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 241

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.

I am somewhat amazed that it took me until the eight month mark to get to a song from one of my favorite albums, “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young. Of course I have played a few songs by him already but none from that work of art. So I will do that today, in honor of his 75th birthday.

Born Nov 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Young dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. He met Stephen Stills in Ontario in the mid 1960’s when he was there on tour with one of his early bands. Then Young met fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell when both were writing two of their finest tracks. Legend has it this is when Young wrote “Sugar Mountain” about his fleeting youth (supposedly he wrote it in 1964 on his 19th birthday). Mitchell has said she wrote “The Circle Game” (Day 55). to help him cope with his growing pains. Around this time a local band, The Guess Who, recorded Young’s song, “Flying on the Ground is Wrong”. He spent the rest of his time in Canada as a solo artist and as a member of The Mynah Birds with future R&B singer, Rick James.

Young relocated to Los Angeles around 1966 and met up with Stills in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1960’s. The two formed Buffalo Springfield & had a major hit with 1966’s “For What It’s Worth”, a song credited as one of the first ones to combine folk rock with country rock. But the group had several problems going on behind the music and Young felt confined within a group setting so when the band split up he returned to his solo work. He released his self-titled album in early 1969 followed by “Every One Knows This Is Nowhere” later that year. Both records focused on Young’s electric sound with the second featuring “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand”.

It was around this time that Young again reunited with Stills in his new band which was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They performed at Woodstock but Young missed one set & refused to be filmed for the other, allegedly because he was in the US illegally (he did not get his green card until 1970). When the band was recording “Deja Vu”, Stills & Young fought frequently over the sound of the band. But they managed to put aside those differences long enough to record his song “Ohio” in May 1970 in response to the Kent State shootings. After that Young left the band for good and went on to his enormously successful solo career.

It began in earnest 50 years ago with 1970’s “After The Gold Rush” which was highlighted by his move to a more acoustic driven sound. Thank goodness for that shift because it continued with the next release, 1972’s “Harvest” album which contains his masterpiece, “Heart Of Gold” (Day 24). But “Gold Rush” has several gems including “Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, “I Believe In You”, the title track and today’s pick. It is another of Young’s heartbreakingly beautiful ballads that just takes hold of me and will not let go. They make my heart hurt for all the right reasons, especially today’s song.

I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream
Someone should call him and see
If he can come out
Trying to lose the down that he’s found
“.

Neil 1970

Neil Young Opening Night Reception For "Special Deluxe" Art Exhibition

Top:  Neil Young circa 1970.  Bottom:  Young circa 2015.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Neil Young: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (1970, 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 238

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.

November 7th marked the 77th birthday for Roberta Joan Anderson, known to the world as Joni Mitchell. Born in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada in 1943 she is one of music’s premier female singer/songwriters. She was part of the Laurel Canyon music scene of the late 1960’s and, along with Linda Ronstadt, one of only two solo female performers in that group of artists.

Mitchell’s debut album was released in 1968 but it was the follow-up, 1969’s “Clouds”, that established her place in music history. She wrote her own songs, played her own music and produced most of it. Her music went from folk to jazz to rock and more because her sound and compositions were so diverse they could not be put into one box. Along the way she went back to explore her first love and another talent, painting.

Many of her songs have been covered by several other artists, but today’s track has been covered hundreds of times in the last five decades. Mitchell herself recorded a new version in 2000 complete with a full orchestra that was featured in the 2003 film, “Love Actually”. No matter how many times I hear this song, I remain in complete awe of its beauty, its elegance, its message and the fact that she was only 21 when she wrote such profound and insightful lyrics.

But now old friends they’re acting strange
They shake their heads, they say I’ve changed
Well something’s lost, but something’s gained
In living every day
“.

Joni 2

Joni 3

Top: Joni Mitchell circa 1972. Bottom: Mitchell circa 2010. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Joni Mitchell: “Both Sides Now” (1969, written by Joni Mitchell).

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 211

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.

Four years ago today Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first time for an American citizen in 23 years. It put him in the same company with other great writers like Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner, amongst others. Dylan received this prodigious & well deserved honor “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

His road to this esteemed prize began in 1962 when he released his self titled debut album. Comparisons to one of his major influences, Woody Guthrie, were almost immediate. Dylan also drew inspiration from the blues, country music & rock & roll while he was growing up. He started playing guitar while he was in high school in Minnesota and his band covered songs by Elvis Presley & Little Richard. As much as Dylan enjoyed rock & roll music, he wanted his own music to show life in a more honest realistic way.

In 1960 he dropped out of college and soon relocated to New York City. It was there that he began performing but also where he would meet the man he called “the true voice of the American spirit”, Guthrie himself. Dylan started playing around Greenwich Village, getting great reviews for his work and playing on records by other folk singers like Carolyn Hester. It was through that collaboration that he met producer John Hammond who signed Dylan to Columbia Records. By 1962 he released his first record & legally changed his name from Robert Allen Zimmerman to Bob Dylan.

His debut album contained only two original songs but his sophomore release, “The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan” contained all his own material and the first of his many masterpieces, “Blowin’ In The Wind”. The record also included “I Shall Be Released”, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”. His third album from 1964, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” cemented Dylan’s genius & his voice as the one to articulate the social issues of the era.

He took the world from his acoustic folk music to his electric guitar sound & introduced his back-up group, The Band, along the way. He influenced everyone from John Lennon to Joni Mitchell to Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith to countless others. He has written some of the most iconic songs of the 1960’s & 1970’s and his profound words are what he is most revered and beloved for. The Nobel Prize is proof of what he has bestowed upon us all. To quote the many lines he is known for would take more than one blog post to list, so I will use one of my favorite verses from today’s song as an example of his immense talent. The phrase “national treasure” is overused sometimes, but if there is one person who defines the phrase perfectly, it is Bob Dylan.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now
“.

Dylan

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bob Dylan: “My Back Pages” (1964, written by Bob Dylan).

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 55

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 you watch “This Is Us” then you know that the woman behind today’s song is one of the stars of the show, yet she is not a member of the cast.  She is who young Rebecca yearned to be and who older Rebecca listened to on vinyl at the record store before driving to Laurel Canyon with Kevin to find the former home of her idol, Joni Mitchell.  It is hard to believe that she was only in her twenties when she wrote songs like “Both Sides Now” and today’s pick.  She had such an incredible insight into life at such an early age.  I know she is incredibly gifted, but I also wonder if some of her awareness came from her experience with giving a child up for adoption when she was 21 years old.  They reunited 32 years later and have been in each other’s lives ever since.

As for my comprehension about life, there are three things I know for sure:  One, Jungleland is the most beautiful song I ever heard.  Two, life is not fair and three, it goes by impossibly fast.  Devastatingly fast.  Tragically fast.  One minute we are playing games as kids, the next we are graduating from high school.  One day our mothers are taking care of us and the next we are taking care of them.  Or they are gone.  That is why I think today’s song is perfect for this particular Sunday.

Mothers-Day

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all.  And for those of us mourning our mothers or the other women who ever cared for us in any way, may we find peace and comfort in our great fortune to have known such spectacular women.

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return, we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

Joni

        (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Joni Mitchell:  “The Circle Game” (1970, written by Joni Mitchell).

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 22

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Holiday greetings to all of you on this first day of winter!

day 22 B.jpg

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

I have a weakness for string arrangements in any type of music.  It began the moment I heard the absolutely exquisite introduction to Bruce Springsteen’s “Jungleland”.  That union of a piano and violin is just so beautiful I never recovered from that first listen.  It inspired me to learn to play the viola in junior high.  I stayed with it all through high school, then in college I took cello lessons.  It became my first love to both play and listen to.  I firmly believe that whoever coined the phrase “hauntingly beautiful” did so after hearing an unbelievably powerful and heartbreakingly elegant string arrangement, perhaps like this one from my favorite movie soundtrack of all time by composer Rachel Portman.

Today’s pick was originally done with only a piano accompaniment to the singer’s voice which made for a really lovely piece of music.  The version of the song I am using today is also a  piano/vocal combination.  But with the addition of one of the most gorgeous string arrangements I have ever heard,  it goes from lovely to utterly sublime.

Ally mcbeal

Robert Downey Jr.:  “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell in 1971).

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!!!

For The First Song Of December The Vintage Vixen Gave To Me…..

Happy December, dear Vixens!!!  T’is the season for Christmas songs so while you deck the halls and enjoy your Advent treats, why not add a few new tunes to your play list???

hello-december-1

I have been overdosing on the genius of this woman for weeks now, and I do not see an end in sight anytime soon.  I have been a fan of hers for years, but after not listening to her music for a while because all of my CD’s are still not unpacked, I heard one of her songs on the radio (yes, I still listen!!!) and became addicted all over again.

I must admit she was an acquired taste for me yet, despite hearing her songs by other artists for years I still did not get it.  But I guess I am in good company because Tom Hanks’ character in “You’ve Got Mail” was unsure of her as well (” ‘It’s clouds illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all’  What does that mean?  Is she a pilot?  Is she taking flying lessons?  It must be a metaphor for something, but I don’t know what it is.”)

youve-got-mail-movie-meg-ryans-brownstone

Courtesy of Warner Brothers Studio

Total aside – I love that scene…..

And that movie…..

Sa-woon.

But I digress.

I am ashamed to admit that it took me so long to appreciate this woman’s gifts for story telling, poetry, imagery, songwriting and singing.  Now I can listen to her for days on end and still not get enough.  And for a music connoisseur like me, you know it has to be good if I am letting my ears have that much time with her.

So here is my first music selection…..

For the ENTIRE Christmas season of 2016…..

And I hope it makes your heart swoon like it does mine   🙂

frozen-river

Joni Mitchell:  River.

Another aside – Sarah McLachlan covered this song ten years ago on her”Wintersong” CD.  I think it does the original justice.  Listen to it here

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you.

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

wreath

 

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