Monday, January 01, 2007

An updated 1000 Years of Popular Music

Wherein "Orange Coloured Sky" has become a household favorite

Richard Thompson has produced an updated concert of his 1,000 Years of Popular Music. Now available as a concert DVD and 2-CD audio collection. Sound quality is vastly improved and a number of the performances are better. The song list has changed, so you get some new songs. From the concert introduction to Oops!...I Did It Again:
This is a song by what may be considered a rather crass pop artist. Just my kind of person. It's kind of a classic pop song and if we just take it out of the original hands and give it a slightly different interpretation perhaps we can reveal it's splendor. Also, strangely enough, its chord sequence is reminescent of other centuries and just for a bit towards the end we'll play it in the style of the 16th century. Just to show that everything comes around again.

Songs on the first CD not on this one
Notes by Richard Thompson
  • When I Am Laid In Earth. From Dido and Aeneas, by Henry Purcell. Aeneas has been tricked away to war by the witches, and Queen Dido, in despair, is about to kill herself. First performed at a School For Gentlewomen in Chelsea in 1689.
  • Waiting at the Church. Written and performed by the great Vesta Victoria. A Music Hall classic from 1906.
  • Why Have My Loved Ones Gone?. Did Stephen Foster's love of Black music help prolong racial stereotypes or break down the barriers? This seems a more personal song. He died in New York in poverty, having given away his copyrights.
  • Old Rocking Chair's Got Me. I love my old version of this by Louis Armstrong, duetting with the author, Bloomington, Indiana's finest, Hoagy Carmichael.
  • The Fool. Originally by Sanford Clark.
  • Legal Matter. From the days when The Who were just the best band in town. Kings of the Marquee Club in Wardour Street, and Pete was writing great three minute pop songs.
  • Kiss. Strategically sung about an octave lower than Prince, one of the best pop songs of the 80s, by one of the best artists.
  • Money. Clever arranging and composing ideas from Bjorn and Benny, behind the disco fa├žade.
  • It Won't Be Long.The greatest pure pop of the 20th century, from the fortuitous alliance of John and Paul and the other George (Martin).
  • Marry, Ageyn Hic Hev Donne Yt. Anonymous fragment from the 13th century, possibly from Brittany, to bring us full circle.

New songs
  • Bonnie St. Johnstone. c 17th C, traditional. The tune is from Songs of the North, Volume 2, a Victorian collection. The words are collated from many versions. From the 'Cruel Mother' family of ballads.
  • O Sleep Fond Fancy. 1590, written by Thomas Morley. A three-part madrigal, being a part-song for several voices, unaccompanied. This type of madrigal Morley described as a Canzonet--"a little short song wherein little art can be shewed; being made in strains...and every strain repeated except the middle." Morley was also the composer of the favourite setting of "It Was a Lover And His lass" in Shakespeare's As You Like It.
  • Remember O Thou Man. Thomas Ravenscroft. From the Lelismata (1611) - this carol reprinted in Chappell's Popular Music of Olden Time. It may have been merely collected, or updated, by Ravenscroft.
  • Java Jive. 1940, written by Ben Oakland and Milton Drake. Milton Drake wrote songs for many films including My little Chickadee, For Whom The Bell Tolls, and The Big Stone. He composed the lyrics for "Mairzy Doats." Ben Oakland played piano at Carnegie Hall at the age of none, and wrote, directed, and produced shows for artists as Jeanette MacDonald, Josephine Baker, and Nanette Fabray. The Ink Spots were previously known as The Riff Brothers and The Percolating Puppiess!
  • Night and Day. 1932, Cole Porter. from The Gay Divorcee. Originally sung in the stage production by Fred Astaire. This song was apparently inspired by Porter's feelings for choreographer Nelson Barclift.
  • A-11.1963, Hank Cochran. Cochran was in a teenage duo, "The Cochran Brothers" with Eddie Cochran, even though they were unrelated! He wrote many country hits, including "I fall To Pieces" for Patsy Cline. "A-11" was a hit for Buck Owens.
  • See My Friends. 1965, Ray Davies. Inspired by a stopover in Bombay in 1965. Ray Davies was moved by the droning song of fishermen on the beach at dawn. Dave Davies cites an influence from Davy Graham. Usually considered the first "oriental" pop song.
  • Friday on my Mind. 1966, George Young and Harry Vanda. The easybeats were an Australia-based band composed of three Brits and two Dutch nationals, including ex-Mojo drummer Godon "Snowy" Fleet. This is one of the classic Merseybeat era pop songs.
  • 1985. 2004, Jaret reddick, John Allen, and Mitchell Scherr. from that fine band, Bowling For Soup, self-stled drunk-rockers and fat guys, from Wichita Falls, Texas.


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