Music Monday: March 21, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We all have songs that take us back to some of the best memories of our lives. Moments when we were truly complete & happy. When for a short time a million years ago we had a real life, a whole life, a beautiful life. Those memories may sometimes feel like a dream that could not have possibly happened. But it did. And the songs we remember from those times bear witness to those memories & remain a testament to that period of time. Today’s song is one of my most beloved rides back to my Camelot.

The track is from 1972 but more than 30 years later I heard a fabulous cover of it in the 2003 movie, “Stuck On You”. That version introduced me to a musician I was thrilled to discover, Pete Yorn. But even his extraordinary take on this song cannot match the emotional comfort I get from the original, even all these years later.

Got on board a westbound 747
Didn’t think before deciding what to do
Oh, that talk of opportunities, TV breaks and movies
Rang true, sure rang true
“.

Albert Hammond 1972

albert-hammond-new

Top: Albert Hammond circa 1972. Bottom: Hammond circa 2015. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Albert Hammond: “It Never Rains In Southern California” (1972, written by Albert Hammond and Mike Hazelwood).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: February 14, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

One of Neil Young’s most important albums celebrated its golden anniversary earlier this month. Harvest was released 50 years ago on Feb 1, 1972. It introduced the world to legendary songs like the title track, “Old Man”, “The Needle And The Damage Done” and today’s impossibly beautiful & heartbreaking pick. I have loved this magnificent tune forever. It holds a permanent place in my top ten list of favorite songs of all time.

It was my first introduction to acoustic music & placed the bar so high it remains a perfect performance in my heart, mind & soul. And with today being Valentine’s Day, it underscores the need we all have to find that perfect love. So whatever the great joy of your life is-whether it be a person, place or thing-celebrate it with everything you have whenever you can. Life goes by too fast not to. Love is love.

“I want to live
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
For a heart of gold”.

V day

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Heart Of Gold” (1972, written by Neil Young).

Stay safe and well.

Music Monday: November 15, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

November 12 marked birthday #76 for one of the greatest artists Canada ever gave us-Neil Young. It goes without saying that he has written a number of outstanding songs throughout his over five decade career. But for me, it is today’s song that remains his finest piece of music.

I fell in love with it the first time I heard it as a young child & it remains one of my Top Ten favorite songs of all time. This was my first introduction to an acoustic sound and it is beyond spectacular. I will adore Young forever for the plethora of music he has given us, but especially for this heartbreakingly beautiful song most of all.

I’ve been in my mind
It’s such a fine line
That keeps me searching
For a heart of gold and I’m getting old
“.

Neil

Neil Young circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Heart Of Gold” (1972, written by Neil Young).

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 550

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?

blog Sept 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.

Well, ladies & gentlemen, we have come to the end of the long & winding road of songs. I think it is time to end this marathon of music. Schools have reopened, concerts & sporting events have resumed and several Broadway shows reopened earlier this week with more to follow. While masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future as we battle the Delta Variant, we are a lot closer to normal then where we were at the beginning of this year and certainly 12 months ago.

When I started this in Match 2020, I had no idea it would last this long. But then again I never lived through a pandemic before. When we first went into quarantine, I remember hearing a person on a news program say it was going to bring out the best in some of us and the worst in others. No doubt we have all seen both of those extremes but hopefully more good than bad. Thank you all for coming along with me for 550 songs, critiques, memories, reviews, stories, facts and fun (I hope). I will still feature a song on my blog every week on Music Mondays so be sure to join me for that. And now, time for our final song.

The Doobie Brothers hold a special place in my heart, not only for their music but because theirs was the first concert I ever attended. They performed today’s song that night. It was their first big hit, reaching #11 in November 1972. It is from their second album, Toulouse Street, released four months earlier. This song has been one of the mottos of my life since the first time I heard it. And it is the best piece of advice I would ever offer anyone. Stay safe & well, friends. And always listen to the music.

If I’m feelin’ good to you
And you’re feelin’ good to me
There ain’t nothin’ we can’t do or say
Feelin’ good, feeling fine
Oh baby let the music play
“.

Doobies

The Doobie Brothers 1972 album, Toulouse Street. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Listen To The Music” (1972, written by Tom Johnston).

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 533

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?

Aug 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.

We close out this month with another musical birthday. Today Van “The Man” Morrison turns 76 years young. Born August 31, 1945 in Northern Ireland, he gained his love of music from his parents. His mother was a singer and his father’s record collection educated his son in all genres of music. But it was the blues that resonated most with him. His father bought Morrison a guitar when he was 11 leading him to form his first band a year later. By the age of 17 he was touring Europe with another band but his breakthrough came in 1964 when he joined the group Them.

They charted three times including their most well known song, “Gloria”. That brought Morrison to America for the first time in 1966 on a tour that included several shows at Los Angeles’ acclaimed Whiskey A-Go-Go where he met & performed with The Doors. By 1967 Them disbanded leading to Morrison’s relocation to the US and the start of his solo career. After his song, “Brown Eyed Girl” became a Top Ten hit in the country, Van The Man was on his way.

I am such a fan of his beautiful songs & his unique interpretations of the lyrics. His evocative tone tells a story all its own separate and apart from his sublime poetry. As much as I adore his ballads, Morrison’s take-no-prisoners approach to his faster tempo songs envelopes me into each and every note. Today’s track is no exception. Happy birthday, Sir George Ivan Morrison. May you see 100 more.

And when you walk
Across the room
It makes my heart go
Boom boom boom
“.

Van

Van Morrison’s sixth studio album released in 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison: “Jackie Wilson Said (I’m in Heaven When You Smile)” (1972, written by Van 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 482

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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 1969 a series of concerts took place in New York City. Dubbed “The Harlem Cultural Festival” and held at what is now Marcus Garvey Park, it featured so many of my favorite performers from the Motown soul & gospel genres. These concerts were held over a six week period & most of the shows were recorded. But at the time there was no interest in buying them for a film Those involved did not know if that was because another music festival-Woodstock-was taking place that August or because black music was still considered secondary in the summer of 1969.

Whatever the reason, the tapes of the Harlem shows were left in a basement for 50 years until 2019. At that time they came to the attention of a producer who purchased them & turned them into a film that was released this year. Unbelievable, right? Another shocking aspect to this story? I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE CONCERTS OR THE MOVIE UNTIL LAST WEEK!!!

I uncovered the film about seven days ago when I went to Hulu for my weekly “Lost” re-watch. Instead I saw the ad for the movie, aptly titled “Summer Of Soul”. It premiered at The Sundance Film Festival in January and in theatres & on Hulu in June. My jaw dropped as I read the info about the film. It spotlights the performances of the incredible artists who were there interwoven with present day interviews with them and others involved in the festival itself.

How could something so incredible like a concert series of this magnitude get shelved for five decades? I am a native New Yorker, not to mention a profound fan of music, yet I lived all these years without even knowing this festival took place??? I cannot help but hang my head in extreme shame.

The film marks the directorial debut of Questlove, the co-frontman & drummer of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tonight Show” band, The Roots. In addition to being a musician and songwriter, Questlove has also made a name for himself as a producer, music journalist, author, disc jockey and now film director.

Discovering that an event like this took place but was never a matter of record matches my shock & amazement from the first time I saw “Hidden Figures”. To discover how important women-black women, especially-were assisting the U.S. Space Program & that was left out of the history books we read as kids is astounding. How many young girls might have had different dreams if they knew intelligent groundbreaking women were busting through glass ceilings half a century before? And how many aspiring musicians would have been inspired by this concert series?

But there is so much more to enjoy about this movie than the music. It is a time capsule to revisit the past. A look back at what are now vintage images of the culture at that time, the fashion, the style, the city store fronts and the people is simply hypnotic. The same goes for the clips of archived vintage footage from national news programs regarding the current events of the day like the Vietnam War & the Apollo landing which occurred the same summer. Those were interspersed with local stories about the heroin epidemic, the poverty level & the downward spiral of Harlem in general.

We also get a look at the city’s mayor at the time-John V. Lindsay-as well as a 27 year old minister, Reverend Jesse Jackson, who lead the crowd in a spiritual moment while he gave them his first hand account of watching Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King get shot. Undeniably powerful stuff.

My favorite moments include a newly solo David Ruffin singing “My Girl” sans The Temptations & hitting those high notes in such a remarkable effortless way; Stevie Wonder exhibiting his numerous talents from behind a microphone, a keyboard and a drum set; Sly Stone, the original poster boy for diversity not only as a black performer with white band members but with female ones as well. And they were not just back-up singers, either. They both sang & played instruments like the keyboards & the trumpet. The Family Stone performed three songs “Sing A Simple Song”, “Everyday People” & “Higher” which played as the credits began to roll.

Then there was Nina Simone captivating the audience with her powerful voice as she slammed the piano keys throughout her fierce performance. Gladys Knight & The Pips were on fire as were the gospel numbers, especially The Edwin Hawkins Singers rousing performance of “Oh Happy Day”. One of the women interviewed in the present who attended the show as a teenager summed it up best when she said: “Those artists crossed genres. They were trying to reunite people with music”. I have never been without music but I am just thrilled to be united with this movie. It is that good.

Another group that performed on what was called the festival’s “gospel day” was The Staple Singers. They were a family group comprised of Roebuck “Pops” Staples & his children: son Pervis & daughters Cleotha, Yvonne & Mavis, who turned 82 years young yesterday In addition to singing with her family, Mavis also sang a gospel song with Mahalia Jackson on “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” after Jackson’s stirring speech about and in honor of Rev. King’s favorite church song. It was nothing short of sublime.

In the present interview as the clip of the two women played, Mavis revealed that she still considers that moment her biggest honor and the experience “the time of my life”. She was born July 10, 1939 in Illinois. She & her family moved from gospel to secular music in the mid 1960’s. In 1968 they were signed to Stax Records. By June 1972, they had the #1 song in the country for one week with today’s track. It may be her birthday but it is her audience that receives a gift every time she sings.

Happy birthday, Mavis & here’s to 100 more. And a ginormous thank you to everyone who put this festival together, all the artists who performed there & the people who gave us the movie showcasing it all. It is an astounding treasure.

I know a place
Ain’t nobody cryin’
Ain’t nobody worried
Ain’t no smilin’ faces
“.

Soul picture

Mavis and Mahalia

Top: The movie poster for 2021’s “Summer Of Soul”. Bottom: Mavis Staples (L) and Mahalia Jackson (R) in a still from the film. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Staples Singers: “I’ll Take You There” (1972, written by Al Bell).

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 481

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Woody Guthrie gave us more than just some of the best folk/roots music in the history of the genre. He also gave us his son, Arlo Guthrie, who was born 74 years ago on July 10, 1947 in Coney Island, New York. Like his father, Arlo was known for protest music, including his spoken word 18 minute satire song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”. It was from his 1967 debut album of the same name & released when he was 20 years old. That was the same year his father died from Huntington’s Disease. The song has become an underground classic.

But Arlo’s most well known track is from his fourth album, 1972’s Hobo’s Lullaby, named for one of the folk songs his father made famous. Arlo’s cover of today’s tune became a Top 20 hit. I used to hear it a lot when I was a kid as I lay in bed in the morning not wanting to escape the cocoon of my cozy blankets.

My mother would have the radio on and I would listen to the lyrics and wonder what it was like to ride the rails rolling “past houses, farms and fields”. And when it came on in the car, I would close my eyes and pretend I was on a train on my way to some beautiful place I had yet to discover. Whether it is by car, bike, bus or train, songs about the road are pure magic. And Arlo Guthrie gave us a great one. Here’s to 100 more birthdays for Woody’s son.

And the sons of Pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father’s magic carpets made of steel
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel
“.

Arlo

Arlo Guthrie: “City Of New Orleans” (1972, written by Steve Goodman).

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 479

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

One of the many things that made The Allman Brothers Band such a unique group was the fact that they had two drummers. One of them is celebrating a birthday today. Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson was born Johnny Lee Johnson 77 years ago on July 8, 1944 in Mississippi.

Before his role as a founding member of The ABB, he was part of soul superstars Otis Redding and Sam & Dave’s touring bands. Once Johanson became Duane Allman’s first recruit for his new group in February 1969, Johanson’s fate in one of the most innovative talented blues inspired bands in rock history was sealed. He & guitarist Dickey Betts-are the last surviving members of that fabulous group.

He and Allman shared lead guitar duties in the band, another facet that differentiated the ABB from other bands. Betts wrote today’s song which is from their 1972 album, “Eat A Peach”. It is one of the last to feature Allman before his death in 1971. In a 2017 article listing the 20 greatest ABB’s songs, Billboard magazine wrote the following about today’s track:

One of the last songs recorded by Duane Allman before his death, the Betts-delivered vocals are saccharine-sweet without being overly-sappy, while the twin guitar solos by Allman and Betts showcase just how effortlessly in tune and precise the two could be. There may not have ever been a better pairing of two lead guitarists in their prime in rock history than Allman and Betts, and “Blue Sky” is among their greatest showpieces. That Duane died before their Eat a Peach album was released is still one of rock’s saddest tales“. So true. Sigh.

Happy birthday, Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson May you continue to make great music for 100 more years.

Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing
They don’t worry ’bout where it’s goin’, no, no
Don’t fly, mister blue bird, I’m just walking down the road
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know
“.

the-allman-brothers-1969-a-billboard-1548-compressed

(L-R) Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman, Jai Johanny Johanson, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks sit on some railroad tracks on May 5, 1969 outside of Macon, Ga. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Allman Brothers Band: “Blue Sky” (1972, written by Dickey Betts).

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 473

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

On June 17, 1972 The Rolling Stones had the #1 album in the United States with Exile On Main Street. It was released a month earlier and reached the top spot with some help from today’s song. It was the record’s first single released in April of the same year which became a #7 hit for the band.

Linda Ronstadt did an excellent cover of this tune on her 1977 album Simple Dreams. Her version was featured as part of her concert footage for the 1978 movie “FM”. It has more of a pop/country feel where The Stones original track possesses a soulful edge courtesy of three fabulous female R&B singers on backing vocals.

Honey got no money
I’m all sixes and sevens and nines
Say now baby, I’m the rank outsider
You can be my partner in crime”.

exile on main

Rolling Stones, Jagger, Mick & Richards, Mick

Top:  The Rolling Stones’ 1972 album, Exile On Main Street.  Bottom:  Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on stage at MSG, NYC. July 24, 1972. © Bob Gruen / http://www.bobgruen.com   (Images found online.  Original sources unknown).  

The Rolling Stones: “Tumbling Dice” (1972, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 432

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 1994 Elton John was inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. In his acceptance speech, he admitted he was not very good with words.

“I had someone to write my words for me and without him, the journey would not have been possible. I kind of feel cheating standing up here accepting because without Bernie, there wouldn’t of been any Elton John at all. And I would like him to come up and I would like to give this to him”. At that point Bernie Taupin joined him on stage, the two friends embraced and Taupin said one word: “Music”.

Today that legendary lyricist & poet who co-wrote all those beautiful & spectacular songs with John celebrates his 71st birthday. He helped create the soundtrack to my life & millions of others as well. Together they are one of the greatest & most important songwriting teams of all time, right up there with Lennon & McCartney, Bacharach & David and Leiber & Stoller.

Taupin was born May 22, 1950 in England. He grew up on a farm and wanted to become a journalist given his love for writing. When he was 17 years old, he answered an ad placed by a record company executive who was looking for new talent. Elton John, known then by his given name of Reginald Dwight, responded to the same one. That is how the two men met & began working as a team. Taupin wrote the words and gave them to John who set them to music.

They have countless hits together but it took them 53 years to finally win any awards for their exquisite work. In 2020 they received both a Golden Globe & an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the movie based on John’s life, “Rocketman”.

Taupin became a US citizen in 1990. He has been married to his fourth wife since 2004. They have two daughters together and live in California. I fell in love with him & John the first time I heard “Daniel” (Day 375) and I am filled with an abundance of gratitude everyday for these two immensely gifted extraordinary men.

Today’s song was released 49 years ago on May 6, 1972. It was my favorite from the first album I ever bought, Elton John’s Greatest Hits. Happy birthday, Bernie Taupin. May you see 100 more. Thank you for your words & your heart.

And all this science
I don’t understand
It’s just my job
Five days a week
“.

Bernie and Elton 1975

Oscar

Top (L-R): Bernie Taupin and Elton John circa 1975 with a few of the gold records they earned over the years. Bottom: John and Taupin in 2020 after winning the Oscar for “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from the movie “Rocketman”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John: “Rocket Man” (1972, 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.