25 Days Of Christmas Music 2018: Day 2

Hi, Everybody!!!  Welcome back to the countdown.

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Found on Pinterest (original source unknown). 

We started this year’s holiday music celebration with one of the greatest performers the world has ever seen, and today we continue with another legend.  Heck, this man is a national treasure.

Any song he recorded throughout his career became his own thanks to his soulful, bluesy, jazzy interpretations combined with his virtuoso piano playing and distinctive voice, which usually invited the listener to join in with him.  He did it with “America The Beautiful”, “I Can’t Stop Loving You”, “You Don’t Know Me” and dozens of others.  The movie based on his life gave us a no holds barred look at how hard he had to fight to overcome poverty, tragedy, blindness, racism and drug addiction while remaining a master musician and singer.  He has covered so many Christmas classics, but for those of you who cannot get enough of the scene where Clark Griswold is stuck in the attic wearing a woman’s coat, head wrap & gloves watching old family movies in “Christmas Vacation”, then this is probably your favorite holiday song by “The Genius” himself.

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Ray Charles:  “That Spirit Of 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, happy listening!!!

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25 Days Of Christmas Music: Day 19

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

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(Original source unknown)

For most of the countdown, I have had trouble choosing only one song each day because I feel like there are so many great versions of so many holiday classics, I just want to share as many as I can with you.  And while this song is no exception in the amount of great renditions it has, for me there is only one.  Why?  Because that one is by Ray Charles Robinson.

I fell in love with his version the first time I heard in the 1989 movie “When Harry Met Sally” and it has been one of my all time favorite Christmas songs ever since.  In my heart he made this song his own the same way he did with “America The Beautiful“.  There is a reason why he was called “The Genius”, and it is clear in every note of every song he ever played.

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(Original source unknown)

Ray Charles:  “Winter Wonderland

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 #15

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

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Courtesy:  Tea Green Chandelier

 

It is hard for me to believe that the same team behind the “Rudolph The Red-Nose Reindeer” TV special-Arthur Rankin, Jr. & Jules Bass-also came up with the story for the special based on today’s song, which was first recorded in 1951.  Perhaps one of them worked for Walt Disney at some point because he seemed to enjoy creating stories around subjects who lost parents.

The main character of this special is an orphan, so I do not enjoy watching this Christmas show at all.  I remember it being on our TV set year after year when I was a kid, but between the sad story and the operatic version of the song used in the special, I preferred to go to bed early rather than suffer through the show one more time.

But then I heard the song as a duet between Bing Crosby and the beautiful talented man we lost earlier this year-David Bowie (read my tribute here)-and suddenly the song was no longer the bane of my existence (I still hate the TV special, however.  The story of an orphan is not Christmas fare EVER, even if that orphan got to play his drum for the Baby Jesus!!!  A lot of kids with parents play the drum, too!!!)

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David Bowie & Bing Crosby (original source unknown)

 

Over the years I have heard other fantastic recordings of this song, but today’s pick is my favorite.  Why?  Because it’s by Ray Charles.  No other explanation necessary.

Ray Charles:  The Little Drummer Boy

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:  Christmas Celebrations 

 

 

Christmas Song Of The Day #7

Hi, Vixens!!!  How are all of you today?  Ready for another great holiday song???  Then let’s get to it.

Soul music-whether in the form of Motown, R&B, Philly Soul, Gospel or some other variation-has been a favorite of mine forever.  I love music that is consumed with so much emotion.  It reminds me I am alive and hits my soul like a bolt of electricity, which is perhaps where the term “soul music” came from-music that touches the soul.

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Original Source Unknown

So many moments hit me like that:  the first time I heard Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay“, and Ray Charles’ “America The Beautiful“, and Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard it Through The Grapevine” not to mention his absolutely sublime version of “The Star Spangled Banner“, anything at all by Aretha Franklin and “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green, to name a few.

And while we are on the subject of Al  Green, his version of “O Holy Night” sent shivers down my spine from the second I heard it.  Done in his signature style, it oozes personality, charm, soul, R&B and every emotion it makes you feel.  It is simply majestic!!!

I do not own the rights to anything, I am just sharing some of my favorite music with you.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  steppersusa.com

Christmas Song Of The Day #6

Hello, Vixens!!!  With 10 days to go until the big day, are you on track?  Holding it all together?  Covered in flour from all the cookies you are baking?  Wherever you are on your road to Christmas, take a well deserved break with another holiday tune.

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Source:  mtv.com

Christmas songs have been covered by almost everyone who’s anyone  for decades now if not longer, so for someone to take one and make it his or her own is a rare feat indeed.  But when the cover version is by Ray Charles, a rare feat is an everyday occurrence.

Whether you like his interpretation because you are a fan of the Genius himself, or it reminds you of when Harry and Sally carried her Christmas tree home in the falling snow, or of James Caan’s softer side in “Elf”, this holiday classic is a treat for the whole family.

It is Ray Charles with Winter Wonderland.

Enjoy!!!

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Source:  bet.com

 

Fourth of July Music Celebration

Hello, fellow Vixens!!!  Happy July!!!

With the long holiday weekend to celebrate our nation’s independence upon us, I thought I would share the songs I listen to whenever I take a road trip.  There is something about the open highway that is invigorating and inspiring to me. Seeing this beautiful country from different vantage points reminds me how lucky I am to call it home.

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One of my favorite buildings in Waxhaw, NC.

Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio.

I celebrate that freedom with the musicians who have contributed to the soundtrack I live my life to.  The songs I chose may not specifically mention or relate to the holiday at all, but they or the artists singing them remind me of home.  This is my comfort music.

And given the current climate with the Supreme Court’s ruling and one state’s steps to see us all as equals under the same flag, this year’s observance of the 4th of July seems more important than ever.

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The view from one of my favorite antiques barns in Jeffersonville, VT.

Copyright 2013 by Michele Antonio.

So here is what I will be listening to this weekend:

10)  “Feeling Stronger Every Day” by Chicago.  A great American band named for their home city.  And what a message for anyone who needs some encouragement.

9)  “Proud Mary” by Creedence Clearwater Revival.  America’s all American band born on the bayou by way of California.

8)  “The Weight” by the Band.  The late Levon Helm at his best.

7)  “American Pie” by Don McClean.  An unlikely anthem if ever there was one.

6)  “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha and the Vandellas.  Does it get more American than Motown-a/k/a Detroit-where Chevys were made?  Remember the car maker’s old tag line?  “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet”.  What a visual.

5)  “Roadhouse Blues” by the Doors.  The harmonica adds the perfect amount of Americana to this rocker.

4)  “Me & Bobby McGee” by Kris Kristofferson.   A song about falling in love while on the road with the “windshield wipers slappin’ time”.  Jack Kerouac would have been so proud.

3)  “This Land is Your Land” by Pete Seeger & Friends.  Forget why they were there.  Just focus on the moment when Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen and others stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to sing one of the greatest songs celebrating our country.

2)  “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen.  New Jersey’s elite music master celebrates the best of this country (see #3) and the worst (“Born in the USA”).  But no one does it with more passion, grace or heart than Freehold’s fortunate son.

1)  “America the Beautiful” by Ray Charles.  It’s Ray Charles singing.  Enough written.

Bonus:  ANYTHING by Otis Redding.  My top choices are “Tramp” and “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay“.

What will you be listening to over the holiday weekend?

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, Vixens!!!

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The display in front of one favorite antiques stores in Babylon, NY.

Copyright 2011 by Michele Antonio.

Valentine’s Day Music Countdown: Song #6…..& A Happy Anniversary

Before we get to the countdown, let’s take a moment to recognize a happy anniversary-and one of the most important events to occur in music history.

On February  9, 1964 the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.  They performed “All My Loving”, “Till There Was You”, “She Loves You” “I Saw Her Standing There” & “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.

Sunday nights, not to mention music itself, was never ever the same again.

For those of you lucky enough to have witnessed the performance the night it took place, you were part of history in the making plus you had a front row seat to the start of the British Invasion.

BONUS:  Congratulations to George Harrison who was honored with a Lifetime Achievements Award for his work as a solo artist at the Grammy Awards last night.

My #6 pick in the countdown is “A Song For You” by Ray Charles written by Leon Russell.

I never thought I could choose from the genius that is Charles.  After all, this is the man who took “America The Beautiful;” and made it seem as if it were written for only him.

Perhaps what made it easy to narrow down was the beautiful marriage of Charles’ voice with simplistic beauty of Russell’s lyrics:

“You taught me precious secrets
Of a true love, withholding nothing
You came out in front and I was hiding
Now I’m so much better
And if my words don’t come together
Listen to the melody
Cause my love is in there hiding

I love you in a place where there’s no space or time
I love you for my life
You’ re a friend of mine
And when my life is over
Remember when we were together
We were alone and I was singing this song to you”

This song earned Charles the 12th Grammy Award of his illustrious career in the category for Best Male R & B Performance in 1994.  There is nothing I can write about Ray Charles that has not already been written except that the world became a sadder place when we lost his voice in 2004.  He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of fame in 1986 by one of his closest friends, Quincy Jones.  Here’s one of my favorite songs the two did together, with a little help from Chaka Khan.

Enjoy!!!

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