Let’s Take A Moment Day 213

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 in 1958 Jackie Wilson recorded one of his signature songs. It was another tune co-written by future Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr who also co-wrote “Reet Petite”, “To Be Loved” & “We Have Love” for Wilson the year before. The proceeds earned from these songs helped Gordy start Tamla Records in 1959 which became the iconic Motown label in April 1960. The success of today’s tune also helped establish Wilson as one of the premier R&B singers not only the 1950’s & 1960’s but of all time.

He was born Jack Leroy Wilson Jr. in Detroit, Michigan in 1934. He began singing in church when he was a child which led to him joining a gospel group in his teens. He learned to box during a couple of stints in detention for bad behavior and competed in the local boxing circuit before he quit to marry at 17 because he was going to become a father. He joined several groups (including one with his cousin, future Four Tops lead singer Levi Stubbs) until Wilson signed a solo record deal with Decca Records subsidiary label, Brunswick, in 1957. “Reet Petite” was his first release which helped launch his career through its moderate success. Between his four octave tenor range and his dynamic dance moves on stage, Wilson earned the nickname “Mr. Excitement” and enjoyed over a decade of success throughout his career.

Unfortunately the rest of his story is not as happy. Wilson was besieged with problems in his personal life including getting shot by a girlfriend, several arrests and legal issues, financial losses & IRS liens due to an embezzling manager as well as multiple children from in & out of his two marriages. He also lost a son, Jackie Jr in 1970 when the 16 year old was shot to death. That sent Wilson into a depressive state which included drug use. In 1975 he suffered a heart attack onstage which left him in a semi-comatose state. He remained in a nursing home until his death from pneumonia in 1984. Wilson left a legacy on music, fans and the performers he influenced especially Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, and Michael Jackson among many others. My mother was a big fan of his & she and my dad were lucky enough to see Wilson perform around 1960 at the acclaimed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Swoon.

Just give me another chance for our romance
Come on and tell me that one day you’ll return
‘Cause, every day that you’ve been gone away
You know my heart does nothing but burn, crying
“.

Wilson and Elvis

Elvis Presley (L) with Jackie Wilson (R) circa 1959. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Jackie Wilson: “Lonely Teardrops” (As performed on “American Bandstand” in March 1959. Originally released in 1958, written by Berry Gordy Jr, Gwen Gordy & Roquel “Billy” Davis as “Tyran Carlo”).

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 190

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?

Fall

(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 first official day of autumn. Welcome, you beautiful new season!!! There are a number of songs that celebrate the glory of fall. The most well known one is probably the jazz standard written by Joseph Kosma and Johnny Mercer, “Autumn Leaves”. It has been recorded by hundreds of artists including Nat King Cole (1955), Frank Sinatra (1957), Miles Davis (1963), Chet Baker (1974), Jerry Lee Lewis (1980), Eric Clapton (2010) and Bob Dylan (2015).

However, on Day 168 I wrote about how Van Morrison has written several of my favorite fall tunes. He was a native of Belfast, Ireland until he moved to New York in the late 1960’s with his band, Them. He settled in Cambridge, MA after marrying his first wife who was an American citizen. Morrison was so enthralled by the colors of autumn in New England it led to him writing the many songs I love about this glorious time of year. My top choice is today’s pick. It is an exquisite evocative serenade to this most sublime season.

I saw you standing with the wind and the rain in your face
And you were thinking ’bout the wisdom of the leaves and their grace
When the leaves come falling down
In September when the leaves, come falling down
“.

van morrison

Van Morrison circa 1973. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison: “When The Leaves Come Falling Down” (1999, written by Van Morrison).

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 168

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.

Today is the 75th birthday of Sir George Ivan Morrison, better known simply as Van Morrison.  I adore this man-his voice, his poetry, his blues-infused soul and his romantic heart.  He also plays one mean saxophone and harmonica, among other instruments.

He has written so many songs honoring my favorite season, autumn, that I cannot imagine the gorgeous colors of fall without his music as the soundtrack.  (My favorites include “Autumn Song” (feels like something pulled right from the Peanuts “Great Pumpkin” television special), “Golden Autumn Day” and the exquisite “When The Leaves Come Falling Down”).

Today’s song has an arrangement that is just too beautiful to describe.  Morrison is a master at incorporating sweeping orchestral moments in his songs and in my opinion, this is one of his best.  Happy birthday, Sir Van.  You are an absolute gift in every sense of the word.  Swoon.

Will the blush still remain
On your cheeks, my love?
Is the light, is the light always seen in your hair?
Gold and sliver they placed
At your feet, my dear
But I know you chose me instead
.”

Van-Morrison

Van Morrison circa 2010.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison:  “Queen Of The Slipstream” (1987, written by Van Morrison).

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 151

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.

As someone who loves music I owe an immense amount of gratitude to the blues.  It is the one genre of music that is the common denominator behind so many of the singers and bands I adore.  Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors and others have payed homage to the old blues singers and their songs.  Even Led Zeppelin considers their roots in that genre.  But one of my favorite bands that always honored their blues roots was The Allman Brothers Band.  They covered such classics as “Come On In My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson, “Statesboro Blues” by Blind Willie McTell and “Trouble No More” by Muddy Waters, amongst others.  But today’s song is the one I love the best because despite how many other artists performed this one, the dueling guitar playing of Duane Allman & Dickey Betts is unmatched.  Plus, Greg Allman made it his own from the first note he sang.  I absolutely adore their version of this song.

Lord, I’m foolish to be here in the first place
I know some man gonna walk in and take my place
Ain’t no way in the world, I’m going out that front door
‘Cause there’s a man down there, might be your man I don’t know“.

Allman Brothers

The Allman Brothers Band (L_R):  Gregg Allman (vocals, keyboards, songwriter), Duane Allman (lead & slide guitar), Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriter), Jaimoe Johanson (drums), Butch Trucks (drums) & Berry Oakley (bass) in 1971 as photographed for the cover of their second album, Idlewild South.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.) 

The Allman Brothers Band:  “One Way Out” (1972, written by Elmore James, Marshall E. Sehorn and Sonny Boy Williamson)

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 142

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.

One of my favorite years for music was 1978.  New albums like Bruce Springsteen’s “Darkness On The Edge Of Town”, Eric Clapton’s “Backless”, Van Morrison’s “Wavelength”, Neil Young’s “Comes A Time”, Blondie’s “Parallel Lines”, Tom Waits’ “Blue Valentine” , Boston’s “Don’t Look Back”, “Easter” by The Patti Smith Group and The Rolling Stones’ “Some Girls” were released.  And it is from the Stones record that we arrive at today’s song which hit #1 on this day in 1978.

It only stayed in the top spot for a week, but as the lead single from the record, it helped the album get to #1 as well for two weeks that summer.  The song features a greats  sax solo and one of the best bass lines I ever heard.  And despite  the fact that  I am not much of a dancer, I could not help moving along with the infectious beat of the record.  The band was divided over whether or not it was an actual disco song, but eventually they released their first extended 12″ inch remix soon after the record topped the charts.  I prefer the original mix of this song, which is one of my favorites ever by this band.

Some Girls

   (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

The Rolling Stones:  “Miss You” (1978, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards).

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 his, 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.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 126

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.

Van Morrison’s songs always feel like mini-vacations to me.  They take me away to different places for about five minutes and suddenly my view and outlook have changed.  He is one of a select few who can make Mondays a little better for me.  Here’s hoping he can do the same for you as we start a new week.

Put your money where your mouth is
Then we can get something going
In order to win you must be prepared to lose sometime
And leave one or two cards showing.”

van morrison

Van Morrison circa 1973.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison:  “Hard Nose The Highway” (1973, written by Van Morrison).

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 88

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?

Kerouac

(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.

I have always been interested in finding out what kind of music inspired and influenced the artists I listen to.  Bruce Springsteen led me to Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison.  The Beatles led me to Chuck Berry and Carl Perkins.  Otis Redding led me to Sam Cooke and gospel music.  And Eric Clapton led me to many of the blues greats like Muddy Waters and B.B. King, with the latter becoming a favorite of mine.

He has collaborated with so many singers I love including Clapton (on the 2000 release “Riding With The King”), Elton John (on the song “Rock the House”) and Van Morrison (on the song “Early In The Morning”).  King also recorded a song with U2 (“When Love Comes to Town”).  But when I listen to him, my go to is his 1969 album, “Completely Well” because it has today’s classic on it.  He recorded another version of this song with Clapton for 2005’s “B.B. King & Friends: 80” with a fabulous string arrangement that is now my second favorite.  But nothing beats the original.

BB King     (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

B.B. King:  “The Thrill Is Gone” (1969, written by Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins).

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 25

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?

music heart

(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.

The first time I listened to “The Last Waltz” album, it was an overload to my senses.  A magnificent overload.  So many artists that I adored-Eric Clapton, The Band, Ringo Starr, Neil Diamond, Neil Young, to name a few-were on it, so I had no idea who to listen to first.  Or should I just play it from start to finish, I wondered.  Given my impatient nature, I started with a few of the songs I loved most before letting the album play in its entirety.  And that is when I heard today’s song for the first time by Van “The Man” Morrison.  And I sa-woooooned.

How could I not?  A master of blue eyed soul with clear infusions of jazz, folk and the blues, he delivered a performance in an intense and expressive manner interpreting his own lyrics as only the writer could.  Within days I went out and bought his “Moondance” album and wore it out within the week.  After that I purchased two more-“St. Dominic’s Preview” & “Astral Weeks”-and before I knew it a month went by and all I had listened to were his songs.  And that is by no means a complaint.  My love for him only intensified a few years later when I finally saw his performance & the rest of the concert movie on cable.  I love so many of Morrison;s songs, but this one remains my favorite, especially because the lyrics speak right to my heart:

Turn it up, turn it up, little bit higher, radio
Turn it up, that’s enough, so you know it’s got soul“.

Van

Van Morrison in 2014 (Image from vanmorrison.com.  Original source unknown.)

Van Morrison:  “Caravan” (1970, written by Van Morrison).

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

Stay well.

My Top 10 Halloween Songs

Happy Halloween, everyone!!!

mantel

Courtesy of Pinterest & ehomedecors.com (original source unknown)

You know for me it is all about the music, so I could not let this holiday pass without honoring it with my favorite songs (in no particular order), which are guaranteed to put you in a  Halloween mood.

1.  “I Put A Spell On You” (1956, written by Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins).

 

bette

(Original source unknown)

The songwriter’s own version from 1956 is a powerful number all on its own.  But, there are several unbelievably intense & stunning covers you cannot miss by Nina Simone (1965), Annie Lennox (2014), Them featuring Van Morrison (1966), Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968), Chaka Khan (2019) and of course, Winifred Sanderson a/k/a  Bette Midler (1993) from the film “Hocus Pocus”.

2.  “Sympathy for the Devil” – The Rolling Stones (1968, written by Mick Jagger & Keith Richards).

Rolling Stones

(Original source unknown)

From the opening beats of the congas combined with Jagger’s first scream, the Stones pull you into this masterpiece and refuse to let you go.  And honestly, you would not want to leave anyway.  There are several covers out there by respectable artists, but compared to the original they really are not even worth mentioning.

3.  “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” – The Charlie Daniels Band (1979, written by the Charlie Daniels Band). 

charlie daniels

(Original source unknown)

A fantastically fun song.  But how can a song about the devil be fun, you ask?  Just include a contest with a human, a ,smoking hot fiddle player and lyrics like “Chicken in a bread pan pickin’ out dough, Granny, does your dog bite? No child, no!” and you are all set.  Personal note:  This song is featured in one of my favorite episodes of “The Drew Carey Show” (season 2, episode 5:  “The Devil, You Say”) guest starring Grant Shaud (“Murphy Brown’s” Miles Silverberg) convinced he is the prince of darkness in the living flesh.  Watch it if you can find it.  I couldn’t. 

4.  “Werewolves of London” – Warren Zevon (1978, written by Warren Zevon, LeRoy Marinell & Waddy Wachtel).

warren zevon

(Original source unknown)

Zevon referred to this as a novelty song, and if that is so, it is undoubtedly one of the best of all time.  How could it not be with an opening line like “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand”.  Wouldn’t that make a great costume???!!!  Adam Sandler did a more than respectable cover of this song on the 2004 Zevon tribute album, “Eat Every Sandwich”.  And you thought Sandler only sang about Hanukah!!!

5.  “Spooky” –Atlanta Rhythm Section (1979, written by Mike Shapiro and Harry Middlebrooks Jr,)

ARS 1

(Original source unknown)

I adored this band from the first time I heard “So Into You” but fell in L-O-V-E with them thanks to “Imaginary Lover“.  It still makes me swoon.  But I digress.  Two members of the group, Dean Daughtry and James B. Cobb, Jr-who were previously members of the band which first recorded this song, the Classics IV-decided to record another version with their new group.  Two other versions you cannot miss are by Joan Osborne   (1998) and Dusty Springfield (1970).

6.  “Season of the Witch” – Donovan (1966, written by Donovan and Shawn Phillips).

scary stories

(Original source unknown)

I am not a fan of folk Donavan, but psychedelic rock Donavan is a different story.  The music is undeniably from the late 1960’s but his vocals transcend the era.  There is some weight and a whole lot of feeling behind them that keeps up with the music perfectly so as not to be outdone.  If you can forgive the one dated reference to beatniks, you can enjoy this song anytime, but it is perfect for this time of year.  Al Kooper & Stephen Stills’ cover is a guitar & brass spin on the original and is absolutely worth a listen.  And if you are planning to see the movie “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”  you will hear a new version of the song by Lana Del Ray which is very well done.

7.  “Black Magic Woman” – Fleetwood Mac (1968, written by Peter Green).

Peter Green

(Original source unknown)

If you are a fan of this band you know they formed years before Lindsay Buckingham & Stevie Nicks joined them.  Peter Green was one of the founding members of the group  and wrote and recorded this song with them in 1968.  Prior to Fleetwood Mac he was a member of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, joining them to fill the void left by Eric Clapton’s departure.  This song became more famous when it was covered by  Santana  in 1970 which featured Gregg Rolie on vocals.  He went on to join Journey, leading to him being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with each band.

8.  “Superstition” – Stevie Wonder (1972, written by Stevie Wonder).

stevie 1

(Original source unknown)

The lyrics may evoke fear and trepidation, but the music is nothing but mesmerizing, from the opening drum beats to the synthesizer bass to the tenor sax and more.  It is a banquet of sounds that, as the line goes, keeps you in a daydream.   For an equally funky version, give Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble’s version from 1986 a listen.  It does not disappoint.  Wonder even participated in the video for Vaughn’s version by appearing at the end and singing a line from the song……..with a black cat in his arms.  Fabulous.

9.  “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Denmark & Winter  (2016, written by Buck Dharma).

denmark

(Original source unknown)

Of course, Blue Oyster Cult’s 1976 original version is a classic, and that was years before the SNL cowbell skit.  But the indie band’s evocative stripped down version with its slower pace brings this song to a whole new level of intensity and beauty.

10.   Monster Mash” – Bobby “Boris” Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers (1962, written by Bobby Pickett & Lenny Capizzi). 

MonsterMash

(Original source unknown)

How can this not be on the list???  It is the embodiment of the holiday AND it has Darlene Love on backing vocals!!!  I grew up listening to this song every Halloween season thanks to my mom.  She would play it over and over again while we danced around the living room.  That is how I learned you are never too old for this holiday.  Two cover versions that are almost as popular as the original are by Vincent Price (1977) and Alvin & the Chipmunks ( 1994).     

Honorable mention:  “Psycho Killer” – The Talking Heads (1977, written by the Talking Heads).

Once the little hairs on the back of your neck relax after taking in the title of this song, the rest of your body becomes entranced by the remarkable baseline underscoring Byrne’s vocals in English and French punctuated by his fa-fa-fa’s.  Just genius.

What songs do you love for Halloween?

I hope your holiday is filled with more treats than tricks!!!

i got a rock.jpg(Courtesy of Charles M. Schulz/United Feature Syndicate)   

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you  🙂

Until next time, happy listening!!!