Let’s Take A Moment Day 249

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.

Today marks the 74th birth anniversary of one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up that instrument, Duane Allman. Born on November 20, 1946 in Nashville, TN to a United States Army lieutenant & his wife, Duane founded the band that would bear his family’s name when he was 22. According to his website it was his younger brother, Gregg, who taught Duane to play the guitar. Gregg received one as a Christmas gift the same year Duane got a motorbike. He learned to ride, Gregg started to play after learning the basic chords from a neighbor. After Duane totaled his bike, he became interested in what Gregg was doing. Duane learned as well then sold the wrecked bike to buy his own guitar around the age of 14. The brothers decided to pursue a career in music after seeing B.B. King in concert when they were teenagers. In 1957 the family was living in Florida and by 1961 the brothers were playing together at local dances in the Daytona Beach area.

After a brief stint in a band “Hour Glass” in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Duane returned to Florida. It was around this time he met drummer Butch Trucks and fellow guitarist Dickey Betts to form the hub of what would become The Allman Brothers Band, once Duane called Gregg back to Florida as well to join the group. Their self titled debut album was released in 1969. That year Duane also did sesion work for Aretha Franklin (on her cover of The Band’s “The Weight“), King Curtis (on his cover of “Games People Play“) and Wilson Pickett (on his cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude“). It was that record that first introduced Eric Clapton to Duane’s work and eventually the two met backstage at an ABB concert in Miami during the summer of 1970. It lead to his best known collaboration, with Clapton’s band, Derek & The Dominos, while they were recording their masterpiece, “Layla &Other Assorted Love Songs”. Duane appears on 11 of the album’s 14 tracks and he & Clapton bonded for life. In his 2007 autobiography, he referred to Duane as “the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did”.

Six years ago his daughter Galadrielle Allman (who was 2 when she lost her father), wrote a book about him based on countless interviews she conducted from family, fiends, bandmates and other musicians who worked with the guitar icon entitled “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman”. It’s not that I am not interested in his life because I am. But a part of me already knows all I need to: that his playing was fierce ferocious and forever, that his band was one of the greatest to ever take a stage & together they made some of the most incredible music of any generation.

My friends tell me, that I’ve been such a fool.
But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin’ you.
Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you’ve done.
But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same,
And I can’t run”.

Duane

Galadrielle Allman In Conversation With Jim Fusilli And Special Guest Gregg Allman

Top: Duane Allman in the studio circa 1968, Bottom (L-R): Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman with her uncle, Gregg Allman at her book signing in NYC, March 2014. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Allman Brothers: “Whipping Post” (1969, written by Gregg Allman).

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 180

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?

Jane Austen 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.

Six months have now passed since the pandemic came into our lives. I will refrain from using the terms that have become our new language and just say as difficult as this time has been, I am thankful for this outlet because it has given me back the magic of music. Listening to songs and artists I somehow lost track of or denied myself the joy of because I felt obligated to put others first in enabling ways or because of work or domestic monotony or anything else “I was supposed to do”. Well this time has taught me I come first-finally-and I will no longer deny that nor will I apologize for it. In the middle of a pandemic, I found me. How can I not be grateful for that? So, to quote Casey Kasem, on with the music. And a virtual road trip to clear out the cobwebs.

The voices I have heard in music have affected me in different ways. Some were subtle, some were intense and some were massive. Today’s singers fall into the last category. The first time I heard The Band, I fell in love with not one but three distinct beautiful voices-the ones belonging to Rick Danko, Levon Helm & Richard Manuel. Danko’s vocal on “Long Black Veil“, Helm’s vocal on “The Weight” (see day 60) and Manuel’s vocal on “I Shall Be Released“, with each of the other singers providing harmony on those songs, is some of the most remarkable music I have ever heard. After the original group broke up in 1976, the three singers along with fellow bandmate, multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson, reformed as a band in 1983. And despite the heartbreaking loss of Manuel in 1986 to suicide after an ongoing battle with drug & alcohol addiction, the other three members carried on.

Every time I heard their music or saw one of the singers, I felt at home. I remember sitting in a movie theatre watching “The Big Chill” and doing an internal cartwheel as soon as I heard the acoustic guitar intro to “The Weight” during the breakfast scene where every one gets their running shoes. Or when I was in the same theatre watching “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and seeing Levon Helm on the big screen as Loretta Lynn’s father, Ted Webb. Or whenever I needed to see “The Last Waltz” just one more time.

Danko died of heart failure in 1999 which is when this stunning group ended their career for good. Helm kept acting, performing and making music on his own, right up until he died in 2012 from cancer. With all three of these beautiful voices gone now, there is a place inside my soul that just yearns for them. Their contribution to music in general and my world specifically, is immeasurable, despite the efforts of others to downplay or forget their roles in one of the most extraordinary bands to ever make music.

Everything dies, baby, that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty
And meet me tonight in Atlantic City
“.

The Band 1969

The Band: “Atlantic City” (1993, 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 60

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?

Peanuts music

(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 are still people who have not forgiven Bob Dylan for switching from his original folk sound to electric music in the mid 1960’s.  But if he had not made that change, he would not have needed back-up players and then we might have never been introduced to The Band.  And that would have been a terrible misfortune because they were a remarkable group of musicians.  They were credited as the inventors of a new sound called country soul, but most people just called them fabulous.  And I am one of them.

The Band

The Band circa 1976  (left to right:  Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko & Richard Manuel.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Band:  “The Weight” (1968, written by Robbie Robertson).

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

Stay well.