Burl Ives, who had one of the great voices of the twentieth century, was identified with old ballads and other forms of Americana. He was a folk singer, but not in the mode of the protest music that arose during the 1960s.
Above he sings A Little Bitty Tear alone and is joined by Johnny Cash for a medley on the latter’s show.
Ives also was an accomplished actor. Since there isn’t too much video of him singing, I’m embedding a scene featuring Ives and Paul Newman from the film version of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It’s evident that Ives was a talented guy.
Eartha Kitt would have been 86 years old today. Above, she sings I Want to Be Evil, in a video that has one odd camera angle after another. Here is more on the sultry singer.
Emmylou Harris (born April 2, 1947) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. She has released many chart-topping albums and singles over the course of her career, and has won 12 Grammys and numerous other awards.
In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers’ works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, The Band, Mark Knopfler, Guy Clark, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Rodney Crowell, Little Feat, and Neil Young.
Pancho and Lefty is above and Blue Kentucky Girl below.
Digital Dream Door is quite a site for music lovers. Here is its take on the top ten songs of 1950. Number 9, of course, is of special note because it became the name of a band that didn’t do too badly.
1. The Fat Man - Fats Domino 2. Please Send Me Someone To Love - Percy Mayfield 3. Teardrops From My Eyes - Ruth Brown 4. Mona Lisa - Nat “King” Cole 5. Tennessee Waltz - Patti Page 6. Long Gone Lonesome Blues - Hank Williams 7. Mardi Gras In New Orleans - Professor Longhair 8. I’m Movin’ On - Hank Snow 9. Rollin’ Stone - Muddy Waters 10. Double Crossing Blues - Johnny Otis (Little Esther & the Robins)
Here is Patti Page’s Tennessee Waltz. I was surprised by how slow it is compared to subsequent versions. But it’s beautiful.
CNET has a story about a machine that elicits sounds from objects. Designer Dennis Paul calls the device the Instrument for the Sonification of Everyday Things.
Here is how it works, according to the story:
The machine rotates objects, repeatedly scans their surfaces, and translates the measured distance values into audible frequencies, notes, and scales using a custom-programmed translator and controller module. Silhouettes of the goods define the loops.
The story doesn’t say whether Paul is aware that he and the folks he works with are the first John Cage cover band.
During an NPR interview, Eleni Mandell discussed the influence Tom Waits has had on her song writing. She apparently went somewhere else for voice lessons.
The challenge of featuring super bands or A-list performers is that folks who are familiar with them know far more than I do and those that don’t — despite the high profile they have attained — don’t care. Frank Sinatra, The Rolling Stones and Michael Jackson don’t sneak up on anyone.
But it’s fun to write about big acts with well known repertoires.
I wasn’t a big Jethro Tull fan and, after watching these clips, understand that I missed a lot of good and perhaps not so clean fun.
Here is part of what George Starostin writes at his happily opinionated Only Solitaire:
Jethro Tull were once an amazingly good British band that used to suffer from just one single terrible problem – overproductivity. On one hand, their main driving force – Ian Anderson (vocals, flute, harmonica, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, occasional everything) – was extremely talented (close to being a genius, but not a God – hear that ye rabid fans?), prolific, professional musician and composer, absolutely unique in his total fusion of classics, folk, jazz, blues, rock and pop. His songwriting, playing and performing abilities really astonish me. He has created an original image – that of the mad one-legged flute-playing long-bearded satyr – which you may like or you may despise, but you cannot deny the talent, man! You cannot deny the talent!
Starostin’s point that Anderson was unique in blending different types of music may be true in terms of one individual, but I’d argue that Traffic, as a group, was right with him.
As with any self respecting 1960s and 1970s band in which the main members are still around and interested, Jethro Tull is on tour today. Three of the band’s hits are Thick as Brick, Bungle in the Jungle and, of course, Aqualung.
Yesterday, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum launched a Patsy Cline exhibition that will run until next June.
The charismatic Cline’s best known song is Crazy. It was written by the great Willie Nelson.
There is a good amount of video of Cline available. In addition to capturing Cline, the clips show that television was coming into its own as a powerful tool for the music industry.
Here are Walking After Midnight, I Fall to Pieces and Sweet Dreams (of You). A ton of biographical information about Cline is available at her website and A Tribute to Patsy Cline. A “songography” and much more is at Celebrating Patsy Cline.