25 Days Of Christmas Songs: Day 10

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

robin

(Original source unknown.)

I can remember the exact moment when I fell in love with this singer.  I was seven or eight years old, and I was in the back seat of my mom’s car while we were on our way home.  She always had the radio on but suddenly I heard a voice like nothing I had ever heard before.  Now in my young life, I had already heard a lot of great music courtesy of my parent’s records:  Elvis (my mom’s swoon-worthy crush when she was a teenager), Motown (my parents had a K-Tel four album compilation set) Doo-Wop & the Crooners (Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, etc.).

But what I heard on the radio that day was not like anything I had heard before, and more importantly, it hit me in a place so deep inside I did not even know existed.  Being so young, I could not verbalize what I was feeling, but when the song was over I remember the DJ saying something about “soul music”.   I took that literally to mean “music that touches the soul” and figured that is what had just happened to me.  The song was less than three minutes long but in that time it changed my whole life.

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Otis Redding (original source unknown)

The song was “(Sittin’ On The) Dock On The Bay“by Otis Redding, who we lost 50 years ago today when he was just 26 years old.  His career was for only five short years, but his reach has endured the last fifty years because his voice changed the landscape of music as it was.  In the mid 1960’s music was changing and with the death of Sam Cooke (one of Redding’s heroes) in December 1964, soul music was getting lost in a sea that included the Beatles, the British Invasion, Motown, etc.  When Redding’s voice began to be heard through his records and live shows, there was no denying his immense talent.  No one before or since has sung with his gut-wrenching, achingly impassioned vocal.  It quickly & rightfully earned him the title of “King of Soul”.  Redding put Soul Music back on the map, and just as importantly, became the voice of Stax Records.

Incidentally. “Dock of the Bay” was co-written by legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, a member of Stax’s house band, Booker T & The M.G.’s.  “Crop”, as he is affectionately known, had the heartbreaking task of finishing the song after the death of his best friend.  Learn more about that and more about Redding’s career in this fantastic interview by CBS News correspondent & fellow music connoisseur, Anthony Mason.

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Otis Redding at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival-June 1967 (original source unknown)

Even more sad than his loss to the music industry, Redding left behind a young wife and three small children when he died.  All of them have worked incredibly hard to preserve his legacy.  Also, on December 15, Rhino Records is releasing “OTIS REDDING: THE DEFINITIVE STUDIO ALBUM COLLECTION”, a 7-LP set.  More proof that the world still cannot get enough of Otis Redding’s timeless talent.

There is not a song by Redding that I do not like, so I decided to share several of my favorites below.  After you listen to his two Christmas songs, indulge yourself by listening to the rest, including his phenomenal performance at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival from June 1967.  If you have never seen it before, you cannot miss it.  He performed five songs in twenty minutes…..and STOLE the show.

Thank you, Otis Redding.  You are missed every day.

Otis Redding:  “White Christmas

Otis Redding:  “Merry Christmas Baby

Otis Redding:  “Try A Little Tenderness

Otic Redding:  “You Left The Water Running

Otis Redding:  “A Change Is Gonna Come

Otis Redding:  “These Arms of Mine

Otis Redding:  “My Lover’s Prayer

Otis Redding:  “You Don’t Miss Your Water

Otis Redding and Carla Thomas:  “When Something Is Wrong With My Baby“***

***(It was hard to beat Sam & Dave’s original passion infused version, but between Redding’s voice & the phenomenal horns added to the fact that this was a male-female duet, this cover is as close to perfection as possible.  Redding & Thomas did several duets together, but this is by far my favorite followed closely by “Tramp“.)

Otis Redding:  Full Monterey International Pop Music Festival Performance (1967)

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 #19

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

durango-co-christmas

Durango, Colorado  Courtesy:  TopValueReviews.net (original source unknown)

 

The singer with today’s song is another phenomenal soul and R&B singer.  Like the others in the countdown, he got his start singing in church. That early training laid the foundation for the passionate delivery on almost every song he sang.

He recorded some music at Stax records and worked with the house band-also known as Booker T. and the MG’s-and Isaac Hayes, who would go on to win an Oscar for “Shaft”.  This singer also wrote his own music, putting him on the same level as contemporaries Sam Cooke and Otis Redding; but, he is also known for a fantastic cover of the Beatles song, “Hey Jude“, which features a pre-Allman Brothers Band guitarist named Duane Allman.

 

wilson-duane Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman circa 1968 (original source unknown)

 

This singer recorded several Christmas songs, but this one is my favorite.

Wilson Pickett:  Jingle Bells

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!!!

small-town-christmas

Courtesy:  Cape Night Photography 

Christmas Song Countdown #10

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

I wanted to share with you a creative way some people are being festive.

Country Living Magazine’s site features trees made of books!!!

I think they are adorable!!!

small-book-tree

Courtesy:  Country Living Magazine

The singer with the #10 song is my second favorite singer ever after Bruce Springsteen.  More importantly, he is probably the greatest soul singer who ever graced this Earth.  The power of his voice, the passion he sang with, the intensity of emotion he put into every single note is what we remember most about him.  And it sealed his legacy as the King of Soul.

His voice put Stax Records on the map.  His death at the age of 26 on this day 49 years ago was the end of the label, for all intents and purposes.  A month after his death the last song he recorded was released.  Soon after it became the #1 song in the country.  This year his foundation celebrated the 75th anniversary of his birth.

The night before his death, he & his band the Bar Kays (most of whom died with him in the plane crash that took his life), performed “Respect” on a show called Upbeat.  Over the closing credits, he sang “Knock On Wood” with Mitch Ryder.  It is 88 seconds of joy.  Thanks to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you may watch that here.

During his short career, he recorded two Christmas songs.  Ironically enough for me, Bruce Springsteen covered the first one (Merry Christmas Baby).  The second one is today’s pick and by far my favorite of the two.

bruce-merrychristmasbaby

Courtesy:  Eric Meola

Otis Redding:  White 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!!!

book-trees

Courtesy:  Country Living Magazine

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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