News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 22, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: What songs are on your personal hit parade?


Special to the Tribune-Star

---- — Is it possible that you could rattle off your 10 or 12 favorite recordings of all time on the spur of the moment?

I bring this up because Number Two son has offered to “burn” a compact disc with all my personal golden oldies. He reasons that I would no longer be plagued with having to endure a number of songs I don’t want to waste my time listening to. I do get “ear worms” drifting through my mind, but they are not the same, or even in the same category, as “all-time favorites.”

I have no time line on this, but every time I think about it I include Joe Brown’s record of “I’ll See You in My Dreams.” The song was recorded at the memorial service for Beatle George Harrison and is a tear-jerker. I guess it’s the simplicity and lack of pretension in the music. Brown and Harrison were close friends and both liked the ukulele and played together whenever fate put them in proximity. This record is a tribute to friendship with Brown’s voice on the vocal as he plays the tribute on a ukulele.

When I think of simplicity I also remember “For All We Know” recorded with only an acoustic guitar accompaniment by Sammy Davis, Jr. His recordings are often too raucous for my taste, but this one is a keeper.

Or, for simplicity how about Peggy Lee’s recording of “While We’re Young” accompanied by the guitar of Dave Barber? In my college years my roommate and I listened to Dave Garroway every night. He opened and closed every show with that recording and often played it several other times the same night.

I always liked Frank Sinatra singing almost anything, but his recording of “Summer Wind” is my favorite. It may not have been a major hit on the charts, but it remains on my personal hit parade.

Some days I get nostalgic for lost youth and I want to hear Roy Clark’s voice mourning “Yesterday When I was Young.” I like it because it is so unexpected from the persona he projected as a star — with Porter Wagner and Dolly Parton — on “Hee Haw.” I know I want that record on my disc.

I also want Stan Kenton’s “Peanut Vendor” because I met my Best Friend at a Kenton evening and that was the recording I liked best. Rather similar to the Kenton record is Woody Herman’s recording of “Bijou” which musicians once claimed was a perfectly balanced recording — whatever that means.

I’m still working on my list and it just keeps getting longer. Maybe Number Two son will have to burn two discs?

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.