Let’s Take A Moment Day 241

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.

I am somewhat amazed that it took me until the eight month mark to get to a song from one of my favorite albums, “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young. Of course I have played a few songs by him already but none from that work of art. So I will do that today, in honor of his 75th birthday.

Born Nov 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Young dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. He met Stephen Stills in Ontario in the mid 1960’s when he was there on tour with one of his early bands. Then Young met fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell when both were writing two of their finest tracks. Legend has it this is when Young wrote “Sugar Mountain” about his fleeting youth (supposedly he wrote it in 1964 on his 19th birthday). Mitchell has said she wrote “The Circle Game” (Day 55). to help him cope with his growing pains. Around this time a local band, The Guess Who, recorded Young’s song, “Flying on the Ground is Wrong”. He spent the rest of his time in Canada as a solo artist and as a member of The Mynah Birds with future R&B singer, Rick James.

Young relocated to Los Angeles around 1966 and met up with Stills in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1960’s. The two formed Buffalo Springfield & had a major hit with 1966’s “For What It’s Worth”, a song credited as one of the first ones to combine folk rock with country rock. But the group had several problems going on behind the music and Young felt confined within a group setting so when the band split up he returned to his solo work. He released his self-titled album in early 1969 followed by “Every One Knows This Is Nowhere” later that year. Both records focused on Young’s electric sound with the second featuring “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand”.

It was around this time that Young again reunited with Stills in his new band which was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They performed at Woodstock but Young missed one set & refused to be filmed for the other, allegedly because he was in the US illegally (he did not get his green card until 1970). When the band was recording “Deja Vu”, Stills & Young fought frequently over the sound of the band. But they managed to put aside those differences long enough to record his song “Ohio” in May 1970 in response to the Kent State shootings. After that Young left the band for good and went on to his enormously successful solo career.

It began in earnest 50 years ago with 1970’s “After The Gold Rush” which was highlighted by his move to a more acoustic driven sound. Thank goodness for that shift because it continued with the next release, 1972’s “Harvest” album which contains his masterpiece, “Heart Of Gold” (Day 24). But “Gold Rush” has several gems including “Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, “I Believe In You”, the title track and today’s pick. It is another of Young’s heartbreakingly beautiful ballads that just takes hold of me and will not let go. They make my heart hurt for all the right reasons, especially today’s song.

I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream
Someone should call him and see
If he can come out
Trying to lose the down that he’s found
“.

Neil 1970

Neil Young Opening Night Reception For "Special Deluxe" Art Exhibition

Top:  Neil Young circa 1970.  Bottom:  Young circa 2015.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Neil Young: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (1970, written by Neil Young).

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 32

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 marks the 104th birth anniversary of my beloved grandmother Ida, or as I affectionately called her, Idie.  I think about her and miss her everyday, but even more so since we have been dealing with this pandemic.  She would not have handled the self-quarantine well at all.  She barely went two days in a row without going to bingo so not being allowed to play it for all this time would have undoubtedly put her in a straight jacket by now.  But still, I wish she was still here, for all the obvious reasons.  And so I could have seen the look on her face when she found out that my dream of spending my time listening to music and watching TV all day long not only came true, but is government mandated!!!  Ha!!!  Take that, Idie!!!  LOL.

While I was growing up, we always had music on in the house and usually it was from my records.  Idie learned to like many of the songs I played including “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and “Factory” by Bruce Springsteen.  But one hour a day, usually while we were cooking together, she made me turn off my albums so she could listen to the local country music radio station.  And that is how I discovered legends like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Don Williams, Merle Haggard and the singer of today’s song, Johnny Cash.

He was usually referred to by his nickname “the man in black” but since I first heard him on the radio, that did not really tell me anything other than his preferred garment color.  But his voice and his songs told me all I needed to know about him.  Yes, he was one of the greatest musical talents to ever exist but he was also my first introduction to a true crossover artist.

He sang everything from country songs to religious hymns, to Americana music (like “The Battle Hymn of The Republic”) to covers of  songs by rock artists like Bob Dylan (“It Ain’t Me Babe”), The Rolling Stones (“No Expectations”) and The Band (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”).  He was also on TV and not just as a musical guest.  He appeared in an episode of  “Little House On The Prairie” as a bad guy turned good guy after meeting the pious people of Walnut Grove.  And he was mentioned in a few “Golden Girls” episodes.  My favorite one is a quip by Dorothy after she & Sophia walk in the house wearing dark clothes and Rose is, as usual, confused.

Rose:  “Why are you both wearing black?  Did you just come from a funeral?

Dorothy:  “No, Rose.  We were singing back up for Johnny Cash”.

He continued to make incredible music for the rest of his life, on his own and as a member of the supergroup, The Highwaymen.  He also covered more rock songs by Neil Young (“Heart of Gold”), Nine Inch Nails (“Hurt) and U2 (“One”).  And he continued to act, most notably on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” with the great love of his life, June, by his side.  I grew up believing there wasn’t anything Cash could not sing or do.  He proved me right.  I am so thankful I discovered his music, all because my grandmother brought country songs into my world.  Thank you, Idie.  And happy birthday.  xoxox

Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues" 7 inch Album Cover

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash:  “Folsom Prison Blues” (1955, written by Johnny Cash).

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 24

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.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” is when Meg Ryan’s character,  Kathleen Kelly, is talking about how when she was a kid she helped her mother in the bookstore she now owns.  “I used to watch her and it wasn’t that she was just selling books.  It was that she was helping people become whoever it was they were going to turn out to be because when you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”  I think the exact same thing is true about the music you hear when you are young, first as a child then as a teenager.

I first heard today’s song when I was a kid, probably around eight years old.  I remember thinking it was so sad and yet so beautiful at the same time.  I really felt bad for the man singing that he did not have love in his life.  I recall thinking as only a child could that love was easy to find and why this poor guy did not have it was a mystery to me.  I felt his sadness but I also felt the beauty of his words.  I was captivated by both the singer and the song.

As I got older, I learned Neil Young recorded this song in 1971 when he was just 25 years old.  I fell even more in love with his words and admired the brevity he mastered in telling a heartbreaking story in such an eloquent  way.  It was my first introduction to a more acoustic sound than I had heard before.  I was enthralled by how much power there was in just a voice, a guitar, and a harmonica.  The last chorus featured some additional voices which were two of the best of that decade-James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt- which only added to the elegance of what Young created in this gorgeous piece of music.  I loved this song then and I love it now.  It is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time, as are many others that I first heard as a child.

Neil Young

Neil Young circa 1979 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young:  “Heart of Gold” (1972, written by Neil Young).

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

Stay well.

Christmas Song Countdown #16 & #17

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

I had some technical difficulties yesterday, so today’s post will celebrate two songs to catch us up.  Double the musical fun!!!

christmas-4

(Original source unknown)

 

The first song is by country music royalty.  He grew up listening to hymns and folk songs to become one of the architects of Sam Phillips’ label, Sun Records.  He brought an edge to country music, joined fellow country icons to become a Highwayman and for all intents and purposes brought the bad guy persona to country music with his “Folsom Prison Blues” song & concert.

And if his contribution to that genre was not enough, he covered many different songs from artists he admired like Neil Young (“Heart Of Gold“), Bruce Springsteen (“Johnny 99“) Nine Inch Nails (a powerful astonishing version of “Hurt“) and U2 (“One), to name a few.  Yet, he will always be best know for his staple songs, namely “Ring of Fire“,  “A Boy Named Sue” and “I Walk The Line“.

He was also one half of one of the greatest love stories of all time, proving to men everywhere that there is absolutely no shame in admitting you need a good woman by your side, and wanting her there as well.

johnny-cash-wedding

Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash’s wedding day-March 1, 1968 (courtesy:  JohnnyCash,com

 

He took this Christmas carol and made it his own.  He was, very simply, the Man In Black.

Johnny Cash:  Silent Night.

Second pick:

Not too many people have actually written a Christmas song, only performed the classic ones.  This singer has done both, and I really like some of her music from the early years of her career (mid to late 1990’s) until she moved to her post Tommy Mottola now-I-am-going-to-pepper-my-pop-sound-with-rap years.  But there is no denying the power or beauty of her voice.

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(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

 

Call it a guilty pleasure, or a loyalty to someone else from my home region of Long Island, but I do occasionally listen to this singer and this song specifically at this time of year.  If you are a fan of the film “Love Actually” there is no way not to enjoy this song.  (And despite all the baggage surrounding her first acting performance in the movie “Glitter”, I thought her performances in “Wisegirls” and “Precious” were very well done.)

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Mariah Carey, Melora Walters and Mira Sorvino in “Wisegirls” (courtesy of Loins Gate Films)

 

I love this video for this song so much better than the first one.  It may not be Christmasey, but it is not cheesy, either.

Mariah Carey:  All I Want For Christmas.

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-candles

(Original source unknown)