Robin from Songbird’s Crazy World is tis month’s guest conductor, and she decided on today’s theme, which is “In Honor of Columbus Day, songs about taking a journey.” I’m pretty sure we did this once before, but rather than just repeating that (if in fact we did), I came up with a whole new playlist for you.
- Tommy Emmanuel, “The Journey” We’ll start with an instrumental by one of my favorite guitar players. This is the title track from his 1994 album, which was my introduction to him. Unlike most of his other albums, Tommy’s playing an electric guitar (specifically his Fender Telecaster) on most of it. He reworked it for play on four acoustics and the aforementioned Telecaster, which is what you’ll hear here.
- Edwin Starr, “25 Miles” Up until recently, the only song I knew by Edwin Starr was “War.” I knew this song, of course, but not who did it. It reached #6 on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in 1969.
- Song For Memories, “500 Miles” I’m guessing at the group name here. I knew I wanted to use this song, but wasn’t especially enthused about using Peter, Paul & Mary’s version from 1960. I know nothing about the three people here, but like the way they did it.
- The Beatles, “I’ll Follow The Sun” In England, this was on the Beatles For Sale album, while in the US it was on Beatles ’65. It wasn’t released as a single, but it’s awful purty, ain’t it?
- The Beatles, “The Long And Winding Road” The version on the Let It Be album was (over)produced by Phil Spector, who added strings and horns and did his best to hide Paul’s vocal. Paul didn’t like that; he preferred this version, which was released a few years ago on the album Let It Be (Naked), where Spector’s additions were backed out of the recording. The result was amazing: the first time I heard it I was driving to work, and was so moved by it that I had to pull off the road and regain my composure.
- Steve Goodman, “City Of New Orleans” Steve (not Arlo Guthrie) wrote this song and did it every time I heard him in concert, and I always preferred his version. This was recorded when he played it in his last interview in 1982, before he succumbed to leukemia.
- The Three Suns, “Beyond The Blue Horizon” This was originally sung by Jeanette McDonald in the 1930 movie Monte Carlo. The version I’m most familiar with is the one by Lou Christie, but as Charlene Darling used to say, “that one makes me cry.” In fact, this sprightly and almost comical performance from the mid-1940’s is about the only one that doesn’t. The Three Suns were pioneers of exotica, a musical genre that was popular in the ’50’s and early ’60’s.
- Steppenwolf, “Magic Carpet Ride” A live version recorded in Louisville, Kentucky in 2004. It reached #3 in the US and #1 in Canada in 1968.
- The Amboy Dukes, “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” A band from Chicago that started when Ted Nugent lived there as a teen (later moving to Detroit). That’s Nuge to the right of the singer, from a performance that looks like it might have been on Hullabaloo. The song reached #16 in the US and #19 in Canada in 1968.
- The Delta Rhythm Boys, “Take The ‘A’ Train” I used this a while back on Song Lyric Sunday, and loved the arrangement. Yeah, not the most politically correct video, but some of the most remarkable harmony I’ve heard, and the video is a fun one that includes the utterly stunning Dorothy Dandridge. Written by Billy Strayhorn and used by the Duke Ellington Orchestra as their signature song, it’s a jazz standard today.
And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for October 14, 2019.