Let’s Take A Moment Day 356

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.

In July 1983 Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard had a #1 hit with their version of today’s song. Emmylou Harris released her own version in 1976. I did not hear either of them until after I discovered the original 1972 version by the songwriter himself, Townes Van Zandt. He is another one of those obscure but legendary cult heroes who wrote several notable songs made famous by many artists in & out of the country genre. But he never achieved a successful performing career of his own due to his lifelong battle with mental illness and addiction.

He was born 77 years ago on March 7, 1944 in Texas. He started playing guitar by age 12 after he was inspired by an Elvis Presley TV performance. When Van Zandt was in college the first signs of alcoholism & depression emerged, leading to his bipolar diagnosis which prevented him from being accepted into the Air Force. A course of insulin therapy treatments impaired his long term memory. By 1965 he gave up a stint in law school for a career in music.

Van Zandt was writing songs steadily between 1968 and 1973 and was considered a rising country star., but that path was marred by addiction. Even so by the end of the decade he had achieved cult figure status for his poetic songs of sad tales featuring various characters and the worlds they lived in. In addition to Harris’ cover of today’s song, she also recorded his tune, “If I Needed You” as a duet with Don Williams in 1981 which became a top ten hit.

In 1990 Van Zandt toured with The Cowboy Junkies & supposedly turned down several invitations to write with Bob Dylan, who was also a fan. But despite those successes, Van Zandt’s career never moved past the dive bar circuit because of his substance abuse struggles & his ongoing mental health issues. He died in 1997 at the age of 52 from health problems related to his addictions. .

I chose a live version of today’s song because unlike the studio track, this one features a hauntingly beautiful violin accompaniment that comes in during the second verse and stays until the end of the track. It underscore the pensive mood of the music, the lyrics & the singer’s poignant tone. Happy birthday, Townes Van Zandt.

“Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath’s as hard as kerosene
“.

Townes

Townes Van Zandt circa 1977. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Townes Van Zandt: “Pancho & Lefty” (Recorded in Oklahoma in 1978, from the 1993 album, Rear View Mirror. Originally released in 1972, written by Townes Van Zandt).

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 315

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 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.

One of country music’s most iconic & revered singers celebrated a milestone birthday last week. Dolly Parton, who was born in 1946 in TN, turned 75 years young on January 19. She has been a staple in the genre for over 50 years in a career that has seen her cross over into pop & mainstream music, acting, business ventures including her own amusement park, Dollywood, writing books and countless charity endeavors including her reading initiative, Imagination Library.

But it is her songs that she is probably most beloved for including her tale of confronting the other woman in “Jolene” to the famous theme song to the movie “9 To 5” to Whitney Houston’s chart topping rendition of “I Will Always Love You” to Parton’s work with fellow artists Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and so many others. Another of her most cherished songs, “Coat Of Many Colors” inspired TV movies based on Parton’s childhood. There is almost nothing this woman has not tried or done in the last five decades. And currently 3.9 million followers on Instagram are eagerly awaiting her next move.

I have always thought of today’s song as the female take on Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night”. It is from her 1977 album Here You Come Again & tells the story of a woman looking for company on a lonely night-a hook up, if you will. For a woman in any genre of music to tackle this subject in 1977 was controversial, but for a country artist it was down right risky. Yet for Parton it was a powerful statement that not only worked, it became a #1 song for two weeks in May 1978 & was featured in the 1979 film, “Norma Rae”. It is also one of the best vocals of Parton’s career. Happy birthday, Dolly.

The amber sunset glow has died
My needs are very much alive
Is it ok if I stop by
It’s all wrong, but it’s all right
“.

Dolly circa 2010

Dolly Parton circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dolly Parton: “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” (1977, written by Dolly Parton).

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 237

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.

Time for another cautionary rock & roll tale. This one belongs to Gram Parsons who was born Ingram Cecil Connor III in Florida on Nov 5, 1946. He overcame a tough childhood (both parents were alcoholics, which led to his father’s suicide when Parsons was 12 & his mother’s from cirrhosis when he was in high school). He quit Harvard University in 1965 after one semester to pursue music, a talent he acquired when he learned how to play the piano as a child.

By the late 1960’s he met Chris Hillman of The Byrds & contributed to the band’s 1968 album, “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”. It is considered to be one of the earliest country rock records due in large part to Parson’s influence of what he called “Cosmic American Music”. Then he & Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers and continued with that sound.

It was also around this time that Parsons met The Rolling Stones and became fast friends with Keith Richards. The friendship centered around music and drugs, but the latter began to dominate Parsons life and career. By 1971 he had been dismissed from the Burrito Brothers & was all but kicked out of Richards house (and life) by his girlfriend and allegedly Mick Jagger as well. That is when Parsons started his solo work with a young female singer named Emmylou Harris, who provided harmony vocals for all his songs, including today’s pick.

It was written around 1960 with the original version credited to The Everly Brothers in 1961 followed by Roy Orbison’s rendition later the same year. But for the younger crowd, the more well known version of this song was released in 1974 by the band, Nazareth. That was my favorite rendition until I heard Parsons’. Since it is basically a duet with Harris, it highlights the sadness of the lyrics as if they were singing about their own heartbreak to each other. The slower tempo and stripped down musical arrangement only adds to the desolate feeling of the song. It is truly beautiful.

So is the version Richards performed with Norah Jones at the 2004 tribute concert for his old friend, who covered “Wild Horses” with the Burrito Brothers in 1970 for their second album. Parsons died in 1973 from a drug overdose at the age of 26. His second and final solo album, “Grievous Angel”, was released a year after he died and features today’s track.

Some fools think
Of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
They’re not foolin’ me
“.

Gram Parsons

Harris and Parsons

Top: Gram Parsons circa 1972. Bottom: Emmylou Harris & Parsons circa 1972. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Gram Parsons featuring Emmylou Harris: “Love Hurts” (1974, written by Boudleaux Bryant).

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 212

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.

Today’s artist comes from a musical family. Rufus Wainwright’s parents are American songwriter, folk singer, entertainer & humorist Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer & songwriter Kate McGarrigle. She & her sister, Anna, formed the duo, The McGarrigle Sisters, in Montreal in the 1960’s & continued together until Kate’s death in 2010. Their songs have been covered by many artists including Marianne Faithful, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, most notably her cover of “Heart Like A Wheel” which was written by Anna.

Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, NY in 1973 and his sister, Martha Wainwright (also a singer) was born three years later, the same year his parents divorced. That sent his mother back to Montreal to raise her two children. Wainwright started playing piano at the age of six and by the age of 13 he & his sister were touring with their mother and aunt as “The McGarrigle Sisters and Family”. He developed a strong affinity for opera music around that time and went back to New York for high school. After that he moved back to Montreal where he began playing the club circuit. That is how he was discovered and by 1998 his self-titled debut album was released. However, he continues to perform with his family on various musical collaborations.

In a 2004 interview with the AP, Elton John called Wainwright “the greatest songwriter on the planet”. In addition to writing his own songs, he has also done outstanding covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (Day 161) for the “Shrek” soundtrack & The Beatles “Across The Universe” featured in the “I Am Sam” movie. My favorite song of Wainwright’s is from his third studio album, “Want One” and features an orchestra & choir arrangement. As lovely as the original track is, today’s interpretation only has a piano accompaniment to his elegant vocal. You will notice at the 2:07 mark of the video that he is playing that instrument with just one hand. There is something so exquisitely beautiful about a simple acoustic number. And this version is one gorgeous example of how less is more.

My phone’s on vibrate for you
But still I never ever feel from you
Pinocchio’s now a boy who wants to turn
Back into a toy
“.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rufus Wainwright: “Vibrate” (2003, written by Rufus Wainwright).

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 15

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.

Today’s song has been covered by a variety of artists such as Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Young & Rod Stewart.  But my absolute favorite one is by the woman who defined the cool rock chick persona in the 1970’s with her unmistakable powerful gorgeous passionate voice.  But her talent and love of singing was too big to be confined to one genre.  In her 45 year career she has sold over 100 million records which included country, mexican, big band, broadway and pop songs.  She has also collaborated with many artists, most notably with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the country “Trio” albums and Aaron Neville on hits like “Don’t Know Much”, “All My Life” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”.  Her contribution to music is immeasurable and despite her retirement from performing in 2011 she remains one of the greatest female singers of all time.

Linda

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt:  “Love Has No Pride” (1973, written by Eric Kaz & Libby Titus).

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

Stay well.

“Sign, Sign, Everywhere A Sign” & A Song

Hello, friends!!!

How was your weekend?  Did you catch the 60th Grammy Awards last night???  Huge night for Bruno Mars.  Emmylou Harris & Chris Stapleton sang a beautiful version of “Wildflowers” together as a tribute to Tom Petty.  I loved Donald Glover a/k/a Childish Gambino’s performance.  I adored him on “Community” and since then his career in both acting and music has exploded.  He won the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance for his song “Redbone”.  It was well deserved, as that song has all kinds of old school 1970’s soul feels to it.  Swoon.

If you have loved antiques & flea markets as long as I have, you know that signs are a huge collectible.  Store signs, street signs, building signs, etc., are in huge demand.  While I do not own any myself (still on the hunt for the right one for me), I do love admiring them whenever I come across ones I find really interesting.  Most of the ones I like are too big to hang in a normal size house, so by taking pictures of them I can bring a piece of their beauty home with me.

The first time I saw this one with its individual letters, I spent over 30 minutes shooting it from different heights and angles for the right effect.  This was just outside the Delaware Water Gap.  Unfortunately, I have never been around at night to photograph it all lit up.

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Vintage soda signs are some of my favorites.  I spotted the two below in Pennsylvania.

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Old store signs have so much character.  I spotted this beauty in Kentucky.

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The signs on sides of buildings which are made part of the structure itself are like early graffiti experiments, except they were not free hand.  I really love this type of graphic.  I saw this in North Carolina.

SONY DSC

Now for our song of the week.  I loved seeing U2 last night  and it had me thinking about the great messages in so many of their songs.  One that has resonated a lot for me over the years is 2000’s “Walk On“.

It is a great reminder that who we are is unique, and the moments we have in life are ours, no matter how much others try to take them away from us or rewrite history about them.  I love these words:

“Walk on, walk on
What you got they can’t steal it
No they can’t even feel it
Walk on, walk on…

Walk on, walk on
What you’ve got they can’t deny it
Can’t sell it, or buy it
Walk on, walk on”

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

Until next time, happy digging!!!

 

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 6

 

Hi, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

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I have been a fan of this woman’s since I was a kid.  After Aretha Franklin, she is my favorite female singer.  From the first time I heard “You’re No Good” I was hooked and never looked back.  After that came album after album of original music and covers of songs written by the likes of Warren Zevon (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”), Smokey Robinson (“The Tracks of My Tears”), Chuck Berry (“Back In The USA”). Holland-Dozier-Holland (“Heatwave”), Eric Kaz & Libby Titus (“Love Has No Pride“-my absolute favorite version of this song), Phil Everly (“When Will I Be Loved”), Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (“Tumbling Dice”) and many others.

Despite being called “The Queen of Rock”, she has sung practically every type of music imaginable-rock, pop, country (I adore her “Trio” albums with Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris), jazz, big band/standards (with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra) and Mexican.  She was also in one of my favorite movies ever (“FM”) and on Broadway (in “The Pirates of Penzance”).

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THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Linda Ronstadt, 1983, (c)Universal

She retired in 2011 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.  She did not appear at the ceremony due to her announcement a year earlier that she could no longer sing as a result of Parkinson’s Disease.  Such a sad ending to her unbelievably powerful voice, enormous talent and incredibly lustrous career that earned her 11 Grammy Awards, 3 American Music Awards, 2 Academy of Country music Awards and many other accolades.

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Linda Ronstadt circa 1975 (original source unknown).

Before her HOF induction, Rhino Records put together a collection of duets with some of her previous collaborators and influences, many of whom happen to be some of the top female voices in history and several more of my favorites.  Two of the songs are covers from the movie “White Christmas.  I already love her solo version of  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“, but now I have added the two movie songs to my list.  One has nothing to do with Christmas, but since it was in the movie, I believe it qualifies for the countdown.

Linda Ronstadt and Rosemary Clooney:  “White Christmas

Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler:  “Sisters“.

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!!!

 

Christmas Song Countdown #14

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

country-christmas-trees-farm-snowy-winter

 

Courtesy:  cctrees.us 

I am not a fan of reality shows, so I do not watch them.  I knew who the first winner of “American Idol” was because of all the publicity surrounding that season, so after that I really did not know anything about the competitors until Daughtry (sa-woon!!!).

So the winner of Season 4 was not on my radar.  But then her song, “Before He Cheats” was everywhere, and I remember thinking is it really a good idea for someone to be bragging about a crime (“Carved my name into his leather seats, I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, I slashed a hole in all four tires”) ?  I must admit I was not impressed.

Then I saw her perform live at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She joined Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt & Emmylou Harris in a tribute to Linda Ronstadt.

linda-rondstadt

Linda Ronstadt circa early 1970’s  (original source unknown)

This singer was so good even Stevie Nicks complimented her performance of “Different Drum“.  That is an amazing feat.  So is co-hosting the CMA Awards for  eight years straight.  So now I am a little impressed.  Especially after hearing her take on this Christmas classic.

Carrie Underwood:  The First Noel.

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!!!

silver-bells

Original source unknown