Let’s Take A Moment Day 351

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.

The Carpenters have the distinction of being one of the greatest duos of all time thanks to the talents of siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter. Their sound was distinctive thanks to Richard’s knack for song writing, his ear for pop melodies punctuated by layered arrangements that highlighted the absolute beauty of his sister’s voice. Karen was born on March 2, 1950 in New Haven, CT. Her family relocated to Downey, CA in 1963 to help Richard, a musician from childhood, pursue a career in music.

Karen went through a few instruments before deciding on the drums, making her one of the first female percussionists to rise to prominence. By 1965 they were playing as a jazz trio with an upright bass player. After he departed the siblings continued together. In 1969 they signed to A&M Records after label co-founder Herb Alpert heard their demo. Karen was 19 years old and it was her vocal tracks that would help make the duo achieve the international success that followed.

It began with a cover of The Beatles song, “Ticket To Ride” followed by the song that launched their career, “Close To You”, written by the iconic songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It went to #1 for four consecutive weeks in the summer of 1970. After that a slew of hits followed, including today’s song, which was a #2 hit in 1971.

Alpert was the one who convinced the duo to record their first #1 song. In a 2011 interview he gave to “CBS Sunday Morning” he spoke about Karen, who died in 1983 from complications related to an eating disorder. He said, “She never realized how great she was. She never really accepted the fact that she really had it”. Alpert also got choked up thinking of her, because even though nearly 30 years had passed since Karen’s death, he still found her loss incomprehensible. I think that pretty much sums up how all her fans feel.

What I’ve got they used to call the blues
Nothin’ is really wrong
Feelin’ like I don’t belong
“.

Carpenters-Horizon-Cover

Karen and Richard Carpenter circa 1971. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Carpenters: “Rainy Days & Mondays” (1971, written by Roger Nichols and Paul 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 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 248

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.

It’s funny how certain dates follow people throughout their lives. For example, on November 7, 1972 The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler’s debut album, was released. Not only did it get a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year but Midler won the Best New Artist Award for that record. On the same date in 1979, Midler’s movie, “The Rose” came out. It gave her a top five hit with the song of the same name (Day 50) and earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

I cannot remember the first time I saw Midler. I believe it was on a TV variety show before I saw an HBO special of hers based on her nightclub act from the 1970’s. But that is the one that stuck. I was completely taken with her voice, her fearless & commanding stage presence and her comedy. And as fabulous as the up-tempo songs were, it was the ballads that completely captivated me. When I heard her debut album, I fell in love with her cover of one of Leon Russell’s most beautiful songs. It was co-written by Bonnie Bramlett of “Delaney & Bonnie” fame who sang the original version in 1969 featuring Eric Clapton on guitar. Swoon.

This song was a hit for The Carpenters in 1971 and it was that interpretation that led to Chris Farley and David Spade’s unbridled emotional sing along in the 1995 movie, “Tommy Boy”. Karen Carpenter’s version is heartbreakingly beautiful without a doubt, but with the increased tempo of the chorus you are given a chance to breathe. Midler’s cover just crushes you from start to finish. It is not just her sadness that is palpable but her agony as well, especially by the end of the track. It is simply sublime.

Long ago, and, oh, so far away
I fell in love with you before the second show
Your guitar, it sounds so sweet and clear
But you’re not really here, it’s just the radio
“.

Bette

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bette Midler: “Superstar” (1972, written by Bonnie Bramlett and Leon Russell).

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 133

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.

In 1962 trumpeter, songwriter, vocalist and bandleader Herb Alpert founded A&M Records with his business partner, Jerry Moss.  The name of the label came from the first letter of both men’s last names.  It took six years for the record company to have its first number one record when today’s song by Alpert hit the top spot in June 1968 for four straight weeks.  It was also his first number one song and the first for the songwriters, Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  After that the record company and all three men were off for a fabulous ride.  By 1972 the label was one of the most successful in the world.

It was sold in 1999, but during its 37 year run it was home to diverse artists such as Billy Preston, The Carpenters, Peter Frampton, Procol Harum, Cat Stevens (n/k/a Yusuf), Quincy Jones, Carole King, Barry White and a host of others.  But Alpert remains my favorite of them all thanks to his 1965 album, “Whipped Cream & Other Delights”, and today’s song thanks to his soft easy vocal and the absolutely lovely lyrics by Hal David.

My hands are shakin’ don’t let my heart keep breaking ’cause
I need your love, I want your love
Say you’re in love, in love with this guy
If not I’ll just die“.

Herb Alpert circa 1965 (R) and that year’s album cover for “Whipped Cream & Other Delights.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Herb Alpert:  “This Guy’s In Love With You” (1968, written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David).

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

Stay well.

25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 16

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

christmas_village_streetview_640

(Original source unknown.)

Tall, dark, handsome & sexy are a few ways to describe this artist.  Unbelievably talented is another.  He paints, sculpts, writes, arranges, produces & performs great music for himself & other artists.  He also plays one mean trumpet.  He co-wrote “Wonderful World” which was initially made famous by Sam Cooke, sang one of my all time favorite Burt Bacharach songs ever (“This Guy’s In Love With You“) which hit #1 in 1968 and was the A of A&M Records which signed the The Carpenters in 1969.

This man had several hits in the 1960’s with his band, the Tijuana Brass (“A Taste Of Honey“, “Whipped Cream” and “Spanish Flea“, which is also known as “The Bachelor’s Theme” from The Dating Game).  On his own he hit #1 again in 1979 with “Rise” (also known to “General Hospital” fans as the song that was playing in Luke’s disco when he raped Laura) and #5 in 1987 with “Diamonds“, with one of his A&M singers, Janet Jackson, on vocals.

He has won all the awards, done all the shows and continues to make great music.  This year he treated us to two releases:  “Music Volume 1” came out in July with some really great new music as well as a lovely cover of the Beatles’ “Michelle” and an absolutely beautiful version of John Lennon’s “Imagine

“A Christmas Wish” came out in the fall, and all of the songs are wonderful.  But I really like this one since it was originally recorded in 1970 by his old friends, The Carpenters.  I think it shows this man’s heart, loyalty and love of a good song.

kc1971alpert

Richard & Karen Carpenter with Herb Alpert circa 1971 (original source unknown)

Herb Alpert:  “Merry Christmas, Darling

The Carpenters:  “Merry Christmas, Darling” (original 1970)

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 Of The Day #11

Hello, Vixens & happy Sunday to all of you!!!  As we continue our countdown to Christmas, I hope you enjoy another one of my favorite holiday songs!!!

christmasfireplacescene[1]

Source:  worshiphousemedia.com

Every once in a while a singer comes along who changes the game and takes it up much more than a notch.  Sometimes its the timing that’s perfect, or the song, or the arrangement or the singer.  Sometimes, when the voice is really spectacular, it’s all of those things combined.  That was the certainly the case with Karen Carpenter.

As one half of the brother and sister duo, her voice became the sound of soft romantic music in the 1970’s.  Even if their music was not your particular favorite, there was no denying the beauty or subtle power of Karen Carpenter’s voice.  Her brother, Richard, knew exactly how to write and arrange music that perfectly suited her vocal range, which only added to the magic of the recordings they made together.  Add in the fact that she was also one of the first drummers in an all male setting made Karen Carpenter a real hero to so many women and little girls, me included.  In fact, I started to learn how to play the drums in fourth grade because of her, and stayed with it throughout elementary school as the only girl playing drums with the boys.

If I think about her life too closely, it is hard not to feel sorry for how things unfolded for her:  a rigorous touring schedule that left her little time for a personal or social life, a failed marriage when she just wanted to be happy and have a family like most women her age and a battle against a disease that would eventually claim her life at the age of 32.

So I’d rather focus on the beautiful music she left us, from “Superstar” (remember Chris Farley & David Spade singing this in “Tommy Boy“?), “Rainy Days and Mondays“, “Close To You” (also featured in the movie “Parenthood“), “Goodbye To Love“, “Yesterday Once More“, “We’ve Only Just Begun” and so many more.

The Carpenters also made several holiday recordings but my favorite one is The Christmas Song.  Karen’s voice is crystal clear, soft and completely mesmerizing.  She had an incredible gift.

Please remember I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing my favorite songs with you.

Enjoy!!!

la-re-place-carpenters18feb18-3[1]Source:  latimes.com