Let’s Take A Moment Day 191

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 one of those days I am most thankful for. It was 71 years ago today that Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen came into the world and began his ascent to become The Boss. His poetry, music, intellect, soul & heart changed the world as a whole but my existence especially as I was someone who needed a place to reclaim my hope and faith. He gave it back to me and more with every note he sang and every word he wrote. And he continues doing that today. His latest album, “Letter To You” will be released on October 23.

During his VH-1 “Storytellers” performance, Springsteen said his “Born To Run” album was an invitation to his audience to join him on his pilgrimage.  If that was true then his follow up, “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, was about letting us see even more of the truth behind the songs and life itself.  This album did not contain a block party feel good song like “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”.  Instead it had the competition of Adam & Cain, the mind numbing soul robbing existence of factory life, people living with something that they just cannot face until they “cut it loose or let it drag ’em down”, fearing the moment you finally get something you need because then “they send someone to try and take it away” and our hero in Candy’s Room instead of at the screen door watching Mary dance across the porch.  By the end of the first verse of today’s song when Springsteen asserts himself with the line,  “Pretty soon, little girl, I’m gonna take charge” all I could think was I am ready.  And swoon. 

And he does just that in today’s song by showing us how to take control of the uncontrollable moments in our lives.  It is my favorite from the album and another life lesson about how buying into what everyone tells you is the meaning of happiness is never going to work for you if you hear a voice inside you telling you there has to be more.  You just have to be brave enough to close your eyes and jump into the unknown for that proverbial leap of faith.  With Bruce, nothing seems unattainable.  He has proven that with all he has accomplished in his 50 year career. And with the sage words below I try to remember and live by everyday.  Happy birthday, Bossman.  May you see 100 more.  And thank you for everything.            

Blow away the dreams that tear you apart
Blow away the dreams that break your heart
Blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and brokenhearted
“.

Bruce Springsteen in 1978 photographed by Frank Stefanko. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “The Promised Land” (1978, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 180

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.

Six months have now passed since the pandemic came into our lives. I will refrain from using the terms that have become our new language and just say as difficult as this time has been, I am thankful for this outlet because it has given me back the magic of music. Listening to songs and artists I somehow lost track of or denied myself the joy of because I felt obligated to put others first in enabling ways or because of work or domestic monotony or anything else “I was supposed to do”. Well this time has taught me I come first-finally-and I will no longer deny that nor will I apologize for it. In the middle of a pandemic, I found me. How can I not be grateful for that? So, to quote Casey Kasem, on with the music. And a virtual road trip to clear out the cobwebs.

The voices I have heard in music have affected me in different ways. Some were subtle, some were intense and some were massive. Today’s singers fall into the last category. The first time I heard The Band, I fell in love with not one but three distinct beautiful voices-the ones belonging to Rick Danko, Levon Helm & Richard Manuel. Danko’s vocal on “Long Black Veil“, Helm’s vocal on “The Weight” (see day 60) and Manuel’s vocal on “I Shall Be Released“, with each of the other singers providing harmony on those songs, is some of the most remarkable music I have ever heard. After the original group broke up in 1976, the three singers along with fellow bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson, reformed as a band in 1983. And despite the heartbreaking loss of Manuel in 1986 to suicide after an ongoing battle with drug & alcohol addiction, the other three members carried on.

Every time I heard their music or saw one of the singers, I felt at home. I remember sitting in a movie theatre watching “The Big Chill” and doing an internal cartwheel as soon as I heard the acoustic guitar intro to “The Weight” during the breakfast scene where every one gets their running shoes. Or when I was in the same theatre watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seeing Levon Helm on the big screen as Loretta Lynn’s father, Ted Webb. Or whenever I needed to see “The Last Waltz” just one more time.

Danko died of heart failure in 1999 which is when this stunning group ended their career for good. Helm kept acting, performing and making music on his own, right up until he died in 2012 from cancer. With all three of these beautiful voices gone now, there is a place inside my soul that just yearns for them. Their contribution to music in general and my world specifically, is immeasurable, despite the efforts of others to downplay or forget their roles in one of the most extraordinary bands to ever make music.

Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City
“.

The Band 1969

The Band: “Atlantic City” (1993, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 174

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.

Early in the morning factory whistle blows
Man rises from bed and puts on his clothes
Man takes his lunch, walks out in the morning light
It’s the working, the working, just the working life“.

Happy Labor Day to all of us in the working life, whatever that entails & wherever we do it.

Labor

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen:  “Factory” (1978, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 173

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.

There was an endless array of music available in the mid 1960’s.  There were bands that were part of the the British Invasion, groups from Motown, folk artists which translated into singer/songwriters and good old pop acts.  There was also a group that was just pure soul rock and that was Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels.  Ryder, born William Levise, Jr., with his unbelievable ability to encompass blue eyed soul in his rough bellowing signature voice, is undoubtedly one of the best soul rock singers ever.  

He started singing when he was a teenager, greatly influenced by his father, also a musician.  He was the lead singer of two bands in high school and it was the second one that eventually became The Detroit Wheels: lead guitarist Jim McCarty, rhythm guitarist Joe Kubert, bassist Earl Elliot and drummer Johnny Badanjek.  Together they had several hits between 1964-1967 including “Jenny Take a Ride”, “Little Latin Lupe Lu”, “Sock It to Me, Baby!” and today’s song before Ryder left for a solo career.  Unfortunately neither he nor the band achieved the success alone they did as a group.  But together they were a force to be reckoned with.    

Ryder also has the distinction of being the last person to ever sing with Otis Redding.  The two men closed a local Cleveland TV show together with a performance of “Knock On Wood” on December 9, 1967.  It was the next day that Redding, four members of his band, The Bar Kays & their valet died in a plane crash with the pilot. 

I discovered Ryder through-who else, Bruce Springsteen-when I bought the “No Nukes” concert album in 1979 and heard his cover of what he named the “Detroit Medley”.  It included parts of today’s pick plus two other songs, “C.C. Rider” & “Jenny Take A Ride” before seguing back to the first song to close it out.  This performance, however, was not included in the movie as the powers that be chose three other Springsteen performances for the film:  “The River”, “Thunder Road” & his cover of Gary U.S. Bonds’ 1961 hit, “Quarter To Three”.  But because of Bruce I discovered Ryder & The Wheels which is yet another reason why I love The Boss.   

Wearin’ her perfume, Chanel No. 5
Got to be the finest thing alive
Walks real cool, catches everybody’s eye
Catch you too nervous and you can’t say hi“.  

Ryder The Wheels
Mitch Ryder (center) with The Detroit Wheels circa 1964.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels:  “Devil With A Blue Dress On/ Good Golly Miss Molly” ( 1966, “Devil With A Blue Dress” written by Frederick “Shorty Long and William “Mickey” Stevenson circa 1964 and “Good Golly” written by John Marascalco and Robert “Bump” Blackwell circa 1955).   

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 172

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.

As much as I loved Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Otis Redding & The Beatles while I was a teenager, there were two other people that were equally important in the soundtrack of my life:  Elton John & Bernie Taupin.  In fact, I discovered them when I was even younger because the first album I ever bought in my life was “Elton John’s Greatest Hits”.  The second single I ever purchased was “Daniel” (the first was “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrison).  Man, the roots of my love for GREAT music were sowed quite young, if I do say so myself!!!  But I digress.

I loved Elton so much I remember begging my parents to let me go see him in the movie, “Tommy”.  They agreed and he was fabulous, of course.  But I must confess I was much too young to see that film.  The music was great because, after all, it was mostly done by The Who, a great band in their own right.  But the subject matter was just too much for my tween mind to comprehend.  Two scenes in particular truly scared me.  The first was the scene with Sally Simpson, who snuck out of her house to go see Tommy in concert.  I was not a teenager yet but loved music enough to know I could not wait to go to my first concert, so I really identified with her character.  She not only made it there but she got all the way to the stage before being kicked off by Tommy’s evil step-father.  Her fall caused her to cut her face, after which she was left with an ugly disfiguring scar.  What happened next?  She married a singer who dressed up like Frankenstein.  The moral of the story I took from that scene:  When you are a pretty girl you want to marry a guy who looks like Tommy:  dreamy blue eyes, curly blond hair, in a word, gorgeous.  But when you turn into a disfigured soul the best you can hope for is a guy that looks like a monster.  Yes, it was a dark thought to have as a young girl, but it looked like a fairly straight line to me.  I wish I could have said the same about Sally’s horrendous scar.

The other scene that gave me nightmares to this day was the one with the faith healer who led the Marilyn Monroe cult.  That statue of her terrified me, especially the black slits for eyes.  And when her disciples came out wearing masks that looked like it I nearly cried.  I also remember pondering what she had to do with Nazis because (I thought) there were rows of them sitting in the church pews around Tommy and his mother.  They all had gray flannel suits on with what looked like Nazi stars on the lapels.  Even the faith healer held up what appeared to be a Nazi star with Monroe’s picture in the center of it and forced the attendees to look at it.  I wondered over and over to myself in the theatre, what the heck the connection was between Monroe and those despicable people?  I thought, was she German or brainwashed or just mean?  By the time her statue crashed to the floor after Tommy knocked it over I blocked that memory out of my mind and only relived it through the occasional bad dream.  Until quarantine, that is.

When I was looking for Elton’s performance to relive his great scene, YouTube recommended another scene from the movie, “Eyesight To The Blind”.  I could not recall that song from the film so I watched the clip.  Much to my absolute amazement, it was the Monroe scene.  I was thrilled to discover that the people I thought were Nazis sitting in the pews were not in fact from that army, just people wearing the same coats with buttons, not stars, on their lapels.  And while I am still not sure about the type of star the faith healer was holding, since it had a picture of Monroe in it my guess is it was innocuous.

What I also discovered, to my shock and horror, was that the cult was actually led by a preacher, not the faith healer.  And who was the preacher, you ask?  None other than my great musical love, Eric Clapton, who performed the song in the scene.  I had no recollection whatsoever that he was in that film.  If that is not a testament to how traumatized I was then a better one does not exist.  I did not discover Clapton until junior high when I read a book on The Beatles and he was referenced for his guitar work on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and on George Harrison’s first solo record.  To think I could have had an additional year or so with that beautiful man in my life just reopens the traumatic wounds left by that movie all over again.

But at least I got to see Elton in all his glory, from his size 1000 Dr. Martens to his diamond studded glasses to his hat with a pinball in place of a pouf.  And those fabulous looks of disdain on his face when he could not keep up with Tommy’s pinball prowess.  How do you think he does it?  I don’t know.

He’s a pinball wizard
There has to be a twist
A pinball wizard’s
Got such a supple wrist

EJ 1
Elton John as The Pinball Wizard in “Tommy”.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elton John:  “Pinball Wizard” (1975, written by Pete Townsend).

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 166

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 in 1964 Roy Orbison, nicknamed The Caruso Of Rock, released today’s track.  It would go on to become his signature song.  It hit #1 for three weeks in the fall of that year and it is a true rock & roll classic.  If you need to be reminded of this man’s genius and how effortless he made his music look, I suggest you watch “Roy Orbison & Friends:  A Black & White Night” from 1988 to see him perform with several of his fans including Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello. k.d. lang and J.D. Souther.  It is a great concert.

Many artists have covered this song.  Some not so good, some not so bad.  One of the best I think is by Chris Isaak who recorded his cover for the album, “Beyond The Sun”.  But nothing beats the original.  Mercy!

I guess I’ll go on home, it’s late
There’ll be tomorrow night, but wait
What do I see?
Is she walkin’ back to me?

Roy

Roy Orbison photographed on April 13, 1967.  John Hercock/Central Press/Getty Images.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Roy Orbison:  “Oh, Pretty Woman” (1964, written by Bill Dees and Roy Orbison).

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 165

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.

When I was growing up my dad used to listen to a doo wop show on the radio which introduced me to the voices of that genre.  One of my favorites belongs to Dion DiMucci.  Originally he was the lead singer of Dion & The Belmonts in the 1950’s who gave us songs like “I Wonder Why”, “A Teenager In Love” and “Where or When”.  They appeared on the 1959 Winter Dance Party Tour that proved to be the final appearances for Buddy Holly, Richie Valens & The Big Bopper, J.P. Richardson.  DiMucci was offered a seat on the plane that killed the three artists but declined due to the cost of the ticket, which was $36.

By 1960 he wanted to record more rock & roll oriented songs, so he parted ways with The Belmonts to start a solo career.  His hits included “Donna The Prima Donna”, “The Wanderer”, and “Runaround Sue”.  With music changing in the late 1960’s, DiMucci reinvented himself with the release of the introspective, “Abraham, Martin & John”.  DiMucci, who hails from my old stomping grounds of The Bronx, NY has also influenced one of my great musical loves, Bruce Springsteen.  He has had DiMucci on stage with him several times for collaborations on both of their songs and in 1992, DiMucci recorded a remarkable acapella version of Springsteen’s “Should I Fall Behind”.  Earlier this year DiMucci released a new album, “Blues With Friends” featuring Springsteen, his wife Patti Scialfa, fellow E Street bandmate Steven Van Zandt and several other artists.  I love when my musical worlds come together.

I heard this song on the radio last weekend and it brought back a thousand memories.  DiMucci recorded it in 1963 with The Del-Satins providing backup vocals.  It is not as popular as the other tunes written by the legendary songwriting team of Leiber & Stoller (“Kansas City”, “Hound Dog”, “Searchin'”), but it is one of my top picks from their fabulous catalog.  And my absolute favorite Dion song.

Well, my buddy come to see me to give me a tip, tip, tip
I said now listen here friend, I tell ya I’m hip, hip, hip
Why don’t ya mind your own business, close your lip, lip, lip
I know when my girl’s gimme me the slip, slip, slip“.

Dion DiMucci circa 1960 (L) and today (R).  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dion:  “Drip Drop” (1963, written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller).

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 162

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.

I have not yet finished celebrating the recording anniversary of the “Layla” album (see Day 159) only to find an even bigger milestone upon me.  Forty-five years ago today-August 25, 1975-another album that changed my life was released.  Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” is my heart.  It claimed it when I was 12 years old and has never let go.  He was 25 when it came out, and a year younger when he wrote lines like “You’re scared and you’re  thinking we ain’t that young anymore”. from “Thunder Road”.  He explained why in 2005 on VH1’a “Storytellers”:  “These songs were written in 1974, which is only two years after the end of the Vietnam War and nobody was that young anymore”.

On the same show he said this album was “his big invitation to his audience, to himself, to anybody that was interested to a long earthly journey. Hopefully in the company of someone you love, people you love and in search of a home you can feel a part of.”  So glad I went along for the ride. It was like taking the road less traveled and realizing it was the best one after all.  I will love Bruce forever.  He is home to me.

In an interview on BBC Television in 2016, Springsteen said he spent six months writing this album & six months recording it and as it went on it developed into this very big piece of music.  That is putting it mildly.  Today’s song is one of two on the album that does not feature a sax solo by The Big Man.  As much as I love to hear his signature sound, his absence is barely noticeable in this exquisite symphony.  This song is another one of Springsteen’s cinematic masterpieces that is like a six hour mini-series disguised as a six minute song.  It features colorful characters, dark imagery & tells the story of betrayed friendships in an absolutely heartbreaking way.  Every part of the song is a work of art, but if one instrument stands out, it is Roy Bittan’s piano.  His playing is astonishing.  As The Bossman has been for me virtually all of my life.  Swoon.

Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry, it don’t matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight there was nothing left to say
But I hated him and I hated you when you went away“.

BTR 1

One of the pictures taken by Eric Meola during the “Born To Run” photo session in 1975.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen:  “Backstreets” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 159

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 a huge milestone, both in my world and the music world as a whole.  Fifty years ago today-August 22, 1970-the recording sessions for the album, “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs”, by Derek & The Dominos began in Miami, FL.  Four days later, August 26, engineer Tom Dowd took the group to see an Allman Brothers Band concert.  According to drummer Butch Trucks, that was the one time he saw his bandmate, guitarist Duane Allman, nervous when he spotted the Dominos’ Eric Clapton in the front row.  After the show Dowd introduced the two guitarists and an all night jam session ensued.  When it ended, Allman asked if he could stay to listen to the recording work.  Clapton agreed on one condition:  that Allman play on the album.  He did and that is how two of the most brilliant guitar players in the world teamed up to bring us one of the most unforgettable and iconic riffs ever on the album’s title track.  Sa-woon.

I would not discover this album, namely the title track at first, until nearly a decade later, when I was about 14 years old.  But I will never forget the first time I heard it (see Day 86) because it completely changed my life and what I thought music should sound like from that point on.  But when I went to buy this masterpiece, I could not find it.  My local record store guy told me it was out of print!!!  I had no idea that could even happen!!!  Since this was years before I could drive to other stores in search of this gem, and decades before the world had the internet & ebay, I was relegated to trying to record the song from the radio.  I mostly ended up with a dozen clips of the piano coda.

A few months later, I started babysitting for a couple around my neighborhood.  The wife knew I loved music and encouraged me to bring my records over to listen to after the kids were in bed.  The first time I went there, her husband showed me how to use the stereo system and told me to feel free to listen to any of his records.  His collection consisted of 237 albums.  It was like a record store right there in the living room.  When the kids were asleep, I put my copy of “Born To Run” (BTR) on the stereo & began looking through the records which were not in any particular order.  I put several aside I wanted to listen to before coming across an album with an abstract painting of a blonde haired woman on it.  There was something covering half her face which turned out to be a bouquet of flowers.  It was very pretty but it did not have a name or title on it.

The album opened up but there were not any identifying names inside either, just a collage of pictures of people I did not recognize.  When I turned it over, I saw a picture of a guitar in the middle of the floor surrounded by an array of several other objects, but I still did not see a name.  What I did see were the album song listings below the picture.  It was a double album and when I got to side 4 track 3 & read the title, “Layla”, I said it over and over as if I was trying to convince myself it was real.  I remember thinking could there be another song with the same name other than the one I could not find because there is no way the actual “Layla” album could just fall into my lap like this, right?  Then my eye went up to the top of the back cover where I finally saw the title of the album:

LAYLA
and other assorted love songs
  DEREK AND THE DOMINOS

Layla framed

Top (L) The front and back covers of the “Layla” album.  The picture on the front,”La Jeune Fille au Bouquet” (Young Girl with Bouquet) is by Émile Théodore Frandsen. Top (R) is the inside of the album.  The bottom picture is my framed copy of the iconic album.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

I do not remember what happened immediately after that.  I might have passed out for several minutes, I might have let out a huge internal scream, I cannot really recall.  But I do recollect that my hands were shaking and I did not know what day it was.  When I regained my clarity, I was in complete denial that I had found the actual “Layla” album.  I opened it up to look at the pictures of the band again but I did not see anyone that looked like Clapton from photos I saw of him previously, so I still refused to believe my luck.  Then I took the albums out to read the song titles and saw his name credited under several of them.  Finally I decided the only way to know for sure was to put the record on and listen to it.  So I took BTR off the turntable (sorry Bruce) and put on side 4.  As I held the needle over track 3, I said a prayer that if this was indeed the real “Layla” song I had been searching for, I would never ask for anything again.  Ever.  I put the needle down, closed my eyes and held my breath.  Then I heard that unsurpassable delicious opening riff and I swooned.  And said thank you for the gift of such a sublime song, for stumbling upon this album and for everyone involved with making this musical paragon.

I stood there and listened to that one track for the next 90 minutes or so until the parents came home.  When the wife walked in she asked if I was alright because she said I was completely flushed.  I picked up the album to show her what I was listening to when her husband walked in as well.  He just looked at me, nodded and said “Clapton”.  And I nodded right back.

I asked if I could come back the next day to tape the album but he told me to take it home and bring it back next week when they wanted me to babysit again.  He also gave me his copy of “Slowhand” to take as well so I could have a Clapton double play party.  I had a new hero helping me learn more about one of my musical heroes.  It was exhilarating to find another kindred spirit who got music & all its wonder the way I did, the way the first cool autumn wind feels after the endless humid days of summer.

Once I listened to the whole “Layla” album I discovered other gems like “Bell Bottom Blues” (See Day 81), “It’s Too Late” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad“.  On that last one, Allman’s solo segues into “Joy To The World” (yes, the Christmas carol.  Give it a listen.  You hear it at the 3:45 mark of the song and it is stupendous).

The last time I babysat for that couple before I left for college, the husband gave me that album as a going away gift.  I still have it, in a frame on a wall next to the two other albums that changed my life, BTR and “Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul”.  Aside from a handful of family heirlooms, those three records would be the things I would save in the event of a catastrophe.  It’s only right.  After all, they saved me.  How could I not do the same for them?

Duane and Dominos

L-R:  Allman with Derek & The Dominos in Miami, FL 1970 (L-R):  Duane Allman, Jim Gordon (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Bobby Whitlock (piano & vocals) & Eric Clapton, center (guitar & vocals)..  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric and Duane

Clapton & Allman in Miami, FL 1970.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos:  “Layla” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon).

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 144

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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 Stevie Nicks was recording her first solo album in 1981, she used many well established singers and musicians to help her pull the project together.  Some of the players included guitarist Davey Johnstone from Elton John’s band, pianist Roy Bittan from Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and bassist Donald “Duck” Dunn from Booker T & The MG’s, among others.  The record also included not one but two duets.  The first one, “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”, was recorded with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and is a great collaboration.  Nicks wrote the other one for country superstar Waylon Jennings & his wife, Jessi Colter, but they did not end up including it on their album.  I am glad Nicks decided to record herself with Don Henley because I have been swooning over it ever since the first time I heard it.  I was lucky enough to see them perform it together when they toured the northeast many years ago, which was a real treat.  It is one of my favorite duets ever due in large part to the oh so pretty lyrics.

You in the moonlight, with your sleepy eyes
Could you ever love a man like me
And you were right when I walked into your house
I knew I’d never want to leave“.

Leather and Lace

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Nicks featuring Don Henley:  “Leather and Lace” (1981, written by Stevie Nicks).

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

Stay well.