Music Monday: January 24, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Saturday marked the 91st birth anniversary of an extraordinary soul pioneer. Sam Cooke was born January 22, 1931 in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Raised in Chicago, his first foray into music was in church courtesy of his father, a Baptist minister. When he was 15 Cooke began singing with a gospel group, The Soul Stirrers. In 1958 he released his first album of secular music, a mix of standards, Broadway tunes and one original track, the magnificent “You Send Me”.

Over the next six years Cooke would write & record many other songs, including “Cupid”, “Chain Gang”, “Another Saturday Night”, Wonderful World” and the civil rights inspired “A Change Is Gonna Come”. He also became an important member in the early days of that movement along side Muhammad Ali & Martin Luther King Jr. Cooke took an even bigger role in his career by starting his own record label (SAR Records) and publishing company (KAGS Music) to preserve his artistic legacy. Losing him in 1964 at age 33 was an unmitigated tragedy & one of music’s saddest moments. But more than six decades after his first hit record, Cooke remains one of the most important & enduring figures in music history. And rightfully so.

All of his songs are are wonderful beyond words but today’s song from his tenure with The Soul Stirrers is from my top five. His strong beautiful soulful and evocative vocal is stunning. I could listen to him sing the word “mile” for days and days and still not hear it enough. A suave elegant gifted performer with an unbelievable stage presence, Cooke defined the soul genre with every note he sang.

When I’ve gone the last mile of the way
I shall rest at the close of day
For I know there are joys awaiting
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way”.

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Muhammad Ali (left) in the studio with Sam Cooke (right) circa 1964. Courtesy of officialsamcooke.com. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Soul Stirrers: “The Last Mile Of The Way” (Recorded between 1950-1957. Written by Johnson Oatman, Jr.).

Stay safe & well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 308

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?

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.

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(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Many admirers of civil rights activist & Baptist minister Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr., campaigned for years to make his birthday a federal holiday. King, who was born January 15, 1929 and led the fight for racial equality through nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience, won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for his work & leadership by example.

One of the people who worked for King’s recognition was Stevie Wonder. He wrote a song in 1980 about King’s birthday to help get the word out about the proposed holiday. When it finally happened in 1986, Wonder celebrated by hosting a concert in Washington, D.C. That city’s National Mall became home to a memorial dedicated to King in 2011. His words proved to be as valuable as his actions as their power continues to influence generations more than 50 years after his death. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars”. Today we remember Dr. King born 92 years ago with a song from one of his biggest supporters.

A boy is born in hard time Mississippi
Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty
His parents give him love and affection
To keep him strong, moving in the right direction
Living just enough, just enough for the city
“.

Stevie

Stevie Wonder circa 1986 after King’s birthday was declared a federal holiday. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Wonder: “Living For The City” (1973, written by Stevie Wonder).

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 19

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 say to you today, my friends, 

so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, 

I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted 

in the American dream.” 

Those are the opening lines from the “I Have A Dream” speech delivered on August 28, 1963.  Very fitting for where we are right now.  Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. who died 52 years ago today.   

“Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride”

U2

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

U2:  “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (1984, written by U2:  Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton & Larry Mullen Jr.)

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

Stay well.