Goodnight everyone, and just do your best and take a rest and sing yourself a song this weekend!

Every Friday night we smooth our way into the weekend with music, the universal language. These selections demonstrate that despite what is being passed off as art today, there is plenty of really good music available. Come along and enjoy.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Confucius

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Thomas A. Edison

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.”
Vince Lombardi

This Monday is Labor Day when we celebrate the contributions and achievements of American workers. Labor Day also marks the end of summer for many Americans with parties, parades and athletic events.

Who founded Labor Day? There’s some debate on that.

Was it Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor? He’s quoted as saying a special day should be set aside dedicated to those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.”

Or was it Matthew Maguire, a machinist, who made the suggestion in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York?

The answer is unclear but I presume most folks don’t really care. They just love a 3-day weekend!

This week it’s music about jobs and working. Don’t worry. It’ll be fun.

In 1980 Dolly Parton, a star for many years,  had never been in a movie. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin asked her to be in “9 to 5” and she agreed only if she could write the theme song.

Parton’s  number 1 hit on both the pop and country charts is a great way to get us rolling this week.

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Parton is still very popular.
# of top Billboard albums in last 5 years: 2
Daily avg. Wikipedia page views: 9,868
Facebook likes: 4.1 million

BTW, Parton appeared many times on the Tonight Show, and speaking of work, Johnny Carson hosted the program for 30 years and more than 4500 episodes.

Classic.

Ok. That’s hard to top.

Sorry. Couldn’t resist.

But we will try.

This is good.

Really good.

I mean really really really good.

I can say that what’s about to follow is really really really good, not only because it is, but because the artist is one of the finest and most highly regarded pianists in the world.

Peter Nero’s resume is impressive, with a recording career that’s now lasted 56 years and has produced 70 recordings.

Born in Brooklyn, Nero began his formal music training at the age of seven. By the time he was 14, he was accepted to New York City’s prestigious High School of Music and Art and also won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music.

In 1961 Nero was honored with his first Grammy Award, as “Best New Artist of the Year.”

Nero is the founding conductor and Artistic Director of the world renowned Peter Nero and the Philly POPS orchestra.

“If the perfect pops conductor could be conjured, he might answer to this description,” wrote Philadelphia Inquirer music critic Peter Dobrin: “Huge talent with polymath abilities and catholic tastes. Musician who actually enjoys giving audiences what they want. Plays piano like a dream. … might look something like Peter Nero.”

“Peter Nero is, of course, known for his piano playing, covering a range from classical concert repertoire to straight-ahead jazz. His fingers stretch as far as Art Tatum’s, and he practically knows no limits on the Steinway. He is also a fine conductor … Philadelphia is lucky to have him and his, by now, trademark Philly Pops,” said All About Jazz’s Victor L. Schermer on May 8, 2009. The Washington Post has called him “the epitome of the Pops Conductor/Performer.”

Mr. Nero’s first major national TV success came at age 17 when he was chosen to perform Rhapsody in Blue on Paul Whiteman’s TV special. He subsequently appeared on many top variety and talk shows, including 11 guest appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and numerous appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

In this appropriate selection for this week’s future Nero covers an old instrumental classic by a very popular artist. The theme is familiar and catchy. You might be old enough to remember that Channel 12 used it as their intro to Packer Preview on Sunday afternoons before every Packer game.

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Here’s a pair of work songs from a very famous ensemble. Comprised of hundreds of volunteers, this musical group brings together people at its performances from all around the world.

This medley dates back 70 years to 1937. Who’d have thought those seven guys would be so cool and so memorable.

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Just whistle while you work
Put on that grin and start right in to whistle loud and long

Just hum a merry tune
Just do your best and take a rest and sing yourself a song

When there’s too much to do
Don’t let it bother you, forget your troubles,
Try to be just like a cheerful chick-a-dee

And whistle while you work
Come on get smart, tune up and start
To whistle while you work

 

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I think Walt would love that a) The choir paid tribute and b) his film music has enthralled for decades.

Next…Jack Jones (who sang the theme to the “Love Boat”) won a Grammy Award for his 1963 recording of “Wives and Lovers.”

Great song. Great arrangement.

Doesn’t bother me but the lyrics would send feminists today into orbit.

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He’s almost here…

Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you’d wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love

In August of 2013 the Huffington Post was in a full blown tizzy with this headline:

Jack Jones’ ‘Wives & Lovers’ Could Be One Of The Most Offensive Songs, Ever

The article read in part:

It’s a serious little ditty that tells you — in no unclear terms — that if you have the audacity to wear curlers around your husband, don’t be surprised if that husband leaves you.

Good grief. They are nauseating.

The article contains a video of the disgusting Jones singing the award-winning smash hit if you’re interested.

But let’s move to 1977. It’s difficult to find a singer with a more velvety smooth voice than Lou Rawls.

And this recording is along the very same lines as the Jack Jones recording.

And like Jack Jones, Lou Rawls also won a Grammy Award,  for the album that featured this song.

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“This year, as part of your Labor Day observance, remember that hard work is to be respected and appreciated, and that the underlying purpose of work is to provide value to others. Be impressed not with a fancy title or corner office, but with the outcome of a person’s work. And remember to thank those who provide the goods and services that make your life better.”
Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of “The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own,” and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”

That’s it for this week’s installment.

Goodnight.

Sleep well.

Have a safe weekend.

We close on a very exciting, very unique note.

For 14 years Larry Braggs was the lead vocalist for Tower of Power (T.O.P.), the legendary soul group from Oakland known for its blaring, screeching horn section. In our close he teams up with T.O.P. Queens, an all-female Tower of Power tribute band at a night club in Buenos Aires in 2014.

The song was originally done by The Average White Band.

Do you remember?

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage and concert

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