Let’s Take A Moment Day 315

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.

One of country music’s most iconic & revered singers celebrated a milestone birthday last week. Dolly Parton, who was born in 1946 in TN, turned 75 years young on January 19. She has been a staple in the genre for over 50 years in a career that has seen her cross over into pop & mainstream music, acting, business ventures including her own amusement park, Dollywood, writing books and countless charity endeavors including her reading initiative, Imagination Library.

But it is her songs that she is probably most beloved for including her tale of confronting the other woman in “Jolene” to the famous theme song to the movie “9 To 5” to Whitney Houston’s chart topping rendition of “I Will Always Love You” to Parton’s work with fellow artists Kenny Rogers, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris and so many others. Another of her most cherished songs, “Coat Of Many Colors” inspired TV movies based on Parton’s childhood. There is almost nothing this woman has not tried or done in the last five decades. And currently 3.9 million followers on Instagram are eagerly awaiting her next move.

I have always thought of today’s song as the female take on Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night”. It is from her 1977 album Here You Come Again & tells the story of a woman looking for company on a lonely night-a hook up, if you will. For a woman in any genre of music to tackle this subject in 1977 was controversial, but for a country artist it was down right risky. Yet for Parton it was a powerful statement that not only worked, it became a #1 song for two weeks in May 1978 & was featured in the 1979 film, “Norma Rae”. It is also one of the best vocals of Parton’s career. Happy birthday, Dolly.

The amber sunset glow has died
My needs are very much alive
Is it ok if I stop by
It’s all wrong, but it’s all right
“.

Dolly circa 2010

Dolly Parton circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dolly Parton: “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” (1977, written by Dolly Parton).

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.

Christmas Song Countdown #21

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

tree

Courtesy of:  The City Sage (original source unknown)

 

Today’s pick was an easy choice.  My Christmas season is not complete until I hear this song by Elvis Presley himself.  Let’s be real-there was not a piece of music the King sang that I did not like.  His delivery was always impeccable with just the right amount of emotion in his velvety smooth voice.  Combine that with the heavy bass line and the fantastic back-up singers and you have one heck of a song.

But as much as I love Elvis’ Blue ChristmasI remembered another version of this song that I love, too.  It is by an artist who died on his 79th birthday in April.  Another country music star who had that heavy-drinking-fast-living-outlaw persona but that started from his past as a convict while he was in his late teens and early 20’s.  While in jail he realized that all he would get for a life of petty crimes and robberies were those steel bars, so he began to turn his life around, especially after seeing Johnny Cash’s San Quentin concert in 1959.

elvis

Courtesy of:  Elvis.com

 

This artist’s version of Blue Christmas is acoustic and his voice is much edgier than the King’s, bit it still works.  Maybe because I’m a fan, maybe because I am sorry he is gone, maybe a little of both.  The last time I saw him perform was on the 2014 Grammy Awards.  where he sang with his buddies Kris (sa-woon) Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.  Some of his hits include “If We Make It Through December“, “Silver Wings“, “That’s The Way Love Goes” and “Bar Room Buddies“, a duet with Clint Eastwood from the movie “Bronco Billy”.  However, he will probably best be remembered as an “Okie from Muskogee“.

Merle Haggard:  Blue Christmas.

merle

Merle Haggard Courtesy of:  ABC News (original source unknown)

 

P.S.  I found this on YouTube the other day, and I still have not stopped laughing.  I am not a big fan of Porky Pig’s, but his performance.of this song is just too funny!!!  Enjoy!!!

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

silver-bells

 

 

Christmas Song Countdown #20

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

robin

Courtesy:  Country Living Magazine

Today’s pick was one of my mother’s favorite Christmas carols.  If I close my eyes tight enough I can practically see myself as a young girl standing next to her in church singing this song with her.

The version I chose is by a singer who has one of the most beautiful-and most powerful-voices I have ever heard.  She is tied with Reba McEntire for the most nominations (17) in any vocalist category from the Country Music Association .  While she has a lengthy repertoire of original music (including my favorite “A Broken Wing“), she has also covered such classics as Van Morrison’s “Wild Night“, Otis Redding’s “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night“.

kris-kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson (Original source unknown)

 

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG POST FOR A MOMENT TO SWOON OVER KRIS KRISTOFFERSON

Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon!!! .

(Thank you.  I needed that).

I like that despite the strength of her voice, she does not over-sing every single note of every song she sings.  She adds the punch when needed but sings softly as well.  Her performance of this song is a perfect example of her impeccable balance.

Martina McBride:  O Come All Ye Faithful.

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

country-living

Courtesy:  Country Living Magazine

Fourth of July Music Celebration

Hello, fellow Vixens!!!  Happy July!!!

With the long holiday weekend to celebrate our nation’s independence upon us, I thought I would share the songs I listen to whenever I take a road trip.  There is something about the open highway that is invigorating and inspiring to me. Seeing this beautiful country from different vantage points reminds me how lucky I am to call it home.

SONY DSC

One of my favorite buildings in Waxhaw, NC.

Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio.

I celebrate that freedom with the musicians who have contributed to the soundtrack I live my life to.  The songs I chose may not specifically mention or relate to the holiday at all, but they or the artists singing them remind me of home.  This is my comfort music.

And given the current climate with the Supreme Court’s ruling and one state’s steps to see us all as equals under the same flag, this year’s observance of the 4th of July seems more important than ever.

SONY DSC

The view from one of my favorite antiques barns in Jeffersonville, VT.

Copyright 2013 by Michele Antonio.

So here is what I will be listening to this weekend:

10)  “Feeling Stronger Every Day” by Chicago.  A great American band named for their home city.  And what a message for anyone who needs some encouragement.

9)  “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  America’s all American band born on the bayou by way of California.

8)  “The Weight” by the Band.  The late Levon Helm at his best.

7)  “American Pie” by Don McClean.  An unlikely anthem if ever there was one.

6)  “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha and the Vandellas.  Does it get more American than Motown-a/k/a Detroit-where Chevys were made?  Remember the car maker’s old tag line?  “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”.  What a visual.

5)  “Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors.  The harmonica adds the perfect amount of Americana to this rocker.

4)  “Me & Bobby McGee” by Kris Kristofferson.   A song about falling in love while on the road with the “windshield wipers slappin’ time”.  Jack Kerouac would have been so proud.

3)  “This Land is Your Land” by Pete Seeger & Friends.  Forget why they were there.  Just focus on the moment when Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and others stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to sing one of the greatest songs celebrating our country.

2)  “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen.  New Jersey’s elite music master celebrates the best of this country (see #3) and the worst (“Born in the USA”).  But no one does it with more passion, grace or heart than Freehold’s fortunate son.

1)  “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles.  It’s Ray Charles singing.  Enough written.

Bonus:  ANYTHING by Otis Redding.  My top choices are “Tramp” and “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay“.

What will you be listening to over the holiday weekend?

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, Vixens!!!

SONY DSC

The display in front of one favorite antiques stores in Babylon, NY.

Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio.