Let’s Take A Moment Day 290

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?

New Year's Eve

(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.

Here we are-New Year’s Eve of 2020. How far away this day seemed over nine months ago when we were plunged into quarantine here in the United States after watching what the pandemic did to Italy and other countries first. And the year just went downhill from there. But as much as I do welcome a new one after the bad one we had, I cannot help but feel thankful for the gifts of 2020. For all the craziness we faced, we also received the chance to slow down. A year ago life for many of us was more or less a to do list. Once all the ballast of everyday life was gone, we were given the gift of just being present. Life became about the basics: home, family, staying safe, having enough food & supplies to stay comfortable & helping each other, especially those who were the most vulnerable. We also revisited our ideas about what work was essential and what was not, who the real everyday heroes truly are and how much we all owe them.

Of course it has not been easy and many things we took for granted will hopefully be cherished once they resume, And even though we finally arrived at this last day, things will not suddenly be OK once the clock strikes midnight. We are still dealing with a lot and that will not change in a split second. But it will be a new day in a new month of a new year. In year’s prior that always made me feel invigorated with a clean slate ahead of me. I do not expect that to change this year. New days, new seasons, new opportunities, new moments. That is what I look forward to the most every year starting on this night.

So that is why I chose today’s song by Eric Clapton. It was recorded in 1970 but not released until his 1988 boxed set collection, “Crossroads”. He has done a few different versions of this J.J. Cale song over the years but today’s is absolutely the best one. Clapton singing & playing guitar is perfection, but add horns to the mix and even God calls it heaven.

We’re gonna cause talk and suspicion
We’re gonna give an exhibition
We’re gonna find out what it is all about
After midnight, we’re gonna let it all hang down
“.

Eric_Clapton_Album_Cover

Eric Clapton’s 1970 Self Titled Debut Album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton: “After Midnight” (1970, written by J.J. Cale).

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 289

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Time for our last mid-week Motown break of 2020. On December 6, 1965 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles released today’s song from the album of the same name. It was the first record after the group changed their name to signify Robinson as the headliner. The Rolling Stones released their own version in 1982, and because it is by The Stones it is a fabulous rendition with a smoking sax arrangement. But I truly love the original because a Motown record always means greatness times two-from the artist & The Funk Brothers.

It doesn’t matter where you are
A go-go can’t be far
You’ll see the people from your block
And don’t be shocked
If you see your favorite star
“.

Miraclesgoingtoagogo

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: “Going To A Go-Go” (1965, written by Pete Moore, William “Smokey” Robinson, Bobby Rogers and Marvin Tarplin).

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 288

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?

Shakespeare music

(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 marks the 77th birth anniversary for the bassist for The Band, Rick Danko. Born on December 29, 1943 in Canada, he was playing banjo by the time he was in first grade. By the time he was around 13, he was in a band. In 1960 he was playing in The Hawks with Ronnie Hawkins where he would eventually meet the other four members of his next group, who went on to play for Bob Dylan before going out on their own as The Band. Today’s song is from their debut album, “Music From Big Pink”.

I love this track for a few reasons. It was highlighted in a couple of exceptional episodes in two of my favorite shows. In November 1991 it was used in “The Wonder Years” (season five episode 6, “The Triangle”) and in 2003 Aaron Neville’s version was featured in “Without A Trace” (season one episode 13, “Hang On To Me”). The song was written by Bob Dylan who let The Band record it first. But mostly I love it because Richard Manuel’s lead vocal is absolutely heartbreaking & the harmony vocals by Danko & drummer Levon Helm are superb. Both men also provided the group with one of the best rhythm sections in rock & roll.

They say every man needs protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so high above this wall
“.

The Band 1972

The Band circa 1972 (L-R): Garth Brooks, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band: “I Shall Be Released” (1968, 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 287

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

At some point in the 1970’s Mick Jagger was reported to say that The Rolling Stones did not want to be singing “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” when they were 40 years old. Well, this year Jagger turned 77 and so did his bandmate Keith Richards, who hit that number on December 18. Clearly they changed their minds.

The band has been together for nearly 60 years. They have been through a few personnel changes since 1962 but the core of the group-Jagger, Richards & drummer Charlie Watts-has been together since 1962. Jagger & Richards are the songwriting team that has carried them through almost six decades. And while front man Jagger’s on-stage persona & numerous affairs have kept him in the spotlight all these years, there is no denying the legend Richards is. His musicianship aside, he has survived drug abuse, the loss of a child (a son died from SIDS in 1976), the death of an original bandmate (Brian Jones), and a close friend (Gram Parsons) plus numerous other life happenings.

As for his guitar work, he has been called “the creator of “rock’s greatest single body of riffs” by Rolling Stone magazine. Think about The Stones songs and it is easy to see why: “Gimme Shelter” (Day 4), “Satisfaction”, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, “Start Me Up” and today’s song are just a few examples of his remarkable gift. Of course Jagger is the singer, but on a few occasions Richards has taken the lead and he does not disappoint. That is another reason why I love today’s song so much.

Well I never kept a dollar past sunset
Always burned a hole in my pants
Never made a school mama happy
Never blew a second chance, oh no
“.

Stones 1968

Stones 2015

Top: The Rolling Stones circa 1964 (L-R): Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts (seated). Bottom: The Stones circa 2015 (L-R): Watts, Richards, Jagger and Ron Wood. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Rolling Stones: “Happy” (1972, 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 286

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Time to catch-up on a rock & roll birthday.. Paul Rodgers, the mighty passionate & unbelievably gifted voice behind two incredible 1970’s bands turned 71 years old on December 17. Born in 1949, he started his career in music as a bass player but took over lead vocals when that bandmate wanted to concentrate more on his guitar work. Rodgers helped form Free in 1968 and two years later their colossal hit, “All Right Now”, earned the band international acclaim. The song was written by the group’s bassist Andy Fraser and Rodgers, who went on to write many songs & sing lead for another band co-founded, Bad Company, as well.

He was with them from 1974-1982 after which time they disbanded. The group reformed later in the decade but without Rodgers who was making solo records and part of a new group. The Firm. He rejoined Bad Company again around 2000 and remains with them today, but he continued with his solo work and joined forces for a while with Queen. I absolutely adore his voice and consider him one of the best rock singers of all time. I am truly stunned by how sorely underrated he is. He & Bad Company are one of the biggest snubs by The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, currently waiting 21 years to earn their rightful place in history. Regardless, Rodgers’ voice and the music he has made for over 50 years is some of the best I have ever heard, especially today’s song.

“Rebel souls
Deserters we are called
Chose a gun
And threw away the sun
“.

Bad Co 1974

Bad Company

Top: Bad Company circa 1974 (L-R): Boz Burrell, Simon Kirke, Paul Rodgers & Mick Ralphs. Bottom: Bad Company circa 2015 (L-R): Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke, Paul Rodgers & Todd Ronning. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bad Company: “Bad Company” (1974, written by Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers).

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 285

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

Oscar Levant said, “There’s a fine line between genius and insanity”. In music history one person who crossed that line was Phil Spector, who turns 80 years old today. Born December 26, 1940 in the Bronx, NY, he was highly regarded as the industry’s first auteur and the inventor of one of the defining sounds of the 1960’s. But there is no denying his story has a sad tragic ending. In 2009 he was convicted of the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson, which carried a 19 year sentence that will most likely end his life in jail (he will not be eligible for parole until 2024). In 2014 he lost his voice due to an illness that paralyzed his vocal chords and he is also reportedly suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

During Spector’s two trials (the first one ended in a mistrial because of a hung jury) his lawyers argued that his mental decline began in 1974 after he was badly injured in a car crash where he was thrown through the windshield. The serious head injuries he suffered required several hours of surgery with over 700 stitches to his face and the back of his head. He lost his father to suicide when Spector was only nine plus there were reports he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder at some point in his life. However, there was no mention of any type of drug regimen for that illness. None of this justifies the actions he allegedly took which led to Clarkson’s death, but I think anyone who draws a firearm to get someone’s attention as he was reported to have done on more than one occasion is not someone who is of sound mind. For more insight into Spector’s world throughout the trials, I recommend the 2013 HBO movie about him starring Al Pacino. He is riveting in the title role as Spector.

But there is also no denying how powerful his reach was in music. In 1960 he became the youngest person (to that date) to own a record label when he co-founded Philles Records with Lester Sill. Spector was primarily known as a record producer but he was also a musician and songwriter of hits like “To Know Him Is To Love Him”, “Walking In The Rain”, “Chapel Of Love”, “Spanish Harlem” and “Then He Kissed Me”, amongst others. He created the “Wall Of Sound” behind such groups as The Teddy Bears, The Ronettes and The Righteous Brothers. And it was Spector who took the songs from the Let It Be sessions and gave us the album of the same name. Whether you appreciated his work on that record or not, without him who knows how long it would have taken for that music to be released. And that was the album that made me fall head over heels in love with The Fab Four, so I cannot help but be grateful to Spector in that respect.

He also worked a lot with John Lennon (as co-producer of several of his solo albums including 1971’s Imagine) & George Harrison (as co-producer of All Things Must Pass and The Concert For Bangladesh, which won Spector his only Grammy Award for Album Of The Year in 1972). He also worked with The Ramones and had fans throughout the industry including Bruce Springsteen, who has often said he worked on his Born To Run album as if he were trying to recreate Spector’s signature sound. He is amongst only a handful of producers to have a number one record in three consecutive decades (1950s, 1960s and 1970s). That is an incredible feat.

Spector’s touch & influence on my musical choices is so clear that without putting any conscience effort into it, I have already shared six songs connected to him. One was produced by him (“Let It Be” Day 26), another was co-produced by him (George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”, Day 252) & four were written/co-written by Spector: Darlene Love’s “River Deep, Mountain High” (Day 77) & “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Day 278), The Ronettes “Be My Baby (Day 147) and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” (Day 187).

I chose today’s track not only because Spector co-produced it but because it is from my favorite Beatle, George Harrison. And I also love the message of this song that whatever is happening, whatever we are going through, it is only temporary. This, too, shall pass.

Now the darkness only stays the nighttime
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good
At arriving at the right time
It’s not always gonna be this gray
“.

George Phil 1964

George and Phil 1971

Top: George Harrison (L) and Phil Spector (R) circa 1964. Bottom: Harrison (L) and Spector (R) in the studio in 1971. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

George Harrison: “All Things Must Pass” (1970, written by George Harrison).

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 284

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?

Peace On Earth

(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.

Merry Christmas to all. I usually reserve “Joy To The World” for today, and despite the fact that it is indeed a joyous holiday, for this year I thought a song about peace would serve us all better. For our minds & bodies, for our hearts and spirits, for our country & our world, may “peace on earth, good will towards men” begin on this Christmas Day and await us all in the new year.

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can
“.

Bowie Crosby

David Bowie (L) and Bing Crosby (R) in 1977. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bing Crosby & David Bowie: “Peace On Earth/Little Drummer Boy” (Recorded live during “Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas” TV special in 1977. “The Little Drummer Boy” written by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941. “Peace On Earth” written by Ian Fraser, Larry Grossman and Alan Kohan in 1977).

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 283

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?

Dec 24

(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.

It goes without saying that Aretha Franklin could sing anything, yet she waited over 45 years in to her career to release an album of seasonal music with 2008’s “This Christmas Aretha”. The record included several spiritual tracks that were reflective of Franklin’s gospel roots. Between her incomparable voice, her interpretation of the lyrics and the absolutely gorgeous arrangements, the entire album is simply stunning. But since today is Christmas Eve, I think this song is the best choice to celebrate this glorious day of the year.

‘Round yon virgin Mother and Child
Holy infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace
“.

Aretha

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha Franklin: “Silent Night” (2008, written by Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr).

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 282

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?

Dec 23

(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.

Elvis Presley is The King, but even he had his own definition of cool. You know what, rather who, that was? Dean Martin. Perhaps that is how he earned the name “The King Of Cool”. His charm, charisma, swoon worthy handsome face and gregarious personality helped him earn this title but as a fellow Italian I can’t help but think his ancestry had a lot to do with it as well. His suave, dreamy persona came through in every song he sang, including today’s holiday pick.

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa’s big scene
And above all
This bustle you’ll hear
“.

Dean

Dean Martin circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dean Martin: “Silver Bells” (1966, written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans).

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 281

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?

Dec 22

(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 has the distinction of being featured at the end of two Christmas classics: “It’s A Wonderful Life” & “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. And today’s singer’s rendition is one of the best out there. He may be known as the premier voice of the season for his iconic version of “The Christmas Song” , but nearly every holiday song Nat King Cole recorded in his lifetime is a treasure. He was one of the earliest entertainers who used his talents as a singer, songwriter & musician and turned it into a brand. His TV show was one of the first of its kind in entertainment and he was the first black artist to host his own series. His sound infused jazz & pop while his appeal as an artist helped him cross over into film & Broadway as well. All of that made him one of the most successful, original, charismatic artists of all time. And a staple every Christmas season.

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
“.

Nat_King_Cole

Nat King Cole circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nat King Cole: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1960, based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

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

Stay well.