Archive | January 2013

Waltzing Matilda

January 31, 1882 Happy Birthday Peter Dawson, Australian bass-baritone!

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My grandmother on my father’s side was named Matilda and everybody called her Tilly.  She lived at my Uncle Chet’s house in Westbury, Long Island. Uncle Chet worked for Reingold beer and had a working slot machine in his basement. Tilly had 5 kids – Emma, Lorraine, Eddie, Chet and my dad Harold.

Tilly always carried a can of Carnation milk wherever she went and she was always sitting at the kitchen table with tea.  That’s where she held court. They’re all gone now but there are lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren and great great grandchildren to keep the memories alive.

I don’t know why this song is a popular kids song, but it is.  I looked up the meaning of it, and although I might not have sung every verse, it’s about this Australian wanderer/drifter type of guy who chooses to die jumping into the ravine after killing a sheep on somebody’s land rather than go to prison.  Real cheery for the kiddies!

Seems more like a old drinking song.

Either way I dedicate it to Grandma Tilly!  And Happy Birthday to Peter Dawson who made this song popular.

Black and Blue

January 30, 1911 Happy Birthday Roy Eldridge!


I started to look through all the songs Roy Eldridge recorded to pick one for this blog today and I was going down an alphabetical list and stopped right away at Black and Blue.

This was a song that Norman Gold, my piano teacher in the 70’s, used to play a lot. I learned it back then and I haven’t played it since.  I had to find the music for it.  I really didn’t remember how it went.  So many songs that I’ve played years ago and even though I might not remember how the song goes, I remember where I was when I learned it.

When I learned and first played Black and Blue I was living on 57th street and 8th ave and Claudia lived on 57th and 3rd ave. We were dating going back and forth to each other’s apartment.  We knew every store and building between our apartments.  A lot of them are gone – like Crazy Eddie’s and the movie theater near 3rd Ave and Coliseum Books and the Blue Jay diner on the west side and there are some that we’d never imagine would be on 57th street.  Like grocery stores and McDonald’s.

Anyway playing this old tune brought back some memories.

Black and Blue!


Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu

January 29, 1973: Johnny Rivers’ Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu is certified gold!

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Rockin’ Pneumonia is a good straight up boogie rock piano song, and very appropiate now since everyone has this freaking flu!

I had my flu shot so I just got laryngitis and the congestion but not the laid out in bed kinda flu. Claudia’s sniffling around the house with an earache and all my friends and their kids are passing it around. So I’m not shaking hands too much. I’m sort of doing the fist kind of greeting. And I’m  a little cautious at the gym with the machines and wiping them down before and after.

Last night I hosted Ann Ruckert’s SGA Songwriters Circle. I sang all my songs in lower keys so i didn’t strain myself. I’m sick of the cold, but we keep truckin’ and boogie-ing!

More tomorrow!

Full of Grace

January 28, 1968 Happy Birthday Sarah McLachlan!

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Oh, this song! Full of Grace was the closing song /scene from Season 2 Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that Casey and Dylan and my niece Heather and I watched it religiously!

We took a trip to Lancaster, PA right after that season finale and had the 3 of them in the backseat of the van and i think their cousin Ryan was with us too. So for the entire ride the 4 of them sang this song over and over and over, reminiscing about Buffy riding off into the distance on a bus (was that spoiler?  sorry)!

It was cute at first but then it annoyed me and the more it annoyed me the more they sang it. So that whole weekend vacation was this song. It’s actually a beautiful song and Sarah McLachlan sings it with such emotion.  It was fun to bring it back.

And when the kids get together to this day (ok, I guess they’re adults now) Full of Grace is still in their repertoire and there’s a good chance they’ll sing it!

Happy Birthday SM!  You are the soundtrack of my kids’ childhood!!  Hope you’re having a great one.


Let The Good Times Roll

January 27, 1930 Happy Birthday Bobby “Blue” Bland!


The version of Let The Good Times Roll that I listen to is a Bobby Blue Bland and B.B. King duet. It don’t get better than that!

I loved this song so much we put it as the finale in our show Showdown on Norwegian Cruise Lines. Showdown just completed its 5th year on the high seas, going into its 6th. We get the audience to sing the Let it roll Let it roll Let it roll part.

This is also the perfect bar song!  The Stingers play it all the time. Nobody does this better than Chuck Stanley, although sometimes I have to reign him in cause he can stretch this song out for 15 minutes. There was this one time Chucky sang this for 5 minutes then told me to vamp, then he disappears for 3 minutes then comes back with a tray of shots that someone at the bar bought us. Now I don’t drink so Chucky had mine and his and maybe some of the others and then  started the song from scratch and went another 15 minutes.

Now I reel him in at  around 10 minutes. No more!

So, happy birthday BBB!  Letting the Good Times Roll!