540 posts categorized "Elder Music"

ELDER MUSIC: Christmas 2018

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.

* * *

Christmas Oz

Well it’s the time of the year when I go on my annual rant about snow, icicles, chestnuts roasting by an open fire, sleigh bells and all that other folderol that seems to infect Christmas songs.

That’s not Christmas where I live and the couple of times I’ve experienced Christmas like that it felt completely, totally, utterly wrong.

Christmas is long warm (or dare I say hot) days with chilled Champagne or cold white wine sipped in the shade with cold prawns, lobster, salads and such for the Christmas feast.

Anyway, that’s enough of my ranting, let’s play some jolly music.

DADDY COOL would certainly know of what I speak as they come from Melbourne too.

Daddy Cool

They were the biggest band in Australia in the early seventies until they split. They reformed and split several times over the years but alas, no more as only two of the group are still alive.

The song today is from one of their later reformations when they recorded an album called “The New Cool”. The song is The Christmas Bug.

♫ Daddy Cool - The Christmas Bug

JULIA LEE AND HER BOYFRIENDS seem to have some sort of Christmas Spirit.

Julia Lee

It’s not the spirit usually associated with Christmas because Santa can’t bring what she wants most. I’ll let her (and her friends) tell you about it.

♫ Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends - Christmas Spirit

KEITH JARRETT, GARY PEACOCK AND JACK DEJOHNETTE perform and record regularly together.

Keith Jarrett Gary Peacock Jack DeJohnette

Separately they are some of the best around on their various instruments, so together they play some of the finest jazz going these days. From one of their albums, “After the Fall” we find out that Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Well, we knew that already, but it’s good to hear what they make of that hoary old song.

♫ Keith Jarrett - Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

THE HOLLY TWINS want only one thing for Christmas.

Holly Twins

Before I tell you what that is, I’d like to say that I know very little about The Holly Twins. The only thing is that they are twins and their names are Jonell and Glenell McQuaig. They sing I Want Elvis for Christmas.

They have the help of Eddie Cochran on this song both playing guitar and impersonating Elvis in between verses. Eddie died in a car crash at age 21.

♫ Holly Twins - I Want Elvis For Christmas

I featured a live video of THE POGUES' song Fairytale of New York in the very first of these Christmas columns and I thought it was time for their original studio version.


In the past I've also used a superior version of the song by Tex Perkins and Claire Bowditch who are also far better looking than SHANE MCGOWAN who sang the song. But then, I'm far better looking than Shane too.

Shane McGowan

That's Shane, not me. Singing with Shane is KIRSTY MCCOLL, daughter of singer/songwriter Ewan McColl.

Kirsty Maccoll

Kirsty died in a boating accident in 2000.

♫ Pogues - Fairytale of New York

RUFUS THOMAS is probably best known for his novelty songs, one of which, Walking the Dog, was a nice little earner for him when the Rolling Stones covered it.

Rufus Thomas

Naturally he doesn’t take the season too seriously when he tells his sweetie (or someone): I'll Be Your Santa Baby. He gives it a really funky feeling.

♫ Rufus Thomas - I'll Be Your Santa Baby

ESTHER PHILLIPS, also known as Little Esther, recorded a few songs with MEL WALKER, backed by the JOHNNY OTIS orchestra.

Esthe rMel & Johnny

Esther is disconsolate because her baby is so far away, but like all good Christmas wishes, everything comes good in the end. All this is revealed in Far Away Christmas Blues.

♫ Little Esther & Mel Walker with Johnny Otis Orchestra - Far Away Christmas Blues

This year we’ll have a couple of moments of couth to end proceedings.



Around his time the Concerto Grosso was top of the pops and he wrote a bunch of them (as did Handel and others). The one I’ve selected is the third movement of Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 8 because it’s also generally called Christmas Concerto, or if you want to be technically correct: Made for Christmas Night.

♫ Corelli - Concerto Grosso n.08 Op.6 (3)

J.S. BACH wrote cantatas for every Sunday of the year and all religious holidays.


He wrote several for the various days around Christmas and the one I’ve chosen is a chorale cantata for the first Sunday after Christmas which is close enough for me. It is the first movement of BWV 122, Das neugeborne Kindelein, or The new born child.

♫ Bach JS - Das neugeborne Kindelein BWV 122 ~ 1. Coro Das neugebornene Kindelein

Christmas Oz

ELDER MUSIC: Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm

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.

* * *

With global warming we may or may not get more storms, but we will get far more powerful and ferocious ones. It’s probably too late to stop this happening. In the meantime, let’s have some songs about storms.

We’ll start proceedings with TOM RUSH and approximately the title of the column.

Tom Rush

The song is actually called Galveston Flood, but it has been recorded under the name Wasn’t That a Mighty Storm. Even Tom has done that.

♫ Tom Rush - Galveston Flood

There are two songs today where I found dozens of versions and you’d think it might be difficult to select one. As it turned out, the job was easy as the best one stood out in both. The first of these songs is Stormy Monday, and the standout is T-BONE WALKER.

T-Bone Walker

Just about every blues performer, and quite a few in other genres, has recorded the song. However, T-Bone did it first and did it best. He also wrote the song. He was one of the most influential guitarists of the twentieth century.

♫ T-Bone Walker - Stormy Monday

Goodness, it’s been a while since I had LINDA RONSTADT in a column. That will be rectified immediately.

Linda Ronstadt

Linda seems to have the help of the celestial choir on her song, Cry Like a Rainstorm.

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Cry Like a Rainstorm

“Blood on the Tracks” was BOB DYLAN’s finest album from the seventies. It was also his “divorce album”, I don’t know if there’s a correlation there.

Bob Dylan

There were several vicious songs on the album. Okay, it’s not the only album where that occurred. The song Shelter from the Storm isn’t one of them. Well, it is a bit.

♫ Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm

TERRY EVANS and HANS THEESSINK also recorded Shelter from the Storm, but it’s a different song.

Terry Evans & Hans Theessink

Hans, a Dutch bluesman, wrote this one, but I can’t help thinking that he was very familiar with Bob’s song. Terry once sang backup on one of Hans’ records and after that they recorded and toured together. Terry died recently and his last record was with Hans.

♫ Terry Evans & Hans Theessink - Shelter From The Storm

BUDDY KNOX started his career on a radio program in Texas that also featured Roy Orbison.

Buddy Knox

Roy suggested that Buddy should go to Clovis, New Mexico, where Norman Petty was recording Buddy Holly. Buddy did just that and recorded his best known, and biggest selling song, Party Doll.

He also recorded Storm Clouds. He had another go at that song again later and it’s that version we have today.

♫ Buddy Knox - Storm Clouds

JOHN PRINE can write songs that will break your heart, others that will make you laugh and everything in between.

John Prine

Whatever category into which a song falls, his attention to details is immaculate. The song Storm Windows seems to be from the in between category, and it’s a bit rockier than most of his songs.

♫ John Prine - Storm Windows

The other song that I mentioned above with all the versions is Stormy Weather. I can hear you yelling your favorites but I’ve gone with LENA HORNE.

Lena Horne

The song was around before Lena had a go at it, but she sang it in a film of the same name and since then it’s mostly been associated with her.

♫ Lena Horne - Stormy Weather

BOZ SCAGGS went to school and university with Steve Miller. They were firm friends.

Boz Scaggs

After trying to make a go of it as a solo artist, Boz joined Steve in the Steve Miller Band for their first two albums as a guitarist and singer. After that he once again ventured out for a solo career recording the album “Boz Scaggs”, which in my opinion is his best.

However, it’s not that album that concerns us today, it’s a later one called “A Fool to Care”, from which we get There's a Storm a Comin'. Just setting the mood for the next track.

♫ Boz Scaggs - There's a Storm a Comin'

There’s only one way to finish the column and that is to ride out the storm. Quite a few of you are already saying THE DOORS.

The Doors

Riders on the Storm was the very last song that the original four members of The Doors recorded together. They went out with one of their great songs and so are we, at least for this week.

♫ The Doors - Riders On The Storm

ELDER MUSIC: 1959 Yet 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.

* * *

1959 was the year I was uprooted halfway through high school (and halfway through the year) from my small country town and deposited in a really big city (Melbourne).

That was for a couple of reasons: to keep the family together (my sister had already made that move), and to ensure a good education for the next kid (me) as my big sister really had to struggle to do that on her own – she was the only person in her year 12 class.

It was also a pretty good year for music.

It was with the group THE TEDDY BEARS that we first encountered Phil Spector. This was ostensibly a trio; the other two were Marshall Leib and Annette Kleinbard. There were others who came and went, most notably Sandy Nelson who had a later career as a drummer.

Teddy Bears

Phil wrote the song To Know Him is to Love Him for the group and particularly for Annette to sing the lead. It was their only hit. Annette later changed her name to Carol Connors and had a successful career as a songwriter.

♫ The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is To Love Him

Does music from this year get any better than this? That’s a rhetorical question to which the answer is no. That’s because we have THE PLATTERS.


The only question really is which song to play. I decided on one of their best, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

♫ The Platters - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

BILLY GRAMMER was both a singer a fine guitarist.

Billy Grammer

He was one of the few who had a signature guitar made and named for him. Not just that but the company changed its name to the Grammer Guitar Company. He had a few hits during his career, the biggest of which was Gotta Travel On.

♫ Billy Grammer - Gotta Travel On

COL JOYE was the second biggest rock & roller in Australia at the time.

Col Joye

He was the one the parents liked rather that the outrageous Johnny O’Keefe whom the kids liked. Sort of like Ricky Nelson and Elvis in that regard. Col’s contribution is Bye, Bye Baby Goodbye.

♫ Col Joye - Bye bye baby goodbye

By this year, FATS DOMINO had been making records for at least a decade, so he knew what he was doing by this stage.

Fats Domino

One of the things he did really well was the song, I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day.

♫ Fats Domino - I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Some Day

Along with two or three others, GUY MITCHELL was a breath of fresh air in the early fifties. He, and they, showed this kid that there might be some interesting music out there amongst all the dross.

Guy Mitchell

Guy kept making good records as the decade went on, one of which is Heartaches by the Number.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Heartaches by the Number

FRANKIE FORD was another native of Louisiana who took up music at an early age.

Frankie Ford

After some minor success he was used as a backup vocalist. When he did this for Huey “Piano” Smith with Huey’s song, Sea Cruise, the record company decided to release Frankie’s version as Huey already had a couple of songs on the charts. Frankie did likewise with the song.

♫ Frankie Ford - Sea Cruise

You can be pretty certain that MARTY ROBBINS would be present this year.

Marty Robbins

Marty seems surprised that seventeen and eighteen year olds were getting together. Oh, Marty, Marty, Marty they’ve been doing that since we evolved into humans (and no doubt before that). She Was Only Seventeen.

♫ Marty Robbins - She Was Only Seventeen

By now anything the EVERLY BROTHERS recorded was guaranteed to top the charts.

Everly Brothers

This is a tale of woe that the lads don’t want Mary to know about; that is that they’re banged up in the clink. She might figure that something’s wrong when they don’t come home. Take a Message to Mary.

♫ Everly Brothers - Take A Message To Mary

PHIL PHILLIPS received a pittance from his recording of Sea of Love.

Phil Phillips

He wrote the song, recorded it and saw that it hit the top of the charts, selling more than a million. He recorded an album but refused to have it released due to the shonky deal the record company struck with him.

He’s still trying to get his due after all this time. It’s particularly galling as the song has been covered quite often and was used in the successful film of the same name.

♫ Phil Phillips - Sea Of Love

ELDER MUSIC: Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?

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.

* * *

Sunshine is something I know well as I was born and bred in Australia and this country has a lot of it. I’ll bring you some of it in the form of songs.

I’ll start with the title of the column, Do You Know You Are My Sunshine? I think we know the answer to the question, but THE STATLER BROTHERS ask it anyway.

Statler Brothers

The Statlers are a guilty pleasure for me. I really like their harmony and interweaving singing. Here they are with the title of the column.

♫ Statler Brothers - Do You Know You Are My Sunshine

The answer to the previous question is “Yes”. It doesn’t matter, I’m going to play it and I’m going right back to the source, JIMMIE DAVIS.

Jimmie Davis

Jimmie was a singer and songwriter (and twice Governor of Louisiana) and he wrote the song along with Charles Mitchell. His wasn’t the first recording of the song, but I think he deserves to sing it today in spite of politics: You Are My Sunshine.

♫ Jimmie Davis - You Are My Sunshine

Ain't No Sunshine would be BILL WITHERS’ most famous song.

Bill Withers

That’s probably due to the multiple “I Know”s in the song (26 of them). It wasn’t just this song though, he has had quite a few hits over the years, but it’s Ain't No Sunshine we’re going with today.

♫ Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine

I’ve never really known what to think of DONOVAN’s music.


He’s recorded so much rubbish over the years that it’s easy to dismiss him, however, when I listen to the best of his songs, and there are quite a few of them, I’m forced to revise my opinion. So, old flippy-floppy me has chosen Sunshine Superman.

♫ Donovan - Sunshine Superman

I have no such qualms about TOM RUSH though, as long time readers would already know.

Tom Rush

Tom’s a regular visitor to these columns and from his fine album “The Circle Game” we have Sunshine Sunshine.

♫ Tom Rush - Sunshine Sunshine

KATRINA AND THE WAVES is a group with both British and American members.

Katrina & the Waves

They evolved from the British band The Waves and the American one, Mama’s Cookin’. After getting together and bit of to-ing and fro-ing with various musicians, our group was born. They perform their best known song, Walking On Sunshine.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist just walked in and said that this one is the pick of the sunshine songs. Not my first choice, but it’s certainly good enough to be included.

♫ Katrina And The Waves - Walking On Sunshine

DION DiMucci is best known to most of us as a Doowop and pop singer from the fifties and early sixties.


After that though, he evolved into a rather fine folk/blues singer. He didn’t sell a lot of records in this style but he certainly impressed the critics. From that period he sings Sunshine Lady from the album “King of the New York Streets”.

♫ Dion - Sunshine Lady

DOUG SAHM first came to be noticed by the general public as the main man from the rock group The Sir Douglas Quintet (from Texas, in spite of the name).

Doug Sahm

Afterwards, Doug was a leading light in the resurgence of roots music and also Tex-Mex, combining the music of Texas and Mexico. He was a bit of a prodigy and could play pretty much any instrument he lay his hands on. Alas, he died far too young.

From his album “Groover's Paradise” he performs Beautiful Texas Sunshine.

♫ Doug Sahm - Beautiful Texas Sunshine

STEVIE WONDER had the help of Jim Gilstrap and Lani Groves on You Are the Sunshine of My Life.

Stevie Wonder

Indeed, Jim sang the first two lines and Lani the next two. Stevie finally gets to warble along after that. The song made the charts around the world and topped them in several countries.

♫ Stevie Wonder - You Are The Sunshine Of My Life

WILLIE NELSON launches into jazz mode for his sunshine song.

Willie Nelson

Well, sort of jazz, it’s still Willie, of course, and I’ve always thought of him as essentially a jazz performer working in country music. Anyway, Willie asks us, or someone, to Bring Me Sunshine.

♫ Willie Nelson - Bring Me Sunshine

ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 7

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.

* * *

Continuing with the series of music that has caught my ear.

It seems that JOHANN AMON could play any instrument that he wrapped his hands, mouth, fingers or anything else around.


He was also a particularly fine writer of pretty much every genre of music you can imagine. Why he’s not better known is a mystery. As an example of what he could do here is the first movement of his Quintet for flute, horn, violin, viola, cello and bass I expect he could play all of those.

Quintet is the title of the piece, but I counted six instruments. (Throws up his hands). Anyway, it’s Quintet No. 2 in E minor, Op. 118.

♫ Amon - Quintet No. 2 in E minor Op. 118 (1)

EDVARD GRIEG is best known for his marvelous piano concerto and the music he wrote for Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt. He later pulled apart that music and created several suites that have become hugely popular.


On his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Ed wrote a piece of music as a present for his wife called Wedding Day at Troldhaugen (where they were married). How good is that?

♫ Grieg - Wedding Day at Troldhaugen

The song, O Waly Waly dates from the sixteen hundreds. Many have tinkered with it over time including Benjamin Britten who wrote a couple of arrangements for it. Others have orchestrated it as well.

It was a standard for folk artists in the sixties and they generally called it The Water is Wide. In a classical setting here is YVONNE KENNY, the Australian soprano, usually associated with the music of Mozart and Handel.

Yvonne Kenny

♫ Britten - O Waly Waly

MARKUS GRAUEL probably wrote the next piece of music but that “probably” is good enough for me. He doesn’t seemed to have stood still long enough to have his photo taken, so we don’t know what he looks like.

He was born sometime in the early eighteenth century, no one seems to know exactly when, the somewhere is what’s now Germany. There are only six known compositions of his – a few are thought to be lost (maybe more than a few).

This might be one of his though (probably), the Concerto A Major for violin & viola. Here is the first movement.

♫ Grauel - Concerto A Major (1)

MICHÈL YOST was a French clarinet player from the middle of the eighteenth century and by all accounts a brilliant one. He’s another for whom no picture seems to be available.

Mike also wrote music, pretty much for that instrument (although there are some for others as well). That’s pretty much the sum total of what we know of him. One of his works is the Clarinet Quartet No. 1. This is the first movement.

♫ Yost - Clarinet Quartet No. 1 (1)

Here is something by that prolific composer ANONYMUS. That is not a misspelling (well, it is but it's the name on the CD), and in this case it refers to anonymous Habsburg violin music. That’s as much information that I have, apart from the name of the composition: Sonata No 4 in D major.

♫ Anonymus - Sonata (N°4) in D major

MICHAEL BALFE was an Irish composer who started his music career as a violinist and an opera singer (simultaneously, it seems).


He also wrote operas (29 of them), some of which were very successful at the time (mid-nineteenth century), not just in Britain, but France, Germany, America, Australia even.

From his opera “Satanella (or the power of love)” we have Thanks, Thanks, My Friends. The characters singing are Count Rupert (a landowner) and Stella (a princess) plus various others warbling along in the background.

♫ Balfe - Satanella ~ Thanks Thanks My Friends

FRANZ FREYSTÄDTLER was an Austrian composer and piano teacher. We’re really having a bad day for visual representations – that’s the problem with selecting rather obscure composers.

He was taught composition, piano and the organ by Mozart and Michael Haydn’s father-in-law. Talk about learning from the best.

At one stage he was thrown in the clink for apparently stealing a piano from the Austrian army (just think about that for a moment). Mozart intervened and things were smoothed over.

His compositions are pretty much all for piano in some form or other, including the interestingly named Concerto Facile in D major. This is the second movement. To my ears that’s a forte piano being played, rather than the modern instrument.

♫ Freystädtler - Concerto Facile in D major (2)

JEAN-BAPTISTE JANSON was pretty much contemporaneous with Mozart.


J-B though, as you might be able to guess, was French. Although he was principally a cello player he became a teacher of the bass at the Paris

Conservatoire. He managed to survive the reign of terror, but didn’t live too long into the nineteenth century. Here we have him with his preferred instrument with the first movement of his Cello Concerto in D major.

♫ Janson - Cello Concerto in D major (1)

We can fade out now, just as this piece of music does. The composer is GIACOMO PUCCINI.


The music is from one of his most famous and best loved operas, “La Bohème”. It’s the duet at the end of act one when the lovers (as they are by now) wander off to meet their friends at the café. It’s called Ehil Rodolfo! O soave fanciulla.

♫ Puccini - Ehil Rodolfo! O soave fanciulla


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.

* * *

With Nothing, Something and Everything out of the way, that means that now Anything goes. So it shall be.

It’s obvious that I should start with Anything Goes, the song written by COLE PORTER.

Cole Porter

Although many have recorded the song, to me, having the writer sing his own song is always my first preference. And so it is today. This is Cole’s version.

♫ Cole Porter - Anything Goes

Although far from the best singer in the world, KRIS KRISTOFFERSON sure can write a good song. He’s a pretty good actor too, but that’s going a bit off topic.

Kris Kristofferson

Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again) originally turned up on his “The Silver Tongued Devil and I” album. A while ago, he went back into the studio and rerecorded many of his famous songs, including this one.

That album is called “The Austin Sessions”, and it’s that version I’m using today.

♫ Kris Kristofferson - Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again)

KEELY SMITH is most remembered for her partnership with Louis Prima.

Keely Smith

However, after that partnership sundered as well as their marriage, Keely went on to have quite a decent solo career. From that later career we have I Would Do Most Anything for You.

♫ Keely Smith - I Would Do Most Anything For You

ELVIS gets into act with a song fairly early in his career, if 1962 can be called fairly early for him.

Elvis Presley

It’s a song I was only vaguely aware of called Anything That's Part of You. This was the b-side (remember when records had two sides?) to Good Luck Charm, and is notable for the distinctive sound of Floyd Cramer playing the piano, and I think it’s a really nice song.

♫ Elvis - Anything That's Part of You

From the previous generation of performers, someone who was also quite influential in his own way is BOB WILLS.

Bob Wills

Bob’s music was also part of the various streams that lead to rock & roll, but this track is probably not one of those. It just goes by the name of Anything.

♫ Bob Wills - Anything

TIMI YURO had one really big hit, but she also had quite a few others that made the charts back in the sixties.

Timi Yuro

Her song today isn’t one of those, it turned up on one of her albums and is called Be Anything (But Be Mine).

♫ Timi Yuro - Be Anything (But Be Mine)

The SONS OF THE SAN JOAQUIN obviously modeled themselves on the Sons of the Pioneers.

Sons of the San Joaquin

They are a family band with two brothers and a son, and they harmonise and otherwise sing beautifully. Their repertoire is mainly cowboy songs and the like. One of those is That’s Why I'll Never Want To Be Anything But A Cowboy.

♫ Sons of the San Joaquin - That s Why I'll Never Want To Be Anything But A Cowboy

There were several contenders for the song I Can’t Give You Anything but Love. In the end I went for MEL TORMÉ.

Mel Torme

It was a tough call as it’s one of the most recorded songs in history. Even I don’t have all of those, but of the many I have I liked Mel’s the best. Sorry Billie, you missed out today. A rare occurrence.

♫ Mel Tormé - I Can't Give You Anything But Love

HOWARD TATE was a soul singer who wasn’t particularly well known by the general public.

Howard Tate

He was well known in the music industry though, and Janis Joplin recorded a couple of his songs. He had a number of charting songs in the sixties and retired from the music biz in the late seventies.

An enterprising DJ rediscovered him early this century which led to a second career until his death in 2011. Howard’s contribution is You Don't Know Anything About Love.

♫ Howard Tate - You Don't Know Anything About Love

BONNIE RAITT was destined to be a musician.

Bonnie Raitt

Her father was the Broadway actor and singer, John Raitt and her mother was the pianist, Marjorie Haydock. Bonnie received a guitar for Christmas when she was eight years old and hasn’t looked back.

Later, instead of studying in college, she’d hang around blues clubs and gig with various blues legends. That paid off as she’s one of the world’s great slide guitarists. Although she probably doesn’t believe this, she sings I Don't Want Anything to Change.

♫ Bonnie Raitt - I Don't Want Anything To Change

ELDER MUSIC: Everything

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

* * *

We’ve had Nothing and Something. I imagine it’s time for Everything, and here it all is, and I think we cover just about every genre of popular music today. Well, every one worth considering.

Well, everything I’ve ever said about BILLIE HOLIDAY still holds true today.

Billie Holiday

She was unique, and I use that word advisably. Often given second rate material to record, she made them into polished gems of songs. And when she tackled great songs Billie made them even greater.

Billie suggests that Everything Happens For The Best. I don’t know about that, but let’s hear what she sings.

♫ Billie Holiday - Everything Happens For The Best

KEITH JARRETT made a couple of albums with the late great jazz bassist CHARLIE HADEN which are really fine if you like elegant stripped back jazz.

Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden

Charlie’s swinging bass playing gives an added dimension to Keith’s lyrical piano playing. Everything Happens to Me.

♫ Keith Jarrett - Everything Happens to Me

With her contribution CATHERINE RUSSELL sounds like a throwback to the thirties.

Catherine Russell

She isn’t from that era, of course. Catherine is quite up to date. From her recent album “Strictly Romancin'” she sings in her inimitable style, Everything's Been Done Before. I can see her singing this in a Paris club, backed by Django and Stéphane.

♫ Catherine Russell - Everything's Been Done Before

PAUL KELLY is unusual in the ranks of male songwriters because he writes many songs from the female point of view.

Paul kelly

He took a short story by Raymond Carver and turned it into the song, Everything's Turning to White. The story was called “So Much Water, So Close to Home”, which is the name of Paul’s album from which the song is taken.

♫ Paul Kelly - Everything's Turning to White

JOHNNY ADAMS had a multi-octave singing voice that he used often to great effect.

Johnny Adams

He was yet another talent from New Orleans and was quite at home singing soul, jazz, blues, gospel and rock & roll. Today’s song, I Want To Do Everything For You, is mostly in the soul genre.

♫ Johnny Adams - I Want To Do Everything For You

The BELLAMY BROTHERS are a successful country duo whose music has crossed over into the mainstream pop arena.

Bellamy Brothers

This isn’t confined to the obvious places – America, Australia, the UK – they’ve had charting songs in Europe, Japan and several African countries. The song today is from a rather fine album called “Rebels Without a Clue” called When The Music Meant Everything.

♫ Bellamy Brothers - When The Music Meant Everything

You don’t hear whistling much in songs anymore, it used to be quite common. The whistler today, okay, it’s quite short, is CHRIS SMITHER.

Chris Smither

Chris is a blues/folk/singer-songwriter of renown. His life performances, usually just him and an acoustic guitar, are really worth catching. Here he sings (and whistles) Everything on Top.

♫ Chris Smither - Everything on Top

I could have done without those strings on the next song. After all, when you have NAT KING COLE and THE GEORGE SHEARING QUINTET, that should be enough. It certainly is for me.

Na King Cole t& George Shearing

Nat and George and friends (and those damn strings) give us Everything Happens To Me.

♫ Nat King Cole and George Shearing - Everything Happens To Me

SAM COOKE should need no introduction from me for the readers of this column.

Sam Cooke

It’s generally considered that he invented soul music, along with Ray Charles, but he didn’t live long enough to see its full blossoming. Such a pity. He sings I Lost Everything. I guess that’s a little prophetic.

♫ Sam Cooke - I Lost Everything

I like to throw a song from left field into columns now and then, and today’s contribution is from the LOUVIN BROTHERS.

Louvin Brothers

The Louvins were an influential duo whose songs were taken up by later country and rock performers, most notably The Byrds and Emmylou Harris. It seems they have Plenty of Everything but You.

♫ Louvin Brothers - Plenty of Everything but You

ELDER MUSIC: Songs of Irving Berlin

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.

* * *

Irving Berlin

Israel Beilin (or Baline according to some) was born in Tolochin, in Russia and went to America when he was five. Somewhat later he acquired the name IRVING BERLIN.

Besides the hundreds of songs, Irv wrote the score of a couple of dozen Broadway musicals and 15 or so films. Pick the name of a singer out of a hat and she/he will have sung something of his songs. Here are just a few.

Alexander's Ragtime Band was one of his first hits, and one of his biggest. He wrote it in 1911 and he also performed it that year. Over time, many have recorded it, some several times. One (or two) is (are) BING CROSBY and AL JOLSON.

Bing Crosby & AlJolson

The version today was recorded in 1947.

♫ Bing Crosby - Alexander’s Ragtime Band

I Got Lost In His Arms was written for the musical “Annie Get Your Gun” and was sung in that by Ethel Merman. Ethel is a long, long way from being my favorite singer, so I’m glad the ROSEMARY CLOONEY recorded it.

Rosemary Clooney

Several more people have recorded the song including, rather surprisingly to me, Suzi Quatro.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - I Got Lost In His Arms

Blue Skies was written after Irv and his wife Ellin had had their first daughter. It’s an optimistic, forward looking song as befits that occasion. The song first saw light of day in a Ziegfeld production, and later Al Jolson performed it in the first talkie, “The Jazz Singer”.

It’s been recorded many times and been to the top of the charts quite often, including fairly recently when WILLIE NELSON recorded it (and other similar songs). Naturally, if Willie is around I’ll probably choose him.

Willie Nelson

♫ Willie Nelson - Blue Skies

There were several candidates for the song Heat Wave, but I narrowed it to two. I played them both for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, and she instantly went with SOL K. BRIGHT & HIS HOLLYWAIIANS.

Sol Bright

I was leaning in their direction as well, so it was unanimous.

♫ Sol K. Bright & His Hollywaiians - Heat Wave

Change Partners is a song that Irving wrote for the film “Carefree” in 1938, where it was sung by Fred Astaire. Since then there have been quite a few versions that made the charts. The one I’m interested in today came from considerably later, 1967, from an album that FRANK SINATRA and ANTÔNIO JOBIM recorded together.

Frank Sinatra & Antônio Jobim

It’s lucky Frank sang, as otherwise it sounded rather like elevator music to me.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Change Partners

Apparently, I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm is a Christmas song. It mentions icicles and snow and all that palaver. That doesn’t sound like Christmas where I live – all sunshine, shorts, T-shirts, drinking cool white wine in the shade. Anyway, I’ll just skip over that and let the MILLS BROTHERS warm you up.

Mills Brothers

♫ Mills Brothers - I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm

Irv didn’t think the song Say It Isn't So was much good so he put it away in his bottom drawer. Somehow or other Max Winslow heard the song and took it along to Rudy Vallée who sang it on his radio program and made it a big hit.

Rather than a vocal version, I thought that the BENNY GOODMAN QUARTET captures it beautifully.

Benny Goodman

Like Nat King Cole down below, I’ve always preferred Benny in his quartet to the big band. Somebody must have liked the big band though, as they were very popular.

♫ Benny Goodman - Say It Isn't So

ROSEMARY CLOONEY makes a return visit, this time as a duet partner of GUY MITCHELL.

Guy Mitchell & Rosemary Clooney

Irv wrote You're Just in Love for his musical “Call Me Madam” where it was sung by Ethel Merman and Russell Nype. As mentioned earlier, I’ll skip Ethel if I get the chance.

Fortunately, several other versions made the charts. Rosemary and Guy’s was the biggest seller, and the one I prefer.

♫ Guy Mitchell & Rosemary Clooney - You're Just In Love

Irv was rather fond of counterpoint, or “double songs”. The previous one is an example of that, as is this next one, Play a Simple Melody. The version I’m using was originally attributed to “Gary Crosby and Friend with Matty Matlock's All Stars”. Of course it was immediately obvious who his “friend” was.

Here are BING CROSBY and GARY CROSBY with the song.

Bing & Gary Crosby

♫ Bing Crosby & Gary Crosby - Play a Simple Melody

It was difficult trying to select which version of What'll I Do to include, as several of my usual automatic inclusions were present; most notably Chet Baker and Julie London. In the end THE NAT KING COLE TRIO trumped them all.

Nat King Cole Trio

His trio is the way I like Nat best, and this is a beautiful version.

♫ Nat King Cole - What'll I Do

As an indication of his longevity, I’ll end with a tribute, a song Irv didn’t write. It’s by IAN TYSON.

Ian Tyson

The song is Irving Berlin (Is 100 Years Old Today), and it shows his incredible influence in all genres of music.

♫ Ian Tyson - Irving Berlin (Is 100 Yrs Old Today)

Irving Berlin

ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 6

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

* * *

Here is some more music, seemingly at random, for your delectation.

LOUISE FARRENC was born Louise Dumont into a family of sculptors.


She decided to eschew the hammer and chisel for the piano and became very good at it indeed. She also took up composing and married Aristide Farrenc who played the flute.

After a bit, he grew tired of traveling around and settled down as a music publisher. Louise flourished as a composer, initially just for piano, but later chamber music which turned out to be what she was best at. One of those pieces is the Piano Quintet No. 1 in A minor, Op. 30, the fourth movement.

♫ Farrenc - Piano Quintet No.1 in A minor Op.30 (4)

JIŘÍ LINEK was a Czech composer whose output was mostly religious music. Apparently Jiří didn’t ever sit still long enough to have his picture taken.

He especially liked the harpsichord and quite a few of his other works were for the instrument. Jiří was really prolific, more than 300 compositions to his name and he like to incorporate Czech folk tunes into his music, in the mean time he was really aware of the current developments in music. That’s demonstrated in his Symphony Pastoralis in C major, the first movement.

♫ Linek - Symphony Pastoralis in C major (1)

I was lying in bed the other morning listening to the radio and I heard this next piece of music and thought it was delightful. I also wondered if I had it. It turns out that I did.

The composer is Antonín Vranický who is probably better known as ANTON WRANITZKY.


He was yet another Czech composer (thus the first name) who spent a lot of time in Vienna (the second of his names) where he was taught by Mozart and Haydn (talk about learning from the best). Possibly because of this he later became a well respected music teacher.

He also wrote music – his symphonies and violin concertos are especially well thought of. Decide for yourself about one of the latter, the third movement of his Violin Concerto in C Major. Op. 11.

♫ Wranitzky - Violin Concerto in C Major. Op. 11 (3)

JEAN SIBELIUS is the best known Finnish composer.


He is, in my opinion, the second best Finnish composer – I’d give the title to Bernhard Crusell. Of course, you may disagree, and I hope you do as that’s what this column is all about.

Anyway, Jean is a staple on concert platforms, especially his symphonies and tone poems such as Finlandia and the Karelia Suite. However, I rather like his short pieces for piano, especially the ones released as Impromptus, Op. 5. This is the sixth of those.

♫ Sibelius - Impromptu VI Op. 5

Here is something rather unusual, at least it is from my point of view. It may even be from yours. I’ve discovered amongst my music collection something called a Choral Concerto, and the person who devised such a thing was named DMITRY BORTNIANSKY.


Dim (or Dm I suppose) was from the Ukraine, and is best known for his liturgical works and, as mentioned earlier, choral concertos (a whole bunch of these).

These latter compositions feature singing rather than instruments in the traditional concerto form. To demonstrate this (and I don’t hear much in the way of actual instruments backing the singers in this one) here is the first movement of his Choral Concerto No. 27.

♫ Bortniansky - Choral Concerto No. 27 (1)

CARL DITTERS VON DITTERSDORF, or Old Ditters to us who know him well, was a friend of both Mozart and Haydn.


Indeed, the three of them used to play string quartets together bringing in Johann Vanhal as the fourth member. In that arrangement Mozart played the viola, but today I have a viola sonata by Ditters – he was very versatile. It’s the fourth movement of the Viola Sonata in E-flat major.

♫ Dittersdorf - Viola Sonata in E-flat major (4)

I really like string quartets; I’ll have one of those in most columns of this sort. The one today is by FRANZ RICHTER.

Ritter AugustGottfried

Franz is another who straddled the divide between Baroque and Classical music, and unlike most who did that, he mostly came down on the Classical side. He was extremely prolific, with more than 80 symphonies under his belt. There were also 39 masses and other religious compositions, several concertos, sonatas and the like, and six string quartets.

Here is the third movement of String Quartet in B flat major, Op.5 No.2.

♫ Richter - String Quartet in B flat major Op.5 No.2 (3)

It’s seldom that you get the double bass as a featured instrument but this is one of those times. There are a couple of composers who like to feature the bass and JOHANNES SPERGER is one I hadn’t encountered before.


It’s not surprising to learn that Jo was a bass player himself, but he didn’t restrict himself to that instrument. He was quite prolific and wrote 44 symphonies, lots of concertos, sonatas, choral works and all sorts of other things. However, it’s the bass that we’re interested in today; this is the third movement of his Double Bass Concerto in D major.

♫ Sperger - Double Bass Concerto in D major (3)

Somewhat later than everyone else today is AUGUST RITTER.

August Ritter

He was a contemporary of Mendelssohn and was apparently an excellent organist. Most of his compositions were for that instrument, but I have instead the first movement of his Sinfonia Concertante in B. To my ears it sounds as if was written much earlier, around the time that Mozart was doing the same thing.

♫ Ritter - Sinfonia Concertante B-dur (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.

* * *

1932 certainly produced some terrific artists and fine music. Here is some of it.

I’ll start with the old groaner himself, BING CROSBY.

Bing Crosby

You need no introduction to Bing, and I imagine you need no introduction to one of his most famous songs, Please.

♫ Bing Crosby - Please

I’ll always welcome the MILLS BROTHERS into my columns.

Mills Brothers

They seem to like listening to rumors (and spreading them as well). Well, who doesn’t? The song is I Heard. They also indulge in a little scat singing.

♫ Mills Brothers - I Heard

Speaking of scat singing, here’s the man who invented it. LOUIS ARMSTRONG is also another who is pretty much an automatic inclusion.

Louis Armstrong

Louis is very laid back on this song, he even plays his trumpet with mute, at least for the first half. He lets rip later on during Body and Soul.

♫ Louis Armstrong - Body and Soul

It sounds to me as if LONNIE JOHNSON listened carefully to Cab Calloway, who also appears today.

Lonnie Johnson

Lonnie’s song definitely sounds like Cab’s most famous song. Lonnie even sounds just a little like Cab on Winnie the Wailer.

♫ Lonnie Johnson - Winnie The Wailer

AL BOWLLY really traveled the world, which was a little unusual in the early years of the 20th century.

Al Bowlly

Not just to the places you’d expect, but to Africa – Mozambique, South Africa – and Asia – India, the Philippines, Indonesia. He also seemed to have two bands, one used for recording and the other for live performances.

Alas, he was killed in an air raid in London during the war. The Billy Cotton Band wasn’t his usual recording band (that was Ray Noble) and with them we have I Can't Get Mississippi Off My Mind.

♫ Al Bowlly Billy Cotton Band - I Can't Get Mississippi Off My Mind

I’ve already mentioned the next artist. CAB CALLOWAY made a career out of his song Minnie the Moocher.

Cab Calloway

Not just the actual song that he performed pretty much for the rest of his life, but variations on it as well. This is one of those: Minnie the Moocher's Wedding Day.

♫ Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher's Wedding Day

Like Bing, FRED ASTAIRE’s song is one of his most famous.

Fred Astaire

Not just Fred, this song has been associated with quite a few other singers as well. It’s Night and Day, written by Cole Porter for a Broadway musical "Gay Divorce". That play was later filmed as "The Gay Divorcee" that starred Fred and Ginger Rogers.

♫ Fred Astaire - Night And Day

Nobody who is reading this column needs me to tell you about PAUL ROBESON.

Paul Robeson

Okay, a little reminder, he was a star athlete, a lawyer, an actor in both film and stage, a champion of civil rights and an advocate for indigenous peoples around the world. He was also a great singer as you will hear on Got the South in My Soul. In spite of the name of the song, he was from Princeton, New Jersey.

♫ Paul Robeson - Got The South In My Soul

I’ve always been amused that NOËL COWARD affected an umlaut on his first name which suggests that he pronounced it with two syllables, as in the Christmas variant, rather than one which is usual for that name.

Noel Coward

That, of course, was the sort of person he was (or tried to be). This year he gave us his most famous song, along with Ray Noble and His Orchestra, Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

♫ Noel Coward with Ray Noble & His Orchestra - Mad Dogs and Englishmen

GEORGE OLSEN started as a drummer and later became a band leader of the group called George Olsen and his Music.

George Olsen

After he retired, he owned a successful restaurant in New Jersey. Several singers made a name with his group; one whose name isn’t familiar to me is Paul Small, who sings vocal refrain on It Was So Beautiful.

♫ George Olsen - It Was So Beautiful

ELDER MUSIC: Something

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

* * *

We had Nothing last week, so naturally, we have to have Something this week. Nothing was pretty much soul based and Something seems to have a theme as well - most of the songs are from the sixties.

That’s just the way they fell out after selection. I guess something happened during that decade.

One of the things that happened was that DIONNE WARWICK happened to meet Burt Bacharach, and a writing/singing combination was born.

Dionne Warwick

One of the songs Burt wrote (with Hal David) is Always Something There to Remind Me. Dionne recorded it as a demo and other people released the song before she did. She finally got around to doing it for real and I think hers is the definitive version.

♫ Dionne Warwick - Always Something There to Remind Me

Tom Rush recorded songs by several songwriters in the sixties before those had done so themselves. One such was JAMES TAYLOR.

James Taylor

One of the songs that Tom recorded was Something in the Way She Moves. James got around to recording it on his first album, the one few people remember, before “Sweet Baby James”.

♫ James Taylor - Something in the Way She Moves

James Taylor’s first album was recorded and released by Apple. I don’t know if George Harrison lent an ear to what was going down on that record, but it’s instructive to find that the first line of his song Something is the same as James’s.

THE BEATLES’ song was recorded a year or so later on the “Abbey Road” album.


I’m not suggesting any impropriety, but it’s interesting to me. I prefer James’s song to George’s.

♫ Beatles - Something

DOLLY PARTON first came to general attention when she recorded with PORTER WAGONER and appeared on his TV program.

Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner

They performed together on and off for about eight years until others started performing Dolly’s songs and she started as a solo artist. However, from back in the day, here is the pair of them with Something to Reach For.

♫ Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner - Something To Reach For

For some reason HERMAN'S HERMITS seemed to be a lot bigger in America than in their native Britain (or Australia, for that matter).

Herman's Hermits

However, we certainly knew of their music and quite a few of their songs made the charts, including I'm Into Something Good.

♫ Herman's Hermits - I'm Into Something Good

In the period between his writing songs that became hits for other people, and becoming a success himself, GORDON LIGHTFOOT recorded a number of albums that are really interesting.

Gordon Lightfoot

Probably the best of these was “Did She Mention My Name” where he began the process of leaving behind simple folks songs for more interesting and complex material. From that album is the song, Something Very Special.

♫ Gordon Lightfoot - Something Very Special

Getting away from the sixties briefly, we have TIFT MERRITT, a young person.

Tift Merrit

Tift has obviously listened to Emmylou, Dolly and Joni and run with it, creating her own sound. Like those three, she writes her own songs that are really worth hearing. One of those is Something Came Over Me.

♫ Tift Merritt - Something Came Over Me

The album “Between the Buttons” from 1967 contained mostly typical ROLLING STONES material.

Rolling Stones

I don’t know if they ran out of songs or just decided to have a bit of fun with us with the final track on the disk, Something Happened to Me Yesterday.

♫ Rolling Stones - Something Happened to Me Yesterday

Something’s Got a Hold on Me was written by ETTA JAMES, Leroy Kirkland and Pearl Woods.

Etta James

It was recorded by Etta at that bastion of blues music, Chess Records, and produced by Leonard and Phil Chess themselves. Talk about blues music royalty. The song sounds more gospel than blues, with pop overtones.

♫ Etta James - Something's Got A Hold On Me

Another brief foray away from the sixties, this time in the other direction, we have ROSEMARY CLOONEY.

Rosemary Clooney

Something's Got to Give was written by Johnny Mercer and we first saw it performed by Fred Astaire in the film Daddy Long Legs. It was recorded by quite a few people at the time, but I like Rosemary’s version.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - Something's Got To Give

SAM & DAVE were the preeminent soul duo of the sixties. Or any time, really.

Sam & Dave

In concert, no one could hold a candle to them. I suspect that few performers lined up to follow them. They were splendid recording artists as well. One of their big hits was When Something Is Wrong With My Baby, a bit more mellow than most of their output.

♫ Sam & Dave - When Something Is Wrong With My Baby


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.

* * *

Nothing ain’t nothing.

Nothing is a roiling mass of quantum effects where particles and anti-particles wink into existence and return to nothingness. This happens billions of times a second. Once upon a time one of those random events got out of hand and created the universe – it expanded exponentially (generally called the Big Bang), then slowed down, then speeded up again.

Oops, sorry, this isn’t a physics column, it’s all about music. On with the nothingness.

After I had collected the songs, I noticed that it had pretty much turned into a column replete with soul music. That’s fine with me; I hope it is with you as well.

I’ll start with the greatest soul singer, OTIS REDDING.

Otis Redding

He says that I'll Let Nothing Separate Us. I hope he’s right, but this is the real world.

♫ Otis Redding - I'll Let Nothing Separate Us

Next we have the only singer who could have taken Otis’s crown from him, if there hadn’t been that “incident”, SAM COOKE.

Sam Cooke

Sam could sing songs from just about any genre of music and make it his own. Not just his own, but better than just about anyone else. His song is Nothing Can Change This Love.

♫ Sam Cooke - Nothing Can Change This Love

For a change of pace, we have the song that inspired this column. When I saw a vid of the rather fine British group, The Beautiful South, perform a cover of a song by IRIS DEMENT, I knew I had a column.

Iris Dement

Iris was also in their show. Naturally, I’m going with her original version of You've Done Nothing Wrong.

♫ Iris DeMent - You've Done Nothing Wrong

TOUSSAINT MCCALL only had two songs that made the charts, and only one that got to the pointy end.

Toussaint Mccall

That song is Nothing Takes the Place of You. I don’t know why he wasn’t more successful as he was a fine singer, but we know how fickle the music industry is.

♫ Toussaint Mccall - Nothing Takes The Place Of You

JAMES HUNTER had the help of VAN MORRISON on his first album “Believe What I Say”.

James Hunter & Van Morrison

This was a really terrific soul/rhythm & blues-based album that’s worth seeking out, as are James’s subsequent records. From that first album, with Van in tow, we have Ain't Nothing You Can Do.

It was written by Deadric Malone and Joseph Scott and first recorded by Bobby Blue Bland, whose version is excellent.

♫ James Hunter - Ain't Nothing You Can Do

Here are PAUL MADIGAN and ROSS HANNAFORD from an impromptu jam session they performed a few years ago.

Ross Hannaford & Paul Madigan

Paul sings and plays acoustic guitar and Ross plays electric guitar and sings a bit towards the end of the song. Ross was the guitarist for the group Daddy Cool (and others as well). He was easily the finest rock guitarist Australia has produced. Unfortunately, he died recently.

The song they perform is There's Really Nothing You Can Do.

♫ Ross Hannaford & Paul Madigan - There's Really Nothing You Can Do

THE BEARDS are completely tongue in cheek but you wouldn’t know because they all have big beards so you can’t see any cheeks.

The Beards

According to their song, it seems that you can achieve anything if you have a beard - world peace, stop global warming and perform several rather more interesting things. I can attest to that - after all, There’s Just Nothing Better Than a Beard.

♫ The Beards - There’s Just Nothing Better Than a Beard

There were a number of contenders for the next song but with BILLIE HOLIDAY in the mix, it’s a done deal as far as I’m concerned.

Billie Holiday

The song is from the recordings she did that later became known as The Ben Webster, Harry Edison Sessions where some of the finest songs of the era were recorded. One of those was Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me.

♫ Billie Holiday - Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me

CLYDE MCPHATTER is one of several singers that first came to prominence as lead singer for The Drifters.

Clyde McPhatter

He then went on to have a successful solo career. He was one of the best of the pop/soul singers and this song is an example. Although having said that, the song sounds more like a gospel song with some of the words tweaked to fit in, but then a lot of soul music does just that. I really like it. Without Love (There Is Nothing).

♫ Clyde McPhatter - Without Love (There Is Nothing)

It tickles me that PETER PAUL & MARY always had an ampersand in their name rather than the word “and”.

Peter, Paul & Mary

That’s just me; I get distracted by these rather trivial things. Anyway, they perform a song of Bob Dylan’s, not too much of a surprise there.

This is one from the period when he was recovering from his motor cycling accident when he wrote songs and sent them out to people he knew would do a good job with them. PP&M certainly did that with Too Much of Nothing.

♫ Peter, Paul & Mary - Too Much Of Nothing

I’ll end as I began, with a great soul singer. This time it’s PERCY SLEDGE.

Percy Sledge

Percy is another in the top echelon of soul singers - there are quite a few of them as this genre seemed to attract really good singers, many from gospel backgrounds.

Percy is best known for his classic song, When a Man Loves a Woman. From around the same time we have When She Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters).

♫ Percy Sledge - When She Touches Me (Nothing Else Matters)

ELDER MUSIC: Oz Rock Bands

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 are some Australian rock bands that most Americans would not know. Thus there is no AC/DC, Little River Band, Easybeats, Crowded House, Men At Work or Air Supply. The ones today were all successful at home but made little impact in the wider world, and that is the world’s loss.

Because of the country’s small population, these bands developed their skills in pubs and clubs throughout the country, touring constantly, and they had to get good really quickly or they’d go under. These are the survivors of that process. As they used to say on records back in the day, turn up your volume.

Daddy Who? Daddy Cool! (Sorry, I was flashing back to 1971). DADDY COOL is my favorite Oz rock band, and probably the fave of most people of a certain age in this country.


All the members were in several bands previously and they set up Daddy Cool just as a side project, one where they could mess around and play whatever they wanted. What they wanted proved to hit a nerve with the public and they became hugely successful in their new guise.

Their first big hit, written by Ross Wilson, their singer and rhythm guitarist, spent a rather remarkable 10 weeks as number one on the charts. That song is Eagle Rock.

When Elton John toured and heard the song he was so impressed by it he (and Bernie Taupin) wrote Crocodile Rock as an homage.

♫ Daddy Cool - Eagle Rock

STARS were a country tinged band who only made two albums.


That’s because their main songwriter and guitarist died from cancer at the ridiculously young age of 25.

They were a particular favorite of Norma, the Assistant Musicologist and I asked her if she agreed with my choice of song. I think she would have been okay with any from either album. The one I chose is Let's Get Moving.

♫ Stars - Let's Get Moving

In the mid-sixties when young folks were taking up guitars and the like, THE LOVED ONES had an advantage over the rest as most of their members came from jazz bands. Thus they already knew how to play more than three chords.

Loved Ones

They had another advantage, a quite extraordinary singer (Gerry Humphreys) who was like no one else before or since. The band made an album that hit the top of the charts, had four singles that did the same and disintegrated after a year of huge success and popularity never to be heard from again.

The first of their big hits they named after themselves, The Loved One.

♫ Loved Ones - The Loved One

Easily the most successful band within Australia was COLD CHISEL.

Cold Chisel

They had many hits over the years, and this was another excuse for me to play their best song, Flame Trees.

♫ Cold Chisel - Flame Trees

Several of the members of HUNTERS AND COLLECTORS met when they were at Melbourne University.

Hunters & Collectors

They started a band and, as with just about all bands, they evolved, split and became several different ones over the years. The essential core remained the same, particularly their singer, songwriter and guitarist Mark Seymour (who, for those who like musical trivia, is the older brother of the late Nick Seymour of Crowded House).

There are few better songs that came out of that era than Throw Your Arms Around Me. There have been a couple of even better versions of the song, but this is the original.

♫ Hunters & Collectors - Throw Your Arms Around Me

SKYHOOKS were a serious rock band masquerading as a glam-rock outfit.


Well, perhaps not entirely serious, given some of their songs (whose names I won’t mention because this is a family blog). We won’t go with those, instead it’s a bit irony with All My Friends Are Getting Married.

♫ Skyhooks - All My Friends Are Getting Married

JO JO ZEP AND THE FALCONS were an early (but not the first) band formed by the musical powerhouse Joe Camilleri.

Jo Jo Zep

Jo Jo Zep was a nickname bestowed on Joe by his mother. The group’s style was rhythm and blues mixed with reggae, soul, punk and even a bit of jazz. That’s because their members were serious musicians who knew their stuff.

Their first song to make the charts was Hit and Run.

♫ Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons - Hit and Run

REDGUM recorded the best and most poignant song about the Vietnam war.


Yes, we were there too because our stupid Prime Minister at the time (Bob Menzies) pretty much insisted on it. I’ll stop there otherwise I’ll get really angry. The song is I Was Only 19.

♫ Redgum - I Was Only 19 (a walk in the light green)

THE CHURCH was pretty much the brainchild of Steve Kilbey.

The Church

Steve obviously listened carefully to The Byrds, especially to McGuinn’s twelve string electric guitar. However, the group quickly evolved into a distinctive one. They had several songs that became icons of the Australian musical scene. One of those is Unguarded Moment.

♫ The Church - Unguarded Moment

THE BLACK SORROWS were yet another of Joe Camilleri’s bands.

Black Sorrows

I could do a whole column on his bands. Oops, sorry, I’ve already done that. This was easily the most successful of his units. I’ll even play the most successful of his songs, Harley and Rose.

♫ Black Sorrows - Harley And Rose

The members of MENTAL AS ANYTHING are all from various art schools, and all of them are still involved in the art world. Indeed, Reg Mombassa (not the name his mum and dad gave him) is the creator of the Mambo line of clothing and whatnot.

Mental as Anything

Given their name, you can probably guess that they don’t take themselves too seriously – one of their big hits was If You Leave Me Can I Come Too? I nearly included that one, but finally decided on The Nips Are Getting Bigger. An Australian song about drinking. Who’d’a thunk it?

♫ Mental As Anything - The Nips Are Getting Bigger

I can’t help myself; I had to include another track from THE LOVED ONES.

Loved Ones

The song is Everlovin' Man. You really have to smile at Gerry’s vocal gymnastics (well, I do). If ever a band deserved the appellation “iconic” it was this one.

♫ Loved Ones - Everlovin' Man

What Peter Tibbles Did on His Birthday

Short answer: “I broke my neck.”

[Ronni here for a moment. As most of you know, Peter Tibbles writes the Sunday Time Goes By column, Elder Music. It surprised me when I checked just now that he's been doing this for almost a decade – 2019 will be ten years.

Peter and Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, who live in Australia, are old friends now - they've even visited me here in Oregon. Twice. September 16 was Peter's 73rd birthday and – well, I'll let him tell the rest of the story.]

* * *

Technically, that happened about an hour before the big day. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, was around for dinner, and I was seeing her off at the door when I started coughing, blacked out momentarily – just a second or two – and went downwards.

My head must have gone at an angle that it wasn’t meant to. The pain was way, way off the charts (and I used to have migraines as a youth and early adult, so I know about that).

Norma rang the ambulance and they arrived in about four minutes (one of their stations is just around the corner) and they did all that stuff you see when football players go down. There was an extra degree of difficulty – getting down two flights of stairs (or four, depending on how you count them).

Off to Emergency at the Alfred Hospital where I hung around looking at the ceiling for about five hours until they did x-rays, CT scans, CAT scans and whatnot.

It turned out to be a break in the C1 and C2 bones of the spine (those up closest to the head). Then my birthday was spent flat on my back staring vaguely towards the ceiling as I couldn’t see much without my glasses on.

To make things even more entertaining, the next couple of days consisted of vast amounts of projectile vomiting, lots of fun at any time, but even more so when you’re flat on your back wearing a rigid collar. This was unrelated to the fall and it wasn’t concussion.

For the next couple of days I was helpless as a kitten up a tree, but after about four days I was starting to walk around a little, and that kept improving.

In the meantime they took out blood, put stuff into me (including some good pain killers), and connected me to machines that went “bing”. They took my blood pressure seemingly about every 15 minutes.

I’m now home and I have to sleep with just a folded towel under my head, no pillows. It surprised me by being not at all uncomfortable, and I’ve slept really well. It’s difficult getting out of bed in the morning; it usually takes three or four attempts before I manage that.

So, I’ll be wearing this collar for the next three months, eating healthy food (gasp) and eschewing wine (yikes).

* * *

[Ronni again. For some period of time, Peter tells me, he won't be able to sit for long at his computer. But that won't stop Sunday's Elder Music. We have a reasonable backlog and if that runs out, there is that decade of old columns that are worth exploring.]

ELDER MUSIC: Film Associations

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.

* * *

Classical music has been used in numerous films but there are a certain few where the music has been inextricably linked to them. I'm going to feature some of those today. I imagine you know all of these, but it's fun to revisit them.


Elvira Madigan

“Elvira Madigan” is the only film on the list today that I haven’t seen, however, it does include Mozart’s music so I’ve included it. The music is his Piano Concerto No.21, the second movement.

♫ Mozart - Concerto n° 21 (2)


Lone Ranger

I haven’t seen a film of “The Lone Ranger” but I watched the TV program enough times when I was young so I think that counts.

There's an old saying that anyone who can listen to Rossini’s overture to his opera “William Tell”, and not think of “The Lone Ranger” is a civilised person indeed. I guess that makes me uncivilised. I don't think I'm alone.

Of course, when you listen to the complete overture you might be sitting there thinking, when does the famous bit kick in? Quite some time into the piece, is the answer.

♫ Rossini - Guillaume Tell



“Diva” is a French film that’s worth searching for if you haven’t seen it. It’s about a reclusive opera singer, played by Wilhemenia Fernandez, and an obsessive fan who wants to record her. The piece of music featured throughout is the aria Ebben Ne andrò lontana from Catalani’s opera “La Wally”.

♫ Wilhemenia Fernandez - Aria From La Wally


The Lady Killers

“The Lady Killers” is an entertaining tale of a bunch of crooks who pretend to be a string quintet to fool their landlady while they are plotting. What could possibly go wrong? The piece they play, and when I say play I mean play a record of, is a string quintet by Boccherini.

Old Boccers wrote music for a group called the Font String Quartet. He liked to play with the lads himself, so he added an extra cello part for himself and thus created a string quintet.

His most famous is the one used in the film, String Quintet in E major, G. 275, the third movement, a minuet.

♫ Boccherini - String Quintet in E Major Op. 11 No. 5 G. 275 (3)



Just about everyone knows the start of this film. The music used over the initial sequence is a small part of Richard Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra.

It's a good thing that Stanley Kubrick only used this first bit because, to put no fine point on it, the rest of it is quite tedious – and it does go on for quite some time, so we're spared that.

So, here is just the first bit of the first movement of the tone poem by Richard Strauss called Also Sprach Zarathustra.

♫ Richard Strauss - Also sprach Zarathustra (1)


Brief Encounter

Do films get any more British stiff-upper-lippery than Brief Encounter? No, they don’t. It’s probably the most passionate film ever made where nothing actually happens.

It all doesn’t happen to the sound of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2, mostly the second movement.

♫ Rachmaninov - Piano Concerto No. 2 (2)


The Shawshank Redemtion

This is a rare recent film that’s on the list of a lot of people’s favorites, including mine. (Rare because there would be few recent films that most of us would even consider for that list – or is that just me?)

There is a scene where prison inmate Andy (Tim Robbins) locks himself in the warden’s office and broadcasts to the entire prison the Letter Duet from Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”. His friend Red (Morgan Freeman) says, “For the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free”.

♫ Mozart - Marriage of Figaro Aria


The Sting

"The Sting" brought the music of Scott Joplin back into the spotlight where it’s remained since. That was a bit odd because the period in which the film is set is some decades after Scott’s music was popular. Doesn’t matter.

The tune that was probably considered the main theme of the film is The Entertainer.

♫ Scott Joplin - The Entertainer


Priscilla Queen of the Desert

In case you’re unaware, Priscilla is the name of the bus used by the main characters to travel from Sydney to Alice Springs. During the journey Felicia (Guy Pearce) got on top of the bus and sang along to Joan Sutherland performing E'strano Ah fors'e lui Sempre libera from Verdi’s opera “La Traviata”.

♫ Verdi - La Traviata E'strano Ah fors'e lui Sempre libera


Death In Venice

“Death in Venice” used the music of Mahler quite extensively, sampling a couple of his symphonies. The biggest chunk was the fourth movement of Symphony No. 5. Like much of Mahler, this does go on for a bit so you could probably go and make a cup of tea or coffee. Perhaps cook some toast.

♫ Mahler - Symphony No. 5 (4)

ELDER MUSIC: Play it Cool

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 had to Google those things because we don't have them where I live. I hope you aren't too cool to read the column as that's what it's all about.

I was driving to the library and my classical station was playing some really boring stuff so I switched over to the jazz station. I came in the middle of an interesting interpretation of some Leonard Bernstein music from West Side Story. "I wonder who that is", I thought. At the end the announcer said it was the BILL CHARLAP TRIO.

Bill Charlap Trio

"I have him", I retorted (in my head). When I got home I decided to check whether I had that track. Indeed I did and it inspired this column which has a whole range of different genres. Something for everyone.

Here's the inspiration, it's simply called Cool.

♫ Bill Charlap Trio - Cool

Getting quite a long way from lovely piano jazz we have the SONS OF THE PIONEERS.

Sons Of The Pioneers

The group was formed in the 1930s by Leonard Slye and a couple of his friends. Old Len is probably better known to most of us as Roy Rogers. He'd left to pursue a film career by the time this track was recorded, and we have long time front man Bob Nolan singing lead.

The song is one many have tackled over the years but none better than this one, Cool Water.

♫ Sons Of The Pioneers - Cool Water

BING CROSBY has the help of one time Mrs Ronald Reagan, JANE WYMAN. Jane had the good sense to bail out of that marriage.

Bing Crosby & Jane Wyman

There are a bunch of other singers warbling in the background but Bing and Jane are who we're most interested in. They sing In The Cool, Cool, Cool Of The Evening.

Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman - In The Cool Cool Cool Of The Evening

Hudson Woodbridge was born in Georgia and later went to Tampa, Florida where he polished his guitar playing. Later still, like many blues performers, he ended up in Chicago where he took the name TAMPA RED.

Tampa Red

Although renowned for his guitar playing, the track today is mostly piano based. It's She's a Cool Operator.

♫ Tampa Red - She's a Cool Operator

Eugene, Charles, and James Strider got together with their friend Earnest Griffin and formed a singing group called THE STRIDERS.

The Striders

Along the way they backed Savannah Churchill on a record and it went so well she joined them. Due to various shenanigans on the part of record companies and the like, their records weren't very successful in spite of the quality of the music.

One of those is Cool Saturday Night.

♫ The Striders - Cool Saturday Night

The Doowop group The Rays originally recorded a song called Daddy Cool. Normally, I would have included their song. However, that one inspired the name of Australia's greatest rock band (that Americans have never heard of) called DADDY COOL.

Daddy Cool

It's probably no surprise that they made a record of the song as well, which I think is better than the original (or maybe I'm biased). Anyway, see what you think.

♫ Daddy Cool - Daddy Cool

Another total change of pace will give us the great THELONIOUS MONK.

Thelonious Monk

The track is not piano based for a change, it's more trumpet and sax oriented than we're generally used to with Monk. It's from quite early in his career as a front man, and the tune is Let's Cool One.

♫ Thelonious Monk - Let's Cool One

There are few cooler performers around than TONY JOE WHITE.

Tony Joe White

If you've never seen him live you really should try to do that. Anyway, his song is Cool Town Woman.

♫ Tony Joe White - Cool Town Woman

Of the sixties English performers, there was no one cooler than GEORGIE FAME.

Georgie Fame

He wasn't like the other kiddies; he preferred cool jazz and laid back blues, no roaring guitars for him. Although he recorded a few pop songs, I didn't think his heart was in it. He was more comfortable with songs like the one today, Cool Cat Blues.

♫ Georgie Fame - Cool Cat Blues

I think I first noticed TIBBY EDWARDS because of his first name, one of my (many) nicknames when I was at primary school.

Tibby Edwards

Tibby was a Cajun country singer who played both styles as well as early rockabilly. He contributed the name of the column with his song, Play It Cool Man, Play It Cool. He obviously listened closely to Hank Williams.

♫ Tibby Edwards - Play It Cool Man Play It Cool

ELDER MUSIC: Songs About Cities - Las Vegas

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.

* * *

Las Vegas

I've been to Las Vegas twice in my life but in spite of two visits, the total time I've spent in the place would not amount to more than four or five hours.

The second of these visits I was driving from Albuquerque to San Francisco with my sister, brother-in-law and a couple of friends. Two cars were involved (thus we could switch around if things got a bit tense).

We hit Vegas around lunch time and we stopped to eat. We had a splendid meal and some spectacular wines (those not driving) for not much money at all. This was back in the days when the gambling subsidized the food.

I thought very highly of the place at the time until we ventured back out on to the streets and reality reasserted itself. We drove on.

The first visit I was flying with my father from San Francisco to Albuquerque (you might notice a theme here) and we had to change planes at Las Vegas.

Like the rest of the city, McCarran airport is replete with slot machines. Dad, who liked a bit of a flutter, dug into his pocket and came up with three quarters. He put them into one of those machines and on the third try he had a mini-jackpot – about $20 or so.

He pocketed his winnings and we flew on. So, it means that my dad is one of the very few people who has gambled in that city and left showing a profit.

So, on the theme of Australians in Las Vegas, here is the LITTLE RIVER BAND.

Little River Band

Their song is Home on a Monday, which doesn't sound much like the topic today, however, they sing (several times) that they are calling from the Las Vegas Hilton. That's good enough for me.

♫ Little River Band - Home On A Monday

DARYL HALL AND JOHN OATES gave us one of the great Vegas songs.

Hall & Oates

Anyone who is familiar with their oeuvre will know immediately that I’m talking about Las Vegas Turnaround, the continuing story of Sarah who has appeared before in their songs.

♫ Hall & Oates - Las Vegas Turnaround

Well, the Queen of Spades is a friend of mine
The Queen of Hearts is a bitch
Someday when I clean up my mind
I'll find out which is which.

That pretty much sums up the city, and probably sums up the writer and singer of the song, the late great GRAM PARSONS.

Gram1 Parsons

That was from his song Ooh Las Vegas, which was on his final album, released posthumously, called “Grievous Angel”. He has the help of Emmylou Harris on this one.

♫ Gram Parsons - Ooh Las Vegas

BUCK OWENS’ mum didn’t seem to like the idea of her little boy venturing to Sin City.

Buck Owens

Buck seems to think that he’s Big in Vegas. He’s either kidding himself or us.

♫ Buck Owens - Big In Vegas

Buck is generally thought of a country singer, but here we have a real country song – drowning sorrows, pedal steels, takeout meals and a talky bit in the middle.

Okay, no takeout meals (that was my own private musical joke – I like to keep myself amused. Norma, the Assistant Musicologist will get it, I don't know about anyone else). The singer is BOB WAYNE.

Bob Wayne

Bob seems to have gone from the top to the bottom in the city. He’s not the only one who’s done that. He tells us all about in Lost Vegas.

♫ Bob Wayne - Lost Vegas

You were expecting this next one I imagine. I don't want to disappoint so here is ELVIS.

Elvis Presley

It is far from my favorite song of his, but it's on topic so it fits right in. It's probably the first one you thought of when the title came up. You know of what I speak, Viva Las Vegas.

♫ Elvis Presley - Viva Las Vegas

THE EVERLY BROTHERS are particularly jaded by our city.

Everly Brothers

Perhaps that should just be Don because as far as my ears can tell, Phil doesn’t seem to be present on this song. I assume that they performed in Las Vegas after their huge success tapered off somewhat.

I believe it pays well, but it could get a bit dispiriting as is evidenced by the song, I'm Tired of Singing My Song in Las Vegas.

♫ Everly Brothers - I'm Tired of Singing My Song in Las Vegas

I assume that SHERYL CROW feels the same as the Everly Brothers (or brother).

Sheryl Crow

That’s because she’s Leaving Las Vegas. The song was written by David Baerwald and is based on a book of the same name written by John O’Brien.

♫ Sheryl Crow - Leaving Las Vegas

Sheryl might pass SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS as they are going in the opposite direction.

Southern Culture on the Skids

SCOTS is a three piece band whose style leans towards rockabilly with a large dose of tongue-in-cheek thrown in for good measure. They’re heading for the city, but it seems it’s still 40 Miles to Vegas.

♫ Southern Culture On The Skids - 40 Miles to Vegas

TOM WAITS is channeling his inner lounge singer.

Tom Waits

That might come as a shock to those familiar with Tom’s work, but he seems to think he’s Frank Sinatra on this one. Indeed, the song sounds perfect for Frank. It’s a bit of a pity he didn’t get to record it. Straight to the Top (Vegas).

♫ Tom Waits - Straight To The Top (Vegas)

ELDER MUSIC: 1954 Yet 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.

* * *

Rhythm and blues had started to enter into the purview of the general hit parade by 1954. It still hadn't morphed into rock & roll; that would take another year or so. However, it meant that we were starting to get some interesting music, at least from this young lad's point of view.

I'll start with one of the best RAY CHARLES.

Ray Charles

Ray started out performing rather in the same vein as Nat King Cole but he quickly developed his own style. Even by this year his style seems to be fully formed in the song I Got a Woman.

♫ Ray Charles - I Got a Woman

Gene De Paul and Sammy Cahn wrote the song Teach Me Tonight this year. It was first recorded by Janet Brace and hers was the first to make the charts. Not long after, DINAH WASHINGTON had a crack at it and her version is the one most of us remember (or at least I do).

Dinah Washington

Sammy Cahn wrote an extra verse for Frank Sinatra many years later when he recorded it referring to Frank's many affairs. Today it's Dinah's turn.

♫ Dinah Washington - Teach Me Tonight

The late great JOHNNY ACE is a bit of a cliché these days.

Johnny Ace

However, it's quite true that he was a great performer and no doubt would have turned into a superb soul singer. Alas, there's the "late" part. Johnny managed to shoot himself in a very silly stunt (he was overly fond of guns). His song is the one he's best known for, Pledging My Love.

♫ Johnny Ace - Pledging My Love

EARTHA KITT was wonderfully outspoken, famously serving it up to the first lady (Lady Bird Johnson) at a White House lunch. She wasn’t invited back, but I don’t think she cared.

Eartha Kitt

Eartha spent quite some time in France and that’s pretty obvious from her song Under the Bridges of Paris.

♫ Eartha Kitt - Under the Bridges of Paris

GUY MITCHELL was all over the charts around this time.

Guy Mitchell

He took an old song called Sippin’ Cider and transformed it, as I imagine that sounded a bit racy for 1954. Instead we have Sippin' Soda. I guess all the kids down at the malt shop were doing that. At least, that’s what their parents thought they were doing.

♫ Guy Mitchell - Sippin' Soda

I had completely forgotten the next song until I reviewed it for the column. That was not a good thing because, once I'd played it, I remembered that it was a real earworm for me back in the day. I found that it still holds that power and I've been singing it (or bits of it in real earworm style) all week.

The song is I Get So Lonely by the FOUR KNIGHTS.

The Four Knights

On another tack, what's with all these Four Something-or-others back then? There were The Four Lads, The Four Aces, The Four Seasons, The Four Preps and on and on. I would have left the number off because if one member left you'd be scrambling around for a replacement or you'd have to change the name (unfortunate if you already had a following). Anyway, here's that annoying song.

♫ The Four Knights - I Get So Lonely

MUDDY WATERS was selling lots of records by this stage.

Muddy Waters

I had to wait to discover them as they didn’t really impinge on the couple of radio stations that we could pick up regularly in the country town where I was living in far western Victoria in Australia. With hindsight, though, I’m really happy to include Muddy performing I'm Ready.

♫ Muddy Waters - I'm Ready

TONY BENNETT was somewhat puzzled when his producer Mitch Miller suggested he record one of Hank Williams' songs. "Country music?" he asked, somewhat quizzically.

Mitch said that it would be unrecognizable after they arranged it. That song was Cold, Cold Heart and it went on to sell millions. So, when Mitch suggested another song of Hank's, Tony was still a bit reluctant but less so. That song was There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight.

Tony Bennett

The song also sold well, but not as much as the previous one. Here it is.

♫ Tony Bennett - There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight

Probably most of the best songs from this year, and you’ve heard several already, didn’t make the top of the charts. That goes for the next one, which in spite of the good ones we’ve had, I think is the pick of the crop. It’s by RUTH BROWN.

Ruth Brown

As with Muddy, the song isn’t one I remember hearing on the two radio stations we could pick up in my town, a long way from anywhere (Melbourne was 250 miles to the east and Adelaide was 250 miles to the west). I only learned about it later. Oh What a Dream.

♫ Ruth Brown - Oh What A Dream

The MILLS BROTHERS just kept on keeping on.

The Mills Brothers

They had been around since the thirties and were still producing good music, or at least interesting music. I don’t know which category The Jones Boy fits into, but I quite liked it at the time.

♫ The Mills Brothers - The Jones Boy


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.

* * *

Roy Orbison

ROY ORBISON was unique, and I use that word advisably. He had a voice like no other in popular music with a huge range that probably would have fitted easily into opera if that's what he wanted to do.

He wrote songs that didn't fit into the normal pop music structure; these were free flowing, story songs, operatic to some extent. Until Bob Dylan, no one broke the mold like he did.

Roy Orbison

Roy didn't start out like the way I described. His first recordings were at Sun Records with Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. He tried to fit into rockabilly but it really didn't work.

However, anything he recorded is worth a listen. The most famous song from that the time is Ooby Dooby.

♫ Roy Orbison - Ooby Dooby

Roy Orbison

After leaving Sun, he flourished into the performer we know now. The first song that impacted on my brain was Only the Lonely. Way back, when it came out, the first time I heard this song I was gobsmacked. Even now, I get the same reaction. The song came out of the blue, there was nothing like it before in my popular music listening history. Here it is.

♫ Roy Orbison - Only The Lonely

Not too long after that song, ROY came out with an even better song. That one is Crying. Instead of Roy's original version, I've decided to use a later one he performed with K.D. LANG.

Roy Orbison & kd lang

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist thinks this is better than the original. She may very well think that, I wouldn't dare disagree.

♫ Roy Orbison & k.d. lang - Crying

Something else ROY performed with others is Indian Summer. In this case it's BARRY GIBB and LARRY GATLIN.

Roy Orbison & Barry Gibb & Larry Gatlin

Barry is the oldest of the brothers who made up the Bee Gees, and alas, the only one still with us. Larry also performed with his brothers as Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers as well as being a solo performer. Here are the three of them performing the song.

♫ Roy Orbison - Indian Summer

There are few performers who could sing any of Roy's songs that you'd really want to listen to in preference to the original. One cover version that held up really well was by LINDA RONSTADT – neither the A.M. nor I am surprised at that. This was a big hit for her (and Roy too), Blue Bayou.

Linda Ronstadt

♫ Linda Ronstadt - Blue Bayou

The Crowd is a song that sounds like a lot of others of Roy's. Indeed, the A.M. scoffed at my choice, but I remember it fondly from my final year at school – there might have been a girlfriend involved. Actually, an ex-girlfriend would be closer to the mark by the time the song was released.

♫ Roy Orbison - The Crowd

Roy Orbison

Another song that the A.M. didn't think deserved its place is Leah. However, this is my column so it's included. It's not like most of his other songs.

♫ Roy Orbison - Leah

Traveling Wilburys

THE TRAVELING WILBURYS were a garage band – literally, they got together in one of their members' garage. The story is that Tom Petty, one of the group, skipped all the way home to tell his wife that Roy Orbison was going to be in his band. Roy Orbison!

He neglected to tell her that those also-rans Bob Dylan and George Harrison were also present. Jeff Lynne as well. They all enjoyed each others' music and had a ball playing together, such that they decided to record an album.

Alas, Roy died soon after, before he could participate in the second record. From that first album we have End of the Line, with all members singing parts of the song.

♫ Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line

We know that EMMYLOU HARRIS has recorded with many people over the years, and of course, ROY is in the mix.

Roy Orbison & Emmylou Harris

With those two you know it’s going to be a good song, and it is. That Loving You Feeling Again.

♫ Roy Orbison & Emmylou Harris - That Loving You Feeling Again

Roy Orbison

The A.M. and I were watching a vid of one of Roy's concerts and this next song came up. I had my mouth open to say that this was far and away the best song Roy ever recorded when the A.M. beat me to it saying exactly the same thing.

Anyone who is familiar with Roy's oeuvre knows that the song is Running Scared. This could almost be considered to be a mini-opera, or at least, an homage to Ravel's Bolero.

♫ Roy Orbison - Running Scared

ELDER MUSIC: Joseph Haydn

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.

* * *


One of the very first columns I wrote was on JOSEPH HAYDN. I was still a learner at that stage and it wasn’t very good so I thought it was time to revisit one of the most important composers in history.

Jo pretty much invented chamber music, particularly the piano trio and string quartet. He’s also called the father of the symphony, not because he invented it – it was around before him. it was a little bitty thing, not much thought of – but because he was the one who expanded it setting in train the raging monster that it is today.

Jo spent much of his career as a hired musician for the Esterházy family and in particular Prince Nikolaus Esterházy, who liked a bit of a tune. After Ester eventually died, Jo went out as a freelancer and made piles of money. During his lifetime he was the most famous composer in Europe.

Throughout, you’ll see mention of Hob numbers, they are references to a catalogue of Jo’s works by Anthony Van Hoboken.

As I mention towards the end of the column, Papa Jo (as Mozart, a good friend of his, liked to call him) wrote a hell of a lot of symphonies. When Beethoven wrote his Sixth, he was two-thirds of the way through his, but Jo was just getting started.

He thought it’d be fun to write some reflecting the time of day and three ensued: “Le matin” (morning), “Le midi” (midday) and “Le soir” (night). This is the first movement of Symphony No 6 in D major (“Le matin”), an appropriate way to start the day.

♫ Symphony No 6 D major Le Matin (1)


Jo invented the string quartet so he’d have something to play in his spare time with a few friends. He wrote more than 80 of them and they were the model for every composer since who tackled them (which is just about all of them).

The one I’ve chosen is the Quartet No. 62 in C major, Op. 76, No. 3, often called “The Emperor”. That’s because the second movement, which I’m playing, is a set of variations on "Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser" ("God Save Emperor Francis"), an anthem he wrote for Emperor Francis II. The tune remains famous to this day.

♫ String Quartet in C Major Op.76 No.3 (2)

As far as I can tell, Parthia means a parting shot, but musically it also means air with variations. I guess air is appropriate as these are scored for a few woodwind instruments, plus occasionally a French horn (which sounds a bit woodwindy). It’s best just to listen.

The example is the first movement of Parthia in B flat major.

♫ Parthia in B flat major (1)


Jo’s violin concertos are as good as any around except for the single one that Beethoven wrote. Theoretically, Jo wrote nine of these but five are considered to be possibly by someone else (including two by his brother Michael).

The one I’ve chosen is a genuine Jo, the Violin Concerto in A major, Hob.VIIa3, the third movement.

♫ Violin Concerto in A major Hob.VIIa3 (3)

Jo is mostly thought of these days as a writer of instrumental music, but he wrote a lot for the voice as well. Besides operas (which aren’t much performed these days), there were masses, cantatas and other religious music as well as a couple of oratorios.

The most famous of these is The Creation, Hob. XI 2. From that we have SARA MACLIVER performing “On Mighty Pens Uplifted Soars the Eagle Aloft”.

Sara Macliver

♫ The Creation Hob.XI 2 Part 2-Scene 1 - On Mighty Pens Uplifted Soars The Eagle Aloft

Cello players are always in debt to Papa Jo, as he wrote the two best cello concertos ever. There’s some evidence that he wrote more than these but alas, they have been lost. This is a real shame when you consider the two that have survived.

Here is a sampler, the first movement of the Cello Concerto in C major Hob VIIb-1.

♫ Cello Concerto in C major (1)


Another vocal work is the Motet in A major “Parvulus filius”. There are two versions of this: one scored for a choir and the other for soloists. I prefer the one for soloists.

♫ Motet in A major 'Parvulus filius'

Although not as well known as Beethoven and Mozart for his piano compositions, naturally, he wrote for the instrument. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of them. I thought that the piano on its own would best illustrate his gift for writing for the instrument, and who better to show that than GLENN GOULD.

Anything that Glenn touches is worth a listen in my opinion.

Glenn Gould

He performs the second movement of the Piano Sonata No 42 in D, Hob XVI. Glenn makes it sound as if there are two pianists at work.

♫ Piano Sonata No 42 in D Hob XVI (2)

Ester was a demanding patron, he initially really liked the viola da gamba (a bit like a cello with more strings) and wanted compositions for that instrument.

Then he changed pretty much overnight to a love of the baryton.

Naturally, he demanded works for it but there were none around. Poor old Jo had to sit down and churn out music for it, and boy, did he ever: 126 trios, 25 duos, 3 concertos and 12 miscellaneous compositions all for this one obscure instrument.

I imagine that he has more compositions for the baryton than anyone else – probably everyone else. This is a baryton.


This is what it sounds like, the second movement of the Baryton Trio No. 87 in A minor.

♫ Baryton Trio No. 87 in A minor (2)


One of Jo’s sacred works is Cantilena pro adventu in G major, Hob XXIIId-2. This is an aria for Soprano, Alto, Organ and Strings. That’s about as much as I could find out, but it’s really gorgeous.

♫ Cantilena pro adventu in G major


Jo wrote 104 symphonies officially and there are about half a dozen other works that probably should be called symphonies. Many of these have names, but Jo usually didn’t bestow them on the works, they were often called that later or without his knowledge at the time.

One he would have known about is number 96, “The Miracle”. It seems that at its premier, at the end of the piece the audience rushed towards the stage to show their appreciation. Just then a chandelier crashed to the floor where they had just been. Nobody was hurt, so it was deemed a miracle and the name stuck.

Another named symphony is number 45, “The Farewell”, and it will be an appropriate way to end the column. Ester liked a bit of a holiday and one time he packed his household, including all the musicians, and lit out to his country place.

However, wives and kids and whatnot weren’t invited. The stay was longer than expected and the musos got restless and asked Jo to say something. He decided instead on a different approach.

He wrote this symphony and when it was performed, during the final movement each musician stopped playing in turn, snuffed out the candle on his music stand, and left.

At the end there were just two violins left (played by Jo himself and the concertmaster). Ester got the message and they all returned the following day. Here is that final movement.

♫ Symphony No. 45 (4)