Let’s Take A Moment Day 272

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 12 1AA

(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 called “the antidote to cheery holiday songs”, “thoroughly depressing” & “a sad Christmas song” by the writer herself, Joni Mitchell. I grew up with Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” so I thought I was already well versed in a not so happy holiday tune about heartbreak. Wrong. Presley’s is sad without question, but Mitchell’s original rendition is just desolating. The stark beauty of her voice & the piano accompaniment just squeezes my soul and wrings every emotion out of it. When Meg Ryan quoted from it in 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail” because her business was failing and she missed her late mother, just the mere mention of the lyrics made me weep.

The song is Mitchell’s second most recorded track (close to 500 covers, behind even more for “Both Sides Now”) and I have not heard most of them, but I am still pretty sure today’s version would be in the top five. The cello arrangement is absolutely stunning on its own, but combined with the singer’s pensive tone it turns the song from just sad to hauntingly beautiful.

I was introduced to it by one of my most active readers, Michael, and I will be forever grateful for his input. Today’s version is by Robert Downey Jr. who performed it as Larry Paul, the love interest of the title character in season 4 of “Ally McBeal”. I loved that show and Downey so much I still do not know how I missed his on-air performance of this song (season 4, episode 6, “‘Tis The Season”), but thanks to Michael it has a permanent spot on my playlist all year long. It is absolutely exquisite.

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
“.

Ally-and-Larry

Robert Downey Jr. (L) & Calista Flockhart (R) in a scene from season four of “Ally McBeal”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Robert Downey Jr.: “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell).

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 Songs: Day 21

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

durango-co-christmas

(Original source unknown)

My love for Motown is immense.  I have adored it since I was a kid, thanks to my parents.  They bought one of those K-Tel compilations which consisted of four albums of the Motor City’s greatest hits and the rest is history.

So many great songs and singers came out of that era, and to this day four of them are still on my list of favorite voices of all time:  Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin (lead singer of the Temptations) & Levi Stubbs (lead singer of the Four Tops.

Despite the fact that Motown gave us some of the greatest music ever made, so many of the holiday music recorded by those artists is hardly ever heard during the Christmas season.  With radio stations starting earlier and earlier every year to play holiday songs, I do not know how this era of music gets overlooked.  I listen to these four Christmas songs year round, and maybe after hearing them you will understand why.

marvin gaye     Temptations

Marvin Gaye (R) – The Temptations (L) (original sources unknown)

Stevie Wonderthe-four-tops-abdul-duke-fakir-levi-everett

Stevie Wonder (R) – The Four Tops (L) (original sources unknown)

Marvin Gaye:  “I Want To Come Home For Christmas

Stevie Wonder:  “What Christmas Means to Me

The Four Tops:  “Away In A Manger

The Temptations:  “Silent Night

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 Songs Of The Day #4

Hello, Vixens!!!  How are all of you doing?  Can you believe we are less than two weeks away from the big day?  It certainly is going by fast.  So before we blink and have it pass us all by, let’s take a moment to celebrate some more amazing sounds of the season.

It is no secret that I am a H-U-G-E fan of Bruce Springsteen.  He just announced several tour dates for next year which will come to my area just in time for my birthday.  So, it is fair to say Christmas came early for me!!!  But this season is never complete for me until I hear his versions of two Christmas classics.

2007HH[1]

        Source:  Backstreets.com

The first is a throw back to the innocence of childhood and its cautionary message “to be good for goodness sake”.  The original version comes from one of the three  Christmas specials I MUST watch every single year:  “A Charlie Brown Christmas” (see that here), “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” and this one.  It features a beautiful wedding scene under “the first Christmas Trees” and is probably what made me fall in love with the beauty of this season before I knew how truly special it also was.  And as soon as you hear the music, you cannot help but sing along to “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town”.

santa_wedding[1]

Source:  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town 1970

Springsteen’s version is just as infectious and features some funky saxophone playing by another Big Man, Clarence Clemmons (miss you, Clarence!!!)

The Boss’ other holiday gem is just as special.  “Merry Christmas, Baby”  is a rocking, bluesy, jazzy and romantic way to celebrate the season with that special someone.  It is also perfect for singing along to while you are alone in your car, or while decorating the tree with some of your closest friends or sharing a holiday meal with family.  For me, it’s all those things and another reminder of why I love Bruce!!!

Enjoy!!!