Let’s Take A Moment Day 313

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.

This month marked the 50th anniversary of Pearl, Janis Joplin’s final album released three months after her death in October 1970. This month also marked her 78th birth anniversary. Joplin, who was born January 19, 1943 in TX, was the second of three artists to die at the age of 27 of a heroin overdose in a one year period. Jimi Hendrix died first in September 1970, then Joplin & then Jim Morrison in July 1971 (No autopsy was ever performed on Morrison so that is the suspected cause of his death). For many who lived through the 1960’s, these three deaths marked the end of what that decade represented: peace, love, the surge of American music after the British Invasion years & the break-up of The Beatles.

For a woman to be in that arc when many of her female counterparts were pursuing folk sounds & singer/songwriter status, Joplin was in a class all by herself. She had just fully established herself as a solo performer after her lead singer role in Big Brother & The Holding Company rock band. While I was never a big fan of most of the music I heard from her-it was a little too raw and explosive for my taste-there is no denying her sound was all her own with its blues/jazz/rock interpretations.

As much as I worship one of the writers of today’s song-Kris Kristofferson-I must admit today’s version is my favorite. It hit the top spot in the country for two weeks in March 1971. And there are many reports that she is who Don McLean referenced in his hit “American Pie” in the lines: “I met a girl who sang the blues/And I asked her for some happy news/But she just smiled and turned away”. However, I could not find any confirmation of this in my online research. But it makes a great story, as do the lyrics of today’s song.

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana
I was playin’ soft while Bobby sang the blues
Windshield wipers slappin’ time
I was holdin’ Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew
“.

Janis Pearl

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Janis Joplin: “Me & Bobby McGee” (1971, written by Fred Foster and Kris Kristofferson).

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 292

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.

It was 50 years ago today that George Harrison had the #1 album on the US chart with his first release after the breakup of The Fab Four. All Things Must Pass hit the top spot on January 2, 1971 and stayed in that position for seven consecutive weeks. It was poetic justice for him to achieve this honor as a solo artist after years of his songwriting contributions being limited on The Beatles’ records. I adore the entire album but I especially love his vocal on today’s song which is a Bob Dylan cover.

Aside from what this album did for Harrison, it was career changing for his friend & fellow guitar master, Eric Clapton, as well. It was during the recording sessions for this album that led to the formation of Derek & The Dominos. Say it with me: Layla. Without that band, that song does not exist. Harrison’s chart topping album was a gift that just kept giving.

If not for you
The winter would hold no spring
Couldn’t hear a robin sing
I just wouldn’t have a clue, if not for you
“.

All_Things_Must_Pass_BW

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison: “If Not For You” (1970, written by Bob Dylan).

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 263

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 this day in 1971 Sly & The Family Stone hit the #1 spot with today ‘s song where it would stay for three weeks. It spent five weeks at the top of the R&B chart as well. It was released Nov 9, 1971 and by December 4 it was the number one record in the country. Unfortunately, it was to be the group’s third & final top selling hit. But what a way to go out.

This tune was a departure for the group because this was more of a solo effort for Stone. He not only wrote, produced, arranged and sang today’s song but he also played bass guitar, electric guitar and programmed the drum box. Two of his musician friends joined him on the track-Billy Preston on electric piano & Bobby Womack on rhythm guitar-and Stone’s sister, Rose, sang the refrain. So despite its title, this song was not a “family affair” by group standards. But it was still a fabulous record and a testament to Stone’s immense talent.

One child grows up to be
Somebody that just loves to learn
And another child grows up to be
Somebody you’d just love to burn
“.

Sly and family

Rose Stone (L) and Sly Stone (Right, front) with The Family Stone circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sly & The Family Stone: “Family Affair” (1971, written by Sly Stone).

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 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 234

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.

Elton John is celebrating several career milestones this time of year. October 26 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of his first hit, “Your Song”. On November 4, 1992 publishing giant Warner/Chappell signed him & his writing partner extraordinaire, Bernie Taupin, to a $39 million dollar deal which was the most lucrative one ever offered at that time. That contract came 25 years after he & John signed their first major publishing deal in 1967 when John was still known by his real name, Reginald Dwight. He was 20 years old & Taupin was 17.

John had a live radio concert broadcast on November 17, 1970 which was released as an album the following April. (The station which broadcast the event-WABC-FM in NYC-became WPLJ-FM in February 1971 which was one of my favorites during my teenage years). And 49 years ago today-November 5, 1971-John released the album with today’s tune on it. The record contains two of his best know songs-“Levon” and “Tiny Dancer”-and as much as I enjoy them, it is the title track that I am most enamored with.

Once a fool had a good part in the play
If it’s so would I still be here today
It’s quite peculiar in a funny sort of way
They think it’s very funny everything I say
“.

Taupin and John

Bernie Taupin (L) and Elton John (R) circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Madman Across The Water” (1971, 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 220

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.

I need to correct a terrible oversight. It has taken me until Day 220 to feature today’s song. I could have sworn I chose this song in one of my initial posts since I love it so much but especially after finding out the singer passed away earlier this year on March 30. I posted a tribute on Instagram but was under the impression I already included it here. I did not. My sincerest apologies for making you wait over seven months for this piece of magic.

The first time I heard this song I was seven years old. My mother had just picked me up from school & brought me to the “beauty parlor” (as hair salons were called in those days) with her as she & her mom were getting their hair done. I was standing next to her telling her about my day when this song came on. I was immediately entranced by the hauntingly beautiful music & the dark sadness of the singer’s voice. I was completely lost in the enjoyment of this track as the singer sang “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know” when my grandmother started yelling about how annoying the song was & wondering if the record was skipping. It jolted me out of my reverie and I looked at her in disbelief. How could a song that was literally music to my ears hurt hers so? Why did she not get how simply gorgeous it was? I guess that was my first introduction to the proverbial generation gap. I never forgot that moment or that song. I think it is outstanding.

It is from Bill Withers 1971 debut album, “Just As I Am”. It was released when he was 33 years old working at an aircraft company in California. It includes two fabulous covers-The Beatles “Let It Be” & Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talking”. But it is today’s nearly perfect track that made people take notice of his talent. What a difference a two minute song made to his life and ours.

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
“.

Bill Withers 1971

Bill Withers circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bill Withers: “Ain’t No Sunshine” (1971, written by Bill Withers).

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 218

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.

In October of 1969 Rod Stewart joined a revamped version of The Small Faces when they became known simply as The Faces. The move united him with the band’s new guitarist & songwriter, Ron Wood, who met Stewart in 1964 then played with him in The Jeff Beck Group from 1967-1969. Stewart also had a solo record deal at the time which garnered him worldwide success in 1971 with the release of “Every Picture Tells A Story”. Wood worked with him on that record as well, with both men co-writing that album’s title track. The two also wrote today’s song together. They stayed with The Faces until 1975 when Wood left to join The Rolling Stones & Stewart continued his solo career. The rest of the group officially disbanded the same year as well. Both Wood & Stewart enjoy long successful careers which continue today.

For as hard rocking as today’s track is, it surprisingly came across unbelievably well in a rousing acoustic format when Stewart performed it on his 1993 MTV Unplugged show joined by Wood, who not only played guitar, but contributed backing vocals as well. I love nearly everything Stewart has ever done, but find the combination of his vocal & Wood’s slide guitar completely exhilarating on today’s track. It is a great classic rock tune that sounds as fresh today as it did when it was a top 20 hit in 1972.

So in the morning please don’t say you love me
‘Cause you know I’ll only kick you out the door
Yeah I’ll pay your cab fare home you can even use my best cologne
Just don’t be here in the morning when I wake up
“.

The Faces 1969

Rod Ron unplugged

Top: The Faces circa 1969 (L-R, top to bottom): Ronnie Lane (bass), Kenny Jones (drums), Ian McLagan (piano & keyboards), Rod Stewart (vocals) & Ron Wood (guitar). Bottom: Wood (L) and Stewart (R) at his 1993 MTV Unplugged show. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Faces: “Stay With Me” (1971, written by Rod Stewart and Ron 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 208

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 in 1970 Neil Diamond had the #1 song in the country with “Cracklin’ Rosie”. That tune was the pick for Day 30 so I will choose another from his vast & fabulous catalog to spotlight to honor the anniversary of one of his hit records. That will not be hard at all as I absolutely adore so much of his music. One of my very favorites is from his 1971 album, “Stones”. It is an introspective tune that Diamond said in an interview he wrote while he was in therapy after moving to the west coast. Whatever the impetus was for him to write this song, it is a beautiful evocative number with gorgeous layers of music, from the haunting cello in the first verse to the acoustic guitar interludes to the string & horn arrangements. I also think it has some of the most compelling lyrics Diamond ever recorded carried out in one of his best vocal performances.

But I got an emptiness deep inside
And I’ve tried but it won’t let me go
And I’m not a man who likes to swear
But I never cared for the sound of being alone
“.

Neil Diamond

Neil Diamond circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Diamond: “I Am…I Said” (1971, written by Neil Diamond).

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 157

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.

Today marks the birth anniversary of soul superstar Isaac Hayes, who was born on this day 78 years ago.  Many people may remember him for today’s tune which won the Academy Award For Best Original Song in 1972.  It also has the distinction of being the funkiest song to ever win an Oscar.  Others may remember him for his interpretations of songs like “Walk On By”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”.  Or maybe some remember him for co-writing (along with David Porter) several of the biggest hits for Stax Records duo, Sam & Dave, including “Soul Man”, “Hold On I’m Coming” & “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”.

I love him for all those reasons, too.  But I also love him for voicing the character of Chef on “South Park” from 1997-2006.  I loved his character’s eye for the ladies which inevitably led to him dropping his already low baritone voice another 10 octaves before delivering his hilarious pick-up lines.  I also loved how he broke into song whenever he needed to explain things to the kids but not before he prefaced the conversation with “Oh, Children”.  But mostly I loved how he brought some soul to the quiet little fictitious town in Colorado.  Can you dig it?

Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? (Shaft)
Right on
You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother (Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ about Shaft (Then we can dig it)
He’s a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman (John Shaft)“.

L-R:  Isaac Hayes at the 1972 Oscars & his alter ego, Chef, with children (L-R) Stan, Eric & Kyle of “South Park”.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Isaac Hayes:  “Theme From Shaft” (1971, written by Isaac Hayes).

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 129

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 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.

July 21 marked the 72nd birthday of one of my favorite singers, Cat Stevens, n/k/a Yusuf.  I adore him and his music and was thrilled to see him live twice in 2014.  The first time was in April at his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and then in December at his own show in Pennsylvania.  At the HOF ceremony, he ended his three song set with today’s tune accompanied by a gospel choir and it was breathtaking.  Here’s to hoping good things are going to come.

Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun

Oh, I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it’s going to come

‘Cause I’m on the edge of darkness
There ride the Peace Train
Oh, Peace Train take this country
Come take me home again
“.

Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens n/k/a Yusuf circa 1970.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf):  “Peace Train” (Recorded live at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony April 2014 at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.  Originally released in 1971, written by Cat Stevens).

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

Stay well.