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This Land Is Your Land – American Folk Music Celebration

The inspiration for this playlist was my neighbor, who casually commented on one of my blog posts that she only knew folk music.  As my “about me” blog entry states “I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music.  I see my life in terms of music.” (Albert Einstein), I of course thought what a great idea for a new playlist!

American folk music encompasses several musical genres.  Songs tend to be traditional, often sung for generations, many tracing root back to Great Britain, mainland Europe, or Africa.  Non-electrified instruments are the norm in folk music, including acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, upright bass, harmonica, and hand percussion. Mike Seeger, folk musician and half-brother to perhaps the most famous folk musician Pete Seeger, offered that American folk music is “all the music that fits between the cracks.”

In Folk Music, the earth sings, the mountains sing, the rivers flow, the crops sing.

Gandhi

I think American folk music can be described by paraphrasing US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous 1964 quote to describe his threshold test for obscenity “I know it when I see it.”  I can’t fully define the parameters that define folk music, but “I know it when I hear it.” 

American folk music is a broad musical genre drawn from a wide array of musical traditions from populations and ethnic groups.  It includes several genres and themes, such as Appalachian music, bluegrass, railroad songs, protest songs, cowboy songs, and sea shanties.

Rising to popularity first in the 1930s thanks to the Carter Family, with songs such as “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”  In the 1960s, folk music became a part of pop culture, with themes including the Civil Rights Movement as well as countercultural influences.  Popular folk singers included Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Peter, Paul & Mary, John Denver, Arlo Guthrie.  Also popular were The Kingston Trio, The Serendipity Singers, The Journeyman, The New Christy Minstrel, The Seekers, The Brothers Four, The Limelighters, and The Rooftop Singers.  Some folk blues and folk country artists appear, including Lead Belly, Mississippi John Hurt, Doc Watson, and Roy Acuff.  And even more mainstream folk and pop artists included Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, The Byrds, The Youngbloods, Crosby Stills & Nash, The Mamas & The Papas.  The Singer-Songwriters of the 70’s and 80’s, think Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Carole King, Jim Croce, Gordon Lightfoot, Harry Chapin, Don McLean, Dan Fogelberg, Tracy Chapman, often had folk offerings, though with a bit more of a pop sound, as part of their repertoire.  The folk tradition is being carried on by some current artists, including the likes of Bruce Springsteen, The Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek, Dave Rawlings, Sean Rowe, and Gillian Welch.

Music Themes include:

Spirituals, originating with white ministers setting European folk melodies to religious lyrics, as well as African American adaptations with themes including slavery and emancipation, such as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” and “We Shall Overcome,”

Work Songs, including Cowboy Songs and Sea Shanties which functioned to lighten the burden of work and keep rhythm as a team, such as “Blow The Man Down” and “Shenandoah,” as well as Railroad Songs, such as “The Ballad of John Henry” and “Frieght Train.”

Protest songs were prominent in the 60s, with the very popular songs “If I Had A Hammer,” “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “The Times They Are A Changin,” and “Where Have All The Flowers Gone.”

Appalachian Music, such as “Wabash Cannonball” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, with popular artists including the Carter Family and Doc Watson, influencing country artists such as Roy Acuff, Earl Scruggs, as well as Folk and Rock artists Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, all included in this playlist.

My Spotify folk playlist “This Land Is Your Land” is organized (if you have the premium version of Spotify) as follows:

Standout folk songs: a collection of my favorites, by great folk artists

Female folk songs: a very “easy listening” style of folk

Wow, Mama Cass, Joni Mitchell – singing “Both Sides Now” and Mary Travers all in one room together:

And the same song from the Apple TV Academy Award winning movie CODA:

Pop/mainstream folk song: very pop styling, by the likes of The Byrds, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, and CSN (though a very limited selection of CSN songs on Spotify since Neil Young withdrew most of his music in protest of Spotify COVID misinformation podcasts)

Holy 60’s, Batman, check out The Byrds version of “The Times They Are A Changin’”

Guys & Gals folk songs: often lamenting lost love, unrequited love, bad blokes, or just songs in celebration of men and women.  Some of these are lots of fun, such as “Old Dan Tucker,” “Buffalo Gals,” “Cotton Eyed Joe,” “Clementine,” “Oh, Suzannah,” “Tom Dooley,” and “Mr. Bojangles.”

What a cool duet by James Taylor and Johnny Cash of “Oh, Susannah”:

Location folk songs: often invoking the countryside or wilderness, though sometimes cities, including “Angel From Montgomery,” “Coming Into Los Angeles,” “Cumberland Gap,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and “Yellow Rose of Texas.”

And who can forget Bonnie Raitt’s version of “Angel From Montgomery” from the No Nukes concert:

Railroad folk songs: with images of the railway or travel, such as “500 Miles,” “Freight Train,” and “Hobo’s Lullaby.”

And this version of “500 Miles” shocked me, performed by Justin Timberlake (really!):

Water and Sea folk songs: with images of sailing, the ocean or rivers, with “Calypso,” “Blow The Man Down,” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.”

I haven’t seen this Netflix series yet, but the cast sure does a great job singing “Blow The Man Down.”  You can see how these functioned as work songs:

Spiritual folk songs: including “Michael Row The Boat Ashore,” “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “I Saw The Light,” and “We Shall Overcome.”

Yet another movie I need to see, about Hank Williams, “I Saw The Light” (song clip at the end):

Assorted folk songs: more great folk songs by a variety of artists

“It Ain’t Me Babe” – Johnny Cash (covered by Joaquin Phoenix in Walk The Line)

Singer-songwriter folk songs: 70s and 80s singer-songwriters sang folk style and themed songs in their repertoire, such as James Taylor, Jim Croce, Don McLean, Harry Chapin, Dan Fogelberg, Carole King, and Tracy Chapman.

Kind of a cool video with a historical perspective of Dan Fogelberg’s “Sutter’s Mill.”  Again a true folk theme:

Modern folk songs: 21st century folk songs by contemporary artists including Bruce Springsteen, The Old Crow Medicine Show, Nickel Creek, Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch and Sean Rowe.

I love Darius Rucker’s version of “Wagon Wheel” just as much as Old Crow Medicine Show’s.  From his video, you can see how well its theme fits into the folk genre.

I hope you have as much fun exploring this folk music as I have.

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!

A Song For YOU & All I Want Is YOU – You Songs

On May 16, 1963 at the fifth annual Grammy Awards, Ray Charles won Best R&B Recording with “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”  On this day in 1966 The Beach Boys released their landmark album Pet Sounds, which included the song “You Still Believe In Me.”  This day in 1970 Randy Bachman left The Guess Who and recruited at Joe Walsh’s suggestion Winnipeg bassist and vocalist C.F. Turner to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive, with eventual hits “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” and “Hey You.”  And in 1987 on this day, U2 scored their first US #1 hit “With Or Without You” from the album The Joshua Tree (their follow up single “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” also shot to #1).  

What do these seemingly random facts have in common apart from occurring on the same date?  The song titles all contain the word “You,” which is the theme of this week’s playlists.  The task of creating playlists for You proved almost as daunting as that for the word Love highlighted in my November 6 playlists “Silly LOVE Songs” and “A Groovy Kind Of LOVE,” with the You lists containing over 250 songs, and Love lists 350 songs.  And the songs are simply amazing, ranging from the songs above to Gaga’s “You And I,”  The Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” Joe Jackson’s “You Can’t Get What You Want,” The Fray’s “You Found Me,” Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name,” Fleetwood Mac’s “You Make Loving Fun,” Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right.” The Beatles’ “You Never Give Me Your Money,” Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing,” AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long”  The list goes on and on.  Every song just fantastic.

Given the length, similar to the Love playlists, I listed songs in alphabetical order by songs starting with You then songs containing You later in the lyrics (order available only if you’re on the pay Spotify version).  With such a common, popular word in song titles, I obviously couldn’t include them all, lest you would be listening forever.  Hopefully I didn’t miss any of your favorites.  There are almost 18 hours of spectacular You songs that you won’t want to miss.  Great to listen to on your runs, workouts at the gym, long car rides, the songs can occupy your music listening time for quite a while.

In considering sharing some interesting videos to highlight the songs of the playlists, I decided to focus on songs with prominent placement in movies.  The first is a compilation of movie clips set to “I’ll Be Seeing You.”  From there follow songs from movies and TV that I’m sure you’ll be familiar with.  Enjoy!

Jimmy Durante “I’ll Be Seeing You” – movie compilation

The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – The Big Chill

Madonna “Crazy For You” – Vision Quest

Madonna “You Must Love Me” – Evita (talk about reinventing herself every few years – almost unrecognizable as the same person…)

Simple Minds “Don’t You Forget About Me” – The Breakfast Club

Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” – Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves

Bryan Adams “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” – Don Juan de Marco

Olivia Newton John “Hopelessly Devoted To You” – Grease

Sonny & Cher “I Got You Babe” – Groundhog Day

Modern English “I Melt With You” – Valley Girl

Eric Clapton “It’s In The Way That You Use It” – The Color Of Money

Whitney Houston “I Will Always Love You” – The Bodyguard

Whitney Houston “Run To You” – The Bodyguard

Bob Dylan “Make You Feel My Love” – Life Itself

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVbP_STg-80

Frank Sinatra “The Way You Look Tonight” – Father Of The Bride

Carole King “Where You Lead” – Gilmore Girls

Glen Frey “You Belong To The City” – Miami Vice

Kristen Bell “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” – Frozen

OMD “If You Leave” – Pretty In Pink

Van Morrison “Someone Like You” – One Fine Day

Keb’ Mo’ “Just Like You” – One Fine Day

Lionel Richie “Say You, Say Me” – White Nights

Amanda Seyfried “Thank You For The Music” – Mamma Mia

Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey “When You Believe” – The Prince Of Egypt

Cliff Edwards “When You Wish Upon A Star” – Pinocchio

So here are the two playlists for your listening pleasure.  The first contains some of my favorite You songs, and the second playlist was to be “B sides”, though they are so good they can hardly be considered that.  Each of these playlist greats are “a song for you.”

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!

TEQUILA Talkin’ – Cinco de Mayo Celebration with Tequila Songs

Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is a largely American holiday in celebration of Mexican-American culture.  The date commemorates the anniversary of Mexico’s victory of the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  The victory of a smaller, poorly equipped Mexican force led by General Ignacio Zaragoza over the larger, better armed French army served as a morale boost for Mexicans.  However, the French forces ultimately defeated the Mexican army at the second Battle of Puebla and occupied Mexico City.

The day is sometimes mistaken for Mexico’s most important national holiday, their Independence Day, which takes place on September 16.  The date commemorates the Cry of Delores in 1810 which initiated the war of Mexican independence from Spain.

In the US, focus on the day started in 1863 in California in response to Mexico’s resistance to French rule.  Miners fired rifles, shot fireworks, made speeches and sang patriotic songs in celebration.  The Chicano movement in the 1940s brought greater attention to the day, with slow spread to the rest of the country in the 50’s and 60’s.  However it gained it annual party popularity in the 80’s due to advertising campaigns by beer, wine, and tequila companies.  The celebration generates beer sales on par with the Super Bowl. 

In Mexico, however, the holiday is widely ignored, with commemoration of the day at a more local level, and is largely ceremonial, with military parades and battle reenactments, rather than a party or celebration.  Due to American marketing and entertainment and media referencing, the day has become an increasingly global celebration of Mexican culture, cuisine, and heritage.

Tequila

Tequila is an alcoholic spirit made from the blue agave plant in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, located 40 mi northwest of Guadalajara, in the Jaliscan Highlands of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco.  The red volcanic soils in the region are well suited from growing the blue agave.  The region near Tequila was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2006 due to its historical and cultural importance.  Mexican law states that tequila can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and limited municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacan, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas.

Tequila was first produced in the 16th century near the city of Tequila, which was not incorporated until 1666.  A fermented beverage from the agave plant known as pulque was consumed in pre-Columbian central Mexico prior to European contact.  When Spanish conquistadors ran out of brandy, they turned to the distillation of agave to produce one of the first indigenous distilled spirits of the New World.  Tequila began being mass produced around 1600 in Jalisco. 

Spain’s King Carlos IV granted the Cuervo family the first license to commercially make tequila in the late 1700’s.  Don Cenobio Sauza, founder of Sauza Tequila (that now produces the brands Sauza, Hornitos, and Tres Generaciones) and Municipal President of the Village of Tequila from 1884-1885 was the first to export tequila to the United States. 

Tequila varieties:

Silver: also known as blanco (or white) is unaged tequila stored in stainless steel, harsher in flavor

Gold: also known as joven or oro is silver tequila with the addition of grain alcohol and caramel color

Reposado: tequila aged In wooden barrels 2 months to 1 year, golden in color, more subtle flavor

Anejo: tequila aged in wooden barrels for greater than 1 year, often dark amber in color, subtle flavor

Extra Anejo: tequila aged in wooden barrels for at least 3 years, subtle, mellow though earthier flavor

I found this excerpt in Wikipedia entertaining:

Once the bottle is opened, the tequila will be subject to oxidation which will continue to happen even if no more oxygen is introduced. In addition, if the bottle has more room for air, the process of oxidation occurs faster on the liquor remaining inside the bottle. Therefore, it may be the best to consume the tequila within one or two years after opening.

Who wouldn’t finish a bottle of tequila in less than two years?!?!

Also, spirits marketed as tequila can never have worms in the bottle. Worms in mescal bottles are primarily a marketing ploy and are not traditional in Mexico.  The worms in mezcal bottles are typically the larvae of agave moths.  Agave that have moth larvae are infested and thus of lower quality flavor.

While Jose Cuervo is one of the most popular brands, it is largely NOT 100% Agave Tequila, with only its Cuervo Tradicional variety being 100% agave, which far and wide it not served in bars and restaurants.  Non-100% agave tequila typically has grain alcohol in it, and thus the headaches many people report from drinking (cheap) tequila.

Celebrities have more recently gotten into the tequila-making game, with Sammy Hagar starting things off with Cabo Wabo Tequila, paving the way for 2 of the more popular current celebrity tequilas Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Teremana Tequila, and George Clooney’s Casamigos Tequila

https://www.abcfws.com/celebrity-tequilas

Jimmy Buffett has his Margaritaville Tequila, Santana has Casa Noble Tequila, Nick Jonas Villa One Tequila, Thomas Rhett Dos Primos Tequila, George Strait’s Codigo Tequila, Justin Timberlake 901 Tequila, Guy Fiere and Sammy Hagar (again) with Santo Tequila, Michael Jordan Cincoro Tequila, and Lebron James with Lobos 1707.

https://vinepair.com/buy-this-booze/10-best-celebrity-tequilas/

The top selling tequilas in the US are 1. Jose Cuervo, 2. Patron, 3. Sauza, 4. Don Julio, 5. El Jimador, and 6. Hornitos.  Milagro and 1800 area also popular.  One of my everyday favorites, the very affordable Corralejo Reposado, at $25 a bottle is often listed as one of the most versatile tequilas.  And for those who don’t care about fancy names, Members Mark (Sams Club) 100% Agave Silver Tequila is palatable and a bargain at $22 for 1.75L!

https://www.liquor.com/best-tequilas-4846907

Critics rate Tequila Ocho Plata, Don Fulano Blanco, Fuentesca Cosecha, Siete Leguas Reposado, Don Julio Anejo, and Don Ramon Extra Anejo Limited Edition $400/bottle among the best tequilas.

https://www.liquor.com/best-sipping-tequilas-5088013

Some top tequila options may include:

https://www.liquor.com/best-tequilas-4846907

What would a music blog be without a Rolling Stone review of tequilas:

See: www.rollingstone.com/product-recommendations/lifestyle/best-tequila-994049/ (you’ll have to copy/paste, as Rolling Stone Magazine does not allow embedded links or hyperlinks)

In Mexico, the traditional way to drink tequila is neat, without lime and salt.  Some regions drink tequila along side sangrita, a sweet, sour, spicy drink typically made from orange juice, grenadine, and hot chili.  Another popular drink in Mexico is the bandera (Spanish for flag). Representing the Flag of Mexico, it consists of three shot glasses, filled with lime juice, silver tequila, and sangrita to create the 3 colors of the flag, green white, and red.


Margarita

In the US, the most traditional drink featuring tequila is the margarita, a drink traditionally comprised of tequila, orange liquer, and lime juice, drunk on the rocks or frozen. The margarita is related to the brandy daisy, a drink made with brandy, a liqueur, and citrus. With its name margarita being the Spanish word for daisy, it replaces the spirit with tequila, the liqueur as cointreau, and the citrus as lime juice.

As early as 1937 the Cafe Royal Cocktail book contained a recipe for a Picador using the same concentrations of tequila, triple sec and lime juice as a margarita.  While there are several claims to the origin of the margarita name attached to the drink dating back to the late 1930s in Mexico and southern California, it is unknown the true origin of the drink name.  But by 1945 Jose Cuervo was already running ad campaigns for the margarita with the slogan, “Margarita: It’s more than a girl’s name.”

The margarita cocktail was the December 1953 “Drink of the Month” in Esquire Magazine, with this recipe:

Margarita

1 ounce tequila
Dash of Triple Sec
Juice of 12 lime or lemon
Pour over crushed ice, stir. Rub the rim of a stem glass with rind of lemon or lime, spin in salt—pour, and sip.

Esquire Magazine, 1953

It was further popularized by Jimmy Buffett’s now classic song “Margaritaville” in 1977. I had the pleasure of seeing Jimmy Buffett and his Coral Reefer Band last week. More of a beach party than a concert – so much fun! He has translated his song into a brand, with restaurants, resorts and even retirement communities, one right down the road from me in the Lowcountry of South Carolina.

And in 2004 the margarita was hailed as “the most popular mixed drink in America”

For those looking beyond the traditional margarita, The Rock and Teremana have some great tequila cocktail recipes:

https://teremana.com/blogs/recipes?

And lastly, by simple margarita recipe, that requires no fancy measuring.  I have to credit my friend and former pediatric partner Tessa for the recipe.  Fill any size glass 2/3 full of ice, add 1/3 of your favorite tequila.  Then fill the remainder of the glass with Simply Limeade.  It will be the perfect strength and taste regardless of the glass size (though not for margarita glasses – more highball style or pint beer glasses).  You can adjust the height of the tequila to taste, but the above proportions are to my liking.  It isn’t truly 1/3 a glass of tequila, as the 2/3 a glass of ice takes up space and there is more volume above the ice for extra limeade.  While there is no orange liquer in the drink to make it a true margarita, it is akin to a skinny margarita at most restaurants and bars, and doesn’t suffer from the sickeningly sweet sour mix that is bound to give you heartburn.

Simple Margarita:

Favorite non-fluted glass
Salt rim if desired
2/3 glass ice cubes
1/3 glass tequila
Fill remainder with Simply Limeade

bill by way of Tessa L.G.

This is my go-to margarita, and everyone I’ve ever made it for agrees it’s
perhaps their favorite as well.  On rare occasion I will add a splash of Cointreau and Agave syrup, but even without it stands out as an exceptional margarita.  So much so I’m a bit of a margarita snob, and seldom order a margarita out, as I’ve had plenty of bad margaritas. Or I will order other flavor margaritas, such as blood orange or pineapple.  And to me, frozen margaritas are meant for the beach or poolside, not with meals, tapas, or chips and salsa or queso.

So on to some music.  The following videos of songs from the playlist to me embody the spirit of tequila:

John Wolfe’s “Tequila Sundown”:

Kenny Chesney’s “You and Tequila”:

John Pardi’s “Tequila Little Time”:

Dustin Lynch’s “Tequila on a Boat” – a very interesting still-life/slow-motion video:

Kameron Marlowe’s “Tequila Talkin’”:

And now for the playlist. It’s chock-full of songs with Tequila in the title, but also some songs with Margarita, Salt and Lime or Cuervo in the title. A few songs may seem a bit out of place, such as Alan Jackson’s “Five O’Clock Somewhere,” though it’s theme is definitely in the spirit of kicking back and relaxing with tequila or margarita in hand, Van Halen’s Cabo Wabo, though the name of Sammy Hagar’s tequila, and Steely Dan’s Hey 19, though prominently featuring “Cuervo Gold” in the lyrics. I have listened to the playlist several times. It is such a relaxing, sipping tequila neat or a margarita on the beach, summertime fun kind of playlist. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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 (and drink tequila) to the MUSIC!

Come DANCING – Dancing Songs

Two weeks ago my music blog featured songs with the word Dance in the title, with David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” as its inspiration.  Today’s blog will somewhat expand on the theme with Dancing Songs.  After releasing my Dance blog, I received several suggestions of Dancing songs to add to the playlist, though I deferred adding, as the songs were already part of this planned playlist of Dancing songs.  So for those who suggested those Dancing songs, here they are.

In addition to the title song by the Kinks, some favorites include Van Halen’s or Martha & The Vandellas “Dancing In The Streets,” Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself,” Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark,” King Harvest’s “Dancing In The Moonlight.”  Then there’s a little disco flurry with Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” which I thought for the longest time was sung by the Bee Gees.  There are some great compilation videos on YouTube.  This first one with old school dance scenes featuring the likes of Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Shirley Temple:

And another featuring more recent famous movie and TV show scenes, created as a class project:

The Bee Gees are included with “You Should Be Dancing” made famous by John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever”:

With younger brother Andy’s “Shadow Dancing”:

And Abba’s “Dancing Queen” getting a whole Greek village dancing in “Mamma Mia”:

Then there’s Pet Shop Boys’ “Domino Dancing” that I first heard in Macy’s cool teen floor in NYC in the 80’s.  Filmed in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the video is hot in more ways than one:

And before his tenure as American Idol judge, Lionel Richie was “Dancing On The Ceiling”:

Which reminds me of the old Fred Astaire dance scene from “Royal Wedding”, some 35 years before Lionel, in 1951:

I love that the YouTube poster clarifies “Of course Fred Astaire doesn’t really dance on the walls and ceiling.  The entire set rotated as Fred danced…”

Echo & The Bunnymen’s “Bring On The Dancing Horses” was made famous in John Hughes’ third Molly Ringwald feature “Pretty In Pink,” following “Sixteen Candles” and “The Breakfast Club.”  Other great songs appearing on that soundtrack, which I still own in vinyl, include The Psychedelic Furs title song, as well as Suzanne Vega’s “Left Of Center,” Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark (OMD)’s “If You Leave” Danny Hutton, of Three Dog Night Fame, with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” and The Smiths “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want,” among others, mostly songs of teen angst.  Also in the movie is one of my favorite musical scenes, one which turned me on to Otis Redding – who can forget Duckie dancing for all he’s worth to Otis’ “Try A Little Tenderness” – so great:

And while having no songs on the playlist, it’s hard to think about Dancing songs without images of several scenes from “Dirty Dancing” coming to mind,:

“Hey Baby” with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Gray dancing on a log:

“Wipeout” with iconic scene with Jennifer Gray dancing on the bridge:

“Love Is Strange” lip synching to Mickey & Sylvia:

And of course, the finale scene “(I Had) The Time Of My Life”:

Interestingly, I stumbled upon their screen test for the movie, which is equally beautiful:

In a similar vein, “Footloose” conjures up some great dancing memories as well, with teens bringing dancing to their conservative town:

Going a little further back, who can forget Jennifer Beals (actually Irene Cara) in “Flashdance” thrilling her audience with her steal the show dancing scene with “Maniac”:

Then her final dance scene, with “What A Feeling”:

And scenes from the movie, definitely worth a watch for some early 80’s schmaltz:

And while featured in my Dance song blog “DANCE With Me,” this video compilation of famous movie dance scenes is too good to leave off:

So on to the playlist.  I think you’ll enjoy it.  Lots of great Dancing songs to tap your feet to:

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 (Dancing) to the MUSIC!

Play Something SWEET – Sweet Songs

On April 17, 1971 all 4 Beatles had solo singles in the UK charts with “Power To The People” by John, “Another Day” by Paul, “My Sweet Lord” by George, and “It Don’t Come Easy” by Ringo.  It seems appropriate with Easter falling on April 17th this year to feature a playlist containing the song “My Sweet Lord” with Lord connecting with the religious aspect of the holiday, and Sweet to the secular celebration with the Easter Bunny and candy.  The theme of the playlist is songs containing the word “Sweet” in their title.

Harrison’s song was the first solo No.1 by a former Beatle.  He originally gave the song to Billy Preston to record.  This video version with Preston singing vocals features Eric Clapton, Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame), Dhani Harrison (George’s son) on guitars, with Paul McCartney on piano and Ringo Starr on drums.

Harrison’s song however does not reference the Judeo-Christian God Yaweh, but instead is in celebration of the Hindu god Krishna.  Featured on Harrison’s studio version are Preston, Ringo, Clapton, and Badfinger.  The song was one of Harrison and Preston’s favorites.

“My Sweet Lord” became the target of a copyright infringement lawsuit due to similarities to the 1963 Chiffons hit “He’s So Fine”. Harrison denied intentionally plagiarizing, though admitted to subconsciously lifting some of the melody was possible.  He admitted to borrowing some melodic lines from the out-of-copyright Christian hymn “Oh Happy Day.”  You be the judge:

“My Sweet Lord” superimposed with “He’s So Fine”:

“My Sweet Lord” and “Oh Happy Day” mashup:

While a few songs on the playlist don’t include the word “Sweet” in their title or lyrics, they seemed appropriate to include, for as a child, to me they were the epitome of sweets and treats.  I looked forward to watching “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” every year when it came on TV, back in the day before streaming, Blu-ray, DVD, and even VCR tapes.  I actually played Charlie in our 5th grade class production of “Charlie & The Chocolate Factory” (the original title of Ronald Dahl’s book, with Willy Wonka becoming the marketable feature of the movie thus the name change), perhaps because I was the smallest kid in my class!

The best candy store we had ever seen as kids, featured in “Candy Man”:

And Gene Wilder frolicking around the most heavenly candy room imaginable in “Pure Imagination.”  What we would have given to have our own golden ticket and entry to the candy room of every kid’s dreams:

And every year we couldn’t wait to see “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”:

But as they say, the reason for the season, in the Christian faith, best summarized in this video version of “New Again”:

On a different note, with a heavy heart I feel compelled pay tribute to my faithful pup who finally lost her valiant battle with heart disease this weekend.  She was a companion at my side for 10 years, often with her head on my lap while I had to use my laptop “side-saddle” to free up my lap for her.  And she slept on my pillow above my head at night, or in the crook of my arm, or with her head on my shoulder.  She was my little little girl.  I will miss her.

If you haven’t read “The Art Of Racing In The Rain” you should.  It’s very worth a read.  I haven’t watched the movie yet, but intend to.  The end scene I found on YouTube brings some comfort to a grieving heart:

Back to the playlist.  One song to highlight is “Sweet Caroline.”  During the 1997 game at Fenway, Amy Tobey, one of the employees in charge of music at the ballpark, played “Sweet Caroline” because a friend of hers had recently given birth to a baby named Caroline.  She became superstitious about its use over the next several years, only playing the song between the seventh and ninth innings when the Red Sox were in the lead.

That all changed in 2002 when the new Executive VP of Public Affairs Dr. Charles Steinberg set sight on making the song an integral part of the Fenway experience.  He requested the song be played at every game prior to the Red Sox batting in the 8th inning feeling the song had transformative powers to lift the spirits of the crowd and cheer on the team. 

“Sweet Caroline” figuring prominently in Fever Pitch

Neil Diamond further cemented the tie of the song to the Sox and Boston itself, revealing in 2007 that the song was about New England’s own Carline Kennedy.  He claimed he was inspired by a photograph he saw in a magazine of the 9 year-old Kennedy next to her pony impeccably dressed in her riding gear.  He has since recanted the story, stating the song was written about his wife, changing her name as the song musically called for a 3-syllables.  Whatever the inspiration, it has become an indelible part of the Boston experience:

And now for the 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 moment.

Listen to the SWEET MUSIC!

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