Category Archives: Marc’s Mixed Bag – A Little Of Everything

Hearing A Song With New Ears

Have you ever had that moment in life when you suddenly start seeing patterns or when similar or maybe even identical things start happening, seemingly all of a sudden and out of nowhere?

Yes, this is awareness, or self-awareness, or being more present, but if something doesn’t have meaning for us, we are not going to notice it, even if we are highly conscious of what is around us.
(Denis Cherim)

Case in point: I made a conscious decision a few years back to diligently follow the English Premiere League, and picked Tottenham Hotspurs as my team (thanks, Eric and Julian). Up until then I had never heard of Tottenham and soccer was a passing interest. I would be obsessed during the World Cup and then lose interest. I played when I was a kid, though if you ask my parents, all I did was stand on the field and play with my cup. Those things were NOT comfortable! Apparently I spent the entire game as a defender, looking at the crowd and the sky… and… adjusting myself! And then only showing interest and going into action when the ball came to me. Doh.

I am so NOT an athlete.

Anyway… the moment I was fully on board with Spurs, amazing connections started happening.  I was in Davids Tea in The Village and when I heard the London accent of the woman behind the counter, I asked her which team she supports… Yes, I was starting to be hip to the soccer lingo. She, of course, said Tottenham and was FROM Tottenham!

A day or so later I am on the FREEWAY… so thousands of cars, literally… and I see a jeep with a (you got it) TOTTENHAM bumper sticker. Then I’m at a party, and the bartender has a London accent. So I ask the same question… He says, without a beat or shock from me, “Spurs!”

Now… were those things always there and I just was not paying attention to them? Yes, of course. It did not mean anything in those previous moments. But as soon as I did become aware… BOOM! There they all were. Their motto is also an important one for me, so there is that!This is known as the “Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, otherwise known as frequency illusion or recency illusion. This phenomenon occurs when the thing you’ve just noticed, experienced or been told about suddenly crops up constantly. It gives you the feeling that out of nowhere, pretty much everyone and their cousin are talking about the subject — or that it is swiftly surrounding you. And you’re not crazy; you are totally seeing it more. But the thing is, of course, that’s because you’re noticing it more.”

“A couple of things happen when the Baader-Meinhof (pronounced badder mainhoff) phenomenon kicks in. One, your brain seems to be excited by the fact that you’ve learned something new, and selective attention occurs.”
(Kate Kershner on Sceince.HowStuffWorks.com)

Awareness is an amazing thing. We all THINK we are aware, but how much of the time are we just moving through life, living in our own head and missing so much that is in front of us?

The Buddhist’s call it “Satori,”which means sudden enlightenment. Others may call it an “epiphany” or “awareness” or “self-awareness.” The hip term is “Mindfulness,”which of course has been around forever. The pointis that we need to be open to all possibilities, to take the lessons that are almost always presented to us, and may have actually been sitting in front of us this whole time, and actually see them and learn from them.

For me, it is the realization that there are no coincidences… that things come to us precisely when we need them to. And forgive the long path that it took to get to this point, but this absolutely has to do with music and songs.Venice, a band I know and love has an amazing tune called “Bad Timing Song.”  I have heard it many times, but it came on random play yesterday and literally stopped me in my tracks… the lyrics hit me in a way they had never had before.

YES, I was going through a breakup… and YES, clearly I need to hear this message… but wow… just wow!!! I really… and I mean REALLY heard the lyrics, as if for the first time.

They have always been there… I have sung along to them… but clearly, given what I am going through and where I am at, they took on a new, personal and POWERFUL meaning.

“How many times have I dreamt of this scene
You coming back and you’re crying for me
Saying my name and wondering what went wrong

But I’m different now
And whatever I felt is gone
No love or revenge
Just another bad timing song.”

What is perhaps even CRAZIER is that they JUST DROPPED a new album… and there is a song on there that is even closer to where I am at in life. I was floored. You MUST check out Jacaranda Street!!! I know I guffaw, but I cannot tell you how good these guys are and how much I love this band… and these two connections have made that love even stronger!!!

“Stepping On That Bridge”

Again… the guys went in my brain and heart… knew what I was thinking and feeling… and then wrote a song about me! LOL.

And you think we are not ALL CONNECTED???!!!

The whole song is me… but here are some of the highlighted lyrics…

Verse 1:
“I don’t do well with change
I don’t do well without change as well
I’m on the branch, I’m on the limb
Time for me to sink or swim.”

Verse 2:
“I don’t do well with her
I don’t do well without her as well
I’m on the lam, I’m on the brink
Time for me to swim or sink
Time for me to swim or sink.”

Chorus:
“Whoa though it goes against my nature
Whoa gotta take a leap of faith
Whoa though I don’t know where it leads me
I’m stepping on that bridge anyway.”

So here is the lesson… be open to everything. Literally tell yourself, “I am open to the opportunity of __________.” (Thanks, Wally!!!)

Walk through the world with all of your senses wide open, and everything you need, will come to you… because everything you need is already there… and everything you need is ALREADY INSIDE OF YOU!!!

Be open to it ALL. Return to yourself, my friends. Be open to change. Take that leap of faith. Step on that bridge. Magical and meaningful and significant and powerful new tunes will come to you… and you will hear “old songs” with new ears.

 

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A Song A Day – Week One Recap

Day 1 – A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away
First Day of A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away!

Come on, did you expect something OTHER than Bruce?

“Growin’ Up” – Bruce Springsteen

Favorite lyric: “When they said sit down I stood up.”

On its face, a history of youth and childhood, but it goes much deeper and is, of course, an anthem of rebelliousness and exploration. Not just one of my favorite Bruce songs, but one of my favorite songs of all time.

Here are two versions:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMyQjl59wkw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xY3q45EBt8 Day 2 – Two For Tuesday

“Rosalita” by Bruce Springsteen

No, this will not be a year of Bruce songs… And I did say more Bruce is coming… But this one is a celebration of joy, pure and simple… on the value of this song alone, but also every time I see it played live.

“It is proof of life,” to quote Bruce.

This is always in my Top 3 Bruce songs, though it may shift in placement depending on my mood and what I need. You’ll get my last of the three later on down the line, and a nice story to go along with it, which gives the song even more relevance. In the meantime, turn this one up and let Rock n’ Roll soothe your weary soul.

Favorite lyric:

“And your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, your papa says he knows that I don’t have any money
Oh, so your daddy says he knows that I don’t have any money
Well, tell him this is his last chance to get his daughter in a fine romance
Because a record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYHGh6lmSbo

“Don’t Stop Me Now” – By Queen

This one goes out to my cousin, Lori. Always one of my favorite Queen songs and it’s gotten a lot of recent attention from Bohemian Rhapsodyand some commercial. But I love the way it is used in Shaun Of The Dead, one of my favorite movies! I miss Freddie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgzGwKwLmgM

Favorite lyrics:
I’m a shooting star, leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car, passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go, go, go
There’s no stopping me

I’m burnin’ through the sky, yeah
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Day 3 – “This Gift” by Glen Hansard

Today I am going with this powerful and stunning song that has gotten me through many things with its amazing message of hope. This song has made me cry and has made me strong.

This is one of those perfect songs, and every word and lyric has powerful resonance, but if I had to pick my favorite part, it is:

“Don’t hang your head in sorrow
Don’t give up just before you win
Don’t wait around for tomorrow
Open up your arms and let it in.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpL6qq9ElwA

While the video quality on this second one is not as great, this version with his niece is also amazing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OgQXuU8U8Vk

Day 4 – “Ghost Of A Chance” – By Rush

I will admit I am trying to plan a few days ahead to keep myself sane. But then something happens… like a song keeps coming up when my phone is in Shuffle mode. I mean that must be a sign, right? So I’m calling an audible… literally.

Neil Peartis one of my all-time favorite lyricists, and these are slightly skeptical, almost pessimistic, yet there is a small glimmer of hope… which pretty much describes where I am at right now in life. I think there is nothing wrong going through life with HEALTHY skepticism, as long as there is a stronger optimism to offset it. We all need hope. We don’t want to be pessimists, we want to be optimists, but we do need to look at things in a real and practical way. This song does that.

“I don’t believe in the stars or the planets
Or angels watching from above

(Actually, I do usually believe that, or used to… but not right now…)But I believe there’s a ghost of a chance
We can find someone to love
And make it last.”

Album Version:

Amazing Live Version:

Day 5 – “Waiting For My Real Life To Begin” by Colin Hay (and Thom Mooney)

Men At Workwas a pivotal band for me. One of my fondest memories was blasting the album Business As Usualin the cafeteria at Glen Rock High School as we prepared for a Nights Of Drama performance. They were one of our go to bands to pump us up and get us ready for the show. I will never forget the utter joy we all felt singing at the top of our lungs and dancing with reckless abandon… and if you have ever seen me dance, you know reckless abandon is one of my best moves.

So yes, I will be paying some MAW… but in the meantime, Colin Hay as a solo artist is astounding. The man can stand on stage with nothing but his voice and a guitar and absolutely mesmerize. His solo singer/songwriter renditions of Men At Work tunes are stunning… and songs like this are profound and beautiful.

I am a victim, as are many artists, of putting life on hold for an elusive dream. But real life is lived in the here and now. We must not kill the dream, but we must fully live real life now.

“And you say, be still my love
Open up your heart, let the light shine in
Don’t you understand
I already have a plan
I’m waiting for my real life to begin.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvukKx68_yMDay 6 – “Follow The Light” By Travis

I know… I know… these songs are supposed to inspire… but sometimes sitting with a little sadness will bring us joy and light… and yes, INSPIRE!!! And I can only be where I am in the here and now…

But speaking of light! LOL… This one does a bit of both.

This amazing song by the stunning Scottish band Travis says it all and says so much… and yes, it also came on in my Shuffle mode… Granted, I am hitting hard a 139-song playlist I created whose name I will keep private for now… though it may become obvious to some…

The good news for all of you is that I also created another playlist as my remedy to this one, and it is filled with shiny, happy people songs… Why yes, that song WILL be on the list.

I’m not sure how Travis went into my brain, grabbed these lyrics and went back in time to record this in 1999, but wow!

“Me I’m on the longest road
Where everything’s overload
But I’ve got my heart and soul
So don’t throw me overboard
Cause it’s alright
Just follow the light
And don’t be afraid of the dark.”

And yes, there will be a certain song (or two) of theirs from 1999 that will be played soon. Can you guess which one it is?

Enjoy your weekend my friends.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLKYfJNaxrk

Day 7 – “Directions” by Nahko And Medicine For The People

Seems like a perfect Sunday song! An example of how something simple can be so unbelievably powerful. And seeing this live is even more the case.

The song, and the band for that matter, is a tribute to tradition, a tribute to family and the realization that our ancestors were not only wise, but will guide us if we ask for it… pray for it. When they are here, and sadly, even when they are not.

30 words repeated… and that is it! POWERFUL.

And the exclamation of “Hoka!” which I believe means TO FLY! Wow.

And so as I look out in every direction, I also pray and ask for guidance. From G-d and also from my family who came before me…

“Grandfather I’m calling on you
Need your guidance now
Grandmother I’m calling on you
Need your guidance now.”

“HOKA!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLIgI3vBHwA

 

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A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away – Day 1

One year ago today I embarked on an adventure of sorts. In an attempt to stop the vitriol on Facebook, including that which came about because of my own political posts and rants, I decided I would present the positive in the form of one uplifting and inspiring quote a day. Of course, honoring the classic rock radio format of Two For Tuesday, I provided TWO quotes on Tuesdays.

The response was overwhelming, and while publicly people expressed their connections to the quotes, privately people reached out to me to tell me how much the quotes meant in much deeper terms. I was blown away… sometimes brought to tears with people’s amazingly open and powerful revelations.

Words… words… words…The right words can save a soul and save a life.

The right words can start (or end) a romance.

Choose your words carefully, for they are truly mightier than the sword.

They say (yes the famous and ubiquitous “they”): “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

I say: “A word is worth a million pictures.”All I need to do is mention the word “dog”and our brains go to our own beloved pets, an amazing time and place, or perhaps a bad experience we had. Either way, each and every one of us suddenly has a slide show or movie playing on our minds… a different film for each of us, all because of ONE WORD!

Power.

I often question my own self-value and worth and whether or not the sharing of words has any significance, whether they are my own or someone else’s. They do. Words have immense power. Which is why, not to get political here, we cannot and must not ever dismiss them.

We are taught that there are three expressions of ideas… thoughts, words and actions. They all matter greatly. None must be taken lightly. We will all have good and bad thoughts, but the key is how we speak them and put them into action… or not. Sometimes we must push thoughts aside, for our own safety and comfort, as well as for the norms of society and behavior. But to realize how connected we are to not only words and ideas, but to each other is a powerful thing.

We ARE all the same in the simplest terms. We want to love and be loved. We want to be safe and know that expressing our truth will be respected and not punished.

Sometimes we don’t realize the power in a simple act, but when it is done with good intentions it can be felt across the globe. This is why we must ALWAYS act with kindness and do the right thing. It may seem like nothing, but that is only because we might not be able to see the positive impacts with our own eyes. When we act with KINDNESS and ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING, the universe will literally change.
A song has that power. What is amazing about a piece of music, is that it changes with us. A song that once lifted and inspired us, can suddenly become one of heartbreak and loss, a bitter reminder of a time that was. And a song that once was the soundtrack to a breakup, can just as suddenly become a song of celebration and freedom.

People hear different things in the same song, and yet we are bonded by a singular tune. It may not mean the same to me as it does to the person next to me, but there we are, dancing in a darkened room together while our favorite band is on stage. And then again, the song may mean almost exactly the same.

Music brings us together. And a song… or songs… create the very soundtrack to our lives.

As I deal with a breakup, I created a 138-song playlist to get me through. I just need to be careful that is not keeping me in sadness, though we all need that period of time to mourn, and sometimes sitting with sadness is a good thing, as long as we truly learn the lessons we need to learn in order to get stronger and move on. Though I have vowed to turn to happy songs after my period of mourning.

I’ll try not to throw out too many of them as we begin this journey, but if I am posting a heartbreak tune, you’ll know why. I will be posting a song every day on FB and for my own sanity, I will do a weekly recap here… Maybe every Monday I’ll post that day’s tune and then what was played over the past week.So with all of that said… Welcome to the year of…

A Song A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

Come on, did you expect something OTHER than Bruce?

“Growin’ Up” – Bruce Springsteen

Favorite lyric: “When they said sit down I stood up.” 

On its face, a history of youth and childhood, but it goes much deeper and is, of course, an anthem of rebelliousness and exploration. Not just one of my favorite Bruce songs, but one of my favorite songs of all time.

Here are two versions: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMyQjl59wkw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xY3q45EBt8

 

Come back every Monday to get a recap of the songs from the previous week! And may your life be filled with music!

 

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Why Music Matters

I have always understood that part of the importance of art is to bring order to chaos. Whatever the canvas may be, whether it is a literal piece of cloth stretched over a frame or a sheet of music, an artist can take the noise and cacophony that is going on around us and make it clearer and more musical. Perhaps even more harmonious.

We live in a chaotic world right now. We are more divided, more stressed and more confused. Conversations have given way to cat calls. Consent has given way to conflict. People do not listen to each other any more. They do not hear anything other than their own position. And hearing… listening is essential. 

Music, Sweet Music
We need to listen to and really hear music. It will set us free. We need to find chords in discord, notes in the no and the not… a melody in the mayhem. Music literally soothes the soul, takes us to a different place, moves us. It puts our issues into perspective.

When people connect to a song or a specific piece of music, it can literally change the world. I think about the songs “We Are The World,” “Imagine,” though religious believers would take an issue with a few of the lyrics… and “You Will Be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen. It is powerful to note how many parents and kids wait backstage after each performance, not for a photo or autograph, but to share their stories of being lost. These people LITERALLY find themselves in the music and musical… they find themselves in the song.

It starts with:
“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?”

And then it moves us to this:
“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, You will be found, You will be found, You will be found, You will be found.”

We need to be found… we all need to be found… and most importantly, we need to heard and we need to listen. This is what music means…. this is why music matters.

“Let the trumpet herald in the night
Let the band pick up the fight
Let the conductor guide the way
Let the music play.

Let the chorus sing as one
Let us all sing songs unsung
Let the melody light our way
Let the music play.”
– MG“Without music, life would be a mistake”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.”
― Plato

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley

“Where words fail, music speaks.” 
― Hans Christian Andersen

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
― Victor Hugo

“After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.”
― Aldous Huxley

 

 

Think about how a piece of music can bring you to tears, how it can take you back to a specific time in your life. or how it can help you escape…

Ponder the song that gets you through a tough workout or tough time in your life, or inspires you to kick ass and take the world by storm. You may not love Eminem, but if you Lose Yourself in his anthem, it is hard to not feel inspired.

The scenes of our lives are so often played to music… We all have a unique soundtrack that is our lives… And while there will always be songs, albums and concerts we share, that bond us and keep us together… like the song  a married couple dances to for the first time… a tune that a graduating high school class sings in unison and in harmony… Each of us has their own song. We may be in a band, but each song means something different and specific to us.

We are all an individual and specific piece of music, a concert, or a series of songs. It is part of our DNA, part of our genetic makeup. Have you ever been doing something and a song (seemingly randomly) pops into your head? Or you almost unconsciously start singing a tune you have not heard in years?

Music gets into our blood and our bones… It enters our brains, our hearts and our souls.

Keith Richards says: “Music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.”

So live your life truly and openly. Celebrate exactly who you are… celebrate all that makes you different… for this is your truth and what makes you so special and unique. You were created for a very specific reason. You were created to sing.

Jack Kerouac said: “The only truth is music.” 

This is why music matters and more than you can know… So dance, compose and sing, always sing… be loud and fearless, blissful and joyous… sing… sing… sing!

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Losing Face And Faith On Facebook

This not a music post… but I think it is an important post…

Facebook is a losing proposition…If you post anything “political,” you place yourself in a landmine hidden in quicksand. There is no longer this AND that, but this OR that…  and if you try to balance yourself on the thin, high wire of reason, both sides throw stones, trying to knock you down. Though on my last attempt at being a Walenda, the rocks came from only one side.

Hell, in this world you can post a flower or even a cat video and the rhetoric flies, with people throwing grenades at you, hidden in balls of yarn. All in an attempt to blow you up and figure out what you “really meant by that.”

There is no room for subtlety and nuance, as words on a screen betray tone and intention. And even though there is nothing to “hear,” people respond with their positions and not to what you actually said… or tried to say.

My real friends know me, and my positions, and what kind of person I am. My “Facebook Friends” do not. So what is real? Certainly not this artifice that tracks your posts and shopping trends, and suggests things for you to buy based on your online behavior.

The online world, be it dating or job applications, has taken away humanity and true connection. It is about the ease in which you can be ignored. There is, as a friend says, little to no cost of transition, so you are ghosted and tossed aside because people believe they can always do better. And ignoring someone online is easy and anonymous, yet still cowardly and callous.

In person you are an individual, online you are a screen name, an avatar, an emoji and an IP address. In person you are a name, a soul, a face and a body. Online you are an algorithm.We need to be measured in deeds and acts of kindness, and not “likes.” And as advanced as virtual reality is, I’ll take actual reality every time.

100 FB friends do not equal one real world friend, who will lie on a railroad track for you, always have your back, and be there no matter what kind of mood you are in. Heck, 10,000 FB friends and followers cannot hold a candle to that one, true real world friend.

If you post vacation pics or happy events, you are regarded as a braggart.

If you are too joyous on Facebook, people believe you are hiding something dark, though there are times when people feel that they have to put on pretense and make-believe, and show that everything “looks fine,” when the truth is actually something sad and broken. There is very little real online. EVERYTHING on Facebook looks perfect. And so Facebook is the place to go when you want to feel bad about your own life.

If you express sadness and frustration, you are a leper to be avoided. And while some of this still happens in the “real world” it usually does not happen amongst “real” friends.

I have friends who were much smarter than I have been, and did this a long time ago, and I should have followed suit…  but as of now, I am done.

You have not silenced me. There is no chance of that. I am simply going “live.” I am taking the show off the screen and onto the stage, or living room, or bar… and over a drink or meal and in person. I am going to where I am not limited by characters and to a place where nuance is appreciated, honest debate is rewarded, and intention is honored and understood.

I will post my quote a day, with the hopes I can inspire and connect.

I will promote my blog and things that need promoting.

I will post about sports and music.

I will wish my friends a Happy Birthday, Anniversary or congrats.

I will use FB as a way to connect and plan and RSVP for an event.

For everything else, it won’t be there.

I do think FB has great value when it comes to friends needing prayers for themselves or loved ones, as I fully believe that energy really works and can make a major difference. The power of prayer is a remarkable thing.

And yet, I pray for all of us. We are living in dangerous times, my friends. We are bitterly divided and seemingly incapable of coming together. Instead of drawing lines in the sand, we would be much better served drawing circles and hearts on the beach… making a campfire and sharing S’mores. That doesn’t mean we bring everything and everyone in. There is real evil, there are real criminals and those who would hurt us.

But there are also things we can learn from others, even those whose opinions we don’t agree with. We need to talk WITH each other and not at each other. We need to listen with our ears and not our positions. We need to have respect for one another and realize that intention is key.  From my point of view, this can no longer happen online and especially not on Facebook.

So to my real friends, I’ll see you out in the real world.

 

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T… R-I-P – The Queen Is Dead. Long Live The…

The Queen is dead… Long live the… long live the…

Who is the next Queen? The true Queen? I really do no think there is one… not like that… not like Aretha.

It’s not just that Aretha Franklin has shuffled off this mortal coil… it’s that there really is no one else. There was a rich period in time when blues and soul singers and groups were all over the place. Now… they are not.

Six decades… Six…Aretha TRULY was the Queen Of Soul… the first Diva… an icon on and off stage. While we are lucky enough to have some amazing performers these days, it is just different. Maybe we no longer have the ability to be surprised or amazed. I hate to think that, that is what it is… and while times were different back then, there was just some kind of magic that seems to be missing in the world as of late.

Artists were bigger than life back then… and maybe that is what we needed, when we needed it…

But if you watch the news or feel the world, as so many of us do… deeply… profoundly… you would agree that we need that now more than ever. So who is there to not only take the mantle, but lift it high and towards the heavens?

“The blues had a baby and they named it Rock N’ Roll.”
So said Muddy Waters.

I grew up as a child of classic rock. That is what I listened to for as long as I can remember. It took me going to college in Chicago in order to really work backwards… to truly hear and fall in love with the Blues, Soul, Gospel, R&B…

So since I am a child of classic rock, I guess the Blues are my grandfathers!

As my musical tastes expanded, one of my most prized possessions was and still is the Atlantic Rhythm and Blues (1947-1974) Box Set.

Ruth Brown… Joe Turner… Ray Charles… Clyde McPhatter… Ivory Joe Hunter… Drifters… Coasters… LaVern Baker… Ben E. King… Solomom Burke… Otis Reding…  Wilson Pickett… Sam & Dave… Booker T. & The M.G.’s… and Aretha… Aretha… Aretha…

She was all over this collection. She opened my eyes and my ears.

Aretha was the first woman admitted to the Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame… The Blues Brothers movie… an iconic film for me on so many levels…

 

 

 

 

 

She was on the front lines of the Civil Rights movement… the soundtrack to that and to so many lives… She served G-d and the people of Detroit.

She was a singer… an ambassador… an inspiration. She was and will always be SOUL.

She seemed to be most proud of being a Mother and friend. And after all, isn’t that the legacy we all want to leave??? Kindness, love and to play happily in the memories of friends and loved ones…

She played for Kings and Queens… she played for the world. And now royalty and the world mourn.

But the silver lining in this dreary and cloudy day in Detroit… We have Vinyl… we have digital… we have music to crank to 11… We still have songs to sing…music to get us through our daily battles… music to raise our spirits and uplift our souls.

And isn’t that what soul music is? Music to soothe a weary soul… Heck, isn’t that what MUSIC is?!

So “Sing… sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out strong.”

Aretha was part of the Baptist church, so let us all be baptized…
Let the music wash over us… envelop us… embrace us… comfort us…
Let each note, like each and every single drop of rain, holy rain, go into our very being… pierce our soul and our heart… and yet, at the very same time, heal it… heal us.

“Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use. I’m happy with that.” – Aretha Franklin

The Queen is dead… Long live the music of the Queen!

Let us all raise a glass and say a little prayer… RIP Aretha!

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Why The World Cup Really Matters

So why is this post in a music blog? Because there is a music in sports… on the field and most definitely in the stands. There is a music in a chant, in a national anthem, and yes, there is even music in those annoying vuvuzelas, though it may be limited to a mere few seconds… then it becomes torturous.

Soccer In Jersey
Every four years I am captivated by the World Cup and fall deeply in love with soccer. And every four years, once the winner is crowned, I drift away from the sport, and fall back into my top three… the NHL (Go Rags!), College Football (Go Cats!) and Baseball (Go Yankees and Cubbies).

My nieces love and play soccer, but my daughter never did, so there is that. I am not anything close to an athlete, but I played soccer for a short while, and according to my parents, spent most of the time adjusting my cup and looking anywhere and everywhere OTHER than the field. Yes, I called it a field and not the pitch. (I could not find a photo in my soccer uni (kit) so here is a collectible playing card of me and my brother Dan as total jock studs!)

I enjoyed going to Cosmos games and watching Pele and Franz Beckenbauer and Shep Messing, but for whatever reason it never stuck. Then again, neither did the Cosmos. Though I do have a great story about Mick Jagger helping me get Pele’s autograph!

Friends have advised that I pick a Premiere League team and follow them as the best way to learn about and fully immerse myself in the sport. I never did… until now. After doing a number of surveys and questionnaires online… Yes, that is a thing to try to match your personality to a team… my friend Eric pushed me towards Tottenham.

The surveys wanted me to go with Arsenal or Everton. I was drawn to Liverpool for the BeatlesChelsea for the logo, colors and neighborhood… Yeah, I know… and Newcastle for the beer. I still like Chelsea, but after reading about Tottenham, that seemed like my match. So next season, you’ll know where to find me! Go Spurs! And yes, it is not lost on me that their 3rd jersey is purple!!!

Plus, their motto is killer…

“TO DARE IS TO DO.”

Apologies to my friend Steve, who did push me to Crystal Palace a while ago, and even bought me a jersey. They still will hold a place for me… and I do understand your pain.

Of course, the Captain of Team England is Harry Kane, a star Spur… so my fate seems to be sealed.

Soccer In The World
There are three levels to any World Cup:
The players and teams on the pitch.

The fans in the stands.

The fans worldwide who make up a massive TV audience.

I suppose you could combine the last two, but clearly there is something specific to travelling across the globe to support your team… and perhaps more importantly, your country. Being together in a bar, or even outside a stadium is great, but just look at the passion and energy inside! Wow!!!

It’s a bit ironic that the US is not playing in the World Cup. It gives a sporting and visual definition to the world the current administration seems to be creating… a world with the US separate from the rest of the nations. This is a scary and sad thing to see and feel. Ultimately, people are people. They have a deep love for family and friends, want nothing more than a good life, and for most, they have a strong and passionate love of country.

The key is to keep politics out of it. The last Olympics were a bit tainted with some political gamesmanship… or hijacking. And Argentina, refusing to play a warm-up friendly in Israel, allowed a misguided political decision to affect some fans, including myself, who then wanted to see them and Messi ousted ASAP. It’s not always easy, but maintaining the purity of the sport and the fierce dominance of competition is essential.

Take A Stand In The Stands
This is why what is happening in the stands can be just as powerful as what is happening on the pitch. The coverage fills our screens with the crazy outfits, the full body paint, the families and lovers and impassioned fans… The tears of joy, the celebrations, the chants, the singing of a national anthem… and of course, the utter heartbreak. These are such powerful images to see and feel. We are, after all, all human beings.

There are so many amazing things to bring people together, and sports are one of them. While some rivalries can get heated and even violent, for the most part sportsmanship and friendly rivalries win out, and that is a wonderful thing to see. I am hoping the soccer thuggery of yesteryear is gone, as I embark on this new sports love, but we’ll see.

I am not sure who wrote it, but someone said that the US not being in this World Cup was actually a mixed blessing, as it forces US soccer fans to pay more attention to other teams and other countries. And we all know how the US coverage of the Olympics usually goes. While it makes sense to highlight US athletes, it loses quite a bit of the International flavor. Yes, if there is a great story they will follow it, no matter which country it stems from, but for the most part, the coverage is myopic.

Pure Passion
Picking a favorite to follow makes the World Cup more fun to watch… Just like Fantasy Sports forces you to follow players and teams you might not ordinarily care about… so I am Team England, with France a close second. I also like Sweden, Mexico and Croatia. Either way, this has been a great event so far, and I think the passion for the sport will stick this time. I understand the terms more, see plays developing and am taking tremendous pleasure in watching from start to finish.

Speaking of passion… I would add a fourth element into the mix, that of the broadcasters, who guide us through each match with knowledge and pleasure. This especially goes for Jorge Perez-Navarro! His iconic “Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooal” is filled with sheer joy and bliss, astounding energy and a powerful life force that is infectious.The World Cup is the rare opportunity for the world to truly come together. I beg you to watch, be an active participant, and realize that it IS a small world after all. While that music might drive you mad after a few minutes, too… find the joy… find the pleasure… find your bliss in the wide, wide world of sports. We need to connect now more than ever, and the World Cup may be the remedy we need. Let’s just get the USA back in the picture, back on the World Stage… and back to the remarkable things she represents… Life, Liberty and the Pursuit Of Happiness… for One… and for All! Go Team!

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