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2008 - week 45, from 9 Nov- Working for the Yankee Dollar

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2008 12:20 pm
by Charlie
Seq - Artist - Song Title - Album - Country - Label - Cat no

1 - Wilmouth Houdini & His Royal Calypso Orchestra - Rum and Coca Cola - Your Musical Holiday in the West Indies - Trinidad - Decca - DL 8159

2 - A B Crentsil - I Go Pay You Tomorrow - Toronto by Night - Ghana - Nakasi - NK 077

3 - Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons - Country Hits of the 50s - USA - Capitol - OU 2019

4 - Ray Charles - Busted - His Greatest Hits Vol 2 - USA - DCC - DZs037

5 - Dennis Brown - Money in My Pocket (1972 version) - Crown Prince of reggae - Jamaica - Trojan - TJACD089

6 - Paul Simon - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes - Greatest Hits: Shining Like a National Guitar - USA - Warner - 9362 47721-2

7 - Pamelo MounK'a - L'Argent Appelle L'Argent - Pamelo MounK'a - Congo - Eddy'Son

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Through most of its history, pop music has functioned as a bulletin board for social commentators, many of them making witty observations on our behaviour. Right now, while we are in the midst of some of the greatest economic turmoil in living memory, there are no relevant songs on the radio. Why not?

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Wilmouth Houdini

With its refrain, ‘both mother and daughter, working for the Yankee Dollar,’ the Trinidadian song ‘Rum and Coca Cola’ had an unusual career pattern, emerging as a pop hit for Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters before a local version was even recorded. This version by Wilmouth Houdini actually refers to the pop hit and was subsequently included on a sort of holiday brochure album. Lovely groove from the band, but the long drawn-out repetition of the melody does get a bit wearing after a while.

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A.B.Crentsil

A.B.Crentsil is widedy remembered in Ghana as the lead singer of Sweet Talks, and recorded ‘I Go Pay You Tomorrow’ in Toronto in 1983.

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Tennessee Ernie Ford

Hearing ’16 Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford as I prepared this programme, many years after last listening to it, I wondered if I had mistakenly dug up an after-the-event re-recording for stereo, which Capitol Records often made in the 1960s. This felt so clean and immaculate, I was sure it had once been rougher and tougher. But no, this is how it always sounded.

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Merle Travis

Fantastic words by Merle Travis, himself a successful recording artist for Capitol.

Some people say a man is made out of mud
A poor man's made out of muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

That was a tough lyric in 1956, long before Bob Dylan made his name as the song writer who brought social reality into pop music. Not sure if I quite understood (at the age of 14) what was meant by owing my soul to the company store.

Five years later, Ray Charles was at number one with a similar theme, this time co-written by Harlan Howard:

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Harlan Howard

My bills are all due and the baby needs shoes and I'm busted
Cotton is down to a quarter a pound, but I'm busted
I got a cow that went dry and a hen that won't lay
A big stack of bills that gets bigger each day
The county's gonna haul my belongings away cause I'm busted.

I went to my brother to ask for a loan cause I was busted
I hate to beg like a dog without his bone, but I'm busted
My brother said there ain't a thing I can do,
My wife and my kids are all down with the flu,
And I was just thinking about calling on you 'cause I'm busted.

Well, I am no thief, but a man can go wrong when he's busted
The food that we canned last summer is gone and I'm busted
The fields are all bare and the cotton won't grow,
Me and my family got to pack up and go,
But I'll make a living, just where I don't know cause I'm busted.

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Dennis Brown

Dennis Brown has the only song here in which the protagonist actually does have money.

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Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Paul Simon’s impeccable Graceland was a milestone record for so many reasons, bringing South African music to the wider world. It’s a shock to realise that most of us had not heard Ladysmith Black Mambazo before this. How familiar they sound now. It struck me as being very curious at the time that Youssou N’Dour was featured not as a singer but as a percussionist on ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes’ – why was he not featured as a vocalist, which is what he was actually good at? Was Paul Simon collecting African musicians like stamps, to add to his collection? What an unkind thought.

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Pamelo MounK'a

Finally, an African hit from the same period, by the Congolese singer, Pamelo MounK'a, with a song whose theme means, money attracts money.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 4:18 am
by uiwangmike
I’ve just been listening to the latest, and WS seems to have broadcast the wrong show, starting off with a Hector Zazou tribute. Maybe next week's?

PostPosted: Sun Nov 02, 2008 11:51 am
by Charlie
uiwangmike wrote: WS seems to have broadcast the wrong show, starting off with a Hector Zazou tribute. Maybe next week's?

My fault, not theirs, I will shortly post the correct details of the show that is currently being broadcast

PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 12:19 pm
by r.allibone
Charlie wrote:
uiwangmike wrote: WS seems to have broadcast the wrong show, starting off with a Hector Zazou tribute. Maybe next week's?

My fault, not theirs, I will shortly post the correct details of the show that is currently being broadcast
nice to get advanced notice as there are some faourites in there. i will be interested to here which words w houdini sings. are you sure that versions were not recorded in trinidad before usa?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2008 5:01 pm
by Charlie
r.allibone wrote:i will be interested to here which words w houdini sings. are you sure that versions were not recorded in trinidad before usa?

You should know by now, I'm not sure of anything, Mr Alllibone

But Houdini does refer to the Crosby version in this record and so it must post-date it. I am not suggesting this is the first Trinidaidan recording, only that it's the earliest I can find.

It seems fairly clear that the song was heard being performed live in Trinidad by somebody who noted the words and the tune and took it back to USA, where an American claimed its copyright. Much of a to-do ensued and a Trinidadian was eventually acknowledged as part author, entitled to some of the royalties.

emails

PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2008 10:17 pm
by Charlie
email from:

1.Jane Boles, Limbe, Cameroon

As a Canadian living in Cameroon, I was delighted to discover your program. After endless radio exposure to Mariah Carrey and Beyonce, what an elixir to turn on the radio and hear Ray Charles, Dennis Brown and Paul Simon back to back. Keep it up, Charlie.
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2. Bob Hall, New York

Money: This always BAD, tin-ear music program hits a new, timely low by ignoring all the great depression songs so apropos in today's dire world. With 24 hours to kill every day, the Beeb ignores no minority (?) group, ie: the clueless.

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3. Frank Kabwechere, Arusha, Tanzania

You must have taken a lot of time to prepare the programme broadcast on 8th Nov 08.

Congratulations for considering the money theme, diversity in the selection and more for including the Ghanaian music and Lingala which most people do not play!

Give us more!

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4. Mac McArthur, Indonesia

Dear Mister Charlie Gillett - As a British expat & having spent most of my adult life overseas I have always had a connection to the Beeb on the old 'steam radio'…..from Australia to Zaire.

On the evening of Saturday November 8th (local time Batam Island, Indonesia) I caught your show which I try and follow on a weekly basis.

For some reason.... as yet to be fathomed out while I was showering a song called Rum & Coca Cola had started whizzing though my head…while getting dressed I turned on the radio and lo!!! You were playing Rum & Coca Cola... Fascinating stuff.

A great show Mister Charlie….please continue as I am certain a multitude of other listeners get great enjoyment from it.

Sincerely,

Mac McArthur

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5. Michael Garrity, Dayton, Ohio, USA

In re the program about songs with a money theme----I have to add a song by Texan singer/songwriter Lyle Lovett titled M-O-N-E-Y. The song is a mix of Lovett's country, Texas Swing and Bluesy style.
It is not so much about the economy per se---but more about how money plays on the relationship of men and women. It is a humorous song.

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6. Sue McCabe, Rugby, UK

As a UK insomniac who often listens to Charlie Gillett's programme ( and always enjoys it!) I felt compelled to tell you how much pleasure I got from last night's "Money themed" programme. Of course I am familiar with the Andrew's Sisters original of "Rum and Coca-Cola" but the Wilmouth Houdini version was absolutely brilliant ...great show, thank you.

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7. Annie Watson, London

I loved this show - one of the perks of waking up in the middle of the night!

The theme reminded me of 'Bread and Butter Woman' by Danny Kaye and the Andrews Sisters - definitely the kind of woman for a man going through hard financial times!

Love the show - been a Charlie fan for ever - thanks to all the team

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 11:50 am
by Nigel w
I like this - Charlie G's Theme Time Radio Hour. Look out Bob Dylan !

Interesting to compare with Bob's 'money' shows (he's done two) :


first show


That's What They Want - Jerry McCain & His Upstarts (1955)

Pennies From Heaven - Louis Prima (1957)

You Put It In, I'll Take It Out - Papa Charlie Jackson (1926)

Blue Money - Van Morrison (1970)

Greenbacks - Ray Charles (1955)

Money - Mel Blanc (1955)

It's The Gold - The Buddy Johnson Orchestra with Ella Johnson (1939-42)

Farewell To The Gold - Nic Jones (1980)

My Baby's Just Like Money - Lefty Frizzell (1951)

100 Dollar Bill - Buddy Guy (1981)

It's All About The Benjamins - Puff Daddy and the Family (1997)

Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash - The Clovers (1954)

You Can't Take It With You - Jesse Price (1948)



second show
Gimme My Dime Back, Give Me My Money - Moon Mullican & His Blue Ridge Playboys (1936)

I've Got Money - James Brown (1963)

Penny Reel-O - Eric "Monty" Morris & Baba Brooks (Harmony by Stranger Cole) (1964)

Money Honey - Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters (1953)

Lookin' For Money - Johnny Dove & His Magnolia Playboys (circa 1960)

I Need Money (Keep Your Alibis) - Slim Harpo (circa 1966)

Man With Money - The Everly Brothers (1965)

Clean Money - Elvis Costello & The Attractions (1980)

Last Two Dollars - Johnnie Taylor (1996)

Down To My Last Dime - Donny Young (Johnny Paycheck) (circa 1960)

Romance Without Finance (Is a Nuisance) - Tiny Grimes Quintette (with Charlie Parker) (1944)

For the Love of Money - The O'Jays (1973)

You Can't Take It With You - Young John Watson (Johnny "Guitar" Watson) (1954)

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 12:09 pm
by Papa M
Charlie wrote:But Houdini does refer to the Crosby version in this record and so it must post-date it. I am not suggesting this is the first Trinidadian recording, only that it's the earliest I can find.

It seems fairly clear that the song was heard being performed live in Trinidad by somebody who noted the words and the tune and took it back to USA, where an American claimed its copyright. Much of a to-do ensued and a Trinidadian was eventually acknowledged as part author, entitled to some of the royalties.


Lord Invader was the originator of the song, in 1943. An American comic named Morey Amsterdam was the one who pinched it and launched it in the US.

It has one of those divine melodies that locks itself into the brain. The Rough Guide Radio Show uses a beautifully languorous instrumental version for its theme tune from time to time.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 1:43 pm
by Charlie
Nigel w wrote:I like this - Charlie G's Theme Time Radio Hour. Look out Bob Dylan ! Interesting to compare with Bob's 'money' shows (he's done two)

Thanks, Nigel - I have been posting songs on this theme under 'Best songs about Money' in the 'Best of Everything ' thread, in which we did list the content of these Dylan shows.
As Ian A has noted, it's hard to keep track of all the threads here, but I don't know a better way to do it. Most forums (fora?) simply run all threads under the same general heading which makes it very hard to follow any particular discussion or to know what might have preceded it.

Re: emails

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:07 pm
by Rob Hall
Charlie wrote:email from:

2. Bob Hall, New York



No relation, I assure you.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2008 7:40 pm
by Nigel w
Thanks to our very own answer to Bob Dylan for that.

Have now looked it up in the 'Best of Everything thread!

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:19 am
by DavidM
Charlie wrote;

Not sure if I quite understood what was meant by owing my soul to the company store.


The companies that ran the mines also had to house and feed the miners: The company store was where they could buy food or clothing or whatever on credit against their wages. This gave the companies a further opportunity to squeeze a profit out of the poor workers, who weren't in any position to shop around. Hence; "another day older and deeper in debt".

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:02 pm
by NormanD
DavidM wrote:The companies that ran the mines also had to house and feed the miners: The company store was where they could buy food or clothing or whatever on credit against their wages. This gave the companies a further opportunity to squeeze a profit out of the poor workers, who weren't in any position to shop around. Hence; "another day older and deeper in debt".
Even worse, they were often paid, or given change, in company currency - "scrip" - that could only be used in those stores at a terrible exchange rate. The metal tokens were variously known as "Flickers", "Clackers", "Checks", P'lolly", "Light-Weights", "Dingles", "Stickers", "Dugaloo"...... I've not seen any of these terms coming up in songs, but in Jean Ritchie's "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore", she sings:

Now I used to think my daddy was a black man
With scrip enough to buy the company store
Oh but now he goes to town with empty pockets
And Lord his face is as white as a February snow.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 3:22 pm
by Dayna
I enjoyed all the music on this show.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2008 7:27 pm
by c hristian
that's funny. my step father's business in Monrovia years ago was "Yankee-me-Dollar Transportation".