Let’s Take A Moment Day 184

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 there is another birth anniversary to celebrate. This one belongs to Riley B. King, a/k/a B.B. King, born 95 years ago today in Mississippi. He started playing guitar around age 12 and was basically self taught after learning three chords from the minister of his church. By 1947 he made his way to Tennessee and honed his skills at the clubs on Beale Street. In 1952 he had his first number one song, which is today’s track, and thus began his reign as “The King Of The Blues”.

Now here it is three o’ clock in the mornin’
Can’t even close my eyes
Oh, three o’ clock in the mornin’, baby
Can’t even close my eyes
“.

BB

B.B. King circa 2010. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

B.B. King: “3 O’Clock Blues” (1951, written by Riley B. King, previously credited to Lowell Fulson).

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 182

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.

Before we get to the music, let me offer a quick shout out to my girls-Dorothy, Rose, Blanche & Sophia. “The Golden Girls” pilot aired 35 years ago today on NBC and its four leading ladies made growing older look fun, feisty and fabulous. They also became my surrogate mothers who gave me sage advice about life, love, loss & laughter. I will adore them for all of eternity.

the-golden-girls

The cast of “The Golden Girls: Top (L-R): Rue McClanahan as Blanche, Bea Arthur as Dorothy. Bottom (L-R): Estelle Getty as Sophia & Betty White as Rose. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today is also the birth anniversary for guitarist Paul Kossoff who was born 70 years ago today in England. If you think you do not know who he was, I have three words for you: “All Right Now”. Yes, he was the guitarist for the band, Free, who had a massive hit in 1970 with that iconic song. And one listen to that track, led by Paul Rodgers electrifying vocals and Kossoff’s unbelievably fiery & intense riffs, it was clear even upon its release that this song would achieve legendary status. Rounding out the group was the astonishing rhythm section featuring Andy Fraser on bass and Simon Kirke on drums. If there was ever a tune to qualify as a perfect song, it would be this one. I have been absolutely fanatical about this track from the first time I heard it 100 years ago, and that obsession continues to this day. And probably always will. I just cannot hear it enough.

Kossoff’s musical training started at age nine when he began classical guitar lessons. But at age 15 he saw a live performance by Eric Clapton with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers so Kossoff changed his musical direction to a more blues/rock inspired sound. By 1968 he met the other band members to form Free. They broke up temporarily in 1971 but reformed a year later, only to disband permanently in 1973. Kossoff struggled with depression & drug addiction which was only exacerbated by the break-up of the band. He died in 1976 at age 25 from a pulmonary embolism. But his staggering performance stands out on one of the greatest rock anthems of all time.

There she stood in the street
Smiling from her head to her feet
I said hey, what is this
Now baby, maybe she’s in need of a kiss
“.

Paul Kossoff

free

Top: Paul Kossoff circa 1974. Bottom: Free circa 1970 (L-R): Andy Fraser, Paul Rodgers, Kossoff & Simon Kirke. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Free: “All Right Now” ( 1970, written by Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers).

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 181

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 another rock & roll birthday, this one belonging to one of the most unique and powerful voices ever heard. As the lead singer of Blood, Sweat & Tears for four years, David Clayton-Thomas helped define the band’s sound, which in turn led to their massive success in the early 1970’s. Born 79 years ago in England but raised in Canada, he became the lead singer for the band in 1968. Their first album together contained the hits “God Bless The Child”, “And When I Die”, Spinning Wheel” (which he wrote) and today’s song. I absolutely adore the horns on this track, especially the trumpet arrangement. It is just spectacular. Clayton-Thomas left the band in 1972 to pursue a solo career and continued to make music that was heavily influenced by blues, jazz and R&B. But it was his time with BS&T that turned him into one of the most celebrated voices of the 20th century.

You touched my very soul
You always showed me that
Loving you was where it’s at
You made me so very happy
“.

david 2

David Clayton-Thomas circa 1975. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blood, Sweat & Tears: “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” ( 1968, written by Berry Gordy, Jr., Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway and Frank 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 180

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.

Six months have now passed since the pandemic came into our lives. I will refrain from using the terms that have become our new language and just say as difficult as this time has been, I am thankful for this outlet because it has given me back the magic of music. Listening to songs and artists I somehow lost track of or denied myself the joy of because I felt obligated to put others first in enabling ways or because of work or domestic monotony or anything else “I was supposed to do”. Well this time has taught me I come first-finally-and I will no longer deny that nor will I apologize for it. In the middle of a pandemic, I found me. How can I not be grateful for that? So, to quote Casey Kasem, on with the music. And a virtual road trip to clear out the cobwebs.

The voices I have heard in music have affected me in different ways. Some were subtle, some were intense and some were massive. Today’s singers fall into the last category. The first time I heard The Band, I fell in love with not one but three distinct beautiful voices-the ones belonging to Rick Danko, Levon Helm & Richard Manuel. Danko’s vocal on “Long Black Veil“, Helm’s vocal on “The Weight” (see day 60) and Manuel’s vocal on “I Shall Be Released“, with each of the other singers providing harmony on those songs, is some of the most remarkable music I have ever heard. After the original group broke up in 1976, the three singers along with fellow bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson, reformed as a band in 1983. And despite the heartbreaking loss of Manuel in 1986 to suicide after an ongoing battle with drug & alcohol addiction, the other three members carried on.

Every time I heard their music or saw one of the singers, I felt at home. I remember sitting in a movie theatre watching “The Big Chill” and doing an internal cartwheel as soon as I heard the acoustic guitar intro to “The Weight” during the breakfast scene where every one gets their running shoes. Or when I was in the same theatre watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seeing Levon Helm on the big screen as Loretta Lynn’s father, Ted Webb. Or whenever I needed to see “The Last Waltz” just one more time.

Danko died of heart failure in 1999 which is when this stunning group ended their career for good. Helm kept acting, performing and making music on his own, right up until he died in 2012 from cancer. With all three of these beautiful voices gone now, there is a place inside my soul that just yearns for them. Their contribution to music in general and my world specifically, is immeasurable, despite the efforts of others to downplay or forget their roles in one of the most extraordinary bands to ever make music.

Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City
“.

The Band 1969

The Band: “Atlantic City” (1993, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 179

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?

Bruce 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.

At The Concert For NYC in October 2001, several acts stood out as highlights of the show. For me, one of the best performances was by David Bowie, who made NYC his part-time adopted home after his marriage to model Iman in 1992. Bowie expressed his gratitude to everyone in attendance, told them all it was “an absolute privilege to play for you tonight”. and gave a special shout out to his local neighborhood ladder company. Then he sang this song for the crowd. Today that same song goes out to all the heroes.

I, I will be king
And you, you will be queen
Though nothing will drive them away
We can be Heroes, just for one day
“.

Bowie

09-11-01-Raising-the-flag-oil-painting

David Bowie at The Concert For NYC, October 2001 (top) and the raising of a flag on Ground ero on 09/12/2001. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

David Bowie: “Heroes” ( 1977, written by David Bowie and Brian Eno).

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 170

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?

Bruce 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.

Time for another mid-week Motown break.  I adore Martha & The Vandellas.  Lead singer Martha Reeves met Vandella Rosalind Ashford in the late 1950’s when she joined her and another singer, Annette Beard, in a group called The Del-Phis.  By 1962 they were known as The Vels backing up Marvin Gaye on his song, “Stubborn Kind Of Fellow”.  Then the female singers recorded a demo for Motown in singer Mary Wells absence and were offered a recording contract by label president Berry Gordy.  At that point they christened themselves by the group name they would become famous with.  In 1964 Beard left the group to have her first child so she was replaced by Betty Kelley, who joined just in time to record the trio’s signature hit, “Dancing In The Street”.  Kelley was fired from the group during the summer of 1967 allegedly for arguments with Reeves and for missing performances.  But a lot of the tension in the group came from declining record sales & their loss of Gordy’s support of them and many other Motown artists while he took over Diana Ross’ career to turn her into the first lady of the label.  By 1972 the group broke up when Reeves pursued a solo career.  That was the end of my favorite female group from the Motor City.   But in their prime, Martha & The Vandellas made some great music.

Each night as I sleep, into my heart you creep
I wake up feelin’ sorry I met you, hoping soon that I’ll forget you
When I look in the mirror to comb my hair
I see your face just a smiling there“.

Vandellas

Martha and the Vandellas in 1965. (L-to-R) Rosalind Ashford, Martha Reeves, and Betty Kelley.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Martha & The Vandellas:  “Nowhere To Run” (1965, 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 169

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?

Bruce 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.

I have loved “Saturday Night Live” since I was too young to see it.  But that did not stop me from doing so by secretly watching it in my room or on the weekends when I was out of the house babysitting.  By the fall of 1981, Lorne Michaels departed as producer and a whole new group of performers replaced the “Not Ready For Prime Time Players”.  The new producer, Dick Ebersol, attempted to reclaim some of the show’s old magic by hiring the first head writer for the show, Michael O’Donoghue.  His first tenure with the show was from 1975-1977 but his second one in 1981 was even shorter because of alleged problems with the cast due to his temper (by the mid 1980’s he re-established his writing talent as a co-writer of the screenplay for SNL alumni Bill Murray’s 1988 movie, “Scrooged”).

But while he was at SNL the second time O’Donoghue wrote today’s song.  It was performed by then cast member, Christine Ebersole, in a skit with her sitting in a bar.  No comedy, just her singing this incredible song with a piano accompaniment.  I remember watching that night, listening to her voice and being completely floored by her performance and the song itself.  She went on to do a lot of other things, including plays & guest TV appearances.  In 2005 I was lucky to see her on Broadway when she played M’Lynn in “Steel Magnolias”.  She was also in one of my favorite “Will & Grace” episodes from 2001 as a rival to Karen (season 3 episode 19).

Another woman heard this song and decided to record it.  Since that women is Dolly Parton (Truvy in the 1989 “Steel Magnolias” movie) you know her version is nothing short of fabulous.  It was a top ten hit for her in 1982 and features a wonderful sax arrangement.  I have struggled for months to pick just one of her incredible songs to share, and even though she did not write this one herself, I still think it is one of her best.  And SNL may have its ups and downs, but it is moments like the one created for today’s song that keeps me tuned in week after week because I know the magic of that show is just one surprising skit away.

And it’s gettin’ near to closing
And the seconds pass like years
Lots of friends to share the laughter
Not a one to share the tears“.

Christine Ebersole on SNL in 1981 and Dolly Parton as Truvy in “Steel Magnolias” from 1989.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Dolly Parton:  “Single Women” (1982, written by Michael O’Donoghue).

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 168

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?

Bruce 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 is the 75th birthday of Sir George Ivan Morrison, better known simply as Van Morrison.  I adore this man-his voice, his poetry, his blues-infused soul and his romantic heart.  He also plays one mean saxophone and harmonica, among other instruments.

He has written so many songs honoring my favorite season, autumn, that I cannot imagine the gorgeous colors of fall without his music as the soundtrack.  (My favorites include “Autumn Song” (feels like something pulled right from the Peanuts “Great Pumpkin” television special), “Golden Autumn Day” and the exquisite “When The Leaves Come Falling Down”).

Today’s song has an arrangement that is just too beautiful to describe.  Morrison is a master at incorporating sweeping orchestral moments in his songs and in my opinion, this is one of his best.  Happy birthday, Sir Van.  You are an absolute gift in every sense of the word.  Swoon.

Will the blush still remain
On your cheeks, my love?
Is the light, is the light always seen in your hair?
Gold and sliver they placed
At your feet, my dear
But I know you chose me instead
.”

Van-Morrison

Van Morrison circa 2010.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison:  “Queen Of The Slipstream” (1987, written by Van Morrison).

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 164

i 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?

Bruce 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.

There is no doubt in my mind as to the beauty of Neil Young’s music.  And if someone is able to take one of his works of art and make it their own, I consider it a real accomplishment.  Nicolette Larson did just that in 1978 when she turned today’s song into a huge hit.  She previously worked as a back-up vocalist on two of his albums, 1977’s “American Stars ‘n Bars” & 1978’s “Comes A Time”, which is where Young’s version of today’s song appears.  And it was that album that led to Larson’s record deal with the  Warner Brothers label.  Despite her work as a solo artist she continued providing harmony & backing vocals for many artists including The Doobie Brothers, The Dirt Band & Linda Ronstadt.  She also worked with Young again in 1992 on his “Harvest Moon” album and again in 1993 for his “Unplugged” show.  Larson died in 1997 from complications due to liver failure.  But today’s song remains my favorite Young cover more than 40 years after she recorded it.

So if you are out there waiting
I hope you show up soon
‘Cause my head needs relating
Not solitude“.

L-R:  Nicolette Larson circa 1978 & Neil Young from his “Unplugged” performance in 1993.   (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Nicolette Larson:  “Lotta Love” (1978, 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 162

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?

Bruce 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.

I have not yet finished celebrating the recording anniversary of the “Layla” album (see Day 159) only to find an even bigger milestone upon me.  Forty-five years ago today-August 25, 1975-another album that changed my life was released.  Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” is my heart.  It claimed it when I was 12 years old and has never let go.  He was 25 when it came out, and a year younger when he wrote lines like “You’re scared and you’re  thinking we ain’t that young anymore”. from “Thunder Road”.  He explained why in 2005 on VH1’a “Storytellers”:  “These songs were written in 1974, which is only two years after the end of the Vietnam War and nobody was that young anymore”.

On the same show he said this album was “his big invitation to his audience, to himself, to anybody that was interested to a long earthly journey. Hopefully in the company of someone you love, people you love and in search of a home you can feel a part of.”  So glad I went along for the ride. It was like taking the road less traveled and realizing it was the best one after all.  I will love Bruce forever.  He is home to me.

In an interview on BBC Television in 2016, Springsteen said he spent six months writing this album & six months recording it and as it went on it developed into this very big piece of music.  That is putting it mildly.  Today’s song is one of two on the album that does not feature a sax solo by The Big Man.  As much as I love to hear his signature sound, his absence is barely noticeable in this exquisite symphony.  This song is another one of Springsteen’s cinematic masterpieces that is like a six hour mini-series disguised as a six minute song.  It features colorful characters, dark imagery & tells the story of betrayed friendships in an absolutely heartbreaking way.  Every part of the song is a work of art, but if one instrument stands out, it is Roy Bittan’s piano.  His playing is astonishing.  As The Bossman has been for me virtually all of my life.  Swoon.

Blame it on the lies that killed us, blame it on the truth that ran us down
You can blame it all on me Terry, it don’t matter to me now
When the breakdown hit at midnight there was nothing left to say
But I hated him and I hated you when you went away“.

BTR 1

One of the pictures taken by Eric Meola during the “Born To Run” photo session in 1975.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen:  “Backstreets” (1975, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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

Stay well.