Let’s Take A Moment Day 449

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?

June 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 Motown break. June 6th marked the 85th birth anniversary for one of the label’s greatest voices, Levi Stubbs. Born in 1936 in Detroit, Michigan, he was endowed with a powerful emotionally charged baritone voice which often times crossed over to the tenor range. It led the way for The Four Tops to become one of the most successful & beloved groups from the Motor City. And helped Stubbs become one of my favorite singers of all time.

All alone I’m destined to be
With misery my only company
It may come today it might come tomorrow
But it’s for sure I ain’t got nothing but sorrow
“.

Four Tops

The Four Tops circa 1965. Top (L_R): Abdul “Duke” Fakir and Lawrence Payton. Bottom (L-R): Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Levi Stubbs. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Four Tops: “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” (1967, 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 424

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?

May blog 2021

(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’s song has one of the most recognizable opening guitar riffs in music history. And it was written & played by my great musical love, Eric Clapton, when he was in the band, Cream. But it was the group’s bassist, Jack Bruce, who wrote the majority of their music while the lyrics were written by poet & lyricist Pete Brown. Bruce, born 78 years ago on May 14, 1943 in Scotland, came from a musical family. When he was a teenager he attended the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (n/k/a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) on a scholarship to study musical composition & the cello.

By the mid 1960’s he met both Clapton & percussionist Ginger Baker and the three men formed Cream in 1966. Because all three came from other successful groups (Baker from The Graham Bond Organisation where he met Bruce who was in John Mayhall & The Bluesbreakers where he met Clapton who was in The Yardbirds), Cream was hailed as the first supergroup. They released four albums in the less than four years they were together, but their music changed live performances & improvisational jam sessions forever. It was also where Clapton developed his voice under the mentorship of Bruce.

The band broke up in 1969 as Clapton wanted to go in a different more streamlined form of music but also because the incessant fighting between Bruce & Baker got to be too much. They reunited in 1993 for their Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony & again in 2005 for seven shows-four at The Royal Albert Hall in England & three at Madison Square Garden in NYC. Bruce passed away in 2014 due to liver disease despite receiving a transplant about a decade earlier. Baker died in 2019, but both men remain musical legends for their time in Cream & their other contributions to rock history.

I’m with you my love
The light’s shining through on you
Yes, I’m with you my love
It’s the morning and just we two
“.

Cream 1967

Cream

Top: Cream circa 1968 (L-R): Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton. Bottom: Cream circa 1993: Clapton, Baker and Bruce. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cream: “Sunshine Of Your Love” (1967, written by Pete Brown, Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton).

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 421

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

In April 1967 four musicians formed the band Traffic: Jim Capaldi, Dave Mason, Steve Winwood & Chris Wood. They only stayed together for two years but reformed in 1970. A year later Mason quit & the band folded for good by the end of that decade. Two of the four members are celebrating birthdays this week. Mason, born May 10, 1946 in England, turned 75 yesterday. Fellow Englishman Winwood, born May 12, 1948 turns 73 tomorrow.

He continues to tour and play with an array of musicians live including his daughter, Lilly. Mason also plays shows around the world & supports a variety of charities & music education programs. He also co-owns an electric guitar company. Today’s song, from Traffic’s debut album, spotlights Winwood’s intense vocal style & Mason’s rhythmic turn as the bass guitarist. It is my favorite track on the record.

You are the one who can make us all laugh
But doing that you break out in tears
Please don’t be sad if it was a straight mind you had
We wouldn’t have known you all these years
“.

TRAFFIC-early-foto-traffic

Traffic circa 1968 (L-R): Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, Dave Mason and Steve Winwood (front). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Traffic: “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (1967, written by Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood and Chris Wood).

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 387

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?

May 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. In July 1964 The Four Tops released today’s song which became their first Top 20 hit. It featured the quartet’s signature sound & harmonies enhanced by the label’s female session singers, The Andantes-Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps. Of course the track also featured the music of The Funk Brothers with a nice assist from The Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Twenty-one years later in July 1985, The Tops performed at Live Aid in Philadelphia, followed by Eric Clapton. In his autobiography he admitted he was nervous to perform after them because they were legends. That is some serious & well deserved respect.

“Some say it’s a sign of weakness
For a man to beg
Then weak I’d rather be
If it means having you to keep”.

Four-Tops

The Four Tops circa 1967 (L-R): Renaldo Benson, Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir and Lawrence Payton. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Four Tops: “Baby I Need Your Loving” (1964, 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 386

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?

May 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.

The year 1967 is best remembered for the “Summer of Love” when San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district became the focus of the peace & love counterculture of that decade. In music, the year was also the peak of the psychedelic rock era which was not really a sound I identified with. But as with most genres of music, there are exceptions to every rule.

Today’s song was always mesmerizing to me but I considered it to be a rock song more than anything else. It seemed to come in and out of my life quickly when I would catch the end of it on the radio. Then I would make a mental note to add it to my music collection, but somehow the thought would escape me until I heard it again.

Finally the magic of a great period television series that punctuated many of its episodes with the music of the era brought me back to this fabulous track by one of the greatest cover bands of the 1960’s. AMC’s “Mad Men” reintroduced me to so many forgotten musical gems I am forever in its debt. I am deep in the throws of my yearly binge of the show and I just got to season 7. The power & intensity of today’s song closed out the first episode perfectly.

Set me free why don’t you babe
Get out my life why don’t you babe
‘Cause you don’t really love me
You just keep me hangin’ on
“.

vanilla fudge

Vanilla Fudge circa 1967 (L-R): Mark Stein (keyboards & vocals), Carmine Appice (drummer & vocals), Vince Martell (guitar & vocals) and Tim Bogert (bass & vocals). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Vanilla Fudge: “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (1967, 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 342

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.

Today’s song is a bonus Motown break in celebration of Smokey Robinson’s 81st birthday. Born February 19, 1940 in Detroit, MI, where he would become as important to the label as founder Berry Gordy was. Robinson did it all: sang, wrote songs, produced records, discovered talent & was part of The Miracles until he was singled out as the headliner. He had a successful solo career after he left the group in the early 1970’s because Robinson was a force all on his own. However, I do not think he ever sounded better than when he was with The Miracles. Happy birthday, Smokey & to fellow Miracle Robert Edward “Bobby” Rogers who shared the same birthday (February 19, 1940*March 3, 2013).

Just like Pagliacci did
I try to keep my sadness hid
Smiling in the crowd I try
But in my lonely room I cry
“.

Miracles

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles circa 1967 (L-R): Smokey Robinson, Bobby Rogers, Claudette Robinson, Ronnie White and Warren “Pete” Moore. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: “The Tears Of A Clown” (1967, written by Hank Cosby, William “Smokey” Robinson Jr, 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 335

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?

Hearts

(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.

Wine comes in at the mouth
And love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
Before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh

That is one of my favorite poems by William Butler Yates. And despite being entitled “A Drinking Song”, I think of it more as a poem about life and love.

As for all I shall know for truth at this point in my life: .

Love is the answer, as John Lennon so eloquently put it, And love, of any kind and in any form, is all you need.

Music is at the heart of love. Both heal & speak to the soul.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

There’s nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy
“.

Happy Hearts Club

The Beatles in 1967 (L-R): Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon and George Harrison. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Beatles: “All You Need Is Love” (1967, 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 333

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.

Stories about brothers as rivals go back to the days of Kane & Abel. That competitive existence has played out over and over in history since. And it does not just exist between blood brothers as it can happen with two men who are friends as well. But some brothers, despite their differences, do not become rivals but rather exist in a more harmonious entwined state because they admire each other’s talents. This is sometimes referred to as a bromance. One of the best examples of this is found in Greek mythology between Zeus’ sons, Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo, the god of the sun, was logical and prudent like most left brain people are. Dionysus, the god of wine & dance, was more creative and ruled by his emotions which today translates into right brain thinking.

Ray Manzarek of The Doors once said in a radio interview that he played Apollo to Jim Morrison’s Dionysus. Manzarek also referred to Morrison as his buddy, his pal, his friend and his soul mate. The man he created art with. I found it both heartbreaking and beautiful to listen to one man talk so eloquently about another man who he also referred to as his “brother”.

Manzarek was born 82 years ago on Feb 12, 1939. He met Morrison in California in the early 1960’s and by 1965 The Doors were a band. From 1967 to 1971 they conquered the music world & released six albums together before Morrison’s death on July 3, 1971. Manzarek died on May 20, 2013. After 42 years, the Apollo & Dionysus of the music world were finally reunited. The Morrison & Manzarek bromance continues.

I found an island in your arms
Country in your eyes
Arms that chain us
Eyes that lie”.

Doors

The Doors circa 1968 (L-R): Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger & Jim Morrison. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doors: “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” (1967, written by The Doors: John Densmore, Robby Krieger, Ray Manzarek,& Jim Morrison).

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 321

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’s song was originally released by Jefferson Airplane in 1967. I enjoyed that rendition, especially because it was written and sung by my favorite lead singer of the group, Marty Balin. In 1999 he released his greatest hits album with a new version of this song. Then around 2014 I heard a live performance of the updated track that absolutely slayed me. It was one of those songs I found so incredibly beautiful it hurt, a gorgeous acoustic arrangement with Balin’s entrancing reflective and gentle vocal. I was in complete awe. And I feel that way every time I hear it. At the end of today’s clip Balin referred to the track as “a heavy drug song” but I do not hear that at all. I hear an absolutely stunning piece of music. January 30 marked Balin’s 79th birth anniversary and as much as I love his work with Jefferson Starship especially “Miracles” (Day 99), it is today’s song that I am most grateful for.

You came to stay and live my way
Scatter my love like leaves in the wind
You always say you won’t go away
But I know what it always has been

Marty Balin

Marty Balin circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marty Balin: “Comin’ Back To Me” (1999, written by Marty Balin).

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.