Let’s Take A Moment Day 524

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?

Aug 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 Day 389 I shared a clip of Derek & The Dominos on “The Johnny Cash Show” which aired in January 1971. It was filmed two months earlier and featured the host & his guests singing a completely sublime version of “Matchbox” together with the song’s writer, Carl Perkins. But before that glorious moment, the group performed today’s pick from their only album released in November 1970. The studio sessions for that record, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs began 51 years ago on August 22, 1970.

Eric Clapton first met the other Dominos-pianist & singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon-in 1969. They were part of the band for the American duo Delaney & Bonnie who toured with Blind Faith that year. After the break-up of his group Clapton continued playing with the duo & their band which was rebilled as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Even George Harrison joined then for a few shows. But in the spring of 1970 Delaney started firing members of the group who demanded raises including the future Dominos. .

They reunited with Clapton during the studio sessions for Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album. After that Clapton & Whitlock began serious talks about forming a band and recruited Radle & Gordon as the rhythm section. The group flew to Florida to work with engineer Tom Dowd who Clapton knew from his time in Cream. Dowd took the band to see The Allman Brothers in concert, leading to Clapton’s meeting with Duane Allman. He ended up working with the group in the studio & played on all but three of the tracks on the Layla album. It was released three months later and it is one of my favorite records of all time.

And I wonder does she know
When she left me it hurt me so
I need your love baby please don’t make me wait
Tell me it’s not too late
“.

eric & bobby

Gordon and Radle

Top: Bobby Whitlock on piano and Eric Clapton on guitar during Derek & The Dominos appearance on “The Johnny Cash Show” in January 1971. Bottom: The rhythm section of the band: drummer Jim Gordon and bassist Carl Radle. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “It’s Too Late” (Performed live on “The Johnny Cash Show”, taped November 1970. Airdate January 1971. Originally released in 1970, written by Chuck Willis).

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 389

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 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.

Many of my musical heroes predate the video channels era. Even though they embraced that new medium, performances from their earlier years were either lost or locked in some television history vault gathering dust. Then YouTube showed up and slowly over the years video clips from those early days were suddenly at hand, mostly from TV shows from eras gone by. Many of these finds were absolute gifts of gold, but one was pure platinum.

Derek & The Dominos appeared on “The Johnny Cash Show” in November 1970 & the episode aired two months later. The band was together for less than a year so the chance to see them anywhere during that time was rare enough. But the chance to see Eric Clapton between The Cream years & his solo career was just priceless. The band performed “It’s Too Late”, a 1950’s blues song they covered for their only album & it was fabulous. But it was about to get even better.

After their performance Cash came out to thank the band for their appearance. He then invited his friend & fellow Sun Records legend, Carl Perkins, to play one of his songs with them. Then he, Cash, Clapton & the rest of The Dominos played today’s track and it was nothing short of astounding. Swoon.

In September 1985 Clapton performed the song with Perkins again along with Ringo Starr during an all star concert celebrating Perkins’ career. Starr sang several of Perkins’ songs during The Beatles early days including “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby” & “Honey Don’t”. Perkins, who was born 89 years ago on April 9, 1932 in Tennessee, was a huge influence on The Fab Four, especially Starr & George Harrison.

The 1985 concert ended with a rousing performance of Perkins most famous tune, “Blue Suede Shoes”. But for me, today’s song holds the top spot in my heart thanks to this one time only performance from 50 years ago. In the words of my sweet beautiful friend, Toni: “Long live the 1970’s”.

“I’m an old poor boy
And I’m a long way from home
I won’t ever be happy
Everything I do is wrong
“.

cash show 2

Perkins and co

Top (L-R): Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton and Johnny Cash, November 1970. Bottom (L-R): Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Carl Perkins and George Harrison in 1985. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Derek & The Dominos: “Matchbox” (Performed live on “The Johnny Cash Show“, taped November 1970. Airdate January 1971. Originally released in 1957, written by Carl Perkins).

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 258

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.

November 27 marked the 78th birth anniversary of guitarist extraordinaire Jimi Hendrix. While I could appreciate how undeniably talented he was and how groundbreaking his sound was, most of his music did not hit my soul like other types did. But once I discovered the “Layla” album, I found a song by Hendrix that I truly loved. Side four track one of Derek & The Dominos incomparable album-released 50 years ago on November 9, 1970- was their cover of today’s song and it is simply beautiful.

Clapton met Hendrix in October 1966 when he came to London and joined Cream onstage at one of their shows. The two guitarists became instant friends and Clapton recorded this track four years later not long before Hendrix passed away in 1970. Of course, Clapton’s vocals got me from the first note he sang, and his & Duane Allman’s playing is absolute magic on the record, too. But at the core of this song is a melodic poetic ballad that is truly sublime.

When I’m sad, she comes to me
With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free
She says it’s alright
Take anything you want from me,
Anything
“.

Jimi Eric

Jimi Hendrix (L) with Eric Clapton (R) circa 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “Little Wing” (1970, written by Jimi Hendrix).

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 249

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.

Today marks the 74th birth anniversary of one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up that instrument, Duane Allman. Born on November 20, 1946 in Nashville, TN to a United States Army lieutenant & his wife, Duane founded the band that would bear his family’s name when he was 22. According to his website it was his younger brother, Gregg, who taught Duane to play the guitar. Gregg received one as a Christmas gift the same year Duane got a motorbike. He learned to ride, Gregg started to play after learning the basic chords from a neighbor. After Duane totaled his bike, he became interested in what Gregg was doing. Duane learned as well then sold the wrecked bike to buy his own guitar around the age of 14. The brothers decided to pursue a career in music after seeing B.B. King in concert when they were teenagers. In 1957 the family was living in Florida and by 1961 the brothers were playing together at local dances in the Daytona Beach area.

After a brief stint in a band “Hour Glass” in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Duane returned to Florida. It was around this time he met drummer Butch Trucks and fellow guitarist Dickey Betts to form the hub of what would become The Allman Brothers Band, once Duane called Gregg back to Florida as well to join the group. Their self titled debut album was released in 1969. That year Duane also did sesion work for Aretha Franklin (on her cover of The Band’s “The Weight“), King Curtis (on his cover of “Games People Play“) and Wilson Pickett (on his cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude“). It was that record that first introduced Eric Clapton to Duane’s work and eventually the two met backstage at an ABB concert in Miami during the summer of 1970. It lead to his best known collaboration, with Clapton’s band, Derek & The Dominos, while they were recording their masterpiece, “Layla &Other Assorted Love Songs”. Duane appears on 11 of the album’s 14 tracks and he & Clapton bonded for life. In his 2007 autobiography, he referred to Duane as “the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did”.

Six years ago his daughter Galadrielle Allman (who was 2 when she lost her father), wrote a book about him based on countless interviews she conducted from family, fiends, bandmates and other musicians who worked with the guitar icon entitled “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman”. It’s not that I am not interested in his life because I am. But a part of me already knows all I need to: that his playing was fierce ferocious and forever, that his band was one of the greatest to ever take a stage & together they made some of the most incredible music of any generation.

My friends tell me, that I’ve been such a fool.
But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin’ you.
Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you’ve done.
But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same,
And I can’t run”.

Duane

Galadrielle Allman In Conversation With Jim Fusilli And Special Guest Gregg Allman

Top: Duane Allman in the studio circa 1968, Bottom (L-R): Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman with her uncle, Gregg Allman at her book signing in NYC, March 2014. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Allman Brothers: “Whipping Post” (1969, written by Gregg Allman).

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 188

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.

On this day in 1969 the only album by the rock band, Blind Faith, hit #1 on the Billboard 200 chart a mere six weeks after it was released. The exemplary songs & music had a lot to do with that success, of course. But so did the fact that they were the first known “supergroup” as three of the four members had recently left their other successful bands (Ginger Baker & Eric Clapton from Cream & Steve Winwood from Traffic. Bassist Rich Grech would join Traffic with Winwood when they reformed in 1970).

The band came together when Clapton started jamming with Winwood at his house in early 1969. According to Clapton’s 2007 autobiography, Baker found out they were playing together and showed up one day to join them. Clapton admitted he was not initially happy with Baker’s arrival given how his temper came between him & Jack Bruce during their time together in Cream. But the new band developed with songs by Winwood & Clapton, a cover of a Buddy Holly tune (“Well All Right”) and Grech coming on board as the group’s bassist.

Clapton further asserted that despite the group recording an album together and eventually playing several shows, his heart was not in it to take control of the band and help give it direction, despite the others looking towards him to do so. He even refused to sing lead vocals on any songs, letting Winwood handle that task alone as the other two members did not sing. Clapton cited an ongoing problem he had throughout his life where as soon as he was in one place he longed to be in another. At that point in time he had become enamoured with the music of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends who were opening for the supergroup on the road. Clapton sat in with them on several occasions, even co-writing and recording songs with them. It was through that collaboration that Clapton would meet his three future band members of Derek & The Dominos. So as much as I wish Blind Faith stayed together past 1969, if they had, we would not have the “Layla” record. And what a tragedy that would have been.

Clapton and Winwood have played together many times over the years at various shows performing a few of Blind Faith’s songs including “Can’t Find My Way Home” and today’s pick. Clapton said he wrote it when he finally bought a place of his own in 1968, after five years of living in hotels and at other people’s homes. He had also started turning towards Christianity which led to his reference of spirituality. I love Winwood’s vocal on this track, but it is Clapton’s guitar playing, especially his solo, that puts it over the top for me.

I have finally found a place to live
Just like I never could before
And I know I don’t have much to give
But soon I’ll open any door
“.

"Blind Faith" Portrait

Blind Faith circa 1969 L-R:  Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.  Photo by Bob Seidemann. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blind Faith:  “Presence Of The Lord” (1969, written by Eric Clapton).

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 86

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?

Kerouac

(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 all of you have realized by now, I love music.  Moreover, I am in love with it.  For me, it is one of the most beautiful & most necessary parts of life.  What would our lives sound like without it?  How would we transport back in time to special moments or years in our lives without it?

I can remember where I was the first time I heard certain songs because the impact they had on me was just massive.  They were so beautiful it actually hurt to listen to them.  The first time I heard the opening guitar riff of Derek & The Dominos “Layla” I froze.  All I could think was, “what the hell was that?”  Then the second riff followed and I thought, “My God, what the hell is that?”  I managed to stagger to the edge of my bed, sat down and stared directly into the radio as if a sign was going to pop up to tell me what this unbelievably gorgeous but heartbreaking sound was that I had never heard before.  I remember having to close my eyes and take in some deep breaths because I was in sensory overload.  And this was before Eric Clapton sang.  One. Single. Note.

Decades later and I still lose my breath whenever I listen to it.  And that includes the absolutely sublime four minute piano exit with the chirping birds at the end.  No wonder Scorsese used that part of it to end the movie “Goodfellas” with.  He is an artist who appreciates the craft of a fellow artist.  There was a reason someone declared “Clapton is god” back in the late 1960’s when this song was not even an idea yet.  He is just that  insanely talented.

As much as that song impacted me, so has today’s.  It is a beautiful ballad by a man who, initially frustrated by how long it was taking for his wife to get ready for them to go out, used that time to write a love letter to her.  No grand gestures, no gifts, no sugary metaphors, no special circumstances needed.  Just the love for his wife in an ordinary moment.  Simple.  Elegant.  Breathtakingly beautiful.  Eric Clapton has single handedly given every man alive a lesson on how it is done (although one missed it as evidenced in this commercial).  Bravo to an incredibly great man.  And to this unbelievably gorgeous song.

I feel wonderful because I see
The love light in your eyes
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don’t realize how much I love you.”

Eric-Clapton 6 30 1990 Knebworth

Eric Clapton at the Knebworth Concert, June 1990.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton:  “Wonderful Tonight” (1977, written by Eric Clapton).

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

Stay well.