Spanish is the lovin’ tongue
Soft as springtime, light as spray
There was a girl I learned it from
Living down Sonora way
Now I don’t look much like a lover
Yet I say her love words over
Late at night when I’m all alone
“Mi amor, mi corazon”
“Spanish is the Loving Tongue” is a song based on the poem “A Border Affair” written by Charles Badger Clark in 1907. Clark was a cowboy poet who lived throughout the American West, and was named the Poet Laureate of South Dakota in 1937. The poem was set to music in 1925 by Billy Simon. Over the years, the song was recorded by many top recording artists, including Bob Dylan, Ian and Sylvia, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, Marianne Faithfull, Emmylou Harris, Michael Martin Murphey, and The Chad Mitchell Trio (under the name “Adios, mi Corazon”).
July 20: Bob Dylan released Like A Rolling Stone in 1965
“This is about growing up, this is about discovering what is going on around you, realizing that life isn’t all you’ve been told. So now you’re without a home, you’re on your own, complete unknown, like a rolling stone. That’s a liberating thing. This is a song about liberation.”
— Jann Wenner, Rolling Stone magazine (Greil Marcus – Like A Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads (book))
“The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody had kicked open the door to your mind” – Bruce Springsteen (Jan 1988)
“When I heard Like a Rolling Stone, I wanted to quit the music business because I felt: ‘If this wins and it does what it’s supposed to do, I don’t need to do anything else.'”
– Frank Zappa (1965 )
The first time I really listened to “Like A Rolling Stone”, I felt I entered a parallel universe.. a place of intense beauty.. a place filled with this wonderful blues-fueled rock music… and a spellbinding ..organ! I had never heard anything like it.. anything this good..
That was the day I understood that there is bad music, good music, great music & then there is Bob Dylan. He plays in another league. His musical universe is still as beautiful now as it was first time I flew into it.. “Like A Rolling Stone” still sounds as fresh as it did the first time I listened ~30 years ago. (Egil, alldylan.com)
Elvis Presley recorded Heartbreak Hotel January 10th in 1956
“Heartbreak Hotel” is a song recorded by Elvis Presley. It was released as a single on January 27, 1956, Presley’s first on his new record label RCA Victor. His first number-one pop record, “Heartbreak Hotel” topped Billboard‘s Top 100 chart, became his first million-seller, and was the best-selling single of 1956. It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton.
Well, Since my baby left me
These opening words set the tone, this is not a happy-song…
I got this record from my aunt when I was about 7 or 8 years old (1973/1974), I couldn’t comprehend the heartache and suffering in the lyrics. I just thought it was the coolest thing I had ever heard. I still got that record. It is worn and scratched and it’s still the coolest record in the world.
“Seven Spanish Angels’ is the title of a song written by Troy Seals and Eddie Setser, and recorded by American country music artist Willie Nelson as a duet with Ray Charles. It was released in November 1984 as the first single from the album Half Nelson. Half Nelson is a compilation album of duets performed by Willie Nelson along with various other artists, released in 1985. It also includes a few never-before released hits as well. “Seven Spanish Angels” was the most successful of Ray Charles’ eight hits on the country chart. The single spent one week at number one and a total of twelve weeks on the country chart.
This classic song is written by Chip Taylor (aka James Wesley Voight) and there are several very good recordings. The version above is from Chip Taylor’s fantastic album, Hit Man released in 1996. An album were Taylor revisits many of his best songs. When you have written as many great songs as Taylor has, there are bound to be oversights and omissions, but you owe it to yourself to seek out this great record. Hit Man indeed!
“Son Of A Rotten Gambler” was written for his son, Kristian and it went to the top of the country charts. The song is particularly poignant as it speaks of his other great talent, gambling, that he was doing professionally during a break from his recording career in the early 80’s.
As a gambler, he was one of the foremost thoroughbred horse race handicappers on the East Coast. When Chip Taylor turned his sights on the gaming tables, he quickly gained notoriety with his black jack prowess; finishing third in the World Black Jack Championship in Las Vegas. He became one of the most feared card counters in theU.S and was banned from every casino in Atlantic City. These stories are known throughout the gambling world and well documented by the I.R.S..
Anne Murray had a hit with the song in 1974, and it is probably the best known version.
Son Of A Rotten Gambler – Anne Murray:
One of my favorite recordings, “Son of a Rotten Gambler” was a huge, huge country record for Anne Murray. But it was the fifth single from her album release, and they quickly buried it because they wanted to release another album for Christmas. Even though they tried to bury it, it became a huge hit. I wrote it for my son. Emmylou Harris has recorded it as well, but Anne’s version gave me chills when I first heard it. It starts out with an organ that you hear in the distance, and it gets louder and louder and louder, and then she comes in and starts to sing. I think it’s one of the best recordings of any of my songs.
The Hollies released their version in 1975. A nice interpretation but too much of a “sing-a-long” anthem for my taste. I think the song loses some of its poignancy.
Son of a Rotten Gambler – The Hollies:
My favourite take of the song, together with Chip Taylors own, is by Emmylou Harris. Released in 1981 on the wonderful album, Cimarron. This was her 9th album and is often rated lower than her previous records, don’t be fooled, it is better than most country albums.