Let’s Take A Moment Day 479

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.

One of the many things that made The Allman Brothers Band such a unique group was the fact that they had two drummers. One of them is celebrating a birthday today. Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson was born Johnny Lee Johnson 77 years ago on July 8, 1944 in Mississippi.

Before his role as a founding member of The ABB, he was part of soul superstars Otis Redding and Sam & Dave’s touring bands. Once Johanson became Duane Allman’s first recruit for his new group in February 1969, Johanson’s fate in one of the most innovative talented blues inspired bands in rock history was sealed. He & guitarist Dickey Betts-are the last surviving members of that fabulous group.

He and Allman shared lead guitar duties in the band, another facet that differentiated the ABB from other bands. Betts wrote today’s song which is from their 1972 album, “Eat A Peach”. It is one of the last to feature Allman before his death in 1971. In a 2017 article listing the 20 greatest ABB’s songs, Billboard magazine wrote the following about today’s track:

One of the last songs recorded by Duane Allman before his death, the Betts-delivered vocals are saccharine-sweet without being overly-sappy, while the twin guitar solos by Allman and Betts showcase just how effortlessly in tune and precise the two could be. There may not have ever been a better pairing of two lead guitarists in their prime in rock history than Allman and Betts, and “Blue Sky” is among their greatest showpieces. That Duane died before their Eat a Peach album was released is still one of rock’s saddest tales“. So true. Sigh.

Happy birthday, Jai “Jaimoe” Johanny Johanson May you continue to make great music for 100 more years.

Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing
They don’t worry ’bout where it’s goin’, no, no
Don’t fly, mister blue bird, I’m just walking down the road
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know
“.

the-allman-brothers-1969-a-billboard-1548-compressed

(L-R) Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Gregg Allman, Jai Johanny Johanson, Berry Oakley and Butch Trucks sit on some railroad tracks on May 5, 1969 outside of Macon, Ga. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Allman Brothers Band: “Blue Sky” (1972, written by Dickey Betts).

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 157

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?

Bruce 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 birth anniversary of soul superstar Isaac Hayes, who was born on this day 78 years ago.  Many people may remember him for today’s tune which won the Academy Award For Best Original Song in 1972.  It also has the distinction of being the funkiest song to ever win an Oscar.  Others may remember him for his interpretations of songs like “Walk On By”, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling”.  Or maybe some remember him for co-writing (along with David Porter) several of the biggest hits for Stax Records duo, Sam & Dave, including “Soul Man”, “Hold On I’m Coming” & “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby”.

I love him for all those reasons, too.  But I also love him for voicing the character of Chef on “South Park” from 1997-2006.  I loved his character’s eye for the ladies which inevitably led to him dropping his already low baritone voice another 10 octaves before delivering his hilarious pick-up lines.  I also loved how he broke into song whenever he needed to explain things to the kids but not before he prefaced the conversation with “Oh, Children”.  But mostly I loved how he brought some soul to the quiet little fictitious town in Colorado.  Can you dig it?

Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? (Shaft)
Right on
You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother (Shut your mouth)
But I’m talkin’ about Shaft (Then we can dig it)
He’s a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman (John Shaft)“.

L-R:  Isaac Hayes at the 1972 Oscars & his alter ego, Chef, with children (L-R) Stan, Eric & Kyle of “South Park”.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Isaac Hayes:  “Theme From Shaft” (1971, written by Isaac Hayes).

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 131

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.

Record labels are as much a part of musical history as the singers and musicians signed to them.  One of the labels very close to my heart is Stax Records.  Based in Memphis, TN and founded in 1957 as Satellite Records but it changed to Stax in 1961 when it began sharing the same offices as one of their subsidiaries, Volt Records.  The name Stax was derived from combining the first two initials of the owners last names, ST from Jim Stewart and AX from his sister, Estelle Axton.

The label’s house band was Booker T & The MG’s and featured recording artists like Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Rufus Thomas and his daughter, Carla Thomas, Isaac Hayes, The Bar-Kays, Eddie Floyd, Albert King and Wilson Pickett, who sings today’s song which he co-wrote with The MG’s guitarist, Steve Cropper.  By 1967 the label saw its greatest success as well as the loss of its heart, soul and much of its financial stability after the deaths of Otis Redding and four members of The Bar-Kays in a plane crash that December.  Despite success in the 1970’s by The Staple Singers and Shirley Brown the label filed bankruptcy at the end of 1975.  By 1982 it became a reissue label and in 2003 The Stax Museum of American Soul Music opened in Memphis.  But for a little while, Stax was the record label with the most soul in the south.  And one listen to today’s song by The “Wicked” Pickett proves that point beautifully.

I’m gonna wait till the stars come out
And see that twinkle in your eyes
I’m gonna wait ’till the midnight hour
That’s when my love begins to shine.”

Steve Cropper (L) and Wilson Pickett (R), both circa 1965.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Wilson Pickett:  “In The Midnight Hour” (1965, written by Steve Cropper & Wilson Pickett).

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

Stay well.

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Songs at #5 (Yes, it’s another tie!!!)

What do you get when you combine a Gershwin tune with the First Lady of Song?  You get an event, a magnificent moment in music.  You get “Someone To Watch Over Me” by Ella Fitzgerald.

Her 1950 version of George & Ira Gershwin’s 1926 song is arguably the most famous version of the song despite having been covered by the likes Sinatra, Garland, Vaughn and Clooney.  Fitzgerald earned her accolades as the “Queen of Jazz” & “Lady Ella” for the beauty, sophistication and three octave range of her voice.

I love how cosmopolitan the lyrics are:

“…I like to add his initial to my monogram…I know I could be always be good
To one who’ll watch over me…

Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed,
follow my lead,
Oh, how I need
someone to watch over me.”

This is how Fitzgerald’s website describes her:  “Her voice was flexible, wide-ranging, accurate and ageless. She could sing sultry ballads, sweet jazz and imitate every instrument in an orchestra.”  She was also one of the greatest singers this world will ever see.

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When Something is Wrong With My Baby” by the duo of Sam (Moore) & Dave (Prater) is the other song we celebrate in the #5 spot.

Written by Isaac Hayes (“Shaft”) & David Porter, with music performed by Booker T & the MG’s and released by Stax Records (the label who amongst their many accomplishments, introduced the world to soul legend Otis Redding), this song had way too much going for it not to be a hit-#2 on the R&B chart in 1967.

It has the hallmarks of an unbelievably great song:  fantastic composition, sublime passionate vocal, incredible brass accompaniment, exquisite delivery (Dave Prater was a great singer, but on this song he was just phenomenal) and simply beautiful lyrics:

“When something is wrong with my baby
Something is wrong with me
And if I know she’s worried
Then I would feel that same misery

We’ve been through, so much together
We stand as one and that’s what makes it better
When something is wrong with my baby
Something is wrong with me, now listen

Just what she means to me now
Oh, you just wouldn’t, you just wouldn’t understand
People can say, she’s no good
But oh, she’s my woman and I know I’m her man

And if she’s got a problem, oh
I know, I know, I know, I gotta help her solve them
When something is wrong with my baby, 
Something is wrong with me”

Talk about being in it together…..or is it just another case of enabling behavior???  However you look at it, this song did not leave you wondering if this man loved his woman.  You knew it because his delivery made you feel it.  And that is what makes a song great.

Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville recorded a version of this song in 1990 that hit #5 on the Pop chart.

Enjoy!!!

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