Let’s Take A Moment Day 281

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?

Dec 22

(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 the distinction of being featured at the end of two Christmas classics: “It’s A Wonderful Life” & “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. And today’s singer’s rendition is one of the best out there. He may be known as the premier voice of the season for his iconic version of “The Christmas Song” , but nearly every holiday song Nat King Cole recorded in his lifetime is a treasure. He was one of the earliest entertainers who used his talents as a singer, songwriter & musician and turned it into a brand. His TV show was one of the first of its kind in entertainment and he was the first black artist to host his own series. His sound infused jazz & pop while his appeal as an artist helped him cross over into film & Broadway as well. All of that made him one of the most successful, original, charismatic artists of all time. And a staple every Christmas season.

Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
“.

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Nat King Cole circa 1958. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Nat King Cole: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1960, based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

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

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 11

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Enjoy this sweet vintage image of an angel holding a small Christmas tree.  Heavenly!!!

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Yesterday, we celebrated the King of Soul,  Today, we hail the Queen.

While we may never be able to agree on the greatest male voice of all time, there is only one woman who qualifies as the top female choice.  She sang everything from gospel to R&B, soul to pop, mainstream and rock to opera.  She appeared on TV and not just in music awards specials.  Who can forget Murphy Brown’s reaction when she finally met her idol?  She also sang in movies (“The Blues Brothers” and its sequel) and won every honor and award in existence during her 50 plus years as a singer.

She became a cultural icon along the way as well.  Not too many singers have had the opportunity to perform at a presidential inauguration, but this woman did.  She sang “My Country Tis Of Thee” for Barack Obama in January 2009.  Towards the end of her performance, as she sang the words “let freedom ring”, the camera cut away from her and went to an American flag waving in the wind.  It was a beautiful moment for our country, and just one of dozens this woman gave us.  How we have survived the last 16 months without her is a complete mystery to me, and a heartbreaking one at that.

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                                                                      Aretha Franklin, Jones Beach, NY July 2011.

Aretha Franklin: “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” (based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 6

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

charlie brown with the tree

Courtesy of Lee Mendelson Film Productions / MGN 

Today we celebrate not just one song, but several from what is arguably the best Christmas special ever made.  Last night this holiday favorite aired for the 54th year in a row and yes, I was front and center.  It leaves me all warm and cuddly inside while hitting all the points of the season:  good will towards men, non-commercialism, listening to special holiday music with people you care about, choosing to decorate (and celebrate, for that matter) in a way that makes you happy, even if that way is not the conventional approach, knowing that anything is beautiful with a little love and the core religious aspect of what Christmas is all about.  Plus it stars some of my best friends in the universe, the Peanuts.

Linus speech

Courtesy of Lee Mendelson Productions / MGN 

Based on the successful comic strip started in 1950, the animated holiday special was commissioned and sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company which obviously knew a good thing when they saw it.  It was the first TV appearance for the Peanuts characters and catapulted them and their creator from a mere phenomenon to super stardom.  Merchandise of all kinds was created and it was not just limited to toys.  Other items like cookie jars, home decor & accessories, watches, clothing, greeting cards, lunch boxes, Pez dispensers, banks, etc. were also marketed.  You name it, it is out there.  And today it is still a billion dollar industry that all began with this special from 1965.  Not to mention its incredible unforgettable grown-up soundtrack that critic Shawn M. Haney wrote ” “introduce[d] contemporary jazz to youngsters with grace, charm, and creativity.”  If this were the only Christmas album I could listen to for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly fine with that (but please don’t tell Bruce Springsteen!!!).

Peanuts Christmas

Other Peanuts TV specials followed, as did movies, including a 3-D one in 2015.  And the comic strip also continued for the next 35 years.  Sadly it came to an end in February 2000 when its glorious creator was forced to retire due to his failing health.  He died the day after the last strip was published.  His official cause of death was cancer.  Unofficially, I think it was due to a broken heart.  We all knew from the last words of that final strip how much it hurt to say goodbye to the characters he created who became our beloved friends.  His words were ones we could all identify with:

“Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy…..how can I ever forget them?”

Thanks to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, none of us ever have to.  But how do we ever thank you, Charles M. Schulz, for the gift of our dear sweet cherished Peanuts?

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Christmas Is Coming” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, vocal version by choristers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, written by Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Christmas Time Is Here” (1965, instrumental version by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Lee Mendelson & Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” (1965, vocal by choristers from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in San Rafael, California, based on a 1739 Christmas carol with various writers including Charles Wesley and George Whitefield).

Linus and Lucy” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

O Tannenbaum” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Vince Guaraldi in 1965).

Skating” (1965, instrumental by The Vince Guaraldi Trio, written by Ernst Anschutz in 1824).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 11

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

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My tree from 2016.  Charlie Brown is with me every year.

Do you remember the 1988 book “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum?  Great sentiment about how life really never changes, just our reactions to  it.  Well, Charles M. Schulz taught me about the people I would encounter in my life:  the mean one (Lucy), the smart philosopher (Linus), the everyday, insecure person hoping to get noticed (Charlie Brown), the sloppy one (Pig Pen), the musician (Schroeder), the one who follows the beat of her own drum (Peppermint Patty), the who who is always letting his imagination run away from him (Snoopy) and the ones who always need a little extra help (Woodstock, Sally).

I must admit it took a while for me to understand these personalities represented real life, but I am so happy I grew up with these characters.   To this day they comfort my soul, make my heart happy and make me feel safe.  It does not feel like Christmas to me until I watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and hear the gang sing these two Christmas songs.

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Courtesy Charles M. Schulz

The Peanuts:  “Christmas Time Is Here

The Peanuts “Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing”

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!!!

 

Third One’s A Charmer

Hello, dear Vixens!!!  We have arrived at song #3!!!

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This legend from my home state of NY just announced his 50th world tour, and getting tickets to one of his shows will be this year’s Christmas gift to myself (he will be in CT next June).

During those 50 years he has sold over 120 million records (including the Monkees hit “I’m a Believer”), has had eleven number 1 hits, is in both the Songwriters Hall of Fame & the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, appeared in one of the greatest concert movies ever made (“The Last Waltz“), starred in the 1980 blockbuster, “The Jazz Singer” and was the focus of idolization in the movie “Saving Silverman” where he appeared as himself.

last-waltz

Courtesy of IMDb.

SAVING SILVERMAN, Neil Diamond, Jason Biggs, Jack Black, Steve Zahn, 2001

                                                    Courtesy of Cineplex.com                                                                                

Total aside…..hilarious movie!!!

With Steve Zahn & Jack Black starring in it, how could it not be, right???

But I digress.

Over the summer I went to several games at Fenway and loved singing the stadium staple “Sweet Caroline” with the rest of the crowd for the 8th inning sing along.

I have always been a believer that less is more, and sometimes an acoustic performance is so much more powerful than a full band sound.  This is so true on “Acoustic Christmas“, his newest release that features 10 simply gorgeous Christmas songs including today’s pick, which features a stunning string arrangement.

Neil Diamond:  Hark!  The Herald Angels Sing.

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

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

day-3

 

Christmas Songs of the Day 12 & 13

Hello, Vixens!!!  Sorry I missed all of you yesterday but unfortunately, technical difficulties prevailed.  Ugh.  So first, let me wish you a happy Winter Solstice!!!  Two, to make up for missing yesterday, I will share two favorite holiday tunes with you today!!!

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Source:  Heartfelt Finds 

Up first is a familiar song that has closed out two of the most famous Christmas specials out there:  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “It’s A Wonderful Life“.  So many people have covered this tune so I have too many favorites to list here.  But this year I have been listening to Amy Grant’s version of “Hark! The Herald Angels” the most.  Not a lot of bells and whistles, just her voice strong and clear and in the same version I remember best from my childhood.  Sometimes simple says it best of all 🙂

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Source:  entertainment.caller.com

Next is a more modern song (despite the fact that it came out almost 40 years ag0) that almost instantly became a holiday staple from the minute it was first released, despite coming out in April not December.  For anyone who has ever been away from home for an extended period, from service men & women to college students to married couples who moved away from their families for various reasons, this song welcomes them all home and more.  It’s Kenny Loggins with “Celebrate Me Home“.

Please remember I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing my favorite music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  allmusic.com

 

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #2

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you today?  Frazzled?  Harried?  Weary?  Well, I hope not!!!  ‘Tis the season, remember?  Take a moment for you.  Put your feet up, close your eyes and indulge in a great Christmas song.

Have you seen the Peanuts movie yet?  If not and you are a fan, go now!!!  The tagline for the movie-“The friends you grew up with but never outgrew”-describes my relationship with the gang perfectly.  They were my best friends when I was a kid, and decades later I am proud to say I still cherish each and every one of them.  And what would this season be without watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas”?

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                                                    Source:  A Charlie Brown Christmas

Well this year, our favorite holiday special turns the big 5-0.  That’s right, 50!!!  Fifty years of “I never thought it was such a bad little tree”, of Charlie Brown’s disdain over the commercialism of the holiday, of the dance, of Linus telling us the meaning of Christmas, of the gang decorating the little tree, wishing Charlie Brown a Merry Christmas and singing an adorable version of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing”.

But my favorite song from this iconic special?  “Christmastime Is Here“.  Nothing defines Christmas for me like this special and this song.  Thank you, Charles M. Schulz, Vince Guaraldi and Lee Mendelson for this gem of a special.

Enjoy!!!

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             Source:  A Charlie Brown Christmas