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!!!

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 19

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

truck-with-wreath

(Original source unknown)

For most of the countdown, I have had trouble choosing only one song each day because I feel like there are so many great versions of so many holiday classics, I just want to share as many as I can with you.  And while this song is no exception in the amount of great renditions it has, for me there is only one.  Why?  Because that one is by Ray Charles Robinson.

I fell in love with his version the first time I heard in the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally” and it has been one of my all time favorite Christmas songs ever since.  In my heart he made this song his own the same way he did with “America The Beautiful“.  There is a reason why he was called “The Genius”, and it is clear in every note of every song he ever played.

ray 2

(Original source unknown)

Ray Charles:  “Winter Wonderland

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #15

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

chistmas-music-ornament

Courtesy:  Tea Green Chandelier

 

It is hard for me to believe that the same team behind the “Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer” TV special-Arthur Rankin, Jr. & Jules Bass-also came up with the story for the special based on today’s song, which was first recorded in 1951.  Perhaps one of them worked for Walt Disney at some point because he seemed to enjoy creating stories around subjects who lost parents.

The main character of this special is an orphan, so I do not enjoy watching this Christmas show at all.  I remember it being on our TV set year after year when I was a kid, but between the sad story and the operatic version of the song used in the special, I preferred to go to bed early rather than suffer through the show one more time.

But then I heard the song as a duet between Bing Crosby and the beautiful talented man we lost earlier this year-David Bowie (read my tribute here)-and suddenly the song was no longer the bane of my existence (I still hate the TV special, however.  The story of an orphan is not Christmas fare EVER, even if that orphan got to play his drum for the Baby Jesus!!!  A lot of kids with parents play the drum, too!!!)

bing-crosby-1024

David Bowie & Bing Crosby (original source unknown)

 

Over the years I have heard other fantastic recordings of this song, but today’s pick is my favorite.  Why?  Because it’s by Ray Charles.  No other explanation necessary.

Ray Charles:  The Little Drummer Boy

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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

10-shabby-chic-vase-decoration

 

Courtesy:  Christmas Celebrations 

 

 

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