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 his, 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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 79

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?

Kerouac

(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 I was a teenager I earned money by babysitting.  One of my favorite things to do after the kids went to bed was to look through the album collections of their parents.  It was a great musical education for me as I came across a lot of great singers and songs that way.  One of the best discoveries I made doing this was “The Best of Friends” album by Loggins & Messina.  Up to that point I only knew Loggins from his hit “This Is It” and as the co-writer of “What A Fool Believes” with Michael McDonald for The Doobie Brothers.  The album also introduced me to his partner, Jim Messina, and his earlier bands Buffalo Springfield & Poco.  All 10 songs on the record are fabulous from the writing to the vocals to the arrangements.  But today’s pick is the one I love most, with “House At Pooh Corner” coming in a very close second.

Loggins
(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

 

Loggins & Messina:  “Angry Eyes” (1972, written by Kenny Loggins and Jim Messina).

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 62

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.

When Michael McDonald joined The Doobie Brothers in 1975, the sound of the band changed from a rock & roll guitar driven one to a more soulful piano/keyboard one.  Their 1978 album, “Minute by Minute” was a smash and produced the band’s biggest hit, “What A Fool Believes”.  That song was co-written by McDonald and Kenny Loggins and won Record & Song Of The Year at the Grammy Awards in 1980.  When the band broke up in 1982, McDonald went on to become one of the greatest blue eyed-soul singers ever in his successful solo career.  Today’s song remains my favorite of his from the Doobie Brothers days.

The Doobie Brothers In Amsterdam

The Doobie Brothers circa 1978 L-R:  Tiran Porter, John Hartman, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudsen, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Patrick Simmons (seated).  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers:  “It Keeps You Running” (1976, written by 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 36

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.

We have been taught that nothing is perfect.  Perhaps, but I think many songs have a near perfect vocal.  Examples that come to mind include Frank Sinatra on “My Way”, Otis Redding on “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Elvis on “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Aretha Franklin on “Respect”.  But every now and then, an almost perfect vocal performance comes out of nowhere and hits me like a tsunami.  That is exactly how I felt when I heard today’s song for the very first time.  And it’s been knocking me down ever since.

It was written by Elvin Bishop, a guitarist who was an original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the 1960’s.  He left to form his own group in 1968 and played alongside such notable acts as the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and John Lee Hooker.  Bishop also sang but when he was recording his 1975 album, “Struttin’ My Stuff”, he did not think his voice was polished enough to record today’s song.  So, he asked one of his backup singers, Mickey Thomas, to do it.  The result was epic.

His vocal delivery, the soul in his voice and the power behind it were as close to perfect as one could hope for.  And added to Bishop’s guitar riffs, great lyrics and sublime arrangement turned this song into a powerhouse hit of the 1970’s.  It went on to become a rock classic and earned Thomas the lead singer spot with Jefferson Starship after original member Marty Balin’s departure.  Thomas may not be as well known as other blue eyed soul greats like Michael McDonald and Daryl Hall, but there is no denying the contribution he made with this song.  This is only my opinion but I believe a great soulful rock vocal  does not get much better than this.

 

Elvin Bishop & Mickey Thomas (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elvin Bishop:  “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” (1975, written by Elvin Bishop).

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 7

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Greetings from another charming vintage Christmas card circa 1950’s.  Swoon!!!

day 7

Found on Pinterest (original soutce unknown).  

When you think of the best blue eyed soul singers this country has ever produced, today’s singer is either at or near the very top of the list, depending on who you ask.  That incredibly talented voice, his prowess on the keyboards, his collaborations with Steely Dan and his tenure with the Doobie Brothers is what this five time Grammy winner is best known for.  He is also a friend and frequent collaborator with the writers of today’s song.  It’s always a treat to find a “new” Christmas song, and this is an exceptional one.

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald:  “On Christmas Morning” (2001, written by David Foster & Kenny Loggins, circa 1989).

kenny loggins

For an added bonus, listen to Kenny Loggins’ own version of this song recorded for his “December” album released in 1998.

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 25

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

church

Beautiful winter holiday scene found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

This woman, hailed as the Matriarch of R&B, had her roots in gospel before branching out into blues, jazz, soul and rock & roll.  She was one of the pillars of Chess Records in the 1950’s & 1960’s and is best known by her signature song “At Last”.  It took almost her whole lifetime for her to be recognized for her impeccable voice, but there is no mistaking her talent once you hear her sing the first note of any of her songs.  And there is not a better one to celebrate the meaning of Christmas Day than this one.

Etta

Etta James:  “Joy To The World” (1998).

And for the new year, my hope and wish is the same:  peace in the new year.  Here’s to 2019!!!

Amy Vince Michael

Michael McDonald,  Amy Grant, Vince Gill & Chet Atkins:  “Let There Be Peace On Earth” (1993-Christmas with Vince Gill in Tulsa, OK).

Thank you all for your support & for following along with me this year!!!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you!!!  I wish you all the best in the new year!!!

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!!!