♫ Angel Of The Morning ♫

A week or three ago, Clive mentioned a few artists/groups he is especially fond of, and among them was Juice Newton.  I couldn’t recall … well, frankly, I couldn’t recall if Juice Newton was a band or an individual singer, let alone any songs attributed to them/him/her.  (Hey, I’m old and senile, okay?  Cut me some slack here!)  So, I went in search of, and found that a) Juice Newton is a female recording artist with a fantastic voice, and b) I remembered a couple of her songs, most notably the one I’m playing here today.

This song was written by Chip Taylor in 1967, originally recorded by Evie Sands, but first charting by Merrilee Rush, of whom I am unfamiliar.  The song has been covered by many artists including P. P. Arnold, Connie Eaton, Mary Mason, Guys ‘n’ Dolls, Melba Montgomery, Olivia Newton-John, Bettye Swann and, most recognizably, by Juice Newton.  Angel of the Morning was originally offered to Connie Francis, but she turned it down because she thought that the love affair lyrical message was too risqué for her image.  Oh, what a difference a few decades makes, eh?

According to SongFacts …

Evie Sands originally recorded this song in 1967. Her version was doing well, but two weeks after it was released, her record label, Cameo/Parkway, went bankrupt. Chip Taylor, who wrote the song, was devastated when he found out the label could not promote it or even make more copies of the song. A few months later, Rush’s version became a hit for another label, Bell Records.

It was one of several close calls for Sands, who never hit it big; she also did the original version of “I Can’t Let Go,” which was later a hit for The Hollies.

According to Kent Kotal at Forgotten Hits, Chip Taylor came up with this song in about 20 minutes. Writes Kent: “After strumming any variety of chords for close to two hours and coming up with nothing, he says the complete lyrics ‘There’ll be no strings to bind your hands, not if my love can’t bind your heart’ flowed out of his mouth. His first thought was ‘What is that? That’s beautiful!’ He then thought, ‘Nobody actually TALKS like that!!! Where did those words come from?’ Incredibly, in one sitting, spread out over no more than twenty minutes, he completed the entire song. He says that during the entire process, he never once thought, ‘I’m gonna say this’ or ‘I’m gonna say that.’ In fact, most of the time he was thinking ‘I don’t even know what this means!’ In his own mind, he feels that he didn’t so much as WRITE this song as that he DREAMED it… the way the lyrics flowed out, meshing perfectly with the series of chords he had been strumming – there just had to be some kind of divine intervention. ‘I write melody and words at the same time and I hum nonsense things until something comes out. So I don’t think about what I want to say… I just let the emotion carry me. In this song, the emotion just totally took over and carried me. It was magic.'”

This was a crossover hit for country singer Juice Newton in 1981. Her version hit #4 on the US Hot 100, and a few months later, she had a bigger hit with “Queen Of Hearts,” which went to #2.

In the UK, two competing versions were released in 1968: by Billie Davis and P.P. Arnold. It was Arnold who scored the hit, with her version reaching #29. The previous year, she became the first to record the song “The First Cut Is The Deepest.”

Juice Newton’s version can be heard during Drew Barrymore’s first scene in the 2000 film Charlie’s Angels.

The same version also plays during the violent opening scene of the 2016 superhero film Deadpool, providing an interesting contrast. “It completely made sense to me from the first time I read it [in the script],” the movie’s director Tim Miller told Billboard magazine. “I loved the quirky contrast of having such a sweet and life-affirming song mixed up with all the crazy, abstract violence. I thought it was genius.”

And as per Wikipedia …

The highest-charting and best-selling version in the United States was recorded and released in 1981 by country-rock singer Juice Newton for her album Juice. Newton re-interpreted the song at the suggestion of Steve Meyer, who promoted Capitol Records singles and albums to radio stations and felt a version of “Angel of the Morning” by Newton would be a strong candidate for airplay. Newton would state that she would never have thought of recording “Angel of the Morning,” and even though she immediately recognized the song when Meyer played it for her (quote): “I [hadn’t been] really aware of that song because…when [it] was popular I was listening to folk music and R&B and not pop, and that was a very pop song.”

Juice Newton’s version reached #1 in Canada, #4 in the U.S., and only #43 in the UK.

In the interest of fair play, I am providing both Juice Newton’s and Merrilee Rush’s version … both are well worth the listen!

Angel of the Morning

Juice Newton/Merrilee Rush

There’ll be no strings to bind your hands
Not if my love can’t bind your heart
There’s no need to take a stand
For it was I who chose to start
I see no need to take me home
I’m old enough to face the dawn

Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Then slowly turn away from me

Maybe the sun’s light will be dim
And it won’t matter anyhow
If morning’s echo says we’ve sinned
Well, it was what I wanted now
And if we’re victims of the night
I won’t be blinded by the light

Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Then slowly turn away
I won’t beg you to stay with me

Through the tears
Of the day
Of the years

Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darling
Just call me angel of the morning, angel
Just touch my cheek before you leave me, darling

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Chip Taylor

Angel of the Morning lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Mony, Mony ♫

I owe the idea for tonight’s music post to rawgod, who commented on yesterdays Dancing Queen that this song was more his idea of music that gets his toes tapping and makes him want to get up and dance!  As soon as I began listening to the link he sent, I recognized the song, though I hadn’t heard it in probably 20 years!  And it definitely does have the rhythm that sets the old toes to tapping!

SongFacts did an interview with Tommy James about this song and if you’re interested, you can read it in its entirety, but meanwhile here’s a brief snippet …

“Originally, we did the track without a song. And the idea was to create a party rock record; in 1968 that was pretty much of a throwback to the early ’60s. Nobody was making party rock records really in 1968, those big-drum-California-sun-what-I-sing-money-type songs. And so I wanted to do a party rock record.

And we went in the studio, and we pasted this thing together out of drums here, and a guitar riff here. It was called sound surgery, and we finally put it together in probably a month. We had most of the words to the song, but we still had no title. And it’s just driving us nuts, because we’re looking for like a ‘Sloopy’ or some crazy name – it had to be a two-syllable girl’s name that was memorable and silly and kind of stupid sounding. So we knew what kind of a word we had, it’s just that everything we came up with sounded so bad. So Ritchie Cordell, my songwriting partner and I, are up in my apartment up at 888 Eighth Avenue in New York. And finally we get disgusted, we throw our guitars down, we go out on the terrace, we light up a cigarette, and we look up into the sky. And the first thing our eyes fall on is the Mutual of New York Insurance Company. M-O-N-Y. True story. With a dollar sign in the middle of the O, and it gave you the time and the temperature.”

This went to #1 in the UK and #3 in the U.S.  Billy Idol did a version that became a #1 hit in the U.S. in 1987 and I am including it here, despite the fact that I do not like it, not one bit!  I much prefer Tommy James and the Shondell’s original!  Idols has too many effects that detract and distract from the music, but such was his way I suppose.

Mony Mony
Tommy James & The Shondells/Billy Idol
Here she come down, says ‘Mony, Mony’
Well, shoot ’em down, turn around, come home, honey
Hey! She gimme love an’ I feel alright now

You got me tossin’ turnin’ in the night, and I feel alright
Let me feel alright

I say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Well you make me feel Mony, Mony
So! Mony, Mony
Good! Mony, Mony
Yeah! Mony, Mony
So good! Mony, Mony
Oh, yeah! Mony, Mony
Come on! Mony, Mony

All right, baby! Mony, Mony

Say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Break ‘dis, shake it, Mony, Mony
Shot gun, get it done, come on, Mony
Don’t stop cookin’, it feels so good, yeah

Hey! Well don’t stop now, hey, come on Mony
Well come on, Mony

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Well you make me feel Mony, Mony
So! Mony, Mony
Good! Mony, Mony
Yeah! Mony, Mony
Alright! Mony, Mony
Come on! Mony Mony
So good! Mony Mony

All right
I say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ahhhhhhh

Oo, I love ya Mony, Mo, Mo, Mony
Oo, I love ya Mony, Mo, Mo, Mony

Oo, I love ya Mony, Mo, Mo, Mony
Oo, I love ya Mony, Mo, Mo, Mony

I say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Come on!
Come on!
Come on!

Alright, alright
Come on!

♫ Mockingbird ♫

My friend Jerry often sends me ideas for my music posts.  He and I do not generally share the same taste in music, so it’s rare that I use his suggestions here, but a few nights ago he sent me one, saying …

“I know you’re not doing much on the music posts, but here’s one I think that YOU will like. I heard the song the other day and was curious if they did it live. The harmonies are hard to do the way they did it on record, but they sure did pull it off live. Impressive!!”

The song was Mockingbird, the artists are James Taylor, whom I adore, and Carly Simon, and he’s right … they sure did pull it off!

It turns out that Inez and Charlie Foxx initially recorded this in 1963.  According to SongFacts …

  • This is based on a traditional American folk song sometimes known as “Hush Little Baby.” The song is a lullaby, intended to soothe a young child to sleep with promises of expensive gifts. Northern Mockingbirds were often kept as pets in America, which explains the significance of the lyrics.
  • Bo Diddley used the traditional lyrics for his 1955 song “Bo Diddley,” but his song had a completely different arrangement.
  • Inez and Charlie Foxx were brother and sister. In 1974, James Taylor and Carly Simon, who were married at the time, recorded their version, which was also a hit. Country singer Toby Keith recorded it with his teenage daughter Krystal in 2004, and that same year, Eminem made it into a song for his daughter Hailie. Eminem’s song veers from the traditional lyrics as he details his struggles to raise his daughter and threatens to break the bird’s neck if it doesn’t sing.
  • Toby Keith did a duet of this song with his daughter, Krystal, for his 2004 Greatest Hits Volume 2 album.
  • This song is part of a key scene in the 1994 movie Dumb and Dumber, where Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels sing it for musical entertainment.

And Jerry later sent me another message saying that “Interesting tidbit about the song, when JT does it nowadays, his daughter, that he had with CS does her part. When CS does it, the son they had together, does his part. Talk about keeping it in the family.”

And so, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado I present to you James Taylor and Carly Simon!  (My apologies for the funky alignment of the lyrics … it’s late, I’m tired, and I have no idea why it won’t align properly, so I’m going to bed now!)


James Taylor & Carly Simon

Mock (yeah)
Ing (yeah)
Bird (yeah)
Yeah (yeah)
Mockin’bird, now

Everybody have you heard
He’s gonna buy me a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird won’t sing
He’s gonna buy me a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring won’t shine
He’s gonna surely break this heart of mine

And that’s why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, oh

Hear me now and understand
He’s gonna find me some peace of mind

And if that piece of mind won’t stay
I’m gonna find myself a better way

And if that better way ain’t so
I’ll ride with the tide and go with the flow

And that’s why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, oh

Now, everybody have you heard
She’s gonna buy me a mockingbird
Yeah if that mockingbird don’t sing
She’s gonna buy me a diamond ring

And if that diamond ring won’t shine
Yes, it’ll surely break this heart of mine
And there’s a reason why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

Listen now and understand
She’s gonna find me some peace of mind
Yeah if that piece of mind won’t stay
I’m gonna get myself a better way

I might rise above, I might go below
Ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that’s the reason why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, now, now. baby

♫ Superman (It’s Not Easy) ♫

I didn’t do a music post last night and almost didn’t do one tonight, for I am just tired … almost to the point of not caring about much of anything.  But that was before a special friend sent me a lovely email tonight in which she said, “If I may so bold … please allow me to say that you definitely seem to need some suggestions for your music posts …”  Boy is THAT an understatement!  In my present mood … or should I say my mood of the past several weeks, I keep reverting to those songs that warm my heart without really adding anything much new!  The lone suggestion by my darling friend was this one … Superman (It’s Not Easy) by Five for Fighting.  I listened, I remembered, I liked, and so here I shall play!

According to SongFacts …

This song about trying to fit in was written from Superman’s point of view. The superhero is portrayed as misunderstood and not as powerful as people see him: “I’m only a man in a funny red sheet.” Superman may be invincible, but he has feelings too, and while he’s off saving the world he sometimes wonders if anyone thinks about what he is going through.

The song reflects what John Ondrasik (who is Five For Fighting) felt at the time – he released his first album, Message for Albert, in 1997 and it went nowhere. Explaining what led him to write the song, which appeared on his next album, Ondrasik told us it was “frustration about the inability to be heard.”

He later explained: “I’ve learned 10 years later that it’s pretty damn easy to be me. I could never write that song now.”

Interestingly, this song became quite popular after the terrorist attacks on 9/11.

The reflective tone fit very well with the mood of the United States, and many radio stations put it in heavy rotation. Ondrasik heard from emergency workers and others who found it a source of comfort after the attacks.

Ondrasik performed this song on October 20, 2001 at the “Concert For New York,” a tribute to the police, firefighters, and rescue workers involved in the World Trade Center Attacks. It was a very touching moment, and he called this performance “the most important thing I’ll ever do musically.” Ondrasik stood next to James Taylor and Pete Townshend at the end of the show when they all sang “Let It Be.”

The first year or so that this song was out, I thought it had something to do with Sesame Street’s Kermit the Frog, one of my favourite characters, and that the lyrics were “It’s not easy to be green”.  Sigh.  I wonder how many lyrics I have completely scrambled in my lifetime?  Anyway … this song made the charts at #14 in the U.S. and #48 in the UK … I cannot find evidence that it charted in Canada, but did fairly well in a number of countries such as Australia (#2), Belgium (#4), Italy (#11) and Norway (#12).  And now, without further ado other than to thank my friend Ellen …

Superman (It’s Not Easy)
Five for Fighting

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
I’m just out to find
The better part of me

I’m more than a bird, I’m more than a plane
I’m more than some pretty face beside a train
And it’s not easy to be me

I wish that I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
‘Bout a home I’ll never see

It may sound absurd, but don’t be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed, but won’t you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
And it’s not easy to be me

Up, up and away, away from me
Well it’s all right
You can all sleep sound tonight
I’m not crazy or anything

I can’t stand to fly
I’m not that naive
Men weren’t meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me

Inside of me, inside of me, yeah
Inside of me, inside of me
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
I’m only a man looking for a dream
I’m only a man in a funny red sheet
And it’s not easy
Oh, it’s not easy to be me

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: John Ondrasik
Superman (It’s Not Easy) (iTunes Session) lyrics © Emi Blackwood Music Inc., Colgems-emi Music Inc., Five For Fighting Music

♫ Patches ♫

I was scrolling through a few lists of songs, looking for something I hadn’t already played here because I think I’ve been doing far too many ‘reduxes’ lately.  I had already played all my favourites that I came across on the lists, until I came to this one … Patches.  This is, maybe, one of the saddest songs I’ve ever loved.

Written by General Johnson and Ron Dunbar and best known in the 1970 hit version by Clarence Carter, this song won the 1971 Grammy Award for Best Rhythm & Blues Song.  According to SongFacts …

“Patches” was Clarence Carter’s most famous song, but it was originally recorded by the R&B group Chairmen Of The Board and released as the B-side to their 1970 single “Everything’s Tuesday.” Chairmen Of The Board lead singer General Johnson and his songwriting partner Ronald Dunbar wrote the song, which tells a heartwrenching story about a boy who grows up on a family farm in Alabama. Nicknamed “Patches” because his old clothes were patched together, his father asks him from his deathbed to take care of the family, which he does, working the fields while continuing his education.

Carter really was from Alabama, but he didn’t grow up on a farm and never worked the fields. His delivery was so convincing that many listeners thought Carter was telling the story of his life, which was even more remarkable considering he was blind. Carter said that he sometimes felt like a fraud after receiving letters from fans praising his dedication to his family and citing him as an inspiration. Said Carter, “I heard it on the Chairmen of the Board LP and liked it, but I had my own ideas about how it should be sung. It was my idea to make the song sound real natural – I guess I tried a little too hard for some people!”

The song’s co-writer General Johnson wanted the Chairmen Of The Board’s version to be released as a single. Though his record company liked the song, they saw no potential for it as a single as it had no beat. The song is very unusual in that much of it is spoken. This turned out to be an advantage, and it punctuated the story and made the song stand out on the radio. The spoken interludes (or “preaching” as he called it) were a staple of Carter’s music.

Clarence Carter, known to his fans as Dr. CC, had a difficult childhood. He was blinded at a young age, and attended the Alabama School for the Blind at Talladega. He taught himself to play the guitar by listening to Lightnin’ Hopkins records. Carter had three hits that went gold in the States: “Slip Away,” “Too Weak To Fight” and “Patches.”

While Carter didn’t write this song, he claimed that he could certainly associate with it, since he came from a poor family and knew kids who had to support their families through farm work. Carter’s grandfather died when his mother was still in high school, which also helped him relate to the song.

Patches reached #2 in the UK, #4 in both the U.S. and Ireland, and #16 in Canada.

Clarence Carter

I was born and raised down in Alabama
On a farm way back up in the woods
I was so ragged that folks used to call me Patches
Papa used to tease me about it
‘Cause deep down inside he was hurt
‘Cause he’d done all he could

My papa was a great old man
I can see him with a shovel in his hands, see
Education he never had
He did wonders when the times got bad
The little money from the crops he raised
Barely paid the bills we made

For, life had kick him down to the ground
When he tried to get up
Life would kick him back down
One day Papa called me to his dyin’ bed
Put his hands on my shoulders
And in his tears he said

He said, Patches
I’m dependin’ on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it’s all left up to you

Two days later Papa passed away, and
I became a man that day
So I told Mama I was gonna quit school, but
She said that was Daddy’s strictest rule

So every mornin’ ‘fore I went to school
I fed the chickens and I chopped wood too
Sometimes I felt that I couldn’t go on
I wanted to leave, just run away from home
But I would remember what my daddy said
With tears in his eyes on his dyin’ bed

He said, Patches
I’m dependin’ on you, son
I tried to do my best
It’s up to you to do the rest

Then one day a strong rain came
And washed all the crops away
And at the age of 13 I thought
I was carryin’ the weight of the
Whole world on my shoulders
And you know, Mama knew
What I was goin’ through, ’cause

Every day I had to work the fields
‘Cause that’s the only way we got our meals
You see, I was the oldest of the family
And everybody else depended on me
Every night I heard my Mama pray
Lord, give him the strength to make another day

So years have passed and all the kids are grown
The angels took Mama to a brand new home
Lord knows, people, I shedded tears
But my daddy’s voice kept me through the years

Patches, I’m dependin’ on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it’s all left up to you

Oh, I can still hear Papa’s voice sayin’
Patches, I’m dependin’ on you, son
I’ve tried to do my best
It’s up to you to do the rest

I can still hear Papa, what he said
Patches, I’m dependin’ on you, son
To pull the family through
My son, it’s all left up to you

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Ronald Dunbar / Norman Johnson
Patches lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC