Let’s Take A Moment Day 304

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 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.

Time to share another gem from one of my favorite years in music. On January 14, 1978 today’s song hit the #1 spot for three consecutive weeks. It is by the band Player who released their self titled debut album in September 1977. Many people think of them as a one hit wonder but they had two more songs hit the Top 40 in 1978: The second single from their first record, “This Time I’m In It For Love” reached #10 & “Prisoner of Your Love” from their second album hit #27. More importantly, Player toured with my great musical love Eric Clapton during the North American leg of his Slowhand tour that year as well.

Ronn Mass is probably the most famous of the four original band members. He went on to soap opera fame as Ridge Forrester in “The Bold & The Beautiful” from 1987-2012 (The role is currently played by the unbelievably beautiful Thorsten Kaye who I completely swooned over as Zach Slater on “All My Children”). In 2014 Moss reunited with his bandmates to perform today’s song at the Nurses Ball on “General Hospital”. It is one of those tracks that instantly transports me back in time from the very first note.

All day long wearing a mask of false bravado
Trying to keep up a smile that hides a tear
But as the sun goes down I get that empty feeling again
How I wish to God that you were here
“.

Player_1977

Player’s 1977 self titled debut album (L -R): Peter Beckett (lead vocals & guitar), Ronn Moss (vocals & bass), John Friesen (drums) and John Charles J.C. Crowley (vocals & keyboards). (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Player: “Baby Come Back” (1977, written by Peter Beckett and John Charles J.C, Crowley).

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 259

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.

I have written on several occasions how 1978 was a monumental year in music for me & the industry in general. Well, when the universe gives you something it takes something else away. And the thing it took away from me was my peaceful relationship with my grandmother-for a while, anyway.

For two years she enjoyed listening to my records with me. She may have not remembered the artists names correctly (she called Bad Company “the not so nice visitors”) but I knew what she meant so we were good. Until the first time I played “Slowhand” by my great love Eric Clapton, that is. It started with side one track one, “Cocaine”, and went downhill from there. She asked me what kind of person would write a song about drugs. I thought I was helping by telling her that he was only singing about them, that he did not write the tune. That led her to wonder out loud, “Was he too high to write it, perhaps?” I moved the needle to track two which was “Wonderful Tonight” so that stopped her scolding. But when track three came on, she became irritated again. She ordered me to turn the album off because she thought “Lay Down Sally” was too suggestive for a girl my age. Then she asked where Bruce was (as in Springsteen) and told me to put his music on so she could eat dinner in peace.

A few weeks later I was listening to a Neil Young album I borrowed. All I can tell you is that when “Down By The River” came on, my grandmother decided I must have started taking drugs because how else could I listen to a man brag about shooting someone. My punishment was twofold-I was banned from bringing any new records home for the foreseeable future AND I had to sit through her music shows. That way, she told me, I would hear songs that did not resort to questionable subject matter for shock value. Since she liked country music that meant episodes of “Hee-Haw” & “The Barbara Mandrell Show”. The first one was tough-not because of the music as much as what passed for humor. Mandrell’s music, while not really a favorite of mine, was tolerable. So imagine my grandmother’s horror & dismay when Mandrell premiered her new song, a tale of a woman unapologetic about her love for a married man. Music had beat my grandmother at her censorship game. And I must say, it was not a bad song. But the original was so much better.

It was a big record for singer Luther Ingram in 1972, hitting the #3 spot on the Hot 100 chart & the #1 spot on the R&B chart that year. He was born on this day in 1937 in Jackson, TN and thanks to his deep soulful voice, he had a record deal by the time he was 18. However, he did not see any success until he was signed to a small independent label, Koko Records, in the late 1960’s. They were associated with Stax Records at that time and by 1971, Ingram had co-written the hit song, “Respect Yourself” for that label’s group, The Staple Singers. Three songwriters from Stax wrote the song that Ingram became best known for and despite covers by Mandrell, Rod Stewart, Isaac Hayes David Ruffin and others, it is Ingram’s version that I find most inspired & soulful.

And am I wrong to hunger
for the gentleness of your touch
knowing I got somebody else at home
who needs me just as much
“.

Luther Ingram

Luther Ingram circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Luther Ingram: “(If Loving You Is Wrong) ] I Don’t Want to Be Right” (1972, written by Homer Banks, Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson).

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 159

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 is a huge milestone, both in my world and the music world as a whole.  Fifty years ago today-August 22, 1970-the recording sessions for the album, “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs”, by Derek & The Dominos began in Miami, FL.  Four days later, August 26, engineer Tom Dowd took the group to see an Allman Brothers Band concert.  According to drummer Butch Trucks, that was the one time he saw his bandmate, guitarist Duane Allman, nervous when he spotted the Dominos’ Eric Clapton in the front row.  After the show Dowd introduced the two guitarists and an all night jam session ensued.  When it ended, Allman asked if he could stay to listen to the recording work.  Clapton agreed on one condition:  that Allman play on the album.  He did and that is how two of the most brilliant guitar players in the world teamed up to bring us one of the most unforgettable and iconic riffs ever on the album’s title track.  Sa-woon.

I would not discover this album, namely the title track at first, until nearly a decade later, when I was about 14 years old.  But I will never forget the first time I heard it (see Day 86) because it completely changed my life and what I thought music should sound like from that point on.  But when I went to buy this masterpiece, I could not find it.  My local record store guy told me it was out of print!!!  I had no idea that could even happen!!!  Since this was years before I could drive to other stores in search of this gem, and decades before the world had the internet & ebay, I was relegated to trying to record the song from the radio.  I mostly ended up with a dozen clips of the piano coda.

A few months later, I started babysitting for a couple around my neighborhood.  The wife knew I loved music and encouraged me to bring my records over to listen to after the kids were in bed.  The first time I went there, her husband showed me how to use the stereo system and told me to feel free to listen to any of his records.  His collection consisted of 237 albums.  It was like a record store right there in the living room.  When the kids were asleep, I put my copy of “Born To Run” (BTR) on the stereo & began looking through the records which were not in any particular order.  I put several aside I wanted to listen to before coming across an album with an abstract painting of a blonde haired woman on it.  There was something covering half her face which turned out to be a bouquet of flowers.  It was very pretty but it did not have a name or title on it.

The album opened up but there were not any identifying names inside either, just a collage of pictures of people I did not recognize.  When I turned it over, I saw a picture of a guitar in the middle of the floor surrounded by an array of several other objects, but I still did not see a name.  What I did see were the album song listings below the picture.  It was a double album and when I got to side 4 track 3 & read the title, “Layla”, I said it over and over as if I was trying to convince myself it was real.  I remember thinking could there be another song with the same name other than the one I could not find because there is no way the actual “Layla” album could just fall into my lap like this, right?  Then my eye went up to the top of the back cover where I finally saw the title of the album:

LAYLA
and other assorted love songs
  DEREK AND THE DOMINOS

Layla framed

Top (L) The front and back covers of the “Layla” album.  The picture on the front,”La Jeune Fille au Bouquet” (Young Girl with Bouquet) is by Émile Théodore Frandsen. Top (R) is the inside of the album.  The bottom picture is my framed copy of the iconic album.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

I do not remember what happened immediately after that.  I might have passed out for several minutes, I might have let out a huge internal scream, I cannot really recall.  But I do recollect that my hands were shaking and I did not know what day it was.  When I regained my clarity, I was in complete denial that I had found the actual “Layla” album.  I opened it up to look at the pictures of the band again but I did not see anyone that looked like Clapton from photos I saw of him previously, so I still refused to believe my luck.  Then I took the albums out to read the song titles and saw his name credited under several of them.  Finally I decided the only way to know for sure was to put the record on and listen to it.  So I took BTR off the turntable (sorry Bruce) and put on side 4.  As I held the needle over track 3, I said a prayer that if this was indeed the real “Layla” song I had been searching for, I would never ask for anything again.  Ever.  I put the needle down, closed my eyes and held my breath.  Then I heard that unsurpassable delicious opening riff and I swooned.  And said thank you for the gift of such a sublime song, for stumbling upon this album and for everyone involved with making this musical paragon.

I stood there and listened to that one track for the next 90 minutes or so until the parents came home.  When the wife walked in she asked if I was alright because she said I was completely flushed.  I picked up the album to show her what I was listening to when her husband walked in as well.  He just looked at me, nodded and said “Clapton”.  And I nodded right back.

I asked if I could come back the next day to tape the album but he told me to take it home and bring it back next week when they wanted me to babysit again.  He also gave me his copy of “Slowhand” to take as well so I could have a Clapton double play party.  I had a new hero helping me learn more about one of my musical heroes.  It was exhilarating to find another kindred spirit who got music & all its wonder the way I did, the way the first cool autumn wind feels after the endless humid days of summer.

Once I listened to the whole “Layla” album I discovered other gems like “Bell Bottom Blues” (See Day 81), “It’s Too Late” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad“.  On that last one, Allman’s solo segues into “Joy To The World” (yes, the Christmas carol.  Give it a listen.  You hear it at the 3:45 mark of the song and it is stupendous).

The last time I babysat for that couple before I left for college, the husband gave me that album as a going away gift.  I still have it, in a frame on a wall next to the two other albums that changed my life, BTR and “Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul”.  Aside from a handful of family heirlooms, those three records would be the things I would save in the event of a catastrophe.  It’s only right.  After all, they saved me.  How could I not do the same for them?

Duane and Dominos

L-R:  Allman with Derek & The Dominos in Miami, FL 1970 (L-R):  Duane Allman, Jim Gordon (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Bobby Whitlock (piano & vocals) & Eric Clapton, center (guitar & vocals)..  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric and Duane

Clapton & Allman in Miami, FL 1970.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos:  “Layla” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon).

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

Stay well.