Let’s Take A Moment Day 118

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 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.

My obsession with music is rivaled only by another vice:  my TV addiction.  It has entertained me, fed my dreams and kept me company nearly every day of my life.  It has also made me a pop culture queen which sometimes mystifies the people around me.

Case in point:  Many years ago I dated a guy from England.  He was adorable and the accent reminded me of Eric Clapton.  On our first date, he asked me who my first crush was.

“That’s easy”, I said.  “David Starsky.”

My date’s response:  “Was he a kid from your neighborhood or someone you went to school with?”

I found it both endearing and terrifying that he did not know who David Starsky was.  He and his partner, Ken “Hutch” Hutchinson, were my favorite cops until Idris Elba’s John Luther showed up (as that is a BBC show, S&H remain my favorite cops from the US).  It was 1970’s TV at its best:  cool cops with street smarts and hearts of gold, the coolest sidekick (Huggy Bear) & car that, despite how flashy it was, never hurt their various undercover personas, plus it was backed by the winning production team of Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg.  For four seasons I swooned and swooned over the two of them, with Starsky having a slight advantage thanks to his curly dark hair.  Until today’s song came out.  Checkmate, Hutch.

Thanks to all the S&H fans around the globe, this song went to number one for four weeks in the U.K. and for one week here in the US in 1977.  Does it have lyrics like the poetry found in every Springsteen song?  No.  Does it have any fierce guitar riffs by Clapton?  No.  Moreover, Soul’s voice cannot rival the passion of Otis Redding’s or the polish of Tony Bennett’s.  And the song never won any awards.  But you know what?  I ADORE it.  And I make no apologies for that by me now or for my younger self who fell in love with the two coolest cops to ever wear Nike sneakers.

Starsky and Hutch forever!!!

The future isn’t just one night
It’s written in the moonlight
Painted on the stars
We can’t change ours.”

S and H

zebra 3

David Soul (Hutch) & Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky, top) and the coolest cop car ever.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

David Soul:  “Don’t Give Up On Us” (1977, written by Tony Macaulay).

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 91

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?

Kerouac

(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.

Ladies & Gentleman, all hail the Queen.  Dedicated to law enforcement around the country.

SONY DSC

Aretha Franklin at the Jones Beach Theatre circa 2010.  Photo credit:  Michele Antonio 

 

Aretha Franklin:  “Respect” (1967, written by Otis Redding).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 89

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?

Kerouac

(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.

As my rock heroes get older, I have noticed a growing and somewhat disturbing trend for them to tell their stories in a documentary.  My guess is if they do it while they are alive they will be able to control the narrative.  I get that.  Does the movie reveal things you never knew?  Yes.  For example, in “Eric Clapton:  Life In 12 Bars”, I learned that when he and his band, Cream, came to America in 1967 to record it was in the hallowed halls of Atlantic Records.  He saw people like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin coming and going.  In fact, he sat in on a rehearsal session with her and her band.  I never knew that (and, oh my God, wow!!!  Just imagining the three of them in the same building at once…swoon!).  I enjoyed discovering that.  And the audio and pictures of Clapton with Duane Allman & Jimi Hendrix are gold. 

I did not need to see, however, all the clips of him drinking so excessively and taking drugs.  His battles with addiction are well documented (his 2007 book, “Clapton: The Autobiography” came out the same year his ex-wife Pattie Boyd released hers).  Message received.  He was an addict.  But he has been sober 33 years which is basically a footnote at the end of the movie.  Watching a man I worship, love & admire in such a painful self-destructive place that he snorted cocaine from a switch blade was not only unnecessary, it seemed purely exploitive.  The director, a friend of Clapton’s, already included a number of clips of him using the drug without the knife.  She made no mention of the movies he’s been in (“Tommy”, “Hail! Hail! Rock ‘n’ Roll”, “Blues Brothers 2000”) & basically skipped over his career in the 1980’s, too.  I was hoping to see behind the scenes clips of him making videos (he was a staple on MTV & VH1), or at the Live Aid show or anything else from such a prolific decade of his.  I still recommend it if you have not seen it since this is Clapton, after all.  But just know it is a very hard watch which Clapton himself has stated in several interviews about the film.

To cheer myself up (and to stop from shaking), I went back to watch a doc I missed, 2013’s “History of The Eagles”.  I loved this band growing up and Don Henley’s solo records in the 1980’s.  I knew all about the friction between him and bandmate Glenn Frey so I was prepared for that but otherwise I looked forward to the band’s story.  Or maybe not.  Working under the philosophy that a band is not a democracy but rather an entity requiring leadership, Henley & Frey ran the show.  Period.  And when they were not fighting.  I realize both men had successful solo careers so perhaps maybe that lead to their decision, but those careers sprang from years with a hugely successful band of more than two members.  And both men require co-writers with a lot, if not all of their songs, so they are not doing it all alone.  I know egos go hand in hand with many rock stars, but seeing how arrogant Henley & Frey were towards their bandmates or just in general, particularly Henley, this film neither cheered nor soothed me.  It just made me mad.

I think I need to stop watching documentaries on musicians.

Today’s song is still my favorite solo number from Henley, but true to form I could not find the studio version on YouTube.  It is 2020, we are in the throes of a pandemic where so many of the elite are offering free streaming services or virtual tours, and Henley still refuses to post his videos.  It goes back to a grudge he (and many in the industry) had against the free uploads not paying artists their royalties.  I completely agree that any artist should be paid for their copyright.  But in the last decade, many artists started their own official YT channels to counteract the illegal uploads including Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, the estate of Marvin Gaye and so many others.  Henley has a channel, too, but mostly of live performances.  I do not believe their are any legal issues with his video copyrights, but perhaps there are which is why they cannot be uploaded.  But I am only speculating.  As a fan I find it frustrating, especially because there is such a pretty video for it which I hate not being able to see.  But this live version is the best I could do.

henley

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Don Henley:  “The Heart Of The Matter” (1990, written by Mike Campbell, Don Henley & J.D. Souther).

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 88

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?

Kerouac

(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 always been interested in finding out what kind of music inspired and influenced the artists I listen to.  Bruce Springsteen led me to Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison.  The Beatles led me to Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins.  Otis Redding led me to Sam Cooke and gospel music.  And Eric Clapton led me to many of the blues greats like Muddy Waters and B.B. King, with the latter becoming a favorite of mine.

He has collaborated with so many singers I love including Clapton (on the 2000 release “Riding With The King”), Elton John (on the song “Rock the House”) and Van Morrison (on the song “Early In The Morning”).  King also recorded a song with U2 (“When Love Comes to Town”).  But when I listen to him, my go to is his 1969 album, “Completely Well” because it has today’s classic on it.  He recorded another version of this song with Clapton for 2005’s “B.B. King & Friends: 80” with a fabulous string arrangement that is now my second favorite.  But nothing beats the original.

BB King     (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

B.B. King:  “The Thrill Is Gone” (1969, written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins).

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 71

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?

Peanuts music

(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.

Sam Cooke was not just a soul singer.  He was also an early activist in the civil rights movement and fought against segregation, especially at musical venues.  Perhaps his boldest statement in his quest for equality came in one of his most important songs written in early 1964.  He was inspired to write it after he, his wife and his band were refused rooms at a hotel in Louisiana and his subsequent arrest for disturbing the peace after Cooke demanded an answer from a manager as to why his reservations were not being honored.

His own version is powerful with a great production behind it, but still done mostly in Cooke’s hallmark polished sound.  It was just the natural state of his beautiful voice.  When Otis Redding recorded it in 1965, in his trademark achingly impassioned voice, it gave the song and its message even more meaning.  It was my favorite version until September 2, 1995.  On that day Al Green sang it at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert.  He did not just sing it, he sang the hell out of it and gave 10,000% of himself while doing so.  The band behind him-Booker T & The MG’s along with Paul Shaffer and friends-did not miss a beat while clearly enjoying the performance as much as the crowd did.  Despite Green’s appearance coming fairly early on in the show, he brought the house down.  But what else should we expect when The Reverend takes his rightful place at the pulpit?

Al Green

Al Green at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Concert in 1995 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Al Green:  “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1995, written by Sam Cooke).

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 36

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.

We have been taught that nothing is perfect.  Perhaps, but I think many songs have a near perfect vocal.  Examples that come to mind include Frank Sinatra on “My Way”, Otis Redding on “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Elvis on “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and Aretha Franklin on “Respect”.  But every now and then, an almost perfect vocal performance comes out of nowhere and hits me like a tsunami.  That is exactly how I felt when I heard today’s song for the very first time.  And it’s been knocking me down ever since.

It was written by Elvin Bishop, a guitarist who was an original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in the 1960’s.  He left to form his own group in 1968 and played alongside such notable acts as the Allman Brothers Band, the Grateful Dead and John Lee Hooker.  Bishop also sang but when he was recording his 1975 album, “Struttin’ My Stuff”, he did not think his voice was polished enough to record today’s song.  So, he asked one of his backup singers, Mickey Thomas, to do it.  The result was epic.

His vocal delivery, the soul in his voice and the power behind it were as close to perfect as one could hope for.  And added to Bishop’s guitar riffs, great lyrics and sublime arrangement turned this song into a powerhouse hit of the 1970’s.  It went on to become a rock classic and earned Thomas the lead singer spot with Jefferson Starship after original member Marty Balin’s departure.  Thomas may not be as well known as other blue eyed soul greats like Michael McDonald and Daryl Hall, but there is no denying the contribution he made with this song.  This is only my opinion but I believe a great soulful rock vocal  does not get much better than this.

 

Elvin Bishop & Mickey Thomas (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Elvin Bishop:  “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” (1975, written by Elvin Bishop).

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 28

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’s song is less than three minutes long but the first time I heard it my whole life changed.  And every time I have heard it since I am overwhelmed by two very distinct emotions:  sheer utter joy and deep heartbreaking sadness.  I am elated that Otis Redding was here on earth, albeit too briefly, to give us every recording we have of him.  But I am unbearably sad that he died at the age of 26.  Of all the artists who died young, I believe his was the most tragic.  Not only because we lost his immense talent, but because he left a young wife and three small children behind.  The four of them have worked tirelessly for the last 50 years to keep his music and legacy alive.  However, even without those efforts, the legend of the man crowned “The King of Soul” is not one that could ever be erased, despite the fact that his career lasted only five short years.

Redding wrote many of his own songs and gave one of them to Aretha Franklin who turned “Respect” into a monster hit and eventually her signature song.  He began writing today’s song a few weeks after his renowned performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967.  He went on to write the rest of the music and lyrics with his friend Steve Cropper, the guitarist for the group, Booker T & the MG’s.  However, Redding was still working on ideas for additional vocals for the record when he died in a plane crash on December 10, 1967.  So the task of completing the song fell on Cropper who did so despite his own grief over his friend’s death.  The result became a number one song in March 1968 and one of the greatest recordings of all time.  It holds the number two spot on my top ten list of favorite songs of all time.

Otis Monterey

Otis Redding at the Monterey Pop Festival June 1967 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding:  “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” (1967, written by Otis Redding and Steve Cropper).

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

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2019: Day 10

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I think today’s vintage Christmas card image has to be the most adorable one so far, don’t you agree???!!!

Day 10

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown.

The singer we celebrate today, the King of Soul, recorded two Christmas songs before he died 52 years ago today at the age of 26.  The first one was yesterday’s pick (Day 9) and his version is undoubtedly the most soulful one ever made.  It is the highlight of the soundtrack from the movie “Love Actually” which, if you have not seen yet, stop what you are doing and WATCH IT NOW!!!  Bonus:  the very handsome & charming Liam Neeson is in it and will just melt your heart!!!

The second dates back to 1947 and is just another example of how this immensely talented singer could sing anything and make it his own.  And since he left us with only these two holiday songs, and since he is probably the greatest male soul singer who ever graced this earth, I feel I must share both with you or I would not be doing my job as your music connoisseur  🙂

Otis.jpgOtis Redding circa mid 1960’s (original source unknown).    

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby” (1967, written by Johnny Moore and Lou Baxter in 1947)

Otis Redding:  “White Christmas” (1967, written by Irving Berlin in 1942)

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 11

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

shiny brites

Vintage Shiny Brite ornaments found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

We lost today’s singer over the summer, and a part of me died that day, too.  I still have not stopped crying.  My world lost a great deal of its light.  Life will never sound the same without her in it.

She was without a doubt the greatest female singer this world has ever known.  In 1958 when she was 16, she met singer Sam Cooke, who died 54 years ago today at the age of 33.  He wanted her to sign with his label, RCA Records.  However, her father-a minister who was her first manager-eventually had her sign with Columbia Records.  She and Cooke remained friends and fans of each other’s work, and she recorded several of his songs after his death, most notably “A Change Is Gonna Come” (1967) and “You Send Me” (1968),  She referred to him as “a prince of a man”.

From the second I heard she died, all I could think of was how even more beautiful Heaven sounded now that she and Cooke could sing together.  I cannot even imagine what a breathtaking sound that was.  The true definition of Heaven itself.

Yes, I believe in Heaven.  And I believe one day I will be there myself.  And after I have thanked God in person for everything he gave me, and hugged and kissed all my family and friends that passed before me, I want to be front and center to hear this woman sing with Cooke, Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon, Jackie Wilson, Luciano Pavorotti and anyone else she chooses.  Maybe Jim Morrison???  And then I will bow to her, which is the appropriate action to take when meeting a Queen.

Aretha.jpg

Aretha Franklin:  “Angels We Have Heard On High” (2008).

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, happy listening!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 10

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 10A

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

Today’s song is tied to a few artists we already featured in this year’s countdown.  I included it as a bonus song on Day 1 of the countdown because Bruce Springsteen covered it in 1987, but the first recording of this song dates back 40 years earlier when Charles Brown (singer of the song on Day 7) sang it as a singer and pianist with Johnny Moore’s Trailblazers.  Moore wrote it with songwriter Lou Baxter and it went to #3 on Billboard’s R&B Jukebox in 1947.  Several other artists have covered it over the years as well, but the one recorded in by the greatest soul singer of all time ranks at the top of my list.  And since this man was taken from us way too soon (51 years ago today at the age of 26), I must include his other Christmas cover because one can never have enough of this phenomenal singer’s voice.  Or this song, which this man makes all his own in this simply sublime version.

Otis

Otis Redding circa 1967 (original source unknown).  

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby“.

Otis Redding:  “White 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, happy listening!!!