Let’s Take A Moment Day 255

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?

thanksgiving

(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.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope it is a safe enjoyable day however you choose to celebrate it.

On this holiday in 1976, The Band performed their final concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Several of their fellow musicians joined them on stage to give the group a proper goodbye including Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison & Neil Young, amongst others. It was all filmed by Martin Scorsese who turned it into the documentary “The Last Waltz” two years later. It may not have been the movie the entire group thought they were making, but there is no denying how great they sounded on every song, including today’s pick. It is from The Band’s self-titled second album, which was certified gold on November 26, 1969, only two months after it was released.

Now there’s one thing in the whole wide world
I sure do love to see
That’s how that little sweet thing of mine
Puts her doughnut in my tea
“.

The_Band_(album)_coverart

LastWaltzMoviePoster

Top: The Band’s self-titled second album (L-R): Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson & Robbie Robertson. Bottom: “The Last Waltz” movie poster from 1978. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band: “Up On Cripple Creek” (Live performance from “The Last Waltz” concert film recorded November 25, 1976. Originally released in 1969, written by Robbie Robertson).

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 241

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?

kurt v

(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 am somewhat amazed that it took me until the eight month mark to get to a song from one of my favorite albums, “After The Gold Rush” by Neil Young. Of course I have played a few songs by him already but none from that work of art. So I will do that today, in honor of his 75th birthday.

Born Nov 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada Young dropped out of high school to pursue a career in music. He met Stephen Stills in Ontario in the mid 1960’s when he was there on tour with one of his early bands. Then Young met fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell when both were writing two of their finest tracks. Legend has it this is when Young wrote “Sugar Mountain” about his fleeting youth (supposedly he wrote it in 1964 on his 19th birthday). Mitchell has said she wrote “The Circle Game” (Day 55). to help him cope with his growing pains. Around this time a local band, The Guess Who, recorded Young’s song, “Flying on the Ground is Wrong”. He spent the rest of his time in Canada as a solo artist and as a member of The Mynah Birds with future R&B singer, Rick James.

Young relocated to Los Angeles around 1966 and met up with Stills in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1960’s. The two formed Buffalo Springfield & had a major hit with 1966’s “For What It’s Worth”, a song credited as one of the first ones to combine folk rock with country rock. But the group had several problems going on behind the music and Young felt confined within a group setting so when the band split up he returned to his solo work. He released his self-titled album in early 1969 followed by “Every One Knows This Is Nowhere” later that year. Both records focused on Young’s electric sound with the second featuring “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand”.

It was around this time that Young again reunited with Stills in his new band which was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. They performed at Woodstock but Young missed one set & refused to be filmed for the other, allegedly because he was in the US illegally (he did not get his green card until 1970). When the band was recording “Deja Vu”, Stills & Young fought frequently over the sound of the band. But they managed to put aside those differences long enough to record his song “Ohio” in May 1970 in response to the Kent State shootings. After that Young left the band for good and went on to his enormously successful solo career.

It began in earnest 50 years ago with 1970’s “After The Gold Rush” which was highlighted by his move to a more acoustic driven sound. Thank goodness for that shift because it continued with the next release, 1972’s “Harvest” album which contains his masterpiece, “Heart Of Gold” (Day 24). But “Gold Rush” has several gems including “Tell Me Why”, “Southern Man”, “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”, “I Believe In You”, the title track and today’s pick. It is another of Young’s heartbreakingly beautiful ballads that just takes hold of me and will not let go. They make my heart hurt for all the right reasons, especially today’s song.

I have a friend I’ve never seen
He hides his head inside a dream
Someone should call him and see
If he can come out
Trying to lose the down that he’s found
“.

Neil 1970

Neil Young Opening Night Reception For "Special Deluxe" Art Exhibition

Top:  Neil Young circa 1970.  Bottom:  Young circa 2015.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Neil Young: “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” (1970, 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 231

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.

Have you noticed the trend over the last decade or so that as soon as Halloween is over, some people decide it is officially the Christmas season? They put their trees up, deck the halls & the outside of their homes and that’s it. Social media has definitely exacerbated this course as the perceived competition to be the first one to start this holiday rush is palpable. And this year many more people are jumping on this bandwagon as a way to escape the reality of the pandemic & other 2020 fare. I am all for the live and let live mentality, but I for one absolutely adore fall and all it brings so I am not swayed to rush this season at all.

Thanksgiving is obviously part of this fabulous time of year. And all that is available in nature to decorate and prepare for this holiday is just everywhere & too lovely to miss. like bittersweet, dried leaves, fresh apples, pinecones, acorns, as well as the main attractions, gourds and pumpkins. And what would fall be without apple picking and cider donuts?

I have always chosen to host Thanksgiving as it is just the ultimate celebration of my favorite season. Luckily this year we can still enjoy the food and the fun of decorating, but sadly, many of the festivities were cancelled. The fairs. the festivals, the barn dances and other autumn staples became casualties of the pandemic. And while I was OK when many of the other things stopped or were canceled this year, the loss of the fall commemorations hit me hard. But this too shall pass.

One way I am still able to honor my favorite season is through-what else-music. Today’s song, released on this day in 1992, is one I would hear at every fall festival & dance I would attend. I also listen to it while I prep & cook the big Turkey Day meal and luckily that has not changed. This track is a celebration of the season, of love, of tradition and of finding sheer delight in the moment we are in. It is also by Neil Young which is basically a home run for me.

But now it’s gettin’ late
And the moon is climbin’ high
I want to celebrate
See it shinin’ in your eye
“.

Neil Harvest

. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Harvest Moon” (1992, 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 221

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.

I have shared before how great 1978 was for music. One of my favorite albums that year was from Neil Young. It brought his back-up singer, Nicolette Larson, center stage on only her second record with him. They performed the duet, “Motorcycle Mama” together, she sang harmony vocals on seven other tracks and recorded one of the songs-“Lotta Love” (Day 164)-as the lead single for her debut album, “Nicolette”. released the same year. But Young’s record also took him back to his acoustic roots as his prior release, “American Stars ‘n Bars”, featured a more electric sound. I love anything he does, but I am completely enamoured by Young’s more stripped down style. The title track of the album is my absolute favorite thanks to his voice, the fabulous lyrics, the fiddle & string arrangements which gives the song a palpable heartland feel & Larson’s gorgeous harmony vocal. I cannot wrap my mind around the fact that this album was released 42 years ago this month. Rip Van Winkle has nothing on me.

You and I, we were captured
We took our souls and we flew away
We were right, we were giving
That’s how we kept what we gave away
“.

Nicolette

Neil Young

Top: Nicolette Larson’s 1978 debut album, “Nicolette”. Bottom: Young’s 1978 release, “Comes A Time”. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Comes A Time” (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 171

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.

He was introduced to the world as Johnny Cougar on his debut album in 1976. By his third album in 1979 he was billed as John Cougar. In 1983 he added his real last name so he became known as John Cougar Mellencamp. Eventually he was simply John Mellencamp. He has been singing about his love of music and his midwestern roots for nearly 45 years in close to 25 studio albums. He co-founded “Farm Aid” in 1985 with Willie Nelson & Neil Young which still continues today with one big concert each year.

Whatever name you associate with him, you probably immediately recall Mellencamp’s more well known hits like “Jack & Diane”, “Hurts So Good” or “Lonely ‘Ol Night”, to name a few. My favorites include “Check It Out”, “Cherry Bomb” and “Pink Houses”. But to narrow it down to one, today’s song wins in an extremely close race. It is from his fourth album, 1980’s “Nothing Matters And What If It Did”, produced by soul legend & guitar great, Steve Cropper. This was Mellencamp’s third career single and the first to crack to top 40. The premise is a lot like “Fooled Around And Fell In Love”, where the singer describes how he was the love them & leave them type until he met the one he could not walk away from. I must admit I really like songs where guys own what the right one does to their heart.

You got your arms around my shoulders
You got my soul confused with my heart
You were too smart to believe all those tired lines
And I was too dumb to know what had started
“.

John Cougar Mellencamp circa 1980 (L) and 2019 (R). (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

John Cougar Mellencamp:  “This Time” (1980, written by John Cougar Mellencamp).

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 142

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.

One of my favorite years for music was 1978.  New albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, Eric Clapton’s “Backless”, Van Morrison’s “Wavelength”, Neil Young’s “Comes A Time”, Blondie’s “Parallel Lines”, Tom Waits’ “Blue Valentine” , Boston’s “Don’t Look Back”, “Easter” by The Patti Smith Group and The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” were released.  And it is from the Stones record that we arrive at today’s song which hit #1 on this day in 1978.

It only stayed in the top spot for a week, but as the lead single from the record, it helped the album get to #1 as well for two weeks that summer.  The song features a greats  sax solo and one of the best bass lines I ever heard.  And despite  the fact that  I am not much of a dancer, I could not help moving along with the infectious beat of the record.  The band was divided over whether or not it was an actual disco song, but eventually they released their first extended 12″ inch remix soon after the record topped the charts.  I prefer the original mix of this song, which is one of my favorites ever by this band.

Some Girls

   (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones:  “Miss You” (1978, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards).

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 32

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.

Today marks the 104th birth anniversary of my beloved grandmother Ida, or as I affectionately called her, Idie.  I think about her and miss her everyday, but even more so since we have been dealing with this pandemic.  She would not have handled the self-quarantine well at all.  She barely went two days in a row without going to bingo so not being allowed to play it for all this time would have undoubtedly put her in a straight jacket by now.  But still, I wish she was still here, for all the obvious reasons.  And so I could have seen the look on her face when she found out that my dream of spending my time listening to music and watching TV all day long not only came true, but is government mandated!!!  Ha!!!  Take that, Idie!!!  LOL.

While I was growing up, we always had music on in the house and usually it was from my records.  Idie learned to like many of the songs I played including “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac and “Factory” by Bruce Springsteen.  But one hour a day, usually while we were cooking together, she made me turn off my albums so she could listen to the local country music radio station.  And that is how I discovered legends like Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Don Williams, Merle Haggard and the singer of today’s song, Johnny Cash.

He was usually referred to by his nickname “the man in black” but since I first heard him on the radio, that did not really tell me anything other than his preferred garment color.  But his voice and his songs told me all I needed to know about him.  Yes, he was one of the greatest musical talents to ever exist but he was also my first introduction to a true crossover artist.

He sang everything from country songs to religious hymns, to Americana music (like “The Battle Hymn of The Republic”) to covers of  songs by rock artists like Bob Dylan (“It Ain’t Me Babe”), The Rolling Stones (“No Expectations”) and The Band (“The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down”).  He was also on TV and not just as a musical guest.  He appeared in an episode of  “Little House On The Prairie” as a bad guy turned good guy after meeting the pious people of Walnut Grove.  And he was mentioned in a few “Golden Girls” episodes.  My favorite one is a quip by Dorothy after she & Sophia walk in the house wearing dark clothes and Rose is, as usual, confused.

Rose:  “Why are you both wearing black?  Did you just come from a funeral?

Dorothy:  “No, Rose.  We were singing back up for Johnny Cash”.

He continued to make incredible music for the rest of his life, on his own and as a member of the supergroup, The Highwaymen.  He also covered more rock songs by Neil Young (“Heart of Gold”), Nine Inch Nails (“Hurt) and U2 (“One”).  And he continued to act, most notably on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” with the great love of his life, June, by his side.  I grew up believing there wasn’t anything Cash could not sing or do.  He proved me right.  I am so thankful I discovered his music, all because my grandmother brought country songs into my world.  Thank you, Idie.  And happy birthday.  xoxox

Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues" 7 inch Album Cover

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash:  “Folsom Prison Blues” (1955, written by Johnny Cash).

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 25

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.

The first time I listened to “The Last Waltz” album, it was an overload to my senses.  A magnificent overload.  So many artists that I adored-Eric Clapton, The Band, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, to name a few-were on it, so I had no idea who to listen to first.  Or should I just play it from start to finish, I wondered.  Given my impatient nature, I started with a few of the songs I loved most before letting the album play in its entirety.  And that is when I heard today’s song for the first time by Van “The Man” Morrison.  And I sa-woooooned.

How could I not?  A master of blue eyed soul with clear infusions of jazz, folk and the blues, he delivered a performance in an intense and expressive manner interpreting his own lyrics as only the writer could.  Within days I went out and bought his “Moondance” album and wore it out within the week.  After that I purchased two more-“St. Dominic’s Preview” & “Astral Weeks”-and before I knew it a month went by and all I had listened to were his songs.  And that is by no means a complaint.  My love for him only intensified a few years later when I finally saw his performance & the rest of the concert movie on cable.  I love so many of Morrison;s songs, but this one remains my favorite, especially because the lyrics speak right to my heart:

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul“.

Van

Van Morrison in 2014 (Image from vanmorrison.com.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison:  “Caravan” (1970, 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 24

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.

One of my favorite scenes in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” is when Meg Ryan’s character,  Kathleen Kelly, is talking about how when she was a kid she helped her mother in the bookstore she now owns.  “I used to watch her and it wasn’t that she was just selling books.  It was that she was helping people become whoever it was they were going to turn out to be because when you read a book as a child, it becomes part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.”  I think the exact same thing is true about the music you hear when you are young, first as a child then as a teenager.

I first heard today’s song when I was a kid, probably around eight years old.  I remember thinking it was so sad and yet so beautiful at the same time.  I really felt bad for the man singing that he did not have love in his life.  I recall thinking as only a child could that love was easy to find and why this poor guy did not have it was a mystery to me.  I felt his sadness but I also felt the beauty of his words.  I was captivated by both the singer and the song.

As I got older, I learned Neil Young recorded this song in 1971 when he was just 25 years old.  I fell even more in love with his words and admired the brevity he mastered in telling a heartbreaking story in such an eloquent  way.  It was my first introduction to a more acoustic sound than I had heard before.  I was enthralled by how much power there was in just a voice, a guitar, and a harmonica.  The last chorus featured some additional voices which were two of the best of that decade-James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt- which only added to the elegance of what Young created in this gorgeous piece of music.  I loved this song then and I love it now.  It is one of my top ten favorite songs of all time, as are many others that I first heard as a child.

Neil Young

Neil Young circa 1979 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young:  “Heart of Gold” (1972, 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.