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Mediterranean Blues

While not exactly my wheelhouse for music, my being more a product of classic rock and pop of the 70’s and 80’s (though I will say Stevie Ray Vaughan, British blues have been among my favorites for years, and Joe Bonamassa and Keb’ Mo’ more recently), I thought I’d get a bit of the blues.  This will not be a comprehensive coverage of the history of the blues, or even modern blues artists, but more a review of one of the most spectacular music events I have had the pleasure of experiencing, the music on board the Norwegian Jade out of Athens, Greece on its sailing for Keeping the Blues Alive Mediterranean II, heretofore called the Blues Cruise.

Blues is a musical genre and form originating in the Deep South of the US in the 1860s by African Americans with roots in African-American work songs and spirituals.  Subgenres include country blues such as Delta blues and Piedmont blues, as well as urban blues styles such as Chicago blues and West Coast blues, evolving to blues rock, with influences over the years on rock, southern rock, and R&B (Rhythm & Blues).  Delta blues, named for the Mississippi Delta, dominated by guitar, especially slide guitar, harmonica, and soulful vocals, perhaps best exemplified by Robert Johnson, and eventually Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and more recently Keb’ Mo’.  Piedmont Blues, named for the Southeast region from Richmond, VA to Atlanta, GA, is characterized by a guitar fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supporting a syncopated melody picked with the forefinger and other fingers.  The sound is almost ragtime in style, popularized by Blind Boy Fuller, Guy Davis, Ry Cooder, Doc Watson, Keb’ Mo’ as well.

More urban, modern blues is characterized by Electric blues, with electrified instruments, often electric (instead of upright) bass, keyboards, electric guitar, often with distortion, including Chicago blues, with champions Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, and Buddy Guy.  West Coast often have strong piano-dominated sounds with jazzy guitar solos, originated from Texas blues players who relocated to California in the 1940, perhaps best exemplified by T Bone Walker.  Strongly influenced by early Electric blues were the cadre of British blues acolytes, including acts such as John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Animals.  Such acts paved the way for the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Vaughan/Fabulous Thunderbirds, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, influenced Southern Rock such as the Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Jeff Healey, and more recently acts like White Stripes, Derek Trucks, Joe Bonamassa, and now the young phenom Toby Lee.

B.B. King is perhaps the face of American blues, with a career spanning 8 decades.  He introduced a style of guitar soloing with fluid string bending, vibrato, and staccato picking that influenced many later blues electric guitar players, like Joe Bonamassa, who opened for B.B. at the age of 12.  

Joe’s tribute to B.B. King:

Joe Bonamassa performing at just the age of 12:

Joe has taken on the mantle of Blues guitar in the U.S., not only being perhaps the best blues guitarist on the face of the planet, but also establishing his Keeping the Blues Alive foundation, with a mission:

Our mission is to conserve the art of music in schools by funding projects, scholarships, and grants that preserve music education for the next generation. Every week, we donate to a school in need of instruments, sheet music, supplies and more in the effort to uphold the rich culture and history of the Blues as a true American art form 

KTBA Foundation

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One of their fundraisers for the foundation includes his Keeping the Blues Alive At Sea cruises, with 6 Caribbean (with a 7th upcoming 03/23, embarking from Miami porting in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic) and now 2 Mediterranean cruises.  Arranged and coordinated by Sixthman, an organization that creates memorable music festival experiences on sea and sand, cruise popular acts have included John Hiatt, Blues Traveler, Bruce Hornsby, Eric Gale, Los Lobos, Monte Montgomery, Buddy Guy, George Thorogood, and Peter Frampton.  But if our cruise is any indicator, the less popular acts are equally fantastic.

I’m tempted to compare the KTBA-MII Blues Cruise to other music festivals I have attended, including Live Aid – Philadelphia ’85, as well as the serveral SoulFest Christian music festivals I attended in New Hampshire. While Live Aid was the concert of the decade in the 80’s, if not of the century, Woodstock notwithstanding, featuring everyone who was anyone in the 80’s, as a 15 hour concert in the heat of an open stadium at RFK, it wasn’t as relaxing, comfortable, and intimate as the Blues Cruise. And roughing it in the mountains of New Hampshire was always a much anticipated event with my boys and their friends and other youth from our church, it wasn’t exactly cruise ship accommodations, and beyond the headliners there was a much more significant drop-off in talent, though we did always manage to find some lesser known gems. While headliners on the Blues Cruise, such as Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’, and Tommy Emmanuel may be what brought many of us on the ship, though there were those well acquainted with the likes of Samantha Fish, King King, Walter Trout, Terry Reid, and Marc Broussard, the talent of even lesser known acts was just unbelievable.

The combination of cruise ship accommodations, cuisine, ports, and multiple atmospheres in which to listen to music made it an unparalleled event. Music on the Norwegian Jade (the same ship I had cruised on 6 years prior from Venice to Split and Dobrovnik, Croatia, and Athens and Santorini, Greece) could be heard in a larger environ on the main stage on the Pool Deck, somewhat of a dance party at sea, as well as in the cruise ship Stardust Theater, or for a more intimate environment the Spinnaker Lounge, Bliss Lounge, Magnum’s Champagne and Wine Bar, or even the cruise ship Atrium. But even the Stardust Theater became an intimate venue with a late night Campfire Session, among my favorite concerts of the trip.

Though our cruise embarked from Athens, Greece, we went on a pre-cruise adventure in Crete. Our stay at the Casa Delfino, a boutique hotel in the Old Port of Chania, was the perfect luxurious spa atmosphere to relax before the cruise. The staff insured that our stay was exceptional, including the concierge saving the day helping us secure a rental car and planning our day exploring the northwest countryside of Crete. A hotel not to be missed.

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Casa Delfino courtyard
view of the Old Port from the Casa Delfino rooftop bar
Sunset over the Old Port lighthouse in Chania, Crete

Lamb chops were an almost daily staple, as the lamb was so delicious, so expertly grilled. The mussels were the best I ever had. And I came to enjoy the after dinner digestive, though I much preferred raki to ouzo. Raki, also called tsicoudia, is a distilled liquor made from the fermented remnants of grapes pressed in winemaking. It is similar to Italian grappa, and reminiscent of brandy, cognac, or even bourbon in taste.

Chania cuisine – the best lamb chops and mussels under the sun

And I came to enjoy the after dinner digestive, though I much preferred raki to ouzo. Raki, also called tsicoudia, is a distilled liquor made from the fermented remnants of grapes pressed in winemaking. It is similar to Italian grappa, and reminiscent of brandy, cognac, or even bourbon in taste.

Our view of Chania Old Town and the Old Port at dinner

We ventured to an olive oil tasting at Biolea Astrikas Estates and did the sommelier experience – so worth it! Crete is home to 400 MILLION olive trees, with olive tree cultivation dating back 6000 years. Residents of Crete consume more olive oil than anywhere on the planet, well above runners up Spain and Italy. At 35 liters per person per year, it is roughly the equivalent of weekly consuming olive oil in an amount equal to a bottle of wine. Not only did we sample the best olive oil there, but wine and a 5 course meal beyond compare!!

Biolea single estate stone milled cold pressed olive oil
Bruschetta [subsequent courses: Greek tomato, onion, olive, caper, feta salad; sweet potato soup with feta cheese, carob crisps; and fried eggs with Staka (Cretan goat milk cream), almonds, parmesan crisps]
Goat cheese Cretan cheesecake with carob crisp, fresh apricot jam, and basil
Olive groves of Biolea

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The azure blue water at the beaches and the surrounding rocks were stunning. And I couldn’t pass up a swim in the Mediterranean.

Falasarna Beach, Crete

We then ventured to Agia Triada Monastery, which was breathtaking:

I was even a wedding crasher at a Greek Orthodox Church!

Wedding at Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church – Chania, Crete

And found a gorgeous little Catholic Church in a small alleyway across from the Greek Orthodox Church. And there was a synagogue behind that!

Catholic Church of the Assumption – Chania, Crete

Then we headed back to Athens, with a spectacular view of the Acropolis from the Areopagus, where the apostle Paul preached conversion to the Greeks.

View of the Acropolis from the Areopagus.
My fine feathered friend on the Areopagus.

We stayed at another boutique hotel, B4b Athens Signature Hotel, that not only had a spectacular rooftop view of the Acropolis, but had local cell phones for guests to take and use for the duration of their stay with unlimited call, text and data – what a great idea!

Rooftop bar, the night before our KTBA-MII cruise.

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From there we embarked on the most amazing musical adventure. Artists on the Blues Cruise included blues and guitar standouts Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’, and Tommy Emmanuel.  But new discoveries included the likes of Ana Popovic, King King, Toby Lee, Selwyn Birchwood, Jade Macrae, Elles Bailey, Marc Broussard, and Cold Stares.

But of course, Joe was the headliner – just so amazingly good:

Joe Bonamassa jamming on the pool deck main stage with an All Star band.

Toby Lee, English guitarist from Oxfordshire, England, posted a tribute video to BB King when he was 10 years old that went viral, Lee played with Joe Bonamassa at the Royal Albert Hall at 14 years old.

And here Toby pays tribute to B.B.’s passing. You just have to love those onesies:

Toby has been somewhat mentored by Joe Bonamassa, playing with him at the Royal Albert Hall at just 14.  Here he is before meeting Joe at just the age of 11 covering his “Sloe Gin”:

Here’s just a glimpse of Toby from the cruise – just 17? Ridiculous!:

Keb’ Mo’, an American blues musician, oft described as the “living link to the Delta blues”. His bluesy voice and guitar make him among my favorites. I just love listening to Keb’, and was happy to finally see him perform live.

Ana Popovic, a Serbian blues singer and guitarist, a new discovery for us, again one of our favorites, so much so we have tickets to her show in Savannah, GA in December.

Ana Popovic on the Pool Deck main stage, with Joe Bonamassa (guitar) and Tommy Emmanuel (drums)

King King, one of the hottest British blues rock band, backed by Alan and Stevie Nimmo. While this clip is a cover of one of my all-time favorite Clapton songs, “Old Love” (especially the Unplugged version), they more than do it justice. And their originals are great rocking blues.

King King covering “Old Love” at the Spinnaker Lounge

And Selwyn Birchwood was so amazing, with his gravely deep voice and Piedmont and Delta blues. Our introduction was in the Atrium, just Selwyn and his guitar, but he was equally great with his band at Magnums.

Selwyn covering “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” popularized by Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith

Jade Macrae, a backup singer in Joe Bonamassa’s band, is venturing out on a career of her own. She has some amazing pipes, with a sultry sound reminiscent at times of Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, and Diana Ross. In a turn of roles, with Joe Bonamassa backing her up, she’s trading vocal phrases with Joe’s guitar:

Hailing from Bristol, U.K., Elles Bailey provided some smooth, soulful blues. Check out her touching tribute to Janis Joplin “Girl That Owned The Blues” on the playlist. So beautiful. Here she covers John Prine/Bonnie Raitt with “Angel From Montgomery”:

Jackie Venson, with her funky soul-filled blues has been compared to Joss Stone, though I hear more Tracey Chapman and Joan Armatrading in her vocals and musical style:

Jackie Venson with some percussive help by Keb’ Mo’, Samantha Fish, and Tommy Emmanuel

Samantha Fish was quite the blues rocker, her voice at times shades of Amy Winehouse, here playing some great slide guitar.

Samantha Fish accompanied by Jackie Venson, Keb’ Mo’, and Tommy Emmanuel

While we got rained out mid-cruise at our Mykonos port, our subsequent stop at Kusadasi and Ephesus, Turkey did not disappoint.

The library of Ephesus, second largest of the Ancient world, surpassed only to its counterpart in Rhodes (the latter was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, since destroyed)
The small amphitheater from which Paul preached in Ephesus
Paul was imprisoned overlooking Ephesus, for where he wrote some of the epistles to the Corinthians.

The juxtaposition of Ancient World sightseeing and listening to modern blues was a bit surreal. Nonetheless, back on the Jade, Cold Stares provided some great Blues rock:

The Suffers sound is R&B style blues oft described as Gulf Coast soul. Their lead singer Kam Franklin invokes shades of Aretha and Tina. No one on the ship seemed to have more fun and joy in performing than the Suffers!:

Marc Broussard, an American singer, songwriter, has a style, per Wikipedia, “best described as Bayou Soul, with a mix of funk, blues, R&B, rock, and pop, matches with disctinctive Southern roots.” I guess that about covers it all. His sound is a mix of Huey Lewis, Sam Cook, and Otis Redding, the latter of which I commented on to my wife while he was performing. No sooner had I said that he broke into singing “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” one of my favorite Otis songs. I guess I was pretty spot-on.

Marc Broussard on the pool deck main stage with Joe Bonamassa and Jimmy Vivino accompanying

Tommy Emmanuel is an acoustic guitarist without parallel. Until the cruise I hadn’t realized how the guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela has adopted much of Tommy’s style with flamenco type flourishes and significant percussion of the guitar body (check out “Cantina Senese” on the playlist). From down-under Australia, he is an entertainer extraordinaire. Check out his cover of Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” on the playlist. Here he offers the most delicate finger tapping and styling with “Secret Love”:

Lakota John is cut more from the folk blues mold, sang and played with his dad, who both sang and accommpanied Lakota on harmonica. Lakota has a few songs that are so special, the first about his grandmother, not available on Spotify – I wish I had recorded the song in its entirety:

Lakota John with “She’s Grand”

And here the lyrics to “Good Notes,” which is included in my Spotify playlist. Such a beautiful song.

Good Notes

My body has slowed
just as time has found her wings
my back is now bowed
my heart soars and it sings
shrouded by the cloak
of what they thought of me
not bound by those chains
I’m who I’m meant to be

I listen to the good notes
the bad ones lost in time
here on this journey
living ’till i die

My friends have now passed
their time has reached its end
heaven chose to leave me here
my second wind
spoken words i once swallowed throughout the years, rules I once followed living life with no more fear

Don’t sing like i used to
can’t hit the higher range
voice don’t travel far no more
old songs find their new way
memories music brings
one more way to pray
fingers slower on the strings
while living every note I play

I listen to the good notes
the bad ones lost in time
here on this journey
living ’till I die

Lakota John

For more videos from the cruise, check out my YouTube channel Keeping the Blues Alive Mediterranean II folder:

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From the cruise we headed back to Athens for one last day of holiday after the cruise.

In(n) Athens Boutique Hotel courtyard

We had the fortune at the port of meeting the most wonderful taxi driver Cristos, who made our day absolutely the best finale of a most memorable vacation.

Cristos’ business card – use him if in Athens, he’ll insure your stay is memorable!

He offered his services to introduce us and our friends to more of ancient Greece, including the Temple of Poseidon:

Temple of Poseidon

Crossing the isthmus and Corinth Canal to the Peloponnesus:

Corinth Canal – we had no takers in our group on bungee jumping from the bridge over the canal

Then on to Ancient Corinth:

Continuing in Apostle Paul’s footsteps to Ancient Corinth, to whom he wrote his letters to the Corinthians
The area where Paul was tried for preaching “illegal” religious beliefs, prior to his moving on to Ephesus
Statue in Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth, so realistic, hard to believe it’s stone

Our sightseeing was followed by lunch in a village in the mountains of the Peloponnesus, highlighted by a spicy tzatziki, the meal a wonderful and delicious culmination of the most fantastic trip.

And without further ado the playlist. It is a sampling of songs from the artists on the cruise, by no means comprehensive, but just some of the songs I like by the artists. There are a few duplicate songs, with one version a stripped down acoustic, and the other electric with significant band accompaniment. In these instances they were different enough that I felt both worthy of inclusion. Explore more songs by these artists on your own. I think you’ll appreciate the variety of styles of these great artists. I can see why Joe invited them to participate in the cruise – just fantastic.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the Blues Music!

Sultans Of Swing – Songs Celebrating Saxophone & Horns in Rock & Pop

A few weeks ago in my music blog I made mention of David Sanborn, a prolific jazz and pop saxophonist who celebrated his 77th birthday on July 30th.  David serves as the inspiration for this week’s playlist and blog, which celebrates horns in rock and pop music.  He, along with Kenny G and Michael Brecker made jazz more accessible to the everyday rock and pop fan in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s.  While saxophone dominates, trumpet and even clarinet are featured in the songs on the playlist.

Interestingly, David began playing saxophone at the advice of his pediatrician to strengthen his weakened chest muscles and improve his breathing which had been significantly damaged due to the effects of polio that attacked him at the age of 8.  [As an aside, wearing my pediatrician hat, remember when polio was a thing?  FDR sure did, as does David.  And if we aren’t careful, and don’t get back on track with vaccinating, the youth of our nation may be sadly remembering polio in all to personal a way.  Don’t wait.  Vaccinate!]

His early inspiration was Hank Crawford, who played with Ray Charles in the late 50s, with sax licks on such songs as Ray’s I Got A Woman.  He also was featured on B.B. King’s There Must Be A Better World Somewhere and Eric Clapton’s Journeyman.

Sanborn honed his skills and eventually played with many rock and pop musicians over the years.  He played at Woodstock with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. In addition to his jazz music career, he became a sought-after horn player by many pop and rock acts. In 1975 alone he was a session musician for Bruce Springsteen on Born To Run, Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years, Linda Ronstadt’s Prisoner In Disguise, The Eagles One Of These Nights, Cat Stevens’ Numbers, James Taylor’s Gorilla, and David Bowie’s Young Americans.  Additional collaborations are a virtual who’s who of 70’s and 80’s pop and rock acts, including Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens, Roger Daltrey, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Loggins, Al Jarreau, Pure Prairie League, Kenny G, Elton John, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Roger Waters, Steely Dan, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and Toto.

1968: Paul Butterfield “In My Own Dream”
1975: David Bowie “Young Americans,”
James Taylor “How Sweet It Is”
1982: Kenny Loggins “Heart To Heart,”
Bruce Springsteen “Tenth Avenue Freeze Out”
2005: Lizz Wright “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”
2006: Aaron Neville “People Get Ready”
2008: Eric Clapton “I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts
Of Town”
2010: James Taylor “Hallelujah, I Love Her So,”
Joss Stone “Let The Good Times Roll”

songs featuring David sanborn on “Sultans of Swing”

Kenny G was the most highly visible saxophonist of the 80s and 90s.  He was heavily influenced by Grover Washington Jr., most known in pop circles for “Just The Two Of Us” with Bill Withers.  He collaborated with many stars of those decades, including artists with songs on the playlist:

1986: Steve Miller Band “Make The World Turn Around”
1988: Smokey Robinson “We Saved The Best For Last”
1991: Michael Bolton “Missing You Now”
1992: Celine Dion “Halfway to Heaven,”
Aaron Neville “Even If My Heart Would Break,”
Michael Bolton “You Send Me”
1993: Peabo Bryson “By The Time This Night Is Over”
1996: Babyface “Everytime I Close My Eyes,”
Toni Braxton “How Could An Angel Break My Heart,”
“That Somebody Was You”
2010: Robin Thicke “Fall Again,”
Katy Perry “Last Friday Night” (video version)
2020: The Weekend “In Your Eyes”

songs featuring kenny g on “sultans of swing”

Almost 4 decades later Kenny G is still partnering with pop stars, as evidenced by his solo on Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night,” with Kenny playing sax on the video but not on the studio recording, and more recently with The Weekend

Michael Brecker has been an equally prolific sax session player.  He has been sideman to the likes of James Taylor, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Aerosmith, Dan Fogelberg, Kenny Loggins, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, Carly Simon, Karen Carpenter, and a member of Saturday Night Live Band.

1972: James Taylor “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight”
1975: Paul Simon “Still Crazy After All These Years”
1980: Steely Dan “Gaucho” (along with David Sanborn)
1982: Donald Fagen “IGY”
1983: Billy Joel “Keeping The Faith” and “Tell Her About It”
1986: Billy Joel “Big Man On Mulberry Street,”
Eric Clapton “Run”

songs featuring michael brecker on “sultans of Swing”

The Phenix horns, also known as the EWF horns, first made their mark with Earth, Wind & Fire, on songs such as “After The Love Has Gone,” “Can’t Hide Love,” “September,” and “Shining Star,” included on this playlist. 

They also forged a partnership with Phil Collins, appearing on the Genesis album Abacab, with hits “No Reply At All” and “Paperlate” as well as being an integral component on his solo albums Face Value and Hello I Must Be Going including hits “Behind The Lines,” “I Missed Again,” “It Don’t Matter To Me,” and even an instrumental horn selection “The West Side” among others.

The Memphis horns were made famous by their appearances on Stax records.  An offshoot of the Mar-Keys (see the instrumental “Last Night” on the playlist), they worked together for over 30 years, and are heard on the playlist in Otis Redding’s “Dock Of The Bay,” Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.”  In addition to all their Stax work, they provided horns for the Doobie Brothers’ Taking It To The Streets, Peter Gabriel’s So, U2’s Rattle And Hum, Robert Cray’s Strong Persuader and Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark.  They also worked with Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, Steve Winwood, Joe Cocker, and Willy Nelson.

Similarly the Tower of Power was a horn section that, in addition to their own instrumental work, provided horns for the likes of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Aaron Neville, Aerosmith, Bonnie Raitt, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Huey Lewis, Little Feat, Heart, Paula Abdul, Santana, Stevie Nicks, Grateful Dead, Journey, Rod Stewart, and Toto, among many other acts.  Hear them on the playlist with Huey Lewis & The News’ “Back In Time,” “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do,” or “Working For A Living.”  They credit Huey Lewis with “saving their career” in their later days.

Of course there’s Clarence Clemmons of Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band fame.  He gets a memorable shout-out from the Boss on “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”  His last work was with Lady Gaga on “Edge Of Glory,” flying from his Florida home to New York to record his sax work all in one day, not long before his death.

Trevor Lawrence, heard here on Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and “Superstition,” also played with David Sandborn at Woodstock with the Butterfield Blues Band, and was a sideman for Marvin Gaye, Ringo Starr, Joe Cocker, Harry Nilsson, Bonnie Raitt, and the Pointer Sisters, among others.

Richie Cannata is most known for his sax licks with Billy Joel in the 70s, eventually playing with Tommy Shaw, Taylor Dayne, and touring with The Beach Boys in later years.

Phil Woods provided backing sax for the likes of Billy Joel in “Just The Way You Are,” Steely Dan in “Dr. Wu,” and on Paul Simon’s album Still Crazy After All These Years with Michael Brecker and David Sanborn.

Mark Rivera, mostly known for his work with Billy Joel in later years, has also played with Hall & Oates, Peter Gabriel on So, including “Sledgehammer,” Simon & Garfunkel, John Lennon, Billy Ocean, Joe Walsh, and Ringo Starr.  His sax solo on Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” in his farewell to Shea Stadium was so inspiring it got Tony Bennett to give him applause on stage:

For those who haven’t seen the aforementioned concert, it’s worth a watch, with Billy singing with friends Tony Bennett, Garth Brooks, Steven Tyler, Roger Daltrey, John Mellencamp, John Mayer, and Paul McCartney – just fantastic.

Another great piano and horn performance from this concert with Mark playing sax and clarinet is “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant”:

Junior Walker in Foreigner’s Urgent, who happened to be playing nearby when Foreigner was recording the song. He is most known for “Shotgun” with Jr. Walker & The All Stars:

Stan Getz, jazz tenor sax great, performed mostly in jazz circles, but did some guest sideman work with some rock and pop stars, including Huey Lewis check out “Perfect World,” Michael McDonald, hear him on “Love Can Break Your Heart,” and Barry Manilow with yet another of the thousands of covers of “Summertime,” with Diana Schuur.

A few other sax performances of note with great videos include:

Supertramp’s “Logical Song”:

Glenn Frey’s “You Belong To The City”:

The playlist is organized as follows:

Dire Straits “Sultans of Swing” introducing the theme, with its lyrics:

A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring
Well now you step inside but you don’t see too many faces
Coming in out of the rain they hear the jazz go down
Competition in other places
Uh but the horns they blowin’ that sound…

…We are the Sultans of Swing

dire straits “Sultans of Swing”

Interestingly enough there are no horns in the song.  The lyrics were inspired by a jazz band playing in the corner of an almost empty pub in South London. Despite their dowdy appearance and the humble surroundings, their name? Sultans of Swing! Though the song was Dire Straits’ very first release, gaining airplay from a demo tape submitted to a prominent London DJ, it is arguably Dire Strait’s best song, especially if you consider the concert version on their Alchemy live recording.

Then follows the Blues Brothers with their iconic recognizable horn riff bring us to the horn songs.

Subsequently there are three sections of horn songs, each arranged alphabetically, with songs as follows:

  • Songs that start with a horn intro or solo, usually anywhere from 10-30 seconds long
  • Songs that include a horn solo later in the song
  • Songs that contain significant horn work throughout the song without a significant solo

Sometimes judgement had to be used when a song might have had 1, 2, or all 3 of these components to determine in which list to be placed.

Following is a retrospective of some of the works of the artists I mentioned earlier in the blog, with Hank Crawford, inspirational to David Sanborn, starting things off with 3 songs with Ray Charles, B.B. King, and Eric Clapton.  Then a segue to David Sanborn, onto Kenny G, including a few instrumentals from each, and finally Michael Brecker.

The playlist concludes with some very popular horn dominated instrumental pieces by some very mainstream jazz bands, including David Sanborn, Kenny G, Kirk Whalum, Spyro Gyra, and Chuck Mangione.

Among my favorite artists featuring horns in much of their music, dominating the playlist, are Billy Joel, Van Morrison, Steely Dan, Bruce Springsteen, Chicago, Phil Collins, Earth, Wind & Fire and Motown in general.  Some of the most memorable songs with amazing sax work over the years include Gerry Rafferty’s “Baker Street,” Wham’s “Careless Whisper,” Men At Work’s “Who Can It Be Now,” Glen Frey’s “You Belong To The City,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run,” James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight,” Billy Joel’s “Scenes From An Italian Restaurant,” Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll,” Pink Floyd’s “Shine On You Crazy Diamond,” Huey Lewis & The News’ “The Heart of Rock & Roll,” and Foreigner’s “Urgent.”  Give the playlist a listen to hear these and many other notable horn songs.

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

WILD One & Boot HILL – Wild & Hill Songs

On July 30, 1966, the Troggs started a 2 week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with “Wild Thing”:

“Wild Thing” is the inspiration for the theme of the first of two playlists this week, songs including the word Wild in their title.  Among some great songs are “Born To Be Wild,” “Wild Night,” “Wild Summer Nights,” “Wild World,” “Wild Is The Wind,” “Walk On The Wild Side,” “Wild Horses,” “The Wild Boys.”  A few Wild derivations lead to the inclusion of “Your Wildest Dreams,” “Wildfire” and “Wildflower.”

Perhaps one of the greatest pairings of a song and movie scene is “Born to Be Wild” in the 1969 movie starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson – Easy Rider:

In a somewhat surprising collaboration between two dissimilar artists, “Wild World” performed by Cat Stevens and Chris Cornell:

And in a pretty unusual video, though par for the course in the 80’s, Duran Duran with “Wild Boys”:

And who can forget Ton Loc doing the “Wild Thing:”

I always liked this video of “Wildest Dreams” by the Moody Blues:

On this day in 1958 Kate Bush, British singer and songwriter, was born.  She had the 1978 UK No. 1 single “Wuthering Heights” at the age of 19.  Her 1985 UK No 1 album Hounds of Love spent 1 year on the UK charts.  She is having a bit of a resurgence with the prominent placement of her 1985 hit song “Running Up That Hill” in the 4th season of the Netfilx series Stranger Things.  Since the start of the new season, the song has gone viral, racing up the Billboard charts:

The song title lends itself to the second playlist featured this week, which includes songs with the word Hill in their title.  Among the song greats are “Blueberry Hill,” “The Fool On The Hill,” “Solsbury Hill,” “Red Hill Mining Town,” “One Tree Hill,” “Over The Hills And Far Away,” “Boot Hill,” and “Beverly Hills.”  Though not containing Hill/s in the title, I took the liberty of including the following song for obvious reason: “the hills are alive with ‘The Sound of Music’…” 

In this video of Led Zeppelin in 1973 performing “Over The Hills And Far Away” it becomes apparent the reason many consider Jimmy Page and John Bonham among the best rock musicians ever:

Also on July 30 in 1955 Johnny Cash recorded “Folsom Prison Blues” at the Sun Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was inspired to write the song after seeing the movie “Inside the Walls of Folsom Prison” while serving in the Air Force in West Germany.  If you haven’t seen the 2005 movie “Walk The Line” it’s among the must-see music biopics, along with “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Ray,” “The Doors,” “The Buddy Holly Story,” “La Bamba,” and “Judy.”  Reese Witherspoon won best actress for her portrayal of June Carter Cash, and Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for best actor:

Also sharing a birthday with Kate Bush on this day, though born 13 years earlier, in 1945, is saxophonist David Sanborn.  His remarkable career included playing with the likes of James Brown, Eric Clapton, Cat Stevens, Roger Daltrey, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Kenny Loggins, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, Elton John, Carley Simon, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Joel, Roger Waters, Steely Dan, The Eagles, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and Toto.  He will be one of the featured artists in one of my upcoming blogs on saxophone and horns prominent in rock and pop music.  Stay tuned.

And now on to the playlists – the Wild playlist, WILD One:

And the Hill playlist, Boot HILL:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the moment.

Listen to the MUSIC!

Here Comes The SUN – Fun Sun Songs

July 24, 1969 the Beatles recorded “Sun King” for their Abbey Road album.  Since we’re in the midst of summer, I though in addition to my recent Summer Songs and Summertime Fun Songs playlists, I’d feature a playlist of Sun songs to enjoy during the summer, or any time of year, if trying to be bright, cheery, or warm up.  Songs include those with various iterations of Sun in their title, including Sun, Sunny, Sunshine, Sunrise, Sunset, and Sundown.

The song “Sun King” is, per John Lennon, “a piece of garbage I had around,” and, per Paul McCartney, utter nonsense.  Its title is a nod to King Louis XIV, also known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, as the universe revolved around him.  His reign of over 72 years is the longest in history for any monarch of a country. 

The lyrics borrow a few foreign words strung together in meaningless fashion, along with a Liverpool expression, “chicka ferdi,” that while John says means “ha ha ha,” Paul intimates it means “f*** off.”

A few other Beatles gems are on the list, including the playlist title song “Here Comes The Sun,” “I’ll Follow The Sun,” and “Good Day Sunshine.” Here is a brief snipet of George Harrison along with Pete Ham of Badfinger doing an acoustic version of “Here Comes The Sun” in The Concert for Bangladesh:

MonaLisa Twins, a sister duo group originally from Vienna Austria, now out of Liverpool, known mostly on YouTube for covers of the Beatles and other ‘60s bands, offer their version of the song, with beautiful guitars and lovely harmonies:

And an American roots version including mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and upright bass by the Petersens:

And a fantasic acoustic guitar cover by Gabriella Quevado:

And I have to give Macca his due, after featuring George, with “I’ll Follow The Sun” from his 2005 US Tour:

I had never seen the video to the Police song “Invisible Sun,” their first release off Ghost In The Machine, which ponders people’s ability to find the will to go on living in countries plagued with war, poverty, and strife.  This seems particularly relevant for our current world, in particular the Ukraine, though with continued conflict in places such as Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Israel, South Sudan, Madagascar, Ethiopia, and Yemen:

The Animals performance of “The House of the Rising Sun,” recorded in 1964, is vocally and musically superb, their cover arguably the best of the over 600 versions. It was originally recorded in 1933 as a blues song by Clarence Ashley and Gwen Foster, but has never been better than that offered by the Animals:

Though I do love this version by my girl Haley Reinhart, American Idol alum:

And such a different era, the following from the Ed Sullivan Show, Gerry & The Pacemakers “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying”:

And this has to be one of the greater duet concert moments in history, with George Michael and Elton John in 1991 on “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” (viewed over 140 million times on YouTube!):

This song is a nod to my daughter, from a favorite artist of hers, Chris Cornell, with “Black Hole Sun” by his then band Soundgarden:

And here’s a beautiful acoustic version by Chris – so talented, so sad his life cut short:

Another American roots song “Being A Woman (Is Like Being The Sun)” by a new favorite of mine, Caroline Jones, who has toured with Jimmy Buffett and the Zac Brown Band:

A great cover of “You Are My Sunshine” by The Dead South follows:

Ginger Baker, one of the world’s best drummers, paired with Eric Clapton, one of the world’s greatest guitarists, along with Jack Bruce on lead vocals and bass in a Cream reunion performance of “Sunshine of Your Love” at the Royal Albert Hall in 2005 is just spectacular:

MonaLisa Twins do Donovan’s “Sunshine Superman” justice, with some great slide guitar, from the Cavern Club in Liverpool:

And holy 1969 Batman, again a different era, The 5th Dimension with “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In,” like, far out!:

One of my favorite soft rock Canadian artists (along with Bruce Cockburn, Michael Buble, and Celine Dion, with Rush, Bryan Adams, The Guess Who, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Steppenwolf, Triumph, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell,Robbie Robertson/Rick Dank (The Band), Aldo Nova, April Wine, Loverboy, Corey Hart, Men Without Hats, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies, Nickelback, and Justin Bieber all hail from the Great White North), here’s Gordon Lightfoot singing “Sundown”:

Song greats on the playlist include, in addition to the songs above, “Waiting for the Sun,” “Soak Up The Sun,” “Seasons In The Sun,” “Behind The Sun,” “Sunny,” “Sunshine,” “We’ll Sing In The Sunshine,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Sunday Morning Sunshine,” “Walking On Sunshine,” “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Tequila Sunrise,” “Heart of the Sunrise,” and “Sunset Grill.”  Another fun summer playlist:

I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew.  Rediscover the passion of music in your life.

Live in the moment.

Enjoy the moment.

Love the sunny moments.

Listen to the MUSIC!

FOREVER Man – A Tribute to Scott Evans

I’d like to dedicate this blog to a college classmate of mine who passed away this past winter.  I preface it with the fact that out of respect, and sensitive to the feelings and privacy of his family, I have reviewed my intentions with them and have received their approval to share this post.  It was comforting and offered some sense of closure to speak with Scott’s sister Ann.  My heart goes out to his son and daughter, mother, sisters, and extended family, and I share this in hopes of honoring his memory.

Scott & his children

For most of us who were not a part of his day-to-day life, his passing was sudden and too soon.  To this end we all must come.  And to paraphrase the Bard of Avon, “Alas, poor Scott!  I knew him, Ann.  A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.”  And that Scott truly was.  He had an infectious smile that beamed ear to ear, and flashed it with regularity, whether in friendship, having fun, when happy, or up to no good.

Death is one of those constants in life.  A seeming oxymoron, we all are touched over our years by the death of those around us – some family members, some friends, some acquaintances.  Some succumb to chronic health problems, others to brief illness, yet others to sudden accident or tragedy.  Some struggle and suffer mightily as death approaches.  Others never see it coming.  But come it will. 

Sometimes you will never know the value of something until it becomes a memory.

DR. SEUSS (THEODORE GEISEL, DARTMOUTH COLLEGE 1925)

I have shared in previous blogs the power of music to heal amidst such sorrow and loss (see “Dance With My Father,” “I Won’t Forget You,” and “Seasons Of Love”).  It also can help connect us to memories of times, events, and people, keeping them close in mind and heart.  Thus I hope this blog and playlist to be a tribute to memories of Scott, and a reminder to all of us to not take life for granted, to not wait to tell people how we feel, and to try to stay connected and be available in whatever way we can in people’s lives, in whatever way they might need or might be willing to accept.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

dr. seuss (Theodore Geisel, Dartmouth college 1925)

I invoke the Broadway Musical “Evan Hansen” not because Scott had the same struggles Evan did, but because it seems an appropriate springboard for conversation about such a topic, in addition to Scott actually commenting on it on our college class Facebook page a few years back as being his second favorite musical after “Hamilton”:

Here is the Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen mashup video cited in this exchange to which Scott replied “That’s just not fair”:

Dear Scott Evans:

For those who saw the Broadway musical or Movie:

Dear Evan Hansen,

Turns out this wasn’t an amazing day after all. This isn’t going to be an amazing week or an amazing year, because why would it be?

I know, because there’s Zoe, and all my hope is pinned on Zoe, who I don’t even know, and doesn’t know me. Maybe if I could just talk to her. Maybe nothing would be different at all. I wish everything was different.

I wish I was part of something. I wish that anything I said mattered to anyone. I mean face it, would anyone notice if I just disappeared tomorrow?

Sincerely,

Your most best, and dearest friend, Me

As the musical and movie bring to awareness, there are those around us who feel lost, unseen, who are struggling with themselves and/or life. They may have just been dealt a bad hand of cards in this game of life.  Or perhaps they suffer from acute illness, chronic illness, terminal illness, mental illness or substance addictions.  Or maybe life ends abruptly and untimely, through some other illness or tragedy.  Scott endured such struggles and was open enough to share some of what he was experiencing with our class.  A few years back, as our 30th college reunion approached, he had the candor to let us know that he was struggling, and didn’t feel a part of the world he had once not only been a part of, but thrived in if not led and dominated.

Scott was a friend to all.  I can’t recall when I first met him, but just know that even though I wasn’t a part of his circle of friends, he always made me feel welcomed and important.  I felt he cared about me, a student who he had no reason to care about.  He would go out of his way at frat parties to talk to me, or to chat between music sets.  I hung out with him a little more due to eventually sharing a mutual friend.  I recall spending an afternoon with him at Casque & Gauntlet one day senior year, during commencement week, just hanging out, sharing a pizza, and talking about school and life, as if I were his best friend. 

For Forever

End of May or early June
This picture-perfect afternoon we share
Drive the winding country road
Grab a scoop at À La Mode
And then we’re there

An open field that’s framed with trees
We pick a spot and shoot the breeze
Like buddies do
Quoting songs by our favorite bands
Telling jokes no one understands
Except us two
And we talk and take in the view

All we see is sky for forever
We let the world pass by for forever
Feels like we could go on for forever this way
Two friends on a perfect day

We walk a while and talk about
The things we’ll do when we get out of school
Bike the Appalachian trail or
Write a book or learn to sail
Wouldn’t that be cool?

There’s nothing that we can’t discuss
Like girls we wish would notice us but never do
He looks around and says to me
“There’s nowhere else I’d rather be”
And I say, “Me too”

And we talk and take in the view
We just talk and take in the view

All we see is sky for forever
We let the world pass by for forever
Feels like we could go on for forever this way, this way

All we see is light for forever
‘Cause the sun shines bright for forever
Like we’ll be alright for forever this way
Two friends on a perfect day…

All we see is sky for forever
We let the world pass by for forever
Buddy, you and I for forever this way, this way

All we see is light
‘Cause the sun burns bright
We could be alright for forever this way
Two friends
True friends
On a perfect day

dear evan hansen

It’s eerie how much this song parallels my afternoon with Scott. It was the end of May or early June, a picture perfect afternoon, though pizza from C&A, not a scoop from A La Mode, quoting some of our favorite bands, telling some bad jokes, taking in the view of an amazing Spring day in Hanover, letting the world pass us by, talking about things we’d do when we got out of school, talking about girls, two friends on a perfect day. Only, different then Evan Hansen, this perfect day was real. And Scott made me feel like a true friend, a buddy. He had a way of doing that. Feeling we’d be alright for forever, on a perfect day.

I recall he was a member of C&G, which was, per their website, “founded in 1887. It is a senior society that unites those who have strong character and high ideals, encourages members in worthy activities, promotes their mutual welfare and happiness, and renders loyal service to Dartmouth College.”  And that was exactly what Scott epitomized.

Though he also had a carefree, fun, gregarious, joy de vivre side.  Rumor had it that Scott attended his freshman week alcohol awareness meeting with his freshman undergraduate advisor group dressed in a bathrobe sipping a martini, a la Hawkeye Pierce in MASH.  Such was the legend of Scott Evans.  He was the bass player in a kick-ass college cover band.  He campaigned for and won election as senior class president.  In law school at UVA he continued his musical escapades, playing in with “Blowfish,” no, not Hootie – this was before Hootie & The Blowfish ever put out an album…

Scott in Dartmouth College band NRO

When looking for housing at UVA after accepting a pediatric residency position there, I contacted Scott to see if my girlfriend (soon to be fiancé and eventual wife) and I could crash at his place to save a few bucks by not staying at a hotel.  Such was the life of a poor medical student.  I’m not quite sure how I knew he was in Charlottesville, or how I got his number.  This was back in the days before cell phones.  All I know is he said yes without hesitation and wanted to meet us on The Corner for dinner when we got down there.  Totally unsure of how we hooked up for dinner, again without cell phones.

We stayed at his place, more of a frat room than an apartment, slept on a less than comfortable couch with noise all around us, and Scott getting in sometime in the wee small hours of the morning.  The frat room/bachelor pad shower was a free-standing claw tub with a shower curtain running around it that had so much mold that I think we felt less clean getting out of the shower than when we got in.  But hey, it was a free room.  Beggars can’t be choosers.  And Scott was ever the gracious, caring host.  While not best friends over the years, he made me feel like I was, and embraced meeting and hanging out with my girlfriend.  I ended up seeing him play a few times in C’ville before he left for greener pastures, seeking to make a name for himself in his law career.  From there going forward I lost touch with Scott (again, pre email and cell phones).

Scott (left, on bass) playing at an impromptu front porch gig in Boston with none other than
Carlos Santana (center) dropping in to jam!

Fast forward 30 years, and there was at least a point in his life where something had dramatically shifted.  Something had changed.  Scott was no longer on top of the world.  He shared that life was a struggle, life had its ugly underbelly.   As classmates we were able to glean some information from a post he made on our college class Facebook page as our 30th reunion approached.  He was frank, if not blunt, half expecting to get a rise out of people, but in addition to honestly and sincerely share his feelings with us, his classmates in a very vulnerable fashion:

Sometimes I wanna barf. I haven’t raised a kid who went or will go to Dartmouth. Those days are over. I’m not a CFO of a Fortune 500 company. Or managing partner of a major law firm. Mostly I’m a lacrosse coach. And a writer. I’ve fought progressive fights. My kids fight them too. Daily. Sometimes our well being depends on it. One as a brown skinned actress, one as an adopted dropout who watched his classmate get shot. We have battled drug addiction, depression, suicide attempts and a school shooting. Life is neither easy nor glamorous. But we care and we love. And usually that is enough. I’m so grateful for many of my classmates particularly those at NRO (the band). But honestly, my connection with most of Dartmouth is gone. I wish it weren’t so. I love Dartmouth. It just doesn’t belong to me anymore.”

scott evans
Scott coaching lacrosse

Many reached out on our class Facebook thread, in support of him and others feeling such difficulties, such disconnect with a past and with life.  They encouraged him to attend our reunion and to reconnect with friends who cared.  Among the many responses was mine:

Scott responded to the many comments of support and caring:

Scott more recently commented some on my Facebook listentothemusic.com blog post regarding “Love”, wondering if I had included some songs in my Spotify playlist:

Little did I know that would be my last conversation with Scott, albeit a digital/social media conversation, yet a conversation no less.  I do believe the last time I saw Scott in person was sometime in 1993 when playing in Charlottesville, likely playing in his band, though I may have seen him at our 20th or 25th reunion if he was in attendance.  I just don’t recall.  But I know it saddens me that his smiling face, his laugh, his infectious energy, enthusiasm, and passion is no longer on this planet.  I worry for his children, and how his loss will impact their lives.

Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us.

albert einstein

How can the dead be truly dead when they still live in the souls of those who are left behind?

carson mccullers

We don’t know what tomorrow may bring.  We don’t know many days, years, or decades we each have left.  We don’t know challenges we may face in life, what storms we need to weather, was struggles we need to endure, and how such events may strain and even break us.  And how do we continue on from there?  What hope is there to dig out from under such burdensome weight?

We must try not to sink beneath our anguish… but battle on.

Albus dumbledore, harry potter & the half-blood prince

“ If you see him in the street, walking by himself, talking to himself, have pity. He is working through the unimaginable.” [Hamilton] As we go through our day to day lives, we forget to show grace and understanding towards others. We easily come to the judgement of those around us and forget that there are those facing worse trials and hardships.

Carrie r.

Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light

albus dumbledore, harry potter & the prisoner of azkaban

What we can try to do is be available to each other, to try to stay in touch with each other, to let others know we are available and care and are there if needed.  Is that enough?  What else can we do in support of those with struggles, whatever they may be?

The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.

harriet beecher-stowe

Just prior to reading on our college class Facebook page that Scott had passed I posted a blog on Heaven, with a link to the following Spotify playlist:

Coincidence?  I think not.  I believe such timely happenstance, aligning of the cosmos type occurrences are more divinely directed.  The playlist includes “Heaven” songs by the likes of Hendrix*, Joplin*, Morrison*, Lennon, Bonham, Cobain*, Winehouse*, Van Halen, Cornell and company, all of whom died untimely deaths, many* part of the infamous “27 Club,” dying at the age of 27. Scott made it just a bit beyond twice that, with today marking what would have been his 56th birthday.

Below is the playlist that will forever remind me of Scott, with vivid images of his youthful college self playing “Forever Man” with his Cheshire cat grin ear to ear, giving me a shout-out, and chatting with me between songs and sets. 

Here’s to you Scott.  Thanks for the impact you have made in so many lives, for rocking, for caring, for defending, for supporting, for loving, for being a friend.  You will be sorely missed.

“Grief is the price we pay for love.”

queen elizabeth ii

Forever Young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

bob dylan

Now And Forever

Whenever I’m weary
From the battles that rage in my head
You make sense of madness
When my sanity hangs by a thread
I lose my way but still you seem to understand
Now and forever
I will be your man

richard marx

Hold On Forever

Another night and here we are again
All our faults laid out ahead
Let it out, then let it right back in
All those voices in your head

And we both know everything, but we can’t learn to leave
So I’ll tell you what you need

First thing: we make you feel better
Next stop: we pull it all together
I’ll keep you warm like a sweater
Take my hand, hold on forever
Just fall apart if you need to
I’m here and I won’t leave you now
Don’t look down
Hold on forever

Lay down all your troubles end to end
They could reach up to the stars
So many roads, you don’t know where you’ve been
But you still know who you are

rob thomas

Forever Love

Minutes and hours and years may go by,
But my heart knows nothing of time
So don’t cry, just keep me right there,
In your dreams…
And hold on to these words of mine…

Forever love
I promise you
Someday we’ll be together,
Forever love

reba mcentire

You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me

Life is full of sweet mistakes
And love’s an honest one to make
Time leaves no fruit on the tree
But you’re gonna live forever in me
I guarantee, it’s just meant to be

john mayer

While not Forever songs, I wanted to include the following two songs in the blog post as well as the playlist, as they seem a fitting tribute to Scott and what he was about. They are the full versions of the two songs included in the Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen video mashup that was mentioned in Facebook conversation not long before his passing. The first is from his favorite musical, Hamilton:

The Story of Tonight

I may not live to see our glory
But I will gladly join the fight.
And when our children tell our story
They’ll tell the story of tonight…

Raise a glass to freedom
Something they can never take away
No matter what they tell you…

Hamilton

And this from Scott’s second favorite musical Dear Evan Hansen, a plea of sorts, though you may feel abandoned and alone in moments of sadness, frustration, anger, pain, dejection – that “you are not alone”…

You Will Be Found

Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?

Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
Maybe there’s a reason to believe you’ll be okay
‘Cause when you don’t feel strong enough to stand
You can reach, reach out your hand

And oh, someone will come running
And I know, they’ll take you home

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you’re broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found…

There’s a place where we don’t have to feel unknown
And every time that you call out
You’re a little less alone
If you only say the word
From across the silence your voice is heard

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found
So let the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found…

Out of the shadows
The morning is breaking
And all is new, all is new
It’s filling up the empty
And suddenly I see that
All is new, all is new

You are not alone…

Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
When you’re broken on the ground
You will be found!
So when the sun come streaming in
‘Cause you’ll reach up and you’ll rise again
If you only look around
You will be found…

dear evan hansen

Scott – I believe had I been there as you transitioned to journey on to your next venue to rock it out, I might have heard you shout out to me something like “Stay Gold Ponyboy.”    And I might have responded, as I live my life in music, with song quotes “it’s so hard to say goodbye,” “thanks for the memories,” “I won’t forget you,” “you’ll be in my heart,” “until we meet again”…

May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.

j.r.r. tolkien, the hobbit

And onto the playlist, which really takes a backseat in importance compared to the significance of the blog itself with memories in tribute of Scott. Still there are some great songs, of course Clapton’s “Forever Man,” which will forever make me think of Scott, as well as Alphaville’s, Bob Dylan’s, Rod Stewart’s, and Chris Isaak’s “Forever Young,” Queen’s “Who Wants To Live Forever,” The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Rick Astley’s “Together Forever,” and Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl,” among so many other offerings.

And to clarify, the playlist is NOT a list of songs reminding me of Scott. It pre-dates his passing. The impetus for dedicating it to him is the “Forever Man” connection, as well as several songs being poignant to the sentiment, but many are just songs with Forever in their title. Still a fun playlist:

I also made a companion playlist of Country Forever songs. The playlist is dominated by Dolly Parton. I guess “forever” really resonates with Dolly.

“All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people. For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems… But all these stars are silent. You-You alone will have stars as no one else has them… In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night..You, only you, will have stars that can laugh! And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me… You will always be my friend. You will want to laugh with me. And you will sometimes open your window, so, for that pleasure… It will be as if, in place of the stars, I had given you a great number of little bells that knew how to laugh” 

 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the Little prince

When I listen to “Forever Man”, or when I look at the stars, I’ll remember you and your ear-to-ear grin, that Cheshire cat smile, and smile myself for having known you, for I’ve been changed for the better, changed for good.

For Good

I’ve heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return…

Because I knew you
I have been changed for good…

WICKED

For those touched by Scott in their life and who may want to do something in his memory, his family has asked for consideration of contributions to the Jed Foundation, “a nonprofit that protects the emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, giving them the skills and support they need to thrive today… and tomorrow.”

https://jedfoundation.org

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