Let’s Take A Moment Day 219

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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 1978 SNL cast members John Belushi & Dan Aykroyd introduced us to their singing counterparts, The Blue Brothers, through the song, “Soul Man”. At one point in the tune, Belushi said “Play it, Steve”. That Steve is the innovative legendary guitarist Steve Cropper who has been gracing the world with his impeccable talent for six decades. Today marks his 79th birthday.

Born today in 1941 in Missouri, his family relocated to Memphis when he was nine. He started playing guitar at age 14 and the first band he was in went on to become a session band, The Mar-Keys. That brought Cropper to the attention of Stax Records owner Jim Stewart who hired Cropper as the label’s A&R man. Around the same time he co-founded his own group, Booker T & The MG’s with keyboard player Booker T. Jones, drummer Al Jackson Jr. and bassist Lewie Steinberg, who was eventually replaced by Donald “Duck” Dunn. That band was unique for two reasons: their trailblazing sounds which formed the foundation of southern soul music with elements of funk sounds and despite the fact that it was Memphis, Tennessee in 1962, the band was an equal balance of race with two white members and two black members.

Booker T & The MG’s became the house band at Stax and set the sound, tone & rhythm for the label, just as The Funk Brothers were doing for the Motown label in Detroit. Cropper not only played guitar for his group but started composing songs with many of the singers on Stax. He co-wrote “Knock On Wood”, “Raise Your Hand” & “634-5789” with Eddie Floyd, “In The Midnight Hour” (Day 131) with Wilson Pickett and “Mr. Pitiful”, “The Happy Song”, “Just One More Day” & “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” (Day 28) with Otis Redding. He & Cropper had become good friends and it was left to him to finish & produce “Dock Of The Bay” after Redding’s tragic death in 1967. It became a #1 hit in March 1968 for four consecutive weeks.

Cropper, who appeared in both Blues Brothers films (released in 1980 & 1998, respectively), is still actively playing & touring. He is considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time. He has contributed his signature sound or produced records by Ringo Starr, John Lennon, Levon Helm, Albert King, Roy Orbison, Rod Stewart, Leon Russell, Etta James. Art Garfunkel, Peter Frampton, Dolly Parton and John Mellencamp. He released 11 solo records between 1969-2018 and 13 albums with Booker T & The MG’s between 1962-1994, including today’s song which hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart & #1 on the R&B chart in 1962. It is considered one of the finest instrumentals ever recorded and I concur.

Booker T The MGs

Crop

Top: Booker T & The MG’s circa 1962 (L-R): Donald “Duck” Dunn, Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper & Al Jackson Jr. Bottom: Cropper & his beautiful talented hands circa 2000. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Booker T & The MG’s: “Green Onions” (1962, written by Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Lewie Steinberg & Al Jackson, Jr.).

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 218

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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 October of 1969 Rod Stewart joined a revamped version of The Small Faces when they became known simply as The Faces. The move united him with the band’s new guitarist & songwriter, Ron Wood, who met Stewart in 1964 then played with him in The Jeff Beck Group from 1967-1969. Stewart also had a solo record deal at the time which garnered him worldwide success in 1971 with the release of “Every Picture Tells A Story”. Wood worked with him on that record as well, with both men co-writing that album’s title track. The two also wrote today’s song together. They stayed with The Faces until 1975 when Wood left to join The Rolling Stones & Stewart continued his solo career. The rest of the group officially disbanded the same year as well. Both Wood & Stewart enjoy long successful careers which continue today.

For as hard rocking as today’s track is, it surprisingly came across unbelievably well in a rousing acoustic format when Stewart performed it on his 1993 MTV Unplugged show joined by Wood, who not only played guitar, but contributed backing vocals as well. I love nearly everything Stewart has ever done, but find the combination of his vocal & Wood’s slide guitar completely exhilarating on today’s track. It is a great classic rock tune that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was a top 20 hit in 1972.

So in the morning please don’t say you love me
‘Cause you know I’ll only kick you out the door
Yeah I’ll pay your cab fare home you can even use my best cologne
Just don’t be here in the morning when I wake up
“.

The Faces 1969

Rod Ron unplugged

Top: The Faces circa 1969 (L-R, top to bottom): Ronnie Lane (bass), Kenny Jones (drums), Ian McLagan (piano & keyboards), Rod Stewart (vocals) & Ron Wood (guitar). Bottom: Wood (L) and Stewart (R) at his 1993 MTV Unplugged show. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Faces: “Stay With Me” (1971, written by Rod Stewart and Ron Wood).

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 217

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

Today we celebrate the birthday of a brother. A Doobie Brother. Patrick Simmons was born 72 years ago today in 1948. He has been the only consistent member of the band since they first formed in California fifty years ago in 1970. He is a singer, songwriter & guitarist who wrote today’s song. It was the band’s first #1 record, hitting the top of the chart in March 1975. The song is from the band’s 1974 album which has one of the best titles for a record I ever heard, “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits”.

They performed today’s pick back in April in their “Live In Isolation” series and the ending chorus featured clips of fans singing along with them from home videos. It was a fabulous way to connect with their audience. So many of us are missing live music, one of the great casualties of this virus. But the Brothers made it happen. They hold a special place in my heart as theirs was the first concert I ever attended. I adore their music and remain completely in love with 1978’s “Minute By Minute” album to this day.

The Doobie Brothers are part of the Class of 2020 R&R HOF Inductees that did not get their official ceremony in May since it was cancelled because of the pandemic. But they should have been inducted decades ago. The band’s first album came out in 1971, making them eligible for the HOF in 1996. That is according to the Hall’s rule which makes an artist first eligible 25 years after the release of their debut album. Do the math, everyone. The Doobie Brothers have waited nearly twice that long.

The band’s page on the Hall’s website even acknowledges this (“They have been a mainstay in the rock & roll landscape for nearly five decades”) yet offers no apology nor explanation for the delay. But do not get me started on that place since John Coltrane, Bad Company, Warren Zevon, Pat Benatar, Jim Croce & Tina Turner (as a solo artist) are also still waiting to get in. But Abba was inducted 10 years ago. Completely ridiculous.

Simmons is being inducted with fellow Brothers Tom Johnston, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack (1946-2012), Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen (1948-2005), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Michael McDonald, who rejoined the group last year (yay!!!). The live ceremony has been revamped to “an exclusive special” to air on HBO & HBO MAX on November 7. In any case it will be a nice belated birthday gift for Simmons.

Well, I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same
“.

Doobies minute picture 1978

Top: The Doobie Brothers in 1978 (L-R, top to bottom): John Hartman, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudsen, Jeff Skunk” Baxter & Tiran Porter. Bottom: The Brothers circa 2020: Simmons, Tom Johnston, John McFee & McDonald. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Doobie-Brothers-Clay-Patrick-McBride

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

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 216

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

Today’s song was written by singer Rick Nelson about his rather unhappy experience at an oldies show that took place in October 1971. He was on the bill along with superstars Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley & others. Ozzie & Harriet’s heartthrob son, who was 31 years old at the time & stopped going by “Ricky” since his 21st birthday in 1961, understandably “didn’t look the same” as the lyrics go. He began his set by performing two of his older hits which the crowd enjoyed. But their mood changed during his country cover of The Rolling Stones hit, “Honky Tonk Women”. Suddenly the audience started to boo, offending Nelson so much he walked off the stage and refused to return, not even for the all-star finale.

Eventually another story emerged that the crowd’s reaction was not directed at him but rather at police officers attempting to remove an over inebriated man from the arena. But the experience rattled Nelson so much he wrote about it in what became his last top ten hit ever in 1972. I grew up singing this with my mother because she adored it and played the single to death. I knew all the lyrics to the track but would not come to understand them until years later as they were basically written in code. For instance, two of The Beatles attended the show (as fans, not performers) so Nelson mentioned them with the lines “Yoko brought a Walrus” (about John Lennon and his wife Yoko) and “Mr. Hughes hid in Dylan’s shoes wearing his disguise” (about George Harrison, as Hughes was supposedly Harrison’s alias and he was rumored to be making an album of all Bob Dylan songs at that time).

As for himself, Nelson wrote, “I said hello to Mary Lou, she belongs to me” in reference to his 1961 hit song “Hello Mary Lou” which he performed that night. The next line, “But when I sang a song about a honky tonk, it was time to leave” referred to him ending his set due to the crowd’s sour reaction to his cover song. By the last verse, Nelson mentioned one of the show headliners but not by his name (Berry),, but rather by using references to his most famous song: “…out stepped Johnny B. Goode, playing guitar like a-ringin’ a bell and lookin’ like he should“. The final line, “But if memories were all I sang, I’d rather drive a truck” was supposedly a reference to Elvis Presley who did just that while he was trying to get a record deal and not receiving too much recognition for either vocation. The song was Nelson’s final hit record. He died in 1985 in a plane crash at the very young age of 45, nine years before his mother.

In the years before MTV, many music artists appeared on variety shows to promote their songs. If they could not attend due to scheduling conflicts or tour dates, they would pre-tape their performance to be shown in place of a live one. I was fortunate to find the clip of Nelson singing today’s song with his band that I saw as a kid. It brought back unbelievably poignant memories. Music & YouTube are the closest things to time travel we will probably ever see in our lifetimes. 🙂

“But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well
You see, you can’t please everyone, so you got to please yourself”.

Ozzie-Nelson-Harriet-Hilliard-David-Ricky-The

Rick 1

Top: The Nelsons circa 1955 (L-R): Ozzie, Harriet, Ricky & David. Bottom: Rick Nelson in 1972 in a still from today’s video. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rick Nelson: “Garden Party” (1972, written by Rick Nelson).

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 215

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

On a typically hot humid Long Island summer day in July 1980, I was sitting in a wonderfully cool air conditioned movie theatre waiting with bated breath for a movie to start. There were only two other people in the multiplex that day-a young couple a few rows behind me. The film we were all there to see was the “No Nukes” documentary from the concerts held at Madison Square Garden in September 1979. I will not bore you with the details as to why I was not allowed to go to see one of the shows in person with three of my cousins (hint-they were boys and I was not, as my father sternly reminded me) but suffice it to say I had been waiting close to a year for this moment.

I sat through nearly every other performance and enjoyed many of them (Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers) but I was desperate to see the love of my life, Bruce Springsteen. Finally a picture of the marque with his name came on the screen and suddenly there he was backstage. First he was with Jackson Browne then with The E Street Band walking to the stage for their performance as the crowd cheered “Bruce!”. In the next scene the band was in front of the audience and then that beautiful man, Springsteen himself, walked up to the microphone. And the camera stayed on him and that microphone for the entire song. Swoon.

“This is new. It’s about my brother-in-law and sister”, he told the crowd. Then he started playing the harmonica until he introduced us to the characters in the first verse.

I come from down in the valley where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school when she was just seventeen
We’d drive out of this valley down to where the fields were green
“.

We’d go down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride
“.

The guy sitting with his girlfriend a couple of rows behind me shouted “turn it up!” and the volume increased as The Boss continued telling us the true story of the couple in the song.

Then I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers no wedding dress
“.

We went down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride…
“.

More consequences followed as the couples’ downward spiral continued.

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been no work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important, well mister they vanished right into the air
I just act like I don’t remember, Mary acts like she don’t care
“.

Then a memory of better days………and how quickly they ended.

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car, her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake and pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now them memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse
“.

That sends me down to the river, though I know the river is dry
Oh down to the river tonight
Down to the river, my baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride…
.

Tears were rolling down my face as the last line from the final verse just played over and over in my head.

Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse“.

What is worse than a dream that does not come true?

I don’t think anyone tells the stories of those haunted by broken dreams better than Springsteen does. The movie concert was the first time I ever saw him sing on a stage and I still remember every second of that performance. Today’s hauntingly beautiful song is the title track from his only double album-which was released 40 years ago today-October 17, 1980. I have written this before and will continue until I take my last breath: Bruce Springsteen’s music saved me like no one else’s. I owe him everything and “it’s a debt no honest man can pay”. Swoon.

Bruce No Nukes

The_River_(Bruce_Springsteen)_(Front_Cover)

Top: A movie still from the “No Nukes” concert film of Bruce Springsteen during his performance of “The River”. Bottom: “The River” album front cover. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: “The River” (From the 1980 film, “No Nukes”, as performed at the concert of the same name in September 1979. Written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 214

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

Throughout her career Linda Ronstadt sang many songs originally recorded by other artists like Roy Orbison’s “Blue Bayou”, Chuck Berry’s “Back In The USA” and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Ooo Baby Baby”, amongst others. But she also worked with unknown songwriters and helped establish their careers through her interpretations of their tunes. One of the composers she collaborated often with is Eric Kaz. He co-wrote several of her songs including “Love Has No Pride” (Day 15), “I Won’t Be Hangin Round”, “Sorrow Lives Here” & today’s track. His music has also been recorded by country superstars George Strait and Alison Krauss, former Eagle Randy Meisner and Bonnie Raitt, to name a few. Today’s song is the title track from Ronstadt’s 1989 album and I think it is one of her best.

Life isn’t easy
Love never lasts
You just carry on
And keep moving fast
“.

Eric Kaz

Linda

Top: Songwriter Eric Kaz. Bottom: Linda Ronstadt. Both pictures circa 1975. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt: “Cry Like A Rainstorm” (1989, written by Eric Kaz).

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 213

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

Today in 1958 Jackie Wilson recorded one of his signature songs. It was another tune co-written by future Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr who also co-wrote “Reet Petite”, “To Be Loved” & “We Have Love” for Wilson the year before. The proceeds earned from these songs helped Gordy start Tamla Records in 1959 which became the iconic Motown label in April 1960. The success of today’s tune also helped establish Wilson as one of the premier R&B singers not only the 1950’s & 1960’s but of all time.

He was born Jack Leroy Wilson Jr. in Detroit, Michigan in 1934. He began singing in church when he was a child which led to him joining a gospel group in his teens. He learned to box during a couple of stints in detention for bad behavior and competed in the local boxing circuit before he quit to marry at 17 because he was going to become a father. He joined several groups (including one with his cousin, future Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs) until Wilson signed a solo record deal with Decca Records subsidiary label, Brunswick, in 1957. “Reet Petite” was his first release which helped launch his career through its moderate success. Between his four octave tenor range and his dynamic dance moves on stage, Wilson earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement” and enjoyed over a decade of success throughout his career.

Unfortunately the rest of his story is not as happy. Wilson was besieged with problems in his personal life including getting shot by a girlfriend, several arrests and legal issues, financial losses & IRS liens due to an embezzling manager as well as multiple children from in & out of his two marriages. He also lost a son, Jackie Jr in 1970 when the 16 year old was shot to death. That sent Wilson into a depressive state which included drug use. In 1975 he suffered a heart attack onstage which left him in a semi-comatose state. He remained in a nursing home until his death from pneumonia in 1984. Wilson left a legacy on music, fans and the performers he influenced especially Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Michael Jackson among many others. My mother was a big fan of his & she and my dad were lucky enough to see Wilson perform around 1960 at the acclaimed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Swoon.

Just give me another chance for our romance
Come on and tell me that one day you’ll return
‘Cause, every day that you’ve been gone away
You know my heart does nothing but burn, crying
“.

Wilson and Elvis

Elvis Presley (L) with Jackie Wilson (R) circa 1959. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “Lonely Teardrops” (As performed on “American Bandstand” in March 1959. Originally released in 1958, written by Berry Gordy Jr, Gwen Gordy & Roquel “Billy” Davis as “Tyran Carlo”).

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 212

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

Today’s artist comes from a musical family. Rufus Wainwright’s parents are American songwriter, folk singer, entertainer & humorist Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer & songwriter Kate McGarrigle. She & her sister, Anna, formed the duo, The McGarrigle Sisters, in Montreal in the 1960’s & continued together until Kate’s death in 2010. Their songs have been covered by many artists including Marianne Faithful, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, most notably her cover of “Heart Like A Wheel” which was written by Anna.

Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, NY in 1973 and his sister, Martha Wainwright (also a singer) was born three years later, the same year his parents divorced. That sent his mother back to Montreal to raise her two children. Wainwright started playing piano at the age of six and by the age of 13 he & his sister were touring with their mother and aunt as “The McGarrigle Sisters and Family”. He developed a strong affinity for opera music around that time and went back to New York for high school. After that he moved back to Montreal where he began playing the club circuit. That is how he was discovered and by 1998 his self-titled debut album was released. However, he continues to perform with his family on various musical collaborations.

In a 2004 interview with the AP, Elton John called Wainwright “the greatest songwriter on the planet”. In addition to writing his own songs, he has also done outstanding covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (Day 161) for the “Shrek” soundtrack & The Beatles “Across The Universe” featured in the “I Am Sam” movie. My favorite song of Wainwright’s is from his third studio album, “Want One” and features an orchestra & choir arrangement. As lovely as the original track is, today’s interpretation only has a piano accompaniment to his elegant vocal. You will notice at the 2:07 mark of the video that he is playing that instrument with just one hand. There is something so exquisitely beautiful about a simple acoustic number. And this version is one gorgeous example of how less is more.

My phone’s on vibrate for you
But still I never ever feel from you
Pinocchio’s now a boy who wants to turn
Back into a toy
“.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rufus Wainwright: “Vibrate” (2003, written by Rufus Wainwright).

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 211

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

Four years ago today Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first time for an American citizen in 23 years. It put him in the same company with other great writers like Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner, amongst others. Dylan received this prodigious & well deserved honor “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

His road to this esteemed prize began in 1962 when he released his self titled debut album. Comparisons to one of his major influences, Woody Guthrie, were almost immediate. Dylan also drew inspiration from the blues, country music & rock & roll while he was growing up. He started playing guitar while he was in high school in Minnesota and his band covered songs by Elvis Presley & Little Richard. As much as Dylan enjoyed rock & roll music, he wanted his own music to show life in a more honest realistic way.

In 1960 he dropped out of college and soon relocated to New York City. It was there that he began performing but also where he would meet the man he called “the true voice of the American spirit”, Guthrie himself. Dylan started playing around Greenwich Village, getting great reviews for his work and playing on records by other folk singers like Carolyn Hester. It was through that collaboration that he met producer John Hammond who signed Dylan to Columbia Records. By 1962 he released his first record & legally changed his name from Robert Allen Zimmerman to Bob Dylan.

His debut album contained only two original songs but his sophomore release, “The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan” contained all his own material and the first of his many masterpieces, “Blowin’ In The Wind”. The record also included “I Shall Be Released”, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”. His third album from 1964, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” cemented Dylan’s genius & his voice as the one to articulate the social issues of the era.

He took the world from his acoustic folk music to his electric guitar sound & introduced his back-up group, The Band, along the way. He influenced everyone from John Lennon to Joni Mitchell to Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith to countless others. He has written some of the most iconic songs of the 1960’s & 1970’s and his profound words are what he is most revered and beloved for. The Nobel Prize is proof of what he has bestowed upon us all. To quote the many lines he is known for would take more than one blog post to list, so I will use one of my favorite verses from today’s song as an example of his immense talent. The phrase “national treasure” is overused sometimes, but if there is one person who defines the phrase perfectly, it is Bob Dylan.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now
“.

Dylan

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bob Dylan: “My Back Pages” (1964, written by Bob Dylan).

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 210

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?

Thoreau quote 2

(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.

On December 11, 1968 “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” concert was filmed as an all-star BBC television special to promote their album “Beggars Banquet”. The guests the group welcomed included fellow UK bands The Who & Jethro Tull, singer Marianne Faithful & blues musician Taj Mahal. But the really big draw in this sea of talent was a one time only performance by super group The Dirty Mac. The quartet consisted of John Lennon (from The Beatles) on rhythm guitar & vocals, Eric Clapton (from Cream) on lead guitar, Keith Richards (from The Rolling Stones) on bass & Mitch Mitchell (from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) on drums. They performed one song from The Beatles’ “White Album”. It was, without a doubt, an unbelievably magnificent performance.

That historic moment & the rest of the film did not make its premiere until October 12, 1996 (the album came out two days later). The reason for the nearly three decade delay? The Rolling Stones were unhappy with their playing & felt particularly upstaged by The Who. But that concert was the last time Brian Jones performed in public with the Stones, so for fans of the group that in and of itself makes the film worth its weight in gold. And the other acts are very good, too. But there is no denying the fact that the real star of the show & the movie is The Dirty Mac.

At the 1:03 mark of the video, Lennon, Clapton & Richards do a synchronized slide that is just too fabulous for words. And each individual performance is dazzling on its own: Lennon’s vocal is strong & raw, Clapton’s playing is incredible & the rhythm section holds it all together in their powerful hands. Plus, seeing three of them at the height of their fame while they were still so young (read: under 30) is like traveling back in time. Lennon looks exactly like his “White Album” 8×10 glossy, Clapton sans facial hair looks like a teenager you would pass in the hall of any high school in America (and sports a rarely seen onstage smile at the 2:11 mark followed by an up close glimpse of his unbelievably beautiful talented hands @ the 2:52 mark) while Richards is nearly unrecognizable in his pretty pre-drug using days. And an added bonus is that even though Lennon’s constant companion at the time, Yoko Ono, appeared on stage with the group, she quietly slipped into a black sack as “performance art” without uttering one of her infamous screams.

The concert was released 16 years ago this month on DVD and I consider it one of the most precious things I own. A “lost” film from this time period of music is an incredible gift, and one with with Lennon on stage is particularly magical. To see him with a group other than The Beatles performing one of their songs before they broke up is a reminder of how much he still had to give to the world with them and on his own in the last decade of his life.

My mother was of the sky
My father was of the earth
But I am of the universe
And you know what it’s worth”.

Dirty Mac

The Dirty Mac at their one time only performance in December 1968 (L-R): Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Mitch Mitchell & Keith Richards. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Dirty Mac: “Yer Blues” (As performed at “The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus” concert, December 1968. Written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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

Stay well.