Back from a whirlwind visit to Scotland, where plenty of idle air time was spent poring over the collection, whittling away at the unrated songs, determining whether they are worthy of inclusion. In the beginning, I downloaded complete, or near complete, box sets of some well known artists like Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Randy Newman. I’m now going through the long process of listening to various songs, and in the case of artists like Sinatra and Cole, identifying the definitive version of each song. Right now there are 356 songs unrated or rated zero stars. It takes a while.
I’m becoming less tolerant of songs I dislike, while being mindful that all notable and popular songs should be included. I don’t want the collection to be overburdened with popular songs that don’t appeal. Therefore, saccharine Paul McCartney duets such as “Say Say Say” and “Ebony and Ivory” will not be added, despite being #1 hits in the United States. I’m still aiming for a 10,000 song collection, so eventually I’ll pare down the one star and zero star songs, while keeping the ones that the wife and other friends mention as ones they like.
The last day of the Scotland trip, I spent time with a second cousin, her father and her husband. They share a love of popular music, and I spent a few hours discussing music, looking for ideas. A few songs from those discussions were added.
The evening with my second cousin Morna was simple and memorable. She met her husband Alan a few years ago; they were married last year. Two middle-aged people who found each other. Halfway across the world, this wandering vagabond was a witness to a true love.
Hop, Skip And Jump, The Collins Kids ✭✭
The Game Of Love, Santana featuring Michelle Branch ✭✭
Smooth (featuring Rob Thomas), Santana ✭✭
Summer Holiday, Cliff Richard & The Shadows ✭
Swinging On A Star, Bing Crosby ✭✭
Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair), Jim Ed Brown & The Browns ✭✭
Hi’ilawe, Gabby Pahinui ✭✭
Treat Me Right, Pat Benatar ✭
Mr. Big, Free ✭
The Stealer, Free ✭✭
Loch Lomond, Kenneth McKellar ✭✭✭
Big Noise From Winnetka, Bob Crosby ✭✭
This Land Is Your Land, Woody Guthrie ✭✭
Taking A Chance On Love, Benny Goodman & His Orchestra ✭✭
Thank You, Dido ✭✭
White Flag, Dido ✭✭✭
This Is All I Ask, Ralph Sutton ✭✭
Honky Tonk Train Blues, Jay McShann & Ralph Sutton ✭
St. James Infirmary, Louis Armstrong ✭✭✭✭
St. James Infirmary, Van Morrison ✭✭✭
I’m Tore Down, Freddie King ✭✭
I’m Thru With Love, Diana Krall (removed)
Make Me A Pallet On The Floor, Odetta ✭✭
May You Never, John Martyn ✭✭
1. Removed a couple versions of St.. James Infirmary and replaced them with Louis Armstrong’s important version from 1928, plus an interesting interpretation by Van the Man.
2. According to Morna’s 83 year old dad Dick McGregor (my father’s first cousin’s husband), the definitive version of “Loch Lomond” is by Kenneth McKellar. It’s a beautiful song.
3. My father used to play table baseball games with me when I was a kid. Sometimes before he would roll the dice for a hitter, he would announce “Here comes the Big Noise From Winnetka.” While perusing songs by dixieland band leader Bob Crosby, I found the song, featuring songwriter and bassist Bob Haggart.
4. Back in the late 1980s, during the very short period i which I was truly single, I had a brief, highly sexual relationship with a woman at my workplace. Once she met somebody she cared for, the relationship painlessly ended, the only instance in my life in which there were no repercussions. She grew up in Hawaii, and her one gift to me was an album by the famous slack-key guitarist Gabby Pahinui.
5. Here’s Freddie King singing “I’m Tore Down”. The recording is less than stellar, but the clip is interesting on a number of levels:
6. I upgraded “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” to three stars. I have very few rap songs, but this one works for me. Unique sound, good words, lots of controlled anger. Really good.
Can’t Tell Me Nothing, Kanye West ✭✭✭
7. Yesterday, my wife and I listened carefully to “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” by CCR. I was looking for a second opinion about the song. As should be expected, she likes the song a lot, and we agree the song deserves four stars. Everything works here: great melody, understated backing, beautiful singing by a unique sounding singer telling his sad story about the breakup of this most unusual member of the San Francisco rock movement of the 1960s. It is a great song.
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?, Creedence Clearwater Revival Band ✭✭✭✭
Larry and Lorrie, the Collins Kids, were a rockabilly sensation in the mid-1950s. She can sing, and the young man can play and dance. Watch them go!
Hop Skip And Jump, The Collins Kids ✭✭
Just Because, The Collins Kids ✭
Here’s a 10 minute history of the brother/sister act, widely regarded by rockabilly enthusiasts as an outstanding duo, but underrepresented in their recorded work. iTunes only has four songs by the duo, though many TV clips can be found on YouTube:
Lorrie is a looker. One more for the blog, which shows that Larry has considerable range for a young man. I love these guys; they get the part about music being fun.
I must return to my golf book project. What’s next for the blog, beyond the regular additions? A new type of segment, where I’ll recall a childhood story about “Proud Mary”. Perhaps a complete rundown of all Creedence songs, my favorite band between about 1968 and 1972. Plus a list of ten songs submitted by a couple musician friends. So much to choose from. I will take requests. Thanks for reading.