Let’s Take A Moment Day 307

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.

Before today’s song, I want to wish the happiest of birthdays to a most spectacular “Golden Girl”, Betty White. This legend of radio, TV & film turns 99 today & has been entertaining the world for 82 years. I was lucky enough to meet her in May 2011 when she came to Barnes & Noble in Lake Grove, NY to sign copies of her book, “If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)“.

She was an absolute delight. I was in complete awe, told her meeting her was like meeting one of the Beatles which made her laugh. But when I told her she & the other three Golden Girls were like my surrogate mothers from their very first episode she smiled and squeezed my hand. It was one of the most cherished moments of my life. Keep rocking, Betty. You are loved, worshiped & revered. And an absolute riot!!!

Betty White

Betty White in May 2011 in Lake Grove, NY. (credit: Me!!!)

Music nightclubs have been around forever, but for the music I love, some of the best saw the 1960’s & 1970’s as the peak of their success. The Troubador in West Hollywood, CA introduced artists like Elton John, Tom Waits & James Taylor. The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA hosted Cream, The Grateful Dead & blues greats Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. At NYC’s Fillmore East Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and The Allman Brothers (who recorded their first live record there in 1971, At Fillmore East) appeared. Max’s Kansas City was a favorite hangout spot for John Lennon when he first moved to NYC, Deborah Harry was a waitress there and artists like The Velvet Underground & David Bowie performed there. Two other NYC clubs-The Bottom Line & CBGB’s hosted Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt & Van Morrison at the former and Patti Smith, Blondie, The Talking Heads and other punk/new wave artists at the latter.

Another West Hollywood club, The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, opened January 11, 1964 and quickly became one of the top music venues for up & coming artists. Two of my favorites-The Doors & Otis Redding-were featured there and it helped put them on their respective musical maps. For Redding especially this was a huge moment in his early career as it led to the recording of his live album, In Person at the Whisky a Go Go. It was recorded during his three shows in April 1966 but not released until October 1968, nearly a year after his death. A second release, Good to Me: Live at the Whisky a Go Go, Vol. 2, was released in 1993.

The shows at the club took place a year before Redding’s mainstream success thanks to his rousing performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of 1967. It included today’s song which was first recorded in 1932 but Redding’s version 34 years later took on a whole new style due in part to the producer, soul legend Isaac Hayes. Booker T & The M.G.’s played on the record & with Redding in person at the Monterey show. Redding’s complete five song set from the concert along with Jimi Hendrix’s performances were released on the 1970 album, Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Redding’s are included on a few of his posthumous releases plus you can also find the videos on YouTube. Today’s song was his last number of the night and it is nothing short of spectacular.

It’s not just sentimental no, no, no
She has her grief and care, yeah, yeah, yeah
But the soft words they are spoke so gentle, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear”.

Otis at Monterey

Otis Redding on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. Alan Jackson (back) was the drummer that night with the band Booker T & The MG’s. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “Try A Little Tenderness” (Live performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967. Originally recorded in 1966. Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Henry MacGregor “Harry” Woods).

I only own the rights to the Betty White picture, nothing else. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 293

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.

Today we celebrate the 76th birthday for one of the most prolific voices from the 1960’s Laurel Canyon music scene. Stephen Stills, a man Neil Young calls a genius, was born on January 3, 1945 in Dallas, TX. Best known as a member of the ground breaking groups-Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash (CSN) and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSN&Y)-Stills is also the writer behind one of the 60’s best protest anthems (“For What It’s Worth”) and the voice behind the song that celebrated the biggest concert the country had ever seen to that point (“Woodstock”). He is a two-time inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for his work with the aforementioned bands.

Stills has released a number of solo records throughout his career with notable songs like “Love The One You’re With”, “Sit Yourself Down” & “Treetop Flyer”. He is also noted for his guitar work and his multi-instrumental skills. He has worked with an array of artists including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Jerry Garcia, & Joni Mitchell, amongst others.

His work with CSN stands out the most for me. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, written about his one time girlfriend Judy Collins, is a musical odyssey. Just when you thought it could not get any better Stills closed out the song by singing in Spanish. But my favorite track of his is today’s, a stunningly beautiful ballad of lost love & heartbreak, with lyrics that define the word poetic.

Wordlessly watching, he waits by the window and wonders
At the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams, he worries
Did he hear a goodbye
Or even hello
“.

CSN album

Stills & Young

Top: CSN’s 1969 debut album. Bottom: Stills (L) & Neil Young circa 2000. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Crosby, Stills & Nash: “Helplessly Hoping” (1969, written by Stephen Stills).

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 258

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.

November 27 marked the 78th birth anniversary of guitarist extraordinaire Jimi Hendrix. While I could appreciate how undeniably talented he was and how groundbreaking his sound was, most of his music did not hit my soul like other types did. But once I discovered the “Layla” album, I found a song by Hendrix that I truly loved. Side four track one of Derek & The Dominos incomparable album-released 50 years ago on November 9, 1970- was their cover of today’s song and it is simply beautiful.

Clapton met Hendrix in October 1966 when he came to London and joined Cream onstage at one of their shows. The two guitarists became instant friends and Clapton recorded this track four years later not long before Hendrix passed away in 1970. Of course, Clapton’s vocals got me from the first note he sang, and his & Duane Allman’s playing is absolute magic on the record, too. But at the core of this song is a melodic poetic ballad that is truly sublime.

When I’m sad, she comes to me
With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free
She says it’s alright
Take anything you want from me,
Anything
“.

Jimi Eric

Jimi Hendrix (L) with Eric Clapton (R) circa 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “Little Wing” (1970, written by Jimi Hendrix).

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 128

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.

Time for a mid-week Motown break.  Although The Isley Brothers tenure at the label was brief (from 1965-1968) it did produce today’s hit.  Rod Stewart covered this tune twice, once in 1975 and then again in 1989 as a duet with lead singer Ronald Isley.  The year before the brothers came to the label, future guitar legend Jimi Hendrix played in their band but left when the brothers failed to have any chart success during his year with them.  They were just inducted into the The Songwriters Hall of Fame in the class of 2020 and in 1992 they were inducted into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  They have had over a dozen songs on the Billboard charts since 1959 when the tune they wrote, “Shout”, was released.  That is probably their most well known song (who can forget it in the toga party scene in the movie “Animal House”) but today’s pick is my favorite.

Always with half a kiss
You remind me of what I miss
Though I try to control myself
Like a fool I start grinnin’ ’cause my head starts spinnin‘”

jimi isley bros
Jimi Hendrix, O’Kelly Isley Jr. & Rudolph Isley & Ronald Isley circa 1964.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

 

The Isley Brothers:  “This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)” (1966, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland and Sylvia Moy).

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 89

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?

Kerouac

(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.

As my rock heroes get older, I have noticed a growing and somewhat disturbing trend for them to tell their stories in a documentary.  My guess is if they do it while they are alive they will be able to control the narrative.  I get that.  Does the movie reveal things you never knew?  Yes.  For example, in “Eric Clapton:  Life In 12 Bars”, I learned that when he and his band, Cream, came to America in 1967 to record it was in the hallowed halls of Atlantic Records.  He saw people like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin coming and going.  In fact, he sat in on a rehearsal session with her and her band.  I never knew that (and, oh my God, wow!!!  Just imagining the three of them in the same building at once…swoon!).  I enjoyed discovering that.  And the audio and pictures of Clapton with Duane Allman & Jimi Hendrix are gold. 

I did not need to see, however, all the clips of him drinking so excessively and taking drugs.  His battles with addiction are well documented (his 2007 book, “Clapton: The Autobiography” came out the same year his ex-wife Pattie Boyd released hers).  Message received.  He was an addict.  But he has been sober 33 years which is basically a footnote at the end of the movie.  Watching a man I worship, love & admire in such a painful self-destructive place that he snorted cocaine from a switch blade was not only unnecessary, it seemed purely exploitive.  The director, a friend of Clapton’s, already included a number of clips of him using the drug without the knife.  She made no mention of the movies he’s been in (“Tommy”, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Blues Brothers 2000”) & basically skipped over his career in the 1980’s, too.  I was hoping to see behind the scenes clips of him making videos (he was a staple on MTV & VH1), or at the Live Aid show or anything else from such a prolific decade of his.  I still recommend it if you have not seen it since this is Clapton, after all.  But just know it is a very hard watch which Clapton himself has stated in several interviews about the film.

To cheer myself up (and to stop from shaking), I went back to watch a doc I missed, 2013’s “History of The Eagles”.  I loved this band growing up and Don Henley’s solo records in the 1980’s.  I knew all about the friction between him and bandmate Glenn Frey so I was prepared for that but otherwise I looked forward to the band’s story.  Or maybe not.  Working under the philosophy that a band is not a democracy but rather an entity requiring leadership, Henley & Frey ran the show.  Period.  And when they were not fighting.  I realize both men had successful solo careers so perhaps maybe that lead to their decision, but those careers sprang from years with a hugely successful band of more than two members.  And both men require co-writers with a lot, if not all of their songs, so they are not doing it all alone.  I know egos go hand in hand with many rock stars, but seeing how arrogant Henley & Frey were towards their bandmates or just in general, particularly Henley, this film neither cheered nor soothed me.  It just made me mad.

I think I need to stop watching documentaries on musicians.

Today’s song is still my favorite solo number from Henley, but true to form I could not find the studio version on YouTube.  It is 2020, we are in the throes of a pandemic where so many of the elite are offering free streaming services or virtual tours, and Henley still refuses to post his videos.  It goes back to a grudge he (and many in the industry) had against the free uploads not paying artists their royalties.  I completely agree that any artist should be paid for their copyright.  But in the last decade, many artists started their own official YT channels to counteract the illegal uploads including Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, the estate of Marvin Gaye and so many others.  Henley has a channel, too, but mostly of live performances.  I do not believe their are any legal issues with his video copyrights, but perhaps there are which is why they cannot be uploaded.  But I am only speculating.  As a fan I find it frustrating, especially because there is such a pretty video for it which I hate not being able to see.  But this live version is the best I could do.

henley

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don Henley:  “The Heart Of The Matter” (1989, written by Mike Campbell, Don Henley & J.D. Souther).

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 80

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?

Kerouac

(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.

When the first Rock & Roll Hall of Fame class was inducted in 1986, several notable people speculated that eventually everyone would get in.  Not true.  While many of those inducted in the last few years have me shaking my head (Abba, really???) so does the absence of Bad Company.  They are an unbelievably great band and have one of the greatest lead singers to ever take center stage:  Paul Rodgers.

I fell head over heels in love with his magnificently powerful soulful voice the first time I heard him sing “All Right Now”, a monumental tune he co-wrote for his first band, Free.  But his years with the band he co-founded, Bad Co., solidified his reputation as a great singer-songwriter.  From “Can’t Get Enough”, “Simple Man”, “Running With The Pack”, “Feel Like Makin’ Love”, “Shooting Star” and so many others, Rodgers has penned many of the group’s biggest hits.  He also plays guitar, piano & keyboards.  Rodgers’ talent and the band’s musicianship are undeniable which helped them become a powerhouse group in the 1970’s.  Yet despite being eligible for induction into the HOF since 1999 (25 years after their debut album came out in 1974), Bad Co. has yet to be voted in.  And for the life of me I cannot understand why.  (The HOF has also snubbed Tina Turner, Warren Zevon, John Coltrane and Todd Rundgren.  But I digress).

Bad Co 3

Bad Company circa 1974 (L-R):  Boz Burrell, Mick Ralphs, Paul Rodgers & Simon Kirke. 
(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Let’s not forget that Rodgers also had a five year stint touring with Queen beginning in 2004.  He was also in a band with Jimmy Page in the 1980’s (The Firm) and made tribute records to two of his musical heroes, Jimi Hendrix and Muddy Waters, the latter of which earned him a Grammy nomination.  Not to be overlooked, the other members of Bad Co. have great resumes as well:  guitarist and group co-founder Mick Ralphs, who has written or co-written many of the group’s songs (including “Can’t Get Enough” & “Feel Like Makin’ Love”), was once a member of Mott The Hoople (best known for “All The Young Dudes”) & has toured with David Gilmour; bassist & songwriter Boz Burrell, who was also a member of King Crimson and drummer & songwriter Simon Kirke, who was also in Free and toured with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band.

I consider all of their albums my favorites for different reasons, but when you name one after a Jack Kerouac novel (1979’s “Desolation Angels”) I think it takes center stage (no pun intended).  And who doesn’t need a fantasy to escape to right now more than ever?

 

 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bad Company:  “Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy” (1979, written by Paul 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 45

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.

If I had to pinpoint how rock & roll music officially began, my timeline would be this:

1908:  The year American bandleader & swing/big band/R&B musician Louis Jordan is born.

1916:  The year American rockabilly songwriter Claude Demetrius is born.

1926:  The year American guitarist Charles Edward Anderson Berry is born.  The world would come to know him as Chuck Berry.  Soon he learns to “play a guitar just like a-ringin’ a bell and, oh my, that little country boy could play”.

1946:  Demetrius writes a song (co-written with Jordan’s wife, Fleecie Moore) called “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” which Jordan records and turns into an R&B hit the same year.

1958:  Berry writes and records his semi-autobiographical groundbreaking hit, “Johnny B. Goode”.  The song begins with a note for note replica of the introduction to Jordan’s 1946 song, written by Demetrius.  A new sound is born from combining music from the swing/big band/R&B/rockabilly genres and Berry is christened “The Father of Rock & Roll”.

Young impressionable youths like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and many others are entranced by what Berry does with a guitar.  Fast forward to 1963 & 1964 where The Beatles record Berry covers “Roll Over Beethoven” & “Rock & Roll Music ” and stop by America for that Sunday night show at the same theatre David Letterman was in and there you have it.

Yes, Elvis (who covered a few of Berry’s songs, including today’s), Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Carl Perkins and many other early architects of this new sound were coming up around the same time as Berry.  However, his musicianship, his stage dance moves (most notably the “duck walk”) and his songwriting talent made him a triple threat and set him apart from the others.  Elvis will always be the King, but Berry was and remains The Master.

Today’s song also has the distinction of being part of NASA’s Voyager Space Mission as one of the pieces of music from Earth.  And honestly, can you imagine Marty McFly sliding across the floor to any other song in “Back To The Future” than this one?

Chuck-Berry-Johnny-B-Goode

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chuck Berry:  “Johnny B. Goode” (1958, written by Chuck Berry).

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

Stay well.