Let’s Take A Moment Day 322

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?

Feb 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.

On February 1, 1949 the 45 RPM record was introduced by RCA. The round seven inch disc played at a faster speed than its 12 inch 33-1/3 LP counter part that was launched the year before by CBS. The smaller disc format became known as a “single” and provided better sound quality than the LP. The 45’s I owned when I was young were my most treasured possessions & probably qualify as the first official items I collected.

Fast forward to February 1, 1972. Neil Young releases his fourth studio LP, Harvest. It went on to become the best selling one of 1972 and it hit the #1 album spot for two weeks in March 1972. One of those weeks the first single, “Heart Of Gold” featured here on Day 24, also went to the number one spot.

Today’s song was the second single from the album. It hit the Top 40 in the US the same year & like the first one, it featured Linda Ronstadt & James Taylor on backing vocals. He also played the banjo on this track as well. Young was my introduction to acoustic music & to this day I see him as one of the most gifted artists in that regard.

Love lost such a cost
Give me things that don’t get lost
Like a coin that won’t get tossed
Rolling home to you
“.

N Young

Neil Young circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Neil Young: “Old Man” (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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 293

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?

Shakespeare music

(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 we celebrate the 76th birthday for one of the most prolific voices from the 1960’s Laurel Canyon music scene. Stephen Stills, a man Neil Young calls a genius, was born on January 3, 1945 in Dallas, TX. Best known as a member of the ground breaking groups-Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash (CSN) and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (CSN&Y)-Stills is also the writer behind one of the 60’s best protest anthems (“For What It’s Worth”) and the voice behind the song that celebrated the biggest concert the country had ever seen to that point (“Woodstock”). He is a two-time inductee into The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame for his work with the aforementioned bands.

Stills has released a number of solo records throughout his career with notable songs like “Love The One You’re With”, “Sit Yourself Down” & “Treetop Flyer”. He is also noted for his guitar work and his multi-instrumental skills. He has worked with an array of artists including Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Richie Havens, Jerry Garcia, & Joni Mitchell, amongst others.

His work with CSN stands out the most for me. “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”, written about his one time girlfriend Judy Collins, is a musical odyssey. Just when you thought it could not get any better Stills closed out the song by singing in Spanish. But my favorite track of his is today’s, a stunningly beautiful ballad of lost love & heartbreak, with lyrics that define the word poetic.

Wordlessly watching, he waits by the window and wonders
At the empty place inside
Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams, he worries
Did he hear a goodbye
Or even hello
“.

CSN album

Stills & Young

Top: CSN’s 1969 debut album. Bottom: Stills (L) & Neil Young circa 2000. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Crosby, Stills & Nash: “Helplessly Hoping” (1969, written by Stephen Stills).

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 259

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 have written on several occasions how 1978 was a monumental year in music for me & the industry in general. Well, when the universe gives you something it takes something else away. And the thing it took away from me was my peaceful relationship with my grandmother-for a while, anyway.

For two years she enjoyed listening to my records with me. She may have not remembered the artists names correctly (she called Bad Company “the not so nice visitors”) but I knew what she meant so we were good. Until the first time I played “Slowhand” by my great love Eric Clapton, that is. It started with side one track one, “Cocaine”, and went downhill from there. She asked me what kind of person would write a song about drugs. I thought I was helping by telling her that he was only singing about them, that he did not write the tune. That led her to wonder out loud, “Was he too high to write it, perhaps?” I moved the needle to track two which was “Wonderful Tonight” so that stopped her scolding. But when track three came on, she became irritated again. She ordered me to turn the album off because she thought “Lay Down Sally” was too suggestive for a girl my age. Then she asked where Bruce was (as in Springsteen) and told me to put his music on so she could eat dinner in peace.

A few weeks later I was listening to a Neil Young album I borrowed. All I can tell you is that when “Down By The River” came on, my grandmother decided I must have started taking drugs because how else could I listen to a man brag about shooting someone. My punishment was twofold-I was banned from bringing any new records home for the foreseeable future AND I had to sit through her music shows. That way, she told me, I would hear songs that did not resort to questionable subject matter for shock value. Since she liked country music that meant episodes of “Hee-Haw” & “The Barbara Mandrell Show”. The first one was tough-not because of the music as much as what passed for humor. Mandrell’s music, while not really a favorite of mine, was tolerable. So imagine my grandmother’s horror & dismay when Mandrell premiered her new song, a tale of a woman unapologetic about her love for a married man. Music had beat my grandmother at her censorship game. And I must say, it was not a bad song. But the original was so much better.

It was a big record for singer Luther Ingram in 1972, hitting the #3 spot on the Hot 100 chart & the #1 spot on the R&B chart that year. He was born on this day in 1937 in Jackson, TN and thanks to his deep soulful voice, he had a record deal by the time he was 18. However, he did not see any success until he was signed to a small independent label, Koko Records, in the late 1960’s. They were associated with Stax Records at that time and by 1971, Ingram had co-written the hit song, “Respect Yourself” for that label’s group, The Staple Singers. Three songwriters from Stax wrote the song that Ingram became best known for and despite covers by Mandrell, Rod Stewart, Isaac Hayes David Ruffin and others, it is Ingram’s version that I find most inspired & soulful.

And am I wrong to hunger
for the gentleness of your touch
knowing I got somebody else at home
who needs me just as much
“.

Luther Ingram

Luther Ingram circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Luther Ingram: “(If Loving You Is Wrong) ] I Don’t Want to Be Right” (1972, written by Homer Banks, Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson).

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 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.