Your Cheatin' Heart

Your Cheatin' Heart

“Your Cheatin’ Heart” , written in 1952 by the one and only Hank Williams can easily be added to your older adult playlist as it is considered to be a well known popular standard in the country music genre. Apparently, Hank Williams wrote this classic about…

Cruising Down the River

Cruising Down the River

Cruising Down the River, was written in 1945 by two women, Emily Beadell and Nell Tollerton. They entered their composition into a public songwriting contest in the UK and…

Singing The Blues

Time for another country classic. 

Generally I find that a country tune is a welcome addition to my Swingin' Fitness older adult classes. Always good to vary the styles and country music despite its often depressing lyrics is frequently juxtaposed with...

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo

This week I've chosen a Disney novelty song classic from the film Cinderella written in 1948 by Al Hoffman, Mack David and Jerry Livingston. Verna Felton sang the first version of this popular tune in this 1950 film.  Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950 for Best Original Song but lost out to...

Marshmallow World

This is a wonderful song for the holidays. Though it makes no mention of Christmas, it is definitely a favourite this time of year. Written by lyricist Carl Sigman and composer Peter DeRose in 1949 this upbeat tune celebrates...

Bonhomme Hiver (Winter Wonderland)

This week I have chosen the famous Canadian chanteuse Ginette Reno's French version of Winter Wonderland, originally written in 1934 by lyricist Richard B. Smith and composer Felix Bernard.  I thought it would be nice to suggest a song performed in one of our country's official languages. A bonhomme is a snowman and in this French version the last line "Au Royaume de Bonhomme Hiver" that replaces "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"  translates to...

C'est Magnifique

This song written by the brilliant composer Cole Porter was first performed by Lilo and Peter Cookson in 1953 Broadway musical "CanCan". As I have come to learn more and more there is a a treasure trove of music familiar to our older adult participants whose origins are in Broadway theatre and film musicals.

In 1953, Gordon McCrae's recorded C'est Magnifique. His version was the only...

We Need A Little Christmas

The timing is perfect for this song of the week as the lyrics talk about getting into the Christmas spirit a week before American Thanksgiving though I did read that the original song contained the words “Auntie Mame, it’s one week past...

Everybody Eats When They Come To My House

Love this humorous song written by none other than Mr. Cab Calloway. 

Born in Rochester, New York in 1907 on Christmas Day, he was definitely a gift to the world of jazz. Calloway was a master scat singer and leader of one of the most popular bands in the United States during the 1930’s. His group became one of the most successful bands to play at the infamous Cotton Club in New York City... 

Land of the Silver Birch / My Paddle's Keen and Bright

With Canada’s 150th birthday less than a week away, as a proud Canadian I have chosen a combination song that is an adaptation of a very famous poem by E. Pauline Johnson, (E. was for Emily) called “The Song My Paddle Sings”.  Ms. Johnson was a famous poet, artist, writer and performer (1862-1913), in fact she was one of North America’s most notable entertainers of the late 1800’s. 

Pauline Johnson was born on the Six Nations Reserve near the Grand River at Chiefswood, just southeast of Brantford, Ontario. Her father was of Mohawk...

Sugartime

This weeks song is a high calorie 1958 classic “Sugartime” made famous by Christine McGuire, Dorothy McGuire and Phyllis McGuire known in the music world as The McGuire Sisters. Published by Charlie Phillips and Odis Echols, the song apparently refers to the Jimmie Rogers tune...

The Log Driver's Waltz

The song of the week is a Canadian composition by the Brantford, Ontario born folksinger/songwriter Wade Hemsworth. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 2 and worked in Northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador as a wilderness surveyor. After moving to Montreal in 1952, he was employed by the Canadian National Railway until his retirement in 1977. It was in 1956 that he released his album “Folk Songs of the Canadian North Woods” using his life experience to draw from. Wade Hemsworth only wrote about twenty songs in his musical career, but many of them will go down in history including “The Log Driver’s Waltz”. 

A few of Wade Hemsworth’s songs became the musical background and subject matter for National Film Board Canada animated vignettes. In 1977 the Canadian government provided CBC with funding to create projects that promote cultural unity so $2 million dollars was given to the NFB for a series of vignettes that 80 people worked on for three years. The “Log Driver’s Waltz” piece was directed and animated by John Weldon, released in 1979 with the recording of the song by Kate and Anna McGarrigle and The Mountain City Four providing the soundtrack to the animation. It became the most popular vignette of all of them though I must say I also love “The Black Fly Song” vignette featuring another tune written by Wade Hemsworth. 

“The Log Driver’s Waltz” tells the story of women who say they would rather marry a man who was a log driver than a doctor or lawyer as they were no doubt better dancers since their occupation required them to be so strong and physically agile. The log drivers profession required them to walk or run on the logs as they floated down rivers.

The song is a charming tune and the tempo is perfect for chair dancing movements. It has a wonderful flow and waltz tempo that will provide musical variety to your class and inspire your choreography. 

A visual snippet from the NFB vignette 

A visual snippet from the NFB vignette 

 

 

Pickin' A Chicken

I’ve chosen a song this week that was a 1956 hit in South Africa, the country my husband was born and raised in.  It was sung by a woman who was originally from Hungary, moved to Britain and then moved with her family to South Africa as part of the Boswell Circus when World War Two was looming.

In 1949 she returned to Britain to work with well known bandleader Geraldo   at his request. In 1952 after her departure from Geraldo’s big band, she launched her solo career and made her mark with a tune called..

My Old Man's a Dustman

Since today is the national holiday Victoria Day here in Canada I thought it would make perfect sense to choose a song from an artist who greatly impacted the music scene in England, Lonnie Donegan,  This well known skiffle artist recorded my song of the week “My Old Man’s a Dustman”, a song he co-wrote with Beverly Thorn and Peter Buchanon. Skiffle music in England was a type of folk music popular in the 1950 England which had blues and jazzinfluences. This style of music was played by...

You Make Me Feel So Young

One of my favourite go to songs for my senior/older adult chair fitness classes is this wonderful 1946 tune “You Make Me Feel So Young” composed by Joseph Myrow and lyricist Mack Gordon. It was originally written, as many songs were in the forties, for a film. It was first heard in Three Little Girls in Blue. Later in 1951 it was chosen to be the title song for the movie As Young As You Feel in which Marilyn Monroe...

On The Street Where You Live

We often associate spring with the time of year when new romance blooms. I have chosen the song “On The Street Where You Live” written by Frederick Loewe and Alan Jay Lerner from the 1956 Broadway musical "My Fair Lady” that so beautifully and simply describes the feeling of being in love. It was sung by the character Freddie Eynsford-Hill, the possible love threat for Professor Henry Higgins, when he became smitten with ...

La Bamba

In honour of Cinco de Mayo, I’ve chosen this very popular Spanish song from Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is not an indepenence day celebration as some believe, it was the day of an unlikely victory by the Mexican army when they defeated French forces at The Battle of Pueblo in 1862.

"La Bamba", originally a folkloric Mexican wedding dance from the Veracruz area was adapted by the one and only California born singer/songwriter/guitarist...

Blue Skies

This week the timeless classic “Blue Skies” was written by the brilliant composer Irving Berlin in 1926. The beautiful and simple lyrics he wrote were quite likely a reflection of the world’s post war optimism. 

The first live performance of this song was in a play called Betsy. If what I read is true, the woman who performed “Blue Skies” on opening night, Belle Baker, received 24 encores to sing the song. By the 24th time she apparently forgot some of the words so.........