Got the Blues, Got the Blues, Got the Saint Louis Blues

The "Saint Louis Blues" is a jazz standard. It was composed by W.C. Handy as a fusion of "ragtime syncopation with a real melody in the spiritual tradition." It's been recorded by "God" and everybody, and it's one of my favorites. I thought we'd take a tour through some of the recordings.First, here's Handy and his band, recorded in 1914. I'd not heard this version before.In 1921, the Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded their version. The band wasn't original, nor was it from … [Read more...]

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The Nashville Cats meet Noshville Katz!

So many years ago the Lovin' Spoonful recorded a song about guitar pickers in Nashville, as recorded on yellow Sun Records. I happened to hear it yesterday, and thought I'd share it:I like the song, but the reason I wanted to share it was because of a song I heard first, many years before: "Noshville Katz", by the Lovin' Cohens, about a Brooklyn boy who opens a kosher delicatessen in Nashville. (Heard it on the Dr. Demento Show, natch.) It was just as I remembered.I also found … [Read more...]

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Sing, Sing, Sing!

One of my favorite pieces from the Swing era is Benny Goodman's epic version of "Sing, Sing, Sing", which to my surprise I heard playing over the loudspeakers while in line for the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland a few days ago. It's long, so start it going and let it play in the background while you read your e-mail or something:Of course, Goodman wasn't the original composer; that credit goes to Louis Prima, who not only plays a mean trumpet but also sings:And finally, here's a … [Read more...]

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Danny Deever, by Rudyard Kipling

Kipling's poem "Danny Deever" is about a soldier who is going to be hanged for shooting a fellow soldier while he slept. "What are the bugles blowin' for?" said Files-on-Parade. "To turn you out, to turn you out", the Colour-Sergeant said. "What makes you look so white, so white?" said Files-on-Parade. "I'm dreadin' what I've got to watch", the Colour-Sergeant said. For they're hangin' Danny Deever, you can hear the Dead March play, The regiment's in 'ollow square -- they're hangin' him … [Read more...]

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The Wreck of the Athens Queen

Here's a sprightly little ditty about drunkenly salvaging chickens, couches, cows, and brandy from the shipwrecked Athens Queen, sung (and composed, I believe) by the inimitable Stan Rogers.And then, if you like, you can hear it performed by a troupe of buskers who dress like pirates and call themselves "The World Famous Bootstrappers."  None of them sing as well as Stan Rogers, but they get extra points for color: … [Read more...]

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I Guess That’s How The Future’s Done: Mushaboom, by Feist

From Feist, here's a lovely little song about dreaming for the future and building a life together. I don't know much about Feist, but she's got a few songs I like, and of those this is my favorite. … [Read more...]

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Dream a Little Dream: Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

I was going to post something substantive for today, but I had a lousy day and I need a pick me up. Consequently, here's Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong singing "Dream a Little Dream of Me", which is exquisitely soothing. Really. Give it a try. … [Read more...]

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Old Blind Dogs: A Man’s a Man For A’ That

I'm in the mood for some Old Blind Dogs this week; so here's Bobbie Burns set to music and sung and played most beautifully. If you've any taste for this kind of folk music, you really ought to give the whole album a listen. … [Read more...]

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Gopher Tuna!

Gopher Tuna! Bring More Tuna! Statue of Big Dog with Fleas!I've posted this one before, but it's been that kind of a week, and I decided this would go down well. … [Read more...]

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