Tune Tuesday – What This Country Needs

It has been some time since I posted a song for Tune Tuesday.  Part of the reason for this is that I have been spending most of my drive to and from work listening to Old Radio Shows.  This week, I plugged the old iPod in and hit shuffle.  I used to keep my “To Blog” Journal next to me in the car and when I heard a song that I felt might work for Tune Tuesday, I’d jot it down. During my drive, I heard today’s song and I figured it would be a good one to write about.

Most of my radio career, I worked in Country radio.  I have had the chance to meet and interview many Country singers.  One of my favorites, is Aaron Tippin.  He broke on the seen with a great song called “You’ve Got To Stand for Something” in 1991.  Follow up songs included “Kiss This,”  “There Ain’t Nothing Wrong With the Radio,” “Working Man’s Ph. D.,” “I Got It Honest,” and the post 9/11 patriotic song “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Flies.”

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I’ve had the chance to interview him a couple of times, the first when I worked at B95 in Flint and then when I worked at 94-5 The Moose.  The first time we chatted, we chatted about his upcoming show at the Genesee County Fair that summer.  It would have been 1998, because he opened his show with today’s song, more on that in a minute.  His show at the fair was the first time I had ever seen him perform.  During one song, he puts together a children’s bike while singing and donates the bike to a local charity.  That’s the kind of guy he is – he has a heart of gold.  Later in the show, he donned a fedora and sang a Frank Sinatra song, which just blew me away!

The second time I interviewed him was in the studios at the Moose.  We chatted about his love for flying, his patriotism, support of the armed services and so much more.  I had to ask him about the Sinatra song!  He told me what a big Rat Pack fan he was and we chatted about some very cool Dean Martin Box Sets I had.  He was so gracious with his time when he was there.  Before he left, I asked if I could get an autographed picture for my dad, who was also a big fan of his music.  He asked me about my dad.  I told him how he was a Vietnam Vet and how it was my dad who introduced me to his music.  He wrote on the picture for my dad, “To Sam.  I KNOW you got it honest!  Thank you for your service!  Aaron Tippin.”  Classy guy!

On to today’s song.  As I listened to the words in the car, I got to thinking about all the politics and such going on today.  The country is so divided.  We are hearing trash talk from each party about each candidate and so on and so forth.  I remembered Aaron doing this song as his opening song at the fair.  I remember introducing him and there was a podium set up in front of the microphone.  It had one of those red, white, and blue, flowery banners on it.  When I introduced him, he comes walking out with a suit jacket on and shirt and tie.  He goes to the podium and starts singing the song like it’s his campaign speech!  I loved every damn minute of it!  If he ever DID decide to run for office, he’d have my vote!

The opening lyric of the song says so much “keep what’s good, pile up what’s bad and then I’d strike a match”.  Going “back to the basics” would really be a good idea!  And let’s face it, Washington DC could use a cool statue of Hank Sr.!  Wouldn’t it be great if all the country really needed was some “steel guitar” to bring us all together?  I love the USA and yes, I am “proud of it” and I will “always love it”.

This song is one of my top 10 most played songs on my iPod.  Thanks, Aaron, for your friendship and your music!

What This Country Needs

If I was runnin’ this country

I’d start it over from scratch

Keep what’s good, pile up what’s bad

And then I’d strike a match

Yeah, we’d go back to the basics

Of how things ought to be

Yeah, there’d be a lot of changes

If it was left up to me

[Chorus]

Cause what this country needs

Is a little more steel guitar

And put a little fiddle right in the middle

Straight out of a Texas bar

And give us a song, we can all sing along

From sea to shining sea

Be proud  of it and always love it

That’s what this country needs

(Verse 2)

Now if you want to hear about livin’

Just twist that radio dial

Til you come to a singer singin’

What life is all about

Cause you can’t deny that people still cry

They laugh and they smile and they hurt

And that’s my humble opinion y’all

You can take it for what it’s worth

[Chorus]

Yeah, turn it on up and let it ring out

Across the land of the free

They ought to build a statue of Hank Williams, Sr.

In Washington, D.C.

[Chorus]

You just be proud of it and always love it

And that’s what this country needs.

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You can stop by his website and see what he is up to and try his wine here:

https://www.aarontippin.com/

 

2 Years of Ramblings – A Reflection

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Two Years Old

Word Press informs me that this blog turned two years old yesterday!  Two years and the blogging continues….

I wrote a blog reflecting on one year and some feelings remain the same.  Rather than look back on the entire two years, I thought I would reflect on the last year, which had many milestones!  Over the past year, I have gained many more followers, so for those new followers, let me give you a brief look at why this blog exists two years later.

The beginnings

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When I began this blog, I really didn’t have any idea of what it would be.  In my head, I thought that I might blog about some things I liked.  I also knew I would probably write about some favorite memories.  I might also write tributes to important people in my life or just random thoughts to help me deal with emotions or life situations.

This blog was meant for me.  It was to be a “sort of” therapy for me.  I envisioned it as a way to keep track of thoughts, write down stories I didn’t want to forget, and occasionally just vent. I had often joked about writing an autobiography, and in a way, this blog has become “chapters”.

I never thought that anyone would actually want to read these blogs (unless, of course, the blog mentioned them)!  Yet, here I am over two years later and I have “followers” – people who actually make it a point to read this no matter what the topic.  It humbles me.

Looking Back

If I were to compare “year one” with “year two” I would say the blogs leaned a lot more happy.  They contained many happy moments.  Looking back, I see how I have grown and learned to deal with certain people, certain situations, and look at things more objectively.  I have learned to think before reacting.  I have learned to separate myself from those things that bring on stress and make me uncomfortable.  I have gotten more in touch with the person I want to be. Looking back, I see much more happiness.  Life has been very good to me over the last year.

Musical Blogs

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Much like last year, there were plenty of blogs about music.  I began to post a song every Tuesday that held some special meaning.  Maybe the song was prompted by a singer’s birthday or it was just something I heard on the radio.  I admit toward the end of the year, I neglected the Tune Tuesday feature a bit.  I hope to be a bit more consistent with it in the year ahead.  Last year’s songs ranged from Dean Martin to Hugh Laurie to the Muppets!  I look forward to this year’s selections.

Memories of the Past

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Nostalgic memories are often featured here.  Many of them stem from things I see that bring back memories.  Some writings stem from an idea I got from a fellow blogger.  Some of the topics from last year included the ice cream man, toys I remember from my childhood, breakfast cereals from my childhood, memories of band class, the Sunday comics I used to read, books I read as a child and to my boys, and the summer baseball games I played in the neighborhood.  There was also a blog about Muppets phased out of Sesame Street.

Guest Blogger

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I toyed with this idea, and my little brother stepped up to bat.  It was fun to tell him to write whatever he wanted to and see what he came up with.  I really like this idea, and I hope to get a few others to write occasional pieces for this blog.  I am very open to this idea.  Let me know if you would like to do this!  You could write about me, our friendship, or expand on something I have already written.

Friendship salutes

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This year I saluted my oldest and best friend on his birthday.  I also saluted three of my friends from school/band in one blog because they all celebrated birthdays in October. Remembering some of the funny radio stories that involved my co-host Stephanie was a blast for sure!  Some blogs were inspired by friends and their posts on Facebook.  Year three I am already planning some overdue friendship blogs.  Stay tuned!

Movies

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This year, I did a series on my favorite movies by decade.  The idea was to pick one favorite film from each year you have been alive.  I was born in 1970, so I did a blog for each decade (70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s).  I neglected to do 2010-2019, but now that we have entered the new decade, I will have to make sure to wrap that series up.  I really enjoy being able to write about my favorite films, and I found it a challenge to narrow it down to one each year.

Celebrities

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Last year I wrote about less celebrities than the year before.  I wrote about The Three Stooges, in a round about way, as I went with the boys to the Stooges Festival in Redford.  I devoted an entire blog to some of the very funny lines that Paul Lynde had from the Hollywood Squares.  The great Jack Benny got an much deserved blog on his birthday.  I also wrote about Elvis on the anniversary of his passing.  I believe that there are a few other celebrities who I could easily devote an entire blog to, I just wonder if folks would read it.

Television

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Along with movies and music, TV tends to be a topic I love to write about.  This year I wrote a blog about the classic 1966 Batman show.  I also wrote about my favorite TV shows of the 1950’s.  For Tune Tuesday, I picked Sanford and Son because of the theme song.  I really need to write about that show and some of my other favorites.  This year I blogged about the remake of All in the Family and The Jefferson’s which again brought me back to one of my original blogging ideas – “why must they remake everything!?”  I also had a chance to talk about one of my favorite Christmas TV specials this year.

Serious Topics

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While many blogs tend to focus on entertaining things, some blogs wind up being of a serious nature.  I am human.  I can’t be upbeat all the time.  I finally had the guts to write about the topic of divorce – just to see if I could do it. Death was also a topic.  I lost some close friends this year.  I also had friends of mine who lost loved ones.  Just this week alone, my buddy Chris lost his mom and a co-worker lost hers.  It’s a hard topic to write about, but I did.

Emotional Blogs

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As I look back over “year two”, there is no shortage of blogs that brought about strong emotions from me.  One of those stemmed from a photo shoot for my oldest son.  Senior pictures.  I still choke up as I think about him being a senior and graduating.  Speaking of graduation, my wife graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in April.  I felt so much pride for her as she walked that stage.  She did all the work, so why it was so emotional for me, I don’t know.  I sometimes think I can get too emotional.  Rest assured – there are more emotional blogs in the year ahead!

Rants

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The blog also consisted of many personal rants.  Some I have mentioned (TV and Movie remakes, missing Muppets, and such), but I also ranted (and whined) about having the “man cold”.  That blog brought about much teasing from friends!  I also ranted about how much I miss record stores (prompted by a record player I received for my birthday).  I know I have other “rant” topics in my blogging notebook.

A Love Story

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Sam and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary.  I chose to take the occasion of our anniversary to tell “our story”. The people who were close to us knew the story, but many didn’t.  As sort of a “love letter” to my wife, and as a way to tell just how our wonderful relationship began, I wrote a series of three blogs leading up to our anniversary.  Those blogs talked of how we met and became close friends, how we began dating and how I proposed, and then how we got married.  Those blogs were among my highest read last year.  A blog followed about our anniversary trip.  Sam makes me SO happy and I am sure there will be many more blogs about our amazing relationship.

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On Father’s Day, Sam told me that we were expecting a baby.  It was SO hard to NOT blog about that!!  We waited some time before spilling the beans with our big announcement.  A series of blogs about expecting a baby, then finding out we were having a girl, and finally sharing the name we had picked for her remain the most read blogs in the history of this blog!  The support from our friends and family has been SO amazing!  Sharing stories of the baby shower and 3D ultrasound pics has been a thrill.  We are closing in on the due date (February 16) and she can come anytime.  The nursery is ready and so are we! We anxiously await her arrival and with it, I will have plenty of things to share with you about being a dad again!

The Future

As I said last year – Not so long ago, I was told my someone once close to me to stop writing.  “Nobody wants to read about that crap!  It is a waste of time.  Stop trying to be creative. Nobody cares about what you like and don’t like!”  If I have learned anything from Facebook and this blog, it is that people do care!  People do like to read what I write!  In the end, I don’t really write for others, I write for myself.  The fact that other people read this blog and get some enjoyment out if it is a little bonus.

In future blogs, I will continue to write about things I love.  I will write about things that people want to know about.  I hope to do more Question and Answer blogs and I will continue to participate in Blogathons.  I want to write about how Autism played a role on my life, which I never seemed to get around to last year.  I also want to continue to write on movies and music. I will continue to write about things in my personal life (and how it is affected by the arrival of our beautiful daughter). I will continue to write – because I enjoy it.  The minute this is no longer satisfying and I feel that I have written all I can write … I will stop.  Until then, thank YOU for reading my “various ramblings”.  I appreciate you!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

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Tune Tuesday Remembers Jackie Wilson

From my Facebook friend, Ric Allen and the Michigan Music History page:

It was a day that powerful voice of Detroit’s “Mr. Excitement” was silenced forever .. as Michigan Music History remembers Jackie Wilson .. who sadly passed away 36 years ago today.

The iconic, soulful and energetic stage entertainer was born in Detroit on June 9th, 1934, and raised in the rough neighborhoods of Highland Park. Joining an area gang, Jackie was often in trouble… got locked up twice in juvenile homes .. where he eventually learned to box. Entering the amateur circuits around Detroit, where he met fellow boxer and future Motown chief, Berry Gordy, Jackie would become a Golden Gloves boxer, but after his mother told him ‘that’s enough boxing’, and with a record of 2-8, he turned to music.

Forming the original Falcons, he would be discovered by Johnny Otis, who assigned him to a group called the Thrillers, who later became the Royals, the same group that backed another Detroit legend, Hank Ballard, but Jackie left before they made their big hits. Joining Billy Ward & the Dominoes in 1953, replacing Clyde McPhatter,  Jackie would stay with the group for 3 years, cutting “St. Terese of the Roses”, until he decided going solo would be a better option … and it paid off big time.

Signing with Brunswick Records, Jackie would have his first hit “Reet Petite” in 1957, co-written by Berry Gordy, who would become good friends with Wilson over the years, and co-writing a few of his early hits. “Lonely Teardrops” would launch Mr. Excitement to a whole new level. Charting 54 hits from 1957-1974, his stage presence earned him the nickname “Mr. Excitement”! Jackie would sing anything from high-powered soul classics, to opera, to ballads – there wasn’t anything Jackie couldn’t sing.

While singing “Lonely Teardrops” at the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Jackie suffered a heart attack onstage and fell into a coma, of which he never recovered. Moved to a retirement community in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, where he needed constant care, the voice, the dancer and the consummate entertainer died on January 21st, 1984, at the age of only 49. Finally getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last September – we remember the iconic Jackie Wilson.

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What a voice!  What a talent!  His music was some of the best!  Here are some of my favorites:

Baby Workout

Lonely Teardrops

Doggin’ Around

Higher and Higher

Talk That Talk

Stormy Weather

That’s Why I Love You So

Reet Petite

What an amazing voice!  What an amazing talent!  GREAT songs!  He is missed!

Music – LISTEN TO IT!

I posted this on Facebook earlier, and thought I would share it here on my blog.  I am WAY behind on my Tune Tuesday posts, and I hope to correct that soon.  I know many of my followers enjoy music like I do, so I wanted to post this article I found extremely interesting.

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You should listen to music every day.  And according to a new study, you should listen to 78 minutes of it every day.

That’s the amount recommended by the British Academy of Sound Therapy for maintaining good mental health.  But you can’t just listen to one specific type of music.  There’s actually a formula.  You need:

14 minutes of “uplifting” music to feel happy.

16 minutes of “calming” music to feel relaxed.

16 minutes of whatever you choose to overcome sadness.

15 minutes of “motivating” music to aid concentration.

And another 17 minutes of whatever you choose to help manage your anger.

Even though they recommend 78 minutes, 11 minutes a day still has therapeutic benefits, and you can boost your happiness with just FIVE minutes.

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Here is a link to the entire article:  https://loudwire.com/study-music-mental-health/

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So turn up the volume!  Enjoy some music today!!

Midweek Music – Norah Jones

I missed Tune Tuesday for a couple weeks, so here is a musical blog.

In 2003, I was surfing from radio station to radio station and came across a song that “stood out” to me.  The singer had this sultry, smokey voice that peaked my curiosity.  I had no idea who she was and had never heard the song before.  I stood out to me because it sounded almost like a jazz standard, something like Frank Sinatra would have recorded.  The song was “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones.

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The served as the title track of Norah’s debut album.  In 2003, Norah was about 24 years old.  She recorded the album in late 2000-2001 (so she would have been around 21). The album was very successful, peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200.  It also was a Grammy winning album walking away with Grammy’s for Best Pop Vocal Album and Album of the Year!

The song is so simple.  Her vocal is beautiful on this song (and all of those on this album).  It is one of my favorite songs to just sit and relax with.

Come Away With Me

“Come Away With Me”


Come away with me in the night
Come away with me
And I will write you a song

Come away with me on a bus
Come away where they can’t tempt us
With their lies

I want to walk with you
On a cloudy day
In fields where the yellow grass grows knee-high
So won’t you try to come

Come away with me and we’ll kiss
On a mountaintop
Come away with me
And I’ll never stop loving you

And I want to wake up with the rain
Falling on a tin roof
While I’m safe there in your arms
So all I ask is for you
To come away with me in the night
Come away with me

Norah Jones

Another song on the album that is just amazing is “Don’t Know Why”.  The song was written by Jesse Harris and had actually appeared on an album he did in 1999.  He teamed up with Norah at some point and she recorded it.  The word is that the song on the album is actually the first and only take of the song.  Norah told performingsongwriter.com:

“It was a demo I sang for Jesse in May of 2001. That was the first take of the song on that recording, and that’s the one we used for the record. I think it was really beautiful. It was so spontaneous. That’s what made it so cool. I feel like that’s why people connected with it. We were lucky we captured some kind of spark.”

In another story I read, the bass player thought he was too loud and almost stopped the take.  He admits, he is glad that he didn’t, as he calls the take “magic”.  I would agree.  It truly is an amazing cut.  In 2003, it won Grammy’s for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

 

 

Don’t Know Why

“Don’t Know Why”

I waited ’til I saw the sun
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I left you by the house of fun
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I don’t know why I didn’t come

When I saw the break of day
I wished that I could fly away
Instead of kneeling in the sand
Catching teardrops in my hand

My heart is drenched in wine
But you’ll be on my mind
Forever

Out across the endless sea
I would die in ecstasy
But I’ll be a bag of bones
Driving down the road alone

My heart is drenched in wine
But you’ll be on my mind
Forever

Something has to make you run
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I feel as empty as a drum
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I don’t know why I didn’t come
I don’t know why I didn’t come

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The album remains one of my favorites.  She does a great cover of “Cold, Cold Heart” and other songs on it.  Whether you want to call the album Jazz, Pop, Blues or Folk, it doesn’t matter to me.  I call it – AMAZING!

Tune Tuesday – Guitar Man

It was 52 years ago today, on September 10, 1967, that Elvis Presley recorded the song “Guitar Man” in the RCA studios in Nashville.  The song was written and originally recorded by Jerry Reed (who went on to act in Smokey and the Bandit and other films).  Jerry’s version reached only #53 on the country chart that year, and Elvis would see much greater success with it.  Jerry enjoyed that success, too, because he was playing on the Elvis version.

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One of my favorite interviews I ever did was with Jerry Reed, shortly before he passed away.  I asked him about his connection with Elvis.  He told me that Elvis was in the studio trying to record the song.  He was unhappy with the way the guitar part sounded.  He kept telling the guitar player “That don’t sound like Reed’s record.”  Jerry’s version of the story is that the guitar player told Elvis, “If you want it to sound like Reed’s record – you better get Reed in here!”  (Another version of the story says that Elvis said, “Get me that redneck picker who’s on the original tune!”)

Jerry told me that he was out fishing or something and someone from his office was finally able to reach him by phone and said that Elvis wanted him in the studio.  Jerry said that he hadn’t shaved in days and walked into the studio looking a bit shaggy.  He said Elvis looked at him and said, “Lord, have mercy!  What is that?!”  Jerry went on to tell me, That he never thought of himself as a Nashville recording musician. He called himself a stylist. He said he had his own way of tuning.  He said “they were trying to record Guitar Man, and they couldn’t make it feel like my record.” He said that those players use picks, and he uses his fingers.  He said that once he “wound up his guitar” and got it all set he told me that “as soon as we hit the intro, you could see Elvis’ eyes light up he knew we had it”. (Jerry also played on other songs in that session including Big Boss Man)  It was so cool to hear Jerry tell this story!

In 1981, the song was re-recorded with Elvis’ vocal left intact.  That version went to #1 on the country charts.

Here is the song from 52 years ago:

Here is Jerry Reed’s original version:

Guitar Man

Guitar Man”

Well I quit my job down at the carwash I left my mama a goodbye note
By sundown I’d left Kingston with my guitar up under my coat
I hitchhiked all the way down to Memphis got a room at the YMCA
For the next three weeks I went a hauntin’ them night clubs
Lookin’ for a place to play
Well I thought my pickin’ would set ’em on fire
But nobody wanted to hire a guitar man

Well I nearly bout starved to death down in Memphis
I run out of money and luck
So I bummed me a ride down to Macon Georgia
On a overloaded poultry truck
I thumbed on down to Panama City
Started checkin’ out some of them all night bars
Hopin’ I can make myself a dollar makin’ music on my guitar
Got the same old story at them all night piers
There ain’t no room around here for a guitar man
We don’t need a guitar man son

So I slept in hobo jungles bummed a thousand miles of track
Till I found myself in Mobile Alabama at a club they call Big Jack’s
A little four piece band was jammin’ so I took my guitar and I sat in
I showed ’em what a band would sound like with a swingin’ little guitar man
Show ’em son

So if you ever take a trip down to the ocean find yourself down round Mobile
Well make it on out to the club called Jack’s if you got a little time to kill
Just follow that crowd of people you’ll wind up out on his dance floor
Diggin’ the finest little five piece group up and down the Gulf of Mexico
And guess who’s leadin’ that five piece band
Why wouldn’t you know it’s that swingin’ little guitar man yeah

Tune Tuesday – Ain’t No Sunshine

As summer quickly (and sadly) draws to a close, it got me to thinking about the one thing I’ll miss most about summer – sunshine. For those who live where the sun is always shining (or at least most of the time), you really cannot comprehend just how difficult the winter months in Michigan are. While I love Autumn, I miss the sunshine as we start to see it less and less.

The lack of sunshine that is on the horizon in the months ahead, made me think of this great R&B song from Bill Withers. It’s been covered by SO many people including Nancy Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Wynonna Judd and many more, but Bill Wither’s version is the gold standard! It can be found on his 1971 album “Just As I Am.”

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Bill wrote the song after being inspired while watching the movie The Days of Wine and Roses with Lee Remick and Jack Lemmon. He said in an interview that the characters Remick and Lemmon played: “They were both alcoholics who were alternately weak and strong. It’s like going back for seconds on rat poison. Sometimes you miss things that weren’t particularly good for you. It’s just something that crossed my mind from watching that movie, and probably something else that happened in my life that I’m not aware of.”

This was his first hit. He was in the navy for 9 years and after getting out, he worked in a factory making parts for airplanes. It was during this time that he met Booker T. Jones (of Booker and the MG’s). Booker brought in some amazing musicians (Donald “Duck” Dunn, Stephen Stills, and himself) to play on the track. Jones also produced the album.

One of the most recognizable parts of the song is where he repeats the words “I know” over and over and over. That was not they way he intended the song to be. he had hoped to write a verse to go there. Withers explained in an interview: “I wasn’t going to do that, then Booker T. said, ‘No, leave it like that.’ I was going to write something there, but there was a general consensus in the studio. It was an interesting thing because I’ve got all these guys that were already established, and I was working in the factory at the time. Graham Nash was sitting right in front of me, just offering his support. Stephen Stills was playing and there was Booker T. and Al Jackson and Donald Dunn – all of the MGs except Steve Cropper. They were all these people with all this experience and all these reputations, and I was this factory worker just sort of puttering around. So when their general feeling was, ‘Leave it like that,’ I left it like that.”

(Keith story: The first time I played this record at WKSG in Detroit, I was in the bathroom peeing when the “I know” part started repeating. I was standing at the urinal listening to the song over the speaker and I thought “the record is skipping!” I was playing this off a cart (which meant that it was already recorded and there was no way the song was skipping, unless it was recorded that way!). I remember running out of the bathroom and through the halls anyway …. by the time I got to the studio, the song was continuing ….skip free!)

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The song won the Grammy for Best R&B song in 1972 and went all the way to #3 on the charts. While English teachers must cringe when they hear the improper grammar (“ain’t no” instead of “isn’t any”), it worked in this song (and also Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough).

“Ain’t No Sunshine”

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
It’s not warm when she’s away
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And she’s always gone too long
Anytime she goes away

Wonder this time where she’s gone
Wonder if she’s gone to stay
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away

And I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know, I know, I know, I know
I know, I know
Hey, I oughtta leave young thing alone
But ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away
Anytime she goes away

Tune Tuesday – That’s Amore

It was 66 years ago today that Dean Martin stood in the recording studios at Capitol Records to record a song that he will forever be associated with – That’s Amore.  In 1953, Dean recorded it with Dick Stabile and his orchestra.  The session went from 8:30pm to 12:30am.  Also recorded at that session was the flip side of the record, a song called “You’re the Right One”.

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The song first appeared in the Martin and Lewis movie, The Caddy, which was released by Paramount Pictures three days earlier.  The song was written by Jack Brooks (who wrote the lyrics) and Harry Warren (who wrote the music).  According to Jerry Lewis, the writers of The Caddy left Dean very little to do.  The relationship between Dean and Jerry was already a bit strained.  According to Jerry, he went behind Dean’s back and said that he needed “a hit song” for Dean to sing in the movie – and That’s Amore was it.  Jerry said he paid about $30,000 for the song.  The song received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song (it lost to Doris Day’s ‘Secret Love’).  It reached #2 on the charts.

The video below is taken from the Capitol Collector’s Series, which includes some playful studio chatter from Dean before the take.  Enjoy.

That’s Amore

“That’s Amore”

(In Napoli where love is king
When boy meets girl here’s what they say)

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That’s amore
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine
That’s amore
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing “Vita bella”
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella

When the stars make you drool just like a pasta e fazool
That’s amore
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You’re in love
When you walk in a dream but you know you’re not dreaming, signore
Scusa mi, but you see, back in old Napoli
That’s amore

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie
That’s amore (That’s amore)
When the world seems to shine like you’ve had too much wine
That’s amore (That’s amore)
Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, ting-a-ling-a-ling
And you’ll sing “Vita bella” (Vita bell—Vita bella)
Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a gay tarantella (lucky fella)

When the stars make you drool just like a pasta e fazool
That’s amore (That’s amore)
When you dance down the street with a cloud at your feet
You’re in love
When you walk in a dream but you know you’re not dreaming, signore
Scusa mi, but you see, back in old Napoli
That’s amore (amore)
That’s amore

 

Tune Tuesday – Music Box Dancer

I have blogged in the past about our summer trips to Caseville, MI.  Those trips remain some of my fondest memories.  I heard a song on 70’s on 7 on Sirius XM last week that will forever have a Caseville connection for me – Music Box Dancer.

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There was a brief period of time when my grandparents didn’t have a TV at the trailer.  During this time we had an AM/FM radio with a cassette deck in it.  When we were not listening to Johnny Paycheck’s “Greatest Hits Volume II”, Willie Nelson’s “Stardust”, or some other mix cassette that my dad recorded, we were listening to the radio.  As I recall, there were not too many stations that we could actually get on our little radio.  One of them was a pop station and it always seemed to be playing this piano instrumental.

Frank Mills was a Canadian musician who wrote and recorded Music Box Dancer in 1974.  It was not a hit until it was re-released in 1978.  The story is interesting.  Mills was resigned to Polydor Records in 1978, and a new song was released with Music Box Dancer as the B-side.  The song was sent to easy listening stations in Canada, but by mistake one copy made it to a Canadian pop station (CFRA-AM).  The program director played the A-side and couldn’t figure out why it was sent to his station.  He listened to the B-Side (Music Box Dancer) and liked it and added it to the play list. By June, it was the station’s #1 song on the play list. After several months, Polydor Records decided to release the album and single in the US.  It went to #3 in the US and it was Frank Mills’ only Top 40 US hit.

We would turn on the radio while we sat in the kitchen or living room at the trailer.  We’d hear Reunited by Peaches and Herb, Heart of Glass by Blondie, Hot Stuff by Donna Summer and Frank Mills Music Box Dancer.  It was such a simple song with a repetitive melody and we loved it.  My brother and I would listen to it with our Aunt Jodi and when it was done, we’d start surfing the radio in hopes of hearing it again.  We eventually got smart and I think we recorded it off the radio so we could play it whenever we wanted.

Music Box Dancer

Tune Tuesday – Shake a Tail Feather

I miss a good movie soundtrack album!  There was a time where soundtracks from movies were just as big as the movie itself.  If I had to pick my Top 10 movie soundtracks, The Blues Brothers would be in the Top 5!

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The Blues Brothers Band was made up of some of the most amazing players – Matt “Guitar” Murphy, “Blue” Lou Marini, Steve “The Colonel” Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Alan “Mr. Fabulous” Rubin, and Tom “Bones” Malone.  The movie itself featured cameos from some of the greatest R&B artists – Aretha Franklin, Cab Calloway, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, and Ray Charles.  Many of the artists sang songs they were known for (Aretha – Think, John Lee – Boom Boom, Cab – Minnie the Moocher), but Ray performed today’s Tune Tuesday song – “Shake a Tail Feather.”

The song was originally done in 1963 by the Five Du-Tones.  The bigger hit was done a few years later (in 1967) by James and Bobby Purify and it reached #25 on the charts.  Ray Charles’ version with the Blues Brothers, in my opinion, is the best version.  First of all, you have the vocals of Ray Charles!  They call him “the Genius”, and he is!  You have the playful vocals from Jake and Elwood, and the great horn line from the band.  It’s just a damn fun song!

For the video, I was lucky enough to find the actual movie clip.  Murph says the “action” on the keyboard isn’t that great.  Ray comes out to show them that there’s nothing wrong with “the action on this piano” and the song begins!  In the song there are references to many of the old dances from the 50’s and 60’s and the crowd dancing outside the music store does those dances along with the song.

Take it away, Brother Ray …..

Shake A Tail Feather

Well I heard about the fellow you’ve been dancing with
All over the neighborhood
So why didn’t you ask me baby
Or didn’t you think I could?

Well I know that the boogaloo is out of sight
But the Shingaling’s the thing tonight
But if that was you and me a now baby
I would have shown you how to do it right
Do it right (U-huh)
Do it right (Do it right)
Dot it right
Do it right
Do it right
Ah

Twist it, shake it shake it shake it shake it baby
Hey we gonna loop de loop
Shake it out baby
Hey we gonna loop de la
Bend over let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Bend over let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Come on let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Come on let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Ah

Twist it, shake it shake it shake it shake it baby
Hey we gonna loop de loop
Shake it out baby
Hey we gonna loop de la
Bend over let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Bend over let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Come on let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Come on let me see ya shake your tailfeather
Ah

Come on, come on baby
Come on, yeah, come on babe, all right

Do the Twist
Do the Fly
Do the Swim
And do the Bird
Well do the Duck
Ah, and do the Monkey
Hey hey, Watusi
And a what about the Frug
Do the Mashed Potato
What about the Boogaloo
Oh, the Bony Marony
Come on let’s do the Twist
Ah

Twist it, shake it shake it shake it shake it baby