Let’s Take A Moment Day 158

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?

Bruce quote

(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 the fall of 1991, I saw a fabulous movie that celebrated one of my favorite genres of music:  The Commitments.  It is a story of a hastily put together soul music band in Dublin, Ireland as an easy get rich & famous scheme by music lover/band manager, Jimmy Rabbitte, played by Robert Arkins.  The lead singer of the group was played by Andrew Strong, who was only 17 when the movie was being filmed.  What a voice.  The movie was directed by Alan Parker, who died last month at the age of 76 (Some of his other films include “Fame”, Midnight Express” and “Pink Floyd:  The Wall”).

The most well known member of the cast is probably guitarist, vocalist & songwriter Glen Hansard.  He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008 with musician, vocalist & songwriter Marketa Irglova for the achingly beautiful song, “Falling Slowly“, from the 2007 movie, “Once”.  Later Hansard appeared on the show “Parenthood” when he used The Luncheonette recording studio where Adam & Crosby worked (Wow, I really miss that show.  Sigh.).

I knew all the songs The Commitments performed except one.  But it was beautiful with a fantastic horn arrangement and I immediately became obsessed.  So I bought the soundtrack CD and set out to learn everything I could about it.  Since this was 1991 that meant going to that year’s internet, the public library.  The songwriters, Dan Penn and Chip Moman, also wrote Aretha Franklin’s hit, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” together, and individually they wrote songs for other artists as well.

The first singer to record the song was James Carr, who was rejected by Stax Records but eventually was signed to a small Memphis, TN label, Goldwax Records, in 1964.  They believed he could be their Otis Redding.  He was a great singer, but to me, he sounded more like Percy Sledge.  But Goldwax shut down in 1969 after only five years in business, so Carr tried recording at a couple of other labels.  However, he suffered from bipolar disease and it frequently affected his ability to perform live, so his career languished throughout the 1970’s & 1980’s.  He did enjoy a career resurgence in 1991 after he released a new album when Goldwax was revived.  Carr performed at local musical festivals for the next couple of years before releasing another album in 1994.  But soon after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died from the disease in 2001 at the very young age of 58.

He did, however, leave us his fantastic recording of today’s song.  It was eventually covered by Sledge himself and other superstars like Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello and the group, The Flying Burrito Brothers.  How I never heard this song before the movie is a complete mystery to me, but I am unbelievably thankful for finding it and its original incredible singer.

At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Living in darkness to hide our wrong
You and me, at the dark end of the street“.

James Carr
   (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Carr:  “The Dark End of the Street” (1967, written by Dan Penn and Chip Moman).

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

Stay well.

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