Let’s Take A Moment Day 450

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?

June 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.

Jack “Jackie” Leroy Wilson Jr. was born 87 years ago on June 9, 1934 in Detroit, Michigan. His first solo single,1957’s “Reet Petite”, was co-written by Motown founder Berry Gordy. Today’s song was released six years later & was co-written by Wilson himself. He sang, he danced, he wrote songs & performed with everything he had. “Mr. Excitement”, as he was called, was the whole package.

‘Round and ’round we go
Where we stop nobody knows
Yeah the band is swinging on the stand
We’re moving in we’re moving out
“.

J Wilson

Jackie Wilson circa 1989. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “Baby Workout” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” broadcast March 31, 1963. Written by Alonzo Tucker and Jackie Wilson).

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 449

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?

June 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.

Time for another Motown break. June 6th marked the 85th birth anniversary for one of the label’s greatest voices, Levi Stubbs. Born in 1936 in Detroit, Michigan, he was endowed with a powerful emotionally charged baritone voice which often times crossed over to the tenor range. It led the way for The Four Tops to become one of the most successful & beloved groups from the Motor City. And helped Stubbs become one of my favorite singers of all time.

All alone I’m destined to be
With misery my only company
It may come today it might come tomorrow
But it’s for sure I ain’t got nothing but sorrow
“.

Four Tops

The Four Tops circa 1965. Top (L_R): Abdul “Duke” Fakir and Lawrence Payton. Bottom (L-R): Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Levi Stubbs. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Four Tops: “Standing In The Shadows Of Love” (1967, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 437

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Time for a Motown break. Today’s song was a Top 20 hit in 1965 for The Miracles before they were rebranded with Smokey Robinson as the headliner. He co-wrote it with bandmate Pete More and it appeared on the album, Going To A Go Go. Ella Fitzgerald, Todd Rundgren & Linda Ronstadt all did excellent cover versions of this song, but as good as they are, only Smokey sings it like Smokey.

I’m just about at
The end of my rope
But I can’t stop trying
I can’t give up hope
“.

Smokey

The Miracles circa 1965 (L-R): Smokey Robinson, Claudette Rogers Robinson, Ronald White, Pete Moore and Bobby Rogers. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Miracles: “Ooo Baby Baby” (1965, written by 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 431

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Fifty years ago today-May 21, 1971-Marvin Gaye released his masterpiece, What’s Going On. This album was an expression of the angst he was feeling between 1969 & 1970 due to the state of the world-the Vietnam War, the effect of pollution on the environment, racial injustice, poverty-and what was happening in his own world: the break-up of his first marriage, the death of his friend, Tammi Terrell, the trials his brother, Frankie, faced in service to our country & as a veteran returning home from the war to little support in how to rejoin society; Gaye’s inability to break free of the confines of his Motown contract to make the music he wanted to make, his strained relationship with label owner Berry Gordy and Gaye’s money troubles with the IRS due in part to his cocaine addiction.

He co-wrote all nine songs on the album & produced it as well, his first time in that role. Motown’s house band, The Funk Brothers, helped Gaye find the perfect sound for each song. Upon its release, it was hailed as a landmark album not only for the singer but for music as well. It was critically acclaimed as a concept record, a first for Motown, and was considered an important statement for black music, too. The album had three Top Ten hits: “What’s Going On” (Day 76) hit #2 on the main chart, #1 on the R&B chart, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” (Day 380) hit #4 on the main chart, #1 on the R&B chart and today’s song, which was the third single. It hit #9 on the main chart & was another #1 song on the R&B chart.

If Marvin Gaye only gave us his recording of “Grapevine” what a contribution that would have been all by itself. But the legacy of What’s Going On defines not only his talent but his heart, soul, intellect, empathy, strength & compassion for the world around him as well. His was one of the first voices I remember hearing and I have absolutely adored it ever since. The soulfulness, the passion, the intensity & the four octave range of his deep rich baritone to tenor voice, it is a truly beautiful & remarkable instrument. I miss him every single day. Happy anniversary to one of the greatest records ever made by one of the greatest artists who ever lived.

Hang-ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs
Natural fact is
Oh honey that I can’t pay my taxes
“.

Marvin 1971

Marvin Gaye circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” (1971, written by Marvin Gaye and James Nyx 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 426

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Today’s song hit the #1 spot on the chart today in 1964 where it would stay for two consecutive weeks. It is by the beautiful elegant Queen Of Motown, Mary Wells. She was born May 13, 1943 in Michigan and started singing in her church choir. She auditioned for Berry Gordy in 1960 when he was 17 years old.

He had her work with Smokey Robinson who wrote many of her hits, including her first three released in 1962: “The One Who Really Loves You”, “You Beat Me To The Punch” & “Two Lovers”. But 1964 was the biggest year of her career thanks to today’s song, her duet album with Marvin Gaye entitled Together & her role as the first Motown performer to play in the United Kingdom when she was invited to open for The Beatles on that leg of their tour.

But Wells became displeased with the way Motown operated and despite alleged attempts by Gordy to renegotiate the deal she signed when she was 17, Wells was released from her contract per her request. However, that arrangement meant she could not receive any royalties from her former label.

She had some minor success after leaving Motown but decided to retire in 1974 to raise her four children. But she suffered from many afflictions including depression. a suicide attempt and drug use. In 1990 she was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer which led to her death at age 49 in 1992. Her old collaborator Smokey Robinson delivered the eulogy for the woman most fans remember as The First Lady Of Motown.

As a matter of opinion I think he’s tops
My opinion is he’s the cream of the crop
As a matter of taste to be exact
He’s my ideal as a matter of fact
“.

Mary_Wells_1965

Mary Wells circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Mary Wells: “My Guy” (1964, written by 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 423

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Time for a Motown break. This one is in celebration of Stevie Wonder who turns 71 years young today. Born May 13, 1950 in Michigan, he rose to fame as a teenage prodigy at the label in the 1960’s with his early records. In the 1970’s he scored hit after hit with album after album and Grammy after Grammy.

Today’s song went to #3 in 1970. A year later when Wonder turned 21, he received the sum of $1 million from the $30 million he accumulated as an artist for the label. He also signed a new contract in his own name since he was finally a legal adult in charge of his own career. “Little” Stevie Wonder was gone & the man in his place became one of the greatest artists of all time. Happiest of birthdays to this Motown legend.

I’ve done a lot of foolish things
That I really didn’t mean
I could be a broken man
But here I am
“.

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Stevie Wonder: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours)” (1970, written by Lee Garrett, Lula Mae Hardaway, Stevie Wonder & Syreeta Wright).

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 417

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

If you love Motown and hear the name Ruffin, you probably think of David from The Temptations. But he had an older brother, Jimmy, who was also on the label. He was born on May 7, 1936 in Mississippi and was originally chosen to join the group in 1964. But then they heard David sing and chose him instead. Two years later, Jimmy had a Top Ten hit with today’s song. It is his best known record and has always been one of my favorites.

:I walk in shadows searching for light
Cold and alone no comfort in sight
Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and going nowhere
“.

Ruffin

Jimmy Ruffin (L) and younger brother, David circa 1972. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Jimmy Ruffin: “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” (1966, written by James Anthony Dean, Paul Riser and William Weatherspoon).

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 415

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?

May blog 2021

(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.

Time for the first mid-week Motown break for May. Well actually, today’s song was not released on that label but rather on Casablanca Records in 1983. But it is by The Four Tops and as far as I am concerned, they will always be part of the Motor City sound. It was covered by Whitney Houston in 1996 but even she could not live up to the power of one of the greatest singers who ever graced this planet, Levi Stubbs.

It is a love song that if sung by anyone else could have crossed the line into schmaltzy. But in the hands of the esteemed & unbelievably gifted Stubbs, it comes across as a beautiful track. And when he hits the last note and the violins come in again for the last time, it is an absolutely glorious moment. But then again every second spent listening to his spectacular voice feels the same way.

I will never leave your side
I will never hurt your pride
When all the chips are down
I will always be around
“.

levi

four tops A

Top: Levy Stubbs circa 1965. Bottom: The Four Tops circa 1964. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Four Tops: “I Believe In You And Me” (1983, written by Sandy Linzer and David Wolfert).

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 387

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?

May 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.

Time for another mid-week Motown break. In July 1964 The Four Tops released today’s song which became their first Top 20 hit. It featured the quartet’s signature sound & harmonies enhanced by the label’s female session singers, The Andantes-Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps. Of course the track also featured the music of The Funk Brothers with a nice assist from The Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Twenty-one years later in July 1985, The Tops performed at Live Aid in Philadelphia, followed by Eric Clapton. In his autobiography he admitted he was nervous to perform after them because they were legends. That is some serious & well deserved respect.

“Some say it’s a sign of weakness
For a man to beg
Then weak I’d rather be
If it means having you to keep”.

Four-Tops

The Four Tops circa 1967 (L-R): Renaldo Benson, Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir and Lawrence Payton. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Four Tops: “Baby I Need Your Loving” (1964, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 380

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.

Time for a mid-week Motown break. April 2 will mark the 82nd birth anniversary for the man behind one of the first voices I fell in love with, Marvin Gaye. I still ache from his loss nearly 40 years ago but I continue to be amazed at how vital & progressive his music & lyrics remain. His 1971 seminal album, What’s Going On, touched on the issues we are still struggling with today yet continue to provide so much comfort to those of us who get lost in music to find hope that humanity will someday find a way to peacefully co-exist in the world we all inhabit.

I love all the songs on the album and each track hits a nerve, but today’s pick has hit closest to home for me since I was a kid. At that time I did not understand or was even aware of war, the struggle faced by those who serve & racial inequality. But I was very aware of pollution. I remember hearing so much about it on TV, especially about what aerosol sprays were doing to the ozone layer and how littering was ruining our air & water quality.

One of the most profound memories I have is the commercial of the Native American shedding a tear as he stood near a street where some horrible soul threw garbage right at his feet. And then the ominous voice delivering the stern message: “Some people have a deep abiding respect for the natural beauty that was once this country. And some people don’t. People start pollution. People can stop it”

Isn’t it funny how certain images from our childhood never leave us? And isn’t it a relief to have songs that continue to deliver the messages we still need to hear, especially the music by the magnificent Marvin Gaye?

Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain’t what they used to be no, no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
“.

Marvin gaye

Marvin Gaye’s 1971 groundbreaking album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Marvin Gaye: “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)” (1971, written by Marvin Gaye).

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

Stay well.