♫ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ♫

Since today is Juneteenth, and a special celebration since it is now officially a federal holiday, I thought it only appropriate to play some Motown — in my book some of the best music produced in the U.S.!  Of course, since I feature Motown songs and artists pretty often in these posts, I’ve already played most of my favourites at one point or another … some of them twice.  This one I’ve played only once, two years ago in 2019, so it will be new to many of you.   And Happy Juneteenth!


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

Unaccountability

Keith, as always, has words of wisdom that need to be heard and heeded far and wide. Thank you, Keith, for reminding us of that oft-forgotten concept of “accountability”.

musingsofanoldfart

Parents have tended to emphasize to our children that they need to be accountable for their actions. When I see a child or adult accept accountability, it impresses.me, probably because it should be more commonplace than it is. “It is my fault, I messed up, and I will take care of it,” are words that need to be said more often.

Sadly, one of the worst examples of the lack of accountability is the former president. He has long avoided accountability which has contributed to his blaming others or avoiding blame for his mistakes. This is a key reason he remains an “enfant terrible” even into his 70s and is well known for his deceitful bent.

The latest example is the sycophants in Congress who are rationalizing his autocratic-like spying on people he perceives as his enemies – Democrats and the mainstream media. This is on top of only seventeen…

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Stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

I am brain-dead today, but fortunately our friend Keith is not and his thoughts here are well worth sharing. It often seems that while we dutifully pay our taxes, part of which goes to pay our elected representatives, we are not being represented. The politicos seem far more intent on keeping their power and enhancing their wealth than on doing their duty to We the People. Thank you, Keith, for putting this in perspective for us … now if only we can get the people in Congress to listen!

musingsofanoldfart

Too many legislators and elected incumbents focus on trying to keep their job rather than doing their job. As a result, things do not get done, as every issue becomes a wedge issue rather than one that needs to be solved. I have grown long past weary on this lack of leadership and stewardship.

In my career, I have consulted on and actually been a part of several mergers between organizations, both for-profit and non-profit entities. Effective mergers require due diligence, planning and diplomacy. It should not surprise people, but the majority of mergers fail to be as accretive to the cumulative value of the two separate entities as first envisioned. Some actually are dilutive to that combined value – in other words, they fail.

One of the reasons is people involved tend to focus on keeping their jobs or getting good money to leave. They get overly protective of…

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Note to politicians (and so-called news people) – STOP THE NAME CALLING AND LABELING

Our friend Keith tends to be more even-tempered than I am, and his voice is always the voice of reason. With that said, I am sharing Keith’s post from earlier today, for he makes excellent points that our governing bodies, the media, and even we bloggers should consider. Thanks, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The United States and the world have a lot of problems that need elected officials to address. The problems are multi-faceted in causes, so they require holistic thinking, educated and civil discussion and multi-faceted solutions. Our problems are hard enough to solve when we focus on the facts and issues, but nigh impossible when we listen to name calling and labelling as a substitute for discourse.

So, politicians, here is a simple piece of advice. If you cannot understand the first paragraph, and what you need to do, please resign. We don’t need people who decide not to add value and name call opponents. That is not civil discourse, that is childish playground talk. If you cannot add value with your commentary, please keep your thoughts to yourself. At least this citizen will not be listening to you, nor should others. That includes all politicians, not just the ones who…

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American Winter – what poverty looks like (a reprise from 2013)

Please take 5 minutes to read Keith’s timely reminder about those less fortunate than many of us. We cannot simply ignore the fact that there are many working poor and homeless people who only need a helping hand from us. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The following post was written eight years ago, but unfortunately still applies today. Our situation has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, where too many small employers had to close their doors. Some of the observations come from my volunteer work to help homeless working families.If you only have a minute, read the next to last two paragraphs, which speak volumes of why we should help.

There is an excellent documentary on HBO called “American Winter” by Joe Gantz which trackseight Portland families who are struggling in this economy. Please check it out atwww.hbo.com/documentaries/american-winter. This documentary puts a face on poverty and shows what these families are dealing with during the economic crisis. Since Ivolunteer with an agency that helps homeless families, I can assure you the problems portrayed in Portland arein evidence inNorth Carolina and elsewhere in the United States. For example, the median family income…

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How do you know who the good guys are? (a repeat post)

Two of my favourite blogging buddies wrote about our problem in this country of far too many guns in all the wrong hands, and I couldn’t decide between Keith’s and Brosephus’ posts, for both are thoughtful and thought-provoking. A coin toss made the decision. This is Keith’s post from more than 8 years ago, but it is eerily apt today. Thank you, Keith. I would like to wish that we won’t have to write these posts someday, but … we both know that would be a lie.

musingsofanoldfart

This is a repeat post from over eight years ago. With yet one more mass shooting in the United States, on top of the usual gun deaths that happen every day reported in any newspaper, this message sadly must be sounded again. We cannot solve a problem, if we don’t admit we have one.

There have been many excellent posts on the need to lessen gun deaths in the United States. I have been thoroughly impressed by many blogging friends, in particular Amaya at www.thebrabblerabble.wordpress.com who in the face of well-armed relatives will not back down on the need for smarter gun control. Yet, the purpose of this post is to address a series of questions I have, one in particular, in response to the infamous comment by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.

“The only solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

My…

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You’ve got to be carefully taught – one more time for emphasis

On this day in 1965, 56 years ago, then-President Lyndon B. Johnson sent federal troops to Alabama to protect the planned Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery. This was the third time the march had been attempted and thanks to LBJ was successful, leading to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in August of that year. 56 years later, we haven’t come very far in that quest to end racism. Please read Keith’s thoughtful post on the topic of racism and where it starts, where the solution must begin. Thank you, Keith

musingsofanoldfart

With yet one more racially motivated mass shooting, this time toward Asian-Americans, the need to bring out this old reference to carefully teaching bigotry seems sadly, still appropriate. Fear of the unknown has been a powerfully seductive and horrific teacher. We need to call it out and teach the opposite, the stuff that Jesus fellow taught.

For those of you who have seen the play or movie “South Pacific” by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, you may recognize part of the title as a pivotal song in the story –“You’ve Got to be CarefullyTaught.” The play involves a woman who falls in love with someone and then realizes his children are half islanders. She has a hard time coming to grips with her bigotry as according to the song, we are not born hating; hatred has to be carefully taught. A sample of Hammerstein’s lyrics follow:

“You’ve got to be…

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Please do not rewrite history – there is too much to learn (a still needed reprise)

Our friend Keith has reprised one of his older posts about the whitewashing of history, the attempts to erase the mistakes we’ve made (and there have been many!) throughout the years. But, if we don’t remember our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat them. Thanks, Keith, for an excellent post, a timely reminder.

musingsofanoldfart

The following post was written about six years ago. Unfortunately, the white washing of US history continues as would typically be done in more autocratic regimes. If we do not bother to know history, we are destined to repeat it, especially by some who do not want us to know.

In the US, a few states have acquiesced to the push by some conservative funding groups to whitewash history. The target is the Advanced Placement US History curriculum. The problem the group is solving in their minds is we do not pat ourselves on the back enough and discuss American exceptionalism. I will forego the word exceptionalism as I can devote a whole post to this, but when we try to hide our warts and how we have protested or overcome those warts, we are missinga key part of our greatness – our ability as citizens to protest and…

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The Wealthy Are Killing Us

Two things along similar lines caught my eye today, both dealing with the income disparity in the U.S.  The first was an email/newsletter I received from Robert Reich about how this nation’s people are suffering in numerous ways that could be alleviated if only the wealthy paid their fair share in taxes.  This is a topic I’ve addressed before and in my opinion, it is criminal that the top 1% of the wealthiest people in this country pay relatively almost no taxes, while those of us working hard just to survive pay the bulk of the taxes.

The second thing that drew my attention was a post by our friend Keith based on an article in US News called “The upward mobility ‘American Dream’ has been broken. Look at the numbers” by Bella Cangelosi.  The article outlines how far the U.S. has fallen in so many areas, largely because, again, the wealthy and corporations have been given so many tax dodges disguised as deductions that the nation can no longer afford to provide a helping hand to those who are trying to better their lives.

Below is Reich’s newsletter, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read Keith’s excellent piece.

Wealth. Tax. Now.

Robert Reich-4by Robert Reich

The United States is the richest country in the world, with financial assets more than 400 times greater than the poorest country per capita.

So why can’t we afford universal health care, high-quality affordable childcare, and free college, like virtually every other developed country?

The truth is that we can afford those things and much more, but Republicans have blocked them for decades with a Big Lie: the government is broke, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

But America is not broke. The problem is that the top 1% of people own 44% of the country’s wealth but pay the lowest tax rate. That’s why Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed a small, common-sense wealth tax that will take just a few pennies on every dollar over $32 million (Sanders) or $50 million (Warren) so America can finally meet the needs of working people, just like every other country does.

The amount of money consolidated in the hands of the wealthiest people in the U.S. is hard to fathom. Just 400 people in this country control $3.2 trillion, which is more money than the bottom half of Americans. The top 10% controls 75% of the wealth.

And every day, that wealth grows into even more wealth, just by sitting in investments and taking advantage of the stock market. Jeff Bezos makes nearly $150,000 every minute by doing nothing.

While the rich get exponentially richer, those in the bottom 50% are getting crushed by the pandemic economy, creating the worst wealth inequality in history. And in the next thirty years, the ultra rich of the Boomer generation will pass down their fortunes to their children in the biggest transfer of wealth ever known.

This is the dynasty-building that the founding fathers were trying to avoid when this country began. These ultra wealthy use their money to exert outsized control over charities, the government, and business trends, making them de facto rulers in the U.S.

Worse, thanks to decades of the fairy tale of trickle-down economics culminating in the Trump tax cut, the wealthy pay nowhere near their fair share to keep the country going.

The majority of taxes that fund the government come from payroll and income taxes, but that’s not where real wealth is made or stored. That’s why the ultra wealthy have been experiencing exponential growth in their holdings while the government has been cutting programs and building the deficit.

No billionaire is going to suffer under either of these plans — even under the highest tax rate, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates will still be worth tens of billions of dollars. That’s more money than most people could spend in a lifetime. But the tax dollars can pay for the basic items other countries take for granted that we’ve been denied: Universal health care. Childcare. Higher education.

The programs paid for by the wealth tax will both slow the money-hoarding taking place at the top and give the bottom 50% the programs they need to be able to build savings and eventually their own wealth.

economy-3economy-7

Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear’ per another former Republican legislator

I’ve often wondered what will become of the Republican Party, aka the GOP. The party has linked itself to the former guy, a ‘man’ without conscience, without intellect, that it seems they have nowhere to go but down. Keith’s post this morning tells us of a few members of the party with the courage to speak out and say, “This is not who we should be!” Thanks, Keith, for giving us hope that perhaps some in the GOP are as disgusted as we are!

musingsofanoldfart

In an article this weekend called “Former GOP lawmaker: Republican Party ‘engulfed in lies and fear'” by Jonathan Easley of The Hill, yet another former lawmaker is sharing his concerns about how far his party has fallen. Here are a few paragraphs from the article, plus a link below.

“Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-Fla.) argued in a pre-taped interview that ran Friday that the Republican Party has lost its way and become ‘engulfed in lies in fear.

Curbelo and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) teamed up as part of the nonpartisan debate seriesIntelligenceSquared U.S.to argue that many within the GOP are knowingly pushing a lie that the election was stolen out of fear of retaliation from former President Trump.

In his opening remarks, Curbelo said that by embracing former President Trump’s election claims, which preceded the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, the GOP had lost its…

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