Let’s Take A Moment Day 237

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.

Time for another cautionary rock & roll tale. This one belongs to Gram Parsons who was born Ingram Cecil Connor III in Florida on Nov 5, 1946. He overcame a tough childhood (both parents were alcoholics, which led to his father’s suicide when Parsons was 12 & his mother’s from cirrhosis when he was in high school). He quit Harvard University in 1965 after one semester to pursue music, a talent he acquired when he learned how to play the piano as a child.

By the late 1960’s he met Chris Hillman of The Byrds & contributed to the band’s 1968 album, “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”. It is considered to be one of the earliest country rock records due in large part to Parson’s influence of what he called “Cosmic American Music”. Then he & Hillman formed The Flying Burrito Brothers and continued with that sound.

It was also around this time that Parsons met The Rolling Stones and became fast friends with Keith Richards. The friendship centered around music and drugs, but the latter began to dominate Parsons life and career. By 1971 he had been dismissed from the Burrito Brothers & was all but kicked out of Richards house (and life) by his girlfriend and allegedly Mick Jagger as well. That is when Parsons started his solo work with a young female singer named Emmylou Harris, who provided harmony vocals for all his songs, including today’s pick.

It was written around 1960 with the original version credited to The Everly Brothers in 1961 followed by Roy Orbison’s rendition later the same year. But for the younger crowd, the more well known version of this song was released in 1974 by the band, Nazareth. That was my favorite rendition until I heard Parsons’. Since it is basically a duet with Harris, it highlights the sadness of the lyrics as if they were singing about their own heartbreak to each other. The slower tempo and stripped down musical arrangement only adds to the desolate feeling of the song. It is truly beautiful.

So is the version Richards performed with Norah Jones at the 2004 tribute concert for his old friend, who covered “Wild Horses” with the Burrito Brothers in 1970 for their second album. Parsons died in 1973 from a drug overdose at the age of 26. His second and final solo album, “Grievous Angel”, was released a year after he died and features today’s track.

Some fools think
Of happiness, blissfulness, togetherness
Some fools fool themselves, I guess
They’re not foolin’ me
“.

Gram Parsons

Harris and Parsons

Top: Gram Parsons circa 1972. Bottom: Emmylou Harris & Parsons circa 1972. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Gram Parsons featuring Emmylou Harris: “Love Hurts” (1974, written by Boudleaux Bryant).

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 232

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.

Yesterday marked the 75th birthday of one of my favorite woefully underrated artists, singer/songwriter/actor J.D. Souther. Born John David Souther on November 2, 1945 in Detroit, Michigan he was raised in Texas where he played with a local band before moving to California in the late 1960’s. That is where he first met Glenn Frey and they formed the duo, Longbranch Pennywhistle. They released one album in 1969 that did not make any impact and disbanded a year later. Then he joined the short-lived super group, The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band with Chris Hillman (from The Byrds & The Flying Burrito Brothers) and Richie Furay (from Buffalo Springfield & Poco). They broke up after two albums due to creative clashes.

Souther is considered to be one of the architects of the southern California country rock sound thanks to his collaborations with artists like The Eagles, Jackson Browne & Linda Ronstadt. Some of the songs Souther co-wrote include “Best Of My Love”, “New Kid In Town” & “Heartache Tonight” by The Eagles, “Hearts Against The Wind”, “Faithless Love” and “White Rhythm & Blues” by Linda Ronstadt and “Heart Of The Matter” (Day 89) by Don Henley. Souther also co-wrote & sang harmony vocals on James Taylor’s 1981 hit, “Her Town Too“.

Souther started acting in the 1980’s with roles in TV’s “Thirtysomething” and the movie “Always” where he performed a fabulous version of the 1933 Broadway song made famous by The Platters in 1959, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes“. Most recently he played the role of record producer Watty White in the show, “Nashville”. I love everything he has done but consider today’s song, a top ten hit from 1979, as my favorite of all his accomplishments.

When you need somebody around on the nights that try you
Remember I was there when you were a queen
And I’ll be the last one there beside you;
So you can call out my name
“.

JD Linda 1979

JD-SOUTHER-BW-PHOTO-BY-LINDA-RONSTADT

JD 2015

Top: Linda Ronstadt & J.D. Souther circa 1979. Middle: Souther circa 1979. Bottom: Souther circa 2015. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

J. D. Souther: “You’re Only Lonely” (1979, written by J. D. Souther).

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 158

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.

In the fall of 1991, I saw a fabulous movie that celebrated one of my favorite genres of music:  The Commitments.  It is a story of a hastily put together soul music band in Dublin, Ireland as an easy get rich & famous scheme by music lover/band manager, Jimmy Rabbitte, played by Robert Arkins.  The lead singer of the group was played by Andrew Strong, who was only 17 when the movie was being filmed.  What a voice.  The movie was directed by Alan Parker, who died last month at the age of 76 (Some of his other films include “Fame”, Midnight Express” and “Pink Floyd:  The Wall”).

The most well known member of the cast is probably guitarist, vocalist & songwriter Glen Hansard.  He won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2008 with musician, vocalist & songwriter Marketa Irglova for the achingly beautiful song, “Falling Slowly“, from the 2007 movie, “Once”.  Later Hansard appeared on the show “Parenthood” when he used The Luncheonette recording studio where Adam & Crosby worked (Wow, I really miss that show.  Sigh.).

I knew all the songs The Commitments performed except one.  But it was beautiful with a fantastic horn arrangement and I immediately became obsessed.  So I bought the soundtrack CD and set out to learn everything I could about it.  Since this was 1991 that meant going to that year’s internet, the public library.  The songwriters, Dan Penn and Chip Moman, also wrote Aretha Franklin’s hit, “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” together, and individually they wrote songs for other artists as well.

The first singer to record the song was James Carr, who was rejected by Stax Records but eventually was signed to a small Memphis, TN label, Goldwax Records, in 1964.  They believed he could be their Otis Redding.  He was a great singer, but to me, he sounded more like Percy Sledge.  But Goldwax shut down in 1969 after only five years in business, so Carr tried recording at a couple of other labels.  However, he suffered from bipolar disease and it frequently affected his ability to perform live, so his career languished throughout the 1970’s & 1980’s.  He did enjoy a career resurgence in 1991 after he released a new album when Goldwax was revived.  Carr performed at local musical festivals for the next couple of years before releasing another album in 1994.  But soon after he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died from the disease in 2001 at the very young age of 58.

He did, however, leave us his fantastic recording of today’s song.  It was eventually covered by Sledge himself and other superstars like Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Gregg Allman, Elvis Costello and the group, The Flying Burrito Brothers.  How I never heard this song before the movie is a complete mystery to me, but I am unbelievably thankful for finding it and its original incredible singer.

At the dark end of the street
That’s where we always meet
Hiding in shadows where we don’t belong
Living in darkness to hide our wrong
You and me, at the dark end of the street“.

James Carr
   (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

James Carr:  “The Dark End of the Street” (1967, written by Dan Penn and Chip Moman).

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

Stay well.