Saturday, May 14, 2011

Steve Tyrell On The Difference Between "The Great American Songbook" and "Contemporary American Music".



Steve Tyrell has been a favorite of mine ever since he recorded his first "Standards" CD and I love everything he has recorded. In addition, he is a great supporter of the "Great American Songbook".  I recently came across a Blog called "Wentzville Patch" that published an article about Mr. Tyrell and his upcoming May 15 performance at The Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, Mo. I was surprised by Mr. Tyrell's answer to the following question: "In your opinion, what is the difference between the "Great American Songbook" and "Contemporary American Music" that includes the music of Motown, Paul Simon, James Taylor and Elton John?" Mr. Tyrell answered, "The biggest difference--and I'm not knocking them in any way, shape or form--"Fire and Rain" is as good as it gets.  But you don't want to hear anybody else sing them".  "That's the difference", he said.  "I mean, I couldn't make an album of James Taylor songs, you know? Nobody would want to hear it.  Even The Beatles, you don't want to hear somebody singing The Beatles' songs.  But there's been a million versions of Cole Porter songs. Then hundreds of versions, thousands of versions, of the Gershwin songs, or Harold Arlen.  And they've been done in every genre you can think of.  And you can love 25 versions of the same song." I have heard other artists make similar statements and with all due respect to Mr. Tyrell and those other artists, I totally disagree with this opinion on the subject. Let's use The Beatles Songbook as an example.  I put together a songlist of Beatles' songs titled "The Beatles Minus The Beatles Plus Paul" that I think in many cases are at least as good or perhaps even better than the orginial Beatles' recording (My apologies to those Beatles' fans that can't deal with this possibility). My playlist has two songs sung by Paul McCartney because no one does them better than Paul! Before you reject this possibility, head to iTunes and check out these versions of Beatles' songs!

Side note to Steve Tyrell: I am absolutely sure that you could do a great new CD of songs from James Taylor and Elton John adding the Tyrell touch and style to them.  "Steve Tyrell does James Taylor and Elton John". Please give this some consideration.  I would love to see how you would approach some of the wonderful songs these great performers have recorded. I would be happy to work on a draft playlist if you had any interest.


1. Help                                                              Little Texas

2. With A Little Help From My Friends              Joe Cocker

3. Yesterday                                                      Eva Cassidy

4. Nowhere Man                                               Randy Travis

5. Can't Buy Me Love                                       Shenandoah

6. Come Together                                            Delbert McClinton

7. Something                                                    Tanya Tucker

8.The Long And Winding Road                        Ray Charles and Count Basie

9. Eleanor Rigby                                               Liz Callaway

10. Oh! Darling                                                 Huey Lewis

11. Ticket To Ride                                            Joshua Rifkin

12. Baby I Am Amazed                                    Paul McCartney

13. Lady Madonna                                           Paul McCartney

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