Music Monday: May 9, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song is another one of those tracks that left an indelible mark on my soul. It is classic rock at its finest, a tune so exquisite it is as close to perfection as I have ever found. The songwriter and singer of this paragon celebrates birthday number 74 this week.

Steve Winwood was born May 12, 1948 in Birmingham, UK. His father was also a musician who schooled his son so well that the younger Winwood was in a band by age 14, The Spencer Davis Group. Next came his tenure with Traffic where he gave us gems like “Empty Pages”, “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys” & “Dear Mr. Fantasy”. In 1969 he joined forces with future Traffic bassist Rick Grech and musical powerhouses Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton to form Blind Faith. And it is from this supergroup that we arrive at today’s pick.

It is a captivating performance by all involved, from Grech’s masterful bass line to Baker’s elaborate percussion to Clapton’s stunning acoustic guitar work to Winwood’s soulful vocal delivery of his moving, lonely & succinct lyrics. When I featured this track on Day 74 of my daily music posts during lockdown, I called it “a prayer for all of us who are lost that we may find our way home to wherever and whatever that is”. And I stand by that sentiment. I find this song so beautiful it hurts, the way a magnificent work of art should make you feel. And this is art at its very best.

So, happy birthday, Steve Winwood. Thank you so much for all your exceptional music but for today’s track most of all.

Well I’m near the end
And I just ain’t got the time
And I’m wasted and  I
Can’t find my way home
“.

Blind Faith

Blind Faith circa 1969 L-R:  Steve Winwood, Rick Grech, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blind Faith: “Can’t Find My Way Home” (1969, written by Stevie Winwood).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: March 28, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We have another triple play this week to honor three of the biggest legends in music celebrating birthdays this month.

March 25 marked the 80th birth anniversary for the eternal Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Born in 1942 in Memphis, TN she remains the greatest female vocalist in the universe. It has been nearly four years since she died and just look at where we are without her.

Aretha

Aretha Franklin circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

As if the gift of royalty was not enough to receive on March 25, that day also marked birthday #75 for Sir Elton John. Born in Pinner, UK in 1947 his voice is the one I discovered first out of the three artists featured today. I found him even before I found Springsteen. From the first moment I heard “Daniel”, I was captivated by John’s beautiful evocative voice & the music he created with the poetry of his sublime unbelievably talented collaborator, Bernie Taupin. These two men have been part of the soundtrack of my life ever since. It makes complete sense to me that while I was doing my Song Of The Day feature during 17 months of the pandemic, John appeared more than any other solo artist with 16 entries. He was second only to The Beatles who had 18 songs (Springsteen appeared 14 times, Clapton had 12 entries including two collaborations (but not counting his group entries) and Elvis had 11 songs, in case you were wondering).

Elton

Elton John circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The first album I ever bought was John’s 1974 compilation album, “Greatest Hits”. I thought my heart would break when he announced his retirement a few years ago. Apparently the entire planet needed more time to adjust to that news as well because thanks to the pandemic, his farewell tour has been extended. But if anyone deserves to be a happily retired father & husband left to raise his beautiful family in the peace of a life without work, it is John. He deserves every happiness he has given the world. And we all know that figure is immeasurable. Today’s pick for him is one of the most elegant & beautiful tracks from his extraordinary catalog.

This week Eric Clapton will celebrate his 77th birthday. Born March 30, 1945 in Ripley, UK, my life was altered forever the second I heard the opening riff of today’s song. And I have listened to music for decades since that moment & I still have not had anything hit me quite like that. Behold the power of Slowhand.

Clapton

Eric Clapton circa 1975. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Aretha Franklin: “(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You’ve Been Gone” (1968, written by Aretha Franklin & Ted White).

Elton John: “I Need You To Turn To” (1970, written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin).

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

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: March 7, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Last month singer/songwriter/pianist Gary Brooker died at the age of 76 in England. If you do not know his name, I am quite sure you knew his voice. He was the co-founder & lead singer of Procol Harum, so it is his glorious vocal that is front & center on their iconic 1967 hit. I have adored this song forever and it is featured in three of my favorite movies of all time: “The Big Chill”, “The Commitments” and “Pirate Radio” as the last song on the airwaves of “The Boat That Rocked”.

Brooker was also one of the composers of today’s phenomenal song, but he also played with several other artists, most notably for George Harrison (on 1971’s All Things Must Pass), Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Bill Wyman. Brooker also appeared in the 1996 film adaptation of “Evita”. But for me, nothing else he ever did would compare to his pensive melodic delivery of some of the greatest sing along lyrics ever written or recorded.

The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
“.

1967 Procol

with Ringo

Top: Gary Brooker (pictured front left) with Procol Harum in 1967. Bottom: (Pictured left) with Ringo Starr circa 1999. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Procol Harum: A Whiter Shade of Pale (1967, written by Gary Brooker, Matthew Fisher and Keith Reid).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: November 29, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Before we get to this week’s song, I wanted to let you know that beginning December 1, I will once again feature my 25 Days Of Christmas Music series. I would love for you to join me. And please share your favorite holiday tunes in the comments. Thanks to suggestions by so many of you in the past I have discovered new seasonal music I might not have found on my own. I hope I will do the same for you this year.

On November 9, 1970 Derek & The Dominos released Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. I adore this album for so many reasons: the one-two punch of Eric Clapton’s virtuoso playing matched note for note with Duane Allman’s, some of Clapton’s best singing & writing were on these tracks, the band as a whole was unbelievably gifted, they did a beautiful cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” & several blues classics plus the power & beauty of the title track helps it remain an iconic staple in rock music history.

Several artists supposedly based a few of their songs on today’s tune. Two of my favorites are Dolly Parton’s “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Fade Away”. But even without those tributes, this song is still one of my all time favorites. Clapton’s expression of pain & angst is palpable in every word he sang and the band stayed with him every step of the way.

He has continued to perform this song throughout his career during his live shows and many versions are incredibly good (most notably the “24 Nights” version). But the original just knocks me out every time I hear it. Derek & The Dominos only made one record together but without it the landscape of rock music would look & sound unbelievably different. Bravo to a great album.

“It’s all wrong but it’s alright
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won’t find a better loser
“.

Allman and Dominos

Layla album

clapton allman

Top: Duane Allman with Derek & The Dominos in 1970 (L-R): drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle, pianist Bobby Whitlock & Eric Clapton (center). Middle: The cover of the “Layla” album. Bottom: Clapton and Allman in 1970. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “Bell Bottom Blues” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock).

Stay well.

Music Monday: October 4, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

During quarantine I discovered a fantastic series on Hulu. “Luther” was originally a Starz show that ran from 2010-2019. It featured the unbelievably sexy Idris Elba in the title role as a cop struggling with all the darkness of his job & the ballast it brought to his personal life. Set in the UK, it was clear early on that music was one of the stars of this incredibly well written & well produced series.

Someone bts was clearly a Slowhand fan as one episode featured a character who lived above a vacuum store named “Clapton’s” while another featured a woman named after one of his most famous tunes, “Layla”.

Other songs & artists were featured as well including jazz queen Nina Simone’s great cover of The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, Robert Plant with “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”, Roxy Music with “Love Is The Drug”, Dusty Springfield with “I Only Want To Be With You”, Alabama Shakes with “Boys & Girls” and the fabulous track that closed out Season 3.

It is by American duo The Black Keys comprised of vocalist & guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Featured on their 2010 album, Brothers, it was originally a Top 20 hit in 1968 for soul singer Jerry Butler who co-wrote it with future Philadelphia Soul legends, Gamble & Huff.

The cover version may have been released more than forty years after the original but The Black Keys gave it such an old school feel I was sure it was some obscure R&B Top 40 hit from the 1970’s that managed to elude me. It is just that evocative, rich & incredibly soulful. Any artist that can do that to a song is one I am happy to add to my playlist.

Do you see these tears in my eyes
There’s no use in lyin’, ’cause I really cried
You think you are gonna take me
And put me on the shelf
I’d rather die than see you
With somebody else”.

Black Keys

Drummer Patrick Carney (L) and vocalist & guitarist Dan Auerbach (R) of The Black Keys. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Black Keys: “Never Gonna Give You Up” (2010, written by Jerry Butler, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff).

Stay well.

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 521

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 August 10, 1968, Cream’s third album, Wheels Of Fire, hit the #1 spot in America. Twenty nine years earlier, the universe was introduced to the band’s drummer, Ginger Baker. Born Peter Edward Baker in England on August 19, 1939 he received his nickname courtesy of his red hair.

At the age of 15 he started playing drums. After his work with Blues Incorporated and The Graham Bond Organization (both of which included his future Cream bandmate Jack Bruce), Baker was hailed as “rock’s first superstar drummer” for his fusion of jazz, world & African rhythms along with his unconventional use of two bass drums in his set instead of one.

He & Bruce formed Cream with guitarist Eric Clapton in 1966. Four studio albums in four years highlighted by concert after concert of improvised gold, the men made history together as the world’s first supergroup. Today’s song is from their 1966 debut album, Fresh Cream. More than 50 years later, it still lives up to its name.

Feel when I dance with you
We move like the sea
You, you’re all I want to know
“.

Ginger

Cream 2

Top: Ginger Baker circa 1968 behind his customized two bass drum set. Bottom: Cream circa 1968 (L-R): Eric Clapton, Baker and Jack Bruce. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Cream: “I Feel Free” (1966, written by Peter Brown and Jack Bruce).

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 511

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.

Less than a year after the release of George Harrison’s 1970 masterpiece, All Things Must Pass, he became the first artist to organize & perform at a charity concert (in relatable terms it was like a miniature version of Live Aid), On August 1, 1971, The Concert For Bangladesh was held at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

Harrison had become good friends with musician Ravi Shankar after The Beatles first trip to India in the mid 1960’s. The Quiet Beatle became fascinated and enveloped not just by the music & the culture of that country but the spiritual mysticism of it as well. So when Shankar told Harrison about the suffering of the refugees from the Bangladesh Liberation War, he wanted to help.

There were actually two concerts held that day-an afternoon show as well as an evening performance. Many of Harrison’s friends joined him to aid the cause including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Billy Preston & Bob Dylan. John Lennon & Paul McCartney were invited, and there were rumors Lennon agreed to play, but ultimately neither he nor McCartney appeared.

Harrison performed today’s song with Starr on drums, Clapton on guitar & Russell on piano & vocals. It is one of my favorites from All Things but there is something incredibly special about the live version. Harrison’s voice is strong with a slight grit to it, yet powerful & it blended incredibly well with Russell’s. Both are highlighted by the group of soul singers who were part of the show as well. It is one fabulous performance.

Watch out now
Take care, beware the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of sadness
“.

rehearsal

(L-R): George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Leon Russell at rehearsals for The Concert For Bangladesh, 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

George Harrison with Leon Russell: “Beware Of Darkness” (Recorded live at The Concert For Bangladesh on August I, 1971. Originally released in 1970. Written by George Harrison).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.7

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 501

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Tomorrow marks the 98th birth anniversary for a man who introduced us to some of the greatest artists in music history. Ahmet Ertegun, president and co-founder of Atlantic Records, was born on July 31, 1923 in Istanbul, Turkey. He was the man who launched the careers of John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.

I cannot imagine my life or this world without the likes of Redding, Clapton or Franklin, let alone the rest of that group. But to choose a way to salute the man we remember today comes down to one word: genius. And no one comes closer to that word than Ray Charles. Thank you, Ahmet Ertegun, for bringing us some of the most profound music of the 20th century.

She saves her loving, just for me
Always loves me, so tenderly
I got a woman, way over town
She’s good to me, oh yeah
“.

Ray 1956

Ray 2002

Top (L-R): Ray Charles and Ahmet Ertegun circa 1956. Bottom (L-R): Charles and Ertegun circa 2002. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “I Got A Woman” (1954, written by Ray Charles and Renald Richard)

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 Tale A Moment Day 498

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Fifty five years ago the first supergroup was born. Former Yardbird Eric Clapton joined forces with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce from the Graham Bond Organization to form the band Cream on July 16, 1966. They would stay together for only three years mostly due to the incessant fighting between Baker and Bruce.

But in that time they released four albums together and redefined what live music sounded like. Those performances consisted of the band playing what they felt rather than what they were supposed to. Today’s song is a perfect example of that improvisational magic. They took an old blues song, fused it together with their own sound and turned it into nothing short of sheer excellence.

Going down to Rosedale
Take my rider by my side
You can still barrelhouse, baby
On the riverside
“.

Cream 1

cream 3

Top: Cream’s 1968 album Wheels Of Fire. Bottom: Cream circa 1968 (L-R): Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Cream: “Crossroads” (1968, written by Eric Clapton and Robert Johnson).

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

Stay well.