Let’s Take A Moment Day 435

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Congratulations to Carole King who is finally being inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame as a performer in the Class of 2021. She has only been waiting over two decades for this well deserved honor. To reiterate the rules of the HOF, an artist is eligible 25 years after their debut album is released. King’s first album, Writer, came out 51 years ago in May 1970 (Tapestry just celebrated its 50th anniversary as it was released February 1971). So King was eligible for The HOF in 1995. And what a prestigious class that was: The Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Al Green, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, et al.

King was inducted in 1990 as a songwriter with her ex-husband, Gerry Goffin. But even if she did not get in as a performer with her first record, Tapestry should have made her a slam dunk for the Class of 1996. Then she would have been inducted with The Shirelles who turned her & Goffin’s song, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” into a #1 hit in 1961. David Bowie and Gladys Knight & The Pips were also part of that year’s honored group.

Now King will be inducted alongside another fabulous female artist, Tina Turner, which is great. But their class includes two rappers and a 1980’s bubble gum pop girl band. UGH!!! BUBBLE GUM POP In the same institution as King, Turner, Elvis, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, etc. Ugh again. My heart.

So to celebrate King’s insanely long overdue honor and to commemorate the anniversary of her free concert in NYC’s Central Park on May 25, 1973, today’s song is from her 1971 masterpiece. Tapestry is probably the greatest record ever made by a female artist. All hail Carole King!!!

Sometimes I wonder
If I’m ever gonna make it
Home again it’s so far
And out of sight
“.

Carole King

Carole King, LA 1983. Photo by Jim Shea (Courtesy of caroleking.com). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King: “Home Again” (1971, written by Carole King).

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 348

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.

I swore off musical documentaries a while back, but in November I stumbled upon “Janis: Little Girl Blue” on Hulu. I decided to watch it despite only liking a few of Janis Joplin’s songs as I found others a bit too overpowering for me. The film was well done and I learned a few things I did not know about her life, mostly that she did not fit in with her peers, especially at school. She seemed to be a bit of a loner even after music became what drew people to her and vice versa.

Fifty years ago today-February 27, 1971-her second & final solo album Pearl hit the #1 spot on the albums chart for the first of nine weeks. Today’s track is from her debut record released in 1969. The film ended with this song and man, I was in awe. It is gorgeous. The arrangement, especially the guitar & the strings, combined with Joplin’s interpretation of the lyrics, is just heartbreaking and entrancing at the same time. Had I decided not to watch the film I probably never would have discovered this diamond of a tune. It is a Rogers & Hart song that dates back to 1935 from the musical, “Jumbo”. This track has been recorded dozens of times by a variety of artists from Rosemary Clooney to Sam Cooke to The Carpenters and more. But only one person sang it with the feeling and intensity Joplin did.

And I know how you feel
And I know you ain’t got no reason to go on
And I know you feel that you must be through
Oh honey, go on and sit right back down
“.

Janis-Joplin

Janis Joplin circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Janis Joplin: “Little Girl Blue” (1969, written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers).

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 313

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?

Shakespeare music

(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.

This month marked the 50th anniversary of Pearl, Janis Joplin’s final album released three months after her death in October 1970. This month also marked her 78th birth anniversary. Joplin, who was born January 19, 1943 in TX, was the second of three artists to die at the age of 27 of a heroin overdose in a one year period. Jimi Hendrix died first in September 1970, then Joplin & then Jim Morrison in July 1971 (No autopsy was ever performed on Morrison so that is the suspected cause of his death). For many who lived through the 1960’s, these three deaths marked the end of what that decade represented: peace, love, the surge of American music after the British Invasion years & the break-up of The Beatles.

For a woman to be in that arc when many of her female counterparts were pursuing folk sounds & singer/songwriter status, Joplin was in a class all by herself. She had just fully established herself as a solo performer after her lead singer role in Big Brother & The Holding Company rock band. While I was never a big fan of most of the music I heard from her-it was a little too raw and explosive for my taste-there is no denying her sound was all her own with its blues/jazz/rock interpretations.

As much as I worship one of the writers of today’s song-Kris Kristofferson-I must admit today’s version is my favorite. It hit the top spot in the country for two weeks in March 1971. And there are many reports that she is who Don McLean referenced in his hit “American Pie” in the lines: “I met a girl who sang the blues/And I asked her for some happy news/But she just smiled and turned away”. However, I could not find any confirmation of this in my online research. But it makes a great story, as do the lyrics of today’s song.

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandana
I was playin’ soft while Bobby sang the blues
Windshield wipers slappin’ time
I was holdin’ Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew
“.

Janis Pearl

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Janis Joplin: “Me & Bobby McGee” (1971, written by Fred Foster and Kris Kristofferson).

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 49

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?

Peanuts music

(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.

In one of my favorite “Roseanne” episodes, she and Jackie were talking about the lack of strong women in the music they had growing up.  That is, Roseanne said, until Janis.  And Jackie agreed.  Sort of.

Jackie:  “Well thank God for Janis!  You know, I also learned the truth at 17.”

Roseanne:  “Not Janis Ian, you idiot!  Janis Joplin!”

While I  admit neither Janis is my type of music, there is no denying that Joplin took the brilliance of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me & Bobby McGee” and turned it into a remarkable musical moment.  But in my opinion it was not the only one.  Sammi Smith took another one of his songs and absolutely slayed with it.  I remember being so affected by how intense the lyrics were:  “Yesterday is dead and gone and tomorrow’s out of sight“.  Stunning.  I just love this song.  Smith’s version won her a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance, Female in 1972.

At that same awards presentation, “McGee” and today’s tune were both nominated for Song of the Year, and today’s pick won as Best Country Song.  My admiration for Kristofferson knows no bounds.  He is such an accomplished individual:  Rhodes scholar, boxer and rugby player, Captain in the Army where he served as a helicopter pilot and then as a West Point instructor of his college major, English Literature, to national treasure status a a singer/songwriter extraordinaire.  He is also one of the most beautiful men I have ever seen.  Saaaa-wooooon.  Maybe some day I will find a way to forgive him for dying on me in the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born”.

sammi smith    Kris

(Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Sammi Smith:  “Help Me Make It Through The Night” (1970, written by Kris Kristofferson).

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

Stay well.

So Long, January!!!

Hello, Vixens!!!  How crazy is it that we arrived at the end of January so quickly?  What did you take away from the first month of the year?

I took in my new place surroundings and pondered my decorating scheme, which I have yet to act on LOL!!!  But I did get some great inspiration (thank you Kathleen at Faded Charm), explored some more local sights, got back into my groove of “estate saling” (although I have not had a chance to really dig for a treasure yet but I am hopeful it will happen soon!!!), figured out some shortcuts to a few of my regular places (work, grocery store, antiques stores) and decided I have to get out more despite all that I have to do at home.  So I got my library card, joined a church and a book club.  For our meeting next month, we are reading “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng.  Have any of you read this yet?

book

January also brought the first snowstorm of my CT residency.  To mark the occasion with more than just snow boots, I made home made chicken soup, which turned out pretty well for my first attempt at it.  I do not use salt at all due to its negative health benefits, so once I got the seasonings to a correct balance (pepper, oregano & basil), it was not bad if I do say so myself.  It was so hearty I did not even add noodles!!!

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But most of all for me, January was an unbelievably sad month for the music industry.  Losing an icon like David Bowie was an incredible blow, and we will not see a visionary artist like him again in our lifetime.  For a career to span as many decades as his and encompass as many musical genres as his did only underscores that point.  He left us with a parting gift, “Black Star“*** which is as classic and bold as we remember Bowie to be.

But in the end he was also a beloved man who was taken from his wife and family way too soon, and that is the worst part of the story.  Hopefully 2016 will be the year we finally see cancer obliterated from our world.

Bowie

Source:  YouTube (original source unknown)

Bowie’s loss was followed by those of Glenn Frey of the Eagles; R&B singers Otis Clay and Nicholas Caldwell, who was a member of the group, “The Whispers“; Rene Angelil, who brought us the voice of Celine DionPaul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship fame and one of his co-founders of Airplane, Signe Toly Anderson, who died on the same day.  What she and Kantner did in their band changed the landscape of music forever.  In the mid 1960’s, rock and roll bands were a boy’s only game:  The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Moody Blues, the list goes on and on.  But when Airplane was being formed, another co-founder Marty Balin along with Kantner, knew how important a female voice & presence was.  Anderson provided that until she left the band in 1966 to have a baby.  But the precedent was set and it was a vital turning point in rock and roll and music overall.  Think about who soon followed:  Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Carole King, Deborah Harry, et al.  Thank God for Balin’s & Kantner’s vision.

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Paul Kantner & Signe Toly Anderson, second and third from the left.  Source:  Tumbler (original source unknown).

And today marks what would have been the 70th birthday of Terry Kath, a founding member, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist for the band Chicago.  Kath was the unbelievably gorgeous voice behind classics such as “Colour My World” and “Make Me Smile“.  He was compared to Jimi Hendrix for his musical ability and to Ray Charles for his vocal style.  He died from an accidental gunshot infliction a week before his 32nd birthday in 1978.  He will be inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of Chicago at the induction ceremony in April.

Kath

Source:  premierguitar.com

But things are starting to turn around.  Reports are circulating that Paul Rodgers, who’s latest solo release*** includes fabulous covers of classic songs like “Walk On By” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, and Bad Company are working on a new record together, which I PRAY is true!!!  What a band!!!  Swoon!!!  But best of all Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” tour is in full swing to promote “The Ties That Bind:  The River Collection“***.  All is right in my world when the Boss is on the road and headed my way (next month in Hartford!!!)  Double swoon!!!

I do not own the rights to any of the music I am sharing with you, but the starred links*** are my affiliate links. I only share what I love and am grateful for the support 🙂

So, how was your first month of the year?

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

“…May your song always be sung…”

This week I, along with the rest of their fans, bid a very sad farewell to my extended family-the Bravermans of NBC’s “Parenthood“.

150114_2840417_The_Cast_Reflects_on_Parenthood

Photo courtesy of NBC.

I adored this show. The entire cast was outstanding, but any scene Craig T. Nelson was in was his-period. How this man was not even nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance as family patriarch Zeek Braverman is beyond me.

And for anyone who thinks of Ray Romano as a mere comedy actor needs only to watch one second of any of his scenes on this show to realize how wrong that thought is. Romano’s portrayal of Hank Rizzoli, a man who realized he had an undiagnosed case of Asperger’s Syndrome and how it had damaged his life was simply stunning. As was his relationship with Sarah Braverman (the very entertaining Lauren Graham).

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Photo courtesy of NBC.

It was one of the first honest portrayals of a couple over 40 who learned how to navigate the murky waters of a real adult relationship by owning the mistakes that led to where they were in their lives, and where they wanted their cautiously optimistic hearts to take them in the future.

The other thing I have loved as much as the diverse group of characters on this show is the music. The series had the perfect backdrop for it because one of the characters, Crosby Braverman (the adorable and funny Dax Shepard) was a music engineer and spent the last seasons as co-owner of the Luncheonette, a fictional recording studio that saw the likes of people like Janis Joplin in its heyday.

The show also paid homage to the 60’s in many other ways: The family lived in the Bay area of California (home to the Flower Power origins, Haight-Ashbury and many other iconic 60’s movements); Nelson’s character was a Vietnam Veteran; his grandson, Drew, was a college student at Berkeley; Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” as the show’s theme song, to name a few.

The musical directors of this show did a phenomenal job with the songs they hand picked for each episode (see list HERE), but two Dylan covers win my praise for the best songs of the show’s varied soundtrack (honorable mention to Cat Steven’s “Wild World” performed by Jimmy Cliff as heard at Hank & Sarah’s wedding).

To conclude season five, Richie Haven’s raw and beautiful acoustic version of “The Times They Are A Changing” sent the Bravermans and their fans off to uncertainty about whether or not there would be a sixth season, but not without the benefit of closure and resolution for all of the characters.

For the last song of season six, the series finale, the producers and writers took us on a flash forward a few years into the future to the beauty of Dylan’s “Forever Young” sung as an exquisite duet by Rhiannon Giddens & Iron and Wine (Sam Beam).

That in and of itself would have elicited enough tears, but just prior to this song, Zeek died. My heart sunk. I predicted this from the first episode of this season when he fainted from a cardiac event and many on-line reports had speculated all season that this death was coming. But I hoped for a happy ending…..a real happy ending, where I could imagine Zeek’s expression when he heard the song his grandkids promised to record in honor of his 80th birthday, or how his eyes would well up with tears at the sight of his oldest son Adam (Peter Krause) walking his daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos) down the aisle.

But sadly, happy endings are not real, and what made this show so damn good was that it was about a real family with real life issues. Which is what life is. And that includes the bittersweet ending as opposed to the happy ending. For anyone of us who has said goodbye to someone in our own lives, we are all too familiar with the bittersweet. So there really was no way for Zeek’s death not too happen, which is why it hurt so very, very much.

A lot of people do not live to see their 80th birthday. Some people will not have their grandparents present when they get married-or even their parents, for that matter. And like real life, no matter how much time you have, it is just never enough. Six years was not nearly enough time with this family. To borrow a line from Jimmy Webb, “endings always come too fast”, whether they occur in real life or on TV.

parenthood425

Photo courtesy of NBC.

So goodbye, my beloved Braverman family. I will miss the heck out of all of you.