When I was a toddler, one of my go-to albums was There's a Hippo in My Tub by Anne Murray. My favourite cuts were "Animal Crackers" and "Teddy Bears' Picnic". For the longest time I thought that last one was an Anne Murray original.
I was way wrong. The music behind "Teddy Bears' Picnic" was written by John Walter Bratton in 1907 and the lyrics were added by Jimmy Kennedy in 1932.
Here's the first recording with lyrics, in 1932 by Henry Hall and His Orchestra with Val Rosing on vocals.
It's been recorded dozens and dozens of times. Here's Bing Crosby singing it in 1950.
The last time I enjoyed a French-language song was when MuchMusic played the mess out of Mitsou's Bye Bye Mon Cowboy. That probably had more to do with Mitsou and less to do with Bye Bye Mon Cowboy.
I'm sure there are some great French songs I'm missing out on, but I really like understanding the lyrics in a song and that means focussing my ears on English tunes. This explains why I didn't know Lisa LeBlanc, the Acadian singer-songwriter who released her debut album a couple of years ago.
But then I sampled an English song from Lisa LeBlanc I was linked to on YouTube. This track, "You Look Like Trouble (But I Guess I Do Too)", blew me away. It's nothing you'll hear on the radio, but I think it's crazy good. Crank up your speakers and give this a listen:
She calls that "trash rock". More, please.
There are many great songs about Sunday. Think about it. In fact, there are many great songs entitled "Sunday Morning".
Vocativ studied 57 years of Billboard charts to see which days of the week get the most love from songwriters. As you'd likely guess, Sunday, Saturday, Monday and Friday are the big winners. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday get very little love.
Here are my favourite songs for each day of the week. We'll start with Sunday and work our way to Saturday.
Sunday Morning - Velvet Underground
I Don’t Like Mondays - The Boomtown Rats
Ruby Tuesday - The Rolling Stones
Waiting for Wednesday - Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
Thursday's Child - David Bowie
Friday I’m in Love - The Cure
Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting - Elton John
With apologies to No Doubt, U2, The Mamas & the Papas and New Order.
My buddy Erin Davis wrote an interesting blog entry about Baby, It's Cold Outside, a song you'll hear often at this time of year. Baby, It's Cold Outside isn't a Christmas song, but a "cold weather" song, and since it's so good, it gets lumped in with holiday favourites like White Christmas and Silver Bells.
Erin commented on the pushback that Baby, It's Cold Outside is a little "date-rapey". After all, the songstress says "I simply must go, the answer is no" yet her pursuer persists with the charm and continues to pour the alcohol. Today, it's less "no means no" and more "only an explicit sober yes means yes".
The tune is fantastic and, as these seasonal songs go, this is one of the best. Everyone has a favourite version (mine is Ray Charles and Betty Carter from 1961).
When it comes to music, it's best we don't over-analyze the lyrics. I'm not offended by the lyrics of Baby, It's Cold Outside any more than I'm offended by the use of the slur "faggot" in my favourite Christmas song of all-time. If we were to only listen to music with 100% safe and politically correct lyrics, we'd be left with a whole lot of Kenny G.
Oh, but baby it’s cold outside.
I just heard Treble Charger's Brand New Low on the radio. As I was singing along I thought, "I dig this tune, but it's no Red".
With Treble Charger on the mind, I quickly thought of American Psycho, Friend of Mine and Even Grable, all great tracks (especially the fantastic Even Grable), but none as good as Red.
Everyone loves Red.
My daughter's first concert was Selina Gomez, but my oldest son chose a different sound. Last night, we enjoyed Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts.
They were amazing, as always. Damn I dig their sound. It's rock, it's hip hop, it's EDM, it's folk, it's awesome.
The best part was experiencing it all with my boy. I can't wait to do it again.
Bryan Adams celebrated his birthday earlier this week.
On that same day, Ryan Adams celebrated his birthday.
Isn't that mind blowing?
Many moons ago, an old Irish relative was visiting my grandmother while I was visiting her in Gilford, Ontario. This gentlemen proceeded to tell me that jazz and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist Jeff Healey was related to us somehow. I forget the details, but Jeff Healey was supposedly my second cousin twice removed or something to that effect.
Today, while visiting Park Lawn Cemetery, I found Jeff Healey's grave site and took a couple of pictures.
It's worth noting that in the early stages of planning my wedding, while we were picking the music, I made an impassioned plea for Jeff Healey's Angel Eyes. It didn't make the final cut, but I still think it's a sweet ditty.
Last night, I saw 54-40 at a free concert in Colonel Samuel Smith Park. They sounded great, playing all their hits (and there were many) and we had a blast.
It was this little dude's first concert.
As a kid, I saw several "free" concerts at the old Ontario Place forum, but you had to buy tickets to the park to see the show, so it wasn't really free. As a young man I biked to Yonge and Dundas to watch Sloan perform a free concert outside the Edge 102 studio. I thought that was pretty awesome.
What's the best free concert you ever attended?
I will be sitting down next week with Jeremy Taggart, best known as the drummer for Our Lady Peace from 1993 - 2014. He'll be dropping by to record an episode of my podcast Toronto Mike'd, and I get an entire hour to ask him anything I want.
I know what questions I'll be asking him, but I'd love to know what you would ask him. What questions would you like me to ask Jeremy Taggart?
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