Let’s Take A Moment Day 409

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?

May 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.

On April 26, 1962 Sam Cooke went into the studio to record a couple of tunes he wrote himself that would go on to become two of his best known songs. Fellow R&B singer Lou Rawls provided the backing vocals on both tracks which were released less than two weeks later on May 8, 1962. The A side of the record, “Having A Party”, became a Top 20 hit that year.

Today’s song was the B side & reached #13 that year as well. Two of The Beatles-John Lennon and Paul McCartney-covered it during their solo careers and so did nearly two dozen other artists including Van Morrison, Aretha Franklin & Otis Redding, amongst others. But Cooke’s original version, based on a 1959 gospel record, was a throw back to his group in the same genre, The Soul Stirrers.

I know I laughed
When you left
But now I know
I only hurt myself”.

Sam Cooke

Sam Cooke circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “Bring It On Home To Me” (1962, written by Sam Cooke).

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 399

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?

May 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.

The Copacabana has been one of NYC’s premier nightclubs since it opened in 1940. It has existed in many different locations throughout the city, but the desire to headline there was always the same, especially for musical artists in the 1960’s. Sam Cooke’s 1964 show was released in a live album the same year. A record of Marvin Gaye’s 1966 performance was supposed to be issued that year but because he & Motown president Berry Gordy could not agree on how the record was to be produced, the project was abandoned until 2005 when it was finally released.

Both Gaye and Cooke’s appearances at the club were done in part to follow in the footsteps of one of their favorite singers, Jackie Wilson. He made his debut there on April 19, 1962. The performance was recorded & released the same year on the album, Jackie Wilson At The Copa. He performed today’s song that night as well as on “The Ed Sullivan Show” earlier that year. It was the follow-up single to 1958’s “Lonely Teardrops” (Day 213) and was a Top 20 hit in 1959. Wilson, with his four octave tenor voice & smooth dance moves, earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement”. One watch of today’s video clip is all you need to understand why.

The way you make me feel like I belong
The way you make me right when I am wrong
The way you sacrifice just for me
Just how lucky can a poor man be”

Jackie Wilson

Jackie Wilson circa 1960. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “That’s Why (I Love You So)” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on January 21, 1962. Originally recorded in 1959, written by Tyran Carlo and Berry Gordy Jr.)

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 365

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.

Well, here we are. The one year mark of a global pandemic. In a lifetime of say, 70 years, one year is a blip. Some years we may barely recall if not a lot happened and they just seemed to roll into the next. But with everything that transpired in the last 12 months, no one over the age of 10 will forget 2020 anytime soon.

But like most years there were similarities-the best of times, the worst of times & all the times in between. I think it was a great break from where we were, the constant go-go-go mentality as if not being insanely busy was something to be feared. It was a time to reflect, rediscover, reassess, renew & rejoice, especially if you made it through without losing anyone you loved. But again, that’s not any different than other years, is it?

We went through the pandemic together but in many different ways. Some struggled to survive alone while others had a lot of support around them. Some worked tirelessly at essential jobs while others lost their only source of income. And healthcare workers struggled under the weight of it all while giving it everything they had. Despite those efforts the virus claimed an incomprehensible number of lives. But there is hope in this new season, with the vaccine, that there is an end in sight. It is not over yet, but we are closer than we were. Until then I am still being as careful as possible and continuing to cope with songs that I love. So back to the music.

On March 16, 1968 Otis Redding hit the #1 spot in the country with “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”. It was the first chart topping posthumous hit ever for a musical artist as the world was still mourning the singer’s death in a plane crash three months earlier. That song was featured on Day 28 but I think Redding deserves to be celebrated every day and is a perfect choice to commemorate a year in quarantine. Thank you all for your continued support, but especially for being here during the last twelve months. I hope you remain safe & well and continue to find comfort in music.

“If you want to really roll now
Gotta do the thing with soul
Shake, shake with all your might
Now, if you do it, do it right
“.

otis-redding-6

Otis Redding circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Otis Redding: “Shake” (1966, written by Sam Cooke).

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 361

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.

Today we celebrate birthday #73 for James Vernon Taylor born March 12, 1948 in Massachusetts. A true American treasure, he has been entertaining audiences since his debut album was released in 1968. He recorded it in England as one of the first acts signed to The Beatles’ Apple Records label. One of the album’s songs, “Something In The Way She Moves” served as the inspiration (and first line) to George Harrison’s masterpiece, “Something”.

Taylor has made a career performing his own songs (“Carolina On MY Mind”, “Fire & Rain”, today’s song) as well as those from other artists (Carole King’s “You’ve Got A Friend”, Holland-Dozier-Holland’s “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” & Sam Cooke & Herb Alpert’s “Wonderful World”). But whatever Taylor sings, he makes it his own with his signature soothing vocal & simple elegant musical arrangements. For over 50 years, he has been a permanent part of the landscape of American music. Happy birthday, Sweet Baby James.

Now the first of December was covered with snow
And so was the turnpike from Stockbridge to Boston
Though the Berkshires seemed dreamlike on account of that frosting
With ten miles behind me and ten thousand more to go
“.

JT

James Taylor’s 1970 album. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Taylor: “Sweet Baby James” (1970, written by James Taylor).

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 348

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?

Feb 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.

I swore off musical documentaries a while back, but in November I stumbled upon “Janis: Little Girl Blue” on Hulu. I decided to watch it despite only liking a few of Janis Joplin’s songs as I found others a bit too overpowering for me. The film was well done and I learned a few things I did not know about her life, mostly that she did not fit in with her peers, especially at school. She seemed to be a bit of a loner even after music became what drew people to her and vice versa.

Fifty years ago today-February 27, 1971-her second & final solo album Pearl hit the #1 spot on the albums chart for the first of nine weeks. Today’s track is from her debut record released in 1969. The film ended with this song and man, I was in awe. It is gorgeous. The arrangement, especially the guitar & the strings, combined with Joplin’s interpretation of the lyrics, is just heartbreaking and entrancing at the same time. Had I decided not to watch the film I probably never would have discovered this diamond of a tune. It is a Rogers & Hart song that dates back to 1935 from the musical, “Jumbo”. This track has been recorded dozens of times by a variety of artists from Rosemary Clooney to Sam Cooke to The Carpenters and more. But only one person sang it with the feeling and intensity Joplin did.

And I know how you feel
And I know you ain’t got no reason to go on
And I know you feel that you must be through
Oh honey, go on and sit right back down
“.

Janis-Joplin

Janis Joplin circa 1970. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Janis Joplin: “Little Girl Blue” (1969, written by Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers).

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 261

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.

On November 3, 1957 Sam Cooke appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” to perform today’s tune. But the program was a live broadcast and it was behind on time so they accidently cut the singer off mid-song to end the show at the correct time. Sullivan’s staff was inundated with complaints so he invited Cooke to appear on the show again a month later. When he came back on December 1, he performed the song in its entirety in his smooth effortless stunning way. He also received an on-air apology from Sullivan.

The next day, the record hit the #1 spot on the Hot 100 & the R&B charts. December 11 will be the 56th anniversary of Cooke’s death and while I usually refrain from underscoring those dates, the timing of his mark in history with today’s enduring classic highlights the fact that his sound, his music and his grace is absolutely timeless.

At first I thought it was infatuation
But oh, it’s lasted so long
Now I find myself wanting
To marry you and take you home
“.

sam cooke circa 1955

Sam Cooke circa 1955. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “You Send Me” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show”, broadcast December 1, 1957. Originally released September 1957. Written by Sam Cooke).

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 194

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.

Today marks the 122nd birth anniversary of George Gershwin. He wrote some of the most beautiful standards out there, and Broadway musicals were never the same after his genius touch. My absolute favorite tune of his is “Someone To Watch Over Me” (see Day 42). But I love today’s song as well, which was first sung by Ginger Rogers in the 1930 stage musical, “Girl Crazy” and in the 1943 film version by Judy Garland.

Since then it has been covered by a number of artists including John Coltrane, Sam Cooke, Frank Sinatra, Linda Ronstadt, Elton John and Barry Manilow, amongst others. But when it comes to singing Gershwin tunes, I do not think anyone compares to Lady Ella.

I was a fool to fall, and get that way
Hi-ho, alas, and also lack-a-day
Although I can’t dismiss
The memory of his kiss
I guess he’s not for me
“.

Ella Marilyn

george gershwin

Top: Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe circa 1955. Bottom: George Gershwin circa 1930. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Ella Fitzgerald: “But Not For Me” ( 1959, written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin).

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 135

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.

Time for another mid-week Motown break.  The Four Tops had tremendous success whether they were singing their own Motown originals or covers like “Walk Away Renee” (first recorded by The Left Banke in 1966), “If I Were A Carpenter” (written & recorded by Tim Hardin in 1967) or “River Deep Mountain High” (originally recorded by Ike & Tina Turner in 1966).  The reason they never missed was because Levi Stubbs was as close to perfection as a vocalist could be.  He had a smooth polished vocal as opposed to the impassioned raw emotion of his Temptations counterpoint, David Ruffin.  I often thought of Stubbs singing to be close in style to Sam Cooke’s while Ruffin’s was more like Otis Redding’s.  All four men had incredible iconic voices, just different styles.

Added to Stubbs’ vocals were the harmonious backing sounds by his group members- Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Renaldo “Obie” Benson and Lawrence Payton-along with the music of The Funk Brothers and the historic magical sound of The Four Tops was complete.  All four members stayed together for 44 years, a record unmatched by any other act on the label.  To this day they remain one of Motown’s most beloved and renowned groups and one of my great loves from that era.

All you left is our favorite song
The one we danced to all night long
It used to bring sweet memories
Of a tender love that used to be.” 

Four Tops

The Four Tops circa 1965 (L-to-R) Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Levi Stubbs, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, and Lawrence Payton.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Four Tops:  “It’s The Same Old Song” ( 1965, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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

Stay well.