Let’s Take A Moment Day 111

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?

Kerouac

(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.

I can never get enough of my favorite version of today’s song.  Not only is it sung by one of my top musical heroes, but he also put so much of himself into his interpretation while being respectful of the fact that he was singing our country’s National Anthem.  The list of people who have performed this song is too numerous to list, but only a handful of people have made it truly memorable.  I think today’s is simply outstanding.  I thought I would share it to close out the holiday weekend on a high soulful note.

marvin NBA game
  Marvin Gaye at the 1983 NBA All Star Game.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye:  “The Star Spangled Banner” (as performed on February 13, 1983 at the NBA All Star Game in California.  Written by Francis Scott Key (lyrics in 1914) and John Stafford Smith (music circa 1773).

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 110

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?

Kerouac

(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 2001, the country, especially New York, was still reeling from the tragedy of 9/11.  But baseball was back and at Game 2 of the World Series in Phoenix, AZ, our nation got a much needed boost in moral when Ray Charles came out to sing today’s song “to honor America”.  He was stunning as always, but so were all the signs of patriotism in the stands:  people holding their hands over their hearts, people waving American flags, people cheering each time Charles said the word “America”.  At our worst, we were at our best.  On this 4th of July 2020, may our country begin to find peace and patriotism again, and may we find comfort in the red, white and blue colors that unite us all.  Have a safe and blessed Independence Day, everyone.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Ray

         Ray Charles at Game 2 of the World Series in October 2001.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles:  “America The Beautiful” (2001, performed live at Game 2 of the World Series in Phoenix, AZ.  Written by Katharine Lee Bates).

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 109

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?

Kerouac

(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 is from my favorite Elvis Presley movie.  He made it in 1957, the year before he was drafted.  That year was also the last time he appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” censored for what was considered his use of “obscene” hip shakes.  After his incredible dance moves to today’s song in the movie, I am not surprised he never made it back to the Sullivan show.  Audiences saw all they needed to see in the film and just kept coming back for more.

Sad sack was sittin’ on a block of stone
Way over in the corner weepin’ all alone
The warden said, “hey, buddy, don’t you be no square
If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair.”

Elvis

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley:  “Jailhouse Rock” (1957, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

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 108

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?

Kerouac

(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.

Percy Sledge’s songs personified what music critic Dave Marsh called “emotional classics for romantics of all ages”.  Sledge’s biggest hit has been around for over 50 years and despite excellent covers by fans like Gregg Allman, The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings and Bette Midler in the movie “The Rose”, it is the original that people still want to hear.

When a man loves a woman
He can do her no wrong
He can never want
Some other girl.

Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge circa 1966 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Percy Sledge:  “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966, written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright).

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 107

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?

Kerouac

(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.

July 1.  We are officially at the halfway point of a year that will not stop shocking us.  Music continues to feed my soul and give me comfort, strength and a safe place to escape to when it is all too much to take in.  And what better piece of music to continue with than an anthem that suggests music as the way to save us all?

Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me 
How to dance real slow?”

Don McLean

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don McLean:  “American Pie” (1971, written by Don McLean).

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 106

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?

Kerouac

(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.

One of my favorite parts of the movie, “Ray”, was seeing him in the studio or on stage creating the iconic music he became known for.  Two scenes in particular were just mesmerizing to me.  The first one takes place in the studio during the recording of “Night Time Is The Right Time” and then turns into a live performance of the song.  But then when Charles tries to leave the stage the promoter tells him he has 20 minutes left to play per the contract.  Charles gets back behind the piano, gives the band & his singers a quick directive and then starts playing today’s song.  And it is nothing short of  improvisational heaven.  Right in front of our eyes, Charles wrote one of the greatest songs of his career.  My guess is that helped him earn his nickname, which was revealed on his 1961 album, “The Genius Sings the Blues”.  June 10th marked 16 years since we lost this great talent, and I feel incredibly blessed I got to witness his magic firsthand.

Ray Charles
 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles:  “What’d I Say Pts. 1 & 2” (1959, written by Ray Charles).

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 105

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?

Kerouac

(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.

Blue eyed soul is a weakness of mine, but given my love for all things Motown that is certainly not surprising.  There are several singers who do it exceedingly well and today’s song showcases one of the best.  Daryl Hall & John Oates have had a phenomenal run as one of the most successful duos in music history, and part of that success is due to Hall’s soulful voice.  There are so many of their songs that showcase his incredible gift, but my favorite is the song that first introduced them to audiences back in 1975.

Hall and Oates

Daryl Hall (L) and John Oates (R) at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Brooklyn, NY.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Hall & Oates:  “Sara Smile” ( 1975, written by Daryl Hall & John Oates).

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 104

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?

Kerouac

(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 September 1998 I watched the pilot episode of “Will & Grace”.  As much as I liked the two title characters, I fell head over heels in love with their friends, Jack & Karen, played by Sean Hayes and Megan Mullally.  Their chemistry was remarkable and their onscreen antics were like none I had ever seen before on network television.  For the eight years of the show’s original run, I followed Mullally on the talk show circuit where I discovered her beautiful singing voice.  She has put out a number of CD’s over the years and one included one of my favorite songs by Tom Waits (see Day 92).  I saw her perform it on “The Late Show With David Letterman” in 2002 and she was fabulous.  The last verse has some of the most beautiful lyrics I have ever heard:

“In a land there’s a town, and in that town there’s a house
And in that house there’s a woman
And in that woman there’s a heart I love
I’m gonna take it with me when I go.”

Megan

(Image courtesy of meganmullally.net.)

Megan Mullally:  “Take It With Me” (2002, written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan).

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 103

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?

Kerouac

(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.

The Beatles introduced us to the songwriting team of Lennon & McCartney while The Rolling Stones gave us Jagger & Richards. They have written so many great songs that rock over the last 56 years, but out of all of their ballads, this is my absolute favorite.

Childhood living is easy to do
The things you wanted I bought them for you
Graceless lady you know who I am
You know I can’t let you slide through my hands
Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away.”

Stones

The Rolling Stones circa 2010:  L-R:  Charlie Watts, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger & Ron Wood.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones:  “Wild Horses” (1971, 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 102

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?

Kerouac

(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.

If you ask most people who the greatest band of all time is. many will tell you The Beatles.  However, the question as to who comes in second would spark a debate by fans and music scholars alike since there are so many to consider.  But not for me.  Only one answer is clear.  It is The Funk Brothers.

They were a group of blues and jazz musicians who became the house band at the Motown label for 14 years, from 1959 until 1972.  Look at those dates again carefully because what they reveal is every song recorded for the label in the 1960’s had The Funk Brothers on it.  That is every song by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Marvelettes, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha & The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Mary Wells, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Junior Walker & The All Stars and every other act on the label during that time.  That is an absolutely staggering accomplishment.

The Funk Brothers story was told in the 2002 documentary, “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown”.  During the opening credits it is revealed they played on more number one hit records than Elvis, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys combined.   Even the word genius does not seem to adequately describe that achievement.  And the only reason why their streak ended is because Berry Gordy moved the label’s base of operation from Detroit to Los Angeles without including the band in the relocation.  And prior to that they were never given the proper recognition they deserved during Motown’s heyday.

The film identified 13 men as Funk Brothers.  Remember the Apostles were 13 when they were with Jesus.  Coincidence or the second coming?  You decide.  Outside of the Motown label they played on The Contours “Do You Love Me”, Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and on the song “Boom Boom” by one of the greatest blues singers to ever pick up a guitar, John Lee Hooker.

Of course, the songwriters and performers were needed to deliver the sound created by The Funk Brothers, but without their incredibly talented and intense consistent playing the songs would have never soared like they did.  For example, today’s song was written by the same two men who wrote Gaye’s smash “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” and I find it nothing short of hypnotic.  There is a lead guitar riff played quickly and sporadically throughout the song that just reaches inside me and leaves me gasping for air despite it being all around me.  It is just that intense.

A couple of my musical heroes list Motown/Funk Brothers songs as ones they cannot live without.  For Eric Clapton it is “I Was Made To Love Her” by Stevie Wonder.  For Bruce Springsteen it is two (because he is just that cool):  “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye & “Baby I Need Your Lovin'” by The Four Tops.  Covers of Motor City songs were made by The Beatles (“You Really Got A Hold On Me”) Rod Stewart (“I Know I’m Losing You”), The Rolling Stones (“Going To A Go-Go”) and countless others.  Motown’s influence, lead by the music of The Funk Brothers, is so far reaching it would be nearly impossible to comprehend.  But without it, the landscape of music would be devoid of soul.  I may bow at other altars of music, but I am brought to my knees in the church of the Brothers Funk.  Can I get an amen?

Stevie Wonder in the Motown studio with some of The Funk Brothers circa 1967 and the movie poster for 2002’s “Standing In The Shadows Of Motown” (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Marvin Gaye featuring the music of The Funk Brothers:  “That’s The Way Love Is” ( 1969, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong).

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

Stay well.