Music Monday: September 19, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to another edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

September 9 marked the 81st birth anniversary for The King Of Soul. Otis Ray Redding Jr. was born in 1941 in Dawson, Georgia and lived in that state for his entire all too brief life. Like many soul and R&B artists, he started his career singing in church when he was a child. By the age of 17 he had already won numerous local talent shows and became a member of Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers.

In 1962 Redding drove Jenkins to Stax Records in Memphis to record a few songs. His session ended early so Redding was given that time to record some of his own tracks by none other than Jim Stewart, one of the owners of Stax. The rest of the story involves five incredibly short but unbelievably powerful years that would account for Redding’s entire career. And what an outstanding one it was.

If you are not already a fan, I suggest you find any of his performances from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival on YouTube and watch them. I promise it will bot only change your mind, but your life as well. The energy, the passion, the soul, the presence, the unmitigated joy this man experienced on a stage was unmatched. That is why he remains a legend in every sense of the word.

Today’s song holds the number two spot on my top ten list of favorite songs of all time. The album of the same name was released in February 1968, a mere two & a half months after his death. But it changed music forever, as did Redding himself.

Look like nothin’s gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can’t do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I’ll remain the same”.

Otis circa 1965

Otis Redding circa 1965. (Image courtesy of otisredding.com. Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” (1968, written by Steve Cropper and Otis Redding).

Stay safe and well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music 2021: Day 20

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

Day 20

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blues musician & singer Charles Brown had the distinction of being part of two original Christmas songs during his career. In 1947 he played piano & sang the lead vocal on “Merry Christmas Baby” when he was a member of Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. Moore wrote the song with Lou Baxter and later it was covered by many other performers including Chuck Berry in 1958, Otis Redding circa 1965 and Bruce Springsteen in 1986 (featured here on Day 6).

Brown co-wrote today’s song with Gene Redd in 1960 which was also the same year Brown released it as a single. It is sometimes referred to as “Bells Will Be Ringing” and has been covered by several artists over the last sixty years. But I think the soulfulness of the original beats any other rendition that came after it.

Won’t you tell me you’ll never more roam
Christmas and New Year’s will find you home
There’ll be no more sorrow no grief and pain
‘Cause I’ll be happy happy once again
“.

Charles Brown

Charles Brown circa 1955. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Charles Brown: “Please Come Home for Christmas” (1960, written by Charles Brown and Gene Redd).

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 2021: Day 10

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.

day 10

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

We may not have a lot of music from Otis Redding because he died entirely too young but the songs he did give us are absolutely astonishing. That includes his cover of today’s holiday classic which he recorded in his signature soulful style. What a gift this man was to music.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white
“.

Otis

Otis Redding in June 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

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

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!!!

Let’s Take A Moment Day 542

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?

blog Sept 2021

(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.

We have yet another rock & roll birthday to celebrate today. Ironically as was the case with the last two artists featured here, this man also died in a plane crash, eight years after Buddy Holly & four years after Patsy Cline. Like her he left behind a young family and like Holly, this year also marks a milestone birth anniversary year. The King of Soul, Otis Redding, was born 80 years ago today on September 9, 1941 in Dawson, GA. His voice is one of the ones I love most in the universe.

The first album I bought by him was Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul which was originally released Sept 15, 1965. But unlike all the other LP’s I ever bought, I could not listen to this one all the way through in one sitting. In fact, It took me days to get through all 11 songs. I just had to hear each track at least a dozen times before I felt I could move on to the next one. And then the same thing would happen all over again.

I had never heard anyone sing with such raw aching unabashed emotion before in my life. He sang of such heartache and pain that every note was like live or die for this beautiful man. I could not help but hurt right along with him while also praying I would someday know what that type of all consuming love felt like.

The album included Redding’s original version of “Respect” along with covers of The Temptations’ “My Girl”, The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” & three Sam Cooke songs. But today’s track was written by William Bell who was another singer on the Stax Label with Redding. It showcases his signature angst ridden soul & leaves you wondering how he will ever get through such immense pain. Redding sang like he had lived 100 lifetimes when in reality he barely lived one. But how he spent his 26 years on this earth is what keeps him alive over five decades later.

I sit here and wonder
How in the world this could be, my oh my
I never thought, oh, I never thought
You’d ever leave me
“.

Otis

Redding family

Top: Otis Redding circa 1967. Bottom: Redding’s family circa 2017 (L-R): Daughter Karla Redding-Andrews, wife Zelma (who never remarried), sons Dexter and Otis III. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Otis Redding: “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (1965, written by William Bell).

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 516

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?

Aug 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.

One of my favorite movies of all time made its debut 30 years ago today. “The Commitments” opened in limited release on August 14, 1991. To see a film about a group of young singers and musicians coming together to celebrate the miracle that is the soul genre absolutely spoke to me. And one of the legendary singers the group admired? None other than the King Of Soul himself, Otis Redding.

The fact that he died in 1967 used to make me believe it was one of the worst years in music history. Ironically, it was probably one of the best. Why? Because it was the only one in which three of the greatest voices of all time were making music in the universe at the same time: Redding, Marvin Gaye & Jim Morrison. That year also had The Summer Of Love. I can’t call it complete paradise as there was a war going on at the time as well. But my God, was it close.

My life is such a weary thing
But in my ears, oh, this prayer just rang & rang
You keep wanting, waiting and wishing
When I know deep down that I’m not to blame
“.

Otis_Redding_low_res356

Otis Redding on stage during the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “My Lover’s Prayer” (1966, written by Otis Redding).

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 501

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Tomorrow marks the 98th birth anniversary for a man who introduced us to some of the greatest artists in music history. Ahmet Ertegun, president and co-founder of Atlantic Records, was born on July 31, 1923 in Istanbul, Turkey. He was the man who launched the careers of John Coltrane, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.

I cannot imagine my life or this world without the likes of Redding, Clapton or Franklin, let alone the rest of that group. But to choose a way to salute the man we remember today comes down to one word: genius. And no one comes closer to that word than Ray Charles. Thank you, Ahmet Ertegun, for bringing us some of the most profound music of the 20th century.

She saves her loving, just for me
Always loves me, so tenderly
I got a woman, way over town
She’s good to me, oh yeah
“.

Ray 1956

Ray 2002

Top (L-R): Ray Charles and Ahmet Ertegun circa 1956. Bottom (L-R): Charles and Ertegun circa 2002. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “I Got A Woman” (1954, written by Ray Charles and Renald Richard)

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 479

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

One of the many things that made The Allman Brothers Band such a unique group was the fact that they had two drummers. One of them is celebrating a birthday today. Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson was born Johnny Lee Johnson 77 years ago on July 8, 1944 in Mississippi.

Before his role as a founding member of The ABB, he was part of soul superstars Otis Redding and Sam & Dave’s touring bands. Once Johanson became Duane Allman’s first recruit for his new group in February 1969, Johanson’s fate in one of the most innovative talented blues inspired bands in rock history was sealed. He & guitarist Dickey Betts-are the last surviving members of that fabulous group.

He and Allman shared lead guitar duties in the band, another facet that differentiated the ABB from other bands. Betts wrote today’s song which is from their 1972 album, “Eat A Peach”. It is one of the last to feature Allman before his death in 1971. In a 2017 article listing the 20 greatest ABB’s songs, Billboard magazine wrote the following about today’s track:

One of the last songs recorded by Duane Allman before his death, the Betts-delivered vocals are saccharine-sweet without being overly-sappy, while the twin guitar solos by Allman and Betts showcase just how effortlessly in tune and precise the two could be. There may not have ever been a better pairing of two lead guitarists in their prime in rock history than Allman and Betts, and “Blue Sky” is among their greatest showpieces. That Duane died before their Eat a Peach album was released is still one of rock’s saddest tales“. So true. Sigh.

Happy birthday, Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson May you continue to make great music for 100 more years.

Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing
They don’t worry ’bout where it’s goin’, no, no
Don’t fly, mister blue bird, I’m just walking down the road
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know
“.

the-allman-brothers-1969-a-billboard-1548-compressed

(L-R) Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman, Jai Johanny Johanson, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks sit on some railroad tracks on May 5, 1969 outside of Macon, Ga. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Allman Brothers Band: “Blue Sky” (1972, written by Dickey Betts).

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 466

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?

June 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.

Any song Otis Redding sang he made his own. But two songs he wrote were basically stolen away from him-in good ways, of course. He said as much about Aretha Franklin turning “Respect” into her signature tune, not to mention a #1 song for two weeks in June 1967. As for today’s song, he gave it to the co-writer-Arthur Conley-who turned it into a gold record in the same month.

It was originally called “Yeah Man” by Sam Cooke, but Conley & Redding re-wrote it together. The two Georgia natives met after Redding heard Conley’s 1964 song, “I’m a Lonely Stranger”. Redding signed Conley to his new label, Jotis Records, and in May 1967 today’s song went to the #2 spot in the country.

It paid tribute to many of the singers both Redding and Conley admired, and the latter even added a few lines about Redding as well. It is a great get-up-on-your-feet-and-move kind of song. And it was one of the great joys of my life to see Bruce Springsteen perform this live in concert. What can I say? The man’s got soul. And so does today’s song. Not to mention one heck of a horn arrangement.

Do you like good music
That sweet soul music
Just as long as it’s swingin’
Oh yeah oh yeah”.

Arthur and Otis

Left to right: Singers Ben E. King, Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, Arthur Conley and Percy Sledge circa 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Arthur Conley: “Sweet Soul Music” (1967, written by Arthur Conley, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding).

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 365

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?

March 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.

Well, here we are. The one year mark of a global pandemic. In a lifetime of say, 70 years, one year is a blip. Some years we may barely recall if not a lot happened and they just seemed to roll into the next. But with everything that transpired in the last 12 months, no one over the age of 10 will forget 2020 anytime soon.

But like most years there were similarities-the best of times, the worst of times & all the times in between. I think it was a great break from where we were, the constant go-go-go mentality as if not being insanely busy was something to be feared. It was a time to reflect, rediscover, reassess, renew & rejoice, especially if you made it through without losing anyone you loved. But again, that’s not any different than other years, is it?

We went through the pandemic together but in many different ways. Some struggled to survive alone while others had a lot of support around them. Some worked tirelessly at essential jobs while others lost their only source of income. And healthcare workers struggled under the weight of it all while giving it everything they had. Despite those efforts the virus claimed an incomprehensible number of lives. But there is hope in this new season, with the vaccine, that there is an end in sight. It is not over yet, but we are closer than we were. Until then I am still being as careful as possible and continuing to cope with songs that I love. So back to the music.

On March 16, 1968 Otis Redding hit the #1 spot in the country with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”. It was the first chart topping posthumous hit ever for a musical artist as the world was still mourning the singer’s death in a plane crash three months earlier. That song was featured on Day 28 but I think Redding deserves to be celebrated every day and is a perfect choice to commemorate a year in quarantine. Thank you all for your continued support, but especially for being here during the last twelve months. I hope you remain safe & well and continue to find comfort in music.

“If you want to really roll now
Gotta do the thing with soul
Shake, shake with all your might
Now, if you do it, do it right
“.

otis-redding-6

Otis Redding circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “Shake” (1966, 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 307

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.

Before today’s song, I want to wish the happiest of birthdays to a most spectacular “Golden Girl”, Betty White. This legend of radio, TV & film turns 99 today & has been entertaining the world for 82 years. I was lucky enough to meet her in May 2011 when she came to Barnes & Noble in Lake Grove, NY to sign copies of her book, “If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won’t)“.

She was an absolute delight. I was in complete awe, told her meeting her was like meeting one of the Beatles which made her laugh. But when I told her she & the other three Golden Girls were like my surrogate mothers from their very first episode she smiled and squeezed my hand. It was one of the most cherished moments of my life. Keep rocking, Betty. You are loved, worshiped & revered. And an absolute riot!!!

Betty White

Betty White in May 2011 in Lake Grove, NY. (credit: Me!!!)

Music nightclubs have been around forever, but for the music I love, some of the best saw the 1960’s & 1970’s as the peak of their success. The Troubador in West Hollywood, CA introduced artists like Elton John, Tom Waits & James Taylor. The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA hosted Cream, The Grateful Dead & blues greats Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. At NYC’s Fillmore East Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane and The Allman Brothers (who recorded their first live record there in 1971, At Fillmore East) appeared. Max’s Kansas City was a favorite hangout spot for John Lennon when he first moved to NYC, Deborah Harry was a waitress there and artists like The Velvet Underground & David Bowie performed there. Two other NYC clubs-The Bottom Line & CBGB’s hosted Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Linda Ronstadt & Van Morrison at the former and Patti Smith, Blondie, The Talking Heads and other punk/new wave artists at the latter.

Another West Hollywood club, The Whiskey-A-Go-Go, opened January 11, 1964 and quickly became one of the top music venues for up & coming artists. Two of my favorites-The Doors & Otis Redding-were featured there and it helped put them on their respective musical maps. For Redding especially this was a huge moment in his early career as it led to the recording of his live album, In Person at the Whisky a Go Go. It was recorded during his three shows in April 1966 but not released until October 1968, nearly a year after his death. A second release, Good to Me: Live at the Whisky a Go Go, Vol. 2, was released in 1993.

The shows at the club took place a year before Redding’s mainstream success thanks to his rousing performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in the summer of 1967. It included today’s song which was first recorded in 1932 but Redding’s version 34 years later took on a whole new style due in part to the producer, soul legend Isaac Hayes. Booker T & The M.G.’s played on the record & with Redding in person at the Monterey show. Redding’s complete five song set from the concert along with Jimi Hendrix’s performances were released on the 1970 album, Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival. Redding’s are included on a few of his posthumous releases plus you can also find the videos on YouTube. Today’s song was his last number of the night and it is nothing short of spectacular.

It’s not just sentimental no, no, no
She has her grief and care, yeah, yeah, yeah
But the soft words they are spoke so gentle, yeah
It makes it easier, easier to bear”.

Otis at Monterey

Otis Redding on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival in June 1967. Alan Jackson (back) was the drummer that night with the band Booker T & The MG’s. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “Try A Little Tenderness” (Live performance at The Monterey Pop Festival in June, 1967. Originally recorded in 1966. Written by Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly and Henry MacGregor “Harry” Woods).

I only own the rights to the Betty White picture, nothing else. I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.