Category Archives: Music

“Freddy Freeloader” – The DR (Danish Radio) Big Band (2009)

“Freddie Freeloader” is of course a Miles Davis classic, the second track on his 1959 album Kind of Blue. And here’s a blurb on the Danish Radio Big Band. Originally called The New Radio Dance Orchestra, in the early years … Continue reading

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“Blues Number Two” – Hank Mobley (1957)

Jazz Message #2 , also called Hard Bop and The Jazz Message of Hank Mobley Volume 2,  was released in 1957 on the Savoy label. It was recorded on July 23 & November 7, 1956. Featured performers are Mobley (tenor sax); Donald … Continue reading

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“Señor Blues” – Horace Silver (1956)

A beautiful jazz standard by Horace Silver, recorded on November 10, 1956, and released that same month on the album Six Pieces of Silver (Blues Note – BLP 1539). The recording features Silver (piano); Hank Mobley (tenor saxophone); Donald Byrd (trumpet); Doug Watkins (bass); and … Continue reading

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Listen Here: “East of the Sun” – Sarah Vaughan (1955)

The origin of the song is fascinating. “East of the Sun (and West of the Moon)” was written by Brooks Bowman, an undergraduate member of Princeton University’s Class of 1936, for the 1934 production of the Princeton Triangle Club’s production … Continue reading

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“The Liberty Bell” (John Philip Sousa) – “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Band (1893)

One of my favourite Sousa marches, also known as the theme song for Monty Python’s Flying Circus, played here by the outstanding U.S. Marine Band.

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“Mambo Italiano” – Rosemary Clooney (1954) and “Volare” – Dean Martin (1958)

In 2003 the UTNE Reader ran a short piece on Italian songs in American pop music. These are a few of the titles they mentioned. I’ve always been partial to “Volare,”   which means “to fly.” I usually think of … Continue reading

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“Cruising Down the River” – Russ Morgan and His Orchestra (1949)

I will admit that I had never hear of Russ Morgan, nor his orchestra, which may be neither here nor there.  I note however that Mr. Morgan topped the charts with  “Cruising Down the River”  from the week of March … Continue reading

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“Summer Wind” – Frank Sinatra (1966)

“Summer Wind,” originally called “Der Sommerwind,” was written by Heinz Meier with German language lyrics by Hans Bradtke – and released in 1965. Johnny Mercer re-wrote the song into English. In America, it was first recorded by Wayne Newton, Bobby … Continue reading

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Listen Here: “Go Your Own Way” – Fleetwood Mac (1977)

Having come of age in the 1970s I’m always thinking about whether the music was as bad then as so many say. There was some bad; there was some good. For those who don’t think the 60s produced a few … Continue reading

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Listen Here: “Don’t Be Angry” – Nappy Brown (1955)

“Don’t Be Angry” was written by  Nappy Brown, Rose Marie McCoy, and Fred Mendelsohn and published in 1955. Brown released it that year with it reaching #2 on the Billboard R&B charts and #25 on the US Best Seller list. It … Continue reading

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Listen here: “Darkness, Darkness” – The Youngbloods (1969)

An intense, perhaps depressing, but beautiful song. “Darkness, Darkness” was written by Jesse Colin Young in 1969, and released by The Youngblood‘s on their 1969 album Elephant Mountain. It has been frequently covered. At the time the group consisted of Young (bass, … Continue reading

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“Catch the Wind” – Donovan (1965)

“Catch the Wind” was written, recorded and released as a single by British singer-songwriter Donovan in 1965. The B-side was “Why Do You Treat Me Like You Do?” The single reached No.4 in the United Kingdom singles chart and No.23 in the … Continue reading

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“The John Birch Society” – The Chad Mitchell Trio (1962)

Although the Chad Mitchell Trio started out singing conventional folk songs in the late 1950s, they had their greatest success with political satire including this song, which was a somewhat dangerous departure considering that McCarthyism was not that far in … Continue reading

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“You Were on My Mind” – Ian and Sylvia (1964)

Most people of a certain age know the We Five version of “You Were on My Mind.” Fewer (unless you are a Canadian or have lived in the country for 37 years) know the original by Ian and Sylvia, written by … Continue reading

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Listen Here: “Chandra” – Jaki Byard (1967)

“Chandra” is on Jaki Byard’s 1967 album Sunshine of My Soul on the Prestige label.

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Night Music: Bruce Springsteen – “Long Walk Home” (2007)

Bruce Springsteen played an incredible acoustic version of “Long Walk Home” at the election eve Philadelphia rally for Hillary Clinton. A good enough reason to post it.

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The History of America in Song and Story

Working as I do in the general vicinity of the University of Toronto is a special treat this time year as the various colleges that make up the school hold their annual alumni book sales. There are several of them … Continue reading

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Double Take: “Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” – Skeets McDonald (1952), Perry Como (1953)

“Don’t Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes” was written by Slim Willet and published in 1952. It was first recorded by Slim Willet and the Brush Cutters, then by Ray Price, followed by Skeets McDonald in the Western swing style, reaching #1 on … Continue reading

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“Sentimental Journey” – Les Brown and His Band of Renown, Doris Day, vocals (1945)

“Sentimental Journey” was published in 1944, written by Les Brown and Ben Homer, lyrics by Bud Green. The Les Brown and His Band of Renown version with Doris Day on vocals reached  # 1 the week of June 2, 1945 … Continue reading

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“Born To Fly” – Sara Evans (2000)

I’ve always been a sucker for  somewhat overproduced Nashville pop, which I  guess some people still call ‘new country.” Born To Fly was Sara Evans‘ third studio album, released in October 2000. The title cut reached number one on January 19, 2001. She received … Continue reading

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