A Playlist From the Soul: December 3, 2017

As I am moving into my new “normal,” I have found my music choices all over the spectrum. This is not anything new though, I’m always all over the radar, but I thought it would be interesting to go over some of these songs. I wanted to think about why I’m listening to them. Maybe that can give me a clue of where I am in life and you can always judge somebody by the record collection or playlist, right?


“Proud Mary” –Tina Turner

Now I cannot completely verify this research, but I once read that “Proud Mary” doesn’t necessarily have a meaning. When John Fogerty wrote this song, he put together a bunch of different riffs and verses he had written. For me, this song makes complete sense, especially in my life now!

I really did just leave a steady career track to pursue a passion of mine. Right now I’m just rollin,’ and life has been rough, but in the end, everything’s nice and easy.

                                                               


“Mary Did You Know” –Kimberley Locke

Honestly, I have never really been into Christmas music. I’ve had a few favorites over the years, but I’ve never been elated to hear that first Christmas tune at Wal-Mart in July. I’m not a scrooge, just not overly festive. One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary Did You Know?” I love the song’s perspective. I’ve been looking for a simple version with a powerhouse vocal that brought justice to the lyrics. Kimberley Locke’s version does just that and I’m hooked.

      


“Roxanne” –The Police 

I cannot really explain why I am listening to this song. It popped into my head the other day and has been in the back ever since. I’ve been trying to figure out a few songs that I could start practicing myself that were outside the “piano” realm, but one that still echoed jazz sentiments. This song has so many great versions out there along those lines, but nothing beats the original.

      


“Purple Rain” –Prince

I’m starting to see an 80’s theme, but this is where it’s going to end. Lately I have been listening to music from Prince’s entire career catalog. “Purple Rain” is such a classic though. I can’t hear it once and not go on a binge listen for a few days….or weeks.

      


“Lady Blue” –Griffin Anthony

I discovered Griffin Anthony on Twitter a few months ago. Once I heard his album The Making of A Man, I was hooked to his vocal’s true country tones and soulful foundation. “Lady Blue” is one of my favorite tracks off of the album due to it’s pure honesty. You can sense both hope, frustration, and heartbreak woven in it’s lyrics. Expect a full review soon.

      


“New York” –St. Vincent

When I find myself in a “rut,” where I keep listening to the same artists and songs consistently, I force myself to try something new. I am a member of Vinyl Me, Please, and their album of the month was St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION. Read my full review of her album here. St. Vincent is innovative in both the sound of her music and writing. I love how so many of her songs change “attitude” throughout the song yet they always have a reigning theme.

      


“River” –Idina Menzel

Here is another one of favorite Christmas songs. I have been a fan of Idina Menzel for many years now, so naturally I did buy her Christmas album a few years back. Although this is officially Joni Mitchell’s classic, I fell in love with Menzel’s version. It was just what I needed that year and it has remained a staple in my winter playlist since.

      


“Good to You” –Jonny P 

Songs that have old school vibes with a modern twist always catch my ear. I found recently this one recently. My friend was talking about Jonny P and I found his music video on Vevo. I definitely plan to check out more of his music this week.

      


“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” –Darlene Love

Rolling Stone said it best when they declared that Darlene Love is one of the greatest singers of all time. I couldn’t agree more. In recent years, she is finally getting some of the well deserved credit and respect she truly deserves. This song will always remain a staple in Love’s career and it has cemented itself as a holiday classic. Love performed this song every year on David Letterman since 1986. Here is her first performance of her classic.

   


“Perfect” –Ed Sheeran and Beyoncé

Anything featuring Beyoncé will always get my attention. Yes, I am an unashamed member of the Bey Hive. Do not talk bad about her majesty in my presence. With that being said, I’m not 100% into this song. Ed Sheeran’s music has never really crossed my path, but this may have opened the door a tad. I am listening to this repeatedly trying to get fully into it. I’ll keep you posted.

Ed Sheeran:       

Beyoncé:       


So what does my playlist say about me? I’m not sure exactly what it says about me or where I’m at in life, but in the end it’s exactly where I need to be. Music is what you have when words are not adequate. What you listen too is what speaks to your soul. Now where does that leave me?

Who the heck knows, but I’m enjoying the journey…

                                                              

I Was There…Sort Of– Bobby Darin: Darin At The Copa

rSometimes you find an album that makes you ponder 3 ideas:

  1. I wish this album would never end.
  2. If only time machines were real….
  3. Why the hell wasn’t I born decades ago?

These were my exact thoughts this week as I listened to Bobby Darin’s Darin at The Copa. Unfortunately, I am just now getting into the world of Darin, but he has quickly become one of my new favorites and this album solidified his distinct spot on my shelves.

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I have been doing research on Darin and I think it is only fitting for my first post about him to be about this album for both his history and my sake. First, there is the matter that Darin performed this album at the Copacabana (Yes, the one with Lola). After doing some research on Darin, I found that this was his dream venue. He always wanted to play the Copa just like Frank Sinatra, except he wanted to sell more seats. Second, since moving to the New York City area, I am finding the historical music scene that surrounds this town fascinating and I can’t help but tear up when I wonder across these pieces of history.

This album is a collection of songs from Darin’s first appearance at the Copa. By the time his first stint at the Copa concluded, he had shattered their attendance records and performed to rave reviews in nearly every New York publication. He must have been the envy of every performer who regularly frequented the dinner club scene in New York and I think he is still the envy of many young performers today.

Darin At The Copa opens with a medley of an African-American spiritual, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” and a song written in the same tone and style, “Lonesome Road.” “Chariot” is a traditional spiritual that has been around since the early 1900’s, whereas “Lonesome Road was written by Nathaniel Shilkret and Gene Austin in 1927 in the style of an African-American spiritual to wide commercial success. Darin pulled these off effortlessly and arranged the medley himself. It was a daring move for the young performer. This album was recorded in 1960 and he was promoting African-American song stylings. Proving, as I have discovered he often does, that he was always a few moments before his time. Change was already long overdue.

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Next, Darin goes into the standard “Some of These Days,” followed by his smash hit “Mack The Knife.” He then dives into the music of Cole Porter with “Love for Sale” and “You’d Be Nice to Come Home To.” “Love For Sale” is one of the biggest highlights of the entire album. He sings this song with a finesse of deception and loneliness. He took advantage of his vocals here and went rogue compared to many singers of the day. He then closes side A with another one of his hits, “Dream Lover.”

Side B opens with another song arranged by Darin, “Bill Bailey.” Oddly, this song also has roots in “Dixieland” and African-American tradition. This underlying tone shows that Darin was trying to be a change agent of the time not only with his vocals, but with his social conscience.  He then goes into the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “I Have Dreamed” showing he had the vocal ability as a classic singer and superb song interpreter.

Darin then goes deeper into his jazz stylings with “Alright, O.K., You Win.” This optimistic tune admits the spell a woman has over a man and is then coupled with a medley of “By Myself” and “When Your Lover is Gone.” “By Myself” is one of my favorite compositions and Darin sings this song with the heartbreak tone this song deserves. Next, he mixes the jazz scene up by throwing in his interpretation of Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman,” on which he also played the piano. Lastly, he closes out the album with a song he claims helped start this direction of his career, “That’s All.”

Then, against my wishes, the album concludes.

This record had me sitting at the center table of the Copa watching Darin’s electric performance in

American singer and film actor Bobby Darin (1936 - 1973) rehearsing in London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

American singer and film actor Bobby Darin (1936 – 1973) rehearsing in London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

person. I literally looked at my needle a few times to see if it could contain the music. Darin’s pure energy resonates with the listener 56 years later, as if the listener was there. Listening to this album is being in the presence of Darin. His vocals, energy, character, and personality shone as bright as it did in 1960.

I’m afraid if I was at the performance, I might have needed shades.

This album proves that a singer never truly passes and that their impact can touch countless generations through black gold (and if you like that digital stuff). The mastering of this album is done to perfection. I am amazed how Darin was able to jump from Cole Porter to Ray Charles, while mixing in his own compositions and arrangements. This vinyl caught a performer in their natural habitat and captured a brilliant moment in both Darin’s catalog and music history.

With this album, I was able to catch a glimpse of Darin’s high-octane performance style that every performer should strive for. This album also shows the true art of performance and it sadly proves it’s demise in our overly commercial, mechanical, music industry.

Which makes me ask the profound question…..why the hell was I born in 1990?