Let’s Take A Moment Day 248

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.

It’s funny how certain dates follow people throughout their lives. For example, on November 7, 1972 The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler’s debut album, was released. Not only did it get a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year but Midler won the Best New Artist Award for that record. On the same date in 1979, Midler’s movie, “The Rose” came out. It gave her a top five hit with the song of the same name (Day 50) and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

I cannot remember the first time I saw Midler. I believe it was on a TV variety show before I saw an HBO special of hers based on her nightclub act from the 1970’s. But that is the one that stuck. I was completely taken with her voice, her fearless & commanding stage presence and her comedy. And as fabulous as the up-tempo songs were, it was the ballads that completely captivated me. When I heard her debut album, I fell in love with her cover of one of Leon Russell’s most beautiful songs. It was co-written by Bonnie Bramlett of “Delaney & Bonnie” fame who sang the original version in 1969 featuring Eric Clapton on guitar. Swoon.

This song was a hit for The Carpenters in 1971 and it was that interpretation that led to Chris Farley and David Spade’s unbridled emotional sing along in the 1995 movie, “Tommy Boy”. Karen Carpenter’s version is heartbreakingly beautiful without a doubt, but with the increased tempo of the chorus you are given a chance to breathe. Midler’s cover just crushes you from start to finish. It is not just her sadness that is palpable but her agony as well, especially by the end of the track. It is simply sublime.

Long ago, and, oh, so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here, it’s just the radio
“.

Bette

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bette Midler: “Superstar” (1972, written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell).

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 108

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.

Percy Sledge’s songs personified what music critic Dave Marsh called “emotional classics for romantics of all ages”.  Sledge’s biggest hit has been around for over 50 years and despite excellent covers by fans like Gregg Allman, The Guess Who’s Burton Cummings and Bette Midler in the movie “The Rose”, it is the original that people still want to hear.

When a man loves a woman
He can do her no wrong
He can never want
Some other girl.

Percy Sledge

Percy Sledge circa 1966 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Percy Sledge:  “When a Man Loves a Woman” (1966, written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright).

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 92

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.

When Bruce Springsteen released his live album, “1975-1985”, the last song on the three CD set was “Jersey Girl”.  I would have sworn on everything I had that he wrote it.  But when I checked the credits, there appeared a different name:  Tom Waits.  I was shocked it was not a Springsteen original and curious to learn as much as I could about the songwriter.  Like The Boss, Waits was inspired by Bob Dylan.  Waits first album (“Closing Time”) came out in 1973 to critical acclaim and garnered him an underground following.  He collaborated with his then girlfriend Bette Midler on the 1977 song, “I Never Talk To Strangers”.  By 1980 he moved from a jazz sound to one featuring blues, rock and experimental/alternative sounds.  His 1985 release, “Rain Dogs” includes the song “Downtown Train” which was a hit for Rod Stewart in 1989.

Jay Pritchett (Ed O’Neill’s character on “Modern Family”) described Waits’ rough gravelly voice as ugly and beautiful at the same time.  To me it is just beautiful, like a rusty patina on an old metal sign.  It adds such a strong tone to today’s song which is another one of those hauntingly beautiful numbers thanks to that voice, an absolutely resplendent string arrangement and his talent for storytelling using colorful, expressive & detailed lyrics.  I am grateful to Springsteen for so many things, and introducing me to this poet of a man is one of them.

And it’s a battered old suitcase to a hotel someplace
And a wound that will never heal
No prima donna, the perfume is on
An old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
And goodnight to the street sweepers
The night watchman flame keepers and goodnight, Mathilda too.”

Tom Waits

Tom Waits circa 1985.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Tom Waits:  “Tom Traubert’s Blues” (1976, 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 50

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.

Bette Midler is so accomplished she is capable of singing anything.  But when she performs a ballad, she is glorious.  Along with cleaning up parts of NYC with her New York Restoration Project and sending Johnny Carson’s show off into that good night, I think this is one of The Divine Miss M’s best moments.

When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.”

 

Bette-Midler1
(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bette Midler:  “The Rose” (1979, written by Amanda McBroom).

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 2019: Day 5

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

More music and vintage Christmas card goodness to share with you today.  I think candles are very peaceful to look at, even when they are in a picture.

day 5

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Today’s song was written by a man many only saw as a comedian, but he was so much more.  He was a writer, an actor, a radio personality, a musician and a composer.  A year after he wrote today’s song he co-created and became the first host of  “The Tonight Show” in 1954.  Hard to think about American culture without late night television.

It would be even harder to imagine our world without the artist who performed the tune we celebrate today.  A New Orleans native, he practically invented the sound we now associate with that part of the country:  a blend of jazz, creole, the blues and anything else that might sweeten the pot.  He mastered the trumpet & coronet before he began singing as well.  His distinctive  rough, gravely voice was the complete antithesis of what was popular in a generation of crooners.  But his innovate vocal scat technique not only influenced them but taught them more about the power of their own voices.  And if there is one song in existence that almost everyone would agree is a masterpiece, it is probably this man’s  version of “What A Wonderful World“.

Louis Armstrong

Louis Armstrong:  “Cool Yule” (1953, written by Steve Allen in 1953).

And for a fun female celestial take on this song,  listen to the one by The Divine Miss M.

Bette

Bette Midler:  “Cool Yule” (2006, written by Steve Allen in 1954).

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!!!

My Top 10 Halloween Songs

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

mantel

Courtesy of Pinterest & ehomedecors.com (original source unknown)

You know for me it is all about the music, so I could not let this holiday pass without honoring it with my favorite songs (in no particular order), which are guaranteed to put you in a  Halloween mood.

1.  “I Put A Spell On You” (1956, written by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins).

 

bette

(Original source unknown)

The songwriter’s own version from 1956 is a powerful number all on its own.  But, there are several unbelievably intense & stunning covers you cannot miss by Nina Simone (1965), Annie Lennox (2014), Them featuring Van Morrison (1966), Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968), Chaka Khan (2019) and of course, Winifred Sanderson a/k/a  Bette Midler (1993) from the film “Hocus Pocus”.

2.  “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones (1968, written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards).

Rolling Stones

(Original source unknown)

From the opening beats of the congas combined with Jagger’s first scream, the Stones pull you into this masterpiece and refuse to let you go.  And honestly, you would not want to leave anyway.  There are several covers out there by respectable artists, but compared to the original they really are not even worth mentioning.

3.  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – The Charlie Daniels Band (1979, written by the Charlie Daniels Band). 

charlie daniels

(Original source unknown)

A fantastically fun song.  But how can a song about the devil be fun, you ask?  Just include a contest with a human, a ,smoking hot fiddle player and lyrics like “Chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough, Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no!” and you are all set.  Personal note:  This song is featured in one of my favorite episodes of “The Drew Carey Show” (season 2, episode 5:  “The Devil, You Say”) guest starring Grant Shaud (“Murphy Brown’s” Miles Silverberg) convinced he is the prince of darkness in the living flesh.  Watch it if you can find it.  I couldn’t. 

4.  “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon (1978, written by Warren Zevon, LeRoy Marinell & Waddy Wachtel).

warren zevon

(Original source unknown)

Zevon referred to this as a novelty song, and if that is so, it is undoubtedly one of the best of all time.  How could it not be with an opening line like “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand”.  Wouldn’t that make a great costume???!!!  Adam Sandler did a more than respectable cover of this song on the 2004 Zevon tribute album, “Eat Every Sandwich”.  And you thought Sandler only sang about Hanukah!!!

5.  “Spooky” –Atlanta Rhythm Section (1979, written by Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr,)

ARS 1

(Original source unknown)

I adored this band from the first time I heard “So Into You” but fell in L-O-V-E with them thanks to “Imaginary Lover“.  It still makes me swoon.  But I digress.  Two members of the group, Dean Daughtry and James B. Cobb, Jr-who were previously members of the band which first recorded this song, the Classics IV-decided to record another version with their new group.  Two other versions you cannot miss are by Joan Osborne   (1998) and Dusty Springfield (1970).

6.  “Season of the Witch” – Donovan (1966, written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips).

scary stories

(Original source unknown)

I am not a fan of folk Donavan, but psychedelic rock Donavan is a different story.  The music is undeniably from the late 1960’s but his vocals transcend the era.  There is some weight and a whole lot of feeling behind them that keeps up with the music perfectly so as not to be outdone.  If you can forgive the one dated reference to beatniks, you can enjoy this song anytime, but it is perfect for this time of year.  Al Kooper & Stephen Stills’ cover is a guitar & brass spin on the original and is absolutely worth a listen.  And if you are planning to see the movie “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”  you will hear a new version of the song by Lana Del Ray which is very well done.

7.  “Black Magic Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (1968, written by Peter Green).

Peter Green

(Original source unknown)

If you are a fan of this band you know they formed years before Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks joined them.  Peter Green was one of the founding members of the group  and wrote and recorded this song with them in 1968.  Prior to Fleetwood Mac he was a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, joining them to fill the void left by Eric Clapton’s departure.  This song became more famous when it was covered by  Santana  in 1970 which featured Gregg Rolie on vocals.  He went on to join Journey, leading to him being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with each band.

8.  “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder (1972, written by Stevie Wonder).

stevie 1

(Original source unknown)

The lyrics may evoke fear and trepidation, but the music is nothing but mesmerizing, from the opening drum beats to the synthesizer bass to the tenor sax and more.  It is a banquet of sounds that, as the line goes, keeps you in a daydream.   For an equally funky version, give Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s version from 1986 a listen.  It does not disappoint.  Wonder even participated in the video for Vaughn’s version by appearing at the end and singing a line from the song……..with a black cat in his arms.  Fabulous.

9.  “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Denmark & Winter  (2016, written by Buck Dharma).

denmark

(Original source unknown)

Of course, Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 original version is a classic, and that was years before the SNL cowbell skit.  But the indie band’s evocative stripped down version with its slower pace brings this song to a whole new level of intensity and beauty.

10.   Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers (1962, written by Bobby Pickett & Lenny Capizzi). 

MonsterMash

(Original source unknown)

How can this not be on the list???  It is the embodiment of the holiday AND it has Darlene Love on backing vocals!!!  I grew up listening to this song every Halloween season thanks to my mom.  She would play it over and over again while we danced around the living room.  That is how I learned you are never too old for this holiday.  Two cover versions that are almost as popular as the original are by Vincent Price (1977) and Alvin & the Chipmunks ( 1994).     

Honorable mention:  “Psycho Killer” – The Talking Heads (1977, written by the Talking Heads).

Once the little hairs on the back of your neck relax after taking in the title of this song, the rest of your body becomes entranced by the remarkable baseline underscoring Byrne’s vocals in English and French punctuated by his fa-fa-fa’s.  Just genius.

What songs do you love for Halloween?

I hope your holiday is filled with more treats than tricks!!!

i got a rock.jpg(Courtesy of Charles M. Schulz/United Feature Syndicate)   

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

Until next time, happy listening!!!

 

25 Days of Christmas Music 2018: Day 5

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

Christmas day 5

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I love duets.  Always have.  There is something so special about two voices coming together.  They can be from opposite ends of the spectrum, like in the case of Bing Crosby & David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth”  or two women from two different eras like Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler on “Sisters“ or male/female like today’s song pick.  He’s a crooner who sings with big band sounds and she is a country superstar who writes (or co-writes) most of her own songs.   The musical arrangement for this duet is based on the Drifters version (which was featured in “Home Alone”) but also features some powerful horns which puts it on a level all its own.  It’s hard to believe that an Irving Berlin song from 1941 which is one of the most recorded songs in history can still be given a different spin after all these years.

Buble

Michael Buble & Shania Twain:  “White Christmas“.

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 Songs: Day 6

 

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

img_18331

I have been a fan of this woman’s since I was a kid.  After Aretha Franklin, she is my favorite female singer.  From the first time I heard “You’re No Good” I was hooked and never looked back.  After that came album after album of original music and covers of songs written by the likes of Warren Zevon (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”), Smokey Robinson (“The Tracks of My Tears”), Chuck Berry (“Back In The USA”). Holland-Dozier-Holland (“Heatwave”), Eric Kaz & Libby Titus (“Love Has No Pride“-my absolute favorite version of this song), Phil Everly (“When Will I Be Loved”), Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (“Tumbling Dice”) and many others.

Despite being called “The Queen of Rock”, she has sung practically every type of music imaginable-rock, pop, country (I adore her “Trio” albums with Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris), jazz, big band/standards (with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra) and Mexican.  She was also in one of my favorite movies ever (“FM”) and on Broadway (in “The Pirates of Penzance”).

MSDPIOF EC025
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Linda Ronstadt, 1983, (c)Universal

She retired in 2011 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.  She did not appear at the ceremony due to her announcement a year earlier that she could no longer sing as a result of Parkinson’s Disease.  Such a sad ending to her unbelievably powerful voice, enormous talent and incredibly lustrous career that earned her 11 Grammy Awards, 3 American Music Awards, 2 Academy of Country music Awards and many other accolades.

linda-ronstadt-580

Linda Ronstadt circa 1975 (original source unknown).

Before her HOF induction, Rhino Records put together a collection of duets with some of her previous collaborators and influences, many of whom happen to be some of the top female voices in history and several more of my favorites.  Two of the songs are covers from the movie “White Christmas.  I already love her solo version of  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“, but now I have added the two movie songs to my list.  One has nothing to do with Christmas, but since it was in the movie, I believe it qualifies for the countdown.

Linda Ronstadt and Rosemary Clooney:  “White Christmas

Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler:  “Sisters“.

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!!!