun king).

Later she suffered a series of tragedies, her husband, son, mother, father and brother all died of various diseases. She kept on trucking though, writing and performing. One of the things she wrote is the Violin Sonata No 1 in D Minor, the second movement.

♫ Elisabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre - Sonata No 1 (2)

ELDER MUSIC: Homeward Bound

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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(Part 1, Home is Where the Heart Is, is here.)
(Part 2, Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig , is here.)

Here I am back home again, I’m here to rest. All they ask is where I’ve been, knowing I’ve been west. Sorry, I was channeling Tim Hardin. Just ignore that song as it doesn’t appear today.

After a column of rock & roll/doowop and another that was mostly jazz, here we are with all the rest. These are all over the place, but the quality is there nonetheless.

It’s a bit hard to tell where ERIC BIBB calls home.

Eric Bibb

He was born and raised in New York, then went and lived in Paris. After a while he settled in Stockholm and he has spent some time living in London. Of course, like most musicians he’s on the road, pretty much constantly, so when he sings Heading Home, it’s difficult to tell where that is.

♫ Eric Bibb - Heading Home

Given the title of today’s column, you knew that this song had to be present. After all these years there are many versions of it, but naturally I’m going with the original by SIMON & GARFUNKEL.

Simon & Garfunkel

It’s taken from their album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme”. This was an album that you could take over to your new gal’s place, put it on and see what happens. Oops, sorry, too much information. Homeward Bound.

♫ Simon & Garfunkel - Homeward Bound

It’s been a little while since I had the great PATSY CLINE in a column, so I’m going to remedy that now.

Patsy Cline

There were three or four of her songs I could have included, but the one that fit the best is When Your House Is Not a Home, written by Little Jimmy Dickens.

♫ Patsy Cline - When Your House Is Not a Home

The Lovin' Spoonful recorded the song Darling Be Home Soon, but that version is rather over-produced in my opinion. The main man from the Spoonful and writer and singer of the song, JOHN SEBASTIAN, regularly sings it in concert.

John Sebastian

It’s one of those versions we have today. The song has been recorded by many over the years, but I still prefer the man who wrote and first sang it. He usually closes his show with it, as he does here with just himself playing acoustic guitar and Paul Harris on piano.

♫ John Sebastian - Darlin' Be Home Soon

For a talented bunch of musicians, it’s a bit of a surprise that the BLUES PROJECT recorded only one studio album.

Blues Project

There were quite a few live albums, however. The group included Al Kooper who went on to form Blood Sweat and Tears (and was thrown out of that group after their first album) and Steve Katz who played the guitar and sang the song we have today. He was also in BS&T.

Also present was Danny Kalb, one of the finest lead guitarists of the era, but also one of the least known. Anyway, here is Cheryl's Going Home from that single studio album “Projections”.

♫ Blues Project - Cheryl's Going Home

CROWDED HOUSE began life in Melbourne as a three-member band consisting of one New Zealander and two Australians.

Crowded House

The membership has fluctuated over the years but the two constants are Neil Finn and Nick Seymour. Although they called it quits some years ago, there have been (and continue to be) reunion concerts, tours, albums and the like. You just can’t keep a good band down.

From their early success, they perform Better Be Home Soon.

♫ Crowded House - Better Be Home Soon

It’s always hard to categorise GREG BROWN.

Greg Brown

I’ve always thought of him as a poet who sings and plays. Indeed, one of his albums (his best in my opinion) is called “The Poet Game”. The first album of his I bought is called “Slant 6 Mind”, from which the song I’ve chosen is taken.Of course, since that first one I’ve done my best to root out all his other albums.

The song is Why Don't You Just Go Home.

♫ Greg Brown - Why Don't You Just Go Home

Keeping it in the family, here is Greg’s wife, IRIS DEMENT.

Iris Dement

Iris is a terrific singer and songwriter in her own right, but today she performs one of Greg’s songs: The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home. It’s from a tribute album for Greg.

I’m quite ambivalent about tribute albums for people who are still alive and performing. I guess it makes someone some money for someone.

♫ Iris DeMent - The Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home

I first discovered HERB PEDERSEN when he was a member of the Dillards.

Herb Pedersen

After he went solo, he recorded a couple of really terrific albums. Later he teamed up with Chris Hillman, from The Byrds, first as the group The Desert Rose Band, and later just the two of them as an acoustic duo. From Herb’s album “Southwest” here is Harvest Home.

♫ Herb Pedersen - Harvest Home

What a loss to the music business it was when LEON REDBONE died recently.

Leon Redbone

Fortunately, we still have his records. One of those is called “Long Way From Home” which fits right into our category today. From that we have Sweet Mama Hurry Home or I'll Be Gone, written by Jimmie Rodgers, which we could have guessed by the bit of yodeling in the middle.

♫ Leon Redbone - Sweet Mama Hurry Home or I'll Be Gone

Going back some years, at least as far as the performer is concerned, we encounter BING CROSBY.

Bing Crosby

You could pretty well guarantee he’d be present today, given the topic. Bing always projected himself as a home-loving family man, even if the reality was at odds with that. Today it doesn’t matter, it’s the song that counts, When My Dreamboat Comes Home.

♫ Bing Crosby - When My Dreamboat Comes Home

If they made a film of MARY GAUTHIER’s life, critics would dismiss it as too unbelievable and over the top.

Mary Gauthier

However, it’s her life but I’m not going to try to précis it as I couldn’t do it justice. After some of the things she went through, she turned to songwriting and singing at age 35. Mary hasn’t looked back and has garnered many awards since then. From her album “Trouble & Love”, this is Walking Each Other Home.

♫ Mary Gauthier - Walking Each Other Home

After he recorded a great half album called “Super Session” with Mike Bloomfield (the other half wasn’t bad), AL KOOPER decided to do something similar – that is a jam album in rock style, just as jazz players had done for years.

For this one called “Kooper Session” he employed guitarist SHUGGIE OTIS, son of the band leader Johnnie Otis.

Al Kooper & Shuggie Otis

I’ve selected the song Lookin' for a Home. Shuggie is really some guitarist, and you should know that when he recorded this, he was only 15 years old.

I’m sure when you listen to it you’ll probably think, “Oh that’s a pleasant enough soulish song. Why is he talking up Shuggie because he’s only playing some okay rhythm guitar?”

Then about half way through, Shuggie cuts loose. Remember he was 15. It’s a shame they faded the track, I would have liked to have heard more of it.

♫ Al Kooper & Shuggie Otis - Lookin' for a Home

ELDER MUSIC: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

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.

* * *

(Part 1, Home is Where the Heart Is, is here.)
(Part 3, Homeward Bound, is here)

Last week I had songs about home, all in a rather similar style. More home today but in a completely different style, more jazz influenced. So if you didn’t like last week’s you might like these. Or both of them, as I did.

I’ll start with the classic song You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To. All the big names have performed this one but I decided to go for someone who’s not so well known, ANDREA MOTIS.

Andrea Motis

Andrea is a Spanish jazz trumpeter and singer who sings in several languages including, as is obvious from her version, English. She is really accomplished for someone so young, well worth a listen. If you’re interested, the album from which this is taken is “Emotional Dance”.

♫ Andrea Motis - You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To


Nat King Cole & George Shearing

That pairing (or sextupling, I suppose) would be just about right, but the record company had to add superfluous strings. You must be sick of hearing me say this about Nat’s records, but they really are better without all that adornment.

Anyway, they play and Nat sings Guess I'll Go Back Home.

♫ Nat King Cole - Guess I'll Go Back Home

Although a jazz singer, BARB JUNGR specialises in the songs of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie and other such songwriters.

Barb Jungr

Indeed, the album “Shelter from the Storm” was named after a song of Bob’s. The song I’ve chosen from that album wasn’t written by him, it was yet another rather famous writer and singer of songs, Bruce Springsteen. The song is Long Walk Home.

♫ Barb Jungr - Long Walk Home

SUSANNAH MCCORKLE was another tragic figure in the history of jazz.

Susannah McCorkle

After throwing away a career in academia, she went and lived in Europe for a time. She was inspired into singing after listening to the music of Billie Holiday and returned to America to make a rather successful career of singing.

Alas, she suffered from depression and took her own life. Her song is Why Don't We Try Staying Home?

♫ Susannah McCorkle - Why Don't We Try Staying Home

BUD POWELL had many influences on his piano playing.

Bud Powell

His father was a jazz pianist, playing stride piano. Dad hired a classical teacher so that Bud learned proper techniques. He played at rent parties in his youth to earn some money, playing in the style of Fats Waller. Later he became a leading light in Bebop jazz, recording with Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. His tune is Swingin 'Til the Girls Come Home.

♫ Bud Powell - Swingin 'Til the Girls Come Home

LOUIS JORDAN is probably best known these days as a jump blues singer and sax player, however, he began his performing career as a band leader in the swing era.

Louis Jordan

His style also prefigured rock & roll and even had some records in that vein in the mid-fifties. He could not be described as shy and retiring and he appeared in a number of films in the 1940s and was prominent in many jazz festivals and the like. Here he is in rather a mellow mood with Hurry Home.

♫ Louis Jordan - Hurry Home

DAVE BRUBECK needs no introduction from me, and even if you’re unfamiliar with him, there was a column about him only a few weeks ago.

Dave Brubeck

So, that self-serving introduction out of the way, here is Home at Last.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Home At Last

There’s still some hope for the musical world when someone as talented as DIANA KRALL can sell lots of records.

Diana Krall

Actually, anyone selling records these days is a bit of a novelty. I suspect that it’s mostly down to we people who still remember them. She’s also won Grammies and Junos and all sorts of other things. From her album “Wallflower”, here is If I Take You Home Tonight, written by Paul McCartney.

♫ Diana Krall - If I Take You Home Tonight

It wouldn’t be much of a jazz column that mostly featured singers without ELLA FITZGERALD, so here she is.

Ella Fitzgerald

Baby Won't You Please Come Home could be considered a jazz song or a blues song. Really, any style at all depending on who’s singing it at the time. Let’s not quibble about what it is and just listen.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald - Baby Won't You Please Come Home

Rather unusually for an early GERRY MULLIGAN recording, there is a piano present.

Gerry Mulligan

This is because at that time he eschewed the instrument, but I guess he got over that. It’s a good thing because it certainly adds some color to the recording. The tune they all play is You've Come Home.

♫ Gerry Mulligan - You've Come Home

There was no better singing group in jazz than LAMBERT HENDRICKS AND ROSS.

Lambert Henricks and Ross

Unfortunately for us, it was a rather short-lived affair as Dave Lambert was killed in a car accident only a few years into their career. There were various permutations of the group, but none was as good as the original. From early in their career is Come On Home.

Lambert Hendricks and Ross - Come On Home

I’ll be bringing you back home again next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Home is Where the Heart Is

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.

* * *

(Part 2, Home Again, Home Again Jiggety Jig, is here.)

I was overwhelmed with choices of songs about home or, more specifically, with home in the title. There were many I liked and initially it looked as if I was going to do a Doowop/Rock & Roll column, so I thought I’d continue in that vein. There were many songs left over, indeed, so many good ones that I ended up with three columns on the topic.

So, we’re going home…

ARTHUR ALEXANDER wrote and recorded some of the best songs from the late fifties and early sixties.

Arthur Alexander

The Beatles were big fans and recorded some of his songs on their early albums. Ry Cooder was another who performed some as well. As good as these were, Arthur was the best at them. One of those songs that Ry recorded, but the Beatles didn’t, is Go Home Girl.

♫ Arthur Alexander - Go Home Girl

On her song, NINA SIMONE really gets stuck into it.

Nina Simone

It shows she could have been a great gospel singer. Also a great rock singer. She made her name in jazz inspired soul music (or perhaps the other way round). It shows that talented singers can sing anything they set their minds to. In this case she sets her mind to I'm Going Back Home.

♫ Nina Simone - I'm Going Back Home

Possibly the most famous of the songs by THE DRIFTERS is Save the Last Dance for Me.

The Drifters

The song, I'll Take You Home is the antithesis of that one. We’re at the dance, but this time she’s gone off with someone else. Not deterred, our hero spies a likely substitute and the rest is history (we assume).

♫ The Drifters - I'll Take You Home

WILLY DEVILLE formed a number of bands before he settled on Mink DeVille in San Francisco.

Willy DeVille

Although rather successful there, it wasn’t until they went to New York and played at CBGBs, mostly a punk venue, that they first came to general notice. Later, Willy went out on his own and settled in New Orleans, which I think was his natural musical home.

From his days in Mink DeVille here is Just to Walk That Little Girl Home.

♫ Willy DeVille - Just to Walk That Little Girl Home

I thought that Take Me Home, Country Roads should be present, and I expect most would agree with me. A point of contention might arise when I say that I’m not playing John Denver. The version I like is by TOOTS HIBBERT.

Toots Hibbert

Home has shifted from West Virginia to West Jamaica. Of course, it all depends on where home is.

♫ Toots Hibbert - Take Me Home Country Roads

THE IMPALAS were a late fifties Doowop group from Brooklyn.

The Impalas

They had a couple of minor hits and one big one for which they are still remembered. That song is Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home). I really liked this as a young person, and I still do.

♫ The Impalas - Sorry (I Ran All The Way Home)

From her first solo album, MARIA MULDAUR gives us My Tennessee Mountain Home.

Maria Muldaur

If you’re looking for this album, and I recommend most highly that you do if you don’t have it already, it has the unremarkable name “Maria Muldaur”. The song was written by Dolly Parton, but I think Maria does it better.

♫ Maria Muldaur - My Tennessee Mountain Home

Here is the oldest song in the column. I wondered if I should include it here or put it in one of the other “Home” columns. In the end I went with inertia because it was already set up here. I give you JOHNNIE RAY.

Johnnie Ray

Johnnie is definitely the outlier here, but he really did point the way to the music we have today. His song is one of his most famous, Walking My Baby Back Home.

♫ Johnnie Ray - Walking My Baby Back Home

There’s a full tilt rock & roll version of Home Before Dark by TOM RUSSELL on his album “Road To Bayamon”. He later recorded a more interesting, gentler version on an album with BARRENCE WHITFIELD, and that’s the one I’m going with.

Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield

Tom and Barrence have recorded two wonderful albums together (so far – I hope there’ll be more of them). The one from which this song is taken is called “Cowboy Mambo”. I can’t recommend this album highly enough.

♫ Tom Russell & Barrence Whitfield - Home Before Dark

One of the best songs (and that is a big call) that SAM COOKE recorded is Bring It on Home to Me.

Sam Cooke

It has been covered by many singers, but no one beats Sam.

♫ Sam Cooke - Bring It on Home to Me

I thought I’d end with someone who sings like a girl and sings like a frog. Those who know of whom I speak will expect CLARENCE ''FROGMAN'' HENRY, and they’d be correct.

Clarence Frogman Henry

When we were in New Orleans we walked past (and stopped outside) Clarence’s club, hoping he was there performing. Alas, not so. There’s still a chance if we’re ever back there. He sings Ain't Got No Home.

♫ Clarence ''Frogman'' Henry - Ain't Got No Home

I’ll take you home again next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Playing For Change

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.

* * *

Something a little different today.

PLAYING FOR CHANGE is a movement designed to connect people all over the world through the medium of music. They have organised dozens, maybe hundreds, of people throughout the world to perform, and have filmed and recorded them and put the results on Youtube and their own website.

These are wonderful and I have some of the ones I like best for you today. After seeing the results, I marvel at the editing job someone has done to create these videos.

I had originally selected twice as many as finally made the cut. Any of the omitted ones would have been worthy of inclusion, but I had to be brutal. The whole series is worth searching out – it’s quite easy, and I have included links for you at the bottom of this post.

There are several artists who appear in quite a few of these songs: Roberto, Grandpa, Chaz, Keiko, Mermans. I had fun looking out for the regulars.

My goodness, these are terrific.

Ripple was the first of the Playing for Change songs I discovered. I was a little apprehensive before I played it as I thought the song was the finest moment for the Grateful Dead on record (they weren’t much of a recording band, only two studio albums that are worth more than one or two listens. They were an excellent live band, however).

I was pleasantly surprised at its quality when I played it. There are a few famous musicians along for the ride – it was fun spotting them all. The song was written by regular Dead songwriters, Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter.

La Bamba is a Mexican folk song, originally from Veracruz. It was made famous in the English speaking world when Ritchie Valens had a (posthumous) hit with the song. Many have recorded it over the years, including Los Lobos, a couple of whose members are featured.

Rivers of Babylon is a little different from the other songs today, as there are only three players (Rocky Dawuni, Mermans Mosengo and Jason Tamba with some unseen backup musicians).

It was written and performed originally by the Jamaican group The Melodians, and it was featured prominently in the fine film The Harder They Come.

I imagine you all know this one (sorry about that). It was John Lennon’s most famous and popular song he wrote and performed as a solo performer. John gets a piece of the action in this video.

Bombino (Omara Moctar) is a singer, songwriter and guitarist from Niger. His song translates to “I greet my country”, and he wrote it after being exiled from his country for years after extremists and the country’s leaders (they overlap) tried to ban the guitar (and probably music as well).

Bombino features prominently in the clip which will certainly get your toes a’tapping.

Dock of the Bay was the last song Otis Redding recorded and was a big hit for him, alas, after he died. He wrote the song with his guitarist Steve Cropper, also a member of Booker T and the MGs.

Today’s version was recorded to celebrate 50 years since the original (50 years! Where does the time go?) Included in the clip are Otis’s two sons.

What’s Going On was the name of a song from the album of the same name. It was recorded by Marvin Gaye and was written by Al Cleveland who first sent it to The Four Tops, but they turned it down.

The album turned into a concept album, a song cycle, the first of its kind on Motown Records. Berry Gordy, head of Motown, hated it and didn’t want to release it. It eventually saw light of day and was an immediate critical and popular success that eventually sold squillions.

The song Congo to the Mississippi probably sums up what Playing for Change is all about better than any. It was written by Mermans Mosengo and Greg Johnson. The song is aptly named, as you’ll see.

This isn’t the rather sappy Bobby McFerrin song that was a huge hit some time ago. This one was written by Pierre Minetti especially for the Playing for Change project. Pierre kicks the song off in fine form.

Everyday People was written by Sly Stone and first recorded by Sly and the Family Stone. It’s been covered by a whole bunch of people over the years. Its message fits perfectly with the aims of Playing for Change.

You will notice several famous musicians along the way as well as a few famous non-musicians.

Redemption Song, written by Bob Marley, was released on his album “Uprising”. Bob wrote it after he’d been diagnosed with the cancer that eventually killed him. On the original, Bob sang and played with just an acoustic guitar. He appears in this clip as does as one of his sons, Stephen.

Robbie Robertson wrote The Weight and it was on The Band’s first album “Music From Big Pink”. It was his most Bob Dylan-like song. Robbie is present on this video along with a drummer who looks vaguely familiar.

If you want to find out more about Playing For Change, you can do that at their website. 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: Classical Whatnot 1

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

I checked “whatnot” in the Macquarie dictionary, the official dictionary of Australian English. The first definition was shelves for bric-a-brac. That’s not very appropriate. The second: anything; no matter what; what you please. Now we’re getting somewhere. That will do me.

The third I thought I’d gloss over, but in the interest of honesty, it said: an insignificant or unspecified article. People who don’t like my insignificant articles might go with that one.

So, on with the whatnot...

We’ll ease gently into the column with my favourite 12th century nun, HILDEGARD of Bingen.


Hildegard was an author, counsellor, linguist, naturalist, scientist, philosopher, physician, herbalist and poet. She was the head nun at the nun shop where she worked. She also wrote music, quite a lot of it.

A series she wrote called Voice of the Blood documents recounts the legend of the slaughter of Saint Ursula and her 11,000 virgin companions (where did they find them all?) by barbarian soldiers.

In spite of the grim topic, the music is gorgeous. From that set here is Cum Vox Sanguinis.

♫ Hildegard - Cum Vox Sanguinis

There are quite a few instances of brothers who are composers; and even some brothers and sisters who both wrote music. Here is a pair of brothers I wasn’t aware of until recently and they are the Jadin brothers.

They were both born in Versailles in the latter end of the 18th century. Their uncle was also a composer and their father played bassoon in the Royal Orchestra. They had three other brothers who were also musical, but none of their compositions survive as far as we know.

LOUIS-EMMANUEL JADIN was the older brother.


He was a French composer, pianist and harpsichordist, and he wrote about 40 operas, orchestral works and some chamber music. One of those from the last genre is his Sonata for Piano & Flute in G major, Op. 13 No. 1, the first movement.

♫ Jadin L-E - Sonata for Piano & Flute in G major Op. 13 No. 1 (1)

HYACINTHE JADIN was the younger sibling, and in spite of his name, was a bloke.

Hyacinthe Jadin

I find his music more appealing than Louis-Emmanuel’s but they are both worth a listen. Hy wrote a surprising amount of music, some for orchestra, quite a lot for piano in various settings and much chamber music, especially quartets and trios.

I say surprising because he died when he was only 24 (from tuberculosis). In keeping with his penchant for chamber music, here is the fourth movement of his String Quartet in F- Minor, Op. 1, No. 3.

♫ Jadin H - String Quartet in F- Minor Op. 1 No. 3 (4)

Speaking of siblings, MICHAEL HAYDN doesn’t get a lot of airplay these days, almost certainly due to the prevalence of his big brother.

Michael Haydn

Mike spent more than 40 years as Kapellmeister (a fancy word for someone in charge of music making) in Salzburg, which left him free to compose and play music. He was later offered a job by the Esterházy family after his big brother had left that job. He advised him against taking it.

Here is the third movement of his Trombone Concerto in D Major\Trombone Concerto in D Major.

♫ Haydn M - Trombone Concerto in D Major (3)

FRÉDÉRIC CHOPIN was Polish by birth and French by inclination.


He left Poland at the age of 20 and lived the rest of his life in Paris. That wasn’t all that long as he died at the age of 39. He was always a sickly person and gave few concerts in the last half of his life.

He wrote a bunch of stuff, though, all of which featured the piano in one way or another. One of those is his Prelude in D-flat major Op. 28 No. 15, called 'Raindrop'.

♫ Chopin - Prelude Op. 28 No. 15 in D flat major

Since I’ve been writing these classical columns I have found that a considerable number of composers can be described as polymaths, Hildegard for one. Another was WILLIAM HERSCHEL, originally from Hanover but he spent most of his life in England.

William Herschel

Given my interest in such things, I’ve always associated Will with physics, and in particular astronomy. He was the one who discovered the planet Uranus after all. He was a skillful telescope maker which helped. He also studied biology, and he was the first to determine that coral wasn’t a plant (he made his own microscopes too).

However, and you can see this coming, he was also quite a fine composer as well as playing the oboe, violin, harpsichord and organ. He wrote a couple of dozen symphonies, a dozen or more concertos, sonatas and various other things.

One of those symphonies is his Symphony No. 13 in D major, the first movement. He features flutes in this one.

♫ Herschel - Symphony No. 13 in D major (1)

LUIGI GATTI was born in Lazise, not too far from Verona in what is now Italy.

Luigi Gatti

He was the son of an organist and later was ordained as a priest, although he spent most of his time performing and writing music. He applied for, and received, the job as Kapellmeister in Salzburg, the same position that Michael Haydn held later.

This rather miffed Mozart’s dad, Leopold, as he wanted that job. Later on Luigi healed the rift with the Mozart family and became friends with Nannerl, Wolfgang’s sister, and helped her locate several previously unknown compositions by the great man.

Luigi wrote mostly concertos and chamber works. In that latter category, here is the third movement of his Quartet in C Major for Oboe, Violin, Viola and Cello.

♫ Gatti - Quartet in C Major for Oboe Violin Viola and Cello (3)

PIERRE RODE was a French composer and violinist.

Pierre Rode

He was born in Bordeaux and then moved to Paris for lessons from the great teacher (and composer) Giovanni Viotti, who was so taken by Pierre’s playing, he didn’t charge him for the lessons.

Pierre later became Napoleon’s violin soloist (I didn’t realise he had one until I did my research). Later he toured extensively throughout Europe, Britain and Russia. Beethoven was so impressed with his skills he wrote a violin sonata for him.

As you might expect, Pierre wrote a lot of music for the violin, including this one: his Violin Concerto No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 8, the third movement.

♫ Rode - Violin Concerto No. 6 in B flat major Op. 8 (3)

Speaking of siblings, which we were above, here is the big brother of Michal Haydn, JOSEPH HAYDN.

Joseph Haydn

In my opinion, Jo is one of the four most important composers in history; he was instrumental (sorry) in the development of several genres of music, most of which he invented himself.

One such is the keyboard trio, and here is one, the third movement of his Keyboard Trio No. 32 in A major, the third movement.

♫ Haydn J - Keyboard Trio No. 32 in A major (3)

We opened with a nun, it’s only appropriate that we close with a priest, the red priest himself, ANTONIO VIVALDI.

Antonio Vivaldi

He was called that because he had red hair, not for any political leanings. He also didn’t do very much priesting. He claimed to be asthmatic (I can believe that, as I am as well; I also used to be red headed too) so he didn’t like all the incense and other stuff he had to deal with.

That left him with writing music for the girls’ school for which he was employed. Those girls were pretty talented based on the music he wrote for them, and boy did he write a lot of stuff. One of those is the Violin Concerto No. 12 Op. 3 in E major RV265. This is the first movement.

♫ Vivaldi - Concerto No. 12 Op. 3 in E major RV265 (1)

ELDER MUSIC: Mexico is Different Like the Travel Folder Says

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.

* * *

Mexican Flag

Mexico has featured in quite a lot of songs. That’s not too surprising considering that the country borders Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, all of which harbor very talented songwriters. Some of those will appear today.

Of course, Belize and Guatemala also border Mexico, but their songwriters are less well known, at least in the English speaking world.

Had the album “Waitress in a Donut Shop” been MARIA MULDAUR’s first solo album everyone would have raved about how good it was. Justifiably so.

However, her first was an eponymous album that is one of the finest ever recorded, so anything that followed that one was certain to be downgraded. It’s time to lift up that second one and give it the kudos it deserves.

Maria Muldaur

From that one we have Gringo en Mexico.

♫ Maria Muldaur - Gringo en Mexico

Here’s just another band from East L.A., as they like to call themselves – LOS LOBOS.

Los Lobos

Much of their music is Mexican in origin or very much influenced by the music of that country. Their song references both their antecedents and the country in which they live: Mexico Americano.

♫ Los Lobos - Mexico Americano

When I was first selecting songs for this column, I chose a bunch and let them roll. When this next one came up, after a single line I knew it had to be present.

The harmony vocals were gorgeous. I wondered who they were and checked it. It was JANN BROWNE, sometime lead singer for Asleep at the Wheel, and EMMYLOU HARRIS (no more needs to be said).

Jann Browne & Emmylou Harris

They perform a song written by Jann along with Pat Gallagher and Roger Stebner. It’s called Mexican Wind.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Mexican Wind

It’s understandable that Americans would write about Mexico, but it’s not so obvious that an Australian would do so. After all, it’s a long way away, and it’s not just a matter of hopping in the car and driving down there.

One of my countrymen, however, seems to be the expert on writing songs about the country, some of the best around really. That person is KEVIN JOHNSON.

Kevin Johnson

I like films (and songs) with an enigmatic ending, and this is one of those: Grab the Money and Run.

♫ Kevin Johnson - Grab The Money And Run

This next song was a really difficult choice for me, not the song itself, it was an automatic inclusion. The choice was which version to include. Normally, I’d go with the writer, and he was one of the two about whom I was tossing and turning.

He is Ian Tyson. However, for once I’ve gone for a cover version. It’s not too surprising that I’ve gone with my musical crush, JENNIFER WARNES.

Jennifer Warnes

If anyone can equal a performance of Ian’s, it’s Jennifer. Here she sings Blue Mountains of Mexico.

♫ Jennifer Warnes - Blue Mountains Of Mexico

Here’s a group I bet you haven’t thought about for some considerable time - KATRINA AND THE WAVES.

Katrina & the Waves

Katrina is an American who found fame in Britain in the eighties, particularly with the song Walking on Sunshine. One song that didn’t get much airplay is simply called Mexico.

♫ Katrina and the Waves - Mexico

It’s not too surprising that MARTY ROBBINS would be present.

Marty Robbins

After all, if you listen to some of his biggest hits they sound as if they were recorded in Mexico. They weren’t of course, but he was really fond of Mariachi trumpets in many of his songs, including this one, Bound for Old Mexico.

♫ Marty Robbins - Bound for Old Mexico

The song Mexican Divorce was written by Burt Bacharach and Bob Hilliard. It was first recorded by The Drifters who did a fine job of singing it. It was later covered by Ry Cooder and later still by NICOLETTE LARSON.

Nicolette Larson

As good as the other versions are, I really like Nicolette’s and that’s the one we have today.

♫ Nicolette Larson - Mexican Divorce

DELBERT MCCLINTON has a story not too dissimilar to Kevin Johnson’s.

Delbert McClinton

Unfortunately for Delbert, it ended worse than it did for Kev. You can never tell the consequences of a falling out among thieves. Delbert goes (or at least he started to go) Down Into Mexico.

♫ Delbert McClinton - Down Into Mexico

Back in the late seventies, STEVE FORBERT was touted as the next big thing, the new Bob Dylan (there was a bit of that at the time).

Steve Forbert

That didn’t eventuate, not through lack of talent; Steve has that in spades. It was due to management issues and disagreements with his record company that prevented him from recording for many years.

He performed during that time and has been recording again for the last couple of decades. His song is Mexico, a different song from Katrina’s.

♫ Steve Forbert - Mexico

You were probably expecting this one, and I wouldn’t want to disappoint you. I’m talking about the song, rather than the singer. Enough waffle, here is the singing cowboy (or one of them), GENE AUTRY.

Gene Autry

Gene was the first of the famous singing cowboys – there were others before him but they didn’t catch on to any great extent. Of course, there was another who followed him, and he was Roy Rogers. However, here is Gene with South of the Border.

♫ Gene Autry - South Of The Border


Yes, finally - this is the final day of the TGB annual donation drive to help support the costs of maintaining Time Goes By. You can read the details on last Monday's post.

Whether you donate or not, nothing changes here. TGB will always remain advertising-free with never a membership fee or paid firewall. If you would like to help support the work that goes on here, click the button below. If not, which is perfectly fine, scroll down for Peter Tibbles's Sunday Elder Music column.

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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.

* * *

Dave Brubeck

DAVE BRUBECK probably did more than any other musician, except Louis Armstrong, to bring jazz to the notice of the general public.

Dave was destined to be a cattle rancher like his father, but his mother, a piano teacher, taught him (and his brothers) to play piano. He went to college to study veterinary science but switched to music.

The war intervened, he was drafted and after hearing him play, the bigwigs in the army ordered him to start a band. Around about then he met his long-time band member Paul Desmond.

There’s a lot more to his background than I have room to cover. He eventually started his famous quartet with Paul on alto sax, Eugene Wright on bass and Joe Morello on drums. Let’s hear them.

I’ll start with something from an album with which you might be familiar. It’s the follow up to his most famous album. When you’re on a good thing, I think was Dave’s thought process.

The album is “Time Further Out”, and the tune is It's a Raggy Waltz, in the not too unusual time signature of 3/4 time.

♫ It's a Raggy Waltz

Brubeck & Desmond

Besides their being half the quartet, Dave and Paul Desmond recorded some albums as a duo. One of those was called, rather unimaginatively, “Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond ~ The Duets”. From that we have a tune you’ll all know, one of the most recorded ever: Stardust.

♫ Stardust

Dave Brubeck

The quartet went into middle-of-the-road territory with the album “Angel Eyes”. Of course, their middle-of-the-road is far superior to most who perform this style of music.

On this album they play other people’s tunes. I think they should stick to their own as they are far more innovative and interesting. However, this isn’t bad for late night listening in front of the fire (or air conditioner), glass of wine in hand, and other things nearby. Here is Angel Eyes.

♫ Angel Eyes

JIMMY RUSHING was a long time singer in the Count Basie orchestra.

Brubeck & Rushing

He had a wide range in his vocals and could sing tenor all the way down to baritone. He could also sing the blues with the best of them. He teamed up with the Dave Brubeck Quartet to record an album called “Brubeck & Rushing”, and from that one we have the old Fats Waller song Ain't Misbehavin'.

♫ Ain't Misbehavin'

Here is Dave on his own playing his own music from an album prosaically titled “Brubeck Plays Brubeck”. The tune is called When I Was Young.

♫ When I Was Young

Brubeck & Mulligan

The quartet that played at the Berlin Philharmonie in 1970 wasn’t his usual quartet. This one consisted of the great baritone saxophonist GERRY MULLIGAN along with Alan Dawson on drums and Jack Six on bass.

The song I’ve selected from that concert is the old Limehouse Blues. As is obvious, this is a live recording which features Gerry quite prominently. Of course, there’s also quite a bit of fine piano playing by Dave.

♫ Limehouse Blues

Dave Brubeck

The next is included for my friend Ann, it’s her favourite song. It’s another nice gentle-by-the-fire sort of tune - one you all know, Georgia on My Mind.

♫ Georgia on My Mind

Here is another vocal track, there aren’t too many of these, and what a vocalist he has: TONY BENNETT.

Tony Bennett     & Dave Brubeck

Dave and Tony were invited to the White House back in 1962. This was when there was a real president in residence. Their concert was recorded and I decided to go with Tony’s most famous song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco.

♫ Tony Bennett & Dave Brubeck - I Left My Heart In San Francisco (Live)

A further example of when you’re on a good thing, something else from “Time Further Out”. From that album we have Unsquare Dance, in 7/4 time.

♫ Unsquare Dance

Dave Brubeck

Dave and the quartet recorded several albums called Jazz Impressions of… Fill in the dots with various places. One of those places, and the most successful of this series, is “Jazz Impressions of New York”. From that we get Autumn in Washington Square.

♫ Autumn in Washington Square

DaveBrubeck~Time Out

You knew this one had to be present, so I won’t disappoint you. Take Five started as a drum vamp by Joe, but Paul took it on board and the following day came up with the finished tune.

In keeping with the album, his is in 5/4 time, thus the name. In his will, he died in 1977, Paul left the royalties for the tune to the Red Cross and they have received in the region of a hundred grand each year since then.

♫ Take Five

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Rome

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.

* * *


All roads lead to Rome; when in Rome do as the Romans do; Rome wasn’t built in a day (but it was burned down in one – sorry that’s my own addition).

There are so many sayings about the Eternal City that I could keep spouting them, but you’d be bored and turn away. So, let’s just have some songs about Rome.

Probably due to the film Three Coins in a Fountain, the fountains of Rome, particularly the Trevi fountain which is the focus of the film, have amassed a considerable amount of loot. This is good for the local kids and others who like to grab all those coins.

The song was sung (uncredited) in the film by Frank Sinatra who had a big hit with it. For something different I’ve decided to use the instrumental version by the VINCE GUARALDI TRIO.

Vince Guaraldi

Vince was a jazz pianist who had a few mainstream hits in the sixties most notably, as far as I’m concerned, was Cast Your Fate to the Wind. We’ll leave that one for another day, and play Three Coins in a Fountain.

♫ Vince Guaraldi Trio - Three Coins In A Fountain

You probably expected DEAN MARTIN to be present, so I won’t disappoint you.

Dean Martin

There were several contenders for him, but it was a matter of who else had recorded them so we could have a variety of artists. With that in mind I chose On an Evening in Roma (Sott'er Celo de Roma).

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

Another likely suspect is MARIO LANZA.

Mario Lanza

He performs the definitely-must-be-present song, Arrivederci Roma. There were many choices for this one, mostly by the artists who are present today singing something else. Mario gives it the full treatment.

♫ Mario Lanza - Arrivederci Roma

Now we have several songs by people who obviously read my opening remarks. The first of these is SAM COOKE.

Sam Cooke

Sam tells us that Rome (Wasn't Built in a Day). I don’t know why he used the parentheses, but it was quite the thing to do back when he was recording. It doesn’t matter; this is Sam who could make anything sound good.

♫ Sam Cooke - Rome (Wasn't Built in a Day)

GLENN CARDIER decided to take the same tack – same title, different song.

Glenn Cardier

He eschews the parentheses and calls it Rome Wasn't Built in a Day. This is an unusual version from Glenn who usually plays guitar, often a National steel one. Indeed, he reminds me somewhat of Tom Waits on this.

♫ Glenn Cardier - Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

As if we didn’t know by now, we have NICK LOWE to belabor the point.

Nick Lowe

Yet another song with the same name. There could be a column in that (light bulb moment). Nick sounds as if he’s just sitting in the room with us playing his guitar. A very intimate version of Rome Wasn't Built in a Day.

♫ Nick Lowe - Rome Wasn't Built In A Day

From late in his career, here is ELVIS in full operatic mode. There must be something about Rome that causes singers to do that (Nick Lowe excluded).

Elvis Presley

The song of his, and it’s not one I was familiar with until it came up on my search, is Heart of Rome.

♫ Elvis Presley - Heart Of Rome

It’s not too surprising that TONY BENNETT is present, as he’s sung a lot of songs in his career.

Tony Bennett & Bill Evans

He has the help of the great BILL EVANS playing piano. I prefer Tony with a stripped back arrangement as we have here and he became an automatic inclusive when I heard this fine version. The song is When in Rome, another of our opening clichés.

♫ Tony Bennett & Bill Evans - When In Rome

Autumn in Rome was another popular song, yet another selection process. This time it is JOHNNY MATHIS who got the nod.

Johnny Mathis

There are several good versions of this song, the one that nearly made the cut is by Peggy Lee. However, on reflection, I liked Johnny’s just a bit more.

♫ Johnny Mathis - Autumn in Rome

Bob Dylan wrote one of the finest songs about the city, and THE BAND improved on Bob’s version.

The Band

Some might say that that’s not too surprising. The song is from what critics called a lesser album for the group. Of course, a lesser Band album is the equal of most others’ best work. From the album “Cahoots”, here is When I Paint My Masterpiece.

♫ The Band - When I Paint My Masterpiece

Among classical composers, OTTORINO RESPIGHI stands out as one who really loved Rome.


Although he was from Bologna, Otto seemed to have an inordinate fondness for the city (he's probably not alone in that), witness his tone poems The Fountains of Rome, The Pines of Rome and Roman Festival.

I’ll go with the fountains, and the composition Fountains of Rome - The Fountain of Valle Giulia at Dawn.

Respighi - Fountains of Rome - The Fountain of Valle Giulia at Dawn

ELDER MUSIC: Classical Predilections 9

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’s some more music to tickle your fancy as my fancy has been already tickled.

Let’s start the ball rolling with one of my all time favorites, JOSEPH HAYDN.


If you’re going to play a string quartet, which I am – well, my hands don’t hold any instruments, I’m just the D.J. – Joe is your man as he invented it. One of those is his String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op.71 No.1, the fourth movement.

Haydn - ♫ String Quartet in B-flat Major Op.71 No.1 (4)

For a change of pace, and going back quite a few years, we find along the way GIUSEPPE TARTINI.


His name always struck me as being a good name for an Italian ice cream, but that is not the case (as far as I know). No, he was a Baroque composer from the then Republic of Venice, and he was from the part of it that now is Slovenia.

He was most noted as a violin player and composer for that instrument. However, I’m going for something different, his Trumpet Concerto in D major, D. 53, the third movement.

♫ Tartini - Trumpet Concerto in D Major D. 53 (3)

FREDERICK SEPTIMUS KELLY was an Australian composer of the early 20th century.

Frederick Septimus Kelly

He won a musical scholarship to Oxford University where he was also on the rowing team. Unfortunately, the first world war (it wasn’t called that at the time) intervened. He took part in the ill-advised Gallipoli campaign, where he was wounded and wrote music during his down time.

He later was part of Battle of the Somme where he died. He was one of a dozen composers who were killed in that battle. What a waste, not just the composers but everyone in that war. It was totally unnecessary.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, here is the fifth movement, a jig, from his Serenade for flute, harp, horn and strings.

♫ Kelly - Serenade for flute harp horn and strings (5)

ALEXANDER SCRIABIN was one of the first composers to write atonal music, thus it was very improbable that I would include him in one of my columns.


Indeed, it’s improbable that I would bother listening to his music at all. However, early the other morning I was lying in bed when the announcer on the radio said he was going to play some music of his.

I was snug under the covers and didn’t want to get my arm out to switch off the radio or turn it down. Well, knock me over with a feather, or some such expression, I found the piece to be quite enjoyable.

I checked the intertube and found that he was initially influenced by Chopin and wrote music in that style before he switched to what he was most famous for. Here is his Etude Op.2 No 1 played by the inimitable Valdimir Horowitz.

♫ Scriabin - Etude Op.2 No.1

Here is the only violin concerto composed by ROBERT SCHUMANN, and therein lies a tale.


He composed this towards the end of his life for his good friend, the violinist Joseph Joachim. Joe didn’t perform the concerto as he thought that Bob had gone completely bonkers and it was unplayable.

He convinced Clara, Bob’s wife, and his good friend Johannes Brahms (who may have had a bit of a thing for Clara, but we won’t go there) that that was the case.

There was some justification for this as Bob had already (seemingly) attempted suicide and he was subsequently banged up in a sanatorium where he died. It was decided (mostly by Joachim) that the concerto was not to be performed until 100 years after Bob’s death. That would be in 1956.

However, in 1933 his great-nieces, Jelly d'Arányi and Adila Fachiri, who were violinists and also apparently somewhat bonkers themselves, held a séance and decided that it was alright to perform it early, so they did.

Anyway, in spite of all that carry on, the concerto is well worth a listen. Here is Violin Concerto in D minor, WoO 23, the second movement.

Schumann - Violin Concerto in D minor WoO 23 (2)

J.S. BACH is well known for his cantatas, he wrote scads of them.


Many of those were for particular days on the religious calendar, but his cantata BWV 51 was designated “for general use”, that is they could slot it in any time they liked, just as a filler I suppose.

The cantata was named Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen which is something along the lines of Shout for joy in God in every land. It is his only cantata scored for trumpet and soprano. From that one we have Elizabeth Watts singing the first aria.

♫ Bach JS - Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen! BWV 51

VINCENZO BELLINI is most noted as an opera composer and most especially the opera “Norma”, but many others as well.


However, there were more strings to his composing bow than just opera. His focus of study was on the works of Haydn and Mozart and that shows in this work, the Oboe Concerto in E-Flat Major, the second movement.

♫ Bellini - Oboe Concerto in E-Flat Major (2)

There are some instruments where it’s problematic for them to be played in a concerto setting. That’s because they are quite soft and the full orchestra tends to drown them out. One of those instruments is the harp.

However, in spite of what I just said, there are harp concertos. One of those is by JOHANN WILHELM HERTEL.


Jo was from a family of composers and musicians, his father and grandfather were both composers of some note. Getting back to the concerto, I notice that when the harp is playing, most of the orchestra stops, there are just a couple of instruments accompanying it.

You can hear that his Harp Concerto in F-major, the first movement.

♫ Hertel JW - Harp Concerto in F-major (1)

At one time in Vienna WOLFGANG MOZART had a violin sonata commissioned to be played in a few days.


He had completed the violin part but had only a few rough ideas about the piano section. Comes the day and that was still the status of the work, so he decided to play the piano himself.

He put a blank sheet of paper in front of him and improvised the whole thing. His wife Constanze reported that Emperor Joseph II, who was present, sent for Wolfie and his score (he’d apparently seen the empty sheet through his opera glasses). Joe thought it was a great joke.

Here is the first movement of his Violin Sonata No 32 in B flat major K454.

♫ Mozart - Violin Sonata D major (1)

I’m not a big fan of JOHANNES BRAHMS but every now and then I find a piece of his music that pricks up my ears.


Some people compare Brahms’ symphonies with those of Beethoven. I suggest that some people should have their ears cleared out.

Anyway, enough ranting, and in spite of what I said, I’m going to play part of a Brahms symphony, the third movement of his Symphony No. 3 in F major, Op. 90. This one is pretty good.

♫ Brahms - Symphony No. 3 in F Major Op. 90 (3)

ELDER MUSIC: Introductions

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.

* * *

This column is about songs with introductions that most of us didn’t realise had such introductions. Given that, they are mostly pretty old songs, and the versions are just about as old.

Anything Goes is a famous song written by COLE PORTER.

Cole Porter

Most of us wouldn’t have heard the introduction before; I suspect that Cole is the only one who recorded it. I think this is the original version of the song, as there are references in it that I haven’t heard before, some of which are a little dated.

Anyway, here is the way Cole imagined his song originally.

♫ Cole Porter - Anything Goes

The song Love Letters in the Sand is mostly associated in my brain with Pat Boone. However, he didn’t sing the introduction. I could only find two versions of the song where someone did.

One I eschewed, even though it was the better one, because I’m using him for another song, and including his version in another column - pickings are slim in the category so I had to shuffle things around. I ended up with GENE AUSTIN who recorded it in 1931. It was the original version.

Gene Austin

Gene started in Vaudeville as the result of a dare. He later became one of the first crooners. He was also an early champion of Fats Waller, and besides that wrote numerous songs that entered the canon and are still sung today.

This isn’t one of them, it was written by Fred Coots and Nick and Charles Kenny.

♫ Gene Austin - Love Letters in the Sand

Not only did the song Are You Lonesome Tonight originally have an introduction, it also had an extra verse that those familiar with the more famous versions by Elvis and Al Jolson lack. Also, besides losing things, they added that talkie bit in the middle of the song that’s not in the original.

When I say original, I mean it. This is the original recording by CHARLES HART.

Charles Hart

He recorded this back in 1927, and I notice that he really likes rolling his R’s.

♫ Charles Hart - Are You Lonesome Tonight

Like the previous song, this one not only has an introduction, after all, that’s why we’re here, but it also has an extra verse, or perhaps a bridge, that I’ve not heard in elsewhere. This one is by the BOSWELL SISTERS.

Boswell Sisters

This is the only one where I heard the intro. Even Fats Waller, who as far as I can tell, recorded it first, omits the intro and extra verse. Maybe the Boswells were the only one would record the complete song.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, it’s I'm Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.

♫ Boswell Sisters - I'm Going To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

I could have included several songs by FRANKIE LAINE from an album he recorded with Michel Legrand.

Frankie Laine & Michel Legrand

It was a matter of which one that no one else had done. The song I chose is Blue Moon. Years ago I had a column with different versions of that song, so I went back and found none of those had an introduction. Indeed, apart from Frankie’s I couldn’t find another one that did, that’s why he’s included.

♫ Frankie Laine - Blue Moon

I imagine that some of you might be wondering why I included the next song. I know that Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, is one such. The song is one of my guilty pleasures, so it stays. The song is sung by NICK LUCAS as part of the Nick Lucas Troubadours.

Nick Lucas

If you’re wondering what the song is after that introduction (sorry), think Tiny Tim. Yes, you’ve all won a koala stamp for knowing Tip-Toe Thru the Tulips With Me.

♫ Nick Lucas Troubadours - Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me

Back in 1937, Harry Warren and Al Dupin wrote the song September in the Rain for the film “Melody for Two”. That song is only memorable for the song. In that film JAMES MELTON sang it as it was written.

James Melton1

Of course, since then it’s gone on to be a standard, not just for singers, but jazz instrumentalists as well. None of the later versions have the intro.

♫ James Melton - September in the Rain

Normally, I’d include Otis Redding, but he didn’t sing the introduction. I believe that he modeled his version on BING CROSBY’s.

Bing Crosby

I have to take his word on that as they’re as different as night and day. There were a couple of versions before Bing’s but if he’s in the mix, I’ll go with him. The song is Try a Little Tenderness.

♫ Bing Crosby - Try a Little Tenderness

The contribution by ETHEL WATERS not only contains a generally unsung introduction, she also performs extra verses or bridges or something that also don’t usually turn up in her song.

Ethel Waters

Ethel was the real deal, she could sing in pretty much any genre of music and appeared in quite a few films and was nominated for an Oscar for one of those. The song she sings in today’s category is Am I Blue, another I didn’t realise had that intro.

♫ Ethel Waters - Am I Blue

LES GILLIAM recites his intro, rather than singing it.

Les Gilliam

I don’t know if that counts in this category or not, however, it’s a country song so that’s acceptable in that genre of music. The song was a hit in the fifties for several artists, Les not being one that I remember performing it. The song of which I speak is The Shifting, Whispering Sands.

Les Gilliam - The Shifting Whispering Sands

Going way back, indeed to 1928, we have FRANKLYN BAUR.

Franklyn Baur

Back in the 1920s Frank made hundreds of records, sometimes under different names. He performed on radio and made the occasional film. His career declined in the 1930s and he died quite young.

From his heyday, in this case 1928, Frank sings Marie.

♫ Franklyn Baur - Marie

I’ll end with person who is responsible for this column. Well, not quite, that person is Ronni.

She was setting up a column that had LEON REDBONE in it, and noticed that the song had an introduction that generally wasn’t performed by others. We wondered how many other songs out there are like that, and if it could make a column.

Leon Redbone

As you can see, it certainly has. This isn’t the song in question; it’s another as I found that Leon performed several such songs. This one is My Melancholy Baby.

Leon Redbone - My Melancholy Baby

ELDER MUSIC: 1947 Again

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.

* * *

There was no categorising T-BONE WALKER.


He was a guitarist of great skill and he played in whatever style the song required – jazz, blues, even rock and roll later on. The song today, T-Bone Shuffle, is a standard blues song, but he brought in some elements of jazz to add even more interest.

♫ T-Bone Walker - T Bone Shuffle

In 1947, country music wasn’t as formulaic as it became later. This is especially evident in Bob Wills’s contribution down below. It’s also true of MERLE TRAVIS.


There are all sorts of musical types in this song, So Round So Firm So Fully Packed, a slogan taken from cigarette advertisement from the time. The song was written by Merle, along with Eddie Kirk and Cliffie Stone. Several other people had hits with the song over the years.

♫ Merle Travis - So Round So Firm So Fully Packed

I’ll continue in the vein of the previous song with HOAGY CARMICHAEL.

Hoagy Carmichael

Hoagy was not averse to writing and performing novelty songs, and this is a prime example, Huggin' and Chalkin'. He suggests you mark where you’re up to so you can carry on from there next time.

♫ Hoagy Carmichael - Huggin' and Chalkin'

BILL MONROE was a hugely influential musician.

Bill Monroe

Not just himself but for the others who passed through his band. In the song today, one of his most famous, we have guitarist Lester Flatt and banjo player Earl Scruggs. They later went on to form the Foggy Mountain Boys, and later made a name for themselves as just Flatt and Scruggs.

Today, they play and Bill sings Blue Moon of Kentucky. This song was on the very first record that Elvis released.

♫ Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys - Blue Moon Of Kentucky

You don’t usually associate COUNT BASIE with novelty records, but he did some of those.

Count Basie

One of them was Open the Door, Richard! It was recorded by a few people at the time and each version sold pretty well. It was written by several people and was originally a part of vaudeville routines by Pigmeat Markham, Dusty Fletcher and others.

Later, words were added and many people recorded it; the first to do so was Jack McVea. The Count had Harry "Sweets" Edison and Bill Johnson singing on this one. There’s some fine piano playing by the Count.

♫ Count Basie - Open The Door Richard

BOB WILLS’s music has a distinctive style: Tommy Duncan sang the words and Bob chatted away on top of him. I could have done without Bob’s contribution. At least his vocal contribution, he played the fiddle on these records.

Bob Wills

That’s Bob and Tommy in the picture. The song Sugar Moon was written by Bob and Cindy Walker. Cindy was a prolific songwriter, initially for Bob, but later for just about every country artist who needed a good song.

♫ Bob Wills - Sugar Moon

LIGHTNIN' HOPKINS was a singer, guitarist, songwriter and occasional piano player.

Lightnin' Hopkins

He was Houston's poet-in-residence for 35 years and, reputedly, recorded more albums than any other bluesman. He recorded the song Big Mama Jump at least twice (maybe more times), once with him playing piano, and the one we have today, playing the guitar.

♫ Lightnin' Hopkins - Big Mama Jump

EDDY ARNOLD was on a roll this year.

Eddy Arnold

His song I'll Hold You in My Heart was his third number one on the country charts and it crossed over to the pop charts. Indeed, it spent a remarkable 21 weeks at that position. I guess the smoothing out of country songs is not just a recent phenomenon, but Eddy does have a fine voice.

♫ Eddy Arnold - I'll Hold You In My Heart

The next song is attributed to JULIA LEE AND HER BOY FRIENDS. That’s them below.

Julia Lee

Julia was renowned for performing risqué songs, or as she put it, “the songs my mother taught me not to sing”. Sometimes it’s good not to follow your mum’s advice because she made quite a decent living from these. The one today is King Size Papa.

♫ Julia Lee - King Size Papa

To end this year, a pop song pretending to be a country song. Given the real ones above, I don’t know why they bothered. Maybe they thought it wouldn’t be played on the same program, and probably back then, it wasn’t. DOROTHY SHAY gives us her contribution.

Dorothy Shay

Dorothy was billed as the “Park Avenue Hillbilly” which probably explains the situation. The song she sings, her first and biggest hit, is Feudin' and Fightin'. I have to say that this song is quite catchy, and could become an earworm if you played it too often.

♫ Dorothy Shay - Feudin' And Fightin'

ELDER MUSIC: Ricky Nelson

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.

* * *

Ricky Nelson

RICKY NELSON had many advantages that most of the other first generation of rock and roll singers (and later ones as well) didn’t have. First off, he was good looking. Okay, quite a few of the others were as well.

He had a father in the business who knew the ropes, so Ricky wasn’t screwed over by record companies and managers as virtually all the others were, so he managed to keep his hard earned money.

He was on television every week so he kept his name and face prominent for many years, and he had the best lead guitarist around at the time – James Burton. He also had considerable singing talent and he wrote quite a few songs, something only a few of the others did.

Ricky was also a favorite of mine, so he’s the featured artist in the column today. It might be a bit boring if you’re not a hard core Ricky fan. Most of the songs are from early in his career.

I’ll kick off with It's Late. This was written by Dorsey Burnette. The song did pretty well for him all over the world. Okay, you can say that about most of the songs I’ve included today.

♫ It's Late


Keeping the songwriting in the family, the next one, Just a Little Too Much, was written by Johnny Burnette, Dorsey’s brother. They both had decent performing careers of their own, together in the Rock & Roll Trio, and separately under their own names.

♫ Just a Little Too Much


Probably the best known of Ricky’s songs is Hello Mary Lou. This was the B-side of a 45 that had Travelin’ Man on the obverse. It was a double sided smash. The record has some particularly fine guitar playing by James Burton.

♫ Hello Mary Lou


One of my earliest purchases (or gifts) was the single Never Be Anyone Else But You. It was about the time I left my small country town for the big smoke and I was leaving my girl friend behind. Oh well, we both got over that.

♫ Never Be Anyone Else But You


Be-Bop Baby was written by Pearl Lendhurst for Ricky. Ricky’s output to this time was mostly ballads, so he wanted to show that he could rock as well. The guitar player wasn’t James, but Joe Maphis, which was unusual for his records at the time.

♫ Be-Bop Baby

Sharon Sheeley wrote the song Poor Little Fool when she was only 15. She managed to get Ricky to listen to it and record the song and it became a number one hit for him.

Sharon went on to have a career in songwriting for such people as Glen Campbell, Brenda Lee and most especially Eddie Cochrane, to whom she was engaged until his death in a car accident.

♫ Poor Little Fool


Although the next song references the film Rio Bravo, it didn’t actually appear in it. Ricky did though, as one of the main characters named Colorado, also mentioned in the song.

He and Dean Martin sang a couple of songs in the film though. The tune I’m talking about is called Restless Kid. It sounds like a Johnny Cash song, and it’ll come as no surprise that he wrote it.

♫ Restless Kid


In 1971, Ricky performed at a rock & roll revival concert with Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and others. As he recounts in his song, he sang his hits but also performed new music which upset the audience who didn’t want to see their favorites evolve.

One reference in his song about the concert that evaded me until recently is “Mr Hughes”. He was a neighbor and good friend of Ricky’s: George Harrison. The song is Garden Party.

♫ Garden Party


A single I had as a kid is Ricky’s cover of the Hank Williams song, I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You). I didn’t buy it for the song, it was the flip side of the one I wanted – I think that was Just a Little Too Much, but I could be wrong.

It was also on the album “Ricky Sings Again”, which I also later had. It’s one of my favorite Hank songs, and I think that Ricky does it really well. He has the Jordanires helping him with the singing.

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


On a visit to Australia he heard Mike McClellan sing his song, Rock and Roll Lady. Ricky was so impressed that he recorded it as soon as he returned home. Alas, that was shortly before he died so it didn’t get the exposure that it deserved.

Ricky’s version is really good, but Mike really nails it. You should seek it out (that’s easily done; it’s on one of my previous columns).

♫ Rock And Roll Lady

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Shel Silverstein

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.

* * *

Shel Silverstein

I mostly know SHEL SILVERSTEIN for the songs he wrote for Dr Hook, but there was more to him than that.

He was a cartoonist for Playboy, a children's songwriter, a writer of children's poetry and fiction, an adult fiction writer, playwright, journalist, adult songwriter (humorous and serious), singer, artist and general polymath.

The songs today were all written by Shel, and most of them were first recorded by Dr Hook, but we have other versions for most of them.

It seems that everything in the song Sylvia's Mother is completely true, except for Sylvia’s surname, changed not to protect the innocent but so the song scans better. I’ve seen interviews with both Sylvia and her mother and they confirm this.

Shel was so smitten with her that he didn’t ever marry. He later spent a considerable amount of time at the Playboy mansion and this might have helped him overcome his disappointment a little.

The most famous version of the song, the one that most of us know, is by DR HOOK & THE MEDICINE SHOW.

Dr Hook

This is their version of this tale of woe.

♫ Dr Hook - Sylvia's Mother

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan was first recorded by Dr Hook, but it was memorably sung by MARIANNE FAITHFULL on her extraordinary album “Broken English”.

Marianne Faithfull

This is a tough, gritty, no holds barred song, particularly Marianne’s interpretation. She was no longer the pretty waif-like dolly bird from the sixties who was involved with Mick Jagger for a while. She had indulged in the full sex, drugs and alcohol life of the clichéd rock singer and was just getting her life back together when she recorded this song and album.

♫ Marianne Faithfull - The Ballad of Lucy Jordan

Both Waylon Jennings and WILLIE NELSON have recorded the song A Couple More Years.

Willie Nelson

As you can see and will hear, I’ve gone for Willie’s version, for no reason except that I have Waylon performing another song.

♫ Willie Nelson - A Couple More Years

EMMYLOU HARRIS’s album, “Pieces of the Sky,” was a real beauty, but you could say that about most of her albums.

Emmylou Harris

This is the record that launched Emmy’s solo career and on it she performs Queen of the Silver Dollar, with a little help from Linda Ronstadt.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Queen of the Silver Dollar

HANK WILLIAMS JR has a reputation of living life to the edge and then going over. His records tend to reflect this.

Hank Williams Jr

However, he recorded an excellent album that was gentle and reflective that I think is his best (but I haven’t listened to all of them). It’s called “Hank Williams Jr and Friends”. Even people who don’t like country music should appreciate this one. From that album, here is On Susan's Floor.

♫ Hank Williams Jr - On Susan's Floor

LORETTA LYNN could easily have written One's on the Way as it seems to be about her life.

Loretta Lynn

She certainly wrote other songs about herself and people around her, so that’s not inconceivable. However, it’s one of Shel’s songs. Loretta certainly made it memorable and it remains one of her best known songs.

♫ Loretta Lynn - One's On The Way

Around about 1970, Mick Jagger starred in a film about Australia’s most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly. The film was dreadful. Shel wrote the soundtrack for the film which was performed by Kris Kristofferson and WAYLON JENNINGS.

Waylon1 Jennings

The music is far superior to the film (that wasn’t hard) and the song, Ned Kelly, appears early in the film and only touches a little of his early life.

There’s much more than appears here, culminating in his being hanged in Pentridge Prison, ordered by Redmond Barry, a judge who had a proclivity for hanging those who appeared before him.

♫ Waylon Jennings - Ned Kelly

Speaking of KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, here he is with a song he co-wrote with Shel.

Kris Kristofferson

From his fine second album, “The Silver Tongued Devil and I”, he sings The Taker, with some help from Joan Baez who was uncredited on the album.

♫ Kris Kristofferson - The Taker

Here is a song from out of left field, given all the others we have today. It’s sung by JUDY COLLINS.

Judy Collins

It’s about the aftermath of the Civil War, in particular the Battle of Shiloh or the Battle of Pittsburg Landing. It produced the largest number of casualties in the war to that point. Of course, this was later surpassed by other battles.

The song is In The Hills of Shiloh.

♫ Judy Collins - In The Hills Of Shiloh

There have been a couple of problematic songs today. I think it goes with the territory when Shel’s involved. However, I think TOMPALL GLASER takes the cake with his one.

TomPall Glaser

It was Tompall’s biggest selling record and I’ll play it without further comment. The song is Put Another Log on the Fire.

♫ Tompall Glaser - Put Another Log On The Fire

I’ll end as I began with DR HOOK & THE MEDICINE SHOW. Their song is a satire of the music business about a band that lives the full rock & roll life style, but in spite of that can’t get their picture on The Cover of Rolling Stone. Sometime later the magazine did feature the band on its cover.

Dr Hook

♫ Dr Hook - The Cover of Rolling Stone

On the cutting room floor: A Boy Named Sue.

ELDER MUSIC: Toes Up in 2019

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 seems to me that increasingly, each year is a bad one for musicians dying. I suppose it’s probably these are the ones with whom we grew up.

Jessye Norman

JESSYE NORMAN was one of the two or three finest singers of the 20th century; I would put her at number one.

She took piano lessons from an early age, but once exposed to opera music she was an instant convert and devoured the recordings of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price (and Nat King Cole). She proved to be a talented singer from an early age.

Later she studied at a couple of universities and gained a Masters degree in music from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

Jessye went to Europe to establish herself and made her debut in Wagner's “Tannhäuser” in Berlin. There was no holding her back.

From a song cycle called Les Nuits D'Été (Summer Nights) by Hector Berlioz, Jessye sings Villanelle. (She was 74)

Jessye Norman - Berlioz - Les Nuits D'Ete ~ Villanelle

MICHEL LEGRAND was a French pianist, conductor, arranger and most especially, a composer. He composed music for both French and American films, winning a couple of Oscars along the way. He was also a fine jazz pianist and made a couple of dozen albums. (86)

PETER TORK came to prominence as a member of the Monkees. He was the bass player in the group that first became TV stars and then a real rock group in their own right. (77)

PAUL BADURA-SKODA was a classical pianist who was noted for his Mozart and especially Schubert piano works. He also played Beethoven and Chopin exquisitely. He and his wife wrote books on the interpretation of Mozart and Bach. (91)

DICK DALE pretty mush invented “surf music”. He was an excellent guitarist and had custom made amplifiers and speakers that wouldn’t distort when he turned up the volume (unless he wanted them to). (81)

Art Neville

ART NEVILLE was a keyboard player and singer. He cofounded The Meters and the Neville Brothers, probably the two most important bands to come out of New Orleans.

He joined The Hawketts when he was still a teenager and later formed his own group that consisted of several musicians who would later become The Meters, as well as two of his brothers. The Meters became the house band for record producer Allen Toussaint and can be heard on many records from New Orleans from that time.

Later he joined his brothers and he kept both groups going for decades. From very early in his career, Art sings the Mardi Gras Mambo. (81)

♫ Hawketts - Mardi Gras Mambo

STEPHEN CLEOBURY was an organist and musical director most notably for the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. He held that post for 37 years until his death. (70)

TONY GLOVER was a folk, blues and rock harmonica player. He was mostly associated with the sixties group Koerner, Ray and Glover, but also toured with the Doors and the Rolling Stones. He was later a music writer of note. (79)

JACK SCOTT was a singer and songwriter who had several big hits in the cusp of the fifties and sixties. He performed rock & roll, gospel, country and just about anything else he set his mind to. (83)

PAUL BARRERE was the guitarist for the rock band Little Feat. He also performed with Taj Mahal, Jack Bruce, Carly Simon and others. He wrote songs that Little Feat and others performed. (71)

FRANK BUSSERI was a founding member and singer for the harmony group The Four Lads. They had several hits in the fifties and sixties. (86)

Andre Previn

ANDRÉ PREVIN won four Oscars and ten Grammies for his music as a composer, arranger, adapter, conductor, pianist, and music director. He was a classical pianist and conductor, a jazz pianist and composer and adaptor of stage musicals for the big screen.

He wrote musical scores for films, not just musical ones, but dramas as well. He composed chamber music, orchestral works, solo piano and operas. He was just about as complete a musician as we’ll see in our lifetime.

Here is André playing piano, with a little jazz, along with Herb Ellis, Shelly Manne and Ray Brown. The tune is Don't Sing Along. (89)

♫ André Previn - Don't Sing Along

DARYL DRAGON was “The Captain” in the group Captain and Tennille. He came from a musical family (both parents and two brothers were professional musicians) and he was originally a studio piano player. Along with his wife Toni Tennille they had a number of pop hits in the seventies. (76)

CHUCK BARKSDALE was a founding member and bass singer for the doowop (and later soul) group The Dells; one of the finest and longest lived such groups. (84)

MIKE WILHELM was the guitarist, singer, songwriter and founding member of the influential sixties rock group The Charlatans. He was later in another band, The Flamin’ Groovies. (77)

Although American, IRVING BURGIE was best known as a songwriter using the Caribbean as a theme. Harry Belafonte in particular recorded many of his songs, including Jamaica Farewell and Banana Boat Song. He also set up a publishing company and a magazine. (95)

JACQUES LOUSSIER was a French keyboard player who became very successful with jazz interpretations of the music of J.S. Bach. (84)

Greedy Smith

GREEDY (ANDREW) SMITH was songwriter, singer and keyboard player for the Australian band Mental as Anything. As can be judged from their name, the Mentals didn’t take themselves too seriously. They were popular from the late seventies until the end of the nineties.

The members of the group met at art school and they are/were all accomplished artists in their own right. Although all members of the group sang, Greedy was the unofficial front man when it came to giving interviews and the like. He was inducted into the Australian songwriters’ hall of fame a month before his death.

Here is Greedy singing He’s Just No Good for You. (63)

♫ Mental as Anything - He's Just No Good For You

GARY DUNCAN was a guitarist and singer for the rock group Quicksilver Messenger Service. The complex interplay between him and fellow guitarist John Cipollina did much to define the San Francisco sound of the sixties. (72)

MICHAEL JAFFEE was an expert on medieval and Renaissance music, and played several early instruments. He cofounded the Chamber Music America and the Early Music America associations. He and his wife (and others) toured with the early music group the Waverly Consort. (81)

ROBERT HUNTER was a songwriter, guitarist and occasional singer. He was best known for collaborating with Jerry Garcia to produce some of the Grateful Dead’s best known tunes. (78)

JOHNNY CLEGG was a British born white South African singer, songwriter and guitarist who was a fierce opponent of the appalling Apartheid regime in that country. He played with, and encouraged black musicians and toured extensively. (66)

DICK BOCCELLI was the drummer in Bill Hailey and his Comets. He played on most of their big hits, including Rock Around the Clock. He was also a stage and TV actor. (95)

Leon Redbone

Born in Cyprus, LEON REDBONE first came to general notice in Canada when Bob Dylan caught his act and spread the word about him. Leon specialised in songs from the early years of the 20th century, and he performed them as they were originally written, often with introductions that most of us hadn’t realised they had.

He was a quirky, entertaining and talented singer and guitarist and he is sadly missed by those who managed to catch his performances (including me). Leon’s song is Are You Lonesome Tonight. (127, or so he claimed; probably 69)

♫ Leon Redbone - Are You Lonesome Tonight

JIM GLASER and CHUCK GLASER were both members of the Glaser Brothers, a country music singing group, whose best known member was Tompall. Both also had solo careers. They died within a month of each other. (81 & 83)

J.R. COBB was the guitarist for The Atlanta Rhythm Section, one of the finest groups composed of session musicians. He also wrote songs and played guitar on many hit singles. (75)

RAYMOND LEPPARD was an English conductor, harpsichord player and composer who specialised in Baroque music. He was instrumental in getting Baroque operas on to the world’s stages. (92)

PHIL MCCORMACK was the singer for the hard rock band Molly Hatchet. (58)

GUY WEBSTER was a photographer whose pictures adorned the album covers of The Doors, The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel, the Mamas and the Papas, The Rolling Stones and many others. (79)

Doris Day

DORIS DAY started as a singer in the late thirties and became a big hit in the forties and continued her success for several more decades. She was also one of the biggest film stars of her generation, often in rather fluffy films, but she made a number of interesting gritty ones as well.

Her wholesome persona on screen was quite at odds with her personal life, but we won’t go there. Today, Doris is singing Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps. (97)

♫ Doris Day - Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps

HEATHER HARPER was a soprano best known for performing the works of Benjamin Britten, but was equally at home with the standard operatic and concert repertoire. (88)

KENT HARRIS was a Soul and Rhythm and blues songwriter who wrote hits for The Coasters, Bo Diddley, The Platters and others. (88)

JOE TERRY and DAVID WHITE were both founding members of the doowop, rock and roll group Danny and the Juniors who had several hits in the fifties. David wrote or co-wrote many of their hits. They died within weeks of each other. (78 & 79)

REGGIE YOUNG was one of the finest session guitarists who ever picked a note. He has appeared on records of blues, country, soul, rock & roll, you name it. Anyone with more than a record or two will have him playing somewhere. (82)

ETHEL ENNIS was a jazz singer who sang with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis and many others. (86)

Dave Bartholomew

DAVE BARTHOLOMEW was one of the (many) towering figures in New Orleans music. He was a producer, composer, trumpeter, arranger, and songwriter, who wrote many hits for others, especially Fats Domino.

He was a trumpeter in several bands before he started producing and writing music. Besides Fats, he also produced T-Bone Walker, Smiley Lewis, Chris Kenner and many others. Dave performs one of his own songs, later a big hit for Fats, Four Winds. (100)

♫ Dave Bartholomew - Four Winds

LES REED was an English songwriter who wrote hits for Tom Jones, Herman’s Hermits, Engelbert Humperdick and many others. (83)

GEOFF HARVEY was an Australian jazz pianist and saxophonist who went on to be a mainstay in television as a musical director for decades. (83)

GEORGE CHAMBERS was one of the four original Chambers Brothers who started out as a soul/gospel group and later added other members to become a full tilt rock band. (88)

Although American, SCOTT WALKER found fame in Britain as a member of the Walker Brothers (none of whom were named Walker, including Scott). He later veered into experimentalism, producing music that few wanted to hear. (76)

HAL BLAINE was a session drummer, one of the famous “Wrecking Crew” who were responsible for many hits in Los Angeles, notably under the direction of Phil Spector, and occasionally Brian Wilson. (90)

Chris Wilson

CHRIS WILSON was an Australian blues musician who was most famous for playing harmonica and singing, however, he also played guitar and saxophone.

For 20 years he was a school teacher until he decided to give music a try. From then on he was one of Australia’s most respected musicians. He was featured, usually playing harmonica, on the albums of many performers. From his album “Live At The Continental” here is Face In The Mirror. (62)

Chris Wilson - Face In The Mirror

FRED FOSTER was a music producer who founded his own record company that was home to several later well-know country artists. He launched the careers of Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton, and co-wrote Me and Bobby McGee with Kris Kristofferson. (87)

JOHN STARLING was the guitarist and co-founder of The Seldom Scene, one of the most influential bluegrass bands around. (79)

KOFI BURBRIDGE was the keyboard player for the Tedeschi Trucks Band. He was also a noted flute and organ player, as well as any other instrument he could pick up. (57)

VINNIE BELL was a session guitarist who worked with Simon and Garfunkel, The Four Seasons and others. He was also noted for his technical innovations and invented the first electric 12 string guitar and an electric sitar. (87)

IAIN SUTHERLAND was the singer, guitarist and songwriter for the Sutherland Brothers and Quiver who were quite successful in the seventies. He also wrote songs for others, most notably Rod Stewart. (71)

Russell Smith

RUSSELL SMITH was the singer and main songwriter for the fine southern rock group The Amazing Rhythm Aces. He also had a solo career. Quite a few of his songs have been covered by other performers, but his were generally the definitive versions.

This is Russell out in front of the Aces with one of his most popular songs, Third Rate Romance. (70)

Amazing Rhythm Aces - Third Rate Romance

GERALD ENGLISH was a British tenor who spent much of his career in Australia. He specialised in modern works – Britten, Stravinsky, Berg, Janácek and others. He also recorded early music successfully. (93)

RIC OCASEK was a co-founder, lead singer and guitarist for the late seventies and eighties new wave rock band The Cars. They had more than a dozen charting songs. (75)

JOHN COHEN was a guitarist, photographer and film maker amongst other things. He was a founding member of the influential acoustic group The New Lost City Ramblers. (87)

DONNIE FRITTS was a songwriter and session musician as well as a performer in his own right. He also played keyboards for Kris Kristofferson for more than 40 years. (76)

João Gilberto

JOÃO GILBERTO was a Brazilian singer, guitarist, and songwriter who, pretty much single handedly, brought Bossa Nova to the outside world.

Besides making dozens of records in Brazil, he also performed with several famous jazz and pop musicians, most notably Frank Sinatra and Stan Getz. It’s the albums he made with Stan that brought him to worldwide notice.

From the first of these (“Getz/Gilberto”) we have probably his most famous song, The Girl from Ipanema. João sings and plays guitar and is later joined by his then wife Astrud Gilberto singing the second part. Also along for the ride is Antônio Carlos Jobim playing piano, and of course, Stan on tenor sax. (88)

♫ João Gilberto - The Girl from Ipanema

LARRY TAYLOR was the original bass player for Canned Heat. He also worked with Tom Waits, John Mayall and the Monkees. (77)

D.A. PENNEBAKER was a documentary film maker who filmed some of the best moments of music from the sixties and seventies. These include “Monterey Pop”, “Don’t Look Back” (about Bob Dylan’s tour of Britain; the last gasp of his acoustic period), a Jimi Hendrix concert, some John Lennon, David Bowie, Little Richard and others.

He was also involved in the filming of the Woodstock Festival. (94)

JIM PIKE was the cofounder and lead singer of The Lettermen a vocal group who were successful in the sixties. (82)

GINGER BAKER was the drummer for rock’s first supergroup Cream. He admired great jazz drummers and he brought elements of that style to what was ostensibly a blues/rock genre. (80)

Dr John

It’s been a bad year for New Orleans musicians, and DR JOHN, born Malcolm Rebennack, is the latest. Mac, as he was universally known to his fellow musos, started out as a guitarist but switched to piano when he had a finger shot off during an altercation.

Besides his own concerts and records, he was greatly in demand as a session piano player. His music was darker and moodier than most, and a lot more interesting.

The good doctor plays with the guitarist Johnny Winter, in a jam session they had together, the song You Lie Too Much. (77)

Dr. John & Johnny Winter - You Lie Too Much

There were considerably more, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2019

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 getting hot so that means that Christmas must be near, so it’s time for my usual collection of dreadful Christmas songs. Actually, looking over my selection this year, they’re not as bad as in the past so you probably won’t have to skip the column this year.

Round about now we are also regaled on TV by a plethora of Christmas films, all of which are dreadful. As far as I’m concerned there’s only one good Christmas flick (well, two, but most people won’t consider the other a Yule time movie).

The one is We’re No Angels with Humphrey Bogart, Aldo Ray, Peter Ustinov and Leo G. Carroll.

No Angels

In case you’re wondering, the other is Three Days of the Condor.


I know that a lot of you are going to say, what about...? Sorry, I don’t think that one is very good. Enough of that, let’s get to the music.

I try to avoid songs that are straight on this topic, but when you have

THE BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA and TAJ MAHAL performing, I don’t care what they sing.

Taj & Blind Boys

The Blind Boys have been making great music since 1939 and Taj has also done that since the sixties. With their vocal prowess and his skill on pretty much any instrument, they were a natural fit. Here, from an album called “Talkin' Christmas!” they perform Who Will Remember?

♫ Blind Boys & Taj Mahal - Who Will Remember

Goodness me, two tracks in a row that could be played on the better radio stations. In this case we have the wonderful RENÉE FLEMING.

Renee Fleming

Renée gets away from her usual opera gig to perform The Christmas Waltz. This is pure jazz and it shows that she could have made a decent living singing this style as well. Personally, I’m glad she went the classical route, but I’m sure there are others who might disagree.

♫ Renée Fleming - The Christmas Waltz

Okay, it’s time for Christmas on my side of the world, and who better to inform you than the national living treasure PAUL KELLY?

Paul Kelly

What a terrific, unsentimental song this is: How to Make Gravy. No more needs to be said, just listen to it and hear about Christmas in summer from a slightly unusual narrator.

♫ Paul Kelly - How To Make Gravy

It wouldn’t be one of my Christmas columns if I didn’t have a jail song. Actually, the previous one also touched on that a little. I have no idea why there are so many of them, but it’s good for my column.


Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick

From their album of alternate Christmas songs (a good resource for me) called “One Christmas at a Time” we have Christmas in Jail.

♫ Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick - Christmas in Jail

Most of my songs over the years have been about dysfunctional Christmases, as I think they make the best songs on this topic. I’m probably in the minority here, but I get to choose the songs so you’ll have to go along with them. One singer you probably wouldn’t expect in this category is JOHN DENVER.

John Denver

He recorded it twice, once with the heavenly choir and once without. Here’s the one with them all chortling along. The song is Please Daddy.

♫ John Denver - Please Daddy

After Oscar McLollie was drafted during WWII, he played USO shows to some considerable success. Later, he continued doing what he did so well, jump blues – a precursor to rock & roll. He and his group, OSCAR MCLOLLIE & HIS HONEY JUMPERS perform a Christmas song in that style.

Oscar McLollie

That song is Dig That Crazy Santa Claus. Oscar remained popular wherever jump blues was appreciated into the 21st century.

♫ Oscar McLollie & His Honey Jumpers - Dig That Crazy Santa Claus

Whenever there’s a new dance craze, there’ll be songs written about it covering all sorts of situations, including Christmas. The next song fits into that category; it’s performed by BILL DARNEL AND THE SMITH BROTHERS.

Bill Darnel

The dance craze in this case is the mambo. The song is (We Wanna See) Santa Do The Mambo.

♫ Bill Darnel & The Smith Brothers - (We Wanna See) Santa Do The Mambo

JOAN BAEZ recorded this song before the current incumbent was in the White House and she was already anxious about the situation.

Joan Baez

I wonder if she still sings the song and, if so, how it’s changed. Probably doesn’t need much tweaking. Here is Christmas in Washington.

♫ Joan Baez - Christmas In Washington

JIMMY RUSHING was the singer for the COUNT BASIE band for thirteen years.

Count Basie & Jimmy Rushing

Jimmy was more a jump blues performer than a big band singer, but he fitted in really well nonetheless. He later had a solo career. Here are the Count and his band with Jimmy out in front performing Good Morning Blues (I Wanna See Santa Claus).

♫ Count Basie - Good Morning Blues (I Wanna See Santa Claus)

I’ll end with my traditional moment of couth. In this case moments as I have two of them, beginning with MICHAEL PRAETORIUS.

Michael Praetorius

Mike was born Michael Schultze but adopted the Latinized version of his name. He spanned the late 16th and early 17th century and was a prolific composer.

He started out composing secular music, but later switched to religious music at the behest of the bigwigs who paid his salary. One such is from his Christmas Vespers called “Apollo’s Fire”. It’s the hymn Queen Pastores.

♫ Praetorius - Hymn ~ Queen Pastores

You could pretty much guarantee that J.S. BACH would be present.


He wrote quite a bit of Christmas music (well, he wrote quite a bit of other music too), and we have something from his “Christmas Oratorio”. That something is Herr, dein Mitleid, dein Erbarmen.

♫ J.S. Bach - Herr dein Mitleid dein Erbarmen

Christmas in Oz

ELDER MUSIC: Several Symphonies

Tibbles1SM100x130This Sunday Elder Music column was launched in December of 2008. By May of the following year, one commenter, Peter Tibbles, had added so much knowledge and value to my poor attempts at musical presentations that I asked him to take over the column. He's been here each week ever since delighting us with his astonishing grasp of just about everything musical, his humor and sense of fun. You can read Peter's bio here and find links to all his columns here.

* * *

I hope you’re up for some hard core music, because that’s what you’re getting today.

Joseph Haydn is considered the father of the symphony. I don't know who the mother was. I doubt it was Mrs. Haydn as they didn't get on at all well. It could have been Luigia Polzelli with whom old Jo got on very well indeed (nudge nudge wink wink).

The symphony was around before Jo's time but it was a teeny weeny little thing, a bit like the original mammals that were about the size of a mouse and scurried around under dinosaurs' feet.

After the great extinction of 65 million years ago they grew to become zebras and wombats and whales and us. We know who the whale is in the context of symphonies, don't we Gustav?

Enough of this stretching a metaphor to its breaking point, let’s get to the music.

I’ll start with one of the mouse-like symphonies. WILLIAM BOYCE was considered at the time to be the finest English musical talent of the 18th century.

William Boyce

Perhaps that should be native born talent as he had the misfortune to overlap somewhat with Mr. Handel. He also overlapped at either ends of his life with Bach, Haydn and Mozart, so no wonder he's been relegated to the back shelves in our music stores (if he even manages to get in there in the first place).

Will wrote eight symphonies, all of which fit on a single CD, so he's my mouse for the day. Here is his complete Symphony No. 1. It’s shorter than the single movements of everyone else today.

♫ Boyce - Symphony No. 1

This naturally brings us to JOSEPH HAYDN. Although he didn't invent the symphony, he made it his own. He wrote more than a hundred of them, any one of which is a worthy contender for inclusion.


A number of his symphonies had really good names, mostly attached to them after Jo had kicked the bucket. Some of those are The Surprise (94), The Clock (101), Drumroll (103), The Bear (82), The Hen (83), Philosopher (22), Palindrome (47), The Schoolmaster (55) and so on.

No 45, The Farewell, is interesting. I originally had that as the musical track, but I decided to include it in my column devoted to Haydn. You can read about it there.

So, another named symphony, No 31, Hornsignal, the second movement. This one sounds to me rather like a string quartet (something for which Papa Jo was world champion) with a French horn thrown in for good measure.

♫ Haydn - Symphony No. 31 (2)

WOLFGANG MOZART took what Haydn had done and ran with it, but not very far. His last several are considered his masterpieces in this category.


The last three he wrote, numbers 39, 40 and 41 all deserve inclusion. Number 41 has gained a name over the years, the Jupiter. However, I'm very partial to number 40, and that’s the one we have today – the first movement of his Symphony No.40 in G minor K.550.

♫ Mozart - Symphony No.40 (1)

LUDWIG BEETHOVEN raised the stakes even further; probably so high that no one else could match him although many tried. A few came close.


All but the first couple of his could be included today. Number 5 especially, that's one you all know (da da da dum). I'd like to do number 9, his masterpiece, but it's a bit long. Number 7 is worth listening to, as is number 3.

Number 6 is my favorite, it's different from the others and is usually referred to as The Pastoral and it shows Ludwig at his most mellow. I wanted to use one of the middle movements but he decided to run them all in together so that was out.

So, I've gone for the one that seems to be the least performed (apart from the first two) and that is number 8: the Symphony No.8 in F, Op.93. The second movement.

♫ Beethoven - Symphony No.8 in F Op.93 (2)

FRANZ SCHUBERT learnt a lot from Beethoven. Mozart and Haydn too.


He certainly knew Ludwig, but Wolfie died too early for them to have met. Papa Jo died when Franz was 12 so they may have met but probably not. It doesn’t matter in the scheme of things.

I would have liked to include number 9, generally known as “The Great”. Alas, that not only describes the quality of the music, but the length of the work as well.

There are a couple in the middle, 5 and 6, that are worth a listen (well, they all are really). I’ve chosen the first movement of Symphony No. 5 in B flat major, D. 485.

♫ Schubert - Symphony No. 5 in B flat major D. 485 (1)

Continuing into the middle of the 19th century brings us to FELIX MENDELSSOHN.


Felix went on an extended tour of Europe from 1829 to 1831. This inspired him to write music about places he had been – his Symphony No 3, called the “Scottish symphony” and The Hebrides Overture, also from that country. Italy also inspired him to write a symphony, not too surprisingly called “The Italian”. That was Symphony No 4 in A Major Op 90.

Felix conducted the premier performance of this one in London. He wasn’t satisfied with it and kept tinkering with it throughout his life such that it wasn’t published until after he died. He didn’t touch the first movement, as he was happy with that. Here it is.

♫ Mendelssohn - Symphony No 4 A Major op.90 'Italian' (1)

PYOTR TCHAIKOVSKY is generally relegated to the reserves bench by the classical buffs, although that seems to be changing a bit lately.


He’s considered a bit lightweight, possibly because his music is so popular with those who may not go to concerts regularly. I must admit to ambivalence about a lot of his works, but I really like his symphonies, especially number 5.

This is up there with the rest of the compositions today. It's the second movement of the Symphony no 5 Op. 64 in E minor that we have today.

♫ Tchaikovsky - Symphony no 5 Op.64 in E minor (2)

While we're on the subject of Russians, someone who’s not generally considered in this category, especially given the heavyweights we’ve already played, is ALEXANDER BORODIN.


Alex is mostly known for the couple of string quartets, the second in particular that gave rise to the music that was usurped and used in the musical Kismet. His opera Prince Igor also added more music to that.

Alex’s main gig was Professor of Chemistry and he was also a doctor and a surgeon, and he championed women’s entry into university to study such things decades before that was generally so.

He was an accomplished pianist and a composer of considerable facility. That he only did in his spare time. His compositions are noted for their charm and wonderful melodies. He’s not taken very seriously because of that, however, I disagree with the critics because I like him very much. That’s why he’s here today.

A lot of composers left unfinished symphonies; Schubert is the most famous of those who did so. He wasn’t alone; Mahler’s number 10 has been “finished” by several people over the years.

Likewise, Alex only completed the first two movements of his Symphony No.3 in A minor. This is the first movement.

♫ Borodin - Symphony No.3 in A minor 'Unfinished' (1)

Speaking of heavyweights, here's the world heavyweight champ. I know that a lot of people think that GUSTAV MAHLER is boring. I used to be one of them.


The first time I encountered him was back in the early seventies when there was the Melbourne equivalent of the Prom Concerts at the Melbourne Town Hall. We sat on the floor (because we couldn't afford the seats). We were urged to bring cushions along, which we did, but it still wasn't enough.

It was one of his long symphonies; okay they're all pretty long, but it was one of the really long ones, and I said at the time that that was the last time I'd bother with him. I’ve changed my mind over the years when I heard them in a more comfortable setting.

I am now a fan, particularly the fourth, which is quite un-Mahler like and rather dismissed by hard-core Mahler fans. In that symphony, taking a leaf out of Beethoven's book, old Gus made the fourth movement a vocal one – not choral like Ludwig, a single soprano (and an orchestra as well, of course).

It's not the only one where Gus introduced vocals, but it's what we have today. The fourth movement of Symphony No.4 in G. The wonderful Renée Fleming is the singer.

♫ Mahler - Symphony No.4 In G (4)