Let’s Take A Moment Day 362

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.

If there was one song that defined the Philly Soul sound in the 1970’s, my guess is today’s tune would be it. Written by that genre’s most prolific songwriting team of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff, with lyrics by their occasional collaborator, Cary Gilbert, the track is sung to near perfection by Billy Paul.

The slow sexy style of the lavish arrangement underscores the story of the couple in the song who are navigating a difficult relationship since one party is married. I may not have understood what this song was about the first time I heard it as a kid, but I never forgot what a fabulous track it was. It hit the #1 spot in the country for three consecutive weeks in December 1972 and remains one of my favorite tunes of all time.

We gotta be extra careful
That do we don’t build our hopes up too high
Because she’s got her own obligations
And so, and so, do I
“.

Billy Paul

gamble and huff

Top: Billy Paul circa 1972. Bottom: Leon Huff (with hat) and Kenny Gamble circa 1974. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Billy Paul: “Me & Mrs. Jones” (1972, written by Kenny Gamble, Cary Gilbert & Leon Huff).

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 343

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.

Detroit had Motown, Philadelphia had Philly Soul. That genre was not as big nor as successful as the Motor City’s sound but it was still a powerful force in music. The Stylistics, The Delfonics, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Spinners, Billy Paul, songwriters Ken Gamble & Leon Huff along with Thom Bell were just some of the artists that came out of this musical movement. It was a fusion of soul that had combined elements of sophisticated jazz, funk, big instrumental string & horn arrangements with a side of pop delivered in the vocal. I loved this music despite many music critics citing this sound as the basis from which the dreaded disco era emerged (sorry not a fan).

One of the groups I remember quite fondly was Blue Magic, specifically for today’s song. They formed in 1972 & were led by the beautiful falsetto voice of Ted Mills with harmony & backing vocals by Keith Beaton, Richard Pratt and brothers Vernon Sawyer and Wendell Sawyer. Together they turned today’s song from their debut album into a top ten hit in 1974, selling over a million copies. They had a good run of success for five years before their popularity waned thanks to the aforementioned disco years. They disbanded shortly thereafter but reformed in the 1990’s. There have been many personnel changes since then but they were still performing prior to the pandemic. But I will always love the original lineup the best for giving us today’s fabulous song. .

See the man with the broken heart, you’ll see that he is sad
He hurts so bad
See the girl who has lost the only love she ever had
There’s got to be no sadder show to see
No doubt about it satisfaction’s guaranteed
“.

Blue Magic

Blue Magic’s 1974 self-titled debut album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blue Magic: “Sideshow” (1974, written by Vinnie Barrett and Bobby Eli).

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 31

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 early 1960’s introduced us to the Motown sound out of Detroit.  In the late 1960’s-early 1970’s we were presented with Philly Soul from-where else- Philadelphia.  Motown enthroned us with power groups like The Temptations, The Four Tops & The Miracles.  Philly Soul blessed us with the likes of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The O’Jays and the group I am most grateful for from that genre-The Stylistics.  And the reason is today’s song.

Where the other groups were lead by singers with booming mostly baritone voices, the Stylistics were lead by the falsetto of Russell Thompkins Jr.  That unique sound combined with the Philly Soul staple of gorgeous string & horn arrangements set this group apart from the others.  It also gave them a dozen consecutive top ten hits in the 1970’s.  I really like almost every one of them, but I think today’s song is an absolute masterpiece.

Stylistics

The Stylistics circa 1972 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Stylistics:  “You Are Everything” (1971, written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed).

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

Stay well.

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #7

Hi, Vixens!!!  How are all of you today?  Ready for another great holiday song???  Then let’s get to it.

Soul music-whether in the form of Motown, R&B, Philly Soul, Gospel or some other variation-has been a favorite of mine forever.  I love music that is consumed with so much emotion.  It reminds me I am alive and hits my soul like a bolt of electricity, which is perhaps where the term “soul music” came from-music that touches the soul.

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Original Source Unknown

So many moments hit me like that:  the first time I heard Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay“, and Ray Charles’ “America The Beautiful“, and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through The Grapevine” not to mention his absolutely sublime version of “The Star Spangled Banner“, anything at all by Aretha Franklin and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, to name a few.

And while we are on the subject of Al  Green, his version of “O Holy Night” sent shivers down my spine from the second I heard it.  Done in his signature style, it oozes personality, charm, soul, R&B and every emotion it makes you feel.  It is simply majestic!!!

I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  steppersusa.com