Let’s Take A Moment Day 412

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.

Back in 1910 a man named John Hammond was born. He worked at various music related jobs including critic, record producer and talent scout for Columbia Records. He was the one responsible for signing Aretha Franklin & Bob Dylan to the label in the early 1960’s. If that was all Hammond did in his life, what a contribution that was.

But then a decade later he met a guy named Bruce Springsteen & invited him to audition for the label as well. That took place on May 2, 1972. A fifteen minute meeting turned into a two hour session & the next day Springsteen recorded a fourteen song demo. Even after all that, it took five more weeks before the label signed him. But they did & Springsteen has spent his nearly five decade career with that record company which is now owned by Sony Music Entertainment.

His music has touched my heart a thousand different times in a thousand different ways. In the process, he became one of the greatest friends I have known in my life. His three to four hour live shows have been the highlight of every year I have been lucky enough to see him. And a few years ago he conquered Broadway with a stunning one-man show about the songs that shaped his career. All the roads of his career lead back to his meeting with John Hammond & that audition nearly 50 years ago today.

All my life I fought this fight
The fight that no man can ever win
Every day it just gets harder to live
The dream I’m believing in
“.

Bruce and John

Bruce Springsteen (L) and John Hammond (R) circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen: “The Promise” (1999, 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 374

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?

March 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.

Nearly eight decades ago, the world received a queen. Aretha Franklin was born on March 25, 1942 in Memphis, TN. From her humble beginnings singing gospel in her father’s church at age 10 to conquering the world as The Queen Of Soul, from the 1960’s through infinity, Franklin was an absolute wonder in a world where there were so few.

It is hard to believe that when she started singing secular music at age 18, with Columbia Records she did not achieve instant success. It was not until she moved to Atlantic Records in 1967 that her career flourished. Today’s song was a top 20 hit in 1973 and is one of my absolute favorite Aretha tracks of all time. Happy birthday to The Queen Of Soul.

“I know there must be someone somewhere for me
Oh I lived too long without the love of someone
There’s no misery ooooooh oooh like the misery
I feel in me gotta find me an angel in my life
“.

Aretha

The Queen Of Soul circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha Franklin: “Angel” (1973, written by Carolyn Franklin and Sonny Sanders).

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.