Music Monday: March 14, 2022

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

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On March 15, 1975 one of my all time favorite bands hit the top spot in the country with today’s song. From their gloriously titled 1974 album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits and written by guitarist Patrick Simmons, the ode to his favorite New Orleans sound & the Mississippi River was a surprise B-side hit that gave the group the first #1 song of their career. They did a really wonderful 2020 version of this tune with fans participating via video clips during lockdown as part of the band’s “Live In Isolation” series. But the original track still gets me every time, especially the sublime viola arrangement.

Well I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same

Doobies 1974

Doobie 2020

Top: The Doobie Brothers circa 1974 (L-R): Michael Hossack, Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Tiran Porter and Jeff Baxter. Bottom: The 2020 version of the band (L-R): Michael McDonald, Simmons, Johnston and John McFee. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: February 28, 2022

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

Music Monday

 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

As we say goodbye to February 2022, let’s focus on the milestone birthdays celebrated this month for two of music’s most incredible talents. Singer/songwriter extraordinaire Carole King turned 80 on February 9 (born in 1942) and blue-eyed soul Doobie Brother Michael McDonald turned 70th on February 12 (born in 1952). Plus, February 26th marked the 90th birth anniversary for The Man In Black, Johnny Cash (born in 1932). It is impossible for me to pick just one of these icons to spotlight today, so I am going to do things a little differently this week and feature one track from each. You’re welcome.

Cash circa 1965

Johnny Cash circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

All three artists hold special places in my heart & mind. The first concert I ever attended was The Doobie Brothers. I liked them before McDonald joined them, but with him their sound evolved into rock & soul fusion which I absolutely adored. King is the genius behind the best album by a female artist, not to mention the composer of so many hits I have lost track. Cash was one of my first introductions to classic country music courtesy of my grandmother’s love of the genre. These are some of the greatest moments in my varied & extensive musical history. And I am thankful for this soundtrack in my life single day.

King circa 1990.

Carole King circa 1990. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

For McDonald I was going to choose my favorite from his early Doobie Brother years-“It Keeps You Running“-but then I remembered the title track from his 1990 album which still makes me swoon more than 30 years later. I chose a song from King’s 1971 opus because those were the best of her career in my world. As for Cash, he could sing anything. And he did. But one of his signature songs is always my pick to start a listening party by him because they bring back some of the fondest memories of my life. But any track from any one of these icons would obviously be welcome. Their talent & music speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Mcdonald circa 2000

Michael McDonald circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash: “Ring Of Fire” (1963, written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore).

Carole King: “Tapestry” (1971, written by Carole King).

Michael McDonald: “Take It To Heart” (1990, written by Michael McDonald and Diane Warren).

Stay safe & well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 1

Happy December, everybody!!!

December

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We have officially arrived at the Christmas season so what better way to celebrate this festive time of year than with a daily countdown of great holiday songs to usher in the big day. All are welcome even if you are not a fan of this type of music or you do not celebrate the holiday, Great music of any kind is meant to be enjoyed by all.

If today’s song does not immediately make you think of Will Ferrell in yellow tights, then you have not watched his 2003 movie, “Elf”, nearly enough times. This song is playing as he & his newly discovered little brother are jumping on beds at Gimbels Department Store. The moment simultaneously introduced a whole new generation to the magic of Stevie Wonder. Both Darlene Love and Michael McDonald do fantastic versions of this tune, but who can really compare to the eighth Wonder of the world?

I feel like runnin’ wild
As anxious as a little child
To greet you ‘neath the mistletoe
Kiss you once and then some more
“.

S Wonder

Elf soda

Top: Stevie Wonder circa 1975. Bottom (L-R): Daniel Tay (Michael) and Will Ferrell (Buddy) as everyone’s favorite elf downing a two liter bottle of Coke in one eighth of a second. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Stevie Wonder: “What Christmas Means To Me” (1967, written by Anna Gaye, George Gordy and Allen Story).

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!!!

Let’s Take A Moment Day 368

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?

March 2021 Blog

(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.

On March 19, 1976 The Doobie Brothers released the album, Takin’ It To The Streets. It was the group’s first one with keyboard player, songwriter & vocalist, Michael McDonald. He helped move the group in a different sound direction that led to their mega hit 1978 album, Minute By Minute.

McDonald was brought in to fill the void from original member Tom Johnston’s temporary leave for health issues in 1975. He tried to come back during the tour for the group’s next album, but after another health problem he decided to leave the band he co-founded for good in 1977. During Johnston’s years the band was known for its heavy guitar driven tunes courtesy of his and Patrick Simmons playing. But with McDonald the band took on a more keyboard centered sound which only added to the success of this already talented group.

She musters a smile for his nostalgic tale
Never coming near what he wanted to say
Only to realize
It never really was
“.

Doobie_Brothers_1976

The Doobie Brothers circa 1976: Back row (L-R): Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Keith Knudsen, Tom Johnston, John Hartman, Patick Simmons. Front: Tiran Porter and Michael McDonald. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “What A Fool Believes” (1978, written by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald).

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 334

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?

Feb 2021 Blog

(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.

My first concert was The Doobie Brothers at the Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead, NY. Billy Squier was their opening act and I sat way up in the nosebleed seats. That in no way dampened my enthusiasm nor did it negate the fact that despite being a million miles away from him, I was still in the same arena as the gorgeous, talented & soulful Michael McDonald, That beautiful man turned 69 years young on February 12. Happy birthday to one of the greatest blue eyed soul singers out there. Swoon.

Call my name and I’ll be gone
You’ll reach out and I won’t be there
Just my luck you’ll realize
You should spend your life with someone
You could spend your life with someone
“.

Doobie Bros circa 2019

 The Doobie Brothers circa 2014 (L-R): Patrick Simmons, John McFee, Michael McDonald and Tom Johnston. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Minute By Minute” (1978, written by Lester Abrams and Michael McDonald).

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 226

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.

Time for a long overdue mid-week Motown break. Today’s song has been covered as a gorgeous ballad by both Luther Vandross (in 1982) and Michael McDonald (in 2003). The uptempo 1965 original by The Temptations features music not only by The Funk Brothers but by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well. It was co-written by Smokey Robinson, features the incomparable David Ruffin on lead vocal with an assist from bass singer Melvin Franklin & those luscious backing harmonies. It’s another of The Temps exquisite lost love songs that only Ruffin could tell. The addition of the orchestra only amplifies the power and heartbreak of each note he sings. I think if the heart made noise when it was crying, it would sound exactly like Ruffin’s trademark pleading vocal.

Oh, determination is fading fast
Inspiration is a thing of the past
Can’t see how my hope’s gonna last
Good things are bad and what’s happy is sad
“.

Temps 2

The Temptations circa 1965. Standing (L-R): Paul Williams. Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Seated (L-R): Otis Williams & David Ruffin. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations: “Since I Lost My Baby” (1965, written by Warren (Pete) Moore and William “Smokey” Robinson 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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 217

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 we celebrate the birthday of a brother. A Doobie Brother. Patrick Simmons was born 72 years ago today in 1948. He has been the only consistent member of the band since they first formed in California fifty years ago in 1970. He is a singer, songwriter & guitarist who wrote today’s song. It was the band’s first #1 record, hitting the top of the chart in March 1975. The song is from the band’s 1974 album which has one of the best titles for a record I ever heard, “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits”.

They performed today’s pick back in April in their “Live In Isolation” series and the ending chorus featured clips of fans singing along with them from home videos. It was a fabulous way to connect with their audience. So many of us are missing live music, one of the great casualties of this virus. But the Brothers made it happen. They hold a special place in my heart as theirs was the first concert I ever attended. I adore their music and remain completely in love with 1978’s “Minute By Minute” album to this day.

The Doobie Brothers are part of the Class of 2020 R&R HOF Inductees that did not get their official ceremony in May since it was cancelled because of the pandemic. But they should have been inducted decades ago. The band’s first album came out in 1971, making them eligible for the HOF in 1996. That is according to the Hall’s rule which makes an artist first eligible 25 years after the release of their debut album. Do the math, everyone. The Doobie Brothers have waited nearly twice that long.

The band’s page on the Hall’s website even acknowledges this (“They have been a mainstay in the rock & roll landscape for nearly five decades”) yet offers no apology nor explanation for the delay. But do not get me started on that place since John Coltrane, Bad Company, Warren Zevon, Pat Benatar, Jim Croce & Tina Turner (as a solo artist) are also still waiting to get in. But Abba was inducted 10 years ago. Completely ridiculous.

Simmons is being inducted with fellow Brothers Tom Johnston, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack (1946-2012), Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen (1948-2005), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Michael McDonald, who rejoined the group last year (yay!!!). The live ceremony has been revamped to “an exclusive special” to air on HBO & HBO MAX on November 7. In any case it will be a nice belated birthday gift for Simmons.

Well, I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same
“.

Doobies minute picture 1978

Top: The Doobie Brothers in 1978 (L-R, top to bottom): John Hartman, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudsen, Jeff Skunk” Baxter & Tiran Porter. Bottom: The Brothers circa 2020: Simmons, Tom Johnston, John McFee & McDonald. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Doobie-Brothers-Clay-Patrick-McBride

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

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 139

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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 Art Garfunkel was putting together his first solo album, 1973’s “Angel Clare”, he recorded music by acclaimed songwriters such as Van Morrison, Randy Newman and Paul Williams.  But when it came to choosing the first single, he picked today’s song, which was one of two tracks written by one of my all time favorite songwriters ever, Jimmy Webb.  He, of course, is the genius behind “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” & “Wichita Lineman” (Day 69) (both made into hit songs by Glen Campbell in 1967 & 1968, respectively), “The Worst That Could Happen” (a hit for Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge in 1968) and other gems.  “Lineman” is my favorite tune of Webb’s, but I think today’s song is one of the best love songs I have ever heard.

Garfunkel’s rendering was a top ten hit in 1973 and it was featured prominently on the show “Nip/Tuck” during season two’s Ava Moore storyline.  Webb did his own version of this song as a duet with Linda Ronstadt on 2010’s “Just Across The River” with only an acoustic guitar added to their voices and it is absolutely lovely.  Former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and his wife, Amy Holland, recorded their own version as part of a soundtrack to the ABC soap opera, “One Life To Live” in 1994 and it is spectacular.  But Garfunkel’s vocal performance and the gorgeous arrangement make this version my absolute favorite.

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast
But they pass too slow
I love you and that’s all I know.”

Art Garfunkel’s 1973 debut album (L) & Jimmy Webb’s 2010 record (R) both contain versions of today’s songs.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Art Garfunkel:  “All I Know” (1973, written by Jimmy Webb).

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 134

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.

When two of my favorite singers join forces it is just magical for me.  And no two voices ever sounded quite so good together than Patti Labelle’s and Michael McDonald’s.  I loved her from her 1970’s group Labelle and her solo career that followed, and I just swooned over him as a member of The Doobie Brothers.  Together they took this song to number one for three weeks in June 1986.  Written by the ineffable Burt Bacharach and his then wife, Carole Bayer Sager. this is a gorgeous tale of two broken hearts.  And one of my favorite duets ever.

So many promises never should be spoken
Now I know what loving you cost
Now we’re up to talking divorce
And we weren’t even married.”

Patti

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald:  “On My Own” (1986, written by Burt Bacharach & Carole Bayer Sager).

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 130

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.

If I had to pick a secondary soundtrack to my teenage years, Steely Dan would be at the top of that list.  I enjoyed their music a lot, but they always seemed to be in my peripheral view rather than my focus.  I am not sure why, perhaps because I was in sensory overload with my primary focus on Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Elton & Bernie, Motown/soul music and The Beatles.  But there was no mistaking Steely Dan’s musical talent and knack for songwriting.

The band was founded in 1972 by Walter Becker (backing vocals & guitars) and Donald Fagen (lead vocals & keyboards).  Their 1972 debut album, “Can’t Buy A Thrill”, produced three of their most well known songs, “Do It Again”, “Reelin’ In The Years” and today’s song, which unlike most of the band’s tunes, did not feature Fagen on lead vocal but rather David Palmer who was in the group from 1972-1973.  Other hits from the group include “My Old School”, “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” (their highest charting song which hit #4 in 1974), “Aja”, “Peg”, “Deacon Blues”, “Josie” and “Hey Nineteen”.  By 1974 after the release of their third album, “Pretzel Logic” Fagen & Becker decided to stop touring and continue exclusively as a studio band until 1981 when they took a 20 year hiatus from recording.

Over the years a few well known musicians were in the band including two future Doobie Brothers, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter & Michael McDonald.  Guest musicians included Marc Knopfler of Dire Straits, Steve Porcaro of Toto, Larry Carlton & Rick Derringer on guitar, David Sanborn on saxophone and Jim Gordon on drums.  Becker passed away in 2017, leaving Fagen as the sole surviving core member.  But what a legacy of music both men gave us.

Steely Dan’s 1972 debut album and core members Walter Becker (L) and Donald Fagen (R).  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Steely Dan:  “Dirty Work” (1972, written by Donald Fagan and Walter Becker).

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

Stay well.