Let’s Take A Moment Day 133

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

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

In 1962 trumpeter, songwriter, vocalist and bandleader Herb Alpert founded A&M Records with his business partner, Jerry Moss.  The name of the label came from the first letter of both men’s last names.  It took six years for the record company to have its first number one record when today’s song by Alpert hit the top spot in June 1968 for four straight weeks.  It was also his first number one song and the first for the songwriters, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  After that the record company and all three men were off for a fabulous ride.  By 1972 the label was one of the most successful in the world.

It was sold in 1999, but during its 37 year run it was home to diverse artists such as Billy Preston, The Carpenters, Peter Frampton, Procol Harum, Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf), Quincy Jones, Carole King, Barry White and a host of others.  But Alpert remains my favorite of them all thanks to his 1965 album, “Whipped Cream & Other Delights”, and today’s song thanks to his soft easy vocal and the absolutely lovely lyrics by Hal David.

My hands are shakin’ don’t let my heart keep breaking ’cause
I need your love, I want your love
Say you’re in love, in love with this guy
If not I’ll just die“.

Herb Alpert circa 1965 (R) and that year’s album cover for “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Herb Alpert:  “This Guy’s In Love With You” (1968, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David).

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 129

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

Thoreau music quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

July 21 marked the 72nd birthday of one of my favorite singers, Cat Stevens, n/k/a Yusuf.  I adore him and his music and was thrilled to see him live twice in 2014.  The first time was in April at his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and then in December at his own show in Pennsylvania.  At the HOF ceremony, he ended his three song set with today’s tune accompanied by a gospel choir and it was breathtaking.  Here’s to hoping good things are going to come.

Now I’ve been happy lately
Thinking about the good things to come
And I believe it could be
Something good has begun

Oh, I’ve been smiling lately
Dreaming about the world as one
And I believe it could be
Someday it’s going to come

‘Cause I’m on the edge of darkness
There ride the Peace Train
Oh, Peace Train take this country
Come take me home again
“.

Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens n/k/a Yusuf circa 1970.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf):  “Peace Train” (Recorded live at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony April 2014 at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY.  Originally released in 1971, written by Cat Stevens).

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 35

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

music heart

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

From the time I was a small child I have had nightmares.  Sometimes they were so bad they would wake up and then I was too scared to go back to sleep.  When I was really young and lived in the city, I would look out the window for a while before I felt comfortable enough to go back to bed.  There were two things I always saw:  one was a building several blocks away that had a flashing red light on the roof.  It became a beacon of safety for me.  As long as the light was blinking I was OK.  The other thing I saw was a giant movie screen at a local drive-in movie theatre.  Sometimes I could even see the images on the screen.  It was like my own private viewing.  Then we moved to the suburbs so when I was a teenager and needed something to soothe me back to sleep, I would turn on the small black & white television I had in my room.  Thus began my great and long standing vice of going to sleep with the TV on that continues to this day, although now it is usually watching Hulu on my laptop, but you get the general idea.

I loved being awake when no one else was.  It was like I had the whole world to myself.  I might have been physically alone while the rest of the house was asleep, but I felt secure in my little world of the TV and me.  It had been my haven since I was young, introducing me first to heroes like Mr. Rogers and the Peanuts, and later on to the soap opera families I came to love.  But when I was growing up there were usually only movies on during the late nights so that is what I watched.  Some of them were good, some of them were bad and a few of them were outstanding.  One of the ones from the latter category was Harold & Maude.  My world took a 180 degree turn the first time I saw that film.  It was an unbelievably great quirky movie.  It also had a soundtrack that was spectacular, and not just because it featured Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto 1.  I first heard that during fifth grade thanks to my teacher, Mr. Larsen.  He played classical music everyday during our history lesson.  I will love him forever for that.  But I digress.

The rest of the soundtrack introduced me to singer/songwriter Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf), who wrote and performed all the other music for the film.  I was blown away by the simple elegance of his storytelling.  Each song was so on point with the scene it was played in.  “If You Want To Sing Out” played while Harold & Maude were frolicking together, while “Trouble” played when Maude was rushed to the hospital.  A few of the songs were borrowed from Stevens 1970 album, “Tea For The Tillerman”, which unbelievably turns 50 this year.

I adore Cat Stevens.  I missed him when he left music and turned his back on that part of his life which meant so much to me and millions of other fans.  But for over a decade now he has started to embrace singing and performing again.  I remember being awake after a nightmare in 2007 and found this beautiful man singing at a Live Earth Day Concert in Hamburg.  We had come full circle.

I discovered he had released an album a year earlier and was slowly reintroducing himself back to audiences.  In 2014, I had the honor of watching his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame where he performed today’s song, “Father & Son” and “Peace Train”.  Later that year, I traveled to Pennsylvania to see him in concert for that year’s release, “Tell ‘Em I’m Gone” featuring the gorgeous “Dying To Live”.  And over the last month he has been posting messages of hope on his Facebook page to help those struggling with the self quarantine and the pandemic.  I know what music was like without this man, and I am incredibly grateful he came back, and for all the great songs he has given us, including today’s, from the Tillerman album.

You know I’ve seen a lot of what the world can do
And it’s breaking my heart in two.”

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Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf ) at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony.

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(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cat Stevens (n/k/a) Yusuf:  “Wild World” (1970, written by Cat Stevens).

I do not own the rights to anything except the 2014 HOF picture.  Everything else is just me sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasies & A Song

It still isn’t feeling much like spring yet, despite the fact that last week’s storm gave us only about two inches of snow.  And estate sales have been few and far between thanks to the weather and the upcoming Easter holiday.  I needed a break from the ballast of everyday living, so I did the only thing I could do-I went for a ride to listen to some music.  It’s like a mini-vacation for my soul.

My mind goes to so many different places as I drive, and one of the things I kept thinking about was how many artists I have been lucky enough to see in my life, but especially in the last several years because I could capture a moment of the show with my cell phone.

The quality is not the best on some of these shots, but here are several of the people I have been fortunate to see live.

Chris Isaak:

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Marc Cohn:

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Stevie Nicks (in her different looks):

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Todd Rundgren:

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The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (who celebrated her 76th birthday yesterday):

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Yusuf Islam (f/k/a Cat Stevens):

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Sir Ringo Starr:

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And The Boss, of course:

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I do not have any shows to go to yet for 2018, but with the arrival of spring and the upcoming summer, I am sure it is just a matter of time before a few I want to attend are announced.  Then I will be able to add to this picture collection.

What concerts are you hoping to attend this year?

For this week’s song, I reached back to a band that released their ground-breaking self-titled debut record, “Boston”, in 1976.  Two years later, the group released “Don’t Look Back” and it is the title song that I played over and over during last week’s car ride.   Between Tom Scholz empowering lyrics and Brad Delp’s soaring vocals, it’s hard to feel anything but unshackled and free of the past with words like these:

A new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind where I get taken
The road is callin’
Today is the day”

“It’s a bright horizon and I’m awakin’ now
Oh I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin’
The clouds are breakin’
‘Cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to play

I do not own the rights to the song.  I am just sharing something that I love with you  🙂

Until next time, happy digging!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 1

Hello, Vixens!!!  Hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday.

Now that Turkey Day is behind us and since December begins today, it’s time for me to share some of my favorite Christmas tunes with you.

December

But before we dive in, there is some other music I am loving right now that you might like also.  Some of the songs are new, some are old and some are in between.  I have been discovering new to me music through shows like “Psych” (sooooo looking forward to the  movie on December 7), “Criminal Minds”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and, of course, “This Is Us” (In this week’s episode alone, it featured the naked version of George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and Cat Stevens “Where Do The Children Play“.  Swoon x 2!!!).

I also really love the soundtrack to “Big Little Lies”.  Yes Reese, Nicole, Shailene & Laura were great, but the actress who played Reese’s youngest daughter-Darby Camp- was unbelievably impressive.  And her character’s intense love of great music -that was me at that age!!!  I was Chloe Mackenzie minus the ear buds.  My favorite song from that series?  Leon Bridges:  “River

Here are some of my other top picks of late:

Kelly Clarkson’s version of “Love On The Brain” (The original is good, too, with Rihanna  sounding very old school R&B-soul-like).

Gillian Welch:  “I Made A Lover’s Prayer “.

Andrew Bird:  “Three White Horses“.

Foy Vance “Guiding Light” and “Gabriel & The Vagabond“.

Rufus Wainwright:  “Vibrate” (Just his voice as he plays the piano with one hand.  Beautiful.).

Rufus_Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright (original source unknown)

I think I have been even more consumed by my love of music these days because it has been such a sad year for the industry with the losses of Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, Tom Petty,  Chris Cornell, Glen Campbell (he put Jimmy Webb’s songs on the map), David Cassidy (what girl did not l-o-v-e Keith Partridge) and the man with the first song on our countdown.

He was one of the early musical pioneers who helped create rock & roll by linking it to his jazz meets rhythm & blues background.  The only other Fifties-era rocker that sold more records than he was Elvis Presley.  But coming in second with 65 million records sold was no small feat.  According to his bio on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s website, he “scored more hit records than Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly put together”.  That is part of the reason why he was inducted into the HOF with the rest of the inaugural inductees in 1986.

Unfortunately, the change in the direction of music as a result of the one-two punch of the Beatles arrival in America in 1964 followed by the British Invasion brought this man’s incredible career to a screeching halt.  But even more depressing, we said a final goodbye to Antoine “Fats” Domino, Jr. on October 24 when he passed away at the age of 89.

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Fats Domino (Courtesy of Barry Peake/Rex/Shutterstock-original source unknown)

One of his musical heroes was Charles Brown who wrote and released the original version of this song in 1960.  But no one does it like the Fat Man.

Fats Domino:  “Please Come Home For 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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

 

Music Road Trip: Yusuf/Cat Stevens Concert: Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Hi there, Vixens!!!  2014 has had several high points for me (starting this blog being one of them), and two of the highest points were getting to see Yusuf/Cat Stevens live TWICE!!!

The first time was in April at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (he was one of the inductees who performed-read about that here) and the second time was Thursday night (12/4/14) at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.

Tower marquee

Photos and videos were not permitted so I do not have any to show you, but I can share that Yusuf gave an unbelievably great performance.  My favorite moment of the night was when he sang “Trouble” from the “Harold & Maude” soundtrack.  And when he sang his cover of Sam Cooke’s “Another Saturday Night” he advised the audience he changed the lyrics to reflect his search for a job, not a woman, out of respect for his wife.  What a sweetheart!!!

The first single from his new release was another highlight.  If you have not heard it-Yusuf’s stunning version of the Edgar Winter song, “Dying to Live”, listen to it here.

I can also share with you one of my all time favorite stops whenever I am on the road:  a meal at a Cracker Barrel Restaurant.  I discovered this delightful chain of comfort food, old time candy with antiques on display when I took my first trip to Vermont nearly a decade ago, and I have adored it ever since.  The food is always good, the service is always exceptional and the charming ambiance cannot be beat!!!  (These are my personal opinions from my own experiences.  I am not a paid sponsor),

On my way home to NY the day after the concert I stopped at the one in Mount Laurel, NJ during lunch time & had one of my two favorite meals there:  breakfast.

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No one makes pancakes like Cracker Barrel, in my humble opinion!!!  Delectable!!!  And I was lucky enough to get a table right near the fire, which was perfect on a cold, rainy December day!!!

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How cozy!!!

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After I ate, I took a tour of the beautiful holiday decorations throughout the store:

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One of my weaknesses is for snowmen!!!  What a great idea to use the top of one on the tree!!!

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These bobble heads are sooo sweet!!!

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One of several gorgeous trees on display!!!

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What a pretty (and big!!!) snowflake!!!  I think this would look just as pretty hanging from a ribbon in front of an inside window!!!

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Sooo adorable!!!  Love the glittery vest and pink chubby cheeks!!!!  Has a retro feel to him….reminds me of ones I saw in the front yards of homes in my neighborhood where I grew up!!!)

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I wish I had a little baby in my life who I could buy these booties for!!!

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I did not buy anything this year, but I bought this cookie jar last year (my other weakness is for gingerbread people!!!).  I was lucky to get it after Christmas so it was 50% off!!!  Steal!!!

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Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

“You say you want to start something new…..”

Yusuf Islam, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, was another 2014 inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Seeing him perform three of his classics-“Father and Son”, “Wild World” & “Peace Train”, was worth the price of admission.

After his abrupt departure from the music world, followed by some ridiculous misquotes by the press, it did not seem like I would ever have the opportunity to see this incredibly talented singer/songwriter perform live. The fact that I saw him at this show, with the Hall of Fame finally giving him his due, was too perfect for words.

Yusef is not the religious zealot the press made him out to be. In fact, the man who graciously accepted his induction from friend Art Garfunkel, was incredibly kind, humble, smart, eloquent and funny. And Yusef’s voice was and is as powerful and passionate as it ever was. The joy his music brought millions is a gift that I cannot get enough of.

The rumor is he is back in the studio working on a new album. And so this gifted musician begins another chapter in his incredible career. Welcome back, Yusef!!!