♫ Summer Breeze ♫

Summer is winding down … or so they say, though you couldn’t prove it by me, for it’s been hovering around the 90° mark here for days now.  But, since soon enough we will be seeing the leaves don their autumn colours, smell the autumn smells, and already the Hallowe’en candy and decorations have filled the stores … I thought a nice summer song would be appropos tonight.  I dug through my list of TBP songs (to be played), and came up with this one …

Summer Breeze is one of those songs that has been recorded by two artists I like, very different sounding versions, yet I like them both.  Just depends, I think, on my mood of the moment which I prefer on a given day.

The more popular version in the U.S. was that by the writers of the song, Seals & Crofts, as in James Eugene “Jim” Seals and Darrell George “Dash” Crofts.  Released in 1972, this was their first hit single.  According to Seals, this was …

“A very simple song about a man coming home from work and hearing the dog barking and things like that, and to a lot of people the song’s about looking for security. Our meaning goes further than that, for a prison can be the prison of self and a person can become insecure and paranoid if he doesn’t have a direction in his personal life.  We operate on a different level, we try to create images, impressions and trains of thought in the minds of our listeners.”

One thing I did not know about Seals and Crofts is that Jim Seals is the brother of Dan Seals, who was “England Dan” in the duo England Dan and John Ford Coley.

Two years later, the Isley Brothers recorded their version which is more … um … sultry?  More like soul music, I think.  The Isleys’ version is notable not only for the harmonies of the three vocal Isleys, O’Kelly, Rudolph and lead singer Ronald but also for the guitar solo by younger brother Ernie.  The Isleys’ version did better in the UK than in the U.S., though I’m not quite sure why.

Summer Breeze
Seals & Crofts

See the curtains hangin’ in the window, in the evenin’ on a Friday night
A little light a-shinin’ through the window, lets me know everything is alright

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

See the paper layin’ in the sidewalk, a little music from the house next door
So I walked on up to the doorstep, through the screen and across the floor

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And I come home from a hard day’s work
And you’re waiting there, not a care in the world
See the smile a-waitin’ in the kitchen, food cookin’ and the plates for two
Feel the arms that reach out to hold me, in the evening when the day is through

Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, blowing through the jasmine in my mind

Songwriters: Darrell Crofts / Jimmy Seals
Summer Breeze lyrics © Songtrust Ave, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Bring It On Home To Me ♫

It’s been a while since I played some Sam Cooke, hasn’t it?  Well, tonight I am in the mood for something Sam-Cooke-ish, so …

This song, written by Cooke, was released on May 8, 1962  as the ‘B-side’ to Having a Party.  The song was initially offered to fellow singer Dee Clark, who turned it down.  It is one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Bring it on Home has been recorded by numerous artists in a variety of styles.  Lou Rawls, who sang the background call-and-response on Cooke’s version, recorded his own in 1970.  The Animals made it a UK hit 1965, Eddie Floyd’s version went to US #17 in 1968, and Mickey Gilley had a #1 Country Hit with the song in 1976.  It has also been featured in a number of television series and movies … none of which I have ever seen … go figure.

I will offer up two versions tonight … my preference, always, is the Sam Cooke version, but I am also playing The Animals version for a couple of reasons.  One, a number of you hail from the UK where this one was the more well-received, and two, I know that our friend rawgod is a fan of Eric Burdon and the Animals.

Bring It On Home to Me
Sam Cooke

If you ever change your mind
About leaving, leaving me behind
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)

I know I laughed when you left
But now I know I only hurt myself
Oh, oh, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)

I’ll give you jewelry and money too
That ain’t all, that ain’t all I’ll do for you
Oh, if bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)

You know I’ll always be your slave
‘Till I’m buried, buried in my grave
Oh, honey bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)

One more thing
I tried to treat you right
But you stayed out, stayed out at night
But I forgive you, bring it to me
Bring your sweet loving
Bring it on home to me
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)
Yeah (yeah), yeah (yeah)

Songwriters: Sam Cooke
Bring It On Home to Me lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc

♫ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ♫

I hadn’t even thought of a song for tonight, likely there wouldn’t have been one, as I’m still a bit under the weather and very tired.  But then I read Keith’s post about Motown, and the documentary movie Hitsville:  The Making of Motown, and suddenly I was in the mood for some Motown Sound!   I really thought I had played this one just a couple of weeks ago, but I find that I didn’t … must have gotten sidetracked.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an R&B/soul song written by the husband/wife songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla label, a division of Motown.  Nick Ashford was inspired by an experience when he first moved to New York. He was walking down a Manhattan thoroughfare, determined that New York City would not get the best of him; the words “Ain’t no mountain high enough” popped into his head.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recorded the original version, which peaked at #19 US in 1967. Uriel Jones of The Funk Brothers, who played the drums on Gaye and Terrell’s original version, recalled …

“Ashford and Simpson had written the song and they always came to the studio with charts. This time was no exception; they came with the song fully written out. The lyrics were written out too. They were one of the few producers and writers who had full charts and made us work from them. They knew 95 percent what they wanted to hear. Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua were the actual producers in charge of the recording. We did the rhythm track first, then they put the horns on second. Then they recorded Tammi Terrell’s vocal, then they did Marvin Gaye’s next. Each vocal was done separately, the singer in the studio with the producer on their own, and they put it all together at the end. You know, I never heard the finished song until I switched on the radio and it was playing.”

British soul singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song but Ashford & Simpson declined, hoping it would give them access to the Detroit-based label. As Valerie Simpson later recalled, “We played that song for her (Springfield) but wouldn’t give it to her, because we wanted to hold that back. We felt like that could be our entry to Motown.”

Diana Ross & The Supremes recorded a version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough which was more faithful to the Terrell-Gaye original version as a duet with The Temptations. That song was an album cut from a joint LP released by Motown Records in 1968 on the two superstar groups, titled Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations.

In spring 1970, after the Top 20 success of her first solo single, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand), Ashford and Simpson had Ross re-record “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.

Motown chief Berry Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. It was not until radio stations nationwide were editing their own versions and adding it to their playlists that Ashford and Simpson were able to convince Gordy to release an edited three-minute version as a single. Ross’ version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” rose up to number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. Ross received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

I prefer the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell version, but the Diana Ross version is good, as well, so I proffer both!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

Listen baby, ain’t no mountain high
Ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough baby
If you need me call me no matter where you are
No matter how far don’t worry baby
Just call my name I’ll be there in a hurry
You don’t have to worry

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Remember the day I set you free
I told you you could always count on me darling
From that day on, I made a vow
I’ll be there when you want me
Some way, some how

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Oh no darling
No wind, no rain
Or winters cold can stop me baby, na na baby
‘Cause you are my goal
If you’re ever in trouble
I’ll be there on the double
Just send for me, oh baby, ha

My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be there on the double
Just as fast as I can
Don’t you know that there

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Don’tcha know that there
Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
Ain’t mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough

Songwriters: Valerie Simpson / Nickolas Ashford
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Never Can Say Goodbye ♫

Never Can Say Goodbye is a song written by Clifton Davis and originally recorded by The Jackson 5. The song was originally written and intended for the Supremes; however Motown decided it would be better for the Jackson 5. It was the first single released from the group’s 1971 album Maybe Tomorrow, and was one of the group’s most successful records. It has been covered numerous times, most notably in 1974 by Gloria Gaynor and in 1987 by British pop group The Communards.

The recording features 12-year-old Michael Jackson singing a serious song about a love, with accompaniment from his brothers. Although such a record was unusual for a teenage group, Never Can Say Goodbye was a number-two hit for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, stuck behind Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World.   The Jackson Five version only reached #33 in the UK and #14 in Canada, while the Gloria Gaynor version made it to #3 in Canada and #2 in the UK.

I offer both versions for your listening pleasure …

Oh, alright … lest I be accused of being biased toward U.S. artists, here is The Communards’ version, too …

Never Can Say Goodbye
The Jackson 5/Gloria Gaynor/The Communards

I never can say goodbye, no, no, no, no, now
Never can say goodbye

Even though the pain and heartache
Seem to follow me wherever I go
Though I try and try to hide my feelings
They always seem to show,

Then you try to say you’re leaving me
And I always have to say no
Tell me why is it so

That I never can say goodbye, no, no, no, no, now
Never can say goodbye

Every time I think I’ve had enough
And start heading for the door
There’s a very strange vibration
Piercing me right through the core
It says, turn around, you fool
You know you love him more and more
Tell me why is it so

Don’t wanna let you go
I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh baby (don’t wanna let you go girl)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no
Ooh, oh I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh ooh (don’t wanna let you go girl)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no, ooh

Never can say goodbye, no, no, no, no, now
Never can say goodbye

I keep thinking that our problems
Soon are all gonna work out
But there’s that same unhappy feeling
There’s that anguish, there’s that doubt
It’s the same old dizzy hangup
Can’t do with you or without
Tell me why is it so
Don’t wanna let you go

I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh baby (hey baby)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no
Ooh, oh I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh oh (hey baby)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no, ooh
I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh baby (hey baby)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no
Ooh, oh I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh oh (hey baby)

Songwriters: Clifton Davis
Never Can Say Goodbye lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Sir Duke ♫

I am told by several who have reason to know, that I don’t smile enough these days.  They are probably right, but in truth, I find little to smile about.  In the mirror, I see an old hag with a perpetual scowl and sad eyes.  However, there is one person who always brings a smile to my face, and that is Mr. Stevie Wonder!

I could have sworn I had played this one, for it is one of my favourites by Stevie, but a search of my archives found nothing.  I love this one, especially, when I am out walking, for the beat makes me pick up my speed and makes me smile at the same time, such that the people I pass wonder just what the heck I am up to with that sappy grin on my face!

Stevie Wonder wrote this song as a tribute to music, specifically to Duke Ellington, who had died in 1974. Ellington was a jazz bandleader and composer who was a big influence on Wonder.

“I knew the title from the beginning but wanted it to be about the musicians who did something for us. So soon they are forgotten. I wanted to show my appreciation. They gave us something that is supposed to be forever. That’s the basic idea of what we do and how we hook it up.”

In addition to Ellington, musicians referenced in this song are “Satchmo” Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie and Sodarisa Miller.

This wasn’t the first song Wonder wrote in tribute to one of his musical inspirations: Bye Bye World from his 1968 album Eivets Rednow is about the guitarist Wes Montgomery. Wonder’s second album, released in 1962 when he was just 12 years old, was a tribute to ‘Uncle Ray’, which paid homage to Ray Charles.

Sir Duke
Stevie Wonder

Music is a world within itself
With a language we all understand
With an equal opportunity
For all to sing, dance and clap their hands
But just because a record has a groove
Don’t make it in the groove
But you can tell right away at letter A
When the people start to move

They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people
They can feel it all over
They can feel it all over people

Music knows it is and always will
Be one of the things that life just won’t quit
But here are some of music’s pioneers
That time will not allow us to forget
For there’s Basie, Miller, Sachmo
And the king of all Sir Duke
And with a voice like Ella’s ringing out
There’s no way the band can lose

You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
You can feel it all over people
You can feel it all over

I can feel it all over-all over now people
Can’t you feel it all over
Come on let’s feel it all over people
You can feel it all over
Everybody-all over people

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Sir Duke lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Tonight, I Celebrate My Love ♫

In a truly black mood tonight, I was fairly certain there would be no song for tomorrow, but still, while engaged in the mindless activity of rolling smokes, I was flipping around through my playlist and all of a sudden … lightning struck!  ⚡  Who put this one on here?  I didn’t recall it being … be still my heart … Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson … what a combination!  What a song!

Tonight, I Celebrate My Love is a romantic ballad written by lyricist Gerry Goffin with Michael Masser and recorded by Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack for their 1983 album of duets: Born to Love.

In the UK, the song would peak at number two in September 1983, affording both Bryson and Flack their alltime best UK chart showing. It was afforded further international success charting in Australia (number 10), Canada (number 4), Finland (number 13), Flemish Belgium (number 8), Ireland (number 5), the Netherlands (number 16), New Zealand (number 11), Norway (number 8), and South Africa (number 4).  Interestingly, it did better in all those places than in the U.S., where it only reached #16!

Tonight I Celebrate My Love
Peabo Bryson, Roberta Flack

Tonight I celebrate my love for you
It seems the natural thing to do

Tonight no one’s gonna find us
We’ll leave the world behind us

When I make love to you
Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And hope that deep inside you’ll feel it, too

Tonight our spirits will be climbing
To a sky filled up with diamonds

When I make love to you, tonight
Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And that midnight sun is gonna come shining through

Tonight there’ll be no distance between us
What I want most to do, is to get close to you
Tonight
Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And soon this old world will seem brand new

Tonight we will both discover how friends turn into lovers
When I make love to you
Tonight I celebrate my love for you
And that midnight sun is gonna come shining through

Tonight there’ll be no distance between us
What I want most to do, is to get close to you
Tonight I celebrate my love for you
Tonight

Songwriters: Gerry Goffin / Michael Masser
Tonight I Celebrate My Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Something About You ♫

I was listening to some James Taylor earlier this evening, and I thought to play one of his, but then, I already played that one.  I went to my tbp list, but nothing appealed.  I was ready to let another music-less night pass, when this crossed my radar.

This song, released by British band Level 42 in 1985, written by Mark King, Mike Lindup, Phil Gould, Boon Gould, and Wally Badarou, was the only one by the group to hit the top ten in the U.S.

As I watched this video, I kept having the nagging feeling that I have played it before here, but I cannot find it in my archives?  Déjà vu?

Something About You
Level 42

How, how can it be
That a love carved out of caring
Fashioned by fate could suffer so hard
From the games played once too often
But making mistakes is a part of life’s imperfection
Born of the years
Is it so wrong to be human after all?

Drawn into the stream of undefined illusion
Those diamond dreams, they can’t disguise the truth

That there is something about you, baby, so right
I wouldn’t be without you, baby tonight

If ever our love was concealed
No one can say that we didn’t feel
A million things and a perfect dream of life (gone) fragile but free
We remain tender together
If not so in love
And it’s not so wrong, we’re only human after all

These changing years, they add to your confusion
Oh and you need to hear the time that told the truth

That there is something about you, baby so right
Don’t want to be without you, baby tonight
Because there’s something about you, baby, so right
I couldn’t live without you, baby, tonight

And that there’s something about you, yeah
And I couldn’t be without you, tonight

Songwriters: Mark King / Michael David Lindup / Philip Gould / Roland Gould / Wally Badarou
Something About You lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, BMG Rights Management

♫ Cupid ♫

I sit here, cold and tired, ready for bed, but not quite finished for the night, when I glance over at Ms. Goose’s desk, and I swear the stuffed hedgehog she keeps on her desk winked at me!  Winked, I tell ya!  ‘Tis definitely time for bed when the stuffed critters start winking, but first … there’s Sam Cooke!

Who doesn’t love the voice of Sam Cooke?  Sam Cooke wrote this song, but the original intent wasn’t for him to sing it.  Cooke’s producers had asked him to write a song for a girl they had seen on a Perry Como TV show — but once they heard her sing, they kept “Cupid” for Cooke himself.  She must’ve really botched it!

It was Cooke’s idea to drop in the sound of an arrow being fired “straight to my lover’s heart.”

Since I’m too tired tonight for ‘further ado’, let’s just listen …

Cupid
Sam Cooke

Cupid, draw back your bow
And let your arrow go
Straight to my lover’s heart for me, for me
Cupid, please hear my cry
And let your arrow fly
Straight to my lover’s heart for me

Now, I don’t mean to bother you
But I’m in distress
There’s danger of me losing all of my happiness
For I love a girl who doesn’t know I exist
And this you can fix

So, Cupid, draw back your bow
And let your arrow go
Straight to my lover’s heart for me, nobody but me
Cupid, please hear my cry
And let your arrow fly
Straight to my lover’s heart for me

Now, Cupid, if your arrow make her love strong for me
I promise I wll love her until eternity
I know between the two of us her heart we can steal
Help me if you will

So, Cupid, draw back your bow
And let your arrow go
Straight to my lover’s heart for me, nobody but me
Cupid, please hear my cry
And let your arrow fly
Straight to my lover’s heart for me

Now, Cupid
Don’t you hear me
Calling you?
I need you
Cupid
Help me
I need you
Cupid
Don’t fail

Songwriters: Sam Cooke
Cupid lyrics © S.I.A.E. Direzione Generale, Abkco Music Inc., ABKCO MUSIC INC

♫ Can You Feel The Love Tonight ♫

Naturally, given my love for all (or most, anyway — I never did care for Rocket Man) things Elton, I have already played Elton’s version of this song.  However, tonight I was pointed in the direction of a different version by a group called Pentatonix.

This talented diverse a cappella group is from Arlington,Texas. They are named after the Pentatonic Scale, a scale with 5 notes per octave that represents the 5 members of the group. They replaced the last letter of the word with an “x” to make it more appealing. In 2011 the third season of “The Sing-Off” with Nick Lachey as host premiered on Sept. 19th and featured Pentatonix. On November 28, 2011 the season concluded…with Pentatonix winning!

Can You Feel the Love Tonight
Pentatonix

There’s a calm surrender to the rush of day
When the heat of the rolling world can be turned away
An enchanted moment and it sees me through
It’s enough for this restless warrior just to be with you

And can you feel the love tonight? It is where we are
It’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer that we got this far
And can you feel the love tonight? How it’s laid to rest
It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best

There’s a time for everyone, if they only learn
That the twisting kaleidoscope moves us all in turn
There’s a rhyme and reason to the wild outdoors
When the heart of this star-crossed voyager beats in time with yours

And can you feel the love tonight? It is where we are
It’s enough for this wide-eyed wanderer that we got this far
And can you feel the love tonight? How it’s laid to rest
It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best
It’s enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best

Songwriters: Elton John / Tim Rice
Can You Feel the Love Tonight lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

♫ Blowin’ In The Wind ♫

This morning’s post was my reflection about the divisiveness in this nation, about how far apart those on the political right and left are, and whether there is any hope for a meeting in the middle, or whether we are bent on the destruction of the nation.  When you spend as much time as I do reading, observing, researching, and thinking about these things, you don’t just flip a switch and bring your head back to a happy place.  The darkness remains even long after the post has been scheduled and put to bed.  Tonight’s song is a reflection of what I see happening, what I think and feel.

This song was written by Bob Dylan who claims that he wrote it in about 10 minutes one afternoon. He put words to the melody of an old slave song called “No More Auction Block,” which he might have learned from Carter family records. In the evening, Dylan took the song to the nightclub Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village, where he was due to play a set. Before playing it, he announced, “This here ain’t no protest song or anything like that, ’cause I don’t write no protest songs.” During this first performance, Dylan couldn’t read some of his own handwriting and made up some of the lyrics as he went along.

The Dylan version of this song was never a hit – it was a cover by Peter, Paul & Mary that made #2 in the US in February 1963, introducing many people to the music of Bob Dylan, who was an obscure folk singer at the time.

“There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind — and it’s blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some … But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know … and then it flies away. I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many … You people over 21, you’re older and smarter.”

One line, the one in bold typeface, says so much about our troubles today.

As I like both the Bob Dylan and the Peter, Paul and Mary versions, I present you with both for your listening pleasure.

Blowin’ in the Wind
Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Songwriters: Bob Dylan
Blowin’ in the Wind lyrics © Audiam, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group