July 31, 1971 James Taylor’s You’ve Got A Friend hits #1!
recorded last week
James Taylor! Talk about a “voice like butter!” His is probably the most honest, simple and beautiful voice in pop music. My two favorite JT songs are You’ve Got a Friend and Shower the People. My two favorite singers who cover JT songs are Javier Colon who sings the hell out of his stuff and another buddy of mine James Gedeon. If you close your eyes when he’s singing you would think it’s JT. Go find James Gedeon on youtube!
Well today was crazy! I was watching all this great young talent and thinking to myself that these kids are going to be the next Britney and Christina and Justin Timberlake who all came out of the Disney camp. And I’m watching their parents beaming. There is nothing like watching your kid perform and loving what they are doing and I realize how lucky Claudia and I are with our two sons. Speaking of the boys, Casey came down from San Fran to visit us. We just got back from dinner and Claudia got to spend the whole day with him so you know mommy had a good day.
I would have liked to have Casey to sing on this song today, but I recorded these next few songs last week in NY. No piano in this hotel. You would think there’d be one little piano in some corner but no. Although they got a nice pool and cabana thing going on.
I love the message in this tune. Very uplifting. As I get older I prefer songs that make you feel good, and You’ve Got A Friend makes me feel good!
I saw Buddy Guy play with the David Letterman band last week and he was great!!!
There’s something about blues singers — they are like fine wines that get better with age. And they have their thing — I guess I can call it their groove and it is SO locked in.
Norman Gold, my piano teacher in my 20’s, said it was like a merry-go round that goes on and on and doesn’t stop or start. It’s a steady pace and you have to jump on and flow with it.
All great musicians have their own personality, feel and groove. For example I once did a session with Will Lee (Letterman’s bass player) and it was a corny little jingle but he made the click (musician term for metronome) dance. His feel was so strong. I remember what he said to me. Very funny. He said when you’re recording, if you screw up, screw up bad so everyone will have you do it again right. Cause if you just do a tiny flub everyone might think it’s okay and then you have to live with that flub over the airwaves.
Happy Birthday Buddy Guy!
And for your birthday tribute, I’ve got First Time I Met the Blues! I’m in L.A. today but recorded this yesterday before I left.
July 29, 1963 Peter Paul & Mary’s Blowin’ in the Wind is released!
Damn the wind was blowin’ again today!
Got in at 2 a.m. from last night’s gig, had an 11 a.m. meeting with some clients because they were only in town today, and then I packed the car for another outdoor gig that was iffy cause of the weather.
But Dylan and Claudia and my niece Heather and I drove up to Mahopac to a friend’s house to play at their pool party. So we’re driving up the Taconic and it starts to hail and I’m sure this party is canceled but we drive right thru the storm into nice weather and and a beautiful party.
Thanks, Loretta, for good food and drink and good people. I had a few guests sing with us and we announced people diving off the diving board like they were Olympians and gave them scores (9.5 for the best bellyflop).
We’re heading to L.A. first thing tomorrow. Trying to pack. Trying to clean. Trying to sing a few tunes in advance in case we don’t find a piano at the hotel for the next five days. We’ll figure something out.
Blowin’ in the Wind is not a song I would normally play, but hey, I’m supposed to be a professional so I’ll play anything!
July 28, 1976 The Steve Miller Band’s album Fly Like An Eagle is certified gold!
gig with a view
Right at this moment I am sitting on a lush, pillowy, white couch under a tent at a gorgeous home on the Long Island Sound in Rye, NY.
There’s a big rainstorm passing overhead and I’m looking at the sailboats rocking up and down like see saws in a playground. The Stingers are about to play this gig for about 500 people and I’m enjoying these few moments in the rain that I love.
I also love singing Steve Miller songs such as The Joker and Fly Like an Eagle. I don’t know too many others from the Steve Miller Band (Big Old Jet Airliner…and…hmmmm?), but I think his material is a good fit for my voice.
I wanna give a shout out to Elle Winter who is performing in Seattle tonight. Good luck girl!
(I recorded today’s video earlier in the day and then I had to fly (like an eagle? get it?) to my gig. You can’t see it in the way we cropped the video, but I am wearing a new shirt. It’s gray with short sleeves and a weird snap on the neck. )
July 27, 1968 Cass Elliot released Dream a Little Dream of Me!
My favorite Mama and Papa’s song was Monday Monday and it wasn’t because I loved the group, it was because I loved the singer, Cass Elliot. What a world class singer. Dream a Little Dream of Me was her first single as a solo artist.
This song is an old standard written in the 30’s and covered by Ella Fitzgerald and a hundred other artists — always done as a jazz song. Then Cass Elliot comes out and covers it as a pop song. Brilliant!
Claudia and I were at the Farmer’s Market the other day and there was a sweet young female singer singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but she was singing the Eva Cassidy version note for note. If you haven’t checked out Eva Cassidy you should. She also has a version of Sting’s Fields of Gold that’s amazing. I always like to check out different version of songs by different artists to see how they interpret.
I like what Marc Ronson does with Britney Spears’ Toxic.
I like Sly and the Family Stone singing Doris Day’s Que Sera Sera.
I like Ray Charles singing Oh What A Beautiful Morning.
I like Natalie Imbruglia singing Torn.
The list goes on and on.
But back to Mama Cass. She could hang on stage with any of the great divas in my book!