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 said. 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.

He 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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 110

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.

In October 2001, the country, especially New York, was still reeling from the tragedy of 9/11.  But baseball was back and at Game 2 of the World Series in Phoenix, AZ, our nation got a much needed boost in moral when Ray Charles came out to sing today’s song “to honor America”.  He was stunning as always, but so were all the signs of patriotism in the stands:  people holding their hands over their hearts, people waving American flags, people cheering each time Charles said the word “America”.  At our worst, we were at our best.  On this 4th of July 2020, may our country begin to find peace and patriotism again, and may we find comfort in the red, white and blue colors that unite us all.  Have a safe and blessed Independence Day, everyone.

America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

Ray

         Ray Charles at Game 2 of the World Series in October 2001.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles:  “America The Beautiful” (2001, performed live at Game 2 of the World Series in Phoenix, AZ.  Written by Katharine Lee Bates).

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 106

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.

One of my favorite parts of the movie, “Ray”, was seeing him in the studio or on stage creating the iconic music he became known for.  Two scenes in particular were just mesmerizing to me.  The first one takes place in the studio during the recording of “Night Time Is The Right Time” and then turns into a live performance of the song.  But then when Charles tries to leave the stage the promoter tells him he has 20 minutes left to play per the contract.  Charles gets back behind the piano, gives the band & his singers a quick directive and then starts playing today’s song.  And it is nothing short of  improvisational heaven.  Right in front of our eyes, Charles wrote one of the greatest songs of his career.  My guess is that helped him earn his nickname, which was revealed on his 1961 album, “The Genius Sings the Blues”.  June 10th marked 16 years since we lost this great talent, and I feel incredibly blessed I got to witness his magic firsthand.

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

Ray Charles:  “What’d I Say Pts. 1 & 2” (1959, written by Ray Charles).

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 48

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.

Frank Sinatra said many things about many people in his lifetime.  My favorite was this:  “Ray Charles is the only true genius in show business.”.  Now legally as a fellow Italian I am prohibited from disagreeing with anything The Chairman of the Board ever said,  but one listen to any song Charles sang and you know Sinatra was right.  If you saw the movie, “Ray” then you saw how he was one with the piano and how that gift led to some of the most stunning music the world has ever heard.  His rendition of “America The Beautiful” has become one of the country’s most treasured recordings and a wonderful patriotic moment for us whenever it is played.  All I can add is Ray Charles is life.

And this…

As someone who adores TV almost as much as music, I love it when both worlds collide.  Charles appeared on three of my favorite shows:  St. Elsewhere (where he played a patient who sang Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend” to Geraldine Fitzgerald’s character), “Moonlighting” (where he played himself and sang “Hit The Road, Dave” to Bruce Willis’ character) & “Wings” (where he played himself but refused to sing to the ex-girlfriend of Steven Weber’s character when he asked Charles to).

Ray 2    (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Ray Charles:  “You Don’t Know Me” (1962, written by Eddy Arnold and Cindy Walker in 1955),

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 18

Welcome back to the countdown!!!

Wintry scenes would not be complete without a snowman.  I think this one has the perfect hat, too!!!

day 18

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown).

Imagination is part of the fun of Christmas.  Always has been.  For children it is wondering what Santa will bring them and if they might catch a glimpse of him coming down the chimney.  For adults it is thinking up new ways to celebrate, decorate and entertain, not to mention trying to come up with original and exciting gift ideas to wow their friends and family.  So with all that sharp thinking going on, it’s not surprising that songs about the season get creative as well.  One about two people building a snowman seems like innocent fare, right?  But when the couple starts pretending that snowman is real, and a member of the clergy who they can ask to marry them?  Still pure fun or the basis for a Stephen King novel???  🙂

My vote is 100% pure unadulterated fun, not to mention great music as well.  This song has been recorded dozens of times by many different artists, but this man’s version has always been my favorite.  It has been featured in several movies, most notably “When Harry Met Sally” and “Elf”.  He is not only one of the greatest singers this country ever produced but he is considered a natural treasure as well. And rightfully so.

Ray

Ray Charles:  “Winter Wonderland” (1985, written by Felix Bernard and Richard Bernhard Smith in 1934).

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 2

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

pinterest day 2

Found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

We started this year’s holiday music celebration with one of the greatest performers the world has ever seen, and today we continue with another legend.  Heck, this man is a national treasure.

Any song he recorded throughout his career became his own thanks to his soulful, bluesy, jazzy interpretations combined with his virtuoso piano playing and distinctive voice, which usually invited the listener to join in with him.  He did it with “America The Beautiful”, “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, “You Don’t Know Me” and dozens of others.  The movie based on his life gave us a no holds barred look at how hard he had to fight to overcome poverty, tragedy, blindness, racism and drug addiction while remaining a master musician and singer.  He has covered so many Christmas classics, but for those of you who cannot get enough of the scene where Clark Griswold is stuck in the attic wearing a woman’s coat, head wrap & gloves watching old family movies in “Christmas Vacation”, then this is probably your favorite holiday song by “The Genius” himself.

ray charles

Ray Charles:  “That Spirit Of 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!!!