What does Nostradamus have to say about music?
9/13/99 Jay Korman writes: You have missed some very obvious crossovers, to wit: "Watermelon Man" Mongo Santamaria, Beep Beep AHHH Joe Cuba, El Chico (I donít know - it was the one that had the blabbering in Spanish). Stuff by Santana does not count. The Blues Magoos had a hit with "Iíll never go back to Georgia" (I think it was Tito Puente who did the original)
1/10/2000 Deven Black: To augment what Jay wrote, you also forgot the classic "Say Leroy, Your Mama, She Calling You Man" which had a distinctively latin beat if not actual Spanish lyrics. And who could forget all those bossa nova records of the 50s: "Mama Loves Mambo" is used in a current TV ad, and I cherish my copy of "Lena Goes Latin."
3/8/04 Nos: There's also Danny Flores (Chuck Rio), composer of Tequia and member of the Champs; and Ritchie Valenzuela who brought us La Bamba.
10/6/04 Nos: And Jimmy Torres, lead guitarist of the String-A-Longs and composer of their hit instrumental, "Wheels." Actually, Jimmy was born in Texas of Kickapoo, Choctaw, Spanish, German, Mayan, and Irish heritage.
2/14/05 Nos: And Chris Montez (Christopher Montanez) of "Let's Dance" fame.
Nos asks 1/9/2000:
Iíve been thinking - If one were to put out a CD of "American Music," what should be on it?My thoughts so far:
I invite your thoughts.
I think we need to add Eddie Cantor and Duke Ellington. And make the Presley song "Hound Dog."
Deven says 1/10/2000:
Last year for Chanukah Jill got me the multi-cd set of the Smithsonian collection of American music collected as part of the WPA or some other depression-era program. I havenít listened to it all yet (it is HUGE) but Iíd nominate almost everything on it.
I also think you would have to put some Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and Aaron Copeland on it for sure. And that is just taking the cream off the top.
Bill Wollheim contributes 1/10/2000:
Popular only or also classical?
Nothing wrong with classical. And I see we already have two votes for Copeland. The question is whether there will be room. For this exercise, we only get about 70 minutes to survey all of American music. I also see two votes for Bob Dylan, but I think he gets beaten out by Woodie Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land." As I heard it, Guthrie's song began as a bitter reproach to establishment American politics and was transformed by popular demand (i.e., the folk process) into a sentimental patriotic song. Nothing could be more American.
. . . not to mention Billie Holiday
Definitely Copeland óAppalachian Spring, maybe? ó and the Gershwins.
an immediate thought - delete "my way" - he didnít write it and it is not one of his best numbers
Bill later added:
Bill and I talked about whether to include a sample of Native American music. Tough call: They're surely American, but they've had no impact on American music as a whole.
We discussed whether this collection is "historical." I said, "Not really." The idea actually came from my spending last weekend reading about world music. As I read, I began to wonder what people in THOSE countries should hear in order to get a sense of OUR music.
Other possibilities: Home on the Range and My Old Kentucky Home.
Lori (Kopp) Witzel 1/12/2000:
I heartily agree with votes for Louis Armstrong, who more or less invented the jazz solo, and is an indisputable icon of American music. I would choose West End Blues, whose opening bars define this new music for all first time.
I am a Billie Holiday fanatic (I wanted to be Billie Holiday when I was 15, despite the obvious discrepancies in ethnic heritage and talent), but I think that Bessie Smith needs to be included too. Iíd use Bessieís recording of "Nobody Knows You When Youíre Down and Out." For Lady Day, Iíd choose ""Tainít Nobodyís Business If I Do." Great recording, of course, but also classic American songs.
1/13/2001 Nos: While listening to Khachaturian's Saber Dance, I started to wonder whether there was other listenable modern "classical" music. I came up with a brief list of composers. Then Bill Wollheim vastly expanded the list. Here's what we have so far. We invite your reactions:
Note: I found www.getmusic.com/artists/ [4-5-04: it's no longer available] to be a helpful resource.
We've relegated the following to the "anachronistic" pile: Camille Saint-Sans.
4/21/02 Critique by Stephen Lawrence:
Your admirable modern classical list is incomplete without Krzysztof Penderecki whose opera Die Teufel Von Loudun (The Devils Of Loudon) is so striking I rushed out to buy it after hearing a short segment on the radio. His instrumental and vocal textures and atonal/melodic writing have been extremely influential.
I was glad to see the inclusion of Marc Blitzstein, whose Regina occupied my
mind exclusively for weeks after I first heard it. And Samuel Barber, same
reaction for Vanessa as Blitzstein's Regina. Other listees (I may have just
coined that) I love include Menotti, Korngold (certainly one of the great melody
writers in any genre, Milhaud (whose La
But where is Bartok? An argument could also be made for George Crumb. Also for Schoenberg and Berg (but not by me). Finally, if Kurt Weill makes the list for his theater music (the instrumental music being all but forgotten), then one must consider that Street Scene is certainly a lesser work than Porgy And Bess, thus the case for Gershwin. And if Franz Lehar is included, then his successor on the musical time line, Jerome Kern needs consideration.
But that starts to open up the entire world of popular theater music (although it's already been opened by Sondheim) and I guess you have to stop somewhere. Anyway, I was glad to see all or most of my personal favorites on the list.
4/22/02 Response by Bill Wollheim:
Penderecki: I would not include him in the category of "listenable"
modern classical music.
[Later, Bill added:] Grieg's dates are 1843-1907. He probably should not be on the list of modern composers.