Let’s Take A Moment Day 338

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(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. Not every artist on the label became a household name, but that does not mean their impact was not substantial. One of the best examples of that was a group led by saxophonist and vocalist Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. who was known professionally as Junior Walker. He & his band, The All Stars, had hits like “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)”, “(I’m A) Road Runner” & today’s song which Walker also wrote.

It is an absolute powerhouse of a song, combining the soul of The Funk Brothers with a touch of jazz and rhythm & blues to give it even more of a kick. Walker’s intense vocal & interpretation of the lyrics, not to mention his fiery sax solos elevate the tune from a song to a three minute block party. It was a top ten hit on the singles chart & a #1 hit on the R&B charts for four non-consecutive weeks in 1965.

By 1979 the group disbanded but reformed a year later. When they were not touring, Walker did some session work for other artists. When I discovered the band Foreigner I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he played saxophone for them, most notably on their 1981 hit “Urgent”.

Put on your high heel shoes
I said we’re goin’ down here to listen to ’em play the blues
We’re gonna dig potatoes
We’re gonna pick tomatoes
“.

jrwalker

Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr., known professionally as Junior Walker circa 1964. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Junior Walker & The All Stars: “Shotgun” (1965, written by Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. a/k/a Junior Walker).  

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 291

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?

2021

(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.

Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks for spending the last one with me. Glad to have you along for the new one ahead. I wish you all love, peace, health, happiness, grace, safety & great music in 2021.

It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good
“.

Nina Simone

Nina Simone’s 1965 album features today’s song. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nina Simone: “Feeling Good” (1965, written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 289

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

Shakespeare music

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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

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

Miraclesgoingtoagogo

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 268

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?

CB 1

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” turns 55 this year. (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.

Another holiday show anniversary is upon us. This one turns 55 this year & remains a beloved seasonal & cultural phenomenon to this day. On December 9, 1965 “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was introduced to the world. The Peanuts taught us all the true meaning of Christmas, friendship, being part of a community and how far a little love can go. It is my absolute favorite Christmas special of all time. The characters Charles M. Schulz created had real feelings, real thoughts, real fears and real problems, making them no different than the kids watching their shows or reading their comic strip each Sunday. Showing me & kids around the world we had a place to feel safe was an invaluable gift and the reason why Schulz will always be one of my heroes.

Home is not a place for me, it is a feeling. And today’s song overwhelms me with it like no other. It is comfort defined.

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there
“.

Peanuts Skating

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Vince Guaraldi Trio: “Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, music by Vince Guaraldi, lyrics by Lee Mendelson).

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 226

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.

Time for a long overdue mid-week Motown break. Today’s song has been covered as a gorgeous ballad by both Luther Vandross (in 1982) and Michael McDonald (in 2003). The uptempo 1965 original by The Temptations features music not only by The Funk Brothers but by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well. It was co-written by Smokey Robinson, features the incomparable David Ruffin on lead vocal with an assist from bass singer Melvin Franklin & those luscious backing harmonies. It’s another of The Temps exquisite lost love songs that only Ruffin could tell. The addition of the orchestra only amplifies the power and heartbreak of each note he sings. I think if the heart made noise when it was crying, it would sound exactly like Ruffin’s trademark pleading vocal.

Oh, determination is fading fast
Inspiration is a thing of the past
Can’t see how my hope’s gonna last
Good things are bad and what’s happy is sad
“.

Temps 2

The Temptations circa 1965. Standing (L-R): Paul Williams. Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Seated (L-R): Otis Williams & David Ruffin. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations: “Since I Lost My Baby” (1965, written by Warren (Pete) Moore and William “Smokey” Robinson Jr.).

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 225

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.

Tonight is the two hour season five premiere of “This Is Us”. I must tell you that as great as that show is, the level of drama was scaring me enough to reconsider watching it going forward. But that was before COVID and the rest of the ballast 2020 has thrust upon the world. Now I think bring it on. Problems from a fictional family will be a welcome relief.

But a two hour show means I will be crying for about 120 minutes. In that case, I need to start the day on a happy funky soulful note. There is no one better at that than The Godfather Of Soul, James Brown. And if there is a song on the planet with a better brass sound & arrangement, I have no idea what it is.

When I hold you in my arms
I know that I can do no wrong
And when I hold you in my arms
My love won’t do you no harm
“.

James Brown circa 1974

James Brown circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Brown: “I Got You” (1965, written by James Brown).

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 207

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?

Jane Austen Music Quote

(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 is all about the man born John Winston Lennon on this day 80 years ago in Liverpool, England. In one decade he went from a Quarrymen to The Smart Beatle to The Walrus to simply John. In every one of those roles, he was a man who brought dreams to life. I am grateful for his words, his music, his intellect, his efforts to bring love and peace to the world and for his heart.

Lennon’s work in the later years with The Beatles & most of his solo music could best be described as introspective. He was learning about himself through spirituality, the enormity of the group’s fame, his expanding talent as a musician & as a songwriter. But to me Lennon was never better than when he embraced his rock & roll side. He did just that on a lot of The Beatles early music & with his covers of many of the songs he loved on his 1975 “Rock ‘N’ Roll” album. Today’s track is my absolute favorite rocking vocal of his with The Fab Four. Sending prayers, “limitless undying love” & thanks his way today and always.

Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me
“.

Fab Four

Lennon

Top: The Fab Four circa 1965 (L-R): George Harrison, John Lennon, Ringo Starr & Paul McCartney. Bottom: Lennon circa 1971. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Beatles: “Help” (1965, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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 170

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?

Bruce quote

(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.  I adore Martha & The Vandellas.  Lead singer Martha Reeves met Vandella Rosalind Ashford in the late 1950’s when she joined her and another singer, Annette Beard, in a group called The Del-Phis.  By 1962 they were known as The Vels backing up Marvin Gaye on his song, “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow”.  Then the female singers recorded a demo for Motown in singer Mary Wells absence and were offered a recording contract by label president Berry Gordy.  At that point they christened themselves by the group name they would become famous with.  In 1964 Beard left the group to have her first child so she was replaced by Betty Kelley, who joined just in time to record the trio’s signature hit, “Dancing In The Street”.  Kelley was fired from the group during the summer of 1967 allegedly for arguments with Reeves and for missing performances.  But a lot of the tension in the group came from declining record sales & their loss of Gordy’s support of them and many other Motown artists while he took over Diana Ross’ career to turn her into the first lady of the label.  By 1972 the group broke up when Reeves pursued a solo career.  That was the end of my favorite female group from the Motor City.   But in their prime, Martha & The Vandellas made some great music.

Each night as I sleep, into my heart you creep
I wake up feelin’ sorry I met you, hoping soon that I’ll forget you
When I look in the mirror to comb my hair
I see your face just a smiling there“.

Vandellas

Martha and the Vandellas in 1965. (L-to-R) Rosalind Ashford, Martha Reeves, and Betty Kelley.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Martha & The Vandellas:  “Nowhere To Run” (1965, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 156

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.  In 1963 Stevie Wonder scored his first #1 song with “Fingertips”.  He was 13 years old.  But for the next two years he could not get a record into the top 20.  When he turned 15 his voice changed and the songwriters he was working with modified their process to adapt to Wonder’s new tenor voice.  He wanted something with a fast tempo to match the pace of The Rolling Stones song, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” which was a huge hit at the time.  The result is today’s song which went to #3 on the charts and began a streak of hit songs that would follow Wonder into the 1970’s.

No football hero or smooth Don Juan
Got empty pockets, you see I’m a poor man’s son
Can’t give her the things that money can’t buy
But I’ll never, never make my baby cry“.

Stevie Marvin

Stevie Wonder (L) and Marvin Gaye (R) in the Motown studios circa 1965.  Gaye played drums for Wonder and several other Motown artists before his own successful recording career.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Wonder:  “Uptight (Everything’s Alright)” (1965, written by Henry Cosby, Sylvia Moy and 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 152

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

It happened fifty-five years ago today on August 15, 1965.  The Beatles performed a concert at Shea Stadium in Queens, NY.  It was a Sunday night just like their appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” over a year earlier.  The Fab Four accomplished so many great things as a band, and becoming the first ones to ever play a stadium venue was just one more unbelievable achievement to add to their resume.  If you asked any of the 56,000 fans in attendance, the staff or security guards who worked this show I doubt any of them could name the songs the group played since the screams by hysterical heart sick girls were so loud they drowned out the music.  Luckily the show was well documented and a film about the show by BBC Television came out the following year.  August 11 also marked the anniversary releases of two of the group’s movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” in 1964 and “Help” in 1965.  The band performed both movie title songs at Shea along with 10 other songs.  Today’s pick is one of my top choices from the show.

Baby says she’s mine, you know
She tells me all the time, you know
She said so
I’m in love with her and I feel fine“.

Beatles Shea
The Beatles on stage at Shea Stadium August 15, 1965.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles:  “I Feel Fine” (1964, written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney).

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

Stay well.