Let’s Take A Moment Day 464

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.

When Ray Charles left Atlantic Records in 1959, he was given artistic freedom & the rights to all his songs at his new home with ABC Paramount. But that was not all that changed. Charles decided to explore other types of music after years of playing rhythm & blues. In April 1962 he released one of the best records of his career, Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music.

On June 23, 1962, it hit the #1 spot on the album chart in the U.S. for 14 consecutive weeks. It marked a milestone in Charles career, showing his diverse talent & vocal ability in a completely different genre of music. It also helped him gain more mainstream success, which in turn pushed the racial boundaries of music during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. There was nothing Ray Charles Robinson could not do.

They say that time
Heals a broken heart
But time has stood still
Since we’ve been apart
“.

Ray

Ray Charles’ 1962 landmark album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (1962, written by Don Gibson).

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 363

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 you remember any part of the 1980’s, then you know Quincy Jones was a huge part of music in that decade. He was the producer behind Michael Jackson’s biggest albums (Off The Wall, Bad, Thriller) & USA For Africa’s 1985 charity song, “We Are The World”, to name just a few of his accomplishments. Jones began his musical journey as a trumpeter when he was about ten years old. When he was 14 he met Ray Charles and the two remained friends & collaborators until Ray’s death in 2004.

Jones left a scholarship at Boston’s Berklee School of Music in the early 1950’s to work for bandleader Lionel Hampton. Jones would eventually work with everyone from Sarah Vaughn, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington & so many others. And if all that was not cool enough, Jones married Peggy Lipton (Julie from “Mod Squad”) in 1974.

He turns 88 today, born on March 14, 1933 in Illinois. One of my favorite songs by him came out in 1989 and featured his buddy Ray Charles & Chaka Khan on vocals. Happy birthday, Quincy Jones.

We’ve been together
For so very long
I’d hate to break up
Break up my happy home”.

quincy-jones-and-ray-charles

chaka quincy

Top (l-R): Quincy Jones and Ray Charles circa 1988. Bottom (L-R): Chaka Khan and Jones circa 2010. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Quincy Jones featuring Ray Charles & Chaka Khan: “I’ll Be Good To You” (1989, written by George Johnson, Louis Johnson and Sonora Sam).

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 279

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?

Dec 20

(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.

Ray Charles singing any song is magic. Ray Charles singing any song related to Christmas is heaven.

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is the new bird
He sings a love song
As we go along
Walkin’ in a winter wonderland
“.

Ray Charles backstage San Francisco 12/5/71 
sheet 905 frame 25a

Ray Charles circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “Winter Wonderland” (1985, written by Felix Bernard and Richard Bernhard Smith).

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 243

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.

Sixty years ago today “The Genius”, Ray Charles, had the #1 record in the country. It may have only held the top spot for one week but it went on to become one of his signature tunes. In 1979 it became the official song for the state of Georgia where he was born in 1930, the same year this track was written & originally released. Once he got his hands on a song, Charles made it his own.

Other arms reach out to me
Other eyes smile tenderly
Still in peaceful dreams I see
The road leads back to you
“.

Ray

Ray Charles at the Georgia State Capital in 1979 for the official ceremony naming his version of “Georgia On My Mind” as the official state song. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “Georgia On My Mind” (1960, music written by Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael & lyrics written by Stuart Gorrell).

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 236

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.

Today in 1989 Eric Clapton released his 11th solo studio album, “Journeyman”. It was his first since completing rehab two tears earlier and continued the new chapter in his career which began with 1985’s “Behind The Sun” record, his first with producer Phil Collins. He also worked with Clapton on his next album, “August”, which contained his duet with Tina Turner, “Tearing Us Apart” along with the hit “It’s In The Way That You Use It” featured in the 1986 film “The Color Of Money”. Clapton followed that up with a re-recording of the song “After Midnight” for a 1987 Michelob commercial, capitalizing on his new found success on MTV.

As great as all that music was, “Journeyman” took his musical choices even further as it included covers of “Hard Times” by Ray Charles and “Hound Dog” by Leiber & Stoller. But rather than follow Elvis Presley’s 1956 interpretation, Clapton opted for a cover more in line with Big Mama Thornton’s original blues version of the song released in 1953. The album also had a cover of “Run So Far” by George Harrison (who also played guitar on the track) along with songs that featured backing vocals by Collins, Daryl Hall, Linda Womack (Sam Cooke’s daughter) and Chaka Khan.

“Journeyman” hit the top 10 in the UK and the top 20 in the US. Two songs went to #1 on the US Mainstream Rock Chart, “Bad Love” and today’s track, which received heavy play on MTV. It is not surprising because whoever came up with the video’s concept of drenching the very sexy & beautiful Clapton in water and then putting a guitar in his hands should have won every prize known to man. Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. Oh, and because it’s a really good song. too.

Satisfied but lost in love
Situations change
You’re never who you used to think you are
How strange
“.

E CLAPTON

Eric Clapton in 1990 at the Knebworth Concert. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton: “Pretending” (1989, written by Jerry Lynn Williams).

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 192

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?

Jane Austen 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.

September 23 marked the 90th birth anniversary of the man known as “The Genius”, Ray Charles. He gave us so much spectacular music throughout his career and there is nothing I can write about him that has not already been expressed. He was one of the greats, an absolute legend, a phenomenal performer and an American treasure. And one of the best singers to take another person’s song and make it his own.

One of my favorite examples of this gift is a song he included on his 1993 album, “My World” It was written by another piano man, Leon Russell. He was another multi-talented performer who had a voice similar to that of Gregg Allman and hit those keys like Charles. Russell spent nearly 60 years playing & singing with some of the best known artists of the 20th century like Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, Ike & Tina Turner, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Joe Cocker and so many others.

Russell wrote hit songs like “This Masquerade”, “Lady Blue”, “Tightrope”, “Hummingbird”, “Delta Lady” & today’s track. It was covered by The Carpenters, Donny Hathaway, Willie Nelson, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse and, of course, Charles. His version won him his third Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1994 and brought out the heart of this song unlike anyone before or after, including Russell. But they are his words that Charles brought to life so beautifully.

I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life, you are a friend of mine
And when my life is over, remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singin’ my song for you
“.

ray charles

Ray Charles circa 1968. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Russell

Leon Russell in 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles: “A Song For You” (1993, written by Leon Russell).

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 155

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 the things I really love about Carole King ‘s “Tapestry” album is how she used woodwind instruments on a few of her songs.  There is the beautiful flute solo at the end of “So Far Away” and the gorgeous sax solos on “It’s Too Late” & “Way Over Yonder”.  The man behind those performances was Curtis Amy, who was primarily known as a saxophone player.  You may not recognize his name but you most likely heard his work.  If you are a fan of The Doors, you heard his solo on “Touch Me“, especially towards the end of the song.  He also worked as the musical director for Ray Charles’ orchestra and played on songs by Dizzy Gillespie, Lou Rawls, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, amongst others.  Amy also released nine of his own albums in the 1960’s.  His wife, Merry Clayton, is a singer & actress.  She sang backing vocals on “Tapestry” (most notably on “Way Over Yonder”) but her voice is best known from being featured in “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones.  She also had a major role in the movie, “Maid To Order” as Audrey James, the head housekeeper.

King co-wrote today’s song as a tribute to Amy’s sound.  As someone who loves woodwinds in music of any kind, I feel very blessed to have been introduced to his talent.  And today’s song earned King a nomination for Best Female Pop Performance at 1975’s Grammy Awards.  She lost to “I Honestly Love You” by Olivia Newton John.  I honestly cannot believe that.

When the jazzman’s testifyin’ a faithless man believes
He can sing you into paradise or bring you to your knees
It’s a gospel kind of feelin’, a touch of Georgia slide,
A song of pure revival and a style that’s sanctified“.

carole king

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King:  “Jazzman” (1974, written by Carole King, music and David Palmer, lyrics).

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 151

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.

As someone who loves music I owe an immense amount of gratitude to the blues.  It is the one genre of music that is the common denominator behind so many of the singers and bands I adore.  Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and others have payed homage to the old blues singers and their songs.  Even Led Zeppelin considers their roots in that genre.  But one of my favorite bands that always honored their blues roots was The Allman Brothers Band.  They covered such classics as “Come On In My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson, “Statesboro Blues” by Blind Willie McTell and “Trouble No More” by Muddy Waters, amongst others.  But today’s song is the one I love the best because despite how many other artists performed this one, the dueling guitar playing of Duane Allman & Dickey Betts is unmatched.  Plus, Greg Allman made it his own from the first note he sang.  I absolutely adore their version of this song.

Lord, I’m foolish to be here in the first place
I know some man gonna walk in and take my place
Ain’t no way in the world, I’m going out that front door
‘Cause there’s a man down there, might be your man I don’t know“.

Allman Brothers

The Allman Brothers Band (L_R):  Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Duane Allman (lead & slide guitar), Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriter), Jaimoe Johanson (drums), Butch Trucks (drums) & Berry Oakley (bass) in 1971 as photographed for the cover of their second album, Idlewild South.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.) 

The Allman Brothers Band:  “One Way Out” (1972, written by Elmore James, Marshall E. Sehorn and Sonny Boy Williamson)

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 137

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.

Only two famous musicians are known to have played with both The Beatles as a group and then with all four members individually.  The first is my great love Eric Clapton, who played lead guitar on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, although he went uncredited on The White Album.  He then went on to play with Lennon in The Dirty Mac (along with Keith Richards on bass and Mitch Mitchell, the drummer from The Jimi Hendrix Experience) and on several songs by Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band.  Clapton played with Paul on his 2001 song, “Freedom” & at The Concert For George.  Clapton co-wrote “Badge” for Cream with George, played on his 1970 album, “All Things Must Pass” and appeared at The Concert For Bangladesh in 1971 with him as well.  Ringo was also at The Concert For Bangladesh and Clapton wrote music & played guitar for Ringo’s 1976 album, “Ringo’s Rotogravure” and 1983’s “Old Wave” amongst others.  Clapton also played with Ringo in person at The Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 as well as The Concert For George in 2002.

The other musician to boast the same accomplishment with The Beatles was Billy Preston.  He was nicknamed “The Fifth Beatle” after playing organ for them on “Abbey Road” (on “I Want You (She’s So Heavy”) & “Something”), then he played electric piano on the “Let It Be” album and in the movie during the rooftop concert scene for “Get Back” & “Don’t Let Me Down”.  After the band broke up Preston played on John’s song “God”, on George’s album “All Things Must Pass” and at The Concert For Bangladesh.  Preston also played on a few of Ringo’s solo albums (1973’s self titled record & 2005’s “Choose Love”), in his All-Starr Band & at The Concert For George (where he sang a rousing version of “My Sweet Lord”) and played with Paul at this show as well.  And for added interest, Preston played Sgt. Pepper in the 1978 film of the same name where he sang his own version of “Get Back”.

He was hailed as a self-taught child prodigy who played with Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole by the ages of 10 and 11, respectively.  By the age of 16 he met The Beatles in Hamburg, Germany when he was playing with Little Richard’s band.  Later that year he played for Sam Cooke and five years later, he joined Ray Charles’ band.  He has played on several albums for The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton while working on songs by artists like Luther Vandross, Patti LaBelle & The Band.  Preston also worked as the musical director for David Brenner’s short lived late night show, Nightlife, from 1986-1987.  He co-wrote today’s song with songwriter Bruce Fisher and both men also penned the Joe Cocker hit, “You Are So Beautiful” (there are rumors that Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys had a hand in writing it as well but allegedly his brother Brian Wilson said that was not the case).  Preston died too young at the age of 59 in 2006 but left a legacy of great performances that showcase just how gifted he was.

Billy Preston in 2002 at The Concert For George (L) and as Sgy. Pepper (R) in the 1978 movie of the same name.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Billy Preston:  “Nothing From Nothing” (1974, written by Billy Preston and Bruce Fisher).

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 125

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.

Today’s song has been covered by a myriad of artists including Robert Plant, The Four Tops, Bob Seger, Johnny Cash (as a duet with his wife, June Carter Cash) and Leon Russell, and all of them are great versions.  But my favorite one was recorded by Walden Robert Cassotto, better known by his stage name, Bobby Darin.  It was a top ten hit for him in 1966.  If you are not too familiar with Darin, it is very easy to write him off as a novelty act because of his first hit song, “Splish Splash”.  But make no mistake, he was an excellent musician playing guitar, piano and drums.  He also wrote and recorded songs in all different types of musical genres including pop, rock & roll, jazz, swing, country & folk.

That is how he took us from “Dream Lover”, “Mack The Knife” and “Beyond The Sea” in the 1950’s to today’s song and “Simple Song of Freedom” in the 1960’s.  He began his career as a songwriter at The Brill Building in NYC, the same place where Carole King & Gerry Goffin started.  It was there that Darin met & was signed by record executive Ahmet Ertegun, who discovered people like Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton (when he was in the band, Cream), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Led Zeppelin.  I think Darin’s vocal has a haunting sadness in it that just resonates throughout today’s song.  And with superb lyrics by songwriter Tim Hardin and a beautiful arrangement, this tune just had everything it needed to be something both remarkable & unexpected all at once.

Save my love through loneliness
Save my love for sorrow
I’ve given you my onlyness
Come give your tomorrow.”

Bobby-Darin-The-Direction-Albums-

Bobby Darin circa 1969.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bobby Darin:  “If I Were A Carpenter” (1966, written by Tim Hardin).

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

Stay well.