Let’s Take A Moment Day 245

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.

In November 1971 Al Green released the song that catapulted him to fame. It hit the #1 spot for one week in February 1972, became one of his signature tunes & is arguably one of the greatest R&B songs ever recorded. He performed it frequently on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and blew the roof off of The Ed Sullivan Theatre each time. Tina Turner covered this track in 1983 and as good as it was, even her version could not compare to the original. Whether it is on a stage or at the pulpit of his Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, The Reverend Green always delivers a stirring performance.

Why, somebody, why people break-up
Oh, turn around and make-up
I just can’t see
You’d never do that to me
“.

Al green circa 1972

Al Green circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

A Green: “Let’s Stay Together” (1971, written by Al Green, Al Jackson, Jr, & Willie Mitchell).

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 186

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.

September 17th marked the 97th birth anniversary of country’s first and arguably greatest star, Hank Williams. Born in Alabama in 1923, Hiram “Hank” Williams began playing guitar around age 14. By 1938 he was already playing in a band, “Drifting Cowboys”. In 1946 he recorded for Sterling Records which led to a contract with MGM Records and his first hit, “Move It On Over”. When he moved to Nashville in 1949 he was on his way to achieving his legendary status with songs like “Hey Good Lookin'”, “Your Cheatin’ Heart”, “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You”) and today’s track.

Williams, who was born with the disease spina bifida occulta, suffered intense back pain because of this condition. It led to an early reliance on alcohol to help cope with it but eventually he formed a dependency on it that began to interfere with his personal life as well as his musical career. His alcoholism became so bad he was fired from The Grand Ole Opry in August 1952. He died en route to a show on January 1, 1953 at age 29. But with the songs he wrote and recorded his legacy as a musical powerhouse was already sealed.

He was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation Award in 2010 “for his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life”. Williams influenced everyone from Elvis Presley to Bob Dylan to The Rolling Stones to countless country artists. His songs have been covered by Al Green, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Norah Jones, Jeff Buckley and an array of other artists in many different genres. He remains one of the top legends in music nearly seven decades after his death. He was just that great.

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
The midnight train is whining low
I’m so lonesome I could cry
“.

H Williams 1

Hank Williams circa 1945. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Hank Williams: “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1949, written by Hank Williams).

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 71

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?

Peanuts 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.

Sam Cooke was not just a soul singer.  He was also an early activist in the civil rights movement and fought against segregation, especially at musical venues.  Perhaps his boldest statement in his quest for equality came in one of his most important songs written in early 1964.  He was inspired to write it after he, his wife and his band were refused rooms at a hotel in Louisiana and his subsequent arrest for disturbing the peace after Cooke demanded an answer from a manager as to why his reservations were not being honored.

His own version is powerful with a great production behind it, but still done mostly in Cooke’s hallmark polished sound.  It was just the natural state of his beautiful voice.  When Otis Redding recorded it in 1965, in his trademark achingly impassioned voice, it gave the song and its message even more meaning.  It was my favorite version until September 2, 1995.  On that day Al Green sang it at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert.  He did not just sing it, he sang the hell out of it and gave 10,000% of himself while doing so.  The band behind him-Booker T & The MG’s along with guitarist G.E. Smith and friends-did not miss a beat while clearly enjoying the performance as much as the crowd did.  Despite Green’s appearance coming fairly early on in the show, he brought the house down.  But what else should we expect when The Reverend takes his rightful place at the pulpit?

Al Green

Al Green at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert in 1995 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Al Green:  “A Change Is Gonna Come” (As performed live at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert in Cleveland, Ohio in 1995.  Written by Sam Cooke).

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 66

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?

Peanuts 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.

COVID-19 update:  Yesterday began Phase One of reopening CT.  The list included restaurants with outdoor dining spaces, outdoor spaces of zoos & museums, offices and retail stores & malls.  There are limits on capacity and other new guidelines.  However, hair salons & barber shop reopenings were pushed back to June 1.  Phase Two will start on June 20 where gyms and movie theatres may reopen with restrictions and only if the rate of new cases continues to go down.  As for me, I am playing it safe to see how things go.  I am in no hurry to throw the last two months of safety away..  So back to the music.

Tina Turner established herself as one of the finest soul/R&B voices in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  When she made her comeback in 1983 with a cover of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”, it appeared she was going to stay in the same genre.  But with the release of her “Private Dancer” album the following year, it was clear Turner refused to stay in any box and started diving into other types of music like pop, mainstream and rock.  She worked with legends like Mick Jagger at Live Aid in 1985 and Eric Clapton during the European leg of her “Break Every Rule” tour in her ever evolving musical sound.  But today’s song is my favorite duet of hers, thanks to her incredible vocal performance and that of her collaborator, Bryan Adams.  It is also one of my favorite performance videos from the 1980’s.

Bryan_Adams_&_Tina_Turner_-_It's_Only_Love
(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bryan Adams with Tina Turner:  “It’s Only Love” (1985, written by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance).

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

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 24

Merry Christmas Eve, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 24

Pretty tree found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

For today’s song I am sharing three versions with you because I think they are all too beautiful for words.  The first version is from an R&B/Soul Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legend who still performs (this year he recorded his own version of the 1975 Freddy Fender country classic “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”) but calls the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church home for his weekly sermons.

The second version is by an Italian tenor who has been called the greatest singer in the world by record producer David Foster, and has a voice that makes me swoon.  The third is by a Puerto Rican singer & composer who has sung his own songs as well as recorded classic interpretations of other musician’s work.  I did not hear his version of this Christmas classic until this year and I fell head over heels in love with it.

Al Green

Bocelli

 

Jose

Al Green:  “Silent Night” (1983).

Andrea Bocelli:  “Silent Night” (2009).

Jose Feliciano:  “Silent Night” (1970).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 24

Hello, Vixens!!!  Merry Christmas Eve!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

o-holy-night-390x250

 (Original source unknown)

Today’s song dates back to 1847 and combined the words of French poet Placide Cappeau and the music of Adolphe Adam.  The more familiar singing edition came to life in 1855 courtesy of Unitarian Minister John Sullivan Dwight.

In whatever language this song is sung, the message is clear:  to rejoice over the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.  No matter how many signs we see at stores that read “Jesus is the reason for the season”, it may be easy to forget that Christmas is a religious holiday for those who believe in him.  We all know how commercial this holiday has always been (even Charlie Brown commented on that in 1965) and how it is arriving earlier and earlier in stores and the media each year.  But the little Catholic school girl I used to be 100 years ago cannot choose any other song for Christmas Eve than the one which celebrates the greatest gift God gave us.

These are my top three favorite versions of this song:

aretha-franklin al-green-pic[1]Mahalia Jackson 
                                                                                             (Original sources unknown)                                        

Aretha Franklin:  “O Holy Night

Al Green:   “O Holy Night

Mahalia Jackson:  “O Holy Night

And for the sarcastic adult that I have become, I cannot resist including this irreverent version every year because it makes me laugh until I cry.

Eric Cartman:  “O Holy Night

south-park

 (Original source unknown)

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #11

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

1940s-tree

Vintage Christmas Scene (original source unknown)

 

If a line was drawn in history as to three biggest voices to put soul music on the map,  it would read like this:  Sam Cooke, Otis Redding (featured in yesterday’s post) & the singer with today’s song.

Side note:  It is not James Brown.  While he was without question “The Godfather of Soul”, he was also credited with being one of the inventors of funk music.  Hence, he was on a completely different path than the other three singers. In his own league, as the saying goes.

But, as usual, I digress.

vintage-christmas-cards

Vintage Christmas Card (original source unknown)

 

Today’s singer carried the torch after Redding’s death, and never put it down.  While Motown & Philly Soul were more than respectable outlets for great music, today’s singer cruised past both with the same achingly impassioned vocal delivery that made Redding a legend, but giving it a more polished sound, much like Cooke.  The combination was electric.  That is how his sound rose above everything else in the 1970’s.

When I saw him in concert, he ran into the audience and I was lucky enough to get a great big bear hug from him.  Unfortunately, it took place at a time when cameras were still banned from concerts, so I do not have a picture of the momentous occasion.  But I relived it every time I saw him take the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theater when he made his yearly visit to “The Late Show With David Letterman” (another reason why I miss that brilliant show!!!)

Al Green:  Winter Wonderland.

I chose Green’s song specifically for today because on this date in 1964, Sam Cooke died at the age of  33.  Through the time machine that is YouTube, I came across this holiday greeting he made in 1963.  I am not sure why he recorded it.  Perhaps it was done as a radio station promotion or for his record label.  All I know is it is a gift, so Christmas came early for me.  Listen to it here.

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Sam Cooke (original source unknown)

 

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #7

Hi, Vixens!!!  How are all of you today?  Ready for another great holiday song???  Then let’s get to it.

Soul music-whether in the form of Motown, R&B, Philly Soul, Gospel or some other variation-has been a favorite of mine forever.  I love music that is consumed with so much emotion.  It reminds me I am alive and hits my soul like a bolt of electricity, which is perhaps where the term “soul music” came from-music that touches the soul.

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Original Source Unknown

So many moments hit me like that:  the first time I heard Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay“, and Ray Charles’ “America The Beautiful“, and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through The Grapevine” not to mention his absolutely sublime version of “The Star Spangled Banner“, anything at all by Aretha Franklin and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, to name a few.

And while we are on the subject of Al  Green, his version of “O Holy Night” sent shivers down my spine from the second I heard it.  Done in his signature style, it oozes personality, charm, soul, R&B and every emotion it makes you feel.  It is simply majestic!!!

I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  steppersusa.com

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #9

Song #9, like #10 before it, is also a soulful upbeat love song, but this one has the distinction of actually being the #1 hit song on Valentine’s Day in 1972.  It is “Let’s Stay Together” by another one of my all time favorite soul singers, Al Green. 

I had the honor of seeing Green in concert almost a decade ago, and he is every bit the phenomenal performer live that he is on TV when he is blowing the roof off of the Ed Sullivan Theatre during one of his numerous yearly performances on “The Late Show With David Letterman” (just one more reason to be despondent over Letterman’s impending retirement). 

Green’s remarkable voice exudes the exquisite beauty and polish of Sam Cooke, the passion and raw emotion of Otis Redding and the power and sophistication of Jackie Wilson all rolled into one.  Add to that equation one of the most sublime falsetto voices ever heard and there you have the genius of this utterly superb performer.   

He wrote the lyrics to “Let’s Stay Together” and the music was written by Al Jackson, Jr. (drummer for Booker T & the MG’s) and producer Willie Mitchell.  The words are so simple, yet so powerful and direct.   I do not know about Green’s mindset today, but when he wrote these lyrics he clearly was a man devoid of any intimacy issues:

“Let me say that since, baby, since we’ve been together
  Loving you forever is what I need
  Oh let me be the one you come running to

   I’ll never be untrue”………Simply beautiful.

Rolling Stone ranked this song #60 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.   In 1995 Green was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Natalie Cole.

In 1976 he became a reverend and nearly every Sunday he can be found giving the sermon at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, TN. The services are open to the public and even though I have seen Green live, seeing him at the pulpit of his own church is on my bucket list.

Enjoy!!!