“Oh My, But That Little Country Boy Could Play…”

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry circa 1955 (original source unknown).

 

This is, indeed, a tremendous loss. As one of the architects of rock and roll, Chuck Berry’s contribution to music, for those who play it, listen to it and love it, will always be immense. The guitar riff that opens “Johnny B. Goode” is perfection defined.  Nearly 20 years after its release, it was included on Voyager 1’s Golden Record.  And in 1985, it took us all “Back To The Future“.

 

Chuck and Bruce

Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Berry performing together at the Concert for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Sept. 1995 (Courtesy Mike Duncan/AP).

 

When the Beatles came to America on February 7, 1964 and performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show” two days later, it changed the world.  When the Beatles performed their first concert in the United States later that same year – in Washington, DC – their opening song was “Roll Over Beethoven” because Chuck Berry changed their world.

Thank you for everything, Chuck. We miss you already.

 

Grammy Thoughts With A Valentine

Hello, Vixens!!!  Happy Monday!!!

Did any of you watch the 59th Annual Grammy Awards last night?  When I heard Justin Bieber was somehow nominated for Album of the Year (I know, WTH???) I debated a boycott of the show again like I did last year (read more about that here), but in the end I wanted to see a few of the performers (and Bieber cry and/or throw a tantrum when he lost) so I decided to watch it.  Besides, it is a great way to catch up on the new music worth hearing that I might have missed throughout the year.

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Here are my thoughts from the show.  I will start with the bad:

The politics.

I look forward to all the big awards show every year.  I love to watch what dresses the women will be wearing, how humble the acceptance speeches might be, the host, the presenters, the bad jokes-all of it.  But so far both the Golden Globes & the SAG Awards have turned into personal political platforms.  This is not something new.  For example, in 1973 Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather to decline his Best Actor Oscar for “The Godfather” in  protest of the film industry’s treatment of American Indians.  But given the immaturity and over-inflated egos of many of today’s Top 40 singers, I knew last night would be worse.

 

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Tim McGraw & Faith Hill looking as great as ever at last night’s Grammy Awards

(original source unknown). 

 

To be clear, I believe and support the First Amendment with all my heart.  However, after such a long ugly race for the White House, all the protesting which sometimes turns violent (like on Inauguration Day) or laughable by people attending dressed as a sex organ, the ongoing disrespect for the office and the refusal of the people who supported the losing side to accept that it is over, I am exhausted by all of it.  I watch the awards shows to escape into the grown up equivalent of the land of make believe (Hollywood) so I am not interested in hearing personal political opinions during these presentations.  We are in the age of social media.  Take to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or whatever source you enjoy and rant till your heart is content.  Let me and the rest of the audience enjoy our mini-escape into your world for one night.

The Newly Self Appointed Fertility Goddess (or the artist formerly known as Beyonce).

Talk about a completely ego driven performance-this was the worst I have seen.  Between her mother introducing the number, to the bizarre images and pre-recorded sounds and narrative, to the camera constantly cutting to her smiling husband to her daughter running around her, it was an absurd mess.  And shame on the powers that be at the Grammys for giving her nine full minutes to showcase that spectacle while cutting off people’s acceptance speeches.

Double dipping.

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Bruno Mars saluting Prince at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards (original source unknown)

 

I love Adele and was so happy to watch her perform the show’s opening number.  But since she was slated to perform the George Michael tribute, wasn’t there someone else who could have opened the show?  (And this has nothing to do with her do-over.  Mistakes happen and it proves her singing is real, not lip synced).  The same with the Prince tribute.  Was Bruno Mars the only person who wanted to participate, other than The Time?  It just can’t be.  And he had performed a song less than an hour earlier.  The Grammys did the same thing last year with Lady Gaga as the only person to salute David Bowie.  There is a wide range of musicians out there.  Tom Petty won the Music Cares Person of the Year Award and Sly Stone (of Sly & the Family Stone) won a Lifetime Achievement Award.  A performance by either one would have been welcome.  Let all the voices in music be heard.

The Bee Gees Salute.

I grew up listening to “How Do You Mend A Broken Heart” because it was one of my mother’s favorite songs.  To this day I know all the words and cannot help but sing along with it when it comes on the 70’s music channel.  The Bee Gees made some great  music before they went disco with “Saturday Night Fever”.  Yet every time there is a salute to their songs, it is usually focused on that record, much to my chagrin.  Add to that the salute was done by a bunch of previous Disney stars took it from bad to worse.  I am a Springsteen fan.  That is the music equivalent of being a Harvard graduate.  Disco is the music equivalent of getting a GED.  Does that visual make you feel my pain???

The Rap segment.

It was rap.  No further explanation needed.

Now for the good:

James Corden.

james-corden

James Corden in his underwear after the guys from Twenty One Pilots (below) accepted their award that way (original sources unknown)..

21-pilots

 

This man is hilarious.  And after seeing the skit with his parents, it is clear where he got it from.  From his opening show rap, to the impromptu “Carpool Karaoke” (led by the great Neil Diamond, who should have had a full performance slot on the show), to Corden appearing in his underwear to mirror the guys from Twenty One Pilots to dressing up to act like a presenter, he was great for the entire show.  I must remember to DVR his show more often.

 

David Bowie.

bowie-the-independent

Courtesy of The Independent (original source unknown)

 

The rock star won 5 posthumous awards for “Blackstar”:  Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Performance, Best Recording Package & Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.  Well done, Major Tom.  Wish you were able to accept them in person.

 

The Beatles.

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Ron Howard, Ringo Starr & Paul McCartney (original source unknown).

 

Best Music Film was awarded to Ron Hoard for his labor of love, “The Beatles:  Eight Days A Week–The Touring Years”.  I still have not seen it but it is next on my list.  Don’t judge-Springsteen’s autobiography took up a lot of my time last year  🙂

 

Sturgill Simpson.

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Original source unknown 

 

His album “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” (love that title) won Best Country Album and it was well deserved.  He performed one of the songs from it, “All Around You” with the Dap- Kings and it was one of my favorite moments of the night.

 

Maren Morris.

maren-morris

Courtesy of Billboard 

 

Wow, this girl is incredible.  Her voice, her lyrics, her stage presence-she has it all.  Her nominations included Best Country Album (for “Hero”), Best Country Song (for “My Church“, a song I should have written) and Best Country Solo Performance for the same tune which she won over the likes of Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and Miranda Lanbert. Last night she performed a different song from the record – “Once” – with Alicia Keys and it was sensational.  A few online stories that I read about Morris said she was turned down by both American Idol and The Voice.  I do not watch reality shows because I do not think there is anything real about them, and this just proves my point.  I think this girl has a huge career in front of her.

Adele.

adele-grammy-press-room-2017-grammys-billboard-1548

Courtesy of Billboard.com (original source unknown)

 

Fantastic as always, even with the do-over.  Five well deserved Grammys.

But I thought her fawning over Beyonce was way too much.  If Adele did not want to go up against Beyonce, she could have taken her album out of the running.  I am so sick of hearing about how white the Grammys are every time a black person loses to a white one.   Where was the white uproar when Kanye West hijacked the stage at the 2009 VMA’s and embarrassed the hell out of Taylor Swift because he did not think she deserved to win?  Or when 50 Cent walked across the Grammy stage in 2004 cursing because he did not win Best New Artist?

This year another rapper, Frank Ocean, not only boycotted the show but refused to put his two albums in the running for any nominations (as if they would automatically be nominated) because he thought Kendrick Lamar’s album deserved to win the Best Album Award last year over Taylor Swift’s.  This bad sportsmanship and sense of entitlement is beyond rude.  I don’t know about anyone else,  but I am really tired of hearing about the race card.  Why is that more important than the gender card?  I am a woman living in a country where a black man became president before a woman ever became vice-president. Women still earn less than men do at the same jobs.  As far as I am concerned, the gender issue needs to finally be addressed.

This post was about the Grammys, right?  🙂

I do not own the rights to anything.  All opinions are my own.

In honor of Valentine’s Day tomorrow, here is one of my favorite love songs ever (set to an adorable little video).  Enjoy!!!

Bruce Springsteen:  Should I Fall Behind.

love

(original source unknown)

 

Until next time, fellow Vixens, keep digging!!!

 

 

 

Happy 2017!!!

Happy New Year, Vixens!!!

I feel so invigorated at the beginning of the year!!!  That whole clean slate thing, a new story to write and  a second chance to make things happen all rolled into one changes the game for me every year.  Whether I am happy to see the old year go or anticipating something in the one to come, a new year is a fresh start-period.

2017

I spent the end of 2016 doing something I have not done for years-shopping the after Christmas sales.  I used to do it every year and loved every minute of it.  But then my practical frugal side took over and I convinced myself my money was better spent on necessities (what???) rather than adding to my already bulging Christmas storage boxes.  And the more I bought vintage Christmas items all year long, the less I needed anything come December…..except maybe more room to show off my finds.

This year I needed lights, had the day off and the money to spend so how could I not take advantage of all the signs from the universe telling me to shop, shop, SHOP!!!   🙂

Here are a few items I picked up at Jo-Ann’s at a whopping 75% off plus a coupon!!!:

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Cute, right???  I picked up the lights there, too.  But boxes of lights are not very photogenic.

Over at Target, I bought this adorable camper mug and the treat boxes at 50% off.  And how about the Peanuts tote bag?  I found two of them (the other is currently in use) in the Dollar Spot of the store.  Despite their Christmas design, I plan to use those totes all year round for groceries and trips to the local farmer’s market.

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Speaking of the Peanuts, look what I found when I stopped at CVS to pick up some incidentals:

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Forty-40!!!-Peanuts Christmas cards that were already a steal at $19.99.  But at half that price…..simply divine!!!

On New Year’s Day, while overdosing on the antics of Ralph & Norton during the annual “Honeymooners” marathon and waiting all day for my absolute favorite episode  (hint:  it contains this little exchange-Norton to Ralph:  “Do you mind if I smoke?”  Ralph to Norton:  “I don’t care if you burn!”  LOL!!!  It never gets old!!).  I set up my Google calendar for mostly the next three months-goals, budget, posts, book club dates, etc-while adding in the antiques shows, fairs and other events I plan to attend and new ones I might want to go to for 2017.  This way I have time to save up for any special things I might spot on my travels.

the-honeymooners

I am waiting for the Feast of the Epiphany (a/k/a Little Christmas) before I take my tree down, and as sad as I am to say goodbye to it and its glorious aroma, I am more than ready to see the pine needle rug below it to finally disappear.

And every night I fall asleep to the sound of the Boss himself reading his life story.  Yes, my Christmas gift to myself was the “Born To Run” audio book.  Sa-woon.

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So that is how I have been spending the first few days of this new year.  How about you?  Are you ready to take it by storm???

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy digging!!!

 

Christmas Song Countdown #18

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

bruce-2

Courtesy of Pinterest (original source unknown)

Today’s song is by one of my all-time heroes, a man I love, adore and admire and the man I will eventually marry soon if his wife would stop hogging him already.  I mean, she has had over 30 years with him-now she is just being greedy.  I will let her visit the Oscar whenever she wants if that is what she is worried about.

Seriously, how refreshing that a man is so dedicated and protective of his music that he does not mess up that gift with drugs, or by letting some big box store use it in a campaign (that they hope will boost their sales in an effort to get the public to forget how bad they treat their employees, the environment or every small business in the free world) or even let even let the President of the United States get away with using his copyrighted music without his permission.

This year alone he was awarded the Medal of Freedom, he & the E Street Band had the #1 highest-grossing tour for the first half of 2016 according to Forbes Magazine, outdid his own extended show length and broke the record for the longest U.S. concert this year (4 hours, 3 minutes and 43 seconds).

bruce-medal

President Obama presenting Bruce Springsteen with the Medal of Honor last month

               (Original source unknown)

What was the other thing he did this year???

It is on the tip of my tongue…..

Come on, Michele, think……..

Oh, right…..

HE WROTE A BEST SELLING AUTOBIOGRAPHY!!!

bruce-auto

Courtesy:  Simon & Schuster

It debuted in the #1 spot on the NY Times Best Sellers list, was one of their top picks for 2016 and their critic Dwight Garner wrote:  “Mr. Springsteen’s memoir is big, loose, rangy and intensely satisfying. It has not been utterly sanitized for anyone’s protection, and it is closely observed from end to end, especially on subjects like sex, art and social class. The Boss could have phoned this book in. He didn’t.”

Amen.

Garner’s review also included this gem:

“Bruce Springsteen’s song lyrics have injected more drama and mystery into the myths of the American road than any figure since Jack Kerouac.”

Ah, two of my favorite men in one sentence!!!!!

“Both an entertaining account of Springsteen’s marathon race to the top and a reminder that the one thing you can’t run away from is yourself.”Entertainment Weekly

How true.

And the best gift of all, IMHO:  

“He must be conceded a magic with words: He can spin not only a yarn but often an extended analysis, too…. His disclosures here are rich, deep, and useful to help destigmatize mental illness.”Slate

I have written this before, but it bears repeating:  

I love Bruce Springsteen for so many things.  

But for that most of all.

And Jungleland, of course.

bruce-merrychristmasbaby

Courtesy:  Eric Meola

Merry Christmas, Boss Man.  Thank you for everything & congratulations on another incredible year.

Bruce Springsteen:  Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.

P.S.  An honorable mention to James Taylor’s cover, a jazzy-bluesy-piano-infused version that reminded me of Vince Guaraldi’s style from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

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Courtesy of:  me!!!  Foxboro Stadium, MA.  9/14/16

Christmas Song Countdown #16 & #17

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I had some technical difficulties yesterday, so today’s post will celebrate two songs to catch us up.  Double the musical fun!!!

christmas-4

(Original source unknown)

 

The first song is by country music royalty.  He grew up listening to hymns and folk songs to become one of the architects of Sam Phillips’ label, Sun Records.  He brought an edge to country music, joined fellow country icons to become a Highwayman and for all intents and purposes brought the bad guy persona to country music with his “Folsom Prison Blues” song & concert.

And if his contribution to that genre was not enough, he covered many different songs from artists he admired like Neil Young (“Heart Of Gold“), Bruce Springsteen (“Johnny 99“) Nine Inch Nails (a powerful astonishing version of “Hurt“) and U2 (“One), to name a few.  Yet, he will always be best know for his staple songs, namely “Ring of Fire“,  “A Boy Named Sue” and “I Walk The Line“.

He was also one half of one of the greatest love stories of all time, proving to men everywhere that there is absolutely no shame in admitting you need a good woman by your side, and wanting her there as well.

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Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash’s wedding day-March 1, 1968 (courtesy:  JohnnyCash,com

 

He took this Christmas carol and made it his own.  He was, very simply, the Man In Black.

Johnny Cash:  Silent Night.

Second pick:

Not too many people have actually written a Christmas song, only performed the classic ones.  This singer has done both, and I really like some of her music from the early years of her career (mid to late 1990’s) until she moved to her post Tommy Mottola now-I-am-going-to-pepper-my-pop-sound-with-rap years.  But there is no denying the power or beauty of her voice.

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(Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

 

Call it a guilty pleasure, or a loyalty to someone else from my home region of Long Island, but I do occasionally listen to this singer and this song specifically at this time of year.  If you are a fan of the film “Love Actually” there is no way not to enjoy this song.  (And despite all the baggage surrounding her first acting performance in the movie “Glitter”, I thought her performances in “Wisegirls” and “Precious” were very well done.)

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Mariah Carey, Melora Walters and Mira Sorvino in “Wisegirls” (courtesy of Loins Gate Films)

 

I love this video for this song so much better than the first one.  It may not be Christmasey, but it is not cheesy, either.

Mariah Carey:  All I Want For Christmas.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

 

christmas-candles

(Original source unknown)

Christmas Song Countdown #13

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

picture-wreath

Courtesy of Widadesign.com 

 

Today’s singer has being performing for decades, and is probably the greatest and most famous back up singer that ever was.  She has worked with the likes of Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Van Zandt and Aretha Franklin, whom she channels in today’s song.

A phenomenal singer in her own right, she will probably always be best remembered for her work with Phil Spector’s groundbreaking “Wall of Sound” recordings in the 1960’s; namely ”He’s a Rebel,” ”(Today I Met) the Boy I’m Gonna Marry,” and today’s featured song which she performed regularly on David Letterman’s show during the Christmas season.

She was one of the main singers spotlighted in the 2014 Best Documentary Oscar winning film, “20 Feet From Stardom”.  She also played Danny Glover’s wife in all four “Lethal Weapon” movies and Judy Burrell on my soap “Another World” in 1993.

lethal-weapon

Danny Glover & Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon” (Courtesy of IMDb)

 

If all that were not impressive enough, the New York Times paid her one of the greatest compliments ever when they said her voice is ”as embedded in the history of rock and roll as Eric Clapton’s guitar and Bob Dylan’s lyrics”.  Wow.  Who would not want to be remembered like that?

Darlene Love:  Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).

P.S.  An honorable mention to U2 for their version of today’s song.  Who does not want to imagine themselves as the reason for Bono’s pleading?  Or more to the point, who does not want to listen to Bono and the rest of U2, period???

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U2 by Mattia Zoppellaro for MOJO magazine

 

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

Christmas Song Countdown #10

Hello, Vixens!!!  Welcome back to the countdown!!!

I wanted to share with you a creative way some people are being festive.

Country Living Magazine’s site features trees made of books!!!

I think they are adorable!!!

small-book-tree

Courtesy:  Country Living Magazine

The singer with the #10 song is my second favorite singer ever after Bruce Springsteen.  More importantly, he is probably the greatest soul singer who ever graced this Earth.  The power of his voice, the passion he sang with, the intensity of emotion he put into every single note is what we remember most about him.  And it sealed his legacy as the King of Soul.

His voice put Stax Records on the map.  His death at the age of 26 on this day 49 years ago was the end of the label, for all intents and purposes.  A month after his death the last song he recorded was released.  Soon after it became the #1 song in the country.  This year his foundation celebrated the 75th anniversary of his birth.

The night before his death, he & his band the Bar Kays (most of whom died with him in the plane crash that took his life), performed “Respect” on a show called Upbeat.  Over the closing credits, he sang “Knock On Wood” with Mitch Ryder.  It is 88 seconds of joy.  Thanks to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you may watch that here.

During his short career, he recorded two Christmas songs.  Ironically enough for me, Bruce Springsteen covered the first one (Merry Christmas Baby).  The second one is today’s pick and by far my favorite of the two.

bruce-merrychristmasbaby

Courtesy:  Eric Meola

Otis Redding:  White Christmas.

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing some things that I love with you   🙂

What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

Until next time, fellow Vixens, happy listening!!!

book-trees

Courtesy:  Country Living Magazine