Selected Music

Visiting with a friend, I found that his son has not heard of some of the more, um, “cherished” music produced in prior decades… so I’ve put a collection of some links here. It would be a travesty if folks were similarly unfamiliar with some of these, ah, “classics”…

First up, an homage to the humble Amish (who’s roots reach to many of us today, including me):

And, of coursed, if your kid is not willing to deal with spinach:

And, to show that nothing is beyond parody… It’s all about the neon guitar bending and the drummer doing a parody of, er, the drummer…

Whatever Weird Al takes, I’d like some… but about a 1/4 dose…

What Can You Learn at Harvard?

Tom Lehrer…

Religious Studies:

Political “Science”:

Though I like the Randy Newman take on Political Science a bit more:

Some Chemistry:


Even a bit of biology…

And, curiously, “Curent Events”…

Curiously Compelling..

Family Relationships can be complicated…

I didn’t think you could do that with a table…

and a more “storyfull” version…

Waka Waka…

And Haka…

When Islands Collide…

And a Scots answer…

What’s worn beneath a kilt? Shoes and socks…

(Be careful NOT to look this up under the phrase “The Irish Rovers donald where’s your trousers” and select the one with two seated guys in kilts on the front… No, nothing wrong with the music…) Or you might discover just how this song came to be:

(The animated and risk free version of The Drunk Scottsman)

The Vietnam War and it’s Implications on Thanksgiving

With the holiday looming, it seems somehow appropriate to revisit our cultural roots:

The “jumping up and down” scene, from the movie…

[ Yes, they made the whole thing into a movie… as you can see, it translates modestly well… ]

That was, of course, a version of The Folk Protest Song:

One of my favorite tunes of all time, just because. City of New Orleans:

Young Arlo:

“Cellared” Arlo:

Willy Nelson did a version. (Anything by Willy is worth a listen…)

And a Johnny Cash video of it:

A musically precise light and fluffy treatment by John Denver who, despite being a better technical singer with a much more musical voice, just can’t get the grit into the song that it needs… (where Johnny Cash excels at it… )

By request, the Steve Goodman versions (that I was looking for in the first place but did not know the name to look up…)

Faster, and with an interview / comments:

And in looking for another version, I stumbled on this song that I’d forgotten about long ago…

From An Older More Mellow Time

Shaving Cream:

Remember to respect our formal musical heritage, of all forms…

“Der Fuerhrer’s Face” with some film added…

And a related with “interesting” stage performance… (How they got the chimp to do that, in make up no less, is a mystery…)

In response to which, we “Send the Marines”:

A classic song, about the great banana shortage. A banana disease had ravaged the Big Michael banana, leaving stores around the world saying “Yes, we have no bananas”… Oddly, the same disease has finally adapted to the replacement banana and even now a great banana breeding program is underway to find the next replacement… or we may be dusting off this old song again ourselves…

Speaking of Classics, from 2001 to this…

And I’m sure you’ve heard this version of The William Tell Overture in a cartoon sometime:

A nice little instrumental:

And now I’ll bid you adieu with this tribute to last night:

(The Raiders had a lead, then lost it, then via a kick tied to go to overtime, where another field goal gave them the win… We’d not planned on overtime when opening the first beer… ;-)

Is Nothing Sacred? Well…

Is Nothing Sacred?

Is Nothing Sacred?

Original and more at this site


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Arts, Human Interest and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Selected Music

  1. j ferguson says:


    Ah, er, uh, City of new Orleans written and sung by Steve Goodman? Maybe it’s not on Utube.

    Willie’s and Arlo’s versions damn good too.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve added two versions by Steve Goodman (and some other music too). I’d heard it but never knew the name to use to look it up… Didn’t realize the author WAS the performer on the “old one”…

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…. one done with Jethro Burns too:

    Ah, and this 1972 is close to the first one I ever heard… a damn fine cut:

    Obsessing? Who’s obsessing…

  4. j ferguson says:

    Another of my stupid stories. Lived on Near North side of Chicago in late ’60s early ’70s. Was walking up Wells with a friend and we were arguing about something. Went into a bar which was empty – late Saturday afternoon – and continued the discussion. After a while, a guy came up to the microphone and started singing ballads. Not a one made any sense coming from him – other people’s troubles, certainly not his – and this isn’t a subtle dig at life-style, he was a dweeb and could never ever have found himself in the situations he was whining about. There being no other customers to bother, we kept on with the discussion.

    Bartender came over to complain that we were competing with his singer. Friend said our conversation was far more interesting than his singer’s unconvincing songs, and besides, when there were other customers who wanted to listen to this guy, we’d pipe down. I thought that was a safe commitment.

    Pretty soon the guy gave up – thank God. Then another guy took over and while we were thinking dark thoughts he cut loose with a couple of the funniest songs I’d ever heard, better than Tom Lehrer even. So we shut up and listened. In about 20 minutes the place was packed. It was Steve Goodman.

    You need to find his recordings – especially the one about the girl friend who is trying to ween him from red meat and chicken so as to convert his diet to tofu and bean sprouts. Or his combination of all the elements of country songs into a single song, dog dies, going to jail, car won’t start, girl friend left with rent money, etc. Absolutely brilliant. No duds on the two albums of his that I have.

    Speaking of Lehrer – the song of elements would be a good addition to your list.

    On Chicago bars. Jimmie’s Woodlawn Tap (on 57th, IIRC), is close to University of Chicago. Went in there on a Saturday afternoon with another friend and immediately were knocked down by the din of intelligent discussion. We gauged the mean IQ in the place that afternoon at maybe 150. It was stunning.

    How i miss Chicago. Too bad spouse hates the cold.

  5. mrpkw says:

    I hate the “Shaving Cream” song.

    Weird Al’s best non Micheal Jackson parody was “Smells like teen spirit”.

    Many a late,late Sunday night was spent listening to Dr. Demento on the radio.

    “Dead Puppies”
    “Star Drek”
    “Existential blues”

    And of course,
    BOOT TO THE HEAD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    I thought about including Boot To The Head, but it was in a prior posting…. Maybe it’s worth including here for ease of locating…

  7. KevinM says:

    Thank you so much for linking Alices Restaraunt.

    I hadn’t heard it for years.


  8. Rob R says:

    As a Kiwi I note for your benefit that the Haka (a war dance shown above) is a deadly serious business for an entire nation each time the All Blacks (New Zealand national Rugby side) or the New Zealand Maori (two different teams by the way) step out to play. The Tongan equivalent is also deadly serious, as is the Fijian equivalent. Interestingly the Fijians until recently (about 20 years back) used to perform their challenge carrying genuine spears. Now they mime the spear movements (yet another manifestation of Political correctness)

    The Haka is very definitely not a song, its not even music. Its a direct threat and a challenge and there are protocols that are observed. It is not performed for the amusement of the audience. It is done to intimidate the opposition and the stir the spirit of the team and its supporters. It has a long and very bloody and successful tradition dating back to inter-tribal warfare (largely pre-1850). In those times the losers were often eaten by the victors just to rub it in. These days things are (slightly) more civilised. Basically the the team performing the Haka is sending a message that they intend to rip the opposition apart limb by limb so watch out. Very stiring stuff. Its particularly impressive when done between opposing High School/College teams because the entire school joins in from the each sideline. Home supporters on one side and visitors on the other.

    Oh, and its not just done at Rugby games. Similar challenges are laid down at the commencement of the game in other sporting codes. Even the NZ swim team have been known to do this.

    In Maori the word for song is Waiata.

  9. Gary says:

    No Victor Borge or PDQ Bach?

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    What? You can’t copy the embed code for Victor Borge and paste it in? Ok, ok, I’ll add some. (One of my favorite folks, BTW, but I was feeling guilty at how long the posting was already…)

    How to tune a piano:

    Some help with pages… (IIRC, the “assistant” is his son…)

    Do Tell:

    In Two Parts, with Marilyn:

    With Dean Martin on Phonetic Punctuation:

    And germain to what The Fed is doing:

    Hungarian Rhapsody #2:

    The Master Conducts:

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Some P.D.Q. Bach.

    with Itzhak Perlman:

    The Abduction of Figaro:

    The Art of the Ground Round:

    And a new form of music appreciation:

  12. bulaman says:

    Flanders and Swann???

  13. Ian Beale says:


    A post like this sorts out how close your internet access is to tomato cans and string!

    Bulaman – perhaps the French Horn?

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ian Beale:

    As I’m occasionally on “misc” networks with the odd dialup tossed in when in strange places or when nothing else is working, I’m “aware” of the “page weight” of things like video clips. Part of why I worry about putting too many in one posting… But yes, a posting with a couple of dozen of them can load slowly even when it’s just the opening picture…


    I’m sure I’ve heard them, but having just woken up I have, at best, a dull awareness that the name is familiar… so perhaps you could visit youtube (by clicking on any one of the videos above), put Flanders and Swann in the search box, pick your favorites, hit the “embed” button, copy the ’embed text’ it gives you, and paste it here in a comment while I go off to find a Starbucks or get some milk to make proper tea?

    I’ve run out of milk, you see, and coffee. I can drink coffee black and sweet, but don’t have any coffee. Tea I’ve got. Sugar I’ve got. Milk I’ve not… And you can’t have a proper cup of tea without milk in it. So I’ve a bit of a catastrophe to deal with and I’m doing it without my morning “jolt” to alertness / basic functionality. Else I’d do the searching and pasting myself.

    But for now, I have to try to remember how to operate a car, find my keys, and remember to take money with me, and perhaps shoes, while I look for a store with milk, or a Starbucks, or even just a lawn maintenance crew with a thermos left unguarded…

    You can see how difficult a task I’ve set before me; and My God Man, it’s almost 9 am. Sinful time to be awake, if you ask me, so it’s most urgent that I sort this all out, pronto… as it’s likely to take me a couple of hours, and by then we’re approaching noon. The Official Starting Gun Time of moral and allowed consumption of beer, wine, cocktails, et. al. – and the reason why getting up before noon is so sinful, being a waste of time and all, and waste being a sin… but doubly so if you are non-functional due to coffee and tea outages. So you see, my very soul is at risk due to Sin of Wastefulness… You wouldn’t want me to put my mortal soul at risk, would you?

    Besides, if I’ve not stoked up on caffeine before noon, well, “One and Done” kind of sums it up. Back to sleep in no time. So I simply must find the Starbucks before noon or I’ll simply wake up next to the pool with an unfinished second beer on the table wondering why it’s dinner time. Then I’d have wasted a whole day in the sin of Sloth. (Where swimming laps between beers is not Sloth, again saving my mortal soul…)

    So it’s really a small favor to ask, that you find the the links, please, as I must save my soul from Sin…

    Now where did I leave those keys…

  15. bulaman says:

    As this is science (ish) usually here is the link for the first and second laws of thermodynamics as explained by F&S

    Of course none can compare to the Hippo song!


  16. Jason Calley says:

    “We No Speak Americano”!

    What a delightful piece! How can I possibly have lived so long without noticing that huge gap (now filled) in my cultural experience?!


  17. Jason Calley says:

    Oooooh! I’m making my way down the page…

    “City of New Orleans”! Just a couple of weeks ago I was playing a clip of Arlo Guthrie doing City of New Orleans and my Dear Wifey Thing strolled by and stopped to listen. We both agreed that it was the best thing he ever did, and a song that his dad would have been proud of. I suspect that even a few hundred years from now, musicologists will have City of New Orleans on the short list of favorite works from the 20th Century

  18. Verity Jones says:

    Well, we had a great giggle at Tom Lehrer, including a few there I hadn’t heard, but you left out the “Masochism Tango”!

    Haven’t heard any Victor Borge in years. It reminded me of a UK comedian reknowned for playing deliberately out of tue (which is very hard to do):

    (Not embedding as there is probably enough on here)

    I second Jason Calley’s praise of “We No Speak Americano”! (both versions). The table percussion on the first one reminded me of Rodrigo y Gabriela: (they put on a hell of a show live)

    Now Steve Goodman was a real find. I would disagree that “City of New Orleans” needs a gritty voice like that of Johnny Cash. The last video posted – his 1972 version, for me, was the best one. I think that has become an instant favourite.

  19. j ferguson says:

    V. Jones

    Masochism Tango – great.

    I need to set about to find a couple more Steve Goodman songs. Maybe our host can start another thread assuming that this present one is getting loaded down.

    There is a certain synchronization between the evolution of popular music and age that seems not easily overcome. How E.M. ever got into Spike Jones is a mystery to me. Way out of synch.

    I’m assured by my 33 year old daughter that some of my favorite songs are completely without musical value. So I’ll keep them to myself.

    Except maybe “Civilization”

    Too bad.

  20. Ian Beale says:

    I’ll suggest John Prine’s “Common Sense” from the album/CD of the same name (AtlanticRecords) as the theme song of the early 21st century

    “It don’t make no sense that common sense don’t make no sense no more”

    Flanders and Swan were an English comedy duo under the guise of “At the drop of a hat” and “At the drop of another hat” – maybe others. Good to.

  21. pyromancer76 says:

    Great fun to follow you guys down memory lane. Can’t say many of these were my favorites, but I’ve now spent a few hours I hadn’t planned on near the computer. Thanks for the trip and especially thanks for the 1972 Steve Goodman. Its “everydayness” moves the soul – Monday morning in America. Hope we can retrieve the possibility of this experience of rolling down our tracks day after day, week after week, for our children and grandchildren and their….

  22. Tim Clark says:

    My favorite Steve Goodman:
    David Allen Coe’s “”You Never Even Called Me by My Name.”

    I also like David’s “If that ain’t country.”

    And if a somewhat somewhat formal English descendant would like to hear some real americana:

  23. j ferguson says:

    Her it is:

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve posted another music oriented posting, titled “Important Physics To Know” ;-)

    but since it was mentioned here, I’ll put Masochism Tango here:

    Oedipus Rex:

    Some Views on Sociology:

    and a bit of insight into the military life:

    Oh, and I noticed yesterday that we’ve already entered The Christmas Selling Season (somehow I missed the Thanksgiving Holiday that surly has passed when I wasn’t looking… why else would we already have Christmas decorations going up…)

    Maybe next year we can start Christmas selling as part of the “Back To School” push…

  25. Larry Geiger says:

    In honor of your Florida vacation, a song about Florida:

    from a good old Ocala boy.

  26. Larry Geiger says:

    There is no Christmas shopping season until after Thanksgiving! I refuse to look. I refuse to listen. Mostly I just don’t go shopping until then. I am boycotting all Christmas stuff until the appropriate time. There. I said it.

    (No Walmart for me for at least a month! Man, I’m really bummed about that. I’m so sad.)

  27. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh yes! Forgot that one (it’s been a while…) but they left out skeeters and gators ;-)

    Oh, and I’m in the “No Christmas until December” group too… I usually do my shopping about 12/20 – 12/23 …

  28. Verity Jones says:

    This is worth adding here for reasons that will become apparent if you watch it. It also appropriate for the approaching festive season.

    h/t to Christopher Brooker in today’s Telegraph

  29. j ferguson says:

    Is this one of those events which is conceived and scheduled on the web and then twittered into reality? What a truly great idea.

    We really do live in a wonderful time.

  30. Chuckles says:

    Good post there Verity!

    J Ferg., These are usually opera companies or orchestras, and very staged/organised rather than spontaneous. Definitely to be encouraged I think.

    First ones I saw posted were –

    Valencia Market –

    The Israeli Philharmonic in Dizengoff Centre in Tel Aviv –

    and the Opera Company of Philadelphia in Reading Market –

    and the Opera en Pamplona –

    Many other more dance oriented ones from Antwerp, UK, Ohio, and elsewhere are floating around on Youtube.

  31. E.M.Smith says:

    People can be wonderful things… Amidst all the negative political aspects and other dirt we’re forced to deal with from time to time, you get things like this done:

  32. j ferguson says:

    How well I remember being admonished not to forget the comma in All we, like sheep. And it wasn’t Shirley, either.

Comments are closed.