Songs I Wish I'd Written
(in no particular order)
You Don't Know Me (Eddy Arnold) - favorite performance: Ray Charles, Modern
Sounds in Country and Western Music. I like songs that tell a story and offer
a dramatic situation succinctly. Don't overlook country songs because you don't
care for the style - there are great songs in every style.
I Didn't Know About You (Duke Ellington/Bob Russell) - favorite performance:
Sylvia Syms, Lovingly. This was written as an instrumental first, like
so many of Duke's sings. Unlike many of them, it was given a lyric worthy of the
3. All Along the Watchtower
(Bob Dylan) - favorite performance: Dylan, John Wesley Harding. I know
the Hendrix version is more overtly dramatic, but the use of a series of images
to create a mood and suggest a story was done better in Dylan's understated version,
I think, and that's where I learned that technical approach to a lyric which I
employed on The Change is On, found on Duke Robillard's Temptation.
Feel Like Going Home (Charlie Rich) - favorite performance: Charlie Rich
demo version, Feel Like Going Home: The Essential Charlie Rich. The song
gets stronger the more you take away from the arrangement; Rich's demo is the
most stripped down and affecting. I don't really identify with the emotional stance,
but I like songs of all stances if they express their point of view powerfully
5. That's Where It's At (Sam
Cooke) - favorite performance: Sam Cooke, A Man And His Music. This creates
the mood and places you there in the room with it. "...just stay one minute
more..." says it all.
6. Do Right
Woman, Do Right Man (Dan Penn) - favorite performance: Aretha Franklin,
The Queen of Soul. This lyric says something that needs saying. I'm not sure
why more lyrics don't.
7. It Never Entered
My Mind (Rodgers/Hart) - favorite performance: Frank Sinatra, In the Wee
Small Hours of the Morning. I like lyrics which capture moments of realization.
The tone is exquisitely handled here as well.
Here, There, and Everywhere (Lennon/McCartney) - favorite performance:
the Beatles, Revolver. It's very singeable - a pure melody which carries
the mood. A little like Coconut Grove by John Sebastian in that respect.
Morgengruss (Schubert) - favorite performance: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau,
Die Schoene Muellerin. I like singing this one. Schubert's melodies seem
to have sprung from the ground, and the dramatic situation is expressed nicely
in the middle.
10. Choosey Beggar
(Smokey Robinson) - favorite performance: Smokey and the Miracles, Anthology.
Poetry at eye level.
What to do about Chuck
Berry, Ray Davies, Percy Mayfield, Boudleaux Bryant, Harold Arlen, and a host
of others not represented here? Stay tuned: blues songs will be treated separately
Ten Favorite Trumpet Players
1. Louis Armstrong
- incomparably better than anyone else, in every respect
Eldridge - powerfully emotional; his mouthpiece made high notes
easy but mid range and below almost impossible to play (I tried once)
Cootie Williams - my plunger mentor; stark power and eloquence
Ruby Braff - lyrical and ornate; uses the full range
of the instrument
Shorty Baker - criminally undervalued;
unique tone and taste
Clark Terry - inimitable
technique and ebullience
Ray Nance - sounds easy
to duplicate; go try it
Miles Davis - personal,
vocal sound; I prefer the pre-fusion Miles
- small but sumptuous tone; a lyrical adaptation of Pops
10. a three-way
Buck Clayton, Sweets Edison, and Lips Page
Bunny, Fats, and Clifford had lived, this list would look a little different;
but not at the top.
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