Tune Tuesday – The Distance Between You and Me

I follow quite a few blogs that focus on classic movies, classic TV, and great music.  One of the bloggers I follow posted a bit about Dwight Yoakam and his great song “Ain’t That Lonely Yet.”  You can see that blog at the following link:

Dwight Yoakam – Ain’t That Lonely Yet

When I am driving in to work, or at work listening to my iPod or Pandora, I will jot down songs that I think I might want to post for Tune Tuesday.  The day he posted his Dwight song, I had been listening to my iPod and heard one of my favorites, which is today’s tune.

distance 2

In 1990, Dwight Yoakam released his fourth album “If There Was a Way”.  It produced 5 top 40 singles – “Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose” (#11), “You’re the One” (#5), “Nothing’s Changed Here” (#15), “It Only Hurts When I Cry” (#7), and “The Heart That You Own” (#18).  He also released a duet with Patty Loveless called “Send a Message to My Heart” which reached #47.  The album also includes some great cuts that never played on the radio:  The uptempo “Since I Started Drinking Again”, the bluesy title track, a cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together” and the opening song – “The Distance Between You and Me”

Distance

The song opens with a lone guitar lick, and then goes into a classic country riff.  A teacher I had in high school used to say country songs always had an “un-chicka un-chicka un-chicka” beat to them….LOL.  When you listen to it, you will know what I mean.

Dwight wrote this song.  I’m not sure what his inspiration was, but I LOVE the illustrations he paints for us with the lyrics.  He is in a dead relationship.  They two are co-existing.  They are two people who could not be farther apart.  How far?  The lyrics explain.

The Distance Between You and Me

Take a rock tie a rope
Throw it down in the sea
Let it fall to the bottom
Nobody knows how deep
Stare real hard through the water
And you might just perceive
The distance between you and me
The distance between you and me

Take a map of the world
And measure with your hand
All of the miles
Across all of the land
Write it down add it up
And you might understand
About the distance between you and me
The distance between you and me

I lie awake and hear you breathing
Only inches from me in this bed
Not much space but it’s all that we needed
To live alone now that our love is dead

I lie awake and hear you breathing
Only inches from me in this bed
Not much space but it’s all that we needed
To live alone now that our love is dead

Climb the Earth’s tallest mountain
To where it reaches the sky
Take a gun fire a bullet
Straight up out of sight
Where it stops in the heaven
Well that ain’t half as high
As the distance between you and me
The distance between you and me

I love the haunting final chord at the end of this song!  I saw Dwight in concert a few times and he really is great on stage.  I actually had the chance to meet him once and it was … weird. Everyone with Meet and Greet passes all went into his tour bus.  We all sat down and he exited what must have been his bedroom on there.  He walked around to each of us. Shook our hand. Looked directly into our eyes and asked our name. He then repeated our name and said, “Hi,(your name). I’m Dwight.” The whole time I was thinking, “Dude! You have been making records for years…..you have a ton of hits…..we all have tickets to your show….we know who YOU are!!” He was very gracious and signed autographs and took pictures, but it was one of the most awkward meet and greets I have ever been though.

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Tune Tuesday – How Long

HOW LONG1

If you are like me, you have songs that when you hear them on your MP3 player, or your iPod, as soon as they end, you play them again.  I have quite a few of them.  I would wager a guess that these songs will end up here in future Tune Tuesday blogs.  Today’s song is definitely one that I play at least twice.

I was working in country radio when this song hit my desk.  I knew that the Eagles, whose last studio album had been 28 years earlier, had recorded a new album.  I was surprised that this song was shipped to our station as a song that could possibly make the playlist.  While the Eagles certainly had a “southern” sound, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I popped it into the CD player and began to listen to it.  I remember liking the opening guitar lick.  I remember thinking that the vocals were strong and then the chorus hit.  Those amazing Eagles harmonies were there and sounded amazing!  Solid Eagles.  I fell in love with it and when I talked to my program director, he thought the same thing.  It stood out amongst the other songs, and we were ok with that.

What’s neat about the song is that The Eagles had been performing it at concerts in the early 70’s.  The song was written by JD Souther, and he wanted to record it for his own album, so the Eagles never recorded it.  Souther and the Eagles were good friends, and JD co-wrote some of their hits (New Kid In Town, Heartache Tonight, and The Best of My Love). He released his version of the song on his 1972 Album, John David Souther.

Fast forward to 2007.  Glenn Frey said that his kids were watching a clip of the Eagles on a special called Pop Gala (in Holland) from 1974.  As his kids laughed at how long his hair was, the band was playing How Long.  Glenn’s wife told him that the band should record the song stating that it was “classic Eagles.”  He agreed that it would fit right in with what they were recording for their album Long Road Out of Eden.

In 2008, the song won a Grammy Award for “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal”.  It was the group’s first Grammy since 1979.  1979 was also when they had recorded their last studio album.

Play it twice!  I know I will ….

How Long – The Eagles

Like a blue bird with his heart removed, lonely as a train
I’ve run just as far as I can run
If I never see the good old days shinin’ in the sun
I’ll be doin’ fine and then some
How long, how long
Woman will you weep
How long, how long
Rock yourself to sleep
Well I been doin’ time in lonesome prison, where the sun don’t shine
Just outside, the freedom river runs
Out there in that shiny night, with blood hounds on your mind
Don’t you know it’s the same sad situation?
How long, how long
Woman will you weep
How long, how long
Rock yourself to sleep
Everybody feels alright you know, I heard some poor fool say (somebody ooh)
Everyone is out there on the loose
Well I wish I lived in the land of fools, no one knew my name
But what you get is not quite what you choose
Tell me, how long, how long
Woman will you weep
How long, how long
Rock yourself to sleep
How long, how long
Muddy River runs so deep
How long, how long
Good night baby, rock yourself to sleep
Sleep tight baby, rock yourself to sleep
B-b-b, bye bye baby, rock yourself to sleep
HOW LONG

Tune Tuesday – Don’t Let Go

When I first started working in radio, it was at an oldies station.  My dad, who was my biggest musical influence, took advantage of the fact that we had an extensive library and asked me to throw some of his favorites on a cassette for him.  This was how I was introduced to the music of Roy Hamilton.

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Roy Hamilton would have been 90 today.  He started singing in his church choir and eventually landed a record deal at Columbia Records, which quickly sent him to their new subsidiary label, Epic.  He recorded You’ll Never Walk Alone from the musical Carousel, Ebb Tide, and an amazing version of Unchained Melody (which reached number 1 on the R&B charts).

In mid-1956, he developed a lung condition which forced him to announce that he was retiring from the music business.  When was well enough, he got back into show business, but there had been quite a change in music – rock and roll music was big and the standards he was recording before his retirement were on the way out.  In 1957, Epic Records coaxed him into recording “Don’t Let Go”.  The song was produced by Otis Blackwell, who had just produced “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up” for Elvis Presley.  It became a top 15 record for him and the song is said to be the first Top 40 record recorded in stereo.

He was Epic’s first major star and they treated him very well.  He released 16 albums for them.  He was a big influence to singers like Sam Cooke and Elvis.  In 1969, while at home, he suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage.  He spent a week in a coma before his family took him off life support.  He passed away at the young age of 40.

Working at WHND Honey Radio, we played music exclusively from the first decade of Rock and Roll.  I got to play quite a bit of Roy Hamilton’s music.  You Can Have Her and Don’t Let Go still sound fresh and fun today.  His voice is powerful and even though it shined on ballads, I am partial to his uptempo stuff.  In honor of his 90th, birthday, here’s Don’t Let Go….

ROY HAM

 

 

Tune Tuesday – Feelin’ Good

One of my followers asked how picked my songs for Tune Tuesday.  To be honest, I have no rhyme or reason for the songs that end up here.  Last week, I wrote about Marvin Gaye for his birthday, and the week before that it was Nat King Cole for his birthday.  Today, it just happens to be a song I heard while in my car this afternoon.  It also happens to be a song that fits where I am in my life right now.

In the past year I have been blogging, I have written much about weeding out negativity, and the positive changes that have happened in my life.  I have written about reaching a point where I thought of ending my life, only to come through dark times to find true love and true happiness.  This song totally fits where I am now –  Feeling Good!

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The Song

The song was written by singer, songwriter, and actor Anthony Newley for the musical “The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd”.  Despite being covered by many artists (including Traffic, The Pussycat Dolls, George Michael, Joe Bonamassa, and John Coltrane – just to name a few), prior to Michael Buble’s version, the best known version was by the amazing Nina Simone. She recorded it for her 1965 “I Put a Spell on You” album.  Her version was never released as a single, but became known because of a Volkswagen advertisement in 1994.

Michael Buble’

I was first introduced to his music from a friend of mine who worked at All Access.  Kelly knew I was a big fan of the “Great American Songbook”, and the music of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Billie Holiday, and other great vocalists.  We spent a lot of time talking music.  She sent me a copy of Buble’s debut album and I was pretty impressed.  I was not only impressed with his vocals, but I was impressed with his band and the arrangements of the songs.  When his next album, “It’s Time”, hit stores, I made sure to pick it up.

Feelin’ Good is the opening cut from the “It’s Time” album.  It was released as a single, coincidentally this month in 2005.  The song opens with a slow fade up, and Michael’s vocal.  It’s soft and smooth and then the band kicks in with a big bass line, a sloppy and bluesy brass line, and you are hooked.  Everything about the arrangement of this song is perfect.  I love Nina’s version, but after you hear Buble’s version, it sounds “unfinished”.  It sounds weak and like it needs a few more musicians.

Buble’ acknowledges the influences of Dean, Frank, Tony Bennett, and continues to keep those wonderful songs alive (as well as some originals of his own).  Many people think of him and think of his Christmas music, which is sad.  He has SO many great songs.

As I reflect on where I am now in my life, I have found a happiness that I never knew I could experience.  I have found a love that many only dream about.  Ask me how I am feeling, and I will tell you I am “Feeling Good!”

Feeling Good

Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by
You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good
I’m feeling good
Fish in the sea
You know how I feel
River running free
You know how I feel
Blossom on the tree
You know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good
Dragonfly out in the sun,
You know what I mean, don’t you know
Butterflies all havin’ fun,
You know what I mean
Sleep in peace when the day is done, that’s what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world
For me
For me
Stars when you shine
You know how I feel
Scent of the pine
You know how I feel
Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
It’s a new life
For me
And I’m feeling good
I’m feeling good
I’m feeling so good
I feel so good

 

Tune Tuesday – Pride and Joy

The song in my head on this Tune Tuesday is a two-minute masterpiece from one of the greatest voices to come out of Motown – Marvin Gaye.  Yesterday would have been his 80th birthday.  In his short, but amazing career, he had many hits which included I’ll Be Doggone, What’s Going On?, Sexual Healing, Can I Get a Witness?, and, of course, I Heard It Through the Grapevine.  I could have easily picked any one of those today, but instead, I chose one of his early (and sometimes overlooked) classics – Pride and Joy.

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The song opens with a “question and answer” between the bass guitar and piano and from the moment Marvin begins singing, the bass and the piano bounce along with him as he sings.  The bass bounces along with the piano just seems to be playing around in the background, and it just sounds fun.

The song was recorded in 1962 and released in 1963.  The instrumentation on the song is performed by The Funk Brothers.  The background singers on the song are none other than Martha and the Vandellas, who would go on to have great success a few weeks later with their song “Heatwave.”   The song is soulful, playful, and perfect.

Lyrically, the song is a simple love song (supposedly written for Marvin’s girlfriend at the time Anna Gordy – Motown founder Barry Gordy’s sister).  Marvin’s vocal is spot on.  The “question and answer” that started with the bass and piano now is exchanged by Marvin and the background singers.  There is almost a “gospel” feel to the song.  I love how Marvin can bounce from higher notes to lower ones and make it sound so effortless. The song would go on to become Marvin’s first Top 10 record.

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“Pride And Joy”

You are my pride and joy
And I just love you, love you darlin’
Like a baby boy loves his toy
You’ve got kisses sweeter than honey
And I work seven days a week to givea you all my money
And that’s why you’re my pride and joy

And I’m tellin’ the world
You’re my (pride and joy) pride and joy (pride and joy)
I believe I’m your (baby boy) baby boy (baby boy)
And I know you’re mine (pride and joy)
My pride and joy (pride and joy)
Yeah baby (baby boy) Yeah baby (baby boy)

You, you are my pride and joy
And a love like mine, yeah baby
It’s something nobody can ever destroy
You pick me up (pick me up) when I’m down (when I’m down)
And when we go out, pretty baby
You shake up the whole town (whole town)
And that’s why (that’s why)
I believe you’re my (you’re my) pride and joy (pride and joy)

(Pride and joy)[x4] (baby boy)[x2]
(Pride and joy) My pride and joy (pride and joy)
And I love you like a baby loves his toy (pride and joy)

Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah (pride and joy) My pride and joy (pride and joy)

Oh Oh (pride and joy) In the morning (pride and joy)

And I’m your baby boy (baby boy)(song fades)

 

Tune Tuesday – Nat King Cole

 

nat_king_cole-studio_bw_4-c_capitol_photo_archives_0While driving into work this week, I heard part of a special on Sirius XM honoring Nat King Cole in honor of his 100th birthday.  The part that I heard was from a special done on WNEW radio in New York.  It was some DJ interviewing Nat, having him sing songs and play piano.  For Tune Tuesday, since his 100th birthday would have been March 17th, I thought I would share a few of my favorite Nat King Cole songs. I guess this blog should be titled Tune(s) Tuesday.

Before I post my favorites, let me say that Nat King Cole was truly one of the great voices in American music.  He was first known for being a jazz pianist (he had some classical training), and then began singing with the Nat King Cole Trio. His dad was a Baptist pastor and one of Nat’s early hits “Straighten Up and Fly Right” was inspired by one of his dad’s sermons.

In the 1950’s he became a solo performer and had many pop hits.  When Rock and Roll music came on the scene in the mid-1950’s, his career began to dwindle, but not for long.  He, like many, poked fun of Rock and Roll and often did a song in his live act called “Mr. Cole Won’t Rock and Roll”.  In the 60’s he reached the charts again with a couple hits.

He was the first African American performer to host his own TV Variety show in 1956. He had many stars on the show, but the lack of a national sponsor led to the demise of the show.  He appeared in movies Istanbul, China Gate, St. Louis Blues (playing blues legend WC Handy), and Cat Ballou (with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin).

Nat was a very heavy smoker.  He often credited smoking for giving his voice the unique baritone sound that it had.  He even mentioned in the special I heard on Sirius XM how important it was to smoke, and even told the host that if smoked more, it would improve his singing voice.  Sadly, smoking is what led to his early death.  In 1964, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  It was only a few months after the diagnosis that he succumbed to the disease (February 15, 1965) at the very young age of 45.

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Route 66 

With the Nat King Cole Trio – probably my favorite version of this song.

Answer Me My Love

Beautiful song about a guy who has lost his one and only.

Mona Lisa

Yes, it’s about the painting.

When I Fall In Love

WOW!  One of his best right here.  I could listen to this over and over

Autumn Leaves

One of those songs from Nat that you rarely get to hear.  It is really a wonderful arrangement and pretty song.

A Blossom Fell

My great uncle actually recorded this song when I was a kid at some local recording studio.  That was how I was introduced to this song.  I often think of him when I hear this song.

Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

This one always reminds me of my days at Honey Radio.  We often played summer songs when the season changed and this was one of those songs.  It’s a feel good song – gotta love the banjo!

Smile 

A song that was written by the great Charlie Chaplin, this is one of those perfect songs.  Many have recorded this song, but Nat’s version remains the one that remains my favorite version.

L-O-V-E

Nat’s last recording.  It can be heard in many movie soundtracks and one of his best!

Nat had so many wonderful songs.  He was a talent that was taken from us much too soon.  Give a listen to his other hits Orange Colored Sky, Ramblin’ Rose, The Very Thought of You, I Love You for Sentimental Reasons, Unforgettable, and, of course, The Christmas Song.

Happy 100th Birthday, Nat!  Thanks for the music and melodies!

Tune Tuesday – Let Them Talk

In a new feature (which I may or may not continue), I want to feature some tunes I like once a week.  What better day of the week to do it than on Tuesday?

Many know award-winning actor Hugh Laurie for his role as Dr. Gregory House on House, MD (his American accent always blew me away as I watched, because I knew he was English).  He was half of the comedy duo of Fry and Laurie with Stephen Fry.  He appeared on the show Jeeves and Wooster, the films Sense and Sensibility, 101 Dalmatians, and Stuart Little, and had authored a book (The Gun Seller).  He is also a very talented musician.

Today’s tune is the title track from his first album – Let Them Talk.  The album is subtitled “A Celebration of New Orleans Blues” and is just fantastic.  His piano work is just marvelous and he sings with feeling.  The period instruments and guest vocalists add to the feel of some great blues music.

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I picked this song for a few reasons.  First, I love the attitude of the song – “Let them talk!”  In my life recently, there are way too many people who are talking about me, my life, and what’s going on in it.  It is easy to get caught up in wondering what people think … but in reality, who cares?!  LET THEM TALK!  Maybe they are talking because they see how much better things are for me.  Maybe they are jealous.  Maybe they are unhappy with their own lives and aren’t happy unless they are talking smack about others.  I don’t know.  Whatever the case, LET THEM TALK!

Another reason I love this song is that it is a guy singing about just how wonderful it is to be with his special someone.  As you can tell by my last few blogs, I feel the same way!  I want to yell at the top of my lungs how much I love my wife!  I want the world to know how special she is and how special our relationship is!

The final reason I love this song is the simplicity of it musically.  A voice and a piano (and a few minor instruments).  It is so stripped down and yet it causes you to get lost in the song.  Give it a listen and enjoy:

Let Them Talk – Hugh Laurie

Just let them talk
If they want to
Talk don’t bother me
I’m gonna keep on to the whole wide world knows
That I really love you
I really love you so

Let them whisper
For they know know
What’s between you and I
I’m gonna keep on
I’m gonna keep on loving you
’till the day that I die

They tried to break up our romance
They didn’t stay a chance
We have the kind of love that’s so strong
We’ll be together from now on

They say that gossip comes from the devil’s workshop
And only true love can make it stop
I’m gonna keep on
I’m gonna keep on loving you
’till the day that I die

Oh they’re envious of everything that we do
But I wanna say it’s wonderful
When you love someone
And that someone
And that someone, really loves you

And that someone
And that someone, really loves you

Yeah that someone
And that someone, really loves you

Yeahhh

And that someone
Yeah that someone, really loves you