Let’s Take A Moment Day 315

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 country music’s most iconic & revered singers celebrated a milestone birthday last week. Dolly Parton, who was born in 1946 in TN, turned 75 years young on January 19. She has been a staple in the genre for over 50 years in a career that has seen her cross over into pop & mainstream music, acting, business ventures including her own amusement park, Dollywood, writing books and countless charity endeavors. But it is her songs that she is probably most beloved for including her tale of confronting the other woman in “Jolene” to the famous theme song to the movie “9 To 5” to Whitney Houston’s incomparable rendition of “I Will Always Love You” to Parton’s work with fellow artists Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and so many others. Another of her most cherished songs, “Coat Of Many Colors” inspired TV movies based on Parton’s childhood. There is nothing this woman has not tried or done in the last five decades.

I have always thought of today’s song as the female take on Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night”. It is from her 1977 album Here You Come Again & tells the story of a woman basically looking for company on a lonely night-a hook up, if you will. For a woman in any genre of music to tackle this subject in 1977 was controversial, but for a country artist it was down right risky. But for Parton it was a powerful statement that not only worked, it became a #1 song for two weeks in May 1978 & was featured in the 1979 film, “Norma Rae”. It is also one of the best vocals of Parton’s career. Happy birthday, Dolly.

The amber sunset glow has died
My needs are very much alive
Is it ok if I stop by
It’s all wrong, but it’s all right
“.

Dolly circa 2010

Dolly Parton circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dolly Parton: “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” (1977, written by Dolly Parton).

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 314

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Happy 80th birthday to the man born Neil Leslie Diamond on January 24, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY. Singer, songwriter, poet, actor, legend. Whether you sang along with The Monkees version of “I’m A Believer” or the cover version from the “Shrek” soundtrack, or if you sang “Hello Again” during “The Jazz Singer” movie or during “Saving Silverman”, or if you joined in with the Fenway crowd to sing “Sweet Caroline” or laughed at the quarantine version of that song, there has not been a generation that was not touched by Diamond’s music in nearly 55 years. That is the stuff superstars are made of. As a native New Yorker myself, I could not be more proud to hail from the same state as one of the most prolific songwriters of the 20th century. Happy birthday, Neil Diamond.

I’ll weave his web of rhyme
Upon the summer night
We’ll leave this worldly time
On his winged flight
“.

Neil D

Neil Diamond circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Diamond: “Longfellow Serenade” (1974, written by Neil Diamond).

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 313

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

This month marked the 50th anniversary of Pearl, Janis Joplin’s final album released three months after her death in October 1970. This month also marked her 78th birth anniversary. Joplin, who was born January 19, 1943 in TX, was the second of three artists to die at the age of 27 of a heroin overdose in a one year period. Jimi Hendrix died first in September 1970, then Joplin & then Jim Morrison in July 1971 (No autopsy was ever performed on Morrison so that is the suspected cause of his death). For many who lived through the 1960’s, these three deaths marked the end of what that decade represented: peace, love, the surge of American music after the British Invasion years & the break-up of The Beatles.

For a woman to be in that arc when many of her female counterparts were pursuing folk sounds & singer/songwriter status, Joplin was in a class all by herself. She had just fully established herself as a solo performer after her lead singer role in Big Brother & The Holding Company rock band. While I was never a big fan of most of the music I heard from her-it was a little too raw and explosive for my taste-there is no denying her sound was all her own with its blues/jazz/rock interpretations.

As much as I worship one of the writers of today’s song-Kris Kristofferson-I must admit today’s version is my favorite. It hit the top spot in the country for two weeks in March 1971. And there are many reports that she is who Don McLean referenced in his hit “American Pie” in the lines: “I met a girl who sang the blues/And I asked her for some happy news/But she just smiled and turned away”. However, I could not find any confirmation of this in my online research. But it makes a great story, as do the lyrics of today’s song.

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana
I was playin’ soft while Bobby sang the blues
Windshield wipers slappin’ time
I was holdin’ Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew
“.

Janis Pearl

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Janis Joplin: “Me & Bobby McGee” (1971, written by Fred Foster and 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 312

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 singers in the 1980’s was Robert Palmer. He might have made pop music but it was so much more sophisticated than the average Top 40 fare thanks to his influences of soul, reggae and rock. He did not look like a typical artist you would see on MTV, either. He was smooth & sophisticated in his custom fitted suits and his debonair persona. Add to that the power & polish of his voice behind hits like “Looking For Clues” “Bad Case Of Loving You”, “Hyperactive”, “Addicted To Love” & “Simply Irresistible”. I really enjoyed his work with The Power Station, especially “Some Like It Hot”. Palmer was one of the few singers who did justice to Marvin Gaye with a cover medley of “Mercy Mercy Me/I Want You” from the 1990 album, Don’t Explain.

I was lucky enough to see Palmer in concert at Radio City Music Hall where he did not disappoint. He made every song sound incredible & look effortless. But I waited all night to hear today’s song from 1978. It was written by Andy Fraser, a songwriter & musician who began his career as the bass player & founding member of the band Free (“All Right Now” Day 182) when he was 15 years old. January 19th marked Palmer’s 72nd birth anniversary and every time I hear today’s song I relive that night at the Music Hall and feel incredibly lucky to have seen this man deliver an unbelievably fabulous show.

Someone’s looking for a lead
In his duty to a king or to a creed
Protecting what he feels is right
Fights against wrong with his life
“.

robert-palmer-front-row-photographs-com

Robert Palmer circa 1986. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Robert Palmer: “Every Kinda People” (1978, written by Andy Fraser).

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 311

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

I have eight 45’s from my childhood that belonged to my mother. I keep them for sentimental reasons only as they were worn out years ago. She played them thousands of times when I was a kid and to this day I remember every note & every lyric of each song. Sometimes my myopic view about them makes me forget that these songs may not have the same meaning to others as they do to me.

When I was in college I had a smart funny hopelessly romantic friend who did not always make the best choices when it came to boyfriends. One guy in particular took her for granted and constantly told her he needed room to roam which she gladly afforded him. This made me crazy. But eventually all my pleadings to my friend to reconsider the relationship fell on dead ears. So I turned to music to make my case. One night when she came home from a date with the creep, I played today’s song. She did not appreciate my efforts and a fight ensued but I was happy I got my point across.

The next morning we called a truce so we could eat breakfast in peace. During the meal she asked me how I chose the song I played for her. I explained it was one of my mom’s favorites and we sang it together hundreds of times. My friend stared at me in disbelief and asked me how a mother would encourage her young daughter to sing along to lyrics like “Girl you’re a hot blooded woman child & its warm where you’re touching me”. I did not understand my friend’s inference or her “First 48” vibe so I reminded her the song was from the 1970’s which was an innocent time. She remembered it as the decade of swingers & key parties.

Then she put the record on and we both listened to each and every word like it was the first time we heard it & we both learned more than we bargained for. But it was worth it to watch my friend get her self respect back when she kicked the loser she was dating out of her life, even if I had to sacrifice one of my most cherished childhood memories to help her do that. But I still love today’s song & I think my friend & my mother would be OK with that. It was written by Mac Davis, the country singer-songwriter who wrote “In The Ghetto”, Memories”, “Don’t Cry Daddy” & “A Little Less Conversation” for Elvis Presley. But Davis kept today’s song for himself and took it to #1 for three weeks in the fall of 1972. We lost this extremely talented man last fall but today we remember him on his 79th birth anniversary.

Girl you’re a hot-blooded woman child
And it’s warm where you’re touching me
But I can tell by your trembling smile
You’re seeing way too much in me
“.

Mac Davis

Mac Davis circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Mac Davis: “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me” (1972, written by Mac Davis).

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 310

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 another mid-week Motown break. I love so many of the singers from the Motown era, but there are two voices that literally stop me dead in my tracks from the very first note they sing. One is Marvin Gaye & the other is David Ruffin, who had one of the most powerful, angst-filled & remarkable baritone voices of any decade of music. Monday marked the 80th birth anniversary of the most identifiable lead singer behind The Temptations, one of the label’s most successful acts. Ruffin, who was born January 18, 1941 in Mississippi, brought some of the group’s biggest hits to life including “My Girl”, “I Could Never Love Another” (Day 44), “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” (Day 114), “(I Know) I’m Losing You” “Since I Lost My Baby” (Day 226). He influenced singers like Rod Stewart and Daryl Hall to his own Motown contemporaries like Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

Today’s song was his debut as a solo artist. It was originally intended for The Temptations to sing, but once Ruffin was dismissed from the group in 1968 he was able to take the song with him. This was because he was signed to the label as a solo performer as he joined the group after they were already signed to the label. The track showcases Ruffin’s range, intensity, torment and rawness all at once. It is a fabulous vocal and a great song which features something not common in most Motown songs-a superb piccolo flute arrangement.

I guess I loved you much too much.
How can I face tomorrow,
When yesterday is all I see?
I just don’t wanna face tomorrow, if you’re not sharing it with me.

David Ruffin

David Ruffin circa 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

David Ruffin: “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” (1969, written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua, James Roach and Pam Sawyer).

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 309

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 69th birthday of Lee Martin “Dewey” Bunnell, one third of the band America that defined the simple elegant beautifully constructed soft rock sound of the 1970’s. He was born on January 19, 1952 in England, his mother’s native country & his father’s place of deployment as a member of the U.S. Air Force. He met his two bandmates & fellow air force brats, Gerry Buckley and Dan Peek, when all three were in high school together overseas & formed the group in 1970. Their first record came out in 1971 & brought the band instant success. In 1973 they won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist & by 1974 they were working with esteemed record producer George Martin. Before the pandemic Bunnell was still making records & playing live shows with Buckley. Peek died in 2011 but left the band in 1977.

Bunnell is the writer & singer of several of the band’s hit songs including “Ventura Highway” (Day 61), “Tin Man”, “Sandman” and today’s song, their first hit, from the group’s self-titled debut album. The track went to #1 for three weeks in the spring of 1972. It was also nominated for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1973. I must admit while all three members of America were attractive, Bunnell was my favorite. Why? He had the longest hair & that was important currency in the 1970’s. And thankfully in that decade it was free of the ill advised man-bun.

The ocean is a desert with it’s life underground
And a perfect disguise above
Under the cities lies a heart made of ground
But the humans will give no love
“.

America

America circa 1972 (L-R): Dewey Bunnell, Gerry Beckley and Dan Peek. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

America: “A Horse With No Name” (1972, written by Dewey Bunnell).

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 308

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?

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

4951d9fdd4e4d3c05a376ab06815412c

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Many admirers of civil rights activist & Baptist minister Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., campaigned for years to make his birthday a federal holiday. King, who was born January 15, 1929 and led the fight for racial equality through nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work & leadership by example.

One of the people who worked for King’s recognition was Stevie Wonder. He wrote a song in 1980 about King’s birthday to help get the word out about the proposed holiday. When it finally happened in 1986, Wonder celebrated by hosting a concert in Washington, D.C. That city’s National Mall became home to a memorial dedicated to King in 2011. His words proved to be as valuable as his actions as their power continues to influence generations more than 50 years after his death. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars”. Today we remember Dr. King born 92 years ago with a song from one of his biggest supporters.

A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong, moving in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the city
“.

Stevie

Stevie Wonder circa 1986 after King’s birthday was declared a federal holiday. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Wonder: “Living For The City” (1973, written by Stevie Wonder).

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 307

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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.

Before today’s song, I want to wish the happiest of birthdays to a most spectacular “Golden Girl”, Betty White. This legend of radio, TV & film turns 99 today & has been entertaining the world for 82 years. I was lucky enough to meet her in May 2011 when she came to Barnes & Noble in Lake Grove, NY to sign copies of her book, “If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)“.

She was an absolute delight. I was in complete awe, told her meeting her was like meeting one of the Beatles which made her laugh. But when I told her she & the other three Golden Girls were like my surrogate mothers from their very first episode she smiled and squeezed my hand. It was one of the most cherished moments of my life. Keep rocking, Betty. You are loved, worshiped & revered. And an absolute riot!!!

Betty White

Betty White in May 2011 in Lake Grove, NY. (credit: Me!!!)

Music nightclubs have been around forever, but for the music I love, some of the best saw the 1960’s & 1970’s as the peak of their success. The Troubador in West Hollywood, CA introduced artists like Elton John, Tom Waits & James Taylor. The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA hosted Cream, The Grateful Dead & blues greats Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. At NYC’s Fillmore East Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and The Allman Brothers (who recorded their first live record there in 1971, At Fillmore East) appeared. Max’s Kansas City was a favorite hangout spot for John Lennon when he first moved to NYC, Deborah Harry was a waitress there and artists like The Velvet Underground & David Bowie performed there. Two other NYC clubs-The Bottom Line & CBGB’s hosted Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt & Van Morrison at the former and Patti Smith, Blondie, The Talking Heads and other punk/new wave artists at the latter.

Another West Hollywood club, The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, opened January 11, 1964 and quickly became one of the top music venues for up & coming artists. Two of my favorites-The Doors & Otis Redding-were featured there and it helped put them on their respective musical maps. For Redding especially this was a huge moment in his early career as it led to the recording of his live album, In Person at the Whisky a Go Go. It was recorded during his three shows in April 1966 but not released until October 1968, nearly a year after his death. A second release, Good to Me: Live at the Whisky a Go Go, Vol. 2, was released in 1993.

The shows at the club took place a year before Redding’s mainstream success thanks to his rousing performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of 1967. It included today’s song which was first recorded in 1932 but Redding’s version 34 years later took on a whole new style due in part to the producer, soul legend Isaac Hayes. Booker T & The M.G.’s played on the record & with Redding in person at the Monterey show. Redding’s complete five song set from the concert along with Jimi Hendrix’s performances were released on the 1970 album, Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Redding’s are included on a few of his posthumous releases plus you can also find the videos on YouTube. Today’s song was his last number of the night and it is nothing short of spectacular.

It’s not just sentimental no, no, no
She has her grief and care, yeah, yeah, yeah
But the soft words they are spoke so gentle, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear”.

Otis at Monterey

Otis Redding on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. Alan Jackson (back) was the drummer that night with the band Booker T & The MG’s. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “Try A Little Tenderness” (Live performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967. Originally recorded in 1966. Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Henry MacGregor “Harry” Woods).

I only own the rights to the Betty White picture, nothing else. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 306

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 still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life 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 January 13, 1973 Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert took place at the Rainbow Theater in London. The two all star shows were set up to put Clapton in front of an audience after an 18 month period in which he was in isolation fighting depression & drug addiction. The concerts were organized by Clapton’s friend Pete Townsend of The Who and featured two of Clapton’s Blind Faith bandmates Steve Winwood and Ric Grech, The Faces’ Ron Wood and Traffic’s Jim Capaldi and Rebop Kwaku Baah.

An album of the show’s highlights was released that fall and the whole experience put Clapton’s career back on track. He started working on a new record which was released a year later, 461 Ocean Boulevard. But a lot of the music he worked on was not used on the record and did not get released until 2013’s album, Give Me Strength: the ‘74/’75 studio Recordings. Today’s song was included on that record but it was also released on his 1988 boxed set “Crossroads“. It has been one of my favorite Clapton tracks since the first time I heard it.

Someone like you
Could make me change my ways
Someone like you
Could turn the nights into days
“.

Eric 1991

Eric Clapton circa 1991. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton: “Someone Like You” (1988, written by Arthur Louis).

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

Stay well.