Let’s Take A Moment Day 259

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.

I have written on several occasions how 1978 was a monumental year in music for me & the industry in general. Well, when the universe gives you something it takes something else away. And the thing it took away from me was my peaceful relationship with my grandmother-for a while, anyway.

For two years she enjoyed listening to my records with me. She may have not remembered the artists names correctly (she called Bad Company “the not so nice visitors”) but I knew what she meant so we were good. Until the first time I played “Slowhand” by my great love Eric Clapton, that is. It started with side one track one, “Cocaine”, and went downhill from there. She asked me what kind of person would write a song about drugs. I thought I was helping by telling her that he was only singing about them, that he did not write the tune. That led her to wonder out loud, “Was he too high to write it, perhaps?” I moved the needle to track two which was “Wonderful Tonight” so that stopped her scolding. But when track three came on, she became irritated again. She ordered me to turn the album off because she thought “Lay Down Sally” was too suggestive for a girl my age. Then she asked where Bruce was (as in Springsteen) and told me to put his music on so she could eat dinner in peace.

A few weeks later I was listening to a Neil Young album I borrowed. All I can tell you is that when “Down By The River” came on, my grandmother decided I must have started taking drugs because how else could I listen to a man brag about shooting someone. My punishment was twofold-I was banned from bringing any new records home for the foreseeable future AND I had to sit through her music shows. That way, she told me, I would hear songs that did not resort to questionable subject matter for shock value. Since she liked country music that meant episodes of “Hee-Haw” & “The Barbara Mandrell Show”. The first one was tough-not because of the music as much as what passed for humor. Mandrell’s music, while not really a favorite of mine, was tolerable. So imagine my grandmother’s horror & dismay when Mandrell premiered her new song, a tale of a woman unapologetic about her love for a married man. Music had beat my grandmother at her censorship game. And I must say, it was not a bad song. But the original was so much better.

It was a big record for singer Luther Ingram in 1972, hitting the #3 spot on the Hot 100 chart & the #1 spot on the R&B chart that year. He was born on this day in 1937 in Jackson, TN and thanks to his deep soulful voice, he had a record deal by the time he was 18. However, he did not see any success until he was signed to a small independent label, Koko Records, in the late 1960’s. They were associated with Stax Records at that time and by 1971, Ingram had co-written the hit song, “Respect Yourself” for that label’s group, The Staple Singers. Three songwriters from Stax wrote the song that Ingram became best known for and despite covers by Mandrell, Rod Stewart, Isaac Hayes David Ruffin and others, it is Ingram’s version that I find most inspired & soulful.

And am I wrong to hunger
for the gentleness of your touch
knowing I got somebody else at home
who needs me just as much
“.

Luther Ingram

Luther Ingram circa 1972. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Luther Ingram: “(If Loving You Is Wrong) ] I Don’t Want to Be Right” (1972, written by Homer Banks, Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson).

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 124

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.

Earlier this week drummer & percussionist Jamie Oldaker passed away at age 68.  He specialized in a few different music genres including rock, blues and country.  He played with a lot of diverse artists including Bob Seger, Leon Russell, Stephen Stills and Freddie King.  But I will remember him best for all the work he did with Eric Clapton, including as one of his drummers during his Live Aid set.  You can see both men in action by watching that performance on YouTube (they did three songs:  “White Room”, “She’s Waiting” & “Layla”).  Incidentally, that show took place 35 years ago this month.  That is absolutely mind-boggling to me!!!

Clapton wrote a really sweet tribute to his former drummer on his Facebook page today, crediting Oldaker’s sound as the reason Clapton wanted to play music again after getting lost in his drug addiction for too long in the early 1970’s.  Oldaker’s magic is heard on Clapton’s 1977 album “Slowhand” & 1978’s “Backless”.  So when you hear songs like “Cocaine”, “Wonderful Tonight”, “Lay Down Sally” and today’s pick, that is Oldaker’s superb rhythm you are hearing.  Today’s song has special meaning for me because for about two months when I was a teenager, I went to sleep with this record on every night.  Every.  Single.  Night.  I found it calming, soothing and a bit of a lullaby thanks to the “la la la” chorus.  And falling asleep to Clapton’s voice was a guarantee of oh so sweet dreams.

Rest in peace, Jamie.  Thank you for all the great music and for reuniting Clapton with his guitar.  All of his fans owe you so much.

 

Eric Clapton (R) and drummer Jamie Oldaker (L) at the Live Aid concert at the John F. Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia on July 13, 1985.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Eric Clapton:  “Promises” (1978, written by Richard Feldman and Roger Linn).

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 86

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.

As all of you have realized by now, I love music.  Moreover, I am in love with it.  For me, it is one of the most beautiful & most necessary parts of life.  What would our lives sound like without it?  How would we transport back in time to special moments or years in our lives without it?

I can remember where I was the first time I heard certain songs because the impact they had on me was just massive.  They were so beautiful it actually hurt to listen to them.  The first time I heard the opening guitar riff of Derek & The Dominos “Layla” I froze.  All I could think was, “what the hell was that?”  Then the second riff followed and I thought, “My God, what the hell is that?”  I managed to stagger to the edge of my bed, sat down and stared directly into the radio as if a sign was going to pop up to tell me what this unbelievably gorgeous but heartbreaking sound was that I had never heard before.  I remember having to close my eyes and take in some deep breaths because I was in sensory overload.  And this was before Eric Clapton sang.  One. Single. Note.

Decades later and I still lose my breath whenever I listen to it.  And that includes the absolutely sublime four minute piano exit with the chirping birds at the end.  No wonder Scorsese used that part of it to end the movie “Goodfellas” with.  He is an artist who appreciates the craft of a fellow artist.  There was a reason someone declared “Clapton is god” back in the late 1960’s when this song was not even an idea yet.  He is just that  insanely talented.

As much as that song impacted me, so has today’s.  It is a beautiful ballad by a man who, initially frustrated by how long it was taking for his wife to get ready for them to go out, used that time to write a love letter to her.  No grand gestures, no gifts, no sugary metaphors, no special circumstances needed.  Just the love for his wife in an ordinary moment.  Simple.  Elegant.  Breathtakingly beautiful.  Eric Clapton has single handedly given every man alive a lesson on how it is done (although one missed it as evidenced in this commercial).  Bravo to an incredibly great man.  And to this unbelievably gorgeous song.

I feel wonderful because I see
The love light in your eyes
And the wonder of it all
Is that you just don’t realize how much I love you.”

Eric-Clapton 6 30 1990 Knebworth

Eric Clapton at the Knebworth Concert, June 1990.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric Clapton:  “Wonderful Tonight” (1977, written by Eric Clapton).

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 81

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.

For those of you who do not know the history of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, allow me to fill you in.  The two met in the mid 1960’s while Harrison was a Beatle and Clapton was in the Yardbirds.  They became closer friends as the decade progressed.  Clapton went on to join the band Cream in 1966, and wrote the song “Badge” with Harrison.  Clapton also played lead guitar on”While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that Harrison wrote for “The White Album”.  The two men stayed friends after the Beatles broke up, and Clapton played at Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh in NYC in August 1971.

While all this friendship and music was going on, Clapton began to have very strong feelings for Harrison’s wife, Pattie Boyd.  According to her autobiography and his, along with statements he has made over the years, she spurned his advances in 1970 leading him to write many songs about her on the album, “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs”, while he was a member of the band, Derek & The Dominos.  He said it also led to his heroin addiction that he would not recover from until approximately 1973.  A year later Boyd finally decided to leave Harrison because of his repeated infidelities & go to Clapton.  They were married in 1979 and Harrison harbored no ill will toward the new couple and the three remained friends.  Say it with me:  wow.

Clapton & Boyd’s love story was short-lived, however, and the two divorced in 1989.  But Boyd cemented her place in rock history as one incredible muse.  She inspired Harrison to write several love songs while he was with The Beatles including “Something”, “If I Needed Someone” and “For You Blue”.  Clapton wrote “Layla”, “Wonderful Tonight” and today’s song for her.  Let’s say it again:  wow.   I love all the music included here, but Clapton’s vocal expression of romantic pain & agony in today’s song is remarkable.  Plus I really adore the song’s title, which Clapton said came from Boyd asking him to buy a certain pair of blue jeans for her from America when he went there for a tour.  Whether you like Clapton or not, you have to admit it is one hell of a story.  And he is one hell of a musician.  Wait, how could you NOT like Clapton???

Bell bottom blues, you made me cry
I don’t want to lose this feeling
And if I could choose a place to die
It would be in your arms“.

Top:  Derek & The Dominos ((L–R: Jim Gordon (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Bobby Whitlock (keyboards & vocals) & Eric Clapton (guitar & vocals).  Bottom:  Clapton circa 1975.  Right:  Pattie Boyd & George Harrison circa 1966.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek and the Dominos:  “Bell Bottom Blues” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock).

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

Stay well.