Let’s Take A Moment Day 456

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?

June 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.

On June 15, 1965 Bob Dylan began recording today’s song for his sixth album, Highway 61 Revisited. It was a departure from his folk sound as this record took him into his rock music chapter. But his gift for story telling & his poetic verses were still front and center in his songs, leaving his audience to ponder the thoughts, questions & ideas he wrote about. In 2004 Rolling Stone Magazine published their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and today’s song ranks at #1. That is the power of Bob Dylan.

You used to be so amused
At Napoleon in rags and the language that he used
Go to him now he calls you you can’t refuse
When you ain’t got nothing you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now you’ve got no secrets to conceal
“.

Dylan

Bob Dylan’s 1965 rock album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bob Dylan: “Like A Rolling Stone” (1965, written by Bob Dylan).

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 441

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?

Memorial Day

(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.

Admittedly I was not much of a fan of folk music in my teenage years. I had heard a few artists from that genre & knew it was not a sound I could ever embrace. But as my love of music grew I found another artist who embraced that sound-namely, Bob Dylan. Of course I found the beauty of his words & music remarkable & realized how far reaching his influence was, especially on my great musical love, Bruce Springsteen. But who was a great influence on Dylan? One of the biggest was Woody Guthrie.

Today the folk genre is more commonly known today as “roots music” or Americana which includes the early sounds not only of folk but blues, country, rhythm & blues and rock influences. Guthrie embodied all those sounds and made them his own.

Legend tells us he wrote today’s song as a somewhat snarky answer to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” which Guthrie was tired of hearing so often on the radio in the late 1930’s. He wrote some of the lyrics in 1940 but did not do anything with the tune until he revisited it in 1944. That is when he played it for a record company executive changing the course of Guthrie’s life from a Merchant Marine to a professional musician & artist.

The melody has been attributed to a song by The Carter Family (yes, Johnny Cash’s in-laws) but Guthrie’s tune used a different structure of the earlier one. The lyrics, however, are all his. And they are quite beautiful. I remember singing this song in my elementary school music class quite often. Each time I envisioned the scenes Guthrie wrote about and dreamt of the day I could see it all. But music, like the pages of a book, made me feel as if I already had. That is the power of great art.

On this Memorial Day 2021, we celebrate this great land of ours, the great freedoms we have here because of those who paid the highest price for us to have it. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
Saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me
“.

W Guthrie

Woody Guthrie circa 1945. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Woody Guthrie: “This Land Is Your Land” (1944, written by Woody Guthrie).

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 434

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

May blog 2021

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today we celebrate another milestone birthday. This one belongs to the man with the voice that defined the 1960’s. Bob Dylan celebrates his 80th birthday today and if there was one musician who defined the decade of change, it was him. Born May 24, 1941 in Minnesota, he was only 21 years old when he released his debut album nearly six decades ago in 1962. His folk songs became anthems for a generation.

But just when people saw him as the Woody Guthrie of his generation, Dylan went electric with his music and gave us even more to think about. Along the way he influenced The Beatles especially his future Traveling Wilburys’ bandmate George Harrison, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Neil Young, Pete Townsend, all five members of his back-up group, The Band, and so many others.

Dylan’s accolades range from nearly every music award to every songwriter’s award to his Nobel Prize in Literature. With anthems like “Blowin’ In The Wind”, “Like A Rolling Stone” and today’s song, to his well known recordings including “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall”, “Positively 4th Street”, “I Shall Be Released”, “Mr. Tambourine Man”, “My Back Pages” and countless others, Bob Dylan is without a doubt one of the most important voices in cultural & musical history. Happy birthday to The Master Poet. Here’s to 100 more.

As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
“.

Dylan

Bob Dylan circa 1964. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bob Dylan: “The Times They Are A-Changin’” (1964, written by Bob Dylan).

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 292

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.

It was 50 years ago today that George Harrison had the #1 album on the US chart with his first release after the breakup of The Fab Four. All Things Must Pass hit the top spot on January 2, 1971 and stayed in that position for seven consecutive weeks. It was poetic justice for him to achieve this honor as a solo artist after years of his songwriting contributions being limited on The Beatles’ records. I adore the entire album but I especially love his vocal on today’s song which is a Bob Dylan cover.

Aside from what this album did for Harrison, it was career changing for his friend & fellow guitar master, Eric Clapton, as well. It was during the recording sessions for this album that led to the formation of Derek & The Dominos. Say it with me: Layla. Without that band, that song does not exist. Harrison’s chart topping album was a gift that just kept giving.

If not for you
The winter would hold no spring
Couldn’t hear a robin sing
I just wouldn’t have a clue, if not for you
“.

All_Things_Must_Pass_BW

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison: “If Not For You” (1970, written by Bob Dylan).

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 288

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.

Today marks the 77th birth anniversary for the bassist for The Band, Rick Danko. Born on December 29, 1943 in Canada, he was playing banjo by the time he was in first grade. By the time he was around 13, he was in a band. In 1960 he was playing in The Hawks with Ronnie Hawkins where he would eventually meet the other four members of his next group, who went on to play for Bob Dylan before going out on their own as The Band. Today’s song is from their debut album, “Music From Big Pink”.

I love this track for a few reasons. It was highlighted in a couple of exceptional episodes in two of my favorite shows. In November 1991 it was used in “The Wonder Years” (season five episode 6, “The Triangle”) and in 2003 Aaron Neville’s version was featured in “Without A Trace” (season one episode 13, “Hang On To Me”). The song was written by Bob Dylan who let The Band record it first. But mostly I love it because Richard Manuel’s lead vocal is absolutely heartbreaking & the harmony vocals by Danko & drummer Levon Helm are superb. Both men also provided the group with one of the best rhythm sections in rock & roll.

They say every man needs protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so high above this wall
“.

The Band 1972

The Band circa 1972 (L-R): Garth Brooks, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band: “I Shall Be Released” (1968, written by Bob Dylan).

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 255

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?

thanksgiving

(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.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope it is a safe enjoyable day however you choose to celebrate it.

On this holiday in 1976, The Band performed their final concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Several of their fellow musicians joined them on stage to give the group a proper goodbye including Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison & Neil Young, amongst others. It was all filmed by Martin Scorsese who turned it into the documentary “The Last Waltz” two years later. It may not have been the movie the entire group thought they were making, but there is no denying how great they sounded on every song, including today’s pick. It is from The Band’s self-titled second album, which was certified gold on November 26, 1969, only two months after it was released.

Now there’s one thing in the whole wide world
I sure do love to see
That’s how that little sweet thing of mine
Puts her doughnut in my tea
“.

The_Band_(album)_coverart

LastWaltzMoviePoster

Top: The Band’s self-titled second album (L-R): Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson & Robbie Robertson. Bottom: “The Last Waltz” movie poster from 1978. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band: “Up On Cripple Creek” (Live performance from “The Last Waltz” concert film recorded November 25, 1976. Originally released in 1969, written by Robbie Robertson).

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 252

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.

A few days before starting my last year of junior high, I went shopping with a friend to buy a new pair of shoes for the school year. My dad gave me the money to buy them and decided I was now old enough to go on my own for this yearly tradition. As my friend and I were walking through the mall, I spotted a newly opened record store. I think you know what happened next.

I went in “just to look” & inhale the fabulous rows upon rows of vinyl records in a store five times the size of the one I usually shopped in near my house. My friend grew concerned, however, when she noticed my glassy eyed stare as I flipped through the H bin and found, in all of its magnificent glory, George Harrison’s 1970 three album boxed set solo masterpiece, “All Things Must Pass”. This record had eluded me for years because each time I went to buy it either it was sold out or too expensive. And the only way I could buy it that day was to use my shoe money. My friend reminded me of the wrath and possible body cast that I would get from my father if I made such a reckless choice. But to me it was a no brainer and clearly worth the risk, so I bought the album. I could figure a way out of the hole I dug myself into later. For now, I was on a high that even my friend’s look of sheer horror could not shake me from.

She still had to buy her own shoes so off to that store we went. As I sat next to her while she tried on multiple pairs, I got lost in the reverie of my first boxed set as I read through the song listings and the liner notes. But my friend kept asking my opinion on her options so I left my happy place to offer my help. I liked her final choice and decided when I came back, I would buy the same pair. I also decided I should try them on then & there so it would save me some time on my next trip. But they did not have any size that fit me as that summer my feet turned into cruise ships. The clerk told me he could order a bigger size and it would take about a week to come in. The music gods had smiled on me. My dad would tell me to hold onto the money to pick up the shoes when they came in and with a steady babysitting gig I could earn back the cash I had spent on the album. Win win.

That night I bathed in the glory of The Quiet Beatle, The Spiritual Beatle, The Youngest Beatle. Both versions of “Isn’t It A Pity” were glorious as was the title track, “Beware Of Darkness”, the cover of Dylan’s “If Not For You”, the track he wrote with Harrison, “I’d Have You Any Time” and today’s song. It was the album’s first single released 50 years ago today November 23, 1970. It featured an array of guest performers including former Beatle Ringo Starr on drums & percussion, Billy Preston on piano and five musicians on acoustic guitar in addition to Harrison: Eric Clapton, Peter Frampton and three members of the first band signed to The Beatles’ Apple label, Badfinger (Pete Ham, Tom Evans & Joey Molland). But it was Harrison’s vocal & slide guitar arrangement that put the song over the top. And the love for the tune was universal as it went to #1 in the US, the UK and 15 other countries. This was the record that told the world that as great as he was in The Beatles, Harrison was a star all on his own.

I really want to see you
Really want to be with you
Really want to see you Lord
But it takes so long, my Lord

All_Things_Must_Pass_BW

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison: “My Sweet Lord” (1970, written by George Harrison).

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 211

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.

Four years ago today Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first time for an American citizen in 23 years. It put him in the same company with other great writers like Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner, amongst others. Dylan received this prodigious & well deserved honor “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

His road to this esteemed prize began in 1962 when he released his self titled debut album. Comparisons to one of his major influences, Woody Guthrie, were almost immediate. Dylan also drew inspiration from the blues, country music & rock & roll while he was growing up. He started playing guitar while he was in high school in Minnesota and his band covered songs by Elvis Presley & Little Richard. As much as Dylan enjoyed rock & roll music, he wanted his own music to show life in a more honest realistic way.

In 1960 he dropped out of college and soon relocated to New York City. It was there that he began performing but also where he would meet the man he called “the true voice of the American spirit”, Guthrie himself. Dylan started playing around Greenwich Village, getting great reviews for his work and playing on records by other folk singers like Carolyn Hester. It was through that collaboration that he met producer John Hammond who signed Dylan to Columbia Records. By 1962 he released his first record & legally changed his name from Robert Allen Zimmerman to Bob Dylan.

His debut album contained only two original songs but his sophomore release, “The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan” contained all his own material and the first of his many masterpieces, “Blowin’ In The Wind”. The record also included “I Shall Be Released”, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”. His third album from 1964, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” cemented Dylan’s genius & his voice as the one to articulate the social issues of the era.

He took the world from his acoustic folk music to his electric guitar sound & introduced his back-up group, The Band, along the way. He influenced everyone from John Lennon to Joni Mitchell to Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith to countless others. He has written some of the most iconic songs of the 1960’s & 1970’s and his profound words are what he is most revered and beloved for. The Nobel Prize is proof of what he has bestowed upon us all. To quote the many lines he is known for would take more than one blog post to list, so I will use one of my favorite verses from today’s song as an example of his immense talent. The phrase “national treasure” is overused sometimes, but if there is one person who defines the phrase perfectly, it is Bob Dylan.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now
“.

Dylan

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bob Dylan: “My Back Pages” (1964, written by Bob Dylan).

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 192

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 23 marked the 90th birth anniversary of the man known as “The Genius”, Ray Charles. He gave us so much spectacular music throughout his career and there is nothing I can write about him that has not already been expressed. He was one of the greats, an absolute legend, a phenomenal performer and an American treasure. And one of the best singers to take another person’s song and make it his own.

One of my favorite examples of this gift is a song he included on his 1993 album, “My World” It was written by another piano man, Leon Russell. He was another multi-talented performer who had a voice similar to that of Gregg Allman and hit those keys like Charles. Russell spent nearly 60 years playing & singing with some of the best known artists of the 20th century like Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Ike & Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Joe Cocker and so many others.

Russell wrote hit songs like “This Masquerade”, “Lady Blue”, “Tightrope”, “Hummingbird”, “Delta Lady” & today’s track. It was covered by The Carpenters, Donny Hathaway, Willie Nelson, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and, of course, Charles. His version won him his third Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1994 and brought out the heart of this song unlike anyone before or after, including Russell. But they are his words that Charles brought to life so beautifully.

I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over, remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singin’ my song for you
“.

ray charles

Ray Charles circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Russell

Leon Russell in 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “A Song For You” (1993, written by 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 175

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.

Today is the birth anniversary of Charles Hardin Holley, better known to us as Buddy Holly.  Born 84 years ago today in Lubbock, Texas, he grew up during the Depression playing the guitar with the rest of his musical family.  Another artist from the south who found his roots in country, gospel and R&B music, he was part of a bluegrass/country/rockabilly duo in high school with Bob Montgomery simply called “Buddy and Bob” (Montgomery wrote “Misty Blue” recorded by several artists including Dorothy Moore who turned it into a #3 hit in 1976).

The duo opened for Elvis Presley several times in 1955 and eventually Holly changed the direction of his sound to rock & roll.  He was discovered and signed by Decca Records soon after and the rest is musical history.  His style influenced everyone from The Beatles to Bob Dylan to Eric Clapton to The Hollies who, according to founding member Graham Nash, were named as a tribute to Holly,

There is no denying that his effect is far reaching and as influential as they come.  His sound helped define the foundation of rock & roll and his legacy continues to radiate in music today, more than 60 years after his death.  Happy birthday, Buddy Holly.

A-well rave on, it’s a crazy feelin’ and
I know, it’s got me reelin’
I’m so glad, that you’re revealin’
Your love for me“.

Holly
Buddy Holly circa 1956.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Buddy Holly:  “Rave On” ( 1958, written by Norman Petty, Bill Tightman and Joseph “Sonny” West).

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

Stay well.