My Music

with Don Griffith

Don retired recently from a career as a high school music teacher and now he’s The Bassment’s artistic director. Maybe you’ll run into him there, but if not you can hear him perform favourites Thursday evenings at Bon Temp Café. /Gregory Beatty

“Body And Soul”
Billie Holiday / Body And Soul (1957)

While I wouldn’t say Billie Holiday is the best technical singer, something about her voice and style grabs me. “Body and Soul” is one of those tunes that’s kept countless musicians, including me, busy for many hours trying to master it.

“I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
Hank Williams / Single (1949)

Hank Williams was no stranger to hardship and sadness. He died at the tender age of 29 on New Year’s Day in the back seat of a car on his way to a gig. I could’ve easily picked any one of his numerous hits, but this one is our family’s favourite campfire tear-jerker.

“Funny How Time Slips Away”
Willie Nelson / Single (1962)

Willie Nelson is one of the greatest singer-songwriters in American country music — his appeal is worldwide and continues to grow. Even though this recording is 55 years old, the lyrics and Willie’s understated vocal delivery remain fresh. Lots of pain in this one.

“That Lucky Old Sun”
Ray Charles / Ingredients In A Recipe For Soul (1963)

Nobody can sing, cry, and play the piano at the same time better than Brother Ray. There’s a tricky piano lick at the end that has all the high black notes played in sequence by the back of the middle finger. Be careful trying it, you might hurt yourself.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”
Simon And Garfunkel / Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

My older sister turned me on to Simon and Garfunkel. This song written by Paul Simon and sung by Art Garfunkel has a killer piano part played by Wrecking Crew member Larry Knetchel.

“Such A Night”
Dr. John / The Last Waltz (1978)

This tune was first released on Dr. John’s 1973 album In the Right Place, but the version I learned was from The Band’s The Last Waltz. The Good Doctor strolls on stage to play four minutes of the funkiest feel-good New Orleans music ever. I’m still trying to figure out his solo piano cadenza at the end.