Something in music: origin
One evening at a hot, trendy L.A. nightclub on a rare solo outing, yours truly found himself standing alone at the bar preparing to review the upcoming act. Before he had taken more than a few notes, however, he was bookended by a pair of vivacious vixens who insisted on engaging your rockin’ writer in cozy conversation. Strangely, the subject of “marriage” arose.
One of the young ladies noted that when a gal is about to get hitched she needs “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue.” Your provocative penman was immediately inspired. After all, those very same terms could be applied to music too: “Something old” or classic, “something new” or recently released, “something borrowed”, a cover, and “something blue”, a blues song or a song with “blue” in the title. The rest is history.
‘Something’ in Music 186
Our “something old” this edition is the classic cut “Keep Yourself Alive” by the Brit band Queen. Written by guitarist Brian May, It’s the opening cut on the group’s eponymous premiere platter which dropped in 1973. In 2008, Rolling Stone Magazine slotted it in at 31 on its list of “The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time”.
Our “something new” here is the single “Young Man in America” recorded by singer-songwriter and musician James Lee Baker. The song was written by Anais Mitchell. It features Baker on acoustic guitar and vocals, Michael Ramos on keyboards, Roscoe Beck on upright bass, Dave Scher on guitar, Katie Marie on percussion, and Laurie MacAllister on backing vocals. The cut is off his upcoming new album titled Impressions.
Our “something borrowed” this time is the 1955 song “Unchained Melody” co-written by Alex North and Hy Zaret and made famous by the Righteous Brothers in 1965. This dedicated cover is by the American group known as Family Shiloh. Family Shiloh is largely a musical family affair founded by Colby and Kimberly Pennington. On social media they dedicated their 2021 cover “[t]o the one and only Tyler Hairston.” adding: “[W]e love you! You light up the world!” (Watch for their new release, At The Cold Copper Ranch.)
Finally, our “something blue” this edition is the song “Freedom Blues” by San Diego, California native blues chanteuse Whitney Shay. The song is the title track off her 2018 disc titled A Woman Rules the World. If you’re in the area and would like to see her perform live, Shay has several live gigs coming up.
She will be appearing at the Athenaeum Music Arts Library on Friday, April 8th at 7:30p.m. in La Jolla. Shay will be accompanied by Joe Amato on guitar. The vivacious vocalist will also be performing live with Henri Herbert in “A Tribute to Little Richard” Friday, May 6th at 5:00 p.m. at Gator By The Bay in San Diego. For tickets and info on other performances, go to her website.