Let’s Take A Moment Day 481

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?

Tom Petty music quote

(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.

Woody Guthrie gave us more than just some of the best folk/roots music in the history of the genre. He also gave us his son, Arlo Guthrie, who was born 74 years ago on July 10, 1947 in Coney Island, New York. Like his father, Arlo was known for protest music, including his spoken word 18 minute satire song, “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”. It was from his 1967 debut album of the same name & released when he was 20 years old. That was the same year his father died from Huntington’s Disease. The song has become an underground classic.

But Arlo’s most well known track is from his fourth album, 1972’s Hobo’s Lullaby, named for one of the folk songs his father made famous. Arlo’s cover of today’s tune became a Top 20 hit. I used to hear it a lot when I was a kid as I lay in bed in the morning not wanting to escape the cocoon of my cozy blankets.

My mother would have the radio on and I would listen to the lyrics and wonder what it was like to ride the rails rolling “past houses, farms and fields”. And when it came on in the car, I would close my eyes and pretend I was on a train on my way to some beautiful place I had yet to discover. Whether it is by car, bike, bus or train, songs about the road are pure magic. And Arlo Guthrie gave us a great one. Here’s to 100 more birthdays for Woody’s son.

And the sons of Pullman porters
And the sons of engineers
Ride their father’s magic carpets made of steel
Mothers with their babes asleep
Are rockin’ to the gentle beat
And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel
“.

Arlo

Arlo Guthrie: “City Of New Orleans” (1972, written by Steve Goodman).

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 211

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.

Four years ago today Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first time for an American citizen in 23 years. It put him in the same company with other great writers like Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner, amongst others. Dylan received this prodigious & well deserved honor “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

His road to this esteemed prize began in 1962 when he released his self titled debut album. Comparisons to one of his major influences, Woody Guthrie, were almost immediate. Dylan also drew inspiration from the blues, country music & rock & roll while he was growing up. He started playing guitar while he was in high school in Minnesota and his band covered songs by Elvis Presley & Little Richard. As much as Dylan enjoyed rock & roll music, he wanted his own music to show life in a more honest realistic way.

In 1960 he dropped out of college and soon relocated to New York City. It was there that he began performing but also where he would meet the man he called “the true voice of the American spirit”, Guthrie himself. Dylan started playing around Greenwich Village, getting great reviews for his work and playing on records by other folk singers like Carolyn Hester. It was through that collaboration that he met producer John Hammond who signed Dylan to Columbia Records. By 1962 he released his first record & legally changed his name from Robert Allen Zimmerman to Bob Dylan.

His debut album contained only two original songs but his sophomore release, “The Free Wheelin’ Bob Dylan” contained all his own material and the first of his many masterpieces, “Blowin’ In The Wind”. The record also included “I Shall Be Released”, “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”. His third album from 1964, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” cemented Dylan’s genius & his voice as the one to articulate the social issues of the era.

He took the world from his acoustic folk music to his electric guitar sound & introduced his back-up group, The Band, along the way. He influenced everyone from John Lennon to Joni Mitchell to Bruce Springsteen to Patti Smith to countless others. He has written some of the most iconic songs of the 1960’s & 1970’s and his profound words are what he is most revered and beloved for. The Nobel Prize is proof of what he has bestowed upon us all. To quote the many lines he is known for would take more than one blog post to list, so I will use one of my favorite verses from today’s song as an example of his immense talent. The phrase “national treasure” is overused sometimes, but if there is one person who defines the phrase perfectly, it is Bob Dylan.

Yes, my guard stood hard when abstract threats too noble to neglect
Deceived me into thinking I had something to protect
Good and bad, I define these terms quite clear, no doubt, somehow
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now
“.

Dylan

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Bob Dylan: “My Back Pages” (1964, written by Bob Dylan).

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

Stay well.