573 posts categorized "Elder Music"

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)


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.

* * *

Take your partners, here is the last dance. We all know that this is the one where you try to grab the gal that you want to walk home and maybe have a bit of a cuddle on the way. Well, that’s the way it was back at my school socials.

It wasn’t just from where I came from either, judging from our first song. When Ben E King was the lead singer for THE DRIFTERS, there was not a band on the planet that came close to matching them.

The Drifters

His stay with the group was brief, under a year, but while he was there they produced some of the finest records in history. One of those, and you all know this one as it relates to our category, was Save the Last Dance for Me.

♫ The Drifters - Save The Last Dance For Me

Georgia Gibbs made a career of covering songs originally recorded by ETTA JAMES.

Etta James

Naturally, I think that Etta did them better. One of those was Dance With Me Henry, a much grittier version than Georgia’s.

♫ Etta James - Dance With Me Henry

One of the many answers Bob Dylan gave over the years when asked how he saw himself was Song and Dance Man. He wasn’t alone; another who thought the same way was MIKE MCCLELLAN.

Mike McClellan

From the album from the seventies that established him as a force on the music scene, "Ask Any Dancer", very apt for the topic today, we have Song and Danceman.

♫ Mike McClellan - Song and Danceman

SONNY CLARK was a jazz pianist who was in demand for recording by just about everyone who played in the fifties and early sixties. He also made nearly a dozen of his own albums.

Sonny Clark

Unfortunately, he died far too young, at 31, of a heart attack, but drugs may have been involved. Today though, he is Dancing in the Dark.

♫ Sonny Clark - Dancing In The Dark

During the great folk music scare of the early sixties, before Bob, TOM PAXTON was the first to regularly write and perform his own songs.

Tom Paxton

These turned into instant classics that have stood the test of time and are still considered some of the finest songs around. The song today is from later in his career and it may last just as long, although maybe not. It’s called Dance in the Kitchen.

♫ Tom Paxton - Dance In The Kitchen

LARRY WILLIAMS was one of the first rock & rollers and he wrote and performed some of the classic songs from the period.

Larry Williams

However, you really wouldn’t have wanted to know him. He seriously dabbled in drugs (dealing and otherwise) and violence and he was shot dead in mysterious, and still unsolved, circumstances. One of his lesser known songs is High School Dance.

♫ Larry Williams - High School Dance

I’ve followed the career of ELIZA GILKYSON since I first heard her in Albuquerque back when she went by the name Lisa Gilkyson.

Eliza Gilkyson

Her albums have always been interesting and I was looking for a final song for these columns and when I heard this one it was an automatic choice. Even if I’d filled my quota, something else would have been bumped for it. She supplies the name of the column, Last Dance.

♫ Eliza Gilkyson - Last Dance

I’ve always preferred BENNY GOODMAN in his small group, but I guess this big band of his really got toes a’tapping.

Benny Goodman

The bands from that time were really all about getting people up dancing, and I imagine if you’re not up dancing, at least you’ll be jiggling around in your chair to this one. The tune is Let's Dance.

♫ Benny Goodman - Let's Dance

J.J. CALE was one of the most influential guitarists in the last 50 years. Everyone from Eric Clapton on down has acknowledged him.

J.J. Cale

He was also a songwriter of considerable facility and his laidback singing style was emulated by many. His song is Fancy Dancer.

♫ J.J. Cale - Fancy Dancer

I’ll end this series with the most appropriate song I could think of on the topic. It’s by HARRY CHAPIN.

Harry Chapin

Okay, we’ve danced the days and nights away and now we’re going down with the ship because we were too busy dancing to see the iceberg. Dance Band on the Titanic.

♫ Harry Chapin - Dance Band on the Titanic

ELDER MUSIC: I Won’t Dance

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.

* * *

The dance is in full swing by now and everyone’s up on the floor, except me because I don’t dance. I used to, back at school at the school socials.

They still had the old fashioned dances than – waltz, foxtrot, Pride of Erin and so on. It was really an excuse for the boys to hold the girls tight. We loved it; I don’t know what the girls thought of that though. Anyway, take your partners…

A song from FRANK SINATRA usually closes the dance as everyone wants to snuggle with his/her sweetie.

Frank Sinatra

He’s opening the show today with Dancing on the Ceiling.

♫ Frank Sinatra - Dancing On The Ceiling

Land of 1000 Dances is mostly associated with Wilson Pickett as he had a big hit with the song. However, it was written by CHRIS KENNER and he was the first to record it.

Chris Kenner

Chris’s version is more New Orleans funk than the extravagant soul treatment of Wilson. It’s less often played so it’s good to hear the original. Any obsessives out there who want to count the number of dances Chris mentioned would come up with 16. Just thought I’d save you the trouble.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: Barb Rogers in the comments below is correct: This audio does not played. I've spent an hour trying to fix it (it plays fine on my own player program but not online) and can't. I don't have the time to work on it further today. Sorry.]

♫ Chris Kenner - Land of 1000 Dances

AHMAD JAMAL, or Fred Jones to his mum and dad, is a hugely successful jazz pianist.

Ahmad Jamal

He’s recorded scores of albums over the years so it’s not too surprising that we have a dance tune in there somewhere. One I found is called Dolphin Dance.

♫ Ahmad Jamal - Dolphin Dance

As you know, FRED ASTAIRE didn’t dance at all. I’m sure you’ve seen him in many films not dancing.

Fred Astaire

At least, that’s what Fred sings about in I Won't Dance. As mentioned above, I share that with him.

♫ Fred Astaire - I Won't Dance

JACKSON BROWNE was initially in the first dance column, but in the interests of balance he was moved to this one.

Jackson Browne

His was one of the first songs I thought of before I even searched for songs. When I did, I found several really good covers of his song that I was tempted to include, but I went with the original. For a Dancer.

♫ Jackson Browne - For a Dancer

Katie Moss wrote the words and music to The Floral Dance in 1911 after a Flora Day celebration in Cornwall. PETER DAWSON recorded it not long after.

Peter Dawson

Pete was an Australian bass-baritone and also a bit of a composer himself. There’s a bit of noise on this one but remember it was recorded more than 100 years ago.

♫ Peter Dawson - The Floral Dance

The MODERN JAZZ QUARTET didn’t ever rock the joint.

Modern Jazz Quartet

They were restrained, and their musical style was closer to a classical quartet, not surprising given their musical training. Each member could improvise with the best of them though which probably accounted for their longevity as a group. Their tune is Sun Dance.

♫ Modern Jazz Quartet - Sun Dance

I first noticed RODNEY CROWELL when he was a member of EMMYLOU HARRIS’s Hot Band.

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell

I then noticed that he’d written a bunch of songs that she included on several of her albums. Later, when he went out as a solo performer, I was struck by how good he was, as well as the quality of his songs that kept emerging.

Later he and Emmy toured together and have recorded some albums as well. From one of those, “Old Yellow Moon” is the song Spanish Dancer.

♫ Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell - Spanish Dancer

ANDREA MOTIS is a Spanish jazz pianist and singer.

Andrea Motis

She’s from Barcelona and recorded her first album at age 15, for heaven’s sake. She’s made eight or nine since including Emotional Dance from which is taken the title track.

♫ Andrea Motis - Emotional Dance

THE BEATLES were a rather successful group in the sixties.

The Beatles

You might have heard of them. They made an entertaining film called A Hard Day's Night from which the song I'm Happy Just to Dance With You is taken.

♫ The Beatles - I'm Happy Just To Dance With You

More dancing next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Dancing the Night Away

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

* * *

Okay, the dance is in full swing now so everyone get up on your feet and choose someone with whom to do some twirling.

Norma, the Assistant Musicologist's favorite Motown song by her favorite Motown group is MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS performing Dancing in the Street.

Marth a& the Vandellas

Nothing more needs to be said, except that others have recorded the song but none is as good as this one.

♫ Martha & The Vandellas - Dancing in the Street

As a complete contrast here is MICHAEL MARTIN MURPHEY, one of my faves in a different genre.

Michael Martin Murphey

Michael recorded a series of albums called "Cowboy Songs" which were, to state the bleeding obvious, songs about cowboys. On the first on these there was a song called Let the Cowboy Dance.

♫ Michael Martin Murphey - Let the Cowboy Dance

MADELEINE PEYROUX is high on the list of great interpreters of Leonard Cohen's songs.

Madeleine Peyroux

She isn't bad on Bob Dylan's either. However, it's Lennie's song today: Dance Me to the End of Love.

♫ Madeleine Peyroux - Dance Me to the End of Love

Before he became one of the first rock & rollers BILL HALEY was performing a mix of western swing and rhythm and blues.

Bill Haley

That, of course, is some of the parts that led to rock & roll. Bill doesn't get the kudos he deserves because Elvis came along not too long after and Bill didn't have Elvis's charisma, sex appeal and youth.

However, besides his big hits, Bill had a number of songs he recorded that in retrospect deserves a listen. One of those is Dance With a Dolly.

♫ Bill Haley - Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)

Speaking of charisma, CHET BAKER had it in spades.

Chet Baker

He was ridiculously handsome, played the trumpet as well as all but the very best and was one the finest jazz singers ever. He threw it all away with a lifetime of serious drug abuse. However, before all that happened he recorded some wonderful tunes, including Music to Dance By.

♫ Chet Baker - Music To Dance By

We continue with some of the very best in their various fields, starting with THE DRIFTERS.

The Drifters

For vocal groups in the fifties, there was none better, especially when Ben E King was singing lead vocal, as he did on Dance With Me.

♫ The Drifters - Dance With Me

Probably not as well known as other southern rock groups, but in my mind the best of the lot is the AMAZING RHYTHM ACES.

Amazing Rhythm Aces

They were not as bombastic as most and didn't indulge in hour-long jams. They played songs that were well crafted and as good as any around at the time. They were blessed with a good lead singer who was also their main song writer. Here they get a little indulgent with Dancing the Night Away.

♫ Amazing Rhythm Aces - Dancing the Night Away

Over the years the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band have had an ongoing project (and series of records) called "Will the Circle be Unbroken" where they collect the finest musicians together to record with them.

These are mostly country performers, but not exclusively. Naturally, EMMYLOU HARRIS would be high on the list of those they'd select.

Emmylou Harris

Emmy's song, backed by the Nittys, is Mary Danced with Soldiers.

♫ Emmylou Harris - Mary Danced with Soldiers

Another fave of the A.M. is AMOS MILBURN.

Amos Milburn

He was one of the finest rhythm & blues performers. This music was also a component in the development of rock & roll. He had his tongue firmly in his cheek when he recorded Square Dance Boogie.

♫ Amos Milburn - Square Dance Boogie

I'll finish today's dancing tune with a song from left field, which is apt as it's one by RANDY NEWMAN.

Randy Newman

This one isn't about people dancing as you will hear. It's Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear. It was originally a hit for Alan Price (once of The Animals) and many others, but Randy wrote it and that's good enough for me.

♫ Randy Newman - Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear

More dancing next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Let's Face The Music And Dance

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.

* * *

Quite a lot of music is written especially for dancing, and more reference dancing. I thought that might make an interesting column but when I started looking for music I was overwhelmed by choice.

So, rather than throw good songs away, I created four columns (and there were even more good songs, but I went with what I thought were the best). I’ve had to cull so much that I imagine some of you might mention some in the comments. Take your partners…

I’ll start with my favorite dance song by MIKE MCCLELLAN.

Mike McClellan

Mike is one of the finest singer/songwriters in Australia. Had he been born in America he’d be a superstar. To us in Oz he is. His song is Saturday Dance.

♫ Mike McClellan - Saturday Dance

BOBBY FREEMAN is generally considered San Francisco’s first rock star.

Bobby Freeman

He started out in a Doowop group while he was still at school and they actually made a record. He was in a couple more groups before he went solo and recorded the biggest hit of his career, Do You Wanna Dance? Many people have covered this one over the years, but his is still the best version.

♫ Bobby Freeman - Do You Wanna Dance

The Drifters were the only competition THE PLATTERS had as finest vocal group of the fifties.

The Platters

The Platters had many hits during the decade thanks to their fine lead singer Tony Williams. Their dancing song isn’t in the first rank of their songs but it’s one we have: I'm Just a Dancing Partner.

♫ The Platters - I'm Just A Dancing Partner

KEITH JARRETT recorded a couple of albums with the late great jazz bass player CHARLIE HADEN.

Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden

One of those was called “Last Dance”, an appropriate title for our column. From that album we have Dance of the Infidels, a tune written and made famous by Bud Powell.

♫ Keith Jarrett - Dance of the Infidels

Of the half dozen albums that could be considered as the best ever, Moondance is in the mix. It was recorded by VAN MORRISON.

Van Morrison

He’d have a couple of others in consideration as well (along with some by The Band). The title song is the one we have today.

♫ Van Morrison - Moondance

Way back at the beginning of his career, JIMMY BUFFETT gave us a really fine album called “A White Sport Coat and a Pink Crustacean”. Fans of Marty Robbins (of which I’m one) appreciated the joke.

Jimmy Buffett

The songs on that one were all terrific and ranged from serious to poignant to silly. That really is the basis of Jimmy’s career. The song we’re interested in is They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More.

♫ Jimmy Buffett - They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More

Of all the long-lived bands, the NITTY GRITTY DIRT BAND seems to fly under the radar.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

I don’t understand this as there is not a better band around that started in the sixties that is still producing great (and new) music. I may be biased (of course I am) but I’ve been a fan of their music from way back. From somewhere in the middle of their career is Dance Little Jean.

♫ Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Dance Little Jean

You probably all know about the DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET’s most famous album (and possibly the biggest selling jazz album in history). This is from their next album called “Time Further Out” which also sold pretty well.

Dave Brubeck

The tune from that one is called Unsquare Dance. I’m sure that that was a hip reference from the time it was released. To my ears Paul Desmond seems to be missing from the track, unless that was him clapping along.

♫ Dave Brubeck - Unsquare Dance

BILLY BLAND started out in a group called The Bees.

Billy Bland

He went out as a solo artist and one day while in the studio he heard another singer (Titus Turner) trying to record the song, Let The Little Girl Dance and he demonstrated (with the studio musicians along for the ride) how it should be done.

Fortunately, the tapes were rolling and his was the version that was released and became quite a decent sized hit.

♫ Billy Bland - Let The Little Girl Dance

I had half a dozen or more contenders for the next song. When you know what it is, I’m sure you’ll know quite a few of them. In the end I settled for ROSEMARY CLOONEY.

Rosemary Clooney

So, Nat, Susannah, Ella, Willie and Frank missed the cut (along with lesser contenders). The song is the column’s title: Let's Face the Music and Dance.

♫ Rosemary Clooney - Let's Face The Music And Dance

More dancing next week.

ELDER MUSIC: Classical - Various 5

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 more interesting things (well, they are to me, I hope they are to you as well) I’ve been listening to lately.

GIOVANNI VIOTTI’s life rather paralleled that of Mozart, although Gio lived considerably longer.

Giovanni Viotti

He was a master of the violin and many of his compositions are for that instrument. He spent much of his life in England, eventually becoming a citizen, although not before being expelled because it was thought he favored the revolutionaries in France. This was a beat-up put around by his rivals and it took the king’s son to intervene on his behalf to get him back.

Gio was a good friend, and champion, of Haydn. Here is the first movement of the String Quartet Op 5 No 1 in E Flat.

♫ Viotti - String Quartet Op 5 No 1 in E Flat (1)

FERDINAND RIES was a pupil of Beethoven.

Ferdinand Ries

Ries later became a good friend of his and was employed as his secretary. He started out as a cello player, but eventually wrote a bunch of stuff for piano.

There were also symphonies, operas, a lot of string quartets and numerous other works. One of those is his Grand Septet, Opus 25. The first movement. The piano is pretty dominant in this one.

Ries - Grand Septet (1)

FRANTIŠEK JIRÁNEK was born in Bohemia in what’s now the Czech Republic.

Frantisek Jiránek

He got a job playing music for various counts, one of whom sent him to Venice to improve his trade. There he was instructed by Antonio Vivaldi (talk about getting the best). He eventually returned and later went to what’s now Germany where he lived for the rest of his life.

He lived long enough to change his style to the classical that had taken over from the Baroque. From his earlier period, here is the third movement of the Concerto for Oboe, Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major, Jk 17.

♫ Jiránek - Concerto for Oboe Strings and Basso continuo in B flat major Jk 17 (3)

ANTON REICHA was another Czech composer and another friend of Beethoven.

Anton Reicha

He was also a teacher of some note and some of his pupils were Liszt, Berlioz and Franck. He’s not very well known as he didn’t want to have his compositions published. Of course, some of them have seen the light of day, including his Wind Quintet in G major, Op.88 No.3. This is the third movement.

♫ Reicha - Quintet in G major Op.88 No.3 (3)

CARLO ZUCCARI pretty much spanned the 18th century.

Carlo Zuccari

So, from Bach and Vivaldi at one end, through Mozart and Haydn and ending up with Beethoven. There’s no evidence that he met any of these.

In spite of his living through the entire Classical period, his music is pretty much set in the Baroque. This is evident in the third movement of his Violin Sonata No.1 in D major.

♫ Zuccari - Sonata No.1 in D major (3)

JOHN FIELD was an Irish composer who went to Europe to further his career.

John Field

Chopin heard a couple of his compositions, particularly his nocturnes, and was blown away. “I could do that”, he said to himself (or something like that), and musical history was changed forever.

Brahms, Schumann and Liszt also took note of what he was doing. One of the things he was doing is his Nocturne No.3 in A Flat Major, H.26.

♫ Field - Nocturne No.3 in A Flat Major H.26

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

Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

All the members of her family were musicians and/or instrument makers, so she pretty much had to go into the family biz. It was recognized very early that she was a child prodigy and she performed for all the bigwigs, including the biggest wig of them all Louis XIV (the sun king, and all that).

Alas, later when she became famous, most of her family died of various diseases, including her husband, son, mother, father and brother. She continued to write and perform music, mostly for keyboard instruments, but also others as well. That is well demonstrated in her Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major, the second and third movements.

♫ Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre - Violin Sonata No. 2 in D Major (2 & 3)

JOHANN PISENDEL would have had a hard time at school if he’d attended one in Australia or America.

Johann Pisendel

Fortunately for him he was from Nuremburg and he spanned the period from the late Baroque into the early Classical. That’s reflected in his music which is difficult to categorise, a good thing from my point of view.

Make up your own mind about his Concerto in D for solo violin, two horns, two oboes, bassoon, strings and continuo, the third movement. My ears suggest it’s closer to Baroque than Classical.

♫ Pisendel - Concerto in D Vl solo 2 Cor 2 Ob Fag 2 Vl Va und Bc (3)

CLARA DENT is an oboe player who has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras.

Clara Dent

She was born in Berlin and learned her craft in Salzburg. Besides the usual repertoire for her instrument Clara arranges already famous works; she’s particularly fond of operas in this regard.

Here she grabs something of Giuseppe Verdi, Les Vêpres Siciliennes (the Sicilian Vespers), in particular “Mercè dilette amiche.”

♫ Verdi - Les vêpres siciliennes Mercè dilette amiche (Arr. for Oboe)

ELDER MUSIC: 1944 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.

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Well, it’s 1944 and it seems that the entertainment industry is hell-bent on trying to get us to forget about the obvious. That seems to be the tenor of the songs today, except for the last one. So, on with the motley…

JUDY GARLAND was a pretty big star by now and one of her most famous films was “Meet Me in St Louis”.

Judy Garland

The film had 15 songs in it but the one that’s most remembered today is The Trolley Song.

♫ Judy Garland - The Trolley Song

Here is one of the best trios in popular music, the NAT KING COLE TRIO. I only say “one of” so I don’t get some readers off side, although not many, I expect.

Nat King Cole Trio

Here they are with Nat singing, which he didn’t always do on the trio records, with one of their most famous songs It's Only a Paper Moon.

♫ Nat King Cole Trio - It's Only A Paper Moon

I remember from the fifties Dinah Washington having a hit with the song What a Difference a Day Makes. This wasn't the first time the song made the charts. Here in 1944, ANDY RUSSELL did the same with What a Difference a Day Made.

Andy Russell

Eagle-eyed readers will notice that the songs have slightly different names, but it's the same one nonetheless.

♫ Andy Russell - What A Difference A Day Made

Speaking of DINAH WASHINGTON, here she is.

Dinah Washington1

Dinah was always a bit “out there”, as it were. It seems she has so many men she doesn’t know what to do. Apparently, the song parallels her own life. Evil Gal Blues.

♫ Dinah Washington - Evil Gal Blues

RUSS MORGAN fronted a very successful band from the twenties right through to the end of the sixties. His band still continues to this day fronted by his son Jack.

Russ Morgan

His first bands included such names as Bix Beiderbecke, Eddie Lang, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey and many other now famous players. From 1944, with Al Jennings singing, is Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking).

♫ Russ Morgan (Al Jennings voc) - Dance With A Dolly (With A Hole In Her Stocking)

It seems to me that back in this year many artists were happy to collaborate on the music they produced. That’s obvious from the next two tracks. First up we have ELLA FITZGERALD and the INK SPOTS.

Ella Fitzgerald & The Inkspots

The song they chose is a rhythm & blues staple (and later rock & roll and blues), Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s not a song I associate with either of those performers, but I’m happy to hear what they do with it. Cow-Cow Boogie. It’s an interesting amalgam of jazz and country.

♫ Ella Fitzgerald & Ink Spots - Cow-Cow Boogie

Another fairly obvious pairing is BING CROSBY and the ANDREWS SISTERS.

Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

This isn’t the only time they recorded together, but it’s possibly the most famous of their collaborations, Don't Fence Me In.

♫ Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters - Don't Fence Me In

We’ll continue with the MERRY MACS.

the Merry Macs

If you’ve forgotten about the Macs, when I tell you the song, you’ll probably remember (the song anyway). It is Mairzy Doats. Theirs wasn’t the first version, surprisingly, but they were the ones who took it to the top of the charts this year. And our parents carried on about silly rock & roll songs.

♫ Merry Macs - Mairzy Doats

We have FRANK SINATRA to bring us back to sanity.

Frank Sinatra

This is one of his very many famous songs, Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week).

♫ Frank Sinatra - Saturday Night (Is the Loneliest Night of the Week)

Back in 1915, a school teacher named Hans Leip, who had been conscripted into the Imperial German Army, wrote a poem called "Das Lied eines jungen Soldaten auf der Wacht" ("The Song of a Young Soldier on Watch").

Fast forward to 1938, and we find that Norbert Schultze set it to music. It was first recorded by LALE ANDERSEN.

Lale Andersen

She later recorded an English version of the song. It became a huge hit during World War II, both with the German soldiers and the allies as well. So much so that many other versions were released, the most notable of which was by Marlene Dietrich, but there were others – Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Vera Lynn, and later Hank Lochlin, Connie Francis and many others.

The song was originally called Lili Marleen, but it’s better known as Lili Marlene. This is the original version by Lale.

♫ Lale Andersen - Lili Marlene


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

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Just the other day I played a song for Norma, the Assistant Musicologist, to see what she thought of it. She’s a big fan of Simon and Garfunkel and I’m a fan of Willie Nelson. This was Willie performing Bridge Over Troubled Water. She liked it a lot.

Okay, she likes Willie too. We both thought that it probably needs Art’s wonderful high voice to add to the last verse, but it was damn fine nonetheless.

That of course got us thinking: There’s probably a column of bridge songs. That reminded me that Melbourne has a history of bridges that fall down. Fortunately, none has done so lately but some of us of a certain age hold our breath when we drive over a couple of the famous ones.

Since I’ve mentioned Willie’s version and everyone knows the original, he gets the guernsey for this particular song. Besides, Simon and Garfunkel are present with something else.

Willie Nelson

So, WILLIE NELSON and Bridge Over Troubled Water. Of course there are many versions of the song, from Elvis to Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash, but we’re ignoring them.

♫ Willie Nelson - Bridge over troubled water

One of the more famous bridge songs from the sixties was by BOBBIE GENTRY.

Bobbie Gentry

Here’s one I bet you haven’t thought about for a lot of years. What was it that she and Billie Joe McAllister up on Choctaw Ridge threw off Tallahatchie Bridge? I guess we’ll never know.

It wasn’t really made clear either whether Billie Joe had carked it or not. For all I know he may have just gone in for a bit of a swim. Or perhaps not: I’ve just googled the bridge and found that the river has very sharp rocks that could damage a person somewhat. Also, the bridge was burnt down in 1972 by vandals.

The song, of course, is Ode to Billie Joe.

♫ Bobbie Gentry - Ode To Billie Joe

The previous bridge being burnt down is an obvious lead in to the next song by JACK SCOTT.

Jack Scott

I remember Jack's hit with this song when I was in high school and associate it with a girl friend who became a non-girl friend. I imagine that was not uncommon at that point in our lives. Only the songs varied. Jack performs Burning Bridges.

♫ Jack Scott - Burning Bridges

A tune simply called The Bridge by the JOHN YOUNG TRIO is next. A touch of jazz in amongst all the rest, although I could have done without that drum solo.

John Young

John was a mainstay of the Chicago jazz scene and played with everyone important who visited that city. He founded his own trio in the sixties. He died in 2008 at age 86.

♫ John Young Trio - The Bridge

There are many versions of this next song but I’ve always liked old Dino, perhaps because he didn’t take himself too seriously. I’m talking of DEAN MARTIN, of course.

Dean Martin

Paris has a whole bunch of bridges, some of which I've crossed. Because of its geography, I've been under a few as well. So has Dino as he sings Under the Bridges of Paris.

♫ Dean Martin - Under the Bridges of Paris

Speaking of SIMON AND GARFUNKEL, which we were up above, they have another bridge song.

Simon & Garfield

Many people know this song under a different name, but on my record it's called The 59th Street Bridge Song, and that's good enough for me.

Simon & Garfunkel - The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

Another New York bridge, this time by the inimitable MEL TORMÉ.

Mel Torme

This is without a doubt the most famous bridge in New York, The Brooklyn Bridge.

♫ Mel Torme - The Brooklyn Bridge

The A.M. will never miss a chance to suggest ALBERT KING in one of these columns. I’m happy to go along with her.

Albert King

Albert wasn’t related to the other great blues guitarist Kings (his birth name was Nelson), however, he, B.B. and Freddie were often mentioned together as the “Three Kings of Blues Guitar”.

His style was greatly admired and copied by rock guitarists (as were the other two, if it comes to that). Albert sings and plays Don't Burn Down the Bridge ('Cause You Might Want to Come Back Across).

♫ Albert King - Don't Burn Down the Bridge ('Cause You Might Want to Come Back Across)

PATTI PAGE does her usual sterling job today.

Patti Page

The song was yet another of her hits from the fifties, Cross Over The Bridge. Nothing else needs to be said.

♫ Patti Page - Cross Over The Bridge

I had trouble with the final song in this category, only because I had too many choices. The ones above pretty much chose themselves (I wish they did that for more of my columns rather than having me search for them). Anyway, I finally decided on THE REVELATORS.

Joe Camilleri

The Revelators are yet another group put together by a musical national treasure, Joe Camilleri (the nation being Australia). The first two groups that Joe led, Jo Jo Zep and the Falcons and The Black Sorrows, are the stuff of legend in Oz.

He starts new groups when he wants to go in another musical direction (while keeping the previous ones going as well). The Revelators perform Floating Bridge.

♫ The Revelators - Floating Bridge

Here is a late bonus, a song from the DEZURIK SISTERS.

DeZurik Sisters

I’m sure if the A.M. knew about this one beforehand, she’d be all for yanking it out of the column. She knows I like these quirky songs, and seriously wonders about that.

The sisters sing My Honeymoon Bridge Broke Down, which runs for a minute and six seconds. I played it for the A.M. and she thought it was about a minute too long.

♫ DeZurik Sisters - My Honeymoon Bridge Broke Down