Let’s Take A Moment Day 361

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?

March 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.

Today we celebrate birthday #73 for James Vernon Taylor born March 12, 1948 in Massachusetts. A true American treasure, he has been entertaining audiences since his debut album was released in 1968. He recorded it in England as one of the first acts signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label. One of the album’s songs, “Something In The Way She Moves” served as the inspiration (and first line) to George Harrison’s masterpiece, “Something”.

Taylor has made a career performing his own songs (“Carolina On MY Mind”, “Fire & Rain”, today’s song) as well as those from other artists (Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”, Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” & Sam Cooke & Herb Alpert’s “Wonderful World”). But whatever Taylor sings, he makes it his own with his signature soothing vocal & simple elegant musical arrangements. For over 50 years, he has been a permanent part of the landscape of American music. Happy birthday, Sweet Baby James.

Now the first of December was covered with snow
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go
“.

JT

James Taylor’s 1970 album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “Sweet Baby James” (1970, written by James Taylor).

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 336

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?

Feb 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.

In November 1974 Linda Ronstadt released her fifth solo album which finally proved to be her breakthrough record, It hit the #1 position on the album chart today in 1975, the same day the first single, “You’re No Good” (Day 122) hit the top spot as well. The LP also included future hits like “When Will I Be Loved”, “Willin'”, “You Can Close Your Eyes” & “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore”. The title track was never released as a single but I think it is absolutely stunning.

It was written by Anna McGarrigle, a Canadian singer who was in a folk duo with her sister Kate McGarrigle until her death in 2010 (Kate’s son is singer Rufus Wainwright featured on Day 212). The lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful as is the arrangement. Ronstadt’s vocal is strong, sorrowful & touching and is amplified by an incredible backing vocal by singer Maria Muldaur. (She had a top ten hit of her own in 1974 with “Midnight At The Oasis”). Ronstadt has given life to songs by songwriters ranging from J.D. Souther, James Taylor, Warren Zevon & Eric Kaz, to name a few. But what she did with today’s song is in a category all its own.

Some say the heart is just like a wheel
When you bend it, you can’t mend it
But my love for you is like a sinking ship
And my heart is on that ship out in mid-ocean
“.

Heart Like A Wheel

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt: “Heart Like A Wheel” (1974, written by Anna McGarrigle).

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 322

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?

Feb 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 February 1, 1949 the 45 RPM record was introduced by RCA. The round seven inch disc played at a faster speed than its 12 inch 33-1/3 LP counter part that was launched the year before by CBS. The smaller disc format became known as a “single” and provided better sound quality than the LP. The 45’s I owned when I was young were my most treasured possessions & probably qualify as the first official items I collected.

Fast forward to February 1, 1972. Neil Young releases his fourth studio LP, Harvest. It went on to become the best selling one of 1972 and it hit the #1 album spot for two weeks in March 1972. One of those weeks the first single, “Heart Of Gold” featured here on Day 24, also went to the number one spot.

Today’s song was the second single from the album. It hit the Top 40 in the US the same year & like the first one, it featured Linda Ronstadt & James Taylor on backing vocals. He also played the banjo on this track as well. Young was my introduction to acoustic music & to this day I see him as one of the most gifted artists in that regard.

Love lost such a cost
Give me things that don’t get lost
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you
“.

N Young

Neil Young circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Old Man” (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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 250

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.

One of the things I have always enjoyed in music are the collaborations. Whether they take place on stage at the Grammy Awards or as a special guest appearance at a concert or on a record, I really look forward to hearing what two (or more) different artists will create. In 1981 there were several that I truly adored: James Taylor and J.D. Souther on “Her Town Too”, Gary U.S Bonds and Bruce Springsteen on “This Little Girl”, Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and Nicks again with Don Henley on “Leather & Lace”.

The first two songs were Top 20 hits and both of Nicks’ records hit the Top Ten, so all four of those tracks were well received. But there was another musical partnership that year that barely made it into the Top 30 here in America. But on November 21, 1981 it hit the #1 spot on the UK chart. It was written and performed by two rock powerhouses-David Bowie and Queen-and between Bowie’s & Mercury’s vocals, the intensity of the band’s playing and the compelling thought-provoking lyrics, it was a one of a kind monstrous combination. Even the video was unique as it did not feature either artist. Instead, it was a collage of news clips from some of history’s toughest eras intertwined with scenes from black & white horror movies.

The song came together when Bowie joined Queen in the studio to record back-up vocals for a different song. Both artists were working on other tunes they could not finish. They put them together during an inspired jam session resulting in today’s magnificent track. I do not know why it was not a bigger hit here, but to me this song stands out as one of the best moments in musical history.

‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word,
And love dares you to care for the people on the
Edge of the night, and love dares you to
Change our way of caring about ourselves”.

bowie and queen

Queen circa 1985 (L-R): Brian May, Freddie Mercury, John Deacon & Roger Taylor. Far right: David Bowie circa 1972, (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Queen & David Bowie: “Under Pressure” (1981, written by David Bowie & Queen: John Deacon, Brian May, Freddie Mercury & Roger Taylor).

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 215

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 quote 2

(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.

On a typically hot humid Long Island summer day in July 1980, I was sitting in a wonderfully cool air conditioned movie theatre waiting with bated breath for a movie to start. There were only two other people in the multiplex that day-a young couple a few rows behind me. The film we were all there to see was the “No Nukes” documentary from the concerts held at Madison Square Garden in September 1979. I will not bore you with the details as to why I was not allowed to go to see one of the shows in person with three of my cousins (hint-they were boys and I was not, as my father sternly reminded me) but suffice it to say I had been waiting close to a year for this moment.

I sat through nearly every other performance and enjoyed many of them (Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers) but I was desperate to see the love of my life, Bruce Springsteen. Finally a picture of the marque with his name came on the screen and suddenly there he was backstage. First he was with Jackson Browne then with The E Street Band walking to the stage for their performance as the crowd cheered “Bruce!”. In the next scene the band was in front of the audience and then that beautiful man, Springsteen himself, walked up to the microphone. And the camera stayed on him and that microphone for the entire song. Swoon.

“This is new. It’s about my brother-in-law and sister”, he told the crowd. Then he started playing the harmonica until he introduced us to the characters in the first verse.

I come from down in the valley where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school when she was just seventeen
We’d drive out of this valley down to where the fields were green
“.

We’d go down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride
“.

The guy sitting with his girlfriend a couple of rows behind me shouted “turn it up!” and the volume increased as The Boss continued telling us the true story of the couple in the song.

Then I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers no wedding dress
“.

We went down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride…
“.

More consequences followed as the couples’ downward spiral continued.

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been no work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important, well mister they vanished right into the air
I just act like I don’t remember, Mary acts like she don’t care
“.

Then a memory of better days………and how quickly they ended.

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car, her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake and pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now them memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse
“.

That sends me down to the river, though I know the river is dry
Oh down to the river tonight
Down to the river, my baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride…
.

Tears were rolling down my face as the last line from the final verse just played over and over in my head.

Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse“.

What is worse than a dream that does not come true?

I don’t think anyone tells the stories of those haunted by broken dreams better than Springsteen does. The movie concert was the first time I ever saw him sing on a stage and I still remember every second of that performance. Today’s hauntingly beautiful song is the title track from his only double album-which was released 40 years ago today-October 17, 1980. I have written this before and will continue until I take my last breath: Bruce Springsteen’s music saved me like no one else’s. I owe him everything and “it’s a debt no honest man can pay”. Swoon.

Bruce No Nukes

The_River_(Bruce_Springsteen)_(Front_Cover)

Top: A movie still from the “No Nukes” concert film of Bruce Springsteen during his performance of “The River”. Bottom: “The River” album front cover. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: “The River” (From the 1980 film, “No Nukes”, as performed at the concert of the same name in September 1979. Written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 41

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.

I started watching “General Hospital” when I was in high school.  I used to hear my orchestra teacher discussing the story lines with some of the other students and was intrigued enough to watch it myself.  It was around the start of the whole Luke & Laura (Tony Geary & Genie Francis) era.  Needless to say I became a fan as well and fell in LOVE with Lucas Lorenzo Spencer.  Not long after their epic wedding in 1981, both actors decided to leave the soap, with Francis exiting first followed by Geary in 1983.  But unlike Laura, Luke was not going to be presumed dead.  So the writers gave him a great farewell episode in which he had the chance to say goodbye to his onscreen family and by extension, the fans.

Each time he met with characters like Robert, Tiffany, Bobbi, Ruby and others, one song played in the background.  It was a simple poignant wonderful song of love that fit so well to each scene and seemed so appropriate for the fiery eclectic Luke character.  He started out as this outsider, a bit of a loner who suddenly found his great love but continued living his life with such force.  I was so happy the powers that be at GH used an existing song by a great artist rather than something their music department composed.  It seemed to give more emotion to the scenes and more weight to the character.  But then again when isn’t a James Taylor song a great choice for an emotional moment?

You can run but you cannot hide, this is widely known.
Tell me, what you plan to do with your
Foolish pride when you’re all by yourself, alone.
Once you tell somebody the way that you
Feel, you can feel it beginning to ease.”

Tony Geary circa 1981 and James Taylor circa 1976 (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

James Taylor:  “Shower The People” (1976, written by James Taylor).

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.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 14

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Santa and two of his reindeer join us today.  Ho ho ho!!!

Day 14.jpg

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Last Monday night the Rainforest Fund 30th Anniversary Benefit Concert took place at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.  The night featured an array of outstanding musical guests like James Taylor, Debbie Harry, the reunited Eurythmics and John Mellencamp who sang with my favorite guy and personal hero, Bruce Springsteen.  They sang “Pink Houses” and “Glory Days” together in what Rolling Stone dubbed “a rare heartland-rock summit”.  Another interesting fact about that night?  I WAS NOT THERE!!! 

It wasn’t like I did not know about the show.  I keep up with Bruce’s appearances, of course.  But the ticket prices were insanely high, and I do not have to spend that kind of money when I go to see a four hour plus show by Bruce and his ever loyal E Street Band.  That is a much better investment for my money.  Here’s to the hope that the rumors of a 2020 tour are true!!!     

So if you are not following where this is going, today’s Christmas song (and two bonus tracks) are courtesy of the Bossman.  The video is from Springsteen’s own YouTube channel.  The performance was held at The Carousel Building in Asbury Park, and since it dates back to 2010 the Big Man, Clarence Clemons, is in it.  An early Christmas gift courtesy of the Boss.

bruce

Bruce Springsteen (original source unknown).  

Bruce Springsteen:   “Blue Christmas”  (2010, recorded live at The Carousel in Asbury Park, NJ and written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson circa 1948).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Merry Christmas Baby” (live performance from “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” circa mid to late 1990’s,.  That time frame means the entire E Street Band is there, before the deaths of Danny Federici in 2008 and Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons in 2011.  O’Brien joined the band on guitar.  The best view of him comes @ 4:33 after the other big man, Santa himself, makes an appearance.  Springsteen and his band were frequent guests since the E Street drummer, Max Weinberg, led O’Brien’s house band, The Max Weinberg 7.  Written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947).

Bruce Springsteen:  “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (1975, written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie circa 1934)

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!!!