Let’s Take A Moment Day 507

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.

Yesterday marked the 120th birth anniversary for the man affectionately known as “Satchmo”, Jazz band leader, trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong was born August 4, 1901 in New Orleans, Louisiana. His 1967 rendition of “What A Wonderful World” (Day 185) has become a classic and many of his jazz recordings have been hailed as some of the most innovative of all time. But it was his collaborations with The First Lady Of Song herself, Ella Fitzgerald, that are my favorites. Today’s song, one of Irving Berlin’s best, is from their 1956 album, Ella and Louis.

Heaven I’m in heaven
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak
And I seem to find the happiness I seek
When we’re out together dancing cheek to cheek
“.

Louie Ella

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong: “Cheek To Cheek” (1956, written by Irving Berlin).

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 441

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?

Memorial Day

(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.

Admittedly I was not much of a fan of folk music in my teenage years. I had heard a few artists from that genre & knew it was not a sound I could ever embrace. But as my love of music grew I found another artist who embraced that sound-namely, Bob Dylan. Of course I found the beauty of his words & music remarkable & realized how far reaching his influence was, especially on my great musical love, Bruce Springsteen. But who was a great influence on Dylan? One of the biggest was Woody Guthrie.

Today the folk genre is more commonly known today as “roots music” or Americana which includes the early sounds not only of folk but blues, country, rhythm & blues and rock influences. Guthrie embodied all those sounds and made them his own.

Legend tells us he wrote today’s song as a somewhat snarky answer to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” which Guthrie was tired of hearing so often on the radio in the late 1930’s. He wrote some of the lyrics in 1940 but did not do anything with the tune until he revisited it in 1944. That is when he played it for a record company executive changing the course of Guthrie’s life from a Merchant Marine to a professional musician & artist.

The melody has been attributed to a song by The Carter Family (yes, Johnny Cash’s in-laws) but Guthrie’s tune used a different structure of the earlier one. The lyrics, however, are all his. And they are quite beautiful. I remember singing this song in my elementary school music class quite often. Each time I envisioned the scenes Guthrie wrote about and dreamt of the day I could see it all. But music, like the pages of a book, made me feel as if I already had. That is the power of great art.

On this Memorial Day 2021, we celebrate this great land of ours, the great freedoms we have here because of those who paid the highest price for us to have it. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway
Saw below me that golden valley
This land was made for you and me
“.

W Guthrie

Woody Guthrie circa 1945. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Woody Guthrie: “This Land Is Your Land” (1944, written by Woody Guthrie).

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 136

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 music quote

(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 honored a lot of music birthdays this month so it is only fair I give my TV obsession equal time.  July 25 marked the 97th birth anniversary of one of my favorite ladies to ever walk the planet, Estelle Getty, the woman who brought Sophia Petrillo to life on “The Golden Girls”.  She and her three co-stars have been my surrogate mothers since their show premiered nearly 35 years ago.  I am still obsessed with their antics, their advice, their fights, their good deeds, their dates, their love for each other and everything else about them.

I have too many favorite episodes to list here so I will spotlight the show that featured one of my beloved Irving Berlin songs.  In the episode “Journey To The Center Of Attention” (season 7, episode 19), Dorothy sang today’s song and it was absolutely lovely.  It also kick-started an unexpected rivalry between her & Blanche when the latter felt threatened by the popularity Dorothy gained after the performance at a local bar Blanche frequented.  The show ended with Blanche telling Dorothy she was jealous of her because “when you sing you light up the room.  You do.  You positively glow.  You’re beautiful”.  And Dorothy acknowledged that it was “the nicest thing that you have ever said to me” and admitted to “being jealous everyday of her life” of  Blanche.  After seven seasons of her making fun of Dorothy’s looks, lack of a love life, height and bossiness, Blanche finally realized Dorothy had her own charm.  It was by far one of the sweetest scenes in the series.

Another golden girl, one of song, recorded my favorite version of today’s tune.  Here’s to hoping we all spend many years with women who are funny, feisty, sexy, smart, strong, beautiful and who revere great music!!!

“Golden Girls” Beatrice Arthur as Dorothy (L) and Rue McClanahan as Blanche (M) circa 1992 and Rosemary Clooney (R) circa 1955.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Rosemary Clooney:  “What’ll I Do” ( 1984, written by Irving Berlin).

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 10

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I think today’s vintage Christmas card image has to be the most adorable one so far, don’t you agree???!!!

Day 10

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown.

The singer we celebrate today, the King of Soul, recorded two Christmas songs before he died 52 years ago today at the age of 26.  The first one was yesterday’s pick (Day 9) and his version is undoubtedly the most soulful one ever made.  It is the highlight of the soundtrack from the movie “Love Actually” which, if you have not seen yet, stop what you are doing and WATCH IT NOW!!!  Bonus:  the very handsome & charming Liam Neeson is in it and will just melt your heart!!!

The second dates back to 1947 and is just another example of how this immensely talented singer could sing anything and make it his own.  And since he left us with only these two holiday songs, and since he is probably the greatest male soul singer who ever graced this earth, I feel I must share both with you or I would not be doing my job as your music connoisseur  🙂

Otis.jpgOtis Redding circa mid 1960’s (original source unknown).    

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby” (1967, written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947)

Otis Redding:  “White Christmas” (1967, written by Irving Berlin in 1942)

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 9

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Here’s another gorgeous vintage Christmas image from Pinterest.  What was life before Pinterest?!?!   🙂

day 9

Original source unknown.  

Irving Berlin could not have possibly known how many people would go on to record one of his most famous songs.  He wrote several and lived to be 101 years old, but I still think he could not even imagine how many versions of this Christmas classic would be out there one day.  And there are new ones being recorded each year.  Berlin wrote it imagining Christmas in his home state & city of New York as opposed to the west coast state of California he was working in.

When it was first released in 1942, service men & women facing their first Christmas away due to their tours in World War II saw it as a dream of home.  For the rest of us, it invokes cherished memories of the Christmases we knew as children or before life happened to us.  The version of this song I like best is by a fellow Italian, a fellow native New Yorker and painter who has been singing for 70 years.  Not a bad gig.

Tony Bennett

Anthony Dominick Benedetto a/k/a Tony Bennett:  “White Christmas” (1968, written by Irving Berlin in 1942).

And for a great female take on this classic, here is one of my favorites:

Martina White Christmas.jpg

Martina McBride:  “White Christmas” (1998, written by Irving Berlin in 1942).

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 2018: Day 10

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 10A

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Today’s song is tied to a few artists we already featured in this year’s countdown.  I included it as a bonus song on Day 1 of the countdown because Bruce Springsteen covered it in 1987, but the first recording of this song dates back 40 years earlier when Charles Brown (singer of the song on Day 7) sang it as a singer and pianist with Johnny Moore’s Trailblazers.  Moore wrote it with songwriter Lou Baxter and it went to #3 on Billboard’s R&B Jukebox in 1947.  Several other artists have covered it over the years as well, but the one recorded in by the greatest soul singer of all time ranks at the top of my list.  And since this man was taken from us way too soon (51 years ago today at the age of 26), I must include his other Christmas cover because one can never have enough of this phenomenal singer’s voice.  Or this song, which this man makes all his own in this simply sublime version.

Otis

Otis Redding circa 1967 (original source unknown).  

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby“.

Otis Redding:  “White 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, happy listening!!!

25 Days of Christmas Music 2018: Day 5

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

Christmas day 5

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I love duets.  Always have.  There is something so special about two voices coming together.  They can be from opposite ends of the spectrum, like in the case of Bing Crosby & David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth”  or two women from two different eras like Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler on “Sisters“ or male/female like today’s song pick.  He’s a crooner who sings with big band sounds and she is a country superstar who writes (or co-writes) most of her own songs.   The musical arrangement for this duet is based on the Drifters version (which was featured in “Home Alone”) but also features some powerful horns which puts it on a level all its own.  It’s hard to believe that an Irving Berlin song from 1941 which is one of the most recorded songs in history can still be given a different spin after all these years.

Buble

Michael Buble & Shania Twain:  “White 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, happy listening!!!

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.

linda-ronstadt-580

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!!!