Question: There's a scene in A Love Song for Bobby Long in which Bobby (John Travolta) sings a song to his friends about Barbara Allen. Do you know what song it is, and whether it was written for the movie or it really is an old folk song?
Answer: It's a traditional Scottish folk ballad called "Barbara Allen," and it's so old that references to it have been found as far back as the 17th century, when the diarist Samuel Pepys alluded to it in his journals. In America it's associated with the Ozark Mountain region and exists — like all folk songs — in many variations. It's also been recorded repeatedly, notably by Joan Baez.
Question: I heard recently on the radio that folk-music promoter Harold Leventhal had passed away, and as the announcer described his life and career, I got to thinking about one of my all-time favorite movies, A Mighty Wind. To what extent, if any, is the dead folk-music promoter in the film based on Mr. Leventhal? The similarities seemed apparent to me.Answer: And to others, believe me. Harold Leventhal is widely but unofficially acknowledged as the inspiration for A Mighty Wind's (2003) Irv Steinbloom; Levanthal's clients were a who's who of celebrated folk singers, including Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez,
Question: I have been trying for a long time to get a song that was played in an episode of Magnum P.I. The song is played when Thomas is looking at his brother's name on the Vietnam Memorial. I believe it was sung by Joe Cocker. Could you please find out the title of this wonderful song for me?
Answer: And help maintain the Hawaiian flavor set by this column's lead question? But of course.
You're thinking of the Season 6 episode "Going Home," in which Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) goes home to Virginia for his grandfather's funeral. The song in question is Cocker's version of the Bob Dylan song "I Shall Be Released," which has been covered by such musical notables as Joan Baez, the Box Tops, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Hollies, Rick Nelson, Aaron Neville, Peter, Paul &a