Let’s Take A Moment Day 249

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 marks the 74th birth anniversary of one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up that instrument, Duane Allman. Born on November 20, 1946 in Nashville, TN to a United States Army lieutenant & his wife, Duane founded the band that would bear his family’s name when he was 22. According to his website it was his younger brother, Gregg, who taught Duane to play the guitar. Gregg received one as a Christmas gift the same year Duane got a motorbike. He learned to ride, Gregg started to play after learning the basic chords from a neighbor. After Duane totaled his bike, he became interested in what Gregg was doing. Duane learned as well then sold the wrecked bike to buy his own guitar around the age of 14. The brothers decided to pursue a career in music after seeing B.B. King in concert when they were teenagers. In 1957 the family was living in Florida and by 1961 the brothers were playing together at local dances in the Daytona Beach area.

After a brief stint in a band “Hour Glass” in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Duane returned to Florida. It was around this time he met drummer Butch Trucks and fellow guitarist Dickey Betts to form the hub of what would become The Allman Brothers Band, once Duane called Gregg back to Florida as well to join the group. Their self titled debut album was released in 1969. That year Duane also did sesion work for Aretha Franklin (on her cover of The Band’s “The Weight“), King Curtis (on his cover of “Games People Play“) and Wilson Pickett (on his cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude“). It was that record that first introduced Eric Clapton to Duane’s work and eventually the two met backstage at an ABB concert in Miami during the summer of 1970. It lead to his best known collaboration, with Clapton’s band, Derek & The Dominos, while they were recording their masterpiece, “Layla &Other Assorted Love Songs”. Duane appears on 11 of the album’s 14 tracks and he & Clapton bonded for life. In his 2007 autobiography, he referred to Duane as “the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did”.

Six years ago his daughter Galadrielle Allman (who was 2 when she lost her father), wrote a book about him based on countless interviews she conducted from family, fiends, bandmates and other musicians who worked with the guitar icon entitled “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman”. It’s not that I am not interested in his life because I am. But a part of me already knows all I need to: that his playing was fierce ferocious and forever, that his band was one of the greatest to ever take a stage & together they made some of the most incredible music of any generation.

My friends tell me, that I’ve been such a fool.
But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin’ you.
Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you’ve done.
But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same,
And I can’t run”.

Duane

Galadrielle Allman In Conversation With Jim Fusilli And Special Guest Gregg Allman

Top: Duane Allman in the studio circa 1968, Bottom (L-R): Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman with her uncle, Gregg Allman at her book signing in NYC, March 2014. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Allman Brothers: “Whipping Post” (1969, written by Gregg Allman).

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 158

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.

In the fall of 1991, I saw a fabulous movie that celebrated one of my favorite genres of music:  The Commitments.  It is a story of a hastily put together soul music band in Dublin, Ireland as an easy get rich & famous scheme by music lover/band manager, Jimmy Rabbitte, played by Robert Arkins.  The lead singer of the group was played by Andrew Strong, who was only 17 when the movie was being filmed.  What a voice.  The movie was directed by Alan Parker, who died last month at the age of 76 (Some of his other films include “Fame”, Midnight Express” and “Pink Floyd:  The Wall”).

The most well known member of the cast is probably guitarist, vocalist & songwriter Glen Hansard.  He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008 with musician, vocalist & songwriter Marketa Irglova for the achingly beautiful song, “Falling Slowly“, from the 2007 movie, “Once”.  Later Hansard appeared on the show “Parenthood” when he used The Luncheonette recording studio where Adam & Crosby worked (Wow, I really miss that show.  Sigh.).

I knew all the songs The Commitments performed except one.  But it was beautiful with a fantastic horn arrangement and I immediately became obsessed.  So I bought the soundtrack CD and set out to learn everything I could about it.  Since this was 1991 that meant going to that year’s internet, the public library.  The songwriters, Dan Penn and Chip Moman, also wrote Aretha Franklin’s hit, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” together, and individually they wrote songs for other artists as well.

The first singer to record the song was James Carr, who was rejected by Stax Records but eventually was signed to a small Memphis, TN label, Goldwax Records, in 1964.  They believed he could be their Otis Redding.  He was a great singer, but to me, he sounded more like Percy Sledge.  But Goldwax shut down in 1969 after only five years in business, so Carr tried recording at a couple of other labels.  However, he suffered from bipolar disease and it frequently affected his ability to perform live, so his career languished throughout the 1970’s & 1980’s.  He did enjoy a career resurgence in 1991 after he released a new album when Goldwax was revived.  Carr performed at local musical festivals for the next couple of years before releasing another album in 1994.  But soon after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died from the disease in 2001 at the very young age of 58.

He did, however, leave us his fantastic recording of today’s song.  It was eventually covered by Sledge himself and other superstars like Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello and the group, The Flying Burrito Brothers.  How I never heard this song before the movie is a complete mystery to me, but I am unbelievably thankful for finding it and its original incredible singer.

At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Living in darkness to hide our wrong
You and me, at the dark end of the street“.

James Carr
   (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Carr:  “The Dark End of the Street” (1967, written by Dan Penn and Chip Moman).

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 125

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.

Today’s song has been covered by a myriad of artists including Robert Plant, The Four Tops, Bob Seger, Johnny Cash (as a duet with his wife, June Carter Cash) and Leon Russell, and all of them are great versions.  But my favorite one was recorded by Walden Robert Cassotto, better known by his stage name, Bobby Darin.  It was a top ten hit for him in 1966.  If you are not too familiar with Darin, it is very easy to write him off as a novelty act because of his first hit song, “Splish Splash”.  But make no mistake, he was an excellent musician playing guitar, piano and drums.  He also wrote and recorded songs in all different types of musical genres including pop, rock & roll, jazz, swing, country & folk.

That is how he took us from “Dream Lover”, “Mack The Knife” and “Beyond The Sea” in the 1950’s to today’s song and “Simple Song of Freedom” in the 1960’s.  He began his career as a songwriter at The Brill Building in NYC, the same place where Carole King & Gerry Goffin started.  It was there that Darin met & was signed by record executive Ahmet Ertegun, who discovered people like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton (when he was in the band, Cream), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Led Zeppelin.  I think Darin’s vocal has a haunting sadness in it that just resonates throughout today’s song.  And with superb lyrics by songwriter Tim Hardin and a beautiful arrangement, this tune just had everything it needed to be something both remarkable & unexpected all at once.

Save my love through loneliness
Save my love for sorrow
I’ve given you my onlyness
Come give your tomorrow.”

Bobby-Darin-The-Direction-Albums-

Bobby Darin circa 1969.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bobby Darin:  “If I Were A Carpenter” (1966, written by Tim Hardin).

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 122

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.

Yesterday, July 15, marked another rock & roll birthday as Linda Ronstadt celebrated her 74th.  Her voice was one from two female singers that have followed me throughout my entire life-the other belonging to Aretha Franklin.  While no one can match The Queen of Soul, Ronstadt comes closer than anyone.  Her strong powerful voice, her multi-octave range, her musical diversity and her string of hits from the 1960’s through the 1990’s is what gives her that unique status.

And when I was obsessed with all things radio in 1978, she was featured in one of my favorite movies of all time, “FM” (think of a slightly darker “WKRP In Cincinnati” without Loni Anderson or that catchy theme song).  Ronstadt sang three songs in the film, “Tumbling Dice”, “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” & “Love Me Tender” during a concert that was broadcast live over the radio station featured in the movie.  It was a terrific scene because she is a great singer who gave us a fabulous catalog of music to enjoy forever.  She is also the one who introduced The Eagles to the world as they originally began their careers as members of her back-up band.  But they were on their own by the time she took today’s song to number one in February 1975.

Linda Ronstadt            Linda Ronstadt circa 1972.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt:  “You’re No Good” (1974, written by Clint Ballard Jr.).

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 91

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?

Kerouac

(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.

Ladies & Gentleman, all hail the Queen.  Dedicated to the men & women in law enforcement around the country who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.

SONY DSC

Aretha Franklin at the Jones Beach Theatre circa 2010.  Photo credit:  Michele Antonio 

Aretha Franklin:  “Respect” (1967, written by Otis Redding).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 36

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?

music heart

(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.

We have been taught that nothing is perfect.  Perhaps, but I think many songs have a near perfect vocal.  Examples that come to mind include Frank Sinatra on “My Way”, Otis Redding on “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Elvis on “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Aretha Franklin on “Respect”.  But every now and then, an almost perfect vocal performance comes out of nowhere and hits me like a tsunami.  That is exactly how I felt when I heard today’s song for the very first time.  And it’s been knocking me down ever since.

It was written by Elvin Bishop, a guitarist who was an original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the 1960’s.  He left to form his own group in 1968 and played alongside such notable acts as the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and John Lee Hooker.  Bishop also sang but when he was recording his 1975 album, “Struttin’ My Stuff”, he did not think his voice was polished enough to record today’s song.  So, he asked one of his backup singers, Mickey Thomas, to do it.  The result was epic.

His vocal delivery, the soul in his voice and the power behind it were as close to perfect as one could hope for.  And added to Bishop’s guitar riffs, great lyrics and sublime arrangement turned this song into a powerhouse hit of the 1970’s.  It went on to become a rock classic and earned Thomas the lead singer spot with Jefferson Starship after original member Marty Balin’s departure.  Thomas may not be as well known as other blue eyed soul greats like Michael McDonald and Daryl Hall, but there is no denying the contribution he made with this song.  This is only my opinion but I believe a great soulful rock vocal  does not get much better than this.

 

Elvin Bishop & Mickey Thomas (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elvin Bishop:  “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” (1975, written by Elvin Bishop).

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 28

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?

music heart

(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’s song is less than three minutes long but the first time I heard it my whole life changed.  And every time I have heard it since I am overwhelmed by two very distinct emotions:  sheer utter joy and deep heartbreaking sadness.  I am elated that Otis Redding was here on earth, albeit too briefly, to give us every recording we have of him.  But I am unbearably sad that he died at the age of 26.  Of all the artists who died young, I believe his was the most tragic.  Not only because we lost his immense talent, but because he left a young wife and three small children behind.  The four of them have worked tirelessly for the last 50 years to keep his music and legacy alive.  However, even without those efforts, the legend of the man crowned “The King of Soul” is not one that could ever be erased, despite the fact that his career lasted only five short years.

Redding wrote many of his own songs and gave one of them to Aretha Franklin who turned “Respect” into a monster hit and eventually her signature song.  He began writing today’s song a few weeks after his renowned performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967.  He went on to write the rest of the music and lyrics with his friend Steve Cropper, the guitarist for the group, Booker T & the MG’s.  However, Redding was still working on ideas for additional vocals for the record when he died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967.  So the task of completing the song fell on Cropper who did so despite his own grief over his friend’s death.  The result became a number one song in March 1968 and one of the greatest recordings of all time.  It holds the number two spot on my top ten list of favorite songs of all time.

Otis Monterey

Otis Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival June 1967 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding:  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” (1967, written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper).

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 11

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?

music heart

(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 was having trouble trying to decide which song I would share from this legend since anything she ever sang was perfection.  But yesterday the answer was clear that I had to share her version of a famous beautiful Italian aria.

I decided that after witnessing the people of Italy giving us yet another glimpse into their indomitable spirit with a new heartfelt show of solidarity.  This time it was not from their balconies but in the sky from their air force.  A group of planes soared overhead complete with a smoke display in the colors of the country’s flag accompanied by opera legend Luciano Pavarotti’s recording of “Nessun Dorma”.  Let me just say I have always been proud to be an Italian-American but never more than in these past few weeks. A lot of individuals like to make themselves honorary Irish people on St. Patrick’s Day, so how about becoming honorary Italians for a little while and follow their lead in how brave and resilient they are in continuing to handle the pandemic? I know it’s scary and difficult but Iet’s try to stay strong together.  Forza.

Italian flag

The song is from the opera “Turnadot” written by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini.  It became Pavarotti’s signature song (and subsequently Italy’s anthem) after his 1972 recording of it was used by the BBC as the theme for the 1990 World Cup.  He performed it twice on the eve of the games during a concert by the Three Tenors. The first time it was as a solo and the second was as an encore with the other two singers. Pavarotti was supposed to perform it at the 1998 Grammy Awards after he received his Living Legend Award.  Unfortunately he had to cancel that appearance at the last minute due to a severe cold.  That is when this woman stepped in-on a moment’s notice-to sing it instead.  And the rest, as they say, was history.  But what else should we expect from a queen?

This past Wednesday (March 25)  marked what would have been her 78th birthday  Happy birthday, Aretha.  We miss you.  Love, the world.  And to Italy, Ti Amo.

Aretha

Aretha Franklin at the 1998 Grammy Awards (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha Franklin: “Nessun Dorma” (performed at the 1998 Grammy Awards, written by Giacomo Puccini circa 1924).

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

Stay well.

Thrifted Finds Friday & A Shout Out To Galentine’s Day

This week I was finally able to cross off a bucket list item with the purchase of this vintage angler’s creel for $8.00.

creel A

I love baskets and the shape of this one has always appealed to me.  And the handle makes it easy to display.

creel one

I think the size is perfect also.  Not too big, not too small, just right.  And the square opening gives it even more interest and usefulness.

creel 3

I originally wanted one for my bathroom to hold my blow dryer and hair brushes.  But now I am considering putting it on the back of my entry door or on a peg rack near the door as a landing place for keys, mail or to hold books/dvds to return to the library.

creel 4

If you sew, knit or crochet you could use one of these baskets to hold all those supplies.

Have you thrifted any bucket list items recently?  I would love to see your finds.  Please share them with me in the comments or tag me on Facebook or Instagram.

Now for a song (actually three songs).

Valentine’s Day is not just about romantic love.  It’s a day to honor all the love in your life.  Love of any kind is something special and should be celebrated.  Just like Thanksgiving has evolved into Friendsgiving for some, women choosing to celebrate with their favorite girls refer to this as Galantine’s Day (thank you, Queen Amy Poehler!!!)

Amy Poehler

Amy Poehler (courtesy:  NBC/Parks and Recreation).

So this first song recognizes the women we are honored to share our lives with.  On an interesting side note, at 4:04 of the video, Annie Lennox states “Equal pay, hear what we say”.  Sadly, we are still waiting for that 35 years later.

Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin:  “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” (1985, written by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart in 1985).

Courtesy:  Disney/Pixar

For the romantics celebrating love on any day here are two songs to help you with that, one from the male perspective and the other from the female one.  The first song combines a gorgeous string arrangement with one of the greatest lead singers to come out of Motown.  The second is by a female who has won every award and accolade because of her incredible voice, and her delivery on this song just underscores her talent.  Plus, it was written by a an incredibly prolific songwriter who gives us a piece of herself with every word she writes.

The Four Tops:  “I Believe In You And Me” (1983, written by Sandy Linzer and David Wolfert in 1982).

Celine Dion:  “If You Asked Me To” (1992, written by Diane Warren in 1989).

I do not own the rights to the music.  I am just sharing what I love with you.

Until next time, happy listening!!!