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.

Happy Birthday, Happy Autumn

Bruce sp

Bruce Springsteen (original source:  Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com).

It has been one heck of a year for this man who has already racked up decades of good ones.  Since his last birthday, he has been starring in his Tony Award winning Broadway show.  It was originally supposed to run for only about two months, but due to the incredible demand for more performances, he extended it to the end of this year.  While several singers have chosen to headline residencies in Las Vegas, Springsteen has chosen a more intimate setting that has reinvented his epochal music in a new and even more illuminating way.  That is an unbelievable feat that could only be accomplished by a talent like his.  Happy birthday, Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen.  You are a beautiful man with a beautiful soul.

We are also officially in the fall season.  Yay.  That deserves a song, too.  So today I am sharing two with you.

For The Bossman’s birthday, I chose the title track of his 2009 record.  In typical Springsteen fashion, he describes holding on to a vision of a better life despite all the road blocks that appear in its way.  And how love will help the dream along.

I’m working on a dream
Though trouble can feel like it’s here to stay
I’m working on a dream
Well our love will chase trouble away.

Bruce Springsteen:  “Working On A Dream

The second song honors the new season.  This iconic singer/songwriter performed here in Connecticut yesterday with a little help from some of his fellow musician friends at this year’s Farm Aid concert.  It sets the tone of this new autumn season perfectly.  And how love makes everything better.

When we were strangers
I watched you from afar
When we were lovers
I loved you with all my heart.”

Neil Young:  “Harvest Moon“.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some of the people & music I love with you.

Until next time, happy digging.

Christmas Song Countdown #16 & #17

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I had some technical difficulties yesterday, so today’s post will celebrate two songs to catch us up.  Double the musical fun!!!

christmas-4

(Original source unknown)

 

The first song is by country music royalty.  He grew up listening to hymns and folk songs to become one of the architects of Sam Phillips’ label, Sun Records.  He brought an edge to country music, joined fellow country icons to become a Highwayman and for all intents and purposes brought the bad guy persona to country music with his “Folsom Prison Blues” song & concert.

And if his contribution to that genre was not enough, he covered many different songs from artists he admired like Neil Young (“Heart Of Gold“), Bruce Springsteen (“Johnny 99“) Nine Inch Nails (a powerful astonishing version of “Hurt“) and U2 (“One), to name a few.  Yet, he will always be best know for his staple songs, namely “Ring of Fire“,  “A Boy Named Sue” and “I Walk The Line“.

He was also one half of one of the greatest love stories of all time, proving to men everywhere that there is absolutely no shame in admitting you need a good woman by your side, and wanting her there as well.

johnny-cash-wedding

Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash’s wedding day-March 1, 1968 (courtesy:  JohnnyCash,com

 

He took this Christmas carol and made it his own.  He was, very simply, the Man In Black.

Johnny Cash:  Silent Night.

Second pick:

Not too many people have actually written a Christmas song, only performed the classic ones.  This singer has done both, and I really like some of her music from the early years of her career (mid to late 1990’s) until she moved to her post Tommy Mottola now-I-am-going-to-pepper-my-pop-sound-with-rap years.  But there is no denying the power or beauty of her voice.

love-actually-poster-398878

(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

 

Call it a guilty pleasure, or a loyalty to someone else from my home region of Long Island, but I do occasionally listen to this singer and this song specifically at this time of year.  If you are a fan of the film “Love Actually” there is no way not to enjoy this song.  (And despite all the baggage surrounding her first acting performance in the movie “Glitter”, I thought her performances in “Wisegirls” and “Precious” were very well done.)

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Mariah Carey, Melora Walters and Mira Sorvino in “Wisegirls” (courtesy of Loins Gate Films)

 

I love this video for this song so much better than the first one.  It may not be Christmasey, but it is not cheesy, either.

Mariah Carey:  All I Want For Christmas.

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

christmas-candles

(Original source unknown)

Christmas Song Countdown Day 7

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the Christmas Song Countdown!!!

Look at this darling tree!!!  Those are berry baskets holding ornaments on the branches.  How creative & adorable!!!  (And those baskets are in the Target Dollar Spot, if you are wondering).

img_20161206_1523461

The old adage is the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Music is a perfect example.  While popular music today seems to revolve around urban, pop and rap, there are still people who take ballroom dancing lessons.  For all the people buying tickets to concerts to see rock heroes like Bruce Springsteen (read:  me & the gazillion other people who saw him on tour this year)  or Neil Young, a singer/songwriter like Ed Sheeran is winning Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards.  And for those country fans who are thrilled that Garth Brooks finally made his comeback record, there are just as many fans of swing, jazz and big band music (hence the popularity of Michael Buble, for example).

My point is there is room for everyone, and as soon as you think you have seen the last of a certain style of music or singing, up pops someone to take us back to that sound.  Of course, there are those singers who transcend the ages with the timelessness of their voices.  Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Tony Bennett and Billie Holiday, just to name a few. The singer with the #7 song is, without a doubt, a part of that group.

sarah-catherine-design

Courtesy of Sarah Catherine Design

Known as “The First Lady of Song” because she could sing them all-ballads, upbeats, blues, jazz, swing and sentimental.  She had a pitch perfect sound and a powerful range and delivery.  And she could scat.

Starting next April,  which would have marked her 100th birthday, venues around the world will celebrate her music with “Ella at 100:  A Centennial Celebration“.  Her physical presence was lost 20 years ago, but her voice is eternal.    And her take on Christmas music is just one example of that.

Ella Fitzgerald:  Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

christmas-2

Courtesy of Architecture Art Designs