She wrote the songs – let’s start big this year!

Dolly Parton.

Do I need to say any more? She’s a music legend for a reason.

Below I’ve listed some of my favourites written by her, and I’ve included some covers of her songs as well. Enjoy!

Coat of many colors


  • The White Stripes singing Jolene
  • Norah Jones singing Jolene
  • Laura Marling & Mumford & Sons singing Jolene

I Will Always Love You

Eagle When She Flies

Yellow roses

Two Doors Down 

Kentucky Gambler

Do I ever cross your mind

Two Sides to Every Story  (with Porter Wagoner)

No Reason To Hurry Home (with Porter Wagoner) 

Poor Folks Town

Nine to Five

 Jeannie’s Afraid Of The Dark (with Porter Wagoner)

I’ve Been Married Just As Long As You Have (with Porter Wagoner) 

Unlikely Angel

Somebody’s Missing You

I Will Forever Hate Roses

Marry Me!

Apple Jack

More Where That Came From (with Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette)

Let Her Fly

Nickels and Dimes

Second Best

Just The Way I Am

The Bridge

Don’t Let it Trouble Your Mind

Just Because I’m a Woman

The Seeker

Love Is Like a Butterfly

The Bargain Store

And check out these songs for which Dolly was the writer but not singer:







The music that slipped away in 2017

I admit, 2017 music losses were completely over-shadowed by the insanity of politics. But this year again, every genre lost a legend or two it seems. Country music lost Glen Campbell, funk lost Clyde Stubblefield, romance lost Al Jarreau, we lost the inspiration for Mr Tambourine Man Bruce Langhorne, jazz lost Arthur Blythe, the Allman Brothers lost more than most, and we all lost the legendary Chuck Berry. The year also sort feels like seven degrees of separation from Paul Simon. 

I’ve tried to round up some of the farewells below; it’s a long list. Omissions are not meant to offend, but do reflect my personal taste in music, and the paths I have both traveled and not yet discovered in music.

I don’t think as a Canadian I could start any mourning with anyone except Gord:

Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip)

Tom Petty (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers)

Chuck Berry

Glen Campbell


Butch Trucks (Allman Brothers)

Maggie Roche (The Roches)

Roberta Peters

William Onyeabor

Buddy Greco

Nicolai Gedda

Eddie Kamae

Larry Coryell

Clyde Stubblefield

Barbara Carroll

Al Jarreau

Arthur Blythe

Joni Sledge (Sister Sledge)

Dave Valentin

Sylvia Moy – I wrote blog about her earlier this year.

Bruce Langhorne

J. Geils

Linda Hopkins

Gregg Allman (Allman Brothers)

Barbara Smith Conrad

Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)

Geri Allen

Rosalie Sorrels

Paul Zukofsky

Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) – not a big fan sorry, so no song link.

Ray Phiri

John Abercrombie

Fredell Lack

Bea Wain

Sonny Burgess

Barbara Cook

Tom Paley

Zuzana Ruzickova

CeDell Davis

Charles Bradley

Brenda Lewis

Michael Friedman [theatre]

Don Williams [country]

Holger Czukay (Can)

Walter Becker (Steely Dan)

Jim Nabors

Carol Neblett [opera, soprano]

Jon Hendricks [jazz]

Dimitri Hvorostivsky [opera, baritone]

Wayne Cochran

David Cassidy

Pete Moore (Miracles)

Della Reese [jazz]

Malcolm Young – I’m including the link to his obituary because he played a part in my formative years, but no song link because I have never been a particular fan of AC/DC.

Fred Cole

Keely Smith [jazz]

Pat Dinzio (The Smithereens)

Vincent Nguini

Johnny Hallyday – the “Elvis of France”

Mitch Margo

Tommy Keene

Mel Tillis [country]

Chuck Mosley (Faith No More)

Robert Knight

Dick Noel “King of the Jingles”

Al Hurricane

Howard Carroll (Dixie Hummingbirds)

Jessi Zazu (Those Darlins)

Skip Prokop (Lighthouse)

D.L. Menard

Micheal Johnson

Red West

Jimmy LaFave

Robert Miles

Cuba Gooding Sr. (The Main Ingredient)

Dick Contino – I have a surprising love of accordion music

Allan Holdsworth [influencer and in many groups]

David Peel

Paul O’Neill (Trans-Siberian Orchestra )

Clem Curtis (Foundations)

Horace Parlan [jazz]

Leon Ware

Clyde Stubblefield

Svend Asmussen [jazz]

John Wetton (King Crimson, Asia)

Ronald ‘Bingo’ Mundy (Marcels)

Jaki Liebezeit (Can)

Peter Sarstedt

Behind the music

George Avakian [jazz] – produced recordings by legends I love, like Louis Armstrong.

Harold Pendleton – Reading Festival & Marquee Club Founder.

Bill Marin –  behind acts I love, like Tito Puente and Celia Cruz.

Carol Peters – manager of the band Heart, a band of women managed by a woman. How could I not note that?

Johnny Sandlin – Allman Brothers producer. I told you they got hit bad in 2017.

Harry Sandler – behind acts I love, like John Mellencamp, Eagles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Nicks.

Nigel Grainge – founded Ensign Records home to acts I love like, Sinead O’Connor, The Boomtown Rats, Thin Lizzy, The Waterboys, and 10cc.

Eric Miller – brought back recordings by legendary artists I love, like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie and Ray Charles, and might be the reason I found them and love them.

Ilene Berns – ran Bang Records with groups I love, like Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The McCoys, Strangeloves.

Marilyn Petrone – music executive who has worked with more artists I love than I can list but to name a few: Tina Turner, War, ELO, Kenny Rogers, and Johnny Rivers.

Buddy Bregman – worked with legends I love like, Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby.

I know she’s not a musician, but since her loss mattered to me I’m going to include her with the song we all associate with her: Mary Tyler Moore

December songs

Second week: Songs for Christmas have been done. I’ve done it. I don’t want to do it again. There’s more to the December than the one holiday.

Counting Crows – A Long December

The Moody Blues – December Snow

Cyndi Lauper – December Child

The Everly Brothers – June is as Cold as December

Weezer – December

Willie Nelson – December Day

Merle Haggard – If We Make It Through December

Alison Krauss and Natalie MacMaster – Get Me Through December

Collective Soul – December

Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Air Of December

Glen Campbell – Cold December (In Your Heart)

They Might Be Giants – Will You Love Me in December As You Do In May

George Michael – December Song

The Four Seasons – December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)

The Waterboys – December

Said the Whale – Black Day in December

Cowboy Junkies – December Skies

Prince – Last December 


A month of winter songs

Songs for Christmas have been done. I’ve done it. I don’t want to do it again. There’s more to the season than the one holiday.

         Simon & Garfunkel – A Hazy Shade Of Winter

                                      Nico – Winter Song

                                                                          Pixies – Winterlong

Mumford & Sons – Winter Winds

                                                                          Tori Amos – Winter

                                   Steve Miller Band – Winter Time

Linda Ronstadt – Winter Light

                       Queen – A Winter’s Tale

Bruce Springsteen – Winter Song

               The Rolling Stones – Winter

                                           The Waterboys – Winter Winter

                                Of Monsters And Men – Winter Sound

Gordon Lightfoot – Song for a winter’s night

                              Rodney Crowell – Forty Winters

                                                  The Pipettes – A Winter’s Sky

                                      Cowboy Junkies – Winter’s Song

Dishwalla – Winter Sun

                              Blondie – Winter

                                            Big Country – Winter Sky

                        Nazareth – Winter Sunlight

Grand Funk Railroad – Winter and my soul

                 Engelbert Humperdinck – Winter world of love

                                    Hank Williams – Faded love and winter roses

Merle Haggard – Roses In The Winter

                                              The Staves – Winter Trees

Missy Higgins – Blind Winter

Said The Whale – The Bones of Winter

  Harry Chapin – Winter Song

                       Shawn Colvin – In The Bleak Mid-Winter

                                          U2 – Winter









November earworm round up

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Sometimes they fade quickly, other times they last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can never figure out what triggered them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my November earworms:

Sophie B. Hawkins – Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover

Dee Clark – Raindrops

Buckwheat Zydeco – Tee Nah Nah

Tina Turner – We Don’t Need Another Hero

John Hammond – 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six

Johnny Rivers – Poor Side of Town

k.d. lang – Miss Chatelaine

Tom Tom Club – Genius of Love

Tom Fogerty – Sick And Tired

Rickie Lee Jones – Young Blood

Gordon Lightfoot If You Could Read My Mind

Jimi Hendrix – Hey Joe

Bonnie Raitt – Something To Talk About

Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You

Randy Newman – You’ve Got A Friend In Me

LuLu – To Sir With Love

Donna Fargo – The Happiest Girl In the Whole USA

Peter, Paul and Mary – Leaving on a Jet Plane

Petula Clark – A Sign Of The Times

Kim Stockwood — She’s Not In Love

Luther Ingram – If lovin you is wrong I don’t wanna be right

Chilliwack – My Girl

Lavern Baker – I Cried a Tear

Clyde McPhatter – A Lover’s Question

Nina Gordon – Tonight And The Rest Of My Life

The Youngbloods – Statesboro Blues

Chic – Dance Dance Dance

RuPaul – Supermodel

Merle Travis – No Vacancy

Björk – Human Behavior


She wrote the songs – Golden girl

Lotti Golden is a cult icon of the late 60s music scene. She was one of the creative women that began to demand that their share of the spotlight shine on the unique perspective of women, not just on women’s voices singing men’s words. I found her in my early 20s when I ended up with a record someone gave me. That record is lost. Sadly, she isn’t on iTunes (unless I’m doing something wrong) so she won’t be found by another generation of women. As my favour to you, I’m going to share her.

From her 1969 album Motor-cycle:

Gonna Fay’s

A Lot Like Lucifer

This is also a great song, from a 1971 album:

Staircase between the floors

Or this song also from 1971:

 Sock It To Me Baby-It’s Your Thing

In the 80s she moved into writer producer roles, and co-wrote some fabulous songs.

Brenda K. Starr ‎- Pickin’ Up Pieces

Warp 9 – Beat Wave 

Diana Ross – Dirty looks

E.G. Daily – Some People

I hope you enjoyed this little intro to an artist that isn’t in the spotlight anymore. See if you can find her music elsewhere. I know I’m going to keep looking for her in discount LP bins every chance I get. 


Halloween sing-a-long

I don’t think it would be right to pass through October without a hat tip to songs with a Halloween theme.  Here are 40 of them. You have a week to add more or weed out the ones you don’t like. 

  1. Bobby PickettMonsteMash
  2. David BowieScarMonsters
  3. Vincent Price does The MonsteMash
  4. Cheap TrickWoke up with Monster
  5. New York DollsFrankenstein
  6. Edgar Winter – Frankenstein
  7. Lenny KravitzFrankenstein
  8. Annie Lennox – Love Song For A Vampire
  9. Rob ZombieDragula
  10. Warren ZevonWerewolves of London
  11. Guess WhoClap For The Wolfman
  12. EaglesWitchy woman
  13. DonovanSeason of the Witch
  14. SantanaBlack Magic Woman
  15. Frank SinatraWitchcraft
  16. Panic! at the DiscoNearly Witches (Ever Since We Met…)
  17. The SpecialsGhost Town
  18. Johnny Cash – Ghost Riders in the Sky
  19. Indigo GirlsGhost
  20. GhostBusters Theme Song
  21. Rush –  Ghost of chance
  22. RadioheadGive up the Ghost
  23. Simply RedGhost Of Love
  24. Don McLeanSuperman’s Ghost
  25. Bruce Springsteen w.Tom MorelloGhost of Tom Joad
  26. Oingo BoingoDead Man’s Party
  27. Jan and DeanDead Man’s Curve
  28. U2Wake Up Dead Man
  29. BauhausBela Lugosi’s Dead
  30. King CrimsonOne More Red Nightmare
  31. DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh PrinceNightmare On My Street
  32. Alice CooperWelcome to My Nightmare
  33. Meat LoafBat Out of Hell
  34. The White StripesCatch Hell Blues
  35. Tom WaitsHell Broke Luce
  36. Pat BenatarHell Is for Children
  37. Jimi HendrixVoodoo Child
  38. Blue Oyster Cult(Don’t Fear) The Reaper
  39. RamonesPet Sematary
  40. Michael JacksonThriller

September earworm roundup

I wake up almost every morning with an earworm. Some fade quickly, other last for days. Sometimes they make me happy, sometimes they make me doubt my own sanity. They come from all genres. I can rarely know what triggers them. The only thing I do know and that they do without fail is reinforce my belief that all music is connected and good music never goes out of style.

Here’s a roundup of my September earworms.

Gloria Estefan – Rhythm Is Gonna Get You

Boxcar Willie – Wabash Cannonball

Bee Gees – How can you mend a broken heart

The Impressions – It’s All Right

Billy Preston – Nothing From Nothing

Electric Light Orchestra – Don’t Bring Me Down

En Vogue – Free Your Mind

Grand Funk Railroad – We’re An American Band

Gladys Knight & The Pips – Midnight Train To Georgia

The Byrds – Ballad of Easy Rider

Sunnyland Slim – Be Careful How You Vote

Tommy Overstreet – Send Me No Roses

CeCe Peniston – Finally

The Marmalade – Reflections Of My Life

Loudon Wainwright III – Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

Jimmy Reed – Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby

Dee Dee Sharp – Never Pick A Pretty Boy

Pink Floyd – Hey You”

P!nk – F**kin’ Perfect

Mel McDaniel – Baby’s Got Her BlueJeans On

Little Milton – Grits Ain’t Groceries

Pretenders – Don’t Get Me Wrong

Jimmie Rodgers – Waiting for a Train

Don Walser – Rolling Stone From Texas

Was (Not Was) – Walk The Dinosaur

The CARS – Let’s go!

Frankie Lymon+The Teenagers – Why Do Fools Fall In Love 

Freddy Weller – Games People Play

The Pretty Things – Don’t Bring Me Down 

George Jones & Tammy Wynette – We Gonna Hold On




This is an aside and not a September earworm, but it came up right after that last video. Watch the body language when George uses Tammy’s name in the song. Brutal. I hope nobody ever makes me sing a duet with my ex. 



Lyrics to shake your head at

There are a lot of songs I enjoyed in my childhood that I now shake my head at. I’m not talking about any musical prowess deficit, it’s usually a revisited lyric that makes me pause.

For instance, I was recently sitting in a dentist’s office and had a horror epiphany listening to Delilah by Tom Jones.

“…She stood there laughing, I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more…”

The song came out in  1968. WTF Tom? How did I ever think this song was catchy? It’s an ode to misogyny and murder. Nice.

I’ve been thinking since then about how music is an indicator of culture. What we hum along with tells us a lot about what what we’ll put up with. Look at the songs below to see why.


Tom WaitsWidow’s Grove (2006)    

“…I hid in the elm and raised the bough, that hung even with your neck, And I chased you and drowned you, there deep in the well, And when your mouth was full and wet, I swallowed all your reckless fate, And with your last breath, you moaned too drunk to wake…” Another murder the narrator cloaks in unrequited love.



BeatlesRun For Your Life (1965)

“…Let this be a sermon, I mean everything I’ve said, Baby, I’m determined, And I’d rather see you dead…” Threats of murder cloaked in unrequited love – albeit at least these lyrics later acknowledge he’s a wicked man.


The PoliceEvery Breath You Take (1983)

“…Every move you make, Every vow you break, Every smile you fake, Every claim you stake,I’ll be watching you…” This song is indisputably about claiming ownership of a lover and feeling justified in rage when they challenge that idea by leaving. Pretty creepy.


Corey HartSunglasses At Night (1984)

“…I wear my sunglasses at night, So I can so I can, Watch you weave then breathe your story lines…” Although to be fair this set of lyrics is a bit more gibberish than menace than Every Breath You Take is.


Def LeppardTwo Steps Behind (1993)

“…Walk away, if you want to, It’s okay, if you need to, You can run but you can never hide, From the shadow that’s creepin’ up beside you…” So gee thanks it’s ok  but I’m not going to let you have any peace of mind because I’m gonna stalk you.


The OffspringSpecial Delivery (2000)

“…Hey now, do you see me down the way? Been watching you every day, In my car on your street is where I stay, I know you better that way, One day, I’ll be meeting you for real, You’ll feel bad like I feel…” Eek. Scary creepy.


The Human LeagueDon’t You Want Me (1981)

“…Now five years later on you’ve got the world at your feet, Success has been so easy for you, But don’t forget, it’s me who put you where you are now, And I can put you back down too…” Again, all about feeling justified in revenge for unrequited affection.



Nick CaveFrom Her To Eternity (1984)

“…Ah read her diary on her sheets, Scrutinizin’ every lil bit of dirt, Tore out a page’n’stufft it inside my shirt, Fled out of the window, And shinning it down the vine, Out of her night-mare, and back into mine, Mine! O Mine!…” All about no boundaries and no respect, to say the least. Then there’s the nightmares.


These are the obviously concerning songs I could think of. I’m sure I’ll come up with more as I trip across old tunes in my head or in my travels. Meanwhile I could write a whole other blog about inappropriate or emotionally immature love songs. In fact I probably will…







She writes the songs – Willow Weep For Me

It can be so hard to find information online about women in music. Unless it’s made explicit, cultural assumptions have tended to credited the creation of music to men. Women were more likely to be given credit performing music than creating it. If you look hard enough there are hidden gems in the popular catalogs.

This is the case with the jazz standard Willow Weep for Me written by Ann Ronell. It was covered by everyone who was anyone, and still is.  I’ve included as many of their versions below as I can find.

Ann Ronell; photo by Walter Albertin.

Rosemary Clooney (with Count Basie) and Dinah Shore both also sang this song but I can’t find links to share with you. Sam Cooke did a version I really like. 

Willow Weep For Me wasn’t a one hit wonder. Ann was an early successful female writer for Hollywood films and theatre. She wrote Rain on the Roof (sung here by Al Bowlly), and Baby’s Birthday Party   (performed here by Nat Shilkret). She co-wrote the song Linda from The Story of G. I. Joe, and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf for Disney. 

Ann was born Ann Rosenblatt, but changed her name. I assume the change was due to the potential double jeopardy of being a woman and a Jew making a living in American popular music.

Find more info on Ann here, at IMDB, the Internet Broadway Database, and in her 1993 obituaries in the LATimes and NYTimes. She also comes up in iTunes searches.