Let’s Take A Moment Day 247

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?

kurt v

(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 another mid-week Motown break. The most well known songwriting team to come out of the Motor City was undoubtedly Holland-Dozier-Holland. Just behind them, however, was the prolific duo of Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. They wrote some of my favorite Marvin Gaye songs (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Day 17), “That’s The Way Love Is” (Day 102), “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”), a few of my favorite Temptations’ songs (“I Wish It would Rain”, “I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You) (Day 44)”, “I Can’t Get Next to You”), Edwin Starr’s “War” and many others.

Strong was one of the first singers signed to Motown (when it was originally known as Tamla Records) and was the voice behind its first hit, 1959’s “Money (That’s What I Want)”. He was originally credited as a writer as well (along with label founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford) but Gordy claimed that was an error and eventually removed Strong’s name. But he clearly displayed a talent for songwriting as his & Whitfield’s catalog clearly proves, including today’s song. It may not be as well known as Gaye’s hits and the group behind it may not be as famous as The Temptations (who recorded this tune first) but it is still one fabulous track. And it offers some of the best advice I think anyone has ever received from a song.

Smiling faces show no traces
Of the evil that lurks within (can you dig it?)
Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes
They don’t tell the truth”.

Strong vWhitfield

undisputed truth

Top: Barrett Strong (seated) and Norman Whitfield circa 1972. Bottom: The Undisputed Truth (L-R): Billie Rae Calvin, Joe “Pep” Harris ( lead singer) and Brenda Joyce Evans circa 1971. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Undisputed Truth: “Smiling Faces Sometimes” (1971, written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield).

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 246

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?

kurt v

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

On November 16, 1974 John Lennon hit the top of the charts with the first single from his “Walls and Bridges” album. The song was released in September of that year and Lennon’s friend, Elton John, provided harmony vocals & the piano track for the record. It was his way of thanking Lennon for playing guitar & singing back-up vocals on John’s cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” recorded several months earlier (Lennon was credited as “Dr. Winston O’Boogie” on the cover to keep legal issues from the record company at bay).

John was so sure Lennon’s tune would become a #1 record John bet Lennon that if that happened, he would have to join John onstage at his concert at Madison Square Garden on November 28. Lennon agreed because he did not think the song would do that well. But between the upbeat get-you-up-on-your-feet tempo, Lennon’s incredible vocal with sing-along lyrics, John’s boogie- woogie playing style & a horn section that just owned every note they played, this song could not miss.

Once the song made it to the top of the chart, John reminded Lennon of the bet & he was almost physically sick the night of the show because he was terrified to take the stage. It had been a while since he played in a venue that large (The Beatles had stopped touring in 1966 & Lennon was playing smaller places as a solo artist). But all went well & the two men performed three songs together: the “Lucy” cover, today’s pick and a Beatles tune, “I Saw Her Standing There” (the live recording was released as the B-side to John’s single, “Philadelphia Freedom” in February 1975).

The original track featured Paul McCartney on lead vocal, so when Lennon introduced it to the audience, he said it was a song from “an old estranged fiance of mine, old Paul”. And the ecstatic crowd, who cut short their Thanksgiving feast to be at the John concert that night, heard the number one song in the country by Lennon as well as two Beatles songs. If there was ever a concert I wish I could have attended, this is one of them. And one of my favorite rock & roll stories ever.

I also believe this was the last time Lennon was ever on stage, or at least in an arena of this size. He was separated from his wife, Yoko Ono, for about 18 months at the time of this show. John invited her to the concert where she and Lennon reunited backstage afterwards. She gave birth to their son, Sean Ono Lennon, on Lennon’s birthday the next year. John was named Sean’s godfather.and Lennon became a stay at home dad to his son until he went back into the studio five years later to record “Double Fantasy”. It was released 40 years ago today on November 17, 1980.

In March 1982, John recorded “Empty Garden” in honor of Lennon. John performed the song in Madison Square Garden in August of that year and invited his godson and his mother on stage in tribute to Lennon.

Whatever gets you through your life
It’s all right, it’s all right
Do it wrong, or do it right
It’s all right, it’s all right

Don’t need a watch to waste your time
Oh no, oh no
“.

elton john john lennon

Elton & John

Elton and John backstage

Elton Sean circa 1982

Top two pictures: Elton John (left) and John Lennon (R) on stage at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 1974. Third picture: Lennon backstage with John & his band the same night (Lennon is third from left, standing with John to his right). Last picture (L_R): Sean Ono Lennon (age 6) & Yoko Ono join John on stage at his concert at the Garden in August 1982 after he performed his tribute song to Lennon, “Empty Garden”, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

John Lennon featuring Elton John: “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” (1974, written by John Lennon).

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 245

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?

kurt v

(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 November 1971 Al Green released the song that catapulted him to fame. It hit the #1 spot for one week in February 1972, became one of his signature tunes & is arguably one of the greatest R&B songs ever recorded. He performed it frequently on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and blew the roof off of The Ed Sullivan Theatre each time. Tina Turner covered this track in 1983 and as good as it was, even her version could not compare to the original. Whether it is on a stage or at the pulpit of his Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, The Reverend Green always delivers a stirring performance.

Why, somebody, why people break-up
Oh, turn around and make-up
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me
“.

Al green circa 1972

Al Green circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

A Green: “Let’s Stay Together” (1971, written by Al Green, Al Jackson, Jr, & Willie Mitchell).

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 244

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?

kurt v

(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’s a song to help you through those days when even the shadows refuse to stick around.

I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves
“.

Cream 1967

Cream circa 1967 (L-R): Jack Bruce (bass), Ginger Baker (drums & percussion) & Eric Clapton (guitars). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cream: “White Room” (1968, written by Peter Brown (lyrics) and Jack Bruce (music).

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 243

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?

kurt v

(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.

Sixty years ago today “The Genius”, Ray Charles, had the #1 record in the country. It may have only held the top spot for one week but it went on to become one of his signature tunes. In 1979 it became the official song for the state of Georgia where he was born in 1930, the same year this track was written & originally released. Once he got his hands on a song, Charles made it his own.

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
“.

Ray

Ray Charles at the Georgia State Capital in 1979 for the official ceremony naming his version of “Georgia On My Mind” as the official state song. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “Georgia On My Mind” (1960, music written by Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael & lyrics written by Stuart Gorrell).

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 242

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?

kurt v

(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.

About a year ago I added another song to my daily play list. It was a song I fell in love with as a child but all of a sudden there was a new version of it to adore. It was done by the original artist, Rod Stewart, who began showing us another side of his diverse range & talent in 2002 with the first of his five “Great American Songbook” albums. I really enjoy those songs but what he created last year is just spectacular.

He chose several of his classic songs with the original vocals and combined them with new arrangements by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. I know this is not the first time a rock artist has done this, but there is something extra special about Stewart’s record. I think it is the contrast of his impassioned raspy voice against the elegance of the music that I find absolutely stunning. He also re-recorded two songs in the studio with the orchestra and one is today’s track. I still love the original version but I think this rendition is beautiful beyond words.

I suppose I could collect my books and get on back to school
Or steal my daddy’s cue and make a living out of playing pool
Or find myself a rock and roll band that needs a helping hand
Oh, Maggie, I wished I’d never seen your face
“.

Rod

Rod Stewart in the studio with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rod Stewart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: “Maggie May” (2019, written by Martin Quittenton and Rod Stewart).

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 241

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?

kurt v

(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 am somewhat amazed that it took me until the eight month mark to get to a song from one of my favorite albums, “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young. Of course I have played a few songs by him already but none from that work of art. So I will do that today, in honor of his 75th birthday.

Born Nov 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Young dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. He met Stephen Stills in Ontario in the mid 1960’s when he was there on tour with one of his early bands. Then Young met fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell when both were writing two of their finest tracks. Legend has it this is when Young wrote “Sugar Mountain” about his fleeting youth (supposedly he wrote it in 1964 on his 19th birthday). Mitchell has said she wrote “The Circle Game” (Day 55). to help him cope with his growing pains. Around this time a local band, The Guess Who, recorded Young’s song, “Flying on the Ground is Wrong”. He spent the rest of his time in Canada as a solo artist and as a member of The Mynah Birds with future R&B singer, Rick James.

Young relocated to Los Angeles around 1966 and met up with Stills in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1960’s. The two formed Buffalo Springfield & had a major hit with 1966’s “For What It’s Worth”, a song credited as one of the first ones to combine folk rock with country rock. But the group had several problems going on behind the music and Young felt confined within a group setting so when the band split up he returned to his solo work. He released his self-titled album in early 1969 followed by “Every One Knows This Is Nowhere” later that year. Both records focused on Young’s electric sound with the second featuring “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand”.

It was around this time that Young again reunited with Stills in his new band which was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They performed at Woodstock but Young missed one set & refused to be filmed for the other, allegedly because he was in the US illegally (he did not get his green card until 1970). When the band was recording “Deja Vu”, Stills & Young fought frequently over the sound of the band. But they managed to put aside those differences long enough to record his song “Ohio” in May 1970 in response to the Kent State shootings. After that Young left the band for good and went on to his enormously successful solo career.

It began in earnest 50 years ago with 1970’s “After The Gold Rush” which was highlighted by his move to a more acoustic driven sound. Thank goodness for that shift because it continued with the next release, 1972’s “Harvest” album which contains his masterpiece, “Heart Of Gold” (Day 24). But “Gold Rush” has several gems including “Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, “I Believe In You”, the title track and today’s pick. It is another of Young’s heartbreakingly beautiful ballads that just takes hold of me and will not let go. They make my heart hurt for all the right reasons, especially today’s song.

I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream
Someone should call him and see
If he can come out
Trying to lose the down that he’s found
“.

Neil 1970

Neil Young Opening Night Reception For "Special Deluxe" Art Exhibition

Top:  Neil Young circa 1970.  Bottom:  Young circa 2015.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Neil Young: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (1970, written by Neil Young).

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 240

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?

Veterans 1

(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.

Sending heartfelt prayers of gratitude, love, peace, health, safety and prosperity to those currently serving and to those who already honored our country. Home of the free because of you, the brave. Thank you all.

Today’s song is by Elvis Presley. In an Army uniform. Singing to a baby. You’re welcome.

It takes a big man to wear big boots
That’s your daddy’s claim to fame
They know your daddy big boots
Wherever soldiers are
“.

Elvis

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Big Boots” (1960, written by Sherman Edwards and Sid Wayne).

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 239

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau quote 2

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Day 203 commemorated the release date of Elton John’s opus, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”. Well, on this day in 1973, the album hit #1 in America and held that spot for eight consecutive weeks. The year ended with his record in the top spot and, coincidently, so did 1974. That year came to a close with “Elton John’s Great Hits” in the #1 album spot.

The title track of “Brick Road” was released before the album and peaked at #2 on the Hot 100 chart. But even if it was never a hit, I would still consider it one of John’s best songs of all time. It was always one of the high points at every concert of his I ever attended. And it was featured in one of the most riveting scenes from John’s 2019 biopic, “Rocketman”.

You know you can’t hold me forever
I didn’t sign up with you
I’m not a present for your friends to open
This boy’s too young to be singing the blues
“.

Elton circa 1977

Elton John circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (1973, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin).

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 238

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Thoreau quote 2

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

November 7th marked the 77th birthday for Roberta Joan Anderson, known to the world as Joni Mitchell. Born in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada in 1943 she is one of music’s premier female singer/songwriters. She was part of the Laurel Canyon music scene of the late 1960’s and, along with Linda Ronstadt, one of only two solo female performers in that group of artists.

Mitchell’s debut album was released in 1968 but it was the follow-up, 1969’s “Clouds”, that established her place in music history. She wrote her own songs, played her own music and produced most of it. Her music went from folk to jazz to rock and more because her sound and compositions were so diverse they could not be put into one box. Along the way she went back to explore her first love and another talent, painting.

Many of her songs have been covered by several other artists, but today’s track has been covered over 100 times in the last five decades. Mitchell herself recorded a new version in 2000 complete with a full orchestra that was featured in the 2003 film, “Love Actually”. No matter how many times I hear this song, I remain in complete awe of its beauty, its elegance, its message and the fact that she was only 21 when she wrote such profound and insightful lyrics.

But now old friends they’re acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day
“.

Joni 2

Joni 3

Top: Joni Mitchell circa 1972. Bottom: Mitchell circa 2010. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Joni Mitchell: “Both Sides Now” (1969, written by Joni Mitchell).

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

Stay well.