Let’s Take A Moment Day 288

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 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 marks the 77th birth anniversary for the bassist for The Band, Rick Danko. Born on December 29, 1943 in Canada, he was playing banjo by the time he was in first grade. By the time he was around 13, he was in a band. In 1960 he was playing in The Hawks with Ronnie Hawkins where he would eventually meet the other four members of his next group, who went on to play for Bob Dylan before going out on their own as The Band. Today’s song is from their debut album, “Music From Big Pink”.

I love this track for a few reasons. It was highlighted in a couple of exceptional episodes in two of my favorite shows. In November 1991 it was used in “The Wonder Years” (season five episode 6, “The Triangle”) and in 2003 Aaron Neville’s version was featured in “Without A Trace” (season one episode 13, “Hang On To Me”). The song was written by Bob Dylan who let The Band record it first. But mostly I love it because Richard Manuel’s lead vocal is absolutely heartbreaking & the harmony vocals by Danko & drummer Levon Helm are superb. Both men also provided the group with one of the best rhythm sections in rock & roll.

They say every man needs protection
They say that every man must fall
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Somewhere so high above this wall
“.

The Band 1972

The Band circa 1972 (L-R): Garth Brooks, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, Richard Manuel and Rick Danko. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band: “I Shall Be Released” (1968, written by Bob Dylan).

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 255

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?

thanksgiving

(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.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope it is a safe enjoyable day however you choose to celebrate it.

On this holiday in 1976, The Band performed their final concert at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco. Several of their fellow musicians joined them on stage to give the group a proper goodbye including Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison & Neil Young, amongst others. It was all filmed by Martin Scorsese who turned it into the documentary “The Last Waltz” two years later. It may not have been the movie the entire group thought they were making, but there is no denying how great they sounded on every song, including today’s pick. It is from The Band’s self-titled second album, which was certified gold on November 26, 1969, only two months after it was released.

Now there’s one thing in the whole wide world
I sure do love to see
That’s how that little sweet thing of mine
Puts her doughnut in my tea
“.

The_Band_(album)_coverart

LastWaltzMoviePoster

Top: The Band’s self-titled second album (L-R): Richard Manuel, Levon Helm, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson & Robbie Robertson. Bottom: “The Last Waltz” movie poster from 1978. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band: “Up On Cripple Creek” (Live performance from “The Last Waltz” concert film recorded November 25, 1976. Originally released in 1969, written by Robbie Robertson).

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 180

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.

Six months have now passed since the pandemic came into our lives. I will refrain from using the terms that have become our new language and just say as difficult as this time has been, I am thankful for this outlet because it has given me back the magic of music. Listening to songs and artists I somehow lost track of or denied myself the joy of because I felt obligated to put others first in enabling ways or because of work or domestic monotony or anything else “I was supposed to do”. Well this time has taught me I come first-finally-and I will no longer deny that nor will I apologize for it. In the middle of a pandemic, I found me. How can I not be grateful for that? So, to quote Casey Kasem, on with the music. And a virtual road trip to clear out the cobwebs.

The voices I have heard in music have affected me in different ways. Some were subtle, some were intense and some were massive. Today’s singers fall into the last category. The first time I heard The Band, I fell in love with not one but three distinct beautiful voices-the ones belonging to Rick Danko, Levon Helm & Richard Manuel. Danko’s vocal on “Long Black Veil“, Helm’s vocal on “The Weight” (see day 60) and Manuel’s vocal on “I Shall Be Released“, with each of the other singers providing harmony on those songs, is some of the most remarkable music I have ever heard. After the original group broke up in 1976, the three singers along with fellow bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson, reformed as a band in 1983. And despite the heartbreaking loss of Manuel in 1986 to suicide after an ongoing battle with drug & alcohol addiction, the other three members carried on.

Every time I heard their music or saw one of the singers, I felt at home. I remember sitting in a movie theatre watching “The Big Chill” and doing an internal cartwheel as soon as I heard the acoustic guitar intro to “The Weight” during the breakfast scene where every one gets their running shoes. Or when I was in the same theatre watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seeing Levon Helm on the big screen as Loretta Lynn’s father, Ted Webb. Or whenever I needed to see “The Last Waltz” just one more time.

Danko died of heart failure in 1999 which is when this stunning group ended their career for good. Helm kept acting, performing and making music on his own, right up until he died in 2012 from cancer. With all three of these beautiful voices gone now, there is a place inside my soul that just yearns for them. Their contribution to music in general and my world specifically, is immeasurable, despite the efforts of others to downplay or forget their roles in one of the most extraordinary bands to ever make music.

Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City
“.

The Band 1969

The Band: “Atlantic City” (1993, written by Bruce Springsteen).

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

Stay well.