Music Monday: October 4, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

During quarantine I discovered a fantastic series on Hulu. “Luther” was originally a Starz show that ran from 2010-2019. It featured the unbelievably sexy Idris Elba in the title role as a cop struggling with all the darkness of his job & the ballast it brought to his personal life. Set in the UK, it was clear early on that music was one of the stars of this incredibly well written & well produced series.

Someone bts was clearly a Slowhand fan as one episode featured a character who lived above a vacuum store named “Clapton’s” while another featured a woman named after one of his most famous tunes, “Layla”.

Other songs & artists were featured as well including jazz queen Nina Simone’s great cover of The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”, Robert Plant with “Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down”, Roxy Music with “Love Is The Drug”, Dusty Springfield with “I Only Want To Be With You”, Alabama Shakes with “Boys & Girls” and the fabulous track that closed out Season 3.

It is by American duo The Black Keys comprised of vocalist & guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney. Featured on their 2010 album, Brothers, it was originally a Top 20 hit in 1968 for soul singer Jerry Butler who co-wrote it with future Philadelphia Soul legends, Gamble & Huff.

The cover version may have been released more than forty years after the original but The Black Keys gave it such an old school feel I was sure it was some obscure R&B Top 40 hit from the 1970’s that managed to elude me. It is just that evocative, rich & incredibly soulful. Any artist that can do that to a song is one I am happy to add to my playlist.

Do you see these tears in my eyes
There’s no use in lyin’, ’cause I really cried
You think you are gonna take me
And put me on the shelf
I’d rather die than see you
With somebody else”.

Black Keys

Drummer Patrick Carney (L) and vocalist & guitarist Dan Auerbach (R) of The Black Keys. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Black Keys: “Never Gonna Give You Up” (2010, written by Jerry Butler, Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff).

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 150

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

We have hit another benchmark as we are now at day 150 of the pandemic.  Wow.  So let’s commemorate it with an extra special song & singer to make it easier to realize the five month mark.

Otis Redding.  Otis Redding.  Otis Redding.  My heart belongs to this beautiful talented singer with the most intense, passionate & soulful voice I ever heard.  I swoon over every single note of his music each time it is played.  When I really need an Otis fix, I watch his Monterey Pop Festival performance from 1967 where he literally stole the show from the likes of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Jefferson Airplane and other well established musical acts.  Redding’s music has been featured in movies like “Dirty Dancing” (“These Arms Of Mine” & “Love Man”), “Love Actually” (“White Christmas”), “Platoon” (“Dock Of The Bay”) and in TV shows like “The Sopranos” (season 2 episode 9 featured “My Lover’s Prayer”) and in the original “Magnum, P.I.” (season 7 episode 16 featured “Try A Little Tenderness”).  Today’s song, which is included on the album, “Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul”, arguably his best album released in September 1965, was featured on “The Wonder Years” in season 1 episode 6 where Kevin & Winnie danced to it at a school function.  Only Redding’s music could make a show as great as that one even better.

I’ve been loving you a little too long
I don’t want to stop now, oh
With you my life
Has been so wonderful
I can’t stop now“.

Otis

Otis Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding:  “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (1965, written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler).

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

Stay well.

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #2

The next singer on the countdown had what I believe was the greatest voice EVER.  No one before or since can sing a song with such a heart wrenching achingly impassioned vocal that was Otis Redding’s signature sound.  His talent for writing songs was also phenomenal, as he either wrote or co-wrote such classics as “Respect”, (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay”,  “I Can’t Turn You Loose”, “I’ve Got Dreams To Remember”, “These Arms of Mine” and the #2 song on the countdown, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long“.

Co-written with Jerry Butler and released in the spring of 1965, the song hit #2 on Billboard’s R&B chart & #21 on its  Hot 100 chart, giving Redding his first hit song.  The lyrics are simple, straight forward yet unbelievably powerful in Redding’s pleading vocal:

My love is growing stronger, as you become a habit to me
Oh, I’ve been loving you too long
I don’t wanna stop now

This song is ranked #110 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list, with Redding ranked at #8 on their list of the 500 Greatest Singers of All Time.  If you have never heard this man’s glorious voice or this song, please listen to it now.  You have been denied this gift long enough.

Or better yet, watch Redding’s entire performance from 1967’s  Monterey Pop Music Festival.  This song comes on at the 6:53 mark, but all 5 songs Redding delivers in his high energy persona are worth the watch (not to mention a glimpse of Booker T & the MG’s and the Mar-Keys providing the music to his phenomenal show) .  If you have never seen any part of this performance, it will change your life.  Nothing I write will come close to describing this legend of soul.

Redding was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 by Little Richard.

In the blog featuring the #10 song on the countdown, I wrote that the end to Jackie Wilson’s story was one of the saddest in music.  Well, Redding’s is the first, in my humble opinion.  His entire music career took place by the time he was 26 years old, with the exception of his only #1 record which hit that spot several weeks after his death (for “Dock of the Bay”, which also earned Redding two posthumous Grammy Awards for Best Male R&B Performance and Best R&B Song).  Add to that the fact that Redding left behind a young wife, three very small children and only gave us a glimpse of what his voice could have done for the world throughout his future career, and the story is almost too sad for words.

Redding died in a plane crash in Wisconsin’s Lake Monona on December 10, 1967.  Five members of his touring band, the Bar-Kays, were also killed.

I have been to the R&R HOF twice since it opened, and while I loved the history of it all and the spectacular artifacts on display to help illustrate the story that is rock & roll, it was unbelievably daunting to come thisclose to the display showcasing parts of the twin-engine Beechcraft plane wreckage Redding was killed in.  The fact that we have lived without his voice for almost half a century is heartbreaking enough on its own.

At least we had him for a little while.  What a gift he was to music.

Enjoy!!!