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. 

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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.

Source

 

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.

 

Source

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. 

 

 

 

Labour day – songs about working people

In Canada Labour Day is September 4. Most of the rest of the world celebrates workers in May on International Workers’ Day.

Folk songs about the working people and their economic welfare have been written a performed for hundreds of years. And folk music has been used to amplify the call for social and economic justice. 

I’ll fit some of my favourite Labour Day appropriate sings into some broad categories below, but first … 

1) Songs about hard work and living hand to mouth

2) Songs about the labour movement

3) Songs about modern alienation from the fruits of labour and the pains of the changes in our modern economic system

4) Songs about the economic oppression specifc groups

Look for the album Bread and Raises (Smithsonian Folkways); it’s a good musical primer on unpaid and under paid economic activity. 

And, an end my musical homage to Labour Day: 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the August edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are two female classical composers whose works I have encountered, with links to music samples for each of them.

Portrait by Bernardo Strozzi, believed to be of Barbara Strozzi

Barbara Strozzi was an Italian Baroque composer. (died 1977)

She was lucky for her time, as her encouraged her musical ambition. She wrote for voice.

Find info on her compositions here

 

Betsy Jolas is a modern French composer. (born 1926)

 

Sally Beamish is a modern British composer of chamber, vocal, choral and orchestral music as well as works for

musical theatre, film and television.  (born 1956)

 

Rebecca Clarke was an English composer. (died 1979)

Her work did not receive the recognition then that it does today and was largely forgotten until the 1970s.

Find info on her here

 

Cécile Chaminade

Cécile Chaminade was a French composer. (died 1944)

She learned piano early in her childhood but her father disapproved of her musical education so she had to continue her studies privately. Her own compositions were very popular in her day.

Find more info on her at AllMusic and on Wikipedia.  

 

Marion Bauer was an American composer. (died 1955)

Marion Bauer

She wrote at least 160 compositions. 

 

Tera de Marez Oyens was a Dutch composer who wrote over 200 works of music. (died 1996)

 

Alma Mahler

Alma Mahler was an Austrian-American composer. Seventeen songs by her survive. (died 1964)

Women classical composers – the July edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are some female classical composers whose works I have encountered, with links to music samples for each of them.

 

Ruth Crawford Seeger

1) Ruth Crawford Seeger (July 3, 1901 – Nov 18, 1953) (née Ruth Porter Crawford) was a modernist composer and later composed folk music.

 

 

 

 

Pauline Viardot

2) Pauline Viardot (July 18, 1821 – May 18, 1910) (née García)  was a soprano who began composing when she was young.

 

 

 

 

3) Marianna Auenbrugger (July 19, 1759 – Aug 25, 1782) was a well regarded Viennese pianist and composer.

 

 

Sophie Menter, painted by Ilya Repin.

4) Sophie Menter (July 29, 1846 — Feb 23, 1918) was a piano virtuoso and composer.

 

 

 

5) Suzanne Giraud (born 31 July 1958) is a contemporary French composer.

 

 

Sansan Chien, photo by
Wen-Chung Chiang

6) Sansan Chien (July 1, 1967 – Oct 24, 2011) Taiwanese composer. (I used google translate for the song titles so if they’re not perfect I apologize)

 

 

7) Julia Tsenova (July 30, 1948 – April 11, 2010) was a Bulgarian pianist and composer. 

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the May edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are five female classical composers whose works I enjoy, with links to songs for each of them.

 

Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe (May 27, 1819 – October 17, 1910) was an all-round super woman, an author, poet abolitionist, social activist, and suffragist.

 

Anne Dudley (born May 7) was the first BBC Concert Orchestra‘s Composer in Association.

 

Debbie Wiseman (born May 10) composes for film and tv.

 

Maria Theresia Paradis

Judith Weir (born May 11) writes operas.

 

Maria Theresia von Paradis (May 15, 1759 – February 1, 1824) may have been Mozart’s inspiration for his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major.

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the April Edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are four female classical composers whose works I enjoy, with links to songs for each of them.

 

Elisabetta Brusa (April 3, 1954) is an Italian composer. She started writing piano pieces as a child.

 

Germaine Tailleferre (image source)

Germaine Tailleferre (April 19, 1892 – November 7, 1983) was a French composer and the only female member of the group of composers known as Les Six.

 

 

 

 

Ethel Smyth (image source)

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (April 23, 1858 – May 8, 1944) was an English composer and suffragist. Her father was very opposed to her making a career in music.

 

 

 

 

 

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (April 25, 1850 – July 17, 1927) took piano lessons with one of my favourite female pianist and composers, Clara Schumann.

Luise Adolpha Le Beau (image source)

 

 

 

Women classical composers – the March edition

As is the case with all too many things historical, the talent of women composers is underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure, so it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are four female classical composers whose works I enjoy, with links to songs for each of them.

margaret_bondsMargaret Bonds (March 3, 1913 – April 26, 1972) was an African American composer and pianist. She is remembered for working with one of my favourite poets, Langston Hughes.

 

 

 

 

Jean Coulthard
Jean Coulthard

Jean Coulthard (February 10, 1908 – March 9, 2000) was a Canadian composer and part of a trio of women composers that included Barbara Pentland and Violet Archer.

 

 

 

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre
Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre

Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (March 17, 1665 – June 27, 1729) was a well known French harpsichordist and composer in her time.

 

 

 

Els Aarne (March 30, 1917 – June 14, 1995) was an Estonian composer and pedagogue.

Women classical composers – the February edition

Like most things historical, women have been underrepresented in the genre of classical music. In spite of the odds being against them, women wrote, and continue to write, exceptional classical music that can be enjoyed today. They deserve more exposure. So it feels like a good idea to do my bit to mitigate our cultural musical myopia.

Below are 5 female classical composers whose works I have on my iPod right now, with links to songs for each of them.

 

Grażyna Bacewicz
Grażyna Bacewicz

Grażyna Bacewicz (Feb 5, 1909) was a respected composer and violinist from with a Lithuanian father and Polish mother, and she chose to identify as Polish. She lived in Warsaw during the second world war and gave secret concerts.

 

 

Miina Härma
Miina Härma

Miina Härma (Feb 9, 1864) was a well known Estonian composer. She composed mostly vocal work.

 

 

 

 

Adela Verne
Adela Verne

Adela Verne (Feb 27 1877) was among the greatest woman pianists of her era and a composer. 

 

 

Pía Sebastiani
Pía Sebastiani

Pía Sebastiani (Feb 27, 1925) was a pianist and composer from Argentina. I can’t find any video or audio of her own compositions that I can link here, but I did find a video about her and you can find a few recordings of other composers works in iTunes.

 

 

 

 

Eugenia Manolidou (or Manolides) (Feb 27, 1975) is a current Greek composer.

Hymn To The Moon