Music Monday: September 27, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the blog for this week’s Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

September 29 will mark my mother’s 82nd birth anniversary. Both of my parents loved music, but since I spent more time with my mother during my early years while my dad was at work it was her influence that molded how I would listen to music for the rest of my life.

For one thing, I definitely share her high tolerance for repetition. If she liked a song, she would listen to it over and over again until she switched it out for the next 45 in her collection. There were about a dozen singles she was crazy about, and until this day I can still recall every single word of each one, no matter how much times passes in between hearing them. I still consider most of them some my favorites as well. Their hold on me is eternal.

I remember being in the car with her when one of those songs came on the radio. Even though we had arrived home & had that record there, my mother purposely drove around the block a couple of times so we could hear the entire song. Then the deejay announced he wanted to listen to the tune one more time so he played it again. My mother was thrilled & drove us around the block a few more times while we sang along with the track a second time. It is one of my most treasured memories.

Screenshot July 2011

My mother, Theresa, December 1968.

Second, she had great taste in music for the most part (we will just ignore her dark period as a fan of The Fifth Dimension. At least I discovered Burt Bacharach & Hal David through them). She loved Elvis Presley, Jackie Wilson & Motown, to name a few. If not for her buying a four album K-Tel compilation set of The Motor City’s greatest hits I cannot even imagine if I would have known who The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Miracles or Stevie Wonder were.

Every year as we got close to Halloween she would pull out her “Monster Mash” single and we would dance around while I tried on my costume to make sure it was perfect for the big day. Then we would put the decorations up to bring a more festive vibe to our home. Only Christmas had more preparation to it with tons of holiday music to match. I ache for those days.

It is always so hard for me to choose one song in her memory because there were just so many she loved. But I am able to narrow the list down with the help of Bruce Springsteen. As a fan of Elvis & Wilson himself, I have been at several of The Boss’s shows where he covered their songs as encores. Each time I could not help but think how perfect it was that my great musical love was singings songs by my mother’s great musical loves. And even though she was not there with me physically, I just knew she was loving those moments as much as I was. Music is very much a part of the circle of life.

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
“.

elvis-presley

Elvis Presley circa 1959. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Elvis Presley: “Can’t Help Falling In Love” (1961, written by Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore and George David Weiss).

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

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 542

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.

We have yet another rock & roll birthday to celebrate today. Ironically as was the case with the last two artists featured here, this man also died in a plane crash, eight years after Buddy Holly & four years after Patsy Cline. Like her he left behind a young family and like Holly, this year also marks a milestone birth anniversary year. The King of Soul, Otis Redding, was born 80 years ago today on September 9, 1941 in Dawson, GA. His voice is one of the ones I love most in the universe.

The first album I bought by him was Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul which was originally released Sept 15, 1965. But unlike all the other LP’s I ever bought, I could not listen to this one all the way through in one sitting. In fact, It took me days to get through all 11 songs. I just had to hear each track at least a dozen times before I felt I could move on to the next one. And then the same thing would happen all over again.

I had never heard anyone sing with such raw aching unabashed emotion before in my life. He sang of such heartache and pain that every note was like live or die for this beautiful man. I could not help but hurt right along with him while also praying I would someday know what that type of all consuming love felt like.

The album included Redding’s original version of “Respect” along with covers of The Temptations’ “My Girl”, The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” & three Sam Cooke songs. But today’s track was written by William Bell who was another singer on the Stax Label with Redding. It showcases his signature angst ridden soul & leaves you wondering how he will ever get through such immense pain. Redding sang like he had lived 100 lifetimes when in reality he barely lived one. But how he spent his 26 years on this earth is what keeps him alive over five decades later.

I sit here and wonder
How in the world this could be, my oh my
I never thought, oh, I never thought
You’d ever leave me
“.

Otis

Redding family

Top: Otis Redding circa 1967. Bottom: Redding’s family circa 2017 (L-R): Daughter Karla Redding-Andrews, wife Zelma (who never remarried), sons Dexter and Otis III. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Otis Redding: “You Don’t Miss Your Water” (1965, written by William Bell).

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 520

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?

Aug 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 another mid-week Motown break. Label founder Berry Gordy borrowed $800 from his family in 1958 to start his record company. Tamla Records began operating on January 12, 1959 and led to a few sister labels including Motown Records. A year later that merged with Tamla to form Motown Record Corporation.

After an incredibly successful nearly 30 year run Gordy sold his company to MCA Records and the investment firm Boston Ventures (BV) in 1988 for $61 million dollars. Not a bad return on an $800 loan. But five years later, on August 3, 1993, BV sold the label to Polygram for a whopping $325 million dollars. What a difference five years made.

Your love is fading I can feel your love fading
Girl, it’s fading away from me
‘Cause your touch your touch has grown cold
As if someone else controls your very soul
“.

The-Temptations_(1964_publicity_photo_by_Kriegsmann)

The Temptations circa 1964 (clockwise from top): David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin, Otis Williams, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations: “(I Know) I’m Losing You” (1966, written by Cornelius Grant, Edward Holland Jr and Norman Whitfield).

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 417

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?

May blog 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.

If you love Motown and hear the name Ruffin, you probably think of David from The Temptations. But he had an older brother, Jimmy, who was also on the label. He was born on May 7, 1936 in Mississippi and was originally chosen to join the group in 1964. But then they heard David sing and chose him instead. Two years later, Jimmy had a Top Ten hit with today’s song. It is his best known record and has always been one of my favorites.

:I walk in shadows searching for light
Cold and alone no comfort in sight
Hoping and praying for someone to care
Always moving and going nowhere
“.

Ruffin

Jimmy Ruffin (L) and younger brother, David circa 1972. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Jimmy Ruffin: “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted” (1966, written by James Anthony Dean, Paul Riser and William Weatherspoon).

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 394

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?

May 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 another mid-week Motown break. There are a handful of songs that define The Motor City sound from the very first note. Today’s track is one of them.

I don’t need no money
Fortune or fame
I’ve got all the riches baby
One man can claim”.

Temptations 1965

The Temptations circa 1964 (L-R): Melvin Franklin, Paul Williams, Eddie Kendricks (center), David Ruffin and Otis Williams. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations: “My Girl” (1964, written by William “Smokey” Robinson and Ronald White).

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 310

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 for another mid-week Motown break. I love so many of the singers from the Motown era, but there are two voices that literally stop me dead in my tracks from the very first note they sing. One is Marvin Gaye & the other is David Ruffin, who had one of the most powerful, angst-filled & remarkable baritone voices of any decade of music. Monday marked the 80th birth anniversary of the most identifiable lead singer behind The Temptations, one of the label’s most successful acts. Ruffin, who was born January 18, 1941 in Mississippi, brought some of the group’s biggest hits to life including “My Girl”, “I Could Never Love Another” (Day 44), “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” (Day 114), “(I Know) I’m Losing You” “Since I Lost My Baby” (Day 226). He influenced singers like Rod Stewart and Daryl Hall to his own Motown contemporaries like Martha Reeves, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder.

Today’s song was his debut as a solo artist. It was originally intended for The Temptations to sing, but once Ruffin was dismissed from the group in 1968 he was able to take the song with him. This was because he was signed to the label as a solo performer as he joined the group after they were already signed to the label. The track showcases Ruffin’s range, intensity, torment and rawness all at once. It is a fabulous vocal and a great song which features something not common in most Motown songs-a superb piccolo flute arrangement.

I guess I loved you much too much.
How can I face tomorrow,
When yesterday is all I see?
I just don’t wanna face tomorrow, if you’re not sharing it with me.

David Ruffin

David Ruffin circa 1969. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

David Ruffin: “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)” (1969, written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua, James Roach and Pam Sawyer).

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 247

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.

Time for another mid-week Motown break. The most well known songwriting team to come out of the Motor City was undoubtedly Holland-Dozier-Holland. Just behind them, however, was the prolific duo of Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. They wrote some of my favorite Marvin Gaye songs (“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” (Day 17), “That’s The Way Love Is” (Day 102), “Too Busy Thinking About My Baby”), a few of my favorite Temptations’ songs (“I Wish It would Rain”, “I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You) (Day 44)”, “I Can’t Get Next to You”), Edwin Starr’s “War” and many others.

Strong was one of the first singers signed to Motown (when it was originally known as Tamla Records) and was the voice behind its first hit, 1959’s “Money (That’s What I Want)”. He was originally credited as a writer as well (along with label founder Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford) but Gordy claimed that was an error and eventually removed Strong’s name. But he clearly displayed a talent for songwriting as his & Whitfield’s catalog clearly proves, including today’s song. It may not be as well known as Gaye’s hits and the group behind it may not be as famous as The Temptations (who recorded this tune first) but it is still one fabulous track. And it offers some of the best advice I think anyone has ever received from a song.

Smiling faces show no traces
Of the evil that lurks within (can you dig it?)
Smiling faces, smiling faces, sometimes
They don’t tell the truth”.

Strong vWhitfield

undisputed truth

Top: Barrett Strong (seated) and Norman Whitfield circa 1972. Bottom: The Undisputed Truth (L-R): Billie Rae Calvin, Joe “Pep” Harris ( lead singer) and Brenda Joyce Evans circa 1971. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Undisputed Truth: “Smiling Faces Sometimes” (1971, written by Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield).

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 226

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 a long overdue mid-week Motown break. Today’s song has been covered as a gorgeous ballad by both Luther Vandross (in 1982) and Michael McDonald (in 2003). The uptempo 1965 original by The Temptations features music not only by The Funk Brothers but by The Detroit Symphony Orchestra as well. It was co-written by Smokey Robinson, features the incomparable David Ruffin on lead vocal with an assist from bass singer Melvin Franklin & those luscious backing harmonies. It’s another of The Temps exquisite lost love songs that only Ruffin could tell. The addition of the orchestra only amplifies the power and heartbreak of each note he sings. I think if the heart made noise when it was crying, it would sound exactly like Ruffin’s trademark pleading vocal.

Oh, determination is fading fast
Inspiration is a thing of the past
Can’t see how my hope’s gonna last
Good things are bad and what’s happy is sad
“.

Temps 2

The Temptations circa 1965. Standing (L-R): Paul Williams. Eddie Kendricks and Melvin Franklin, Seated (L-R): Otis Williams & David Ruffin. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations: “Since I Lost My Baby” (1965, written by Warren (Pete) Moore and William “Smokey” Robinson Jr.).

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 163

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.

Time for another mid-week Motown break.  When two of The Miracles, Ronald White and Smokey Robinson, co-wrote “My Girl”, the latter did it with another Miracles group member in mind, Claudette Rogers.  She joined the group in 1957 after her brother & group founding member, Emerson “Sonny” Rogers, was drafted.  The song was originally meant for The Miracles to record in 1964, but The Temptations wanted to have their newest member, David Ruffin, sing it instead.  Robinson gave in, and the song not only became The Temps first #1 hit but their signature tune as well.  However, Robinson got the girl, at least for a while.  He & Claudette were married in 1959 and divorced in 1986.  The have two children together, a son and a daughter.

In 1987, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame made one of the most bizarre and controversial decisions ever (or at least until 2010 when they let Abba in) by inducting only Smokey Robinson into the HOF without any of The Miracles.  However that situation was corrected in 2012 when The Miracles, including Claudette, were inducted by Robinson himself.

I don’t like you, but I love you
Seems that I’m always thinking of you
Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly
I love you madly, you really got a hold on me“.

The Miracles

The Miracles in 1962, clockwise from top left: Bobby Rogers, Marv Tarplin, Ronald White, Claudette Robinson, and Smokey Robinson.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Miracles:  “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” (1962, written by William “Smokey” Robinson Jr.).

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 114

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.

Time for the first mid week Motown break for July.  And no better place to start than at the top.  Ladies & Gentlemen, The Temptations.

The Temps

The Temptations (L-R):  David Ruffin, Otis Williams, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin & Eddie Kendricks.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Temptations:  “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg” ( 1966, written by Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr.).

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

Stay well.