My Top 10 Halloween Songs

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

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Courtesy of Pinterest & ehomedecors.com (original source unknown)

You know for me it is all about the music, so I could not let this holiday pass without honoring it with my favorite songs (in no particular order), which are guaranteed to put you in a  Halloween mood.

1.  “I Put A Spell On You” (1956, written by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins).

 

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(Original source unknown)

The songwriter’s own version from 1956 is a powerful number all on its own.  But, there are several unbelievably intense & stunning covers you cannot miss by Nina Simone (1965), Annie Lennox (2014), Them featuring Van Morrison (1966), Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968), Chaka Khan (2019) and of course, Winifred Sanderson a/k/a  Bette Midler (1993) from the film “Hocus Pocus”.

2.  “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones (1968, written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards).

Rolling Stones

(Original source unknown)

From the opening beats of the congas combined with Jagger’s first scream, the Stones pull you into this masterpiece and refuse to let you go.  And honestly, you would not want to leave anyway.  There are several covers out there by respectable artists, but compared to the original they really are not even worth mentioning.

3.  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – The Charlie Daniels Band (1979, written by the Charlie Daniels Band). 

charlie daniels

(Original source unknown)

A fantastically fun song.  But how can a song about the devil be fun, you ask?  Just include a contest with a human, a ,smoking hot fiddle player and lyrics like “Chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough, Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no!” and you are all set.  Personal note:  This song is featured in one of my favorite episodes of “The Drew Carey Show” (season 2, episode 5:  “The Devil, You Say”) guest starring Grant Shaud (“Murphy Brown’s” Miles Silverberg) convinced he is the prince of darkness in the living flesh.  Watch it if you can find it.  I couldn’t. 

4.  “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon (1978, written by Warren Zevon, LeRoy Marinell & Waddy Wachtel).

warren zevon

(Original source unknown)

Zevon referred to this as a novelty song, and if that is so, it is undoubtedly one of the best of all time.  How could it not be with an opening line like “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand”.  Wouldn’t that make a great costume???!!!  Adam Sandler did a more than respectable cover of this song on the 2004 Zevon tribute album, “Eat Every Sandwich”.  And you thought Sandler only sang about Hanukah!!!

5.  “Spooky” –Atlanta Rhythm Section (1979, written by Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr,)

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(Original source unknown)

I adored this band from the first time I heard “So Into You” but fell in L-O-V-E with them thanks to “Imaginary Lover“.  It still makes me swoon.  But I digress.  Two members of the group, Dean Daughtry and James B. Cobb, Jr-who were previously members of the band which first recorded this song, the Classics IV-decided to record another version with their new group.  Two other versions you cannot miss are by Joan Osborne   (1998) and Dusty Springfield (1970).

6.  “Season of the Witch” – Donovan (1966, written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips).

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(Original source unknown)

I am not a fan of folk Donavan, but psychedelic rock Donavan is a different story.  The music is undeniably from the late 1960’s but his vocals transcend the era.  There is some weight and a whole lot of feeling behind them that keeps up with the music perfectly so as not to be outdone.  If you can forgive the one dated reference to beatniks, you can enjoy this song anytime, but it is perfect for this time of year.  Al Kooper & Stephen Stills’ cover is a guitar & brass spin on the original and is absolutely worth a listen.  And if you are planning to see the movie “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”  you will hear a new version of the song by Lana Del Ray which is very well done.

7.  “Black Magic Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (1968, written by Peter Green).

Peter Green

(Original source unknown)

If you are a fan of this band you know they formed years before Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks joined them.  Peter Green was one of the founding members of the group  and wrote and recorded this song with them in 1968.  Prior to Fleetwood Mac he was a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, joining them to fill the void left by Eric Clapton’s departure.  This song became more famous when it was covered by  Santana  in 1970 which featured Gregg Rolie on vocals.  He went on to join Journey, leading to him being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with each band.

8.  “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder (1972, written by Stevie Wonder).

stevie 1

(Original source unknown)

The lyrics may evoke fear and trepidation, but the music is nothing but mesmerizing, from the opening drum beats to the synthesizer bass to the tenor sax and more.  It is a banquet of sounds that, as the line goes, keeps you in a daydream.   For an equally funky version, give Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s version from 1986 a listen.  It does not disappoint.  Wonder even participated in the video for Vaughn’s version by appearing at the end and singing a line from the song……..with a black cat in his arms.  Fabulous.

9.  “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Denmark & Winter  (2016, written by Buck Dharma).

denmark

(Original source unknown)

Of course, Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 original version is a classic, and that was years before the SNL cowbell skit.  But the indie band’s evocative stripped down version with its slower pace brings this song to a whole new level of intensity and beauty.

10.   Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers (1962, written by Bobby Pickett & Lenny Capizzi). 

MonsterMash

(Original source unknown)

How can this not be on the list???  It is the embodiment of the holiday AND it has Darlene Love on backing vocals!!!  I grew up listening to this song every Halloween season thanks to my mom.  She would play it over and over again while we danced around the living room.  That is how I learned you are never too old for this holiday.  Two cover versions that are almost as popular as the original are by Vincent Price (1977) and Alvin & the Chipmunks ( 1994).     

Honorable mention:  “Psycho Killer” – The Talking Heads (1977, written by the Talking Heads).

Once the little hairs on the back of your neck relax after taking in the title of this song, the rest of your body becomes entranced by the remarkable baseline underscoring Byrne’s vocals in English and French punctuated by his fa-fa-fa’s.  Just genius.

What songs do you love for Halloween?

I hope your holiday is filled with more treats than tricks!!!

i got a rock.jpg(Courtesy of Charles M. Schulz/United Feature Syndicate)   

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Until next time, happy listening!!!

 

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25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 24

Merry Christmas Eve, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

day 24

Pretty tree found on Pinterest (original source unknown).  

For today’s song I am sharing three versions with you because I think they are all too beautiful for words.  The first version is from an R&B/Soul Rock & Roll Hall of Fame legend who still performs (this year he recorded his own version of the 1975 Freddy Fender country classic “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”) but calls the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church home for his weekly sermons.

The second version is by an Italian tenor who has been called the greatest singer in the world by record producer David Foster, and has a voice that makes me swoon.  The third is by a Puerto Rican singer & composer who has sung his own songs as well as recorded classic interpretations of other musician’s work.  I did not hear his version of this Christmas classic until this year and I fell head over heels in love with it.

Al Green

Bocelli

 

Jose

Al Green:  “Silent Night” (1983).

Andrea Bocelli:  “Silent Night” (2009).

Jose Feliciano:  “Silent Night” (1970).

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 9

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

day 10

Vintage Christmas card image found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

We lost today’s artist, Roy Orbison, 30 years ago this month.  He started his career in the late 1950’s at Sun Records but eventually moved to Monument Records in the 1960’s where he met Willie Nelson, who wrote today’s song.  The 1980’s saw Orbison in a  career resurgence thanks to his part in the super group, Traveling Wilburys.  Bruce Springsteen is a huge fan of his, even immortalized Orbison in “Thunder Road”  (“…as the radio plays…Roy Orbison singing for the lonely…”) and inducted him into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.  Springsteen and several other musicians took part in HBO’s “Roy Orbison & Friends:  A Black & White Night” which was filmed a year before Orbison’s death.

He began his career singing emotional ballads in an almost operatic style underscored by his wide vocal range.  Many of his songs were about lost love (“Crying”) or losing love (“Running Scared”) or just admiring someone probably out of his league (“Oh Pretty Woman”).  Even his one contribution to holiday music is sad, but the chance to hear his fabulous unique voice anytime of year is worth it.

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Roy Orbison circa 1960 (original source unknown). 

Roy Orbison:  “Pretty Paper“(1963).

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 Songs: Day 6

 

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

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I have been a fan of this woman’s since I was a kid.  After Aretha Franklin, she is my favorite female singer.  From the first time I heard “You’re No Good” I was hooked and never looked back.  After that came album after album of original music and covers of songs written by the likes of Warren Zevon (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”), Smokey Robinson (“The Tracks of My Tears”), Chuck Berry (“Back In The USA”). Holland-Dozier-Holland (“Heatwave”), Eric Kaz & Libby Titus (“Love Has No Pride“-my absolute favorite version of this song), Phil Everly (“When Will I Be Loved”), Mick Jagger & Keith Richards (“Tumbling Dice”) and many others.

Despite being called “The Queen of Rock”, she has sung practically every type of music imaginable-rock, pop, country (I adore her “Trio” albums with Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris), jazz, big band/standards (with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra) and Mexican.  She was also in one of my favorite movies ever (“FM”) and on Broadway (in “The Pirates of Penzance”).

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THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Linda Ronstadt, 1983, (c)Universal

She retired in 2011 and was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.  She did not appear at the ceremony due to her announcement a year earlier that she could no longer sing as a result of Parkinson’s Disease.  Such a sad ending to her unbelievably powerful voice, enormous talent and incredibly lustrous career that earned her 11 Grammy Awards, 3 American Music Awards, 2 Academy of Country music Awards and many other accolades.

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Linda Ronstadt circa 1975 (original source unknown).

Before her HOF induction, Rhino Records put together a collection of duets with some of her previous collaborators and influences, many of whom happen to be some of the top female voices in history and several more of my favorites.  Two of the songs are covers from the movie “White Christmas.  I already love her solo version of  “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas“, but now I have added the two movie songs to my list.  One has nothing to do with Christmas, but since it was in the movie, I believe it qualifies for the countdown.

Linda Ronstadt and Rosemary Clooney:  “White Christmas

Linda Ronstadt and Bette Midler:  “Sisters“.

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!!!

 

25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 1

Hello, Vixens!!!  Hope you all enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday.

Now that Turkey Day is behind us and since December begins today, it’s time for me to share some of my favorite Christmas tunes with you.

December

But before we dive in, there is some other music I am loving right now that you might like also.  Some of the songs are new, some are old and some are in between.  I have been discovering new to me music through shows like “Psych” (sooooo looking forward to the  movie on December 7), “Criminal Minds”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and, of course, “This Is Us” (In this week’s episode alone, it featured the naked version of George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and Cat Stevens “Where Do The Children Play“.  Swoon x 2!!!).

I also really love the soundtrack to “Big Little Lies”.  Yes Reese, Nicole, Shailene & Laura were great, but the actress who played Reese’s youngest daughter-Darby Camp- was unbelievably impressive.  And her character’s intense love of great music -that was me at that age!!!  I was Chloe Mackenzie minus the ear buds.  My favorite song from that series?  Leon Bridges:  “River

Here are some of my other top picks of late:

Kelly Clarkson’s version of “Love On The Brain” (The original is good, too, with Rihanna  sounding very old school R&B-soul-like).

Gillian Welch:  “I Made A Lover’s Prayer “.

Andrew Bird:  “Three White Horses“.

Foy Vance “Guiding Light” and “Gabriel & The Vagabond“.

Rufus Wainwright:  “Vibrate” (Just his voice as he plays the piano with one hand.  Beautiful.).

Rufus_Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright (original source unknown)

I think I have been even more consumed by my love of music these days because it has been such a sad year for the industry with the losses of Chuck Berry, Gregg Allman, Butch Trucks, Tom Petty,  Chris Cornell, Glen Campbell (he put Jimmy Webb’s songs on the map), David Cassidy (what girl did not l-o-v-e Keith Partridge) and the man with the first song on our countdown.

He was one of the early musical pioneers who helped create rock & roll by linking it to his jazz meets rhythm & blues background.  The only other Fifties-era rocker that sold more records than he was Elvis Presley.  But coming in second with 65 million records sold was no small feat.  According to his bio on the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s website, he “scored more hit records than Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly put together”.  That is part of the reason why he was inducted into the HOF with the rest of the inaugural inductees in 1986.

Unfortunately, the change in the direction of music as a result of the one-two punch of the Beatles arrival in America in 1964 followed by the British Invasion brought this man’s incredible career to a screeching halt.  But even more depressing, we said a final goodbye to Antoine “Fats” Domino, Jr. on October 24 when he passed away at the age of 89.

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Fats Domino (Courtesy of Barry Peake/Rex/Shutterstock-original source unknown)

One of his musical heroes was Charles Brown who wrote and released the original version of this song in 1960.  But no one does it like the Fat Man.

Fats Domino:  “Please Come Home For 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, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

 

 

 

Christmas Song Countdown #14

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

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Courtesy:  cctrees.us 

I am not a fan of reality shows, so I do not watch them.  I knew who the first winner of “American Idol” was because of all the publicity surrounding that season, so after that I really did not know anything about the competitors until Daughtry (sa-woon!!!).

So the winner of Season 4 was not on my radar.  But then her song, “Before He Cheats” was everywhere, and I remember thinking is it really a good idea for someone to be bragging about a crime (“Carved my name into his leather seats, I took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, I slashed a hole in all four tires”) ?  I must admit I was not impressed.

Then I saw her perform live at the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She joined Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt & Emmy Lou Harris in a tribute to Linda Ronstadt.

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Linda Rondstadt circa early 1970’s  (original source unknown)

This singer was so good even Stevie Nicks complimented her performance of “Different Drum“.  That is an amazing feat.  So is co-hosting the CMA Awards for  eight years straight.  So now I am a little impressed.  Especially after hearing her take on this Christmas classic.

Carrie Underwood:  The First Noel.

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!!!

silver-bells

Original source unknown

So Long, January!!!

Hello, Vixens!!!  How crazy is it that we arrived at the end of January so quickly?  What did you take away from the first month of the year?

I took in my new place surroundings and pondered my decorating scheme, which I have yet to act on LOL!!!  But I did get some great inspiration (thank you Kathleen at Faded Charm), explored some more local sights, got back into my groove of “estate saling” (although I have not had a chance to really dig for a treasure yet but I am hopeful it will happen soon!!!), figured out some shortcuts to a few of my regular places (work, grocery store, antiques stores) and decided I have to get out more despite all that I have to do at home.  So I got my library card, joined a church and a book club.  For our meeting next month, we are reading “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng.  Have any of you read this yet?

book

January also brought the first snowstorm of my CT residency.  To mark the occasion with more than just snow boots, I made home made chicken soup, which turned out pretty well for my first attempt at it.  I do not use salt at all due to its negative health benefits, so once I got the seasonings to a correct balance (pepper, oregano & basil), it was not bad if I do say so myself.  It was so hearty I did not even add noodles!!!

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But most of all for me, January was an unbelievably sad month for the music industry.  Losing an icon like David Bowie was an incredible blow, and we will not see a visionary artist like him again in our lifetime.  For a career to span as many decades as his and encompass as many musical genres as his did only underscores that point.  He left us with a parting gift, “Black Star“*** which is as classic and bold as we remember Bowie to be.

But in the end he was also a beloved man who was taken from his wife and family way too soon, and that is the worst part of the story.  Hopefully 2016 will be the year we finally see cancer obliterated from our world.

Bowie

Source:  YouTube (original source unknown)

Bowie’s loss was followed by those of Glenn Frey of the Eagles; R&B singers Otis Clay and Nicholas Caldwell, who was a member of the group, “The Whispers“; Rene Angelil, who brought us the voice of Celine DionPaul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship fame and one of his co-founders of Airplane, Signe Toly Anderson, who died on the same day.  What she and Kantner did in their band changed the landscape of music forever.  In the mid 1960’s, rock and roll bands were a boy’s only game:  The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Moody Blues, the list goes on and on.  But when Airplane was being formed, another co-founder Marty Balin along with Kantner, knew how important a female voice & presence was.  Anderson provided that until she left the band in 1966 to have a baby.  But the precedent was set and it was a vital turning point in rock and roll and music overall.  Think about who soon followed:  Janis Joplin, Grace Slick, Carole King, Deborah Harry, et al.  Thank God for Balin’s & Kantner’s vision.

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Paul Kantner & Signe Toly Anderson, second and third from the left.  Source:  Tumbler (original source unknown).

And today marks what would have been the 70th birthday of Terry Kath, a founding member, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist for the band Chicago.  Kath was the unbelievably gorgeous voice behind classics such as “Colour My World” and “Make Me Smile“.  He was compared to Jimi Hendrix for his musical ability and to Ray Charles for his vocal style.  He died from an accidental gunshot infliction a week before his 32nd birthday in 1978.  He will be inducted posthumously into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of Chicago at the induction ceremony in April.

Kath

Source:  premierguitar.com

But things are starting to turn around.  Reports are circulating that Paul Rodgers, who’s latest solo release*** includes fabulous covers of classic songs like “Walk On By” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long”, and Bad Company are working on a new record together, which I PRAY is true!!!  What a band!!!  Swoon!!!  But best of all Bruce Springsteen’s “The River” tour is in full swing to promote “The Ties That Bind:  The River Collection“***.  All is right in my world when the Boss is on the road and headed my way (next month in Hartford!!!)  Double swoon!!!

I do not own the rights to any of the music I am sharing with you, but the starred links*** are my affiliate links. I only share what I love and am grateful for the support 🙂

So, how was your first month of the year?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!