Happy New Decade!!!

Hello, Friends.  Happy New Year’s Eve.  It is hard to believe we are on the verge of a brand new year and decade!!!  Doesn’t all that Y2K stuff seem so recent and not at all like it was 20 years ago???

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I want to thank you all for your support again this year.  I truly appreciate your love, kindness, comments and input.  This ride would not be half as much fun without all of you and that interaction.

What do you want for the new year?  The new decade?  It is so hard to think in terms of a whole year, let alone 10 of them, at least it is for me.  I want what I always want-health, happiness, love and peace for me and the ones I love & a Springsteen tour.  I also want to worry less about what will be.  To just take the moments as they come instead of getting lost in my spiraling thoughts about what might happen and what I should do to prevent what might occur, as if I have that type of control over time and space.

Rather, I want to have more faith that I am where I am supposed to be like it or not.  And that my life is what it is whether I am happy about that or not.  And maybe, just maybe, if I spend more time doing what I enjoy and love that the rest will fall into place.  And if it doesn’t, I was still able to enjoy the time in between.  I completely get the whole free will thing and how my actions have the power to change things.  But the pragmatic side of me knows that life happens so you can only do what you can do and leave the rest in the hands of fate.  As the Doors said, “The future’s uncertain and the end is always near”.  And many times the end may just be the end of the chapter, but not the book.  One may hope, right?

I wish you all the best in 2020 and beyond.  May you all have health, happiness, love, luck and  great music always.  On that note (no pun intended), here are two songs perfect for today by two incredible artists that I absolutely adore.

The McGarrigle Christmas Hour Album & Rufus Wainwright (original dates & sources unknown).

Rufus Wainwright:  “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”  (2005, written by Frank Loesser in 1947).

Rod

 

Rod Stewart:  “Auld Lang Syne” (2012, written by Robert Burns in 1788).

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

Until next time & next year, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 22

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Holiday greetings to all of you on this first day of winter!

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

I have a weakness for string arrangements in any type of music.  It began the moment I heard the absolutely exquisite introduction to Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland”.  That union of a piano and violin is just so beautiful I never recovered from that first listen.  It inspired me to learn to play the viola in junior high.  I stayed with it all through high school, then in college I took cello lessons.  It became my first love to both play and listen to.  I firmly believe that whoever coined the phrase “hauntingly beautiful” did so after hearing an unbelievably powerful and heartbreakingly elegant string arrangement, perhaps like this one from my favorite movie soundtrack of all time by composer Rachel Portman.

Today’s pick was originally done with only a piano accompaniment to the singer’s voice which made for a really lovely piece of music.  The version of the song I am using today is also a  piano/vocal combination.  But with the addition of one of the most gorgeous string arrangements I have ever heard,  it goes from lovely to utterly sublime.

Ally mcbeal

Robert Downey Jr.:  “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell in 1971).

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 2019: Day 14

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Santa and two of his reindeer join us today.  Ho ho ho!!!

Day 14.jpg

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Last Monday night the Rainforest Fund 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert took place at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.  The night featured an array of outstanding musical guests like James Taylor, Debbie Harry, the reunited Eurythmics and John Mellencamp who sang with my favorite guy and personal hero, Bruce Springsteen.  They sang “Pink Houses” and “Glory Days” together in what Rolling Stone dubbed “a rare heartland-rock summit”.  Another interesting fact about that night?  I WAS NOT THERE!!! 

It wasn’t like I did not know about the show.  I keep up with Bruce’s appearances, of course.  But the ticket prices were insanely high, and I do not have to spend that kind of money when I go to see a four hour plus show by Bruce and his ever loyal E Street Band.  That is a much better investment for my money.  Here’s to the hope that the rumors of a 2020 tour are true!!!     

So if you are not following where this is going, today’s Christmas song (and two bonus tracks) are courtesy of the Bossman.  The video is from Springsteen’s own YouTube channel.  The performance was held at The Carousel Building in Asbury Park, and since it dates back to 2010 the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, is in it.  An early Christmas gift courtesy of the Boss.

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Bruce Springsteen (original source unknown).  

Bruce Springsteen:   “Blue Christmas”  (2010, recorded live at The Carousel in Asbury Park, NJ and written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson circa 1948).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Merry Christmas Baby” (live performance from “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” circa mid to late 1990’s,.  That time frame means the entire E Street Band is there, before the deaths of Danny Federici in 2008 and Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons in 2011.  O’Brien joined the band on guitar.  The best view of him comes @ 4:33 after the other big man, Santa himself, makes an appearance.  Springsteen and his band were frequent guests since the E Street drummer, Max Weinberg, led O’Brien’s house band, The Max Weinberg 7.  Written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (1975, written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie circa 1934)

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 2019: Day 6

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

charlie brown with the tree

Courtesy of Lee Mendelson Film Productions / MGN 

Today we celebrate not just one song, but several from what is arguably the best Christmas special ever made.  Last night this holiday favorite aired for the 54th year in a row and yes, I was front and center.  It leaves me all warm and cuddly inside while hitting all the points of the season:  good will towards men, non-commercialism, listening to special holiday music with people you care about, choosing to decorate (and celebrate, for that matter) in a way that makes you happy, even if that way is not the conventional approach, knowing that anything is beautiful with a little love and the core religious aspect of what Christmas is all about.  Plus it stars some of my best friends in the universe, the Peanuts.

Linus speech

Courtesy of Lee Mendelson Productions / MGN 

Based on the successful comic strip started in 1950, the animated holiday special was commissioned and sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company which obviously knew a good thing when they saw it.  It was the first TV appearance for the Peanuts characters and catapulted them and their creator from a mere phenomenon to super stardom.  Merchandise of all kinds was created and it was not just limited to toys.  Other items like cookie jars, home decor & accessories, watches, clothing, greeting cards, lunch boxes, Pez dispensers, banks, etc. were also marketed.  You name it, it is out there.  And today it is still a billion dollar industry that all began with this special from 1965.  Not to mention its incredible unforgettable grown-up soundtrack that critic Shawn M. Haney wrote ” “introduce[d] contemporary jazz to youngsters with grace, charm, and creativity.”  If this were the only Christmas album I could listen to for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly fine with that (but please don’t tell Bruce Springsteen!!!).

Peanuts Christmas

Other Peanuts TV specials followed, as did movies, including a 3-D one in 2015.  And the comic strip also continued for the next 35 years.  Sadly it came to an end in February 2000 when its glorious creator was forced to retire due to his failing health.  He died the day after the last strip was published.  His official cause of death was cancer.  Unofficially, I think it was due to a broken heart.  We all knew from the last words of that final strip how much it hurt to say goodbye to the characters he created who became our beloved friends.  His words were ones we could all identify with:

“Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy…..how can I ever forget them?”

Thanks to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, none of us ever have to.  But how do we ever thank you, Charles M. Schulz, for the gift of our dear sweet cherished Peanuts?

Peanuts Album.jpg

Christmas Is Coming” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, vocal version by choristers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, written by Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, instrumental version by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1965, vocal by choristers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

Linus and Lucy” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

O Tannenbaum” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Skating” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Ernst Anschutz in 1824).

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!!!

A Tale Of Two Cupboards

One of the most loved & cherished collections I have is my white Ironstone.  I have been collecting it for years.  When I had a house, I used to feature a rotating group of pieces on my mantel while two of my bigger pieces were displayed in my living room.  But, I never had an area dedicated to show off my entire collection in one place.  For years I have been looking for a rustic primitive piece like a cupboard with open shelves to serve that purpose.  This month I saw two I really liked around the same time courtesy of my new best friend, Facebook Marketplace.  So, I had to make a choice.  The pictures of each cabinet are below.  I am sharing the screen shots from the FB posts for authenticity.

Here is cabinet A:

A1

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A2

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A3

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Here is cabinet B:

B1

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B2

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B3

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B4

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Both are heavy wood pieces so either one will hold the weight of the Ironstone without fear of the cupboard falling over.  Each one has a small closed off bottom area for additional storage.  And the dimensions are basically identical (78H x 42W x 10D versus 78H x 42W x 17D).  As for differences, cupboard A has three shelves framed by scalloped trim while cupboard B has two shelves with straight trim.  It also has one bottom door and a more primitive look to the whole piece.  Still both will serve the purpose I want it for and each has its own charm.  So which one did I choose?

As much as I loved cabinet B and its reasonable price of $250 (I probably could have negotiated an even lower one), it still cost more than I could spend right now on a non-necessity.  So I passed on it.

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I chose A and I only paid $10.00 for it.  So really, it was no contest.  I had every intention of paying the asking price of $15, but once I saw the cupboard in person and realized there are a good amount of cracks that need to be repaired (not just the one in picture A3 where you can see a black tape patch at the bottom of the cabinet) along with a small mildew stain in the back, the seller agreed to the reduced price.  Yes, this piece will need more work, TLC, and elbow grease than the other one.  But I was already planning to clean and paint whichever one I bought since I want the outside of the cupboard to be white.  Now I will just need to spend a little more time on repairs.  Saving myself $240 is well worth it.  I will share the cupboard transformation in another post.

15_hutch[2]

Now for a song.

This past weekend Bruce Springsteen’s movie, “Western Stars”, opened nationwide.  He has been on the talk show circuit promoting it so I got to see several clips of the film (I am going to see it on Halloween).  In one scene Bruce wishes the viewers “….a guiding light thru the dark for all your days.”  The dark he refers to is depression, which is also the subject of the album’s first single, “Hello Sunshine”.  I have listened to this song every day since its release in June because I understand what Bruce so eloquently explains about one of the saddest realities of the disease:  You cannot run away from it, and if you try, you will only leave everything else behind.

“You know I always liked that empty road
No place to be and miles to go
But miles to go is miles away
Hello sunshine, won’t you stay?”

bruce

What he has done for those of us suffering from depression has been life-changing.  When a strong powerful man speaks out about his own fight with this illness, it gives credence to the rest of us who suffer with this malady.

Reading about his struggles in his autobiography gave me hope that even when I forget what light is like, I may find my way back to it with his music and because he did, too. He is a survivor and tells the rest of us we can survive, too.  I will never ever be able to thank him for all he has given me and all his other fans, but adding this part of his story to our narrative of him is monumental.  Thank you, Bossman, thank you. And continue to stay in the sunshine. .

Bruce Springsteen:  “Hello Sunshine” (2019, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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

Until next time, happy listening!!!

Happy Autumn & Happy 70th Birthday, Bossman!!!

snoopy fall

Courtesy of Charles M. Schultz.

Fall is finally officially here.  Yay!!!

But just as important as the start of the new season is, so is the fact that 70 years ago today Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen was born.  And in case you are wondering, this is what 70 looks like on him:

Bruce on the beach.jpgOriginal source unknown. 

OK, this picture was actually taken six years ago.   But judging by his most recent album (his 19th) and its companion movie, Western Stars,  Springsteen looks just as great now.  And add to that the fact that we see him on a horse………well, say it with me:  saaaaaaaaaa-wooooooon!!!

The word is he will be touring next year which gives me yet another reason to say thank you to this incredible man.  For his words, his music, his heart and his voice.   And for Jungleland.  I cannot thank him enough for Jungleland.

So, today’s song is Jungleland.   Enjoy all 9:37 of it.  Especially the gorgeous intro.  My God, is it beautiful.

Happy Autumn, all!!!

 

 

 

A Clean Slate

Hello, Everybody!!!  Happy New Year!!!  Welcome 2019.

Don’t you just love the start of a new year?  It’s like seeing the world as a pristine canvas, similar to the way we see our neighborhood after the first snowfall of the year:  clean, fresh, pretty, still, pure.  And all you want to do is go outside and take in a ginormous cleansing breathe.  Or is that just me???

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Beautiful scene of Vermont in winter from Pinterest (original source unknown).

Of course, there will always be the unresolved problems and issues that carry over, and the baggage we all lug around with us is forever present.  But for a moment the new year feels inspiring, hopeful and exciting.  Our calendars are more empty than cluttered.  There are trips and vacations to plan, new three day weekends to enjoy, birthday celebrations to attend, days to relax all by ourselves, concerts or plays to see, road trips to take, estate sales to go to and vintage decor to swoon over.  These are the things I try to focus on more than setting myself up for failure with a bunch of ineffectual resolutions.  They just discourage me because all I do is picture myself failing again.  On the other hand, music is what has always inspired me.  And 2019 will not be any different.  So to begin this new year, I am giving myself some motivation.  And yes, I am talking about The Boss.  And two songs by him are always better than one…..unless that one song is “Jungleland”, of course.

For my first choice, a picked a song he wrote because of the change in his romantic life.  However, it also extended to the rest of his world and and how he needed to stop waiting for the future to change things but rather put the focus and work in to the now.  Great advice for all of us who forget the present is today and needs our time, our attention and our love.  Read:  me.

“Well my soul checked out missing as I sat listening
To the hours and minutes tickin’ away
Yeah just sittin’ around waitin’ for my life to begin
While it was all just slippin’ away
I’m tired of waitin’ for tomorrow to come
Or that train to come roarin’ round the bend”

But it’s a sad man my friend who’s livin’ in his own skin
And can’t stand the company
Every fool’s got a reason for feelin’ sorry for himself
And turning his heart to stone”

“These are better days baby
These are better days it true
These are better days
There’s better days shining through”

bruce

Bruce Springsteen:  “Better Days” (1992).

The next song is probably one of his most famous after “Born To Run” and by far his most well known video.  It was his first performance one and featured a woman who went on to become a “friend”.  It is a huge part of his live show-he stills pulls an audience member (or two or three, including some from his own family) on stage to dance with him-while the crowd sings “oh-oh-oh’s” in between the lines of the last verse of the song, and we go home with the chorus stuck in our heads.  I heard it on the radio on New Year’s Eve and it brought me back to the first few times I heard the song and felt incredibly inspired by his lyrics.  And, of course, The Boss is right-everything takes a spark to ignite.  Even ourselves, sometimes.  A point especially good to remember with the clean slate of a new year right in front of us.

I ain’t nothing but tired
Man I’m just tired and bored with myself
Hey there baby, I could use just a little help
You can’t start a fire
You can’t start a fire without a spark
This gun’s for hire
Even if we’re just dancing in the dark“.
bruce and his mom 2012
Bruce Springsteen and his mother, Adele, after dancing together on stage in 2012 (Photo by Kris Noyes/NJ.com).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Dancing In The Dark” (1984).

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

All the best in 2019, Everyone!!!

Until next time, happy listening!!!