Let’s Take A Moment Day 343

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.

Detroit had Motown, Philadelphia had Philly Soul. That genre was not as big nor as successful as the Motor City’s sound but it was still a powerful force in music. The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Spinners, Billy Paul, songwriters Ken Gamble & Leon Huff along with Thom Bell were just some of the artists that came out of this musical movement. It was a fusion of soul that had combined elements of sophisticated jazz, funk, big instrumental string & horn arrangements with a side of pop delivered in the vocal. I loved this music despite many music critics citing this sound as the basis from which the dreaded disco era emerged (sorry not a fan).

One of the groups I remember quite fondly was Blue Magic, specifically for today’s song. They formed in 1972 & were led by the beautiful falsetto voice of Ted Mills with harmony & backing vocals by Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt and brothers Vernon Sawyer and Wendell Sawyer. Together they turned today’s song from their debut album into a top ten hit in 1974, selling over a million copies. They had a good run of success for five years before their popularity waned thanks to the aforementioned disco years. They disbanded shortly thereafter but reformed in the 1990’s. There have been many personnel changes since then but they were still performing prior to the pandemic. But I will always love the original lineup the best for giving us today’s fabulous song. .

See the man with the broken heart, you’ll see that he is sad
He hurts so bad
See the girl who has lost the only love she ever had
There’s got to be no sadder show to see
No doubt about it satisfaction’s guaranteed
“.

Blue Magic

Blue Magic’s 1974 self-titled debut album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blue Magic: “Sideshow” (1974, written by Vinnie Barrett and Bobby Eli).

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 341

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?

(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 February 20, 1950 Steely Dan co-founder, guitarist & songwriter Walter Becker was born in Queens, NY. He started the band with keyboardist & songwriter Donald Fagen after the two men met when they were both students at Bard College in Annandale-On-Hudson, NY. On that same date in 1974, the group released their third studio album, Pretzel Logic. Let’s just take a minute to bask in the brilliance of that title, shall we?

You tell yourself you’re not my kind
But you don’t even know your mind
And you could have a change of heart
“.

Walter Becker (L) and Donald Fagen (R) of Steely Dan circa 1974. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Steely Dan: “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” (1974, written by Walter Becker and Donald Fagen).

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 336

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.

In November 1974 Linda Ronstadt released her fifth solo album which finally proved to be her breakthrough record, It hit the #1 position on the album chart today in 1975, the same day the first single, “You’re No Good” (Day 122) hit the top spot as well. The LP also included future hits like “When Will I Be Loved”, “Willin'”, “You Can Close Your Eyes” & “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”. The title track was never released as a single but I think it is absolutely stunning.

It was written by Anna McGarrigle, a Canadian singer who was in a folk duo with her sister Kate McGarrigle until her death in 2010 (Kate’s son is singer Rufus Wainwright featured on Day 212). The lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful as is the arrangement. Ronstadt’s vocal is strong, sorrowful & touching and is amplified by an incredible backing vocal by singer Maria Muldaur. (She had a top ten hit of her own in 1974 with “Midnight At The Oasis”). Ronstadt has given life to songs by songwriters ranging from J.D. Souther, James Taylor, Warren Zevon & Eric Kaz, to name a few. But what she did with today’s song is in a category all its own. . .

Some say the heart is just like a wheel
When you bend it, you can’t mend it
But my love for you is like a sinking ship
And my heart is on that ship out in mid-ocean
“.

Heart Like A Wheel

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt: “Heart Like A Wheel” (1974, written by Anna McGarrigle).

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 286

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 to catch-up on a rock & roll birthday.. Paul Rodgers, the mighty passionate & unbelievably gifted voice behind two incredible 1970’s bands turned 71 years old on December 17. Born in 1949, he started his career in music as a bass player but took over lead vocals when that bandmate wanted to concentrate more on his guitar work. Rodgers helped form Free in 1968 and two years later their colossal hit, “All Right Now”, earned the band international acclaim. The song was written by the group’s bassist Andy Fraser and Rodgers, who went on to write many songs & sing lead for another band co-founded, Bad Company, as well.

He was with them from 1974-1982 after which time they disbanded. The group reformed later in the decade but without Rodgers who was making solo records and part of a new group. The Firm. He rejoined Bad Company again around 2000 and remains with them today, but he continued with his solo work and joined forces for a while with Queen. I absolutely adore his voice and consider him one of the best rock singers of all time. I am truly stunned by how sorely underrated he is. He & Bad Company are one of the biggest snubs by The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, currently waiting 21 years to earn their rightful place in history. Regardless, Rodgers’ voice and the music he has made for over 50 years is some of the best I have ever heard, especially today’s song.

“Rebel souls
Deserters we are called
Chose a gun
And threw away the sun
“.

Bad Co 1974

Bad Company

Top: Bad Company circa 1974 (L-R): Boz Burrell, Simon Kirke, Paul Rodgers & Mick Ralphs. Bottom: Bad Company circa 2015 (L-R): Mick Ralphs, Simon Kirke, Paul Rodgers & Todd Ronning. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bad Company: “Bad Company” (1974, written by Simon Kirke and Paul Rodgers).

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 266

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.

Today is a celebration of one of the most expressive songwriters music has ever seen. Tom Waits was born 71 years ago on December 7, 1949 in Pomona, California. For nearly 50 years he has bestowed his eclectic stories of the people he observes, the characters he has encountered, the feelings in his heart and his observations of life in his descriptive and ardent lyrics. One of my favorite albums of his was released in 1974 and remains one of his most personal & colorful collections of life, love and the magic & simple joys of the best day of the week.

Then you comb your hair
Shave your face
Tryin’ to wipe out every trace
Of all the other days
In the week you know that this’ll be the Saturday
You’re reachin’ your peak
“.

T Waits

Tom Waits circa 1995. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tom Waits: “(Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night” (1974, written by Tom Waits).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 246

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

kurt v

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

elton john john lennon

Elton & John

Elton and John backstage

Elton Sean circa 1982

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

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

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 237

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 another cautionary rock & roll tale. This one belongs to Gram Parsons who was born Ingram Cecil Connor III in Florida on Nov 5, 1946. He overcame a tough childhood (both parents were alcoholics, which led to his father’s suicide when Parsons was 12 & his mother’s from cirrhosis when he was in high school). He quit Harvard University in 1965 after one semester to pursue music, a talent he acquired when he learned how to play the piano as a child.

By the late 1960’s he met Chris Hillman of The Byrds & contributed to the band’s 1968 album, “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”. It is considered to be one of the earliest country rock records due in large part to Parson’s influence of what he called “Cosmic American Music”. Then he & Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers and continued with that sound.

It was also around this time that Parsons met The Rolling Stones and became fast friends with Keith Richards. The friendship centered around music and drugs, but the latter began to dominate Parsons life and career. By 1971 he had been dismissed from the Burrito Brothers & was all but kicked out of Richards house (and life) by his girlfriend and allegedly Mick Jagger as well. That is when Parsons started his solo work with a young female singer named Emmylou Harris, who provided harmony vocals for all his songs, including today’s pick.

It was written around 1960 with the original version credited to The Everly Brothers in 1961 followed by Roy Orbison’s rendition later the same year. But for the younger crowd, the more well known version of this song was released in 1974 by the band, Nazareth. That was my favorite rendition until I heard Parsons’. Since it is basically a duet with Harris, it highlights the sadness of the lyrics as if they were singing about their own heartbreak to each other. The slower tempo and stripped down musical arrangement only adds to the desolate feeling of the song. It is truly beautiful.

So is the version Richards performed with Norah Jones at the 2004 tribute concert for his old friend, who covered “Wild Horses” with the Burrito Brothers in 1970 for their second album. Parsons died in 1973 from a drug overdose at the age of 26. His second and final solo album, “Grievous Angel”, was released a year after he died and features today’s track.

Some fools think
Of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
They’re not foolin’ me
“.

Gram Parsons

Harris and Parsons

Top: Gram Parsons circa 1972. Bottom: Emmylou Harris & Parsons circa 1972. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Gram Parsons featuring Emmylou Harris: “Love Hurts” (1974, written by Boudleaux Bryant).

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 217

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.

Today we celebrate the birthday of a brother. A Doobie Brother. Patrick Simmons was born 72 years ago today in 1948. He has been the only consistent member of the band since they first formed in California fifty years ago in 1970. He is a singer, songwriter & guitarist who wrote today’s song. It was the band’s first #1 record, hitting the top of the chart in March 1975. The song is from the band’s 1974 album which has one of the best titles for a record I ever heard, “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits”.

They performed today’s pick back in April in their “Live In Isolation” series and the ending chorus featured clips of fans singing along with them from home videos. It was a fabulous way to connect with their audience. So many of us are missing live music, one of the great casualties of this virus. But the Brothers made it happen. They hold a special place in my heart as theirs was the first concert I ever attended. I adore their music and remain completely in love with 1978’s “Minute By Minute” album to this day.

The Doobie Brothers are part of the Class of 2020 R&R HOF Inductees that did not get their official ceremony in May since it was cancelled because of the pandemic. But they should have been inducted decades ago. The band’s first album came out in 1971, making them eligible for the HOF in 1996. That is according to the Hall’s rule which makes an artist first eligible 25 years after the release of their debut album. Do the math, everyone. The Doobie Brothers have waited nearly twice that long.

The band’s page on the Hall’s website even acknowledges this (“They have been a mainstay in the rock & roll landscape for nearly five decades”) yet offers no apology nor explanation for the delay. But do not get me started on that place since John Coltrane, Bad Company, Warren Zevon, Pat Benatar, Jim Croce & Tina Turner (as a solo artist) are also still waiting to get in. But Abba was inducted 10 years ago. Completely ridiculous.

Simmons is being inducted with fellow Brothers Tom Johnston, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack (1946-2012), Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen (1948-2005), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Michael McDonald, who rejoined the group last year (yay!!!). The live ceremony has been revamped to “an exclusive special” to air on HBO & HBO MAX on November 7. In any case it will be a nice belated birthday gift for Simmons.

Well, I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same
“.

Doobies minute picture 1978

Top: The Doobie Brothers in 1978 (L-R, top to bottom): John Hartman, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudsen, Jeff Skunk” Baxter & Tiran Porter. Bottom: The Brothers circa 2020: Simmons, Tom Johnston, John McFee & McDonald. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Doobie-Brothers-Clay-Patrick-McBride

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

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 155

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.

One of the things I really love about Carole King ‘s “Tapestry” album is how she used woodwind instruments on a few of her songs.  There is the beautiful flute solo at the end of “So Far Away” and the gorgeous sax solos on “It’s Too Late” & “Way Over Yonder”.  The man behind those performances was Curtis Amy, who was primarily known as a saxophone player.  You may not recognize his name but you most likely heard his work.  If you are a fan of The Doors, you heard his solo on “Touch Me“, especially towards the end of the song.  He also worked as the musical director for Ray Charles’ orchestra and played on songs by Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, amongst others.  Amy also released nine of his own albums in the 1960’s.  His wife, Merry Clayton, is a singer & actress.  She sang backing vocals on “Tapestry” (most notably on “Way Over Yonder”) but her voice is best known from being featured in “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones.  She also had a major role in the movie, “Maid To Order” as Audrey James, the head housekeeper.

King co-wrote today’s song as a tribute to Amy’s sound.  As someone who loves woodwinds in music of any kind, I feel very blessed to have been introduced to his talent.  And today’s song earned King a nomination for Best Female Pop Performance at 1975’s Grammy Awards.  She lost to “I Honestly Love You” by Olivia Newton John.  I honestly cannot believe that.

When the jazzman’s testifyin’ a faithless man believes
He can sing you into paradise or bring you to your knees
It’s a gospel kind of feelin’, a touch of Georgia slide,
A song of pure revival and a style that’s sanctified“.

carole king

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King:  “Jazzman” (1974, written by Carole King, music and David Palmer, lyrics).

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 146

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.

The first song that introduced me to The Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) was 1977’s “Telephone Line”.  When I bought the single, I was completely over the moon by the fact that instead of it being the typical black color, it was a lovely shade of green.  It was like having my very own piece of the Emerald City.  So cool.  After that I learned everything I could about the band that incorporated string arrangements and classical music into their songs.  That led me to their 1974 album, “Eldorado” which has a picture of Dorothy’s ruby red slippers with sparks shooting out at the bad witch’s hands.  Even cooler.  It also has today’s song on it which I adore.

I also adore Jeff Lynne, one of ELO’s founding members who was not only heavily influenced by the Fab Four, he is also responsible for giving the world a virtual Beatles reunion in 1994.  It was Lynne who took previously recorded vocals by John Lennon and overdubbed them with the three surviving members voices to give us “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love”.  For that alone we should all bow at Lynne’s feet.  He also co-founded  The Traveling Wilburys super group with George Harrison.  Let’s also remember that ELO’s music is so good it was one of the only bright spots of the movie, “Xanadu” (along with Gene Kelly’s dance moves, of course).  Lynne may be a multi-talented artist, but given my reverence for words, to me he will always be a man who has written some truly beautiful lyrics.

Bank job in the city
Robin Hood and William Tell
And Ivanhoe and Lancelot
They don’t envy me
Sitting ’til the sun goes down
In dreams the world keeps going ’round and ’round“.

The oh so cool green  “Telephone Line” single & ELO circa 1977 (R)  Jeff Lynne is fourth man from left.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Electric Light Orchestra:  “Can”t Get It Out Of My Head” (1974, written by Jeff Lynne).

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

Stay well.