Let’s Take A Moment Day 106

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

One of my favorite parts of the movie, “Ray”, was seeing him in the studio or on stage creating the iconic music he became known for.  Two scenes in particular were just mesmerizing to me.  The first one takes place in the studio during the recording of “Night Time Is The Right Time” and then turns into a live performance of the song.  But then when Charles tries to leave the stage the promoter tells him he has 20 minutes left to play per the contract.  Charles gets back behind the piano, gives the band & his singers a quick directive and then starts playing today’s song.  And it is nothing short of  improvisational heaven.  Right in front of our eyes, Charles wrote one of the greatest songs of his career.  My guess is that helped him earn his nickname, which was revealed on his 1961 album, “The Genius Sings the Blues”.  June 10th marked 16 years since we lost this great talent, and I feel incredibly blessed I got to witness his magic firsthand.

Ray Charles
 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles:  “What’d I Say Pts. 1 & 2” (1959, written by Ray Charles).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 105

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Blue eyed soul is a weakness of mine, but given my love for all things Motown that is certainly not surprising.  There are several singers who do it exceedingly well and today’s song showcases one of the best.  Daryl Hall & John Oates have had a phenomenal run as one of the most successful duos in music history, and part of that success is due to Hall’s soulful voice.  There are so many of their songs that showcase his incredible gift, but my favorite is the song that first introduced them to audiences back in 1975.

Hall and Oates

Daryl Hall (L) and John Oates (R) at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn, NY.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Hall & Oates:  “Sara Smile” ( 1975, written by Daryl Hall & John Oates).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 104

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

In September 1998 I watched the pilot episode of “Will & Grace”.  As much as I liked the two title characters, I fell head over heels in love with their friends, Jack & Karen, played by Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.  Their chemistry was remarkable and their onscreen antics were like none I had ever seen before on network television.  For the eight years of the show’s original run, I followed Mullally on the talk show circuit where I discovered her beautiful singing voice.  She has put out a number of CD’s over the years and one included one of my favorite songs by Tom Waits (see Day 92).  I saw her perform it on “The Late Show With David Letterman” in 2002 and she was fabulous.  The last verse has some of the most beautiful lyrics I have ever heard:

“In a land there’s a town, and in that town there’s a house
And in that house there’s a woman
And in that woman there’s a heart I love
I’m gonna take it with me when I go.”

Megan

(Image courtesy of meganmullally.net.)

Megan Mullally:  “Take It With Me” (2002, written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 103

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

The Beatles introduced us to the songwriting team of Lennon & McCartney while The Rolling Stones gave us Jagger & Richards. They have written so many great songs that rock over the last 56 years, but out of all of their ballads, this is my absolute favorite.

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away.”

Stones

The Rolling Stones circa 2010:  L-R:  Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger & Ron Wood.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones:  “Wild Horses” (1971, written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 102

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

If you ask most people who the greatest band of all time is. many will tell you The Beatles.  However, the question as to who comes in second would spark a debate by fans and music scholars alike since there are so many to consider.  But not for me.  Only one answer is clear.  It is The Funk Brothers.

They were a group of blues and jazz musicians who became the house band at the Motown label for 14 years, from 1959 until 1972.  Look at those dates again carefully because what they reveal is every song recorded for the label in the 1960’s had The Funk Brothers on it.  That is every song by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Marvelettes, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Junior Walker & The All Stars and every other act on the label during that time.  That is an absolutely staggering accomplishment.

The Funk Brothers story was told in the 2002 documentary, “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown”.  During the opening credits it is revealed they played on more number one hit records than Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys combined.   Even the word genius does not seem to adequately describe that achievement.  And the only reason why their streak ended is because Berry Gordy moved the label’s base of operation from Detroit to Los Angeles without including the band in the relocation.  And prior to that they were never given the proper recognition they deserved during Motown’s heyday.

The film identified 13 men as Funk Brothers.  Remember the Apostles were 13 when they were with Jesus.  Coincidence or the second coming?  You decide.  Outside of the Motown label they played on The Contours “Do You Love Me”, Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and on the song “Boom Boom” by one of the greatest blues singers to ever pick up a guitar, John Lee Hooker.

Of course, the songwriters and performers were needed to deliver the sound created by The Funk Brothers, but without their incredibly talented and intense consistent playing the songs would have never soared like they did.  For example, today’s track was written by the same two men who wrote Gaye’s smash “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and I find it nothing short of hypnotic.  There is a lead guitar riff played quickly and sporadically throughout the song that just reaches inside of me and leaves me gasping for air despite it being all around me.  It is just that intense.

A couple of my musical heroes list Motown/Funk Brothers songs as ones they cannot live without.  For Eric Clapton it is “I Was Made To Love Her” by Stevie Wonder.  For Bruce Springsteen it is two (because he is just that cool):  “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye & “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” by The Four Tops.  Covers of Motor City songs were made by The Beatles (“You Really Got A Hold On Me”) Rod Stewart (“I Know I’m Losing You”), The Rolling Stones (“Going To A Go-Go”) and countless others.  Motown’s influence, lead by the music of The Funk Brothers, is so far reaching it would be nearly impossible to comprehend.  But without it, the landscape of music would be devoid of soul.  I may bow at other altars of music, but I am brought to my knees in the church of the Brothers Funk.  Can I get an amen?

Stevie Wonder in the Motown studio with some of The Funk Brothers circa 1967 and the movie poster for 2002’s “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown” (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Marvin Gaye featuring the music of The Funk Brothers:  “That’s The Way Love Is” ( 1969, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 101

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Another one of my great loves, Kris Kristofferson, celebrated his 84th birthday on June 22.  He has been in some of my favorite movies including “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, “Welcome Home”, “Payback” and “Christmas In Connecticut”.  But he will always be one of my musical heroes for writing such poetic and eloquent songs about love, either the loss of it or the great joy of having it.  A lot of artists have covered the many songs in his remarkable and varied catalog, but to me there is nothing better than his raspy expressive voice singing his own works of art.

Wakin’ in the mornin’ to the feelin’ of her fingers on my skin
Wipin’ out the traces of the people and the places that I’ve been
Teachin’ me that yesterday was somethin’ that I’d never thought of trying’
Talkin’ of tomorrow and the money love and time we had to spend
Lovin’ her was easier than anything I’ll ever do again.

Keis

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Kris Kristofferson:  “Loving Her Was Easier (Than Anything I’ll Ever Do Again)” (1971, written by Kris Kristofferson).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 100

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Day 100.  It needs to be commemorated with a special performance of a phenomenal song.  That leads me to my favorite Beatle, George Harrison.  The year was 1968 and he had just written a staggering song that he felt needed the artistry of another guitarist to complete.  But there was a lot of resistance from the other Beatles as they were not known to have other famous musicians join them for recordings.  George persevered and in his infinite wisdom he asked his friend, Eric Clapton, to play lead guitar for today’s song.  That made him one of only two musicians to work with the Beatles in the studio (the other was Billy Preston who joined the band for the recording of the “Let It Be” album and is featured prominently on the song “Get Back”).  Clapton was a superstar in his own right thanks to the enormous popularity he achieved with the band, Cream.  Even today he is considered to be one of the best guitar players in the world. George’s song became a huge success and finally put him on a level of songwriting with Lennon & McCartney.

Thirty three years later, in November 2001, my favorite Beatle died of cancer at the young age of 58.  A year later, The Concert For George was held in England under the guidance of Harrison’s widow, Olivia and his son, Dhani, also a guitarist.  The musical director for the show was Clapton.  The show featured the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney & Ringo Starr, the surviving members of Harrison’s other band, The Traveling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne & Tom Petty), Preston and several other musicians who had worked with Harrison on his solo records.

All the music performed was written by Harrison and his son played with the band.  Today’s song features Clapton & McCartney sharing vocals with Clapton playing lead guitar just like he did in 1968.  He also used one of Harrison’s guitars in another sweet tribute to his friend.  I love Clapton and he did an astounding job with this song, giving it everything he has as he always does.  But for me, the best part of the performance is at the end when Harrison’s son pats Clapton on the back for a job well done.  Their exchange is really touching, which is exactly the emotion great music should evoke.

So, George Harrison my favorite Beatle, today’s song is in your honor.  Thank you for the great music, the lessons in spirituality and for helping me discover Clapton through your invitation for him to play on this song all those years ago.  You are loved and missed every single day.

Eric and Dhani
Eric Clapton (L) and George Harrison’s son, Dhani, at The Concert For George on November 29, 2002.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton & Paul McCartney:  “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” from The Concert For George, 2002 (written by George Harrison in 1968),

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 99

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

When Marty Balin co founded Jefferson Airplane with Paul Kantner in the early 1960’s, Balin was a principal songwriter and lead singer.  By the 1970’s when the band re-emerged as Jefferson Starship, Balin had hit his stride singing several of their hits including “With Your Love”, “Runaway”, “Count On Me” and today’s song which I consider to be a masterpiece.  He wrote an open love letter to the woman he was involved with at the time, and what emerged was one beautiful piece of music clocking in at just under seven minutes long.  Balin’s vocal, the arrangement and the musicianship of all the band members including a resplendent sax solo before the last chorus helped this song become the group’s biggest hit of the decade.   And Balin’s poetry made me swoon:

Love is a magic word 
Few ever find in a lifetime
But from that very first look in your eyes
I knew you and I had but one heart.”

Jefferson Starship

Jefferson Starship circa 1975:  Front L-R:  Pete Sears, Marty Balin & Craig Chaquico.  Back:  David Freiberg, Paul Kantner, Grace Slick & John Barbata.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jefferson Starship:  “Miracles” (1975, written by Marty Balin).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 98

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

My mother was a big fan of Jackie Wilson’s.  I knew most of his hits like “Lonely Teardrops”, “Reet Petite” and “Higher & Higher” from her 45’s, but since most of his albums were out of print by the time I started collecting records, I was not able to find them.  Over the years I have tried antiques stores, old record stores and online catalogs, but the one album of his I wanted more than any other, 1960’s “Jackie Sings The Blues” has eluded me for years.  But now thanks to streaming services and YouTube, I can listen to music I cannot find anywhere else.  Today’s song is my favorite cut from that album.

Jackie Wilson

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson:  “Nothing But The Blues” (1960, written by Lena Agree).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 97

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Kerouac

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

My dad liked today’s song because it reminded him of his father.  Now I like it for the same reason.  Happy Father’s Day to all.

Mike Mechanics

Mike & The Mechanics circa 1988 L-R:  Paul Carrack (lead vocals), Adrian Lee (keyboards), Mike Rutherford (guartarist), Peter Van Hooke (drummer) and Paul Young (bass).  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Mike & The Mechanics:  “The Living Years” (1988, written by Mike Rutherford and B.A. Robertson).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.