Let’s Take A Moment Day 212

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.

Today’s artist comes from a musical family. Rufus Wainwright’s parents are American songwriter, folk singer, entertainer & humorist Loudon Wainwright III and Canadian folk singer & songwriter Kate McGarrigle. She & her sister, Anna, formed the duo, The McGarrigle Sisters, in Montreal in the 1960’s & continued together until Kate’s death in 2010. Their songs have been covered by many artists including Marianne Faithful, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, most notably her cover of “Heart Like A Wheel” which was written by Anna.

Wainwright was born in Rhinebeck, NY in 1973 and his sister, Martha Wainwright (also a singer) was born three years later, the same year his parents divorced. That sent his mother back to Montreal to raise her two children. Wainwright started playing piano at the age of six and by the age of 13 he & his sister were touring with their mother and aunt as “The McGarrigle Sisters and Family”. He developed a strong affinity for opera music around that time and went back to New York for high school. After that he moved back to Montreal where he began playing the club circuit. That is how he was discovered and by 1998 his self-titled debut album was released. However, he continues to perform with his family on various musical collaborations.

In a 2004 interview with the AP, Elton John called Wainwright “the greatest songwriter on the planet”. In addition to writing his own songs, he has also done outstanding covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” (Day 161) for the “Shrek” soundtrack & The Beatles “Across The Universe” featured in the “I Am Sam” movie. My favorite song of Wainwright’s is from his third studio album, “Want One” and features an orchestra & choir arrangement. As lovely as the original track is, today’s interpretation only has a piano accompaniment to his elegant vocal. You will notice at the 2:07 mark of the video that he is playing that instrument with just one hand. There is something so exquisitely beautiful about a simple acoustic number. And this version is one gorgeous example of how less is more.

My phone’s on vibrate for you
But still I never ever feel from you
Pinocchio’s now a boy who wants to turn
Back into a toy
“.

Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rufus Wainwright: “Vibrate” (2003, written by Rufus Wainwright).

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 206

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?

Jane Austen 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.

Today in 1987 one of my favorite musical documentaries was released. “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll” took an in-depth behind the scenes look into the life & career of “The Father Of Rock & Roll”, Chuck Berry. The film ended with clips from two all-star concerts that took place in honor of Berry’s 60th birthday in 1986 featuring Etta James, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt and Julian Lennon. The show was organized by band leader Keith Richards with help from guitarist Robert Cray and Berry’s longtime pianist, Johnnie Johnson. The music was without a doubt phenomenal but the glimpses into Berry’s personal life including scenes with his father (who died the year the film came out), other family members and longtime friends gave more weight to Berry’s life. His 94th birth anniversary is in about a week-October 18, to be exact-so today is a celebration of that as well as the movie’s anniversary.

He was born in 1926 & raised in St. Louis, Missouri by his Baptist church deacon father & public school principal mother. Music was an early hobby for Berry who performed at his high school when he was around 15. But when he was arrested for armed robbery just before his 18th birthday, he was sent to a reformatory school until he was 21. It was there he started singing in a quartet.

Berry got married in 1948, became a father in 1950 and soon after began playing in local clubs with various bands for extra money while he worked regular jobs during the day. By 1953 he began working with Johnson’s trio, performing R&B and country music. Two years later he met blues great Muddy Waters who encouraged Berry to reach out to Chess Records president Leonard Chess. That led to Berry’s first recording for the label (and his first million seller), “Maybellene”, in 1955. Thus a legend was born.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when Clapton & Richards are rehearsing today’s song with Berry and he is having trouble remembering the lyrics. It is from his second studio album for Chess Records, “One Dozen Berrys” released in 1958. The record includes three hits: “Sweet Little Sixteen”, “Rock & Roll Music” & “Reelin’ & Rockin'”. But ever since I saw the documentary, today’s track is the one I enjoy the most.

One of his biggest fans, John Lennon, said, “If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry’.” Amen. Hail! Hail! Chuck Berry!!!

When I see those big brown eyes that’s when I take my queue
It don’t take me but a few minutes to get a message through
I talked to you, and you talked to me and we talked to one another
It don’t take us but a few minutes to understand each other
“.

Hail Hail

A concert scene from the movie featuring (L-R): Check Berry, Keith Richards & Eric Clapton performing “Wee Wee Hours”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Chuck Berry: “It Don’t Take But A Few Minutes” (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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 194

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?

Jane Austen 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.

Today marks the 122nd birth anniversary of George Gershwin. He wrote some of the most beautiful standards out there, and Broadway musicals were never the same after his genius touch. My absolute favorite tune of his is “Someone To Watch Over Me” (see Day 42). But I love today’s song as well, which was first sung by Ginger Rogers in the 1930 stage musical, “Girl Crazy” and in the 1943 film version by Judy Garland.

Since then it has been covered by a number of artists including John Coltrane, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Elton John and Barry Manilow, amongst others. But when it comes to singing Gershwin tunes, I do not think anyone compares to Lady Ella.

I was a fool to fall, and get that way
Hi-ho, alas, and also lack-a-day
Although I can’t dismiss
The memory of his kiss
I guess he’s not for me
“.

Ella Marilyn

george gershwin

Top: Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe circa 1955. Bottom: George Gershwin circa 1930. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Ella Fitzgerald: “But Not For Me” ( 1959, written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin).

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 29

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?

music heart

(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 heard someone say once that if you get through the pain, and you put the past behind you, there are good things ahead.  Sometimes profound things.  And that happened to me.  I finally made peace with my past and while I do not usually share things like this, I feel like if I can help one person then it will be worth it.

Growing up I heard things no one should ever hear, but especially not an impressionable child.  And it did not just happen once, but over and over again.  It go so bad that by the age of 7 I even threatened to run away.  But nothing changed.  My parents continued to subject me to an unspeakable horror.  And by unspeakable horror I mean the sounds of the Fifth Dimension.

The pain was real.  I tried therapy a few times but it took years before I found the help I needed, and that was with a support group at the VA.  They saw combat but once they heard my story, they knew my hell was almost as real as theirs.  And since even seeing the name of my nemesis in front of me is giving me flashbacks, going forward I will only refer to them as F.D.

I hated the F.D.  HA-TED them.  I know hating is wrong, but so was nearly every note this group ever sang.  I believe part of the issue was all the members were always singing together in what was supposed to be five part harmony.  It was not.  And at that time I was listening to “The Partridge Family” & “The Brady Bunch”  who sang in six part harmony and I was fine with it, so go figure.  I remember hearing someone on the radio refer to the F.D. as an R&B group.  That was like saying Pat Boone sang rock & roll!!!  My parents were not hippies by any stretch of the imagination, but no self respecting hippie would ever have been caught dead listening to this group despite “The Age of Aquarius” slant anyway.

One morning when I woke up to the sound of that terrible song for the 927,623rd time (and trust me when I tell you I was rounding down), I got out of bed and walked into the living room where my mother was singing her heart out to what had become the bane of my existence.  I told her point blank that if the moon went into the seventh house one more time I was leaving.  Instead of taking me in her arms and giving me the rightful apology I was owed (and maybe a puppy for good measure). she seemed shocked and surprised that I knew the lyrics.  I was about 7 years old so I do not remember exactly what I said to her, but I believe it went something like, “Are you kidding me?  How could I NOT know the words?  You have played this song 927,623 times!!!”  (Side note:  In an odd way keeping count kept me somewhat sane as it gave me something to focus on other than those awful songs.  In therapy I discovered that is how members of POW camps learn to survive-by controlling what they can).

The lyrics were part of the problem.  They made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.  The main songwriter the F.D. worked with was Laura Nyro.  I came to understand that she was considered ahead of her time but I just did not get her at all.  Still don’t.  For instance, in “Stoned Soul Picnic” (whatever the heck that is), the opening line is “Surry down to a stoned soul picnic“.  Surry???  Was that even a real word?  Or was it a combination of the words “so hurry”?  And if so, how much time was actually saved by leaving out two letters?  Then in “Sweet Blindness” (an oxymoron if ever there was one), one verse is “come on baby do a slow float, you’re a good lookin’ riverboat and aint that sweet-eyed blindness good to me“.  What the hell???

Then in another one of Nyro’s songs, “Wedding Bell Blues”, we have the lead singer begging a guy in the group named Bill to marry her.  Where in God’s name was her self respect?  And what the heck was that recording session like?  I was embarrassed for her and I was only 7!!!  Even a song (“Up, Up & Away”) written by one of my favorite writers ever-the American treasure that is Jimmy Webb-made me cringe, but again I put the blame 100% on the group.  After all, Webb gave us great songs made famous by the likes of Glen Campbell (“Wichita Lineman” & “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”), Art Garfunkel (“All I Know”),  Linda Ronstadt (“Easy For You To Say”) and so many others.

But in all that darkness, one ember of light emerged.  The sound of a slow tempo song, sung by one voice with four backing vocals instead of the five group members singing at once, done in a beautiful arrangement.  The lyrics were different than their other songs, although I must admit I did not fully understand them at the time.  Example:  “one less egg to fry” made no sense to me.  After all, I was seven so I didn’t cook plus my mom either poached or scrambled my eggs.  And “one less man to pick up after”?  Was my dad leaving, I wondered.  And if so, where was he going???  But still, I found the song glorious.  And that was my introduction to two of the best songwriters this country-heck, this world-ever gave us:  Burt Bacharach & Hal David.  They saved me.

Years later I heard today’s song, written by this prolific duo, and I absolutely swooned.  The singer is not one of my favorites but her work with this extraordinary writing team was a powerful force in the 1960’s.  Her voice is so soft and pretty, and delivers a great vocal to a gorgeous arrangement.  It is the best of what a sad love song should be:  succinct, poignant, evocative and leaving you begging for one more note.  I love so many Bacharach & David compositions (“Anyone Who Had A Heart”, “This Guy’s In Love With You”, “A House Is Not A Home” “The Look Of Love” to name a few) but this one I adore.

Burt Hal

Hal David, Dionne Warwick & Burt Bacharach circa 1964  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Dionne Warwick:  “Walk On By” (1964, written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David).

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 24

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?

music heart

(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.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” is when Meg Ryan’s character,  Kathleen Kelly, is talking about how when she was a kid she helped her mother in the bookstore she now owns.  “I used to watch her and it wasn’t that she was just selling books.  It was that she was helping people become whoever it was they were going to turn out to be because when you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”  I think the exact same thing is true about the music you hear when you are young, first as a child then as a teenager.

I first heard today’s song when I was a kid, probably around eight years old.  I remember thinking it was so sad and yet so beautiful at the same time.  I really felt bad for the man singing that he did not have love in his life.  I recall thinking as only a child could that love was easy to find and why this poor guy did not have it was a mystery to me.  I felt his sadness but I also felt the beauty of his words.  I was captivated by both the singer and the song.

As I got older, I learned Neil Young recorded this song in 1971 when he was just 25 years old.  I fell even more in love with his words and admired the brevity he mastered in telling a heartbreaking story in such an eloquent  way.  It was my first introduction to a more acoustic sound than I had heard before.  I was enthralled by how much power there was in just a voice, a guitar, and a harmonica.  The last chorus featured some additional voices which were two of the best of that decade-James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt- which only added to the elegance of what Young created in this gorgeous piece of music.  I loved this song then and I love it now.  It is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time, as are many others that I first heard as a child.

Neil Young

Neil Young circa 1979 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young:  “Heart of Gold” (1972, 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 15

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?

music heart

(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.

Today’s song has been covered by a variety of artists such as Johnny Cash, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Young & Rod Stewart.  But my absolute favorite one is by the woman who defined the cool rock chick persona in the 1970’s with her unmistakable powerful gorgeous passionate voice.  But her talent and love of singing was too big to be confined to one genre.  In her 45 year career she has sold over 100 million records which included country, mexican, big band, broadway and pop songs.  She has also collaborated with many artists, most notably with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris on the country “Trio” albums and Aaron Neville on hits like “Don’t Know Much”, “All My Life” and “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”.  Her contribution to music is immeasurable and despite her retirement from performing in 2011 she remains one of the greatest female singers of all time.

Linda

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Linda Ronstadt:  “Love Has No Pride” (1973, written by Eric Kaz & Libby Titus).

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 2018: Day 7

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 7

Found on Pinterest/House Beautiful Magazine’s page.

Today’s song was written by Gene Redd & blues singer Charles Brown in 1960.  Brown recorded the original version the same year and it has since been covered by the likes of the Eagles, Willie Nelson, Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson, to name a few.  The original is my favorite followed very closely by the 1993 version by a soul and R&B powerhouse who began as a solo performer in the 1960’s, then joined a group with his brothers in the 1970’s before hitting the top of the charts with a couple of duets with Linda Ronstadt in 1989 & 1990, including the #1 Billboard Adult Contemporary smash “Don’t Know Much”.

charles brown              aaron

Charles Brown (circa 1960’s)                                Aaron Neville (circa 1990’s)

Aaron Neville:  “Please Come Home For Christmas” (1993).

Charles Brown:  “Please Come Home For Christmas” (1960).

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!!!

25 Days of Christmas Music 2018: Day 5

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

Christmas day 5

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

I love duets.  Always have.  There is something so special about two voices coming together.  They can be from opposite ends of the spectrum, like in the case of Bing Crosby & David Bowie on “The Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth”  or two women from two different eras like Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler on “Sisters“ or male/female like today’s song pick.  He’s a crooner who sings with big band sounds and she is a country superstar who writes (or co-writes) most of her own songs.   The musical arrangement for this duet is based on the Drifters version (which was featured in “Home Alone”) but also features some powerful horns which puts it on a level all its own.  It’s hard to believe that an Irving Berlin song from 1941 which is one of the most recorded songs in history can still be given a different spin after all these years.

Buble

Michael Buble & Shania Twain:  “White Christmas“.

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!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #14

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

country-christmas-trees-farm-snowy-winter

 

Courtesy:  cctrees.us 

I am not a fan of reality shows, so I do not watch them.  I knew who the first winner of “American Idol” was because of all the publicity surrounding that season, so after that I really did not know anything about the competitors until Daughtry (sa-woon!!!).

So the winner of Season 4 was not on my radar.  But then her song, “Before He Cheats” was everywhere, and I remember thinking is it really a good idea for someone to be bragging about a crime (“Carved my name into his leather seats, I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, I slashed a hole in all four tires”) ?  I must admit I was not impressed.

Then I saw her perform live at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She joined Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt & Emmylou Harris in a tribute to Linda Ronstadt.

linda-rondstadt

Linda Ronstadt circa early 1970’s  (original source unknown)

This singer was so good even Stevie Nicks complimented her performance of “Different Drum“.  That is an amazing feat.  So is co-hosting the CMA Awards for  eight years straight.  So now I am a little impressed.  Especially after hearing her take on this Christmas classic.

Carrie Underwood:  The First Noel.

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

Original source unknown