Music Monday: January 23, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

One of the newest members of The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame celebrated birthday #77 last week. Dolly Parton was born January 19, 1946 in Sevier County, Tennessee. She joined fellow country superstars Hank Williams and Johnny Cash who were also recognized for their contributions to music history without being defined by one genre.

The Rock Hall’s introduction of Parton-“In a career spanning six decades, she has recorded more than 50 studio albums and, by her own estimation, written nearly 3,000 songs”-limit her talents to musician, singer and songwriter. Those are certainly impressive roots but only the first part of her story. She is so much more than just three things. She is a wife (who has spent many years honoring her husband’s wish for privacy), an actress (9 to 5 and Steel Magnolias are my favorites), an author, a businesswoman, a humantitarian (her Imagination Library is such an incredible mission) plus she has her own resort & theme park, Dollywood. She seems to grow in popularity every day, hitting three billion worldwide streams in 2021, according to her website. That is a massive reach but not surprising for a woman who has written some incredible songs, including today’s.

It was released nearly 50 years ago in October 1973, yet it is still one of the defining songs of Parton’s career. And it shows us all that a throw down is not always the way to go when confronting someone trying to hurt you. Maybe, just maybe, an honest conversation reminding them that even if they can cause you pain, perhaps they will choose not to.

I had to have this talk with you
My happiness depends on you
And whatever you decide to do
Jolene”.

Dolly Parton circa 2019. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dolly Parton: “Jolene” (1973, written by Dolly Parton).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 16, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I just finished the Showtime mini-series, George & Tammy, based on the true story of star crossed lovers & country music royalty, George Jones & Tammy Wynette. From several reviews I have read online, both Michael Shannon & Jessica Chastain portrayed the title characters incredibly well. I am not familiar enough with the original artists to comment on that one way or the other. But I have loved Chastain since her performance as Celia Rae Foote in the 2011 film, The Help. I also thought the actress captured the spirit of the title character in The Eyes Of Tammy Faye beautifully in her Oscar winning turn as the former first lady of the PTL.

I was not familiar with any of Shannon’s work prior to this series, but was very impressed by both his performance as an actor and a singer in his turn as Jones. He and Wynette were not artists I listened to. Their brand of music was a little too country for me-the heavy twang guitar, the almost overwhelming background singers or the songs about the struggles to raise a family or to find love after a D-I-V-O-R-C-E just did not speak to me. I knew they were both successful artists but I had no idea about the extent of their fame until I saw this series.

Their relationship had been compared to the story in the film A Star Is Born because Wynette was on her way up when she met Jones, a singer she idolized but whose drinking put his once illustrious career on a down turn. At the start of the series an on-screen note named him “the undisputed king of country music” in the late 1960’s who was slipping due to his heavy drinking. But with his third wife-Wynette-he had several career resurges with their numerous hit duets along with prolific periods on his own. That included today’s song, which was a #1 country hit in 1974 and his 1980 smash, “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. In my reasearch on Jones during the series, I also learned that his first #1 country hit, “White Lightning” from 1959, was written by J.P. Richardson, better known as The Big Bopper.

Jones & Wynette’s story is quite sad without question and not just because they were divorced in 1975 after only six years of marriage. They both struggled with addiction issues, multiple marriages & neglected children. Yet it appears the great love and passion they had for each other continued even after their subsequent marriages. The series was based on the book written by their daughter, Georgette, so perhaps there is a bit of a slant here as her perspective is skewered as most children’s perceptions of their parents romantic bond usually is. Plus her own relationship with her father was spotty at best until Wynette passed away in 1998 and Jones became sober for good in 1999. He died in 2013.

I am very late to this party but I must admit I have been obsessed with today’s song since I heard it in Episode 4. Shannon & Chastain did their own vocals throughout the series and his performance, especially on this track, was fantastically on point. It is a sad love song and was a perfect fit for the scene it appeared in. George & Tammy had just spent their first night together after she moved to a new home on the heels of an especially violent bender Jones was on. She had also started divorce proceedings and George found the papers. That ended their reunion and he left her house despondent, heartbroken and angry.

After apparently drowning his sorrows with a few drinks, George ends up at the recording studio where members of his team watch him deliver the vocal for this track. Ironically it was co-written by the man who would become Tammy’s fifth husband, George Richey (played by the utterly delightful & versatile Steve Zahn in the miniseries). It tells the story of a broken marriage & the no longer happy house the couple once shared, now empty of their love but spilling over in heart-wrenching memories of their better days. Interspersed with George singing in the studio are clips of Tammy taking pills & then lying in a hospital bed after an alleged possibly accidental suicide attempt.

I prefer Shannon’s interpretation even if I had not heard it first simply because it does not include the heavy country elements of the original. But Jones’ version is music history and is a sad footnote & reminder of what he and Wynette had and lost. It is country heartache at its best.

I have nothing here to sell you
Just some things that I will tell you
Some things I know
Will chill you to the bone
“.

George and Rammy series

Tammy

album

Top: Showtime’s promotional photo for its latest mini-series, “George & Tammy”. Middle: The real Tammy Wynette (L) and George Jones (R) circa 1972. Bottom: Jones’ 1974 album, The Grand Tour. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

George Jones: “The Grand Tour” (1974, written by George Richey, Carmol Taylor and Norris Denton “Norro” Wilson).

Michael Shannon: “The Grand Tour” (2022, written by George Richey, Carmol Taylor and Norris Denton “Norro” Wilson).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: January 9, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

It is only the second week of the new year and already we have a triple play. And the first milestone is closest to my heart because this artist holds mine in both of his hands. Fifty years ago on January 5, 1973 Bruce Springsteen released his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The nine tracks from this record is how the musical legacy for The Boss began and it was quite stunning. Several of the songs have become well loved classics including “Blinded By The Light” (which was a #1 hit for Manfred Man’s Earth Band in February 1977), “For You”, “Growin’ Up” and today’s song, my favorite cut from the record. Fifty years later, this man is getting ready to tour again since the pandemic shut everything down. But he spent that time making new music, co-writing a book and hosting a couple of podcasts, amongst other things. And he continues to be the constant in my life.

Kenny Loggins was born January 7, 1948 making this birthday #75. I fell in love with him as a solo performer before discovering his impressive work with Jim Messina (from Buffalo Springfield & Poco). Today’s song is from their first album, Sittin’ In, which was released in 1971. Loggins was also co-writer of The Doobie Brothers hit, “What A Fool Believes” in addition to a lot of movie music from films like Caddyshack, Footloose & Top Gun. And in my favorite episode of “Dharma & Greg”, Loggins not only performed “Danny’s Song” but flexed his comedic muscles when he participated in the hilarious quirky one-of-a-kind wedding between Abby & Larry.

Yesterday marked the 88th birth anniversary for the man the world crowned The King. Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. Roughly two decades later, he changed the face of music, the landscape of pop culture, the word censorship in the television medium, the image of what a U.S soldier looked like and basically put the world on a whole new path. It was the one less traveled and it made all the difference. All hail The King.

Greetings 1

Greetings 2

Loggins_Messina_sittingin

Elvis

Top two pictures: The front and back covers, respectfully, of Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 debut album. Middle: Loggins & Messina’s 1971 debut album. Bottom: Elvis Presley from his 1968 televised comeback special. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “Spirit In The Night” (1973, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Loggins & Messina: “House At Pooh Corner” (1971, written by Kenny Loggins).

Elvis Presley: “Love Me Tender” (1956, written by George R. Poulton, Vera Matson, Elvis Presley & (uncredited) Ken Darby).

Stay safe.

Music Monday: January 2, 2023

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Bruce quote 2023

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Happy 2023, everyone. To paraphrase John Lennon, let’s hope this new year is a good one. I do not like to have expectations, but I have always thought of 23 as a good number. It has always been one of my favorites, it belonged to my most loved NY Islander (Bobby Nystrom), it was Jack Shephard’s number on “Lost” and he saved the island (if you have never seen the show you need to binge it NOW-it is unbelievably fabulous).

One of the best parts of a new year is the feeling of a clean slate in front of us. The chance to write or tell any story we wish within the parameters of what life has in store for us. Whatever new chapter we are starting to write for ourselves this year, it will start the same way as the others-with a blank page.

Found someone who can comfort me
But there are always exceptions
And she’s good at appearing sane
But I just want you to know
“.

Traffic

Traffic’s 1970 album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Traffic: “Empty Pages” (written by Jim Capaldi and Steve Winwood).

Stay safe and well.

Music Monday: December 26, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Well, we are at the end of another year. This time next week we will be in 2023. I want to thank you all for being here for the last 365 days. It means so much to me. I appreciate all of you. And I look forward to you joining me in the new year which I hope is a good one for all of us.

While celebrating all things Christmas for the last 25 days, I missed an important music birthday: Keith Richards turned 79 years young. The long time Rolling Stone guitarist & one half of the group’s prolific songwriting team was born December 16, 1943 in Dartford, Kent, England.

For 60 years The Stones have done it all, from being part of the British Invasion to defining classic rock to playing with their own musical heroes to reaching legendary status. And Richards has been one of the most recognizable faces behind the band with a sound that helped put The Stones in their rightful place in music & cultural history. I chose today’s song because I hope it is something will all get to be in 2023.

Happy birthday, Keith & Happy New Year to all of you.

“Always took candy from strangers
Didn’t wanna get me no trade
Never want to be like papa
Working for the boss every night and day
“.

Stones 2010

The Rolling Stones circa 2000 (L to R):  Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and Ron Wood.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones: “Happy” (1972, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards).

Stay safe and well.

Happy birthday, Bossman!

Today we wish the man known as “The Boss” the happiest of birthdays.

Bruce 1973A

Bruce Springsteen circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Born September 23, 1949, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen has been an integral part of the American music canvas for nearly 50 years. In the last one alone he has announced a new tour, sold his song catalog for an astonishing but incredibly well deserved 500 million dollars, released a film featuring his perfomances at the 1979 “No Nukes” concerts and was featured in a book based on his 2021 podcast with former president Barack Obama, Renegades: Born in the USA. He also became a grandfather. And that is just one 12 month stretch in Springsteen’s extraordinary life & career.

I am thankful every day for this man, his art, his poetry, his music, his heart, his soul and his mind. It has been an extraordinary privledge and experience to be part of his audience all these years, to be part of his narrative and to cheer for him at a show. He has won almost every award and honor there is yet he continues to give us everything he has during his marathon concerts. As Bono so eloquently put it when he inducted Springsteen into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, “He’s not the Boss-he works for us!”

Happy birthday, Bruce. Thanks for every note and every word. Cent’anni.

Now promise me baby you won’t let them find us
Hold me in your arms, let’s let our love blind us
Cover me, shut the door and cover me
I’m looking for a lover who will come on in and cover me
“.

img_1326

Bruce Springsteen performing at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA on 09/14/2016 (yes, I was there!!!). (Image courtesy of me!)

Bruce Springsteen: “Cover Me” (1980, written by Bruce Springsteen).

Stay safe & well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 25

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 25

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate. May you find comfort in the peace, joy & meaning of the season.

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
“.

dolly

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dolly Parton: “Joy To The World” (1990, Traditional).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 24

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 24

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The first volume of A Very Special Christmas came out in 1987. The proceeds went to the Special Olympics but it also introduced the world to obscure performances of holiday songs by some of music’s most notable performers. Thanks to the third volume in the series released in 1997, I discovered today’s track. It felt like 1988 all over again, which was the first time I heard the singer’s beautiful delicate contralto voice on her deeply moving debut single, “Fast Car”. Her take on today’s song is just as poignant and evocative, perfect for this Christmas Eve day. .

A thrill of hope
The weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks
A new and glorious morn’
“.

Tracy

Tracy Chapman circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tracy Chapman: “O Holy Night” (1997, written by Adolphe Charles Adam and John Sullivan Dwight).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 23

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

silver bells

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I try to present a variety of songs & artists every year on this countdown to make it as fun and diverse as possible. However, I do struggle each December to pick just one song by Elvis Presley. He recorded so many holiday tunes and each one was absolutely glorious. This year was a little easier because this track was one of the first seasonal songs I heard on the radio this year. As soon as I did I realized it was the feature for 2021. All hail The King, especially at Christmas time.

City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air there’s a
Feeling of Christmas”.

Elvis

Santa meets Elvis circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Silver Bells” (1971, written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 22

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 22

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song is one of the defining songs of the Christmas season. No matter how many other renditions there are of this tune, none can compare to this man’s most popular interpretation recorded in 1961. What would this holiday even look like without Nat King Cole?

And so I’m offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it’s been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you
“.

NatKingCole

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nat King Cole: “The Christmas Song” (1961, written by Mel Torme and Robert Wells).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!