Let’s Take A Moment Day 493

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Sam Cooke released the single “Chain Gang” on July 26, 1960.  It reached the #2 spot in the country later that year, the second time he was in the Top Five following the success of his #1 hit from 1957, “You Send Me” (Day 261).  Three years later he was in the Top Ten with today’s song. 

Cooke had so many things going for him:  his silky smooth voice, his suave debonair good looks and his ease & confidence in front of an audience to name a few.  But another important talent that set Cooke apart from other performers of his day was his songwriting ability.  He was succinct, eloquent & expressive with both his words & music.  Today’s track is no exception.  It also contains a bit of levity which only adds to its charm.    

“Another fella told me he had a sister who looked just fine 
Instead of being my deliverance 
She had a strange resemblance 
To a cat named Frankenstein”.

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

Sam Cooke: “Another Saturday Night” (1963, 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 466

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?

June 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.

Any song Otis Redding sang he made his own. But two songs he wrote were basically stolen away from him-in good ways, of course. He said as much about Aretha Franklin turning “Respect” into her signature tune, not to mention a #1 song for two weeks in June 1967. As for today’s song, he gave it to the co-writer-Arthur Conley-who turned it into a gold record in the same month.

It was originally called “Yeah Man” by Sam Cooke, but Conley & Redding re-wrote it together. The two Georgia natives met after Redding heard Conley’s 1964 song, “I’m a Lonely Stranger”. Redding signed Conley to his new label, Jotis Records, and in May 1967 today’s song went to the #2 spot in the country.

It paid tribute to many of the singers both Redding and Conley admired, and the latter even added a few lines about Redding as well. It is a great get-up-on-your-feet-and-move kind of song. And it was one of the great joys of my life to see Bruce Springsteen perform this live in concert. What can I say? The man’s got soul. And so does today’s song. Not to mention one heck of a horn arrangement.

Do you like good music
That sweet soul music
Just as long as it’s swingin’
Oh yeah oh yeah”.

Arthur and Otis

Left to right: Singers Ben E. King, Otis Redding, Johnnie Taylor, Arthur Conley and Percy Sledge circa 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Arthur Conley: “Sweet Soul Music” (1967, written by Arthur Conley, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding).

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 447

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?

June 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 beginning of the 1970’s marked the end of an incredible era of television. After a 23 year run, “The Ed Sullivan Show” came to an end on June 6, 1971. If you lived through any of those years or are remotely acquainted with pop culture, you know some of the highlights of the program: Elvis Presley’s hips being censored, The Beatles American debut in February 1964, The Rolling Stones being forced to change the lyrics to one of their songs and The Doors refusal to do the same thing are just a few.

The first show was broadcast on June 20, 1948 under its original name, Toast Of The Town, when Sullivan was 46 years old. It was renamed for the host in 1955. His progressive attitude welcomed & embraced the changes brought about over the next two decades and he took his audience along for that incredible ride. The list of guest stars was vast and varied, from not only musicians but to comedians, actors, dancers, jugglers, ventriloquists and many more. But for me it was the musical moments I cherished the most, as it was a chance to see the singers I grew up to love who predated me.

One of the performances I absolutely adore is from soul crooner Sam Cooke in 1957. Because his life was so tragically short and his death came in the middle of the 1960’s before concerts & studio sessions were routinely recorded, any appearance he made on film that was preserved is absolutely platinum. And Sullivan’s show is one of those gems. We get to see Cooke in his prime, as a talented beautiful charming suave happy young man.

Like Sullivan, Cooke was a pioneer. He helped introduce black music to white audiences and is considered by some critics to be the inventor of soul music. He recorded today’s song in tribute to one of his idols, Nat King Cole. And thanks to the genius of Ed Sullivan, we have this superb performance by Cooke to cherish forever. Ed Sullivan was the premiere starmaker.

I think of you every morning
I dream of you every, every, every, every night
And no I’m never lonely
Whenever you are in sight
“.

Ed and Sam

Ed Sullivan (far left) watches Sam Cooke (center) perform in 1957. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Sam Cooke: “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons” (Live performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” broadcast on December 1, 1957 Originally released in 1957. Written by William “Pat” Best and Ivory “Deek” Watson).

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 433

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 blog 2021

(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 remember one of the finest female big band singers of all time. Rosemary Clooney was born 93 years ago on May 23,1928 in Kentucky. She started performing with her sister, Betty, and in 1945 they won a radio contest that awarded them a singing spot on a Cincinnati radio station. A year later Rosemary was singing with The Tony Pastor Band. By 1951 she had her first hit, “Come On-A My House”, produced by Mitch Miller. More hits and acting parts followed including her role in “White Christmas” opposite Bing Crosby & Danny Kaye.

She spent many years fighting addiction & mental health issues until she was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1968. She fought her way back to the career she loved as a “…a sweet singer with a big band sensibility…” which is how she described herself in her second autobiography, 1999’s “Girl Singer: An Autobiography”.

A year after Clooney’s death in 2002, Bette Midler released a tribute album, Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook, produced by Barry Manilow. In 2005 Clooney’s daughter-in-law, Debby Boone, released her own salute with Reflections of Rosemary.

Today’s song is from the musical “The Pajama Game” & was a #1 song for Clooney in 1954. Sam Cooke did a glorious cover of this track in 1960 and it is probably my favorite male version of this tune. But Clooney’s is the absolute best there is. As was she.

Won’t you take this advice I hand you like a mother
Or are you not seeing things too clear
Are you too much in love to hear
Is it all going in one ear and out the other
“.

rosemary-clooney-1-d12-c12

Rosemary Clooney circa 1952. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Rosemary Clooney: “Hey There” (1954, written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross).

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 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.