Music Monday: March 14, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

On March 15, 1975 one of my all time favorite bands hit the top spot in the country with today’s song. From their gloriously titled 1974 album, What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits and written by guitarist Patrick Simmons, the ode to his favorite New Orleans sound & the Mississippi River was a surprise B-side hit that gave the group the first #1 song of their career. They did a really wonderful 2020 version of this tune with fans participating via video clips during lockdown as part of the band’s “Live In Isolation” series. But the original track still gets me every time, especially the sublime viola arrangement.

Well I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same

Doobies 1974

Doobie 2020

Top: The Doobie Brothers circa 1974 (L-R): Michael Hossack, Patrick Simmons, Tom Johnston, Tiran Porter and Jeff Baxter. Bottom: The 2020 version of the band (L-R): Michael McDonald, Simmons, Johnston and John McFee. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

Stay safe & well.

Music Monday: February 28, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

 (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

As we say goodbye to February 2022, let’s focus on the milestone birthdays celebrated this month for two of music’s most incredible talents. Singer/songwriter extraordinaire Carole King turned 80 on February 9 (born in 1942) and blue-eyed soul Doobie Brother Michael McDonald turned 70th on February 12 (born in 1952). Plus, February 26th marked the 90th birth anniversary for The Man In Black, Johnny Cash (born in 1932). It is impossible for me to pick just one of these icons to spotlight today, so I am going to do things a little differently this week and feature one track from each. You’re welcome.

Cash circa 1965

Johnny Cash circa 1965. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

All three artists hold special places in my heart & mind. The first concert I ever attended was The Doobie Brothers. I liked them before McDonald joined them, but with him their sound evolved into rock & soul fusion which I absolutely adored. King is the genius behind the best album by a female artist, not to mention the composer of so many hits I have lost track. Cash was one of my first introductions to classic country music courtesy of my grandmother’s love of the genre. These are some of the greatest moments in my varied & extensive musical history. And I am thankful for this soundtrack in my life single day.

King circa 1990.

Carole King circa 1990. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

For McDonald I was going to choose my favorite from his early Doobie Brother years-“It Keeps You Running“-but then I remembered the title track from his 1990 album which still makes me swoon more than 30 years later. I chose a song from King’s 1971 opus because those were the best of her career in my world. As for Cash, he could sing anything. And he did. But one of his signature songs is always my pick to start a listening party by him because they bring back some of the fondest memories of my life. But any track from any one of these icons would obviously be welcome. Their talent & music speaks for itself. Enjoy.

Mcdonald circa 2000

Michael McDonald circa 2000. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Johnny Cash: “Ring Of Fire” (1963, written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore).

Carole King: “Tapestry” (1971, written by Carole King).

Michael McDonald: “Take It To Heart” (1990, written by Michael McDonald and Diane Warren).

Stay safe & well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 550

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?

blog Sept 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.

Well, ladies & gentlemen, we have come to the end of the long & winding road of songs. I think it is time to end this marathon of music. Schools have reopened, concerts & sporting events have resumed and several Broadway shows reopened earlier this week with more to follow. While masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future as we battle the Delta Variant, we are a lot closer to normal then where we were at the beginning of this year and certainly 12 months ago.

When I started this in Match 2020, I had no idea it would last this long. But then again I never lived through a pandemic before. When we first went into quarantine, I remember hearing a person on a news program say it was going to bring out the best in some of us and the worst in others. No doubt we have all seen both of those extremes but hopefully more good than bad. Thank you all for coming along with me for 550 songs, critiques, memories, reviews, stories, facts and fun (I hope). I will still feature a song on my blog every week on Music Mondays so be sure to join me for that. And now, time for our final song.

The Doobie Brothers hold a special place in my heart, not only for their music but because theirs was the first concert I ever attended. They performed today’s song that night. It was their first big hit, reaching #11 in November 1972. It is from their second album, Toulouse Street, released four months earlier. This song has been one of the mottos of my life since the first time I heard it. And it is the best piece of advice I would ever offer anyone. Stay safe & well, friends. And always listen to the music.

If I’m feelin’ good to you
And you’re feelin’ good to me
There ain’t nothin’ we can’t do or say
Feelin’ good, feeling fine
Oh baby let the music play
“.

Doobies

The Doobie Brothers 1972 album, Toulouse Street. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Listen To The Music” (1972, written by Tom Johnston).

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 457

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.

Time for a mid-week Motown break, with this one coming by way of California from 1975. There are some great cover versions of Motor City songs and today’s is one of the best by one of my favorite bands. It was originally recorded by Kim Weston in 1965 & written by the powerhouse writing team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier & Eddie Holland. Today marks Mr. Dozier’s 80th birthday and if you try for one second to imagine music without this man & his co-writers’ magnificent words & music, the silence would be deafening. Happy birthday to one of the pillars of Motown.

I’ve tried my best to be strong but I’m not able
I’m like a helpless child left in a cradle
Before you leave me leave me far behind
Let me feel happy one more time
“.

Doobies

The Doobie Brothers 1975 album, Stampede. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Take Me In Your Arms (Rock Me A Little While”) (1975, written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland).

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 368

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.

On March 19, 1976 The Doobie Brothers released the album, Takin’ It To The Streets. It was the group’s first one with keyboard player, songwriter & vocalist, Michael McDonald. He helped move the group in a different sound direction that led to their mega hit 1978 album, Minute By Minute.

McDonald was brought in to fill the void from original member Tom Johnston’s temporary leave for health issues in 1975. He tried to come back during the tour for the group’s next album, but after another health problem he decided to leave the band he co-founded for good in 1977. During Johnston’s years the band was known for its heavy guitar driven tunes courtesy of his and Patrick Simmons playing. But with McDonald the band took on a more keyboard centered sound which only added to the success of this already talented group.

She musters a smile for his nostalgic tale
Never coming near what he wanted to say
Only to realize
It never really was
“.

Doobie_Brothers_1976

The Doobie Brothers circa 1976: Back row (L-R): Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, Keith Knudsen, Tom Johnston, John Hartman, Patick Simmons. Front: Tiran Porter and Michael McDonald. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “What A Fool Believes” (1978, written by Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald).

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 334

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.

My first concert was The Doobie Brothers at the Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead, NY. Billy Squier was their opening act and I sat way up in the nosebleed seats. That in no way dampened my enthusiasm nor did it negate the fact that despite being a million miles away from him, I was still in the same arena as the gorgeous, talented & soulful Michael McDonald, That beautiful man turned 69 years young on February 12. Happy birthday to one of the greatest blue eyed soul singers out there. Swoon.

Call my name and I’ll be gone
You’ll reach out and I won’t be there
Just my luck you’ll realize
You should spend your life with someone
You could spend your life with someone
“.

Doobie Bros circa 2019

 The Doobie Brothers circa 2014 (L-R): Patrick Simmons, John McFee, Michael McDonald and Tom Johnston. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Doobie Brothers: “Minute By Minute” (1978, written by Lester Abrams and Michael McDonald).

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 217

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 quote 2

(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 we celebrate the birthday of a brother. A Doobie Brother. Patrick Simmons was born 72 years ago today in 1948. He has been the only consistent member of the band since they first formed in California fifty years ago in 1970. He is a singer, songwriter & guitarist who wrote today’s song. It was the band’s first #1 record, hitting the top of the chart in March 1975. The song is from the band’s 1974 album which has one of the best titles for a record I ever heard, “What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits”.

They performed today’s pick back in April in their “Live In Isolation” series and the ending chorus featured clips of fans singing along with them from home videos. It was a fabulous way to connect with their audience. So many of us are missing live music, one of the great casualties of this virus. But the Brothers made it happen. They hold a special place in my heart as theirs was the first concert I ever attended. I adore their music and remain completely in love with 1978’s “Minute By Minute” album to this day.

The Doobie Brothers are part of the Class of 2020 R&R HOF Inductees that did not get their official ceremony in May since it was cancelled because of the pandemic. But they should have been inducted decades ago. The band’s first album came out in 1971, making them eligible for the HOF in 1996. That is according to the Hall’s rule which makes an artist first eligible 25 years after the release of their debut album. Do the math, everyone. The Doobie Brothers have waited nearly twice that long.

The band’s page on the Hall’s website even acknowledges this (“They have been a mainstay in the rock & roll landscape for nearly five decades”) yet offers no apology nor explanation for the delay. But do not get me started on that place since John Coltrane, Bad Company, Warren Zevon, Pat Benatar, Jim Croce & Tina Turner (as a solo artist) are also still waiting to get in. But Abba was inducted 10 years ago. Completely ridiculous.

Simmons is being inducted with fellow Brothers Tom Johnston, John McFee, John Hartman, Michael Hossack (1946-2012), Tiran Porter, Keith Knudsen (1948-2005), Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Michael McDonald, who rejoined the group last year (yay!!!). The live ceremony has been revamped to “an exclusive special” to air on HBO & HBO MAX on November 7. In any case it will be a nice belated birthday gift for Simmons.

Well, I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same
“.

Doobies minute picture 1978

Top: The Doobie Brothers in 1978 (L-R, top to bottom): John Hartman, Patrick Simmons, Michael McDonald, Keith Knudsen, Jeff Skunk” Baxter & Tiran Porter. Bottom: The Brothers circa 2020: Simmons, Tom Johnston, John McFee & McDonald. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Doobie-Brothers-Clay-Patrick-McBride

The Doobie Brothers: “Black Water” (1974, written by Patrick Simmons).

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 215

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 quote 2

(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 a typically hot humid Long Island summer day in July 1980, I was sitting in a wonderfully cool air conditioned movie theatre waiting with bated breath for a movie to start. There were only two other people in the multiplex that day-a young couple a few rows behind me. The film we were all there to see was the “No Nukes” documentary from the concerts held at Madison Square Garden in September 1979. I will not bore you with the details as to why I was not allowed to go to see one of the shows in person with three of my cousins (hint-they were boys and I was not, as my father sternly reminded me) but suffice it to say I had been waiting close to a year for this moment.

I sat through nearly every other performance and enjoyed many of them (Crosby, Stills & Nash, James Taylor, The Doobie Brothers) but I was desperate to see the love of my life, Bruce Springsteen. Finally a picture of the marque with his name came on the screen and suddenly there he was backstage. First he was with Jackson Browne then with The E Street Band walking to the stage for their performance as the crowd cheered “Bruce!”. In the next scene the band was in front of the audience and then that beautiful man, Springsteen himself, walked up to the microphone. And the camera stayed on him and that microphone for the entire song. Swoon.

“This is new. It’s about my brother-in-law and sister”, he told the crowd. Then he started playing the harmonica until he introduced us to the characters in the first verse.

I come from down in the valley where mister when you’re young
They bring you up to do like your daddy done
Me and Mary we met in high school when she was just seventeen
We’d drive out of this valley down to where the fields were green
“.

We’d go down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride
“.

The guy sitting with his girlfriend a couple of rows behind me shouted “turn it up!” and the volume increased as The Boss continued telling us the true story of the couple in the song.

Then I got Mary pregnant and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers no wedding dress
“.

We went down to the river and into the river we’d dive
Oh down to the river we’d ride…
“.

More consequences followed as the couples’ downward spiral continued.

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been no work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important, well mister they vanished right into the air
I just act like I don’t remember, Mary acts like she don’t care
“.

Then a memory of better days………and how quickly they ended.

But I remember us riding in my brother’s car, her body tan and wet down at the reservoir
At night on them banks I’d lie awake and pull her close just to feel each breath she’d take
Now them memories come back to haunt me, they haunt me like a curse
Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse
“.

That sends me down to the river, though I know the river is dry
Oh down to the river tonight
Down to the river, my baby and I
Oh down to the river we ride…
.

Tears were rolling down my face as the last line from the final verse just played over and over in my head.

Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse“.

What is worse than a dream that does not come true?

I don’t think anyone tells the stories of those haunted by broken dreams better than Springsteen does. The movie concert was the first time I ever saw him sing on a stage and I still remember every second of that performance. Today’s hauntingly beautiful song is the title track from his only double album-which was released 40 years ago today-October 17, 1980. I have written this before and will continue until I take my last breath: Bruce Springsteen’s music saved me like no one else’s. I owe him everything and “it’s a debt no honest man can pay”. Swoon.

Bruce No Nukes

The_River_(Bruce_Springsteen)_(Front_Cover)

Top: A movie still from the “No Nukes” concert film of Bruce Springsteen during his performance of “The River”. Bottom: “The River” album front cover. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: “The River” (From the 1980 film, “No Nukes”, as performed at the concert of the same name in September 1979. Written by Bruce Springsteen).

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 164

i 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.

There is no doubt in my mind as to the beauty of Neil Young’s music.  And if someone is able to take one of his works of art and make it their own, I consider it a real accomplishment.  Nicolette Larson did just that in 1978 when she turned today’s song into a huge hit.  She previously worked as a back-up vocalist on two of his albums, 1977’s “American Stars ‘n Bars” & 1978’s “Comes A Time”, which is where Young’s version of today’s song appears.  And it was that album that led to Larson’s record deal with the  Warner Brothers label.  Despite her work as a solo artist she continued providing harmony & backing vocals for many artists including The Doobie Brothers, The Dirt Band & Linda Ronstadt.  She also worked with Young again in 1992 on his “Harvest Moon” album and again in 1993 for his “Unplugged” show.  Larson died in 1997 from complications due to liver failure.  But today’s song remains my favorite Young cover more than 40 years after she recorded it.

So if you are out there waiting
I hope you show up soon
‘Cause my head needs relating
Not solitude“.

L-R:  Nicolette Larson circa 1978 & Neil Young from his “Unplugged” performance in 1993.   (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Nicolette Larson:  “Lotta Love” (1978, written by Neil Young).

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 139

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?

Charlie Brown No Music No Life

(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.

When Art Garfunkel was putting together his first solo album, 1973’s “Angel Clare”, he recorded music by acclaimed songwriters such as Van Morrison, Randy Newman and Paul Williams.  But when it came to choosing the first single, he picked today’s song, which was one of two tracks written by one of my all time favorite songwriters ever, Jimmy Webb.  He, of course, is the genius behind “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” & “Wichita Lineman” (Day 69) (both made into hit songs by Glen Campbell in 1967 & 1968, respectively), “The Worst That Could Happen” (a hit for Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge in 1968) and other gems.  “Lineman” is my favorite tune of Webb’s, but I think today’s song is one of the best love songs I have ever heard.

Garfunkel’s rendering was a top ten hit in 1973 and it was featured prominently on the show “Nip/Tuck” during season two’s Ava Moore storyline.  Webb did his own version of this song as a duet with Linda Ronstadt on 2010’s “Just Across The River” with only an acoustic guitar added to their voices and it is absolutely lovely.  Former Doobie Brother Michael McDonald and his wife, Amy Holland, recorded their own version as part of a soundtrack to the ABC soap opera, “One Life To Live” in 1994 and it is spectacular.  But Garfunkel’s vocal performance and the gorgeous arrangement make this version my absolute favorite.

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast
But they pass too slow
I love you and that’s all I know.”

Art Garfunkel’s 1973 debut album (L) & Jimmy Webb’s 2010 record (R) both contain versions of today’s songs.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Art Garfunkel:  “All I Know” (1973, written by Jimmy Webb).

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

Stay well.