Goodnight everyone, and have an artistic 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. 

By the time you read and enjoy this, St. Patrick’s Day might be just about or totally over.

Last Friday our feature was genuine Irish music. This week, there’s still an Irish theme. Irish artists and their non-St. Patrick’s Day material.

We get started with some rousing country.

McGraw made news this week when he admitted that when moving his eldest daughter Gracie across country, his emotions got the best of him, leading to a breakdown.

“I drove my daughter to L.A. when she moved out there, and drove cross-country with her. I took all the seats out of my Cadillac Escalade and loaded it up with all of her stuff. When I dropped her off, I mean, I just lost it. And then I had to drive home all by myself… I was crying the whole time. In fact there’s a song on my new album coming up that guitar player Bobby Minner wrote, ’cause I called him when I was driving back from dropping Gracie off, and was just sort of having a heart-to-heart about dropping my daughter off. It’s based on my trip… It’s a good one.”

McGraw and wife Faith Hill share three daughters together: Gracie, 25, Maggie, 24, and Audrey, 21.

It’s quiz time!

Van Morrison, who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has had some big hits. So what was his biggest?

Was it….




Well then it just had to be…

“Brown Eyed Girl”


Um, no.

Morrison’s highest-charting hit is the uptempo raver “Domino” from his 1970 album “His Band and the Street Choir”, which climbed to No. 9 on the Hot 100 in 1971.

In the fall of 2020 Morrison released three new tracks in response to the ongoing UK government lockdown restrictions. The songs of protest questioned the measures the Government put in place. Morrison said at the time:

“I’m not telling people what to do or think, the government is doing a great job of that already. It’s about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.”

The singer-songwriter campaigned for performance venues to open at full capacity again, feeling that lockdowns could kill live music.

Singer Gilbert O’Sullivan was born in Waterford, the place that makes the wonderful crystal. He gained fame in 1972 for his depressing song “Alone Again (Naturally)” about a lonely, suicidal man being left at the altar and then telling the listener about the death of his parents. He swears the song was not autobiographical. It sold 2 million copies, spent six weeks at #1, got him three Grammy Award nominations (Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year), and was the second best-selling single of the year in America behind Don McLean’s “American Pie.”

Also in 1972 O’Sullivan released a single where the listener thinks he’s singing to his (much) younger girlfriend. It gets a bit awkward as you’ll hear until you learn O’Sullivan is not the boyfriend. He’s the babysitter. Clair is a real girl, the 3-year-old daughter of O’Sullivan’s manager, Gordon Mills. According to O’Sullivan the song is really for Clair’s parents, Gordon and Jo.

“They would ring me up and say they had to go to some big do, and I would babysit. I’m one of six, so I’m used to kids. The song was written as a ‘thank you’ to the parents, and she laughs at the end. Gordon plays the harmonica solo, so it’s pretty much a family record.”

This is one of the cutest music videos I’ve ever posted.

In 2017, Clair came to O’Sullivan’s concert in Hyde Park, where he performed with the BBC Concert Orchestra. “My daughters were with her,” O’Sullivan said. “She said when I sang ‘Clair’ in front of 25, 30 thousand people, she had tears in her eyes. The song means a lot to her. She’s very grown up now, with two children of her own, but I still have that relationship with her.”

Before rock and roll harmonious vocal groups ruled the day in the 1950’s, like the McGuire Sisters, Ruby, Dorothy, and Phyllis. Both of these were #1 hits.

All three sisters have passed away.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Bet you didn’t know this next singer was Irish. She had a huge crossover hit that she co-wrote in 2009 that made the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 and Country Songs at the same time. That doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

“This song is basically about wanting someone who is with this girl who doesn’t appreciate him at all,” said Taylor Swift. Basically like ‘girl-next-door-itis.’ You like this guy who you have for your whole life, and you know him better than she does but somehow the popular girl gets the guy every time.”

The song won won the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, beating Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it).” Swift’s victory wasn’t well received by Kanye West, who during her acceptance speech, jumped up onto the stage. He cut the teen singer off, grabbed her microphone and announced: “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!”

A stunned Taylor was timed out and consequently unable to complete her acceptance speech. Later when “Single Ladies” won the show’s top honor – Video of the Year, Beyoncé showed her class by calling back Swift to the stage to finish her speech. “I would like Taylor to come out and have her moment,” she said.

Goodnight everyone, and wear lots of green 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. 

May be an image of 6 people and outdoors

We’re one week away from St. Patrick’s Day. Annual St. Patrick’s Parade in downtown Milwaukee is Saturday at noon. Daughter Kyla will be there marching with the Franklin-based Glencastle Irish Dancrs.
Love doing Irish music blogs during the year. And this exciting installment will surely please, guaranteed to get you into the Irish mood.

Let’s get rollin’.

We open with a band that was formed on a lark in 1996 in the basement of a Boston barbershop and became popular thanks to their Irish influenced brand of Oi! punk anthems.

What the hell is Oi! Punk?

Oi! is punk rock that began in the United Kingdom in the late 1970’s that was intended to bring together  punks, skinheads, and disaffected blue-collar youth. Guitarist Steve Kent of the group “The Business” said Oi! was a reaction to the early punk rockers he descried as “trendy university people using long words, trying to be artistic…and losing touch.”

Ken Casey plays bass for the Dropkick Murphys that was created in that Boston barbershop basement.

“We’re a punk band, but out roots are in Irish folk.”

Our first selection was released in 2005. The band did a take on a folk song written by Woody Guthrie about a sailor who loses his leg in a bizarre rigging accident, and now he’s shipping off to Boston to find his wooden leg. 

This is the instrumental version. Songfacts calls it “A rousing anthem that works like musical adrenaline, the song has spread to stadiums across the nation when the home team is looking to pump up the crowd.”

In August 2019, WVCB Channel 5 Boston recorded the Murphys performing this song in the front yard of Quinn Waters, a three-year-old boy quarantined in his Boston home while recovering from surgery for a brain tumor.

Dropkick Murphys will perform live at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena after the Milwaukee Admirals game against the Tucson Roadrunners tomorrow, Saturday, March 11th, at 6:00 pm. The concert is free to attend with a ticket to the game. In addition, a limited number exclusive on-ice passes are on sale. The on-ice passes allow exclusive access to watch the concert from directly in front of the stage. On-ice passes need to be purchased in addition to a game ticket.

NEXT, Flying Feet is an authentic Irish Music, Song & Dance show with a world champion troupe of Irish Dancers & 100% Live Band Direct from Ireland.

Great music, dancing, and video here, a real Irish treat. Recorded in 2020.

Hard to find out more about this show on social media. They are scheduled to be in Germany next month.

“The Quiet Man” starring the legendary John Wayne featured a famous melody. Time for a twin spin. First, the oldest college band in the United States, followed by the late Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

“The Rakes of Mallow.” Irish song. Irish polka. Are we talking the tool used to clear leaves? No way.

Rake is short for rakehell, defining a fellow of severely dubious character. Originally a rake combined riotous living with intellectual and artistic pursuits.

“Beauing, belling, dancing, drinking, Breaking windows, cursing, sinking Every raking, never thinking, Live the Rakes of Mallow.”

Here comes another gem.The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland (CBOI) was established in 1995 as a peace initiative and is composed of over 100 exceptionally talented young musicians from all over Ireland and Northern Ireland.

WOW! That was mighty good stuff!

And that’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend and Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Our family’s excitement is growing daily. And it’s not only because St. Patrick’s Day is fast approaching.

We’re heading to Ireland next month for a weeklong tour with the famous award-winning Irish family band, The Bryne Brothers. We met them backstage a few years ago at La Crosse Irish Fest and have become good friends. They put on a super show.

Goodnight everyone, and have a powerful and strong 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. 

March is Women’s History Month that encourages the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

This week we feature the message of strong and succesful women in music.

Let’s begin with a TV theme from the mid 1970’s about a famous superhero first heard about in the early 1940’s.

From Smithsonian Magazine:

Wonder Woman is the most popular female comic-book superhero of all time. Aside from Superman and Batman, no other comic-book character has lasted as long. Generations of girls have carried their sandwiches to school in Wonder Woman lunchboxes.


Wonder Woman wasn’t the first female comic book hero, but she quickly proved to be the most popular after appearing on the cover of the debut issue of “Sensation Comics” in January 1942. That summer it was revealed that Wonder Woman’s creator was a most unlikely figure—Harvard-educated psychologist William Moulton Marston, who is often credited as the inventor of the lie-detector test.

Marston believed women were mentally stronger than men and would come to rule the United States—albeit on a lengthy timeline. “The next 100 years will see the beginning of an American matriarchy—a nation of Amazons in the psychological rather than physical sense,” Marston told the Harvard Club of New York in 1937, according to an Associated Press report. “In 500 years, there will be a serious sex battle. And in 1,000 years, women definitely will rule this country.” The New York Times reflected the gender roles of the time by printing in a sub-headline that Marston thought “bored wives will start within next 100 years to take over the nation.”

Marston saw the need for a strong female superhero. “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, power,” he wrote. “The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.” Marston thought Wonder Woman needed to be not just entertaining, but a role model as well. “‘Wonder Woman’ was conceived by Dr. Marston to set up a standard among children and young people of strong, free, courageous womanhood; to combat the idea that women are inferior to men, and to inspire girls to self-confidence and achievement in athletics, occupations and professions monopolized by men,” read the 1942 press release announcing Marston as the comic’s creator.

The growing women’s rights movement of the 1960s reinvigorated Wonder Woman as a feminist icon. She was the cover girl on the first regular issue of Ms. magazine in 1972 and became a television star with the release of a prime-time, live-action show starring Lynda Carter.

The mid-1970’s…

In March of 2015 the group LION BABE with singer/songwriter Jillian Hervey released a retro-inspired Sci-Fi style music video named after the famous female superhero.

In theaters the first “Wonder Woman” in 2017 was a box office revolution for a movie directed by a female, earning over $822M, but the sequel was panned. “Wonder Woman 3” was in the works, but last December Warner Bros. announced it is no longer moving forward with the project.

Yvette Marie Stevens, better known as Chaka Khan turns 70 later this month. In the 70’s she left the group Rufus to go solo and became noted for her powerful voice, volumes of curly hair and charisma on stage.

Khan has won 10 Grammy Awards. This was nominated in 1979…

The singer made news this week. From USA TODAY:

Chaka Khan isn’t holding back her opinions on music stars who ranked higher than her on Rolling Stone’s list of the greatest singers of all time.

In Wednesday’s episode of the Los Angeles Magazine podcast “The Originals,” Khan, 69, gave her unfiltered reaction to finding out that the music magazine ranked Mariah Carey, Adele, and Mary J. Blige higher than her.

“What list is that?” Khan said, when told on the podcast about the list. “These are somebody’s opinions, correct? Then that’s all I have to say. I feel honored; however, it’s not going to take me over any moon. These people don’t quantify or validate me in any way.”

Khan also criticized the list for pitting artists against each other. The magazine ranked Khan at #29, Carey at #5, Adele at #22 and Blige at #25.

“I didn’t even know what the hell you were talking about, so obviously lists don’t mean a great deal to me,” she added.

When told about Carey’s ranking, Khan replied: “That must be payola.” When told about Adele’s ranking, Khan said: “OK, I quit.”

Khan had fiercer words when told Blige’s ranking.

“They need hearing aids,” she said of Blige’s ranking,  before derogatorily saying the lists’ creators must be related to blind and deaf disability rights advocate Helen Keller.

Rolling Stone’s list, published in January, drew criticism for its A-list snubs. Celine Dion, Pink, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Janet Jackson, Tony Bennett, Madonna, Nat King Cole, Dionne Warwick and more didn’t make the list.

I wonder what Maria Muldaur would think of that list. She didn’t make it.

Her big hit” Midnight at the Oasis” reached the Top Ten in 1974. Muldaur followed it up with a song originally recorded by Peggy Lee in 1963.

About that Rolling Stone list:

10) Al Green

9) Otis Redding

8) Beyonce

7) Stevie Wonder

6) Ray Charles

5) Mariah Carey

4) Billie Holiday

3) Sam Cooke

2) Whitney Houston

1) Aretha Franklin

The calendar now says 1997. Shania Twain wrote this with her producer husband Robert John “Mutt” Lange. Twain told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest that she grew up in Canada as a tomboy, and once she developed curves, it took her a long time to accept her body.

“The inspiration was, I started to appreciate the fact that I can really have fun being a woman. I didn’t realize it would have so much impact on others and that so many other people related to this.”

Twain’s album that featured the above became the biggest-selling studio album by a solo female artist. She’s now worth $410 million.

Last month Twain released her latest album, “Queen of Me.” On the the cover she is seen riding a black horse, and wearing a complementary black ensemble: a sheer blouse with a plunging neckline, tiny black shorts, and a black cowboy hat.

When she shared a photo on Instagram of the cover at the end of last year, she wrote: “These days, I’m feeling very comfortable in my own skin – and I think this album reflects that musically. Life is short and I want to be uplifted, colorful, unapologetic and empowered.”

Twain goes on tour beginning in April and will appear at the Kohl Center in Madison on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, and Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum on Tuesday, October 31, 2023.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Ella Fitzgerald truly lived up to her nickname “First Lady of Song,” being the first woman to receive a Grammy at the inaugural 1959 awards. About a decade later, she became the first woman to be honored with the Recording Academy’s lifetime achievement award.

In 1980 she appeared on a Carpenters TV special and performed a duet with Karen Carpenter who would have been 73 on Thursday.

Goodnight everyone, and have a dressed in style, go hog wild 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. 

Mardi Gras Day WAS February 21 2023. Fat Tuesday WAS the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

So it’s over.

But we’re still going to celebrate the good music of Mardi Gras and New Orleans.

We begin with a track from a Paul McCartney and Wings 1975 album.

The album was recorded in New Orleans with the cover photographed by Paul’s wife Linda. The red and yellow billiard balls represent the planets in the album title.

Paul Simon wrote a song in 1973 about the New Orleans carnival.

C’mon take me to the Mardi Gras
Where the people sing and play
Where the dancing is elite
And there’s music in the street, both night and day

Hurry take me to the Mardi Gras
In the city of my dreams
You can legalize your lows
You can wear your summer clothes, in the New Orleans

And I will lay my burden down
Rest my head upon that shore
And when I wear that starry crown
I won’t be wanting anymore

Keyboardist Bob James (Theme from “Taxi”) turned it into a peppy instrumental in 1975.

Bob James was born on Christmas Day. Now 83, James has been a member of Fourplay, one of the top contemporary jazz groups since 1991.

Head to Mardi Gras and you’re bound to see a parade.

This 1937 ragtime march is named after a New Orleans street.

Co-composers were Ray Bauduc and Bob Haggart. Bauduc hummed the basic tune to Haggart who scribbled it down on a hotel tablecloth, which he then had to steal in order to create an arrangement.

Richard Carpenter loved this next Hank Willaims song and recorded an instrumental track in 1972. The following year Richard was under pressure to finish the “Now & Then” album that featured an entire side of oldies. For the other side Richard got sister Karen to add her precious vocal since they had no time to come up with another original song. No Cajun drawl here. Just magical Karen.

Although the Carpenters didn’t release it as a single in the US, their version became a big hit in places like England, Mexico, Holland, Germany…and Japan.

How popular was “Jambalaya,” a song about a guy who travels down the bayou to attend a party with his girlfriend Yvonne and her family where they eat Cajun cuisine and drink liquor from fruit jars? The original version reached number one on the U.S. country charts and was there for fourteen non-consecutive weeks.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

We close with a New Orleans folk melody often used for celebrations like parades. The translation of the “Jock-a-mo fee-na-nay” chorus is the subject of debate. Scholars submit that the phrase is Native American, West African, or a creolization of those languages with New Orleans French. What’s it mean? Answers vary from “Kiss my ass” to “Very good” to “The fool will not play today.”

Mac Rebennack was Dr. John’s real name. He flamboyantly wore voodoo beads and feathers onstage. In June of 2019 he suffered a heart attack and died. His family stated Dr. John “created a unique blend of music which carried his hometown, New Orleans, at its heart, as it was always in his heart.” He was 77.

Ringo Starr and his All-Star Band…

Goodnight everyone, and have a great weekend, just as long as it’s groovy!

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. 

Black History Month is a federally recognized celebration of the contributions African Americans have made to this country.

Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” developed Black History Month. Woodson, whose parents were enslaved, was an author, historian and the second African American to earn a Ph.D. at Harvard University.

He founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now called the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. In 1926, Woodson proposed a national “Negro History Week,” which was intended to showcase everything students learned about Black history throughout the school year.

It wasn’t until 1976, during the height of the civil rights movement, that President Gerald  Ford expanded the week into Black History Month.

LaGarrett J. King, an associate professor of social studies education at the University of Missouri, a strong proponent of the celebration still questions why there’s a focus on biographies of a handful of figures who are “palatable to white audiences.”

Not so this week on our Friday night mega music blog with noted black artists you may never have heard about.

Let’s get started with one of the greatest soul vocal groups of the 1970’s. The O’Jays epitomized the Philly soul sound: smooth, rich harmonies backed by elaborate arrangements, lush strings, and a touch of contemporary funk, like “I Love Music.”

I love music
Any kind of music
I love music
Just as long as it’s groovy

I love music
Sweet sweet music
Long as it’s swinging
All the joy that’s it’s bringing

Music is the healing force of the world
It’s understood by every man
Woman boy and girl
And that’s why
That’s why I say

I love music
Any kind of music
I love music
Just as long as it’s groovy, groovy

From the same 1975 album that gave us “I Love Music,” a perfect intro this week….

What a run the group had in the 1970’s: Nearly 30 chart singles and three Grammy nominations, plus a series of best-selling albums and several number one hits on the R&B chart.

Even if you’re not a jazz buff you might have heard this bit of a classic from that genre.

Oliver Nelson was a significant big band composer and arranger of the 1960s. During that decade Nelson became one of the most strongly identifiable writing voices in jazz.

Besides composing music for television and films, he was producing and arranging for pop stars such as Nancy Wilson, James Brown, the Temptations, and Diana Ross.

Though Nelson continued to write for jazz record dates and play his saxophone, the demands of writing commercial music increased. On October 28, 1975, he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was 43.

From just a few years ago, Alba Armengou on trumpet and Rita Payés on trombone, accompanied by Josep Traver on guitar, Ignasi Terraza on piano, and Abril Saurí on drums, remembering Oliver Nelson.

“Some people say that jazz is America’s only true art form. That’s because it began here, hundreds of years ago, in the fields where black people worked as slaves and made up songs to pass time, to express themselves and to keep alive the culture and traditions of their African homelands.”
—The Washington Post

There have been plenty of one-hit wonders in the record business inlcusing the Spiral Starecase. Their 1969 single “More Today Than Yesterday” was covered by lots of artists.

Charles Earland was one of the greatest practitioners of the Hammond B-3 organ.

“To me,” Earland said “the B-3 was the first synthesizer that came along. It was an electric instrument and you could create so many things with it manually.”

Musicologist Bob Porter said  no one can “kick the 3” quite like Earland does.

“An analysis of the Earland organ style,” Porter has written, “reveals perhaps the best walking-bass line among organists and a unique second type of bass line that creates a rolling, long-meter feeling on rock tunes.

Organ, however, was not his first instrument. “My dad had an alto saxophone and I used to sneak it off to school,” he recalls. “I was taking free lessons at school. My dad didn’t know I was using his horn.”

After high school graduation, Earland went on the road as tenor saxophonist with organ grinder Jimmy McGriff. It was during his tenure with the McGriff trio that his infatuation with the B-3 began.

“He just looked like he was having more fun than I was having,” Earland says of McGriff. “After I would play my solo, I’d be standing up there watching, but he and the drummer played from the beginning to the end of tunes. He had so many more things to do. I could only play one note at a time and he could play as many as he wanted to.”

Here’s an edited portion of his album cut of “More Today Than Yesterday.”

Earland died in 1999 at the age of 58.

R&B guitarist Eric Gale was a good friend of singer Roberta Flack who asked him to work on her “Killing Me Softly” album. Gale was in Jamaica spending time away from music after Martin Luther King and Robert Kenendy had been assassinated. When Flack tried hard to persuade Gale to return to New York to assist on the album he said no. So Flack flew the band members to Jamaica and finally convinced Gale to fly back to New York. The album was a smash.

The 70’s sound comes through in this Gale track from 1977.

Gale was 55 when he died in 1994.

That’s it for this week.

Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Our closing piece originally debuted in the late 1930’s and was a popular choice for vocalists.

We have two versions. First, Natalie Cole in 1993…

And an instrumental by internationally renowned flutist Hubert Laws in 1976.

Goodnight everyone, and have a weekend of deep affection!

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. 

Is it possible to have a romantic Valentine’s Day when it falls on a Tuesday?

Of course. You just have to work a bit harder.

Let’s get you in the mood for…Tuesday.

We begin with a sweet story from NYC. The NY Post reports:

Their love stood the test of time — and home improvement.

After 80 years, a stack of  World War II-era love letters pulled out of the walls during a Staten Island house renovation have been returned to the descendants of a prolific Navy man who wrote warmly — and frequently — to his wife.

Dottie Kearney, 51, uncovered the sheaf of correspondence between Brooklyn-born boatswain’s mate Claude Marsten Smythe and Wisconsin native Marie Borgal Smythe back in the mid-1990s, when Kearney and her husband bought the Eltingville fixer-upper — once home to the Smythes — and started tearing out the old walls.

“[Claude] was so polite. He always wrote ‘My dearest’ to her and said how hard the war was, how he was longing for her, wanted her home cooking, and thought of her everyday,” Kearney, a retired beverage manager and bartender, told The Post.

The care Smythe showed in his writing moved Kearney, who found herself reading the love notes again and again throughout the years.

“I couldn’t bear to throw [the letters] away because they were so beautiful. I told my husband that one day we’re going to find the owners,” Kearney said.

And an update. The letters have made their way back to the family after the woman contacted an heirloom investigator, Chelsea Brown, who helped her find the owners. With Brown’s help, and the use of genealogy website MyHeritage they managed to track down Claude and Marie’s daughter, Vermont resident Carol Bohlin, who said she was grateful to read all about her parents.

Love letters were definitely more popular in the past when soldiers were off fighting the Big One and men left on trips that took them away from their love for months or even years at a time. With the rise of modern means of communication, love letters, and letters generally, have fallen into disfavor.

Letters have special properties that no modern form of communication can duplicate. A handwritten letter is something tangible that we touch and hold and then pass to another to touch and hold. And they are preserved and cherished in a way that text messages or email never will be.

The love letters you give your wife or girlfriend are testaments in the history of your love. They constitute a record of your relationship that she’ll hold onto for the rest of her life.

Your love doesn’t have to be far away for you to write a letter to her. A love letter is appropriate even when you’re sleeping alongside your special someone every night. It’s a chance to express your feelings in a more ardent way than you do on a day-to-day basis.

A woman cannot hear too many times that’s she beautiful and that you love her. They’ll never get sick of it. They want to know that you still feel the same way as you did when you first met.

—Art of Manliness

The following standard was written for the 1936 film “Swing Time” starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Astaire sings it to Rogers in the film during a scene where he’s at a piano and she’s in another room washing her hair.

Steve Tyrell did a great rendition used in the 1999 movie “Father of the Bride.”

And check out that dreamy sax solo.

Tyrell has a ton of credits on his impressive resume, including producing “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” for BJ Thomas.

“Raindrops” was written by Burt Bacharach who we lost this week. On Bacharach’s huge list of pop songs: This hit that he wrote for “Casino Royale,” a movie spoofing James Bond.

Diana Krall recorded the romantic tune in Rio in 2009. As one person commented on You Tube, “She proves you don’t have to have a powerhouse yelling voice or take off all your clothes to make great music.”

Krall is set to perform July 30th at the Opheum Theater in Madison, WI.

Next, this song originated in 1947 but didn’t become successful until 1953.

The very thought of you makes my heart sing
Like an April breeze on the wings of spring
And you appear in all your splendor
My one and only love

The shadows fall and spread their mystic charms
In the hush of night while you’re in my arms
I feel your lips, so warm and tender
My one and only love

The touch of your hand is like heaven
A heaven that I’ve never known
The blush on your cheek whenever I speak
Tells me that you are my own

MFSB, short for Mother Father Sister Brother, a rotating cast of a few dozen string and horn studio musicians that recorded in Philadelphia recorded this nice instrumental in 1974.

MFSB’s greatest claim to fame: The theme from the TV program “Soul Train.”

That’s it for this week.


Have a great weekend.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I recall “Midnight Special” host Wolfman Jack once telling Barry White that he always bought two of the same White albums so that he wouldn’t have to get up to change the record.

Think about it.

Goodnight everyone, and have a trophy-worthy weekend!

The GRAMMY Awards, the most prestigious music award show each year, takes place this Sunday.

From the 2023 GRAMMYs Program Book, which will be distributed at Music’s Biggest Night…

In his message in the program that will be distributed to everyone attending the Grammy ceremony Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. called the Grammys “A night dedicated to honoring musical excellence, witnessing amazing performances, and celebrating  the miracle of music.”

He also wrote:

Music is humanity’s greatest natural resource. It has the ability to heal, the power to improve mental, spiritual, and even physical health. It can change minds, moods perspectives. Music changes our hearts. When we feel invisible music sees us. When we are afraid, music comforts us. When we are in love, music inspires us. It binds up our wounds. It breaks down walls. Music is shortest distance between two points, bringing us together like nothing else.

There are 91 award categories this year, including this new one: Best Score Soundtrack For Video Games And Other Interactive Media.

Really Mr. Mason Jr.?

Of course the major categories are:

Best New Artist

Song of the Year

Album of the Year

Record of the Year

Trivia time: Only two artists have ever won all 4 of these awards. Who are they?

OK, that’s super tough. Think it over. The answers come later.

This week Grammy nominated music. I promise, no Lizzo, Rap, or Opera.

Let’s begin with oen of those biggies: Record Of The Year.

The group’s first new music in 39 years. Their message: A request is that the fans give them another chance.

Remember Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog?

Other nominees:

  • Easy On Me
  • Good Morning Gorgeous
    Mary J. Blige
  • You And Me On The Rock
    Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius
  • Woman
    Doja Cat
  • Bad Habit
    Steve Lacy
  • The Heart Part 5
    Kendrick Lamar
  • About Damn Time
  • As It Was
    Harry Styles

But ABBA is the sentimental favorite. Their song is also nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and the LP “Voyage” is nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album.

Speaking of sentimental you could lump these two old rockers in that category.

Edgar Winter is nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his tribute album to brother Johnny who died in 2014.

Both the Winter brothers recorded this song as solo artists.

Other nominees:

  • Done Come Too Far
    Shemekia Copeland
  • Crown
    Eric Gales
  • Bloodline Maintenance
    Ben Harper
  • Set Sail
    North Mississippi Allstars

NEXT: Best Jazz Vocal Album

The famed vocal quartet the Manhattan Transfer recently celebrated the group’s half-century mark with a new album, appropriately titled “Fifty.” If the group wins in this category it would be the ensemble’s first Grammy in more than 30 years.

In 1977 Manhattan Transfer released a single of their version of “Chanson D’Amour” (French for ‘Love Song’). From their Grammy-nominated album…

And yet another sentimental favorite.

Other nominees:

  • The Evening : Live At APPARATUS
    The Baylor Project
  • Linger Awhile
    Samara Joy
  • Fade To Black
    Carmen Lundy
  • Ghost Song
    Cécile McLorin Salvant

Let’s stay vocal now with Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album and Michael Buble.

Music producer and writer Nicholas Gaudet writes:

The song (“Higher”) introduces itself in the most appropriate fashion: as dramatically as the rest of the track. It takes no time to swell into the epic nature of the track; it simply jumps right into the thick piano-and-drum groove, accented by an angry string section. Michael’s voice here is loud and gritty, almost aggressive.

“Higher” is a total shift of tone for Michael Bublé. Some might find it a bit off putting because of its aggressive nature, and almost metal approach to this type of music Michael has essentially branded, but for those with an open ear and heart, ‘Higher’ is a true staple of the man’s talents.

Other nominees:

  • When Christmas Comes Around…
    Kelly Clarkson
  • I Dream Of Christmas (Extended)
    Norah Jones
  • Evergreen
  • Thank You
    Diana Ross

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Now the answers to our trivia question. Only two artists have ever won all 4 of these awards: Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Record of the Year. They are Christopher Cross and Adele.

We close with the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.

The nominees:

  • Encanto
    (Various Artists)
  • Stranger Things: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series, Season 4 (Vol 2)
    (Various Artists)
  • Top Gun: Maverick
    Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe
  • West Side Story
    (Various Artists)

    (Various Artists)

This mash-up is one of the album’s 36 tracks.

Goodnight everyone, and have a worldly 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. 

This week on the Friday mega music blog…

Yes, we’re going on an adventure, and a much bigger one than the Cat in the Hat and the Thingamajigger 

This is the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne’s classic “Around the World in Eighty Days” written in 1872.

You say you never read the book? Never saw the 1956 movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture?

The story is about Phileas Fogg and his French valet Passepartout who set out to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days. Technology was booming when Verne wrote his adventure in the 1870’s. In the book Fogg gets into an argument with his fellow members At the Reform Club over an article in The Daily Telegraph. The article stated that with the opening of a new railway section in India, it is now possible to travel around the world in 80 days. He accepts a wager for £20,000 (about £1.5 million today) from his fellow club members, which he will receive if he makes it around the world in 80 days.

This month Jeffrey Tucker, founder and president of the Brownstone Institute, wrote a column on today’s travel restrictions and tied in Verne’s famous travelogue.

“Exposure to foreign cultures and peoples is good for everyone. This gets us out of our isolation and lets us see the world in a different way. It broadens our minds, makes us curious about languages and history, and generally increases familiarity and thus humane treatment of others. In other words, travel promotes human understanding and human rights. This is the idea, beautifully embodied in this literary classic.”

What of Verne’s ambitious itinerary? Could Fogg win the bet in 1872?

We examine in a musical journey that begins where most of the book takes place: Victorian  England.

Fogg and his French valet Passepartout start out by leaving London.

Brian Setzer of the Stary Cats turned musical heads when he formed his own big band in the mid 90s, the 17-piece swing ensemble the Brian Setzer Orchestra.

Setzer and the orchestra recorded a 1940 sentimental song about the first meeting of two lovers in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London.

Setzer announced in 2021 he was forced to cancel a run of US tour dates due to a severe case of the hearing condition tinnitus, a condition that is known for causing a high-pitched ringing in the ears, often caused by an exposure to loud noises.

Back to Phileas Fogg and his valet Passepartout. Their original itinerary in the book takes them from London to Suez (Cairo) by taking the Orient Express train. They travel across France and the Alps to reach Venice. Here, they move on to Brindisi (Italy) where they change to a steamer that brings them across the Mediterranean Sea. Keeping score this part of the travels takes 7 days.

From Suez (Cairo) to Mumbai, our heroes disembark in a steamer across the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, headed for Bombay.. This takes a total of 13 days.After reaching India, they take a train from Bombay to Calcutta which takes 3 days.

In 1961 Elvis was back in the US after serving in the Army in Germany. The Beatles and the rest of the British Invasion hadn’t happened yet. And Lawrence Welk, host of a popular weekly nationwide TV show had a million-seller on his hands, a real toe-tapping hand clapper.

OK. It’s Lawrene Welk. Laugh if you will, but a million copies!

The single shot up to #1 on the Billboard chart and people noticed, like the vocal group Four Preps who thought, why not put words to the instrumental. So they rushed to the studio to take advantage.

From Calcutta Fogg and his valet catch a steamer going to Hong Kong across the South China Sea which takes 13 days.

Then it’s on to Yokohama, Japan in 6 days.

In 1963 Japanese crooner Kyu Sakamoto had a #1 with “Sukiyaki.”

Sakamoto’s single sold 13 million copies worldwide. Sakamoto was one of 520 people who died in a Japan Airlines crash in 1985. He was 43.

In 1981 the duo “A Taste of Honey” released an English version of “Sukiyaki” that went to #3.

It takes another 22 days for Fogg and Passepartout to travel from Yokohama to San Francisco. They took a steamer across the Pacific Ocean for this journey.

Tower of Power, a horn band that combines R&B, soul, funk, and pop has been playing since 1968. That’s more than 50 years.

Not based in San Franciso. Actually Oakland. That’s pretty darn close.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

In San Francisco, Fogg and Passepartout board a transcontinental train to New York which takes another 7 days. From “Saturday Night Fever”…

From New York, it’s another steamer to cross the Atlantic Ocean and a total of 9 days to reach London from New York.

Lots of mishaps along the way. We’ve left out the spoiler alerts in case you care to read the book or see the movie. But the bet was won.

Around the world in 80 days? Today the fastest route can be even less than 80 hours.

Goodnight everyone, and have a smoother than smooth 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. 

For the past several installments our Friday night ‘forget about the crazy week and enjoy some good music’ blogs have featured the sounds of the season.

With Santa back at the North Pole it’s time now for some contemporary releases. Let’s get rolling.

You may not know Ed Calle but you’ve probably heard him. Calle is a Latin Grammy Award Winner and five-time Grammy nominee. This talented musician, composer, orchestrator, scholar, and professor has appeared on more than 1,700 albums, almost 10,000 singles, and numerous television and movie soundtracks.

Here’s his remake of a Dionne Warwick smash hit. Since it’s an instrumental, some lyrics you surely remember.

The moment I wake up
Before I put on my makeup
I say a little prayer for you
And while I’m combing my hair now
And wondering what dress to wear now
I say a little prayer for you

Warwick did the original recording. Songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David heard Warwick singing backup for The Drifters, and the light bulb went on. She had the perfect voice for their songs and they proceeded to have a string of hits with her.

Calle’s cover version appears onan album that also has guest vocals from KC of the Sunshine Band and the bilingual Jon Secada.

In 2021 Billboard named LA-based guitarist Nils the contemporary jazz airplay artist. No stranger to the airwaves.

About Nils’ newest album that was in the works during the pandemic the website The Urban Music Scene writes:

While music was helping all of us collectively cope with the great anxieties of the past few years, writing and producing Cool Shades was helping him keep his sanity, process and heal and get his mind off the heaviness of traveling back and forth multiple times from Los Angeles to his hometown of Munich, Germany to care for his ailing mother and his father Kurt Jiptner, who fell ill and passed away in October 2021. Nils, who wrote many of the 13 tunes in a studio he set up in the basement of his parents’ house in the summer and fall of that year, dedicates the 13-track collection to the memory of his father.

“This album was harder for me to write and overall not as lighthearted, with a lot of ballads that expressed these deeper emotions I was feeling during this challenging time, serving as a healing tool for me,” says Nils. “I won’t sugarcoat it. I was distracted from my usual creative process by a lot of heaviness. So, I set up the studio and forced myself to work on music, and I found it very helpful.”

The website describes the single as “brass-fired, high energy, funky, strutting and playfully swinging.”

And a bit of the blues.

Every Saturday Nils produces a weekly online 45-minute performances that he started doing during the 2020 lockdown.

“It’s a great way to stay in touch with my loyal superfans when I’m not doing regular live shows. I find that the discipline it takes to do these sets from my studio every week helps my guitar playing overall. I started out shooting with just my iPhone and now have a more elaborate setup with three cameras.”

MORE pandemic-related news. In the liner notes of his latest album guitarist Chris Standring reveals that shortly before the recording he began working on during March of 2021 he found himself in the emergency room after experiencing chest pains. 

Just 60 years old, Standring kept fit, ate well, exercised, and never smoked. Standring recovered successfully from a heart attack with a new appreciation for what would become the title of his new recording: “Simple Things.”

“We have all heard cliches like ‘who knows what tomorrow may bring’ and ‘don’t forget to stop and smell the roses,’ but we usually don’t take those old aphorisms to heart. To suddenly come face to face with my own mortality made me think about what is really important to me and how I want to live out my third act. Ultimately the answer came down to a just few basic things – spending time with loved ones, being present in the moment, and doing things with joy.”

Standring is a big fan of Prince.

“I wrote the opening track, ‘Shadow of Doubt,’ after hearing a particular bass line by Prince that I really liked and wondered what I could do with something similar.”

Can you believe Standring spent his childhood on a farm, driving tractors and feeding sheep?

Lucky for him that he began studying classical guitar when he was just six years old. Standring has had 13 Billboard Top 10 singles and 6 singles that reached number one on the chart.

In the late 90s, the late Steve Raybine received encouragement from Rick Braun, his friend and former band mate in the famed 70’s progressive jazz ensemble Auracle. A longtime fan of the veteran vibraphone master, percussionist and influential, award-winning educator, Braun suggested, “Why don’t you try to do for vibes what I’ve done for trumpet?”

Raybine embarked on an extraordinary 20-year career as a solo artist, releasing four multi-faceted Smooth Jazz albums and scoring a multitude of radio hits. An album of his greatest hits has been released. One of the tracks follows. Imagine George Benson on the vibes.

Raybine was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on June 18, 1954. He earned a BA in percussion performance from the prestigious Eastman School of Music, an MA from UW-Madison, and a doctorate in music theory and composition from the University of Iowa.

The vibraphonist passed away peacefully with family at his side on December 3, 2021, in Omaha, Nebraska, following a year-long battle with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend.

Why not head out and buy a CD?

Interesting twist to close out.

Session drummer Pat Petrillo leads his group of jazz, R&B and rock all-stars, The Big Rhythm Band, on the group’s latest album THE POWER STATION SESSIONS, named after the recording facility where the sessions took place.

It won’t be long before you recognize this oldie but goodie revisited nearly 60 years later.

Goodnight everyone, and have a farewell to Christmas 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. 

If I was to wish you a Merry Christmas on this January 6th you’d think it was a typo or that I was one egg short of a nog.

Well, Merry Christmas.

You see there is a liturgical precedent for claiming that Christmas is 12 days long.

Twelve days after Christmas is the Feast of the Epiphany that marks when the Magi encountered Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and gave Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

While the traditional date for the feast is Jan. 6, in the United States the celebration of Epiphany is moved to the second Sunday after Christmas, or January 8th this year.

Then there’s Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord that falls on Feb. 2. On this day, many Catholics bring candles to the church to be blessed. They can then light these candles at home during prayer or difficult times. as a symbol of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. Candlemas is still observed with public, Christmas-esque celebrations throughout the world.

Here on my blog I say Christmas is Christmas until Sunday, so one last Christmas music fling.

we open with David Arkenstone, a beautiful musician, here on guitar as opposed to his usual keyboards. There’s a definite Irish/Celtic sound as Arkenstone performs with Charlee Brooks.

In Denver it’s common, almost expected to keep the Christmas trees up past New Year’s Day.

Since 1906 there’s been a Colorado tradition of keeping Christmas lights up through the  National Western Stock Show,  a part-rodeo, part-livestock show and part-fair that brings hundreds of thousands of people to the National Western Complex each year to celebrate the state’s agricultural heritage. It’s also a way to welcome visitors and to keep the city looking festive in January.

Each year, people from at least 40 states and 30 countries travel to Denver for the show that runs this year from Saturday, Jan. 7, to Sunday, Jan. 22.


Michael Feinstein calls her“a marvelously understated player whose interpretations of standards are just brilliant.”

Christopher Louden of Jazz Times magazine says she is “an accomplished artist with a delicate touch.”

The Los Angeles Times calls her music “elegant.”

Entertainment News writes, “Beegie Adair is one of the finest piano players in the world.”

Lots of Christmas trees are no longer on display, taken down as early as December 26th. But you still might see these decorations.

OK. So some people’s Christmas symbols disappeared a long time ago. But many Orthodox Christians celebrate through January 19 where the holiday is known as Theophany and commemorates Christ’s baptism. After fasting, Orthodox Christians attend a church ceremony where a priest blesses water, then uses it to bless the congregation. They then take holy water home and use it to bless themselves and their homes all year long. Orthodox Christians believe that all water is sanctified on Theophany, and in Eastern Europe YIKES! many take icy dips in lakes in a bid to wash away their sins.

Epiphany is a big deal in many places.

Right here in the good ol’ US of A Epiphany kicks off the Carnival season where people eat yellow, green, and white-frosted king cakes that contain a figure of a baby thought to represent the baby Jesus. Though the cakes are particularly popular in Louisiana, whose state capital New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras, the cakes can be found nationwide.

In France, the holiday is traditionally celebrated with galette des rois, or the noted king cake. The round cake is layered with frangipane, a sweet almond paste, and connoisseurs check their slice to see if it has a bean baked into it. The recipient of the bean is crowned “king” for a day.

In Latin America some children put out grass and water the night before Epiphany for the animals who accompanied the three kings and receive gifts from the kings the next morning for their good behavior.

In Italy Epiphany is also known as Befana, a folk festival that celebrates the legend of an old woman or witch who went by that name. As the story has it, la Befana sheltered the Magi on their way to Bethlehem. After the wise men left, she decided to follow them in search of the baby Jesus. As she searches, the kindly old woman brings gifts to well-behaved children across Italy, a tradition similar to Santa Claus.

In Ireland Epiphany is also sometimes called ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and men do the housework and cooking.

Another travel-themed tradition in Europe becoming more common in North America is known as “chalking the door.” The custom involves writing the initials of the Magi who are known as Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar on or above the door of one’s home. Those initials—C.M.B.—also stand for the phrase Christus mansionem benediciat, Latin for “may Christ bless this dwelling.” Believers also add numbers for the current year and plus signs that represent Christianity’s cross.

In Brazil, it is a custom to eat pomegranate because the huge amount of seeds and juice in the fruit represents wealth. The tradition originates from Portugal, where the first three seeds sucked were traditionally placed in the drawer where money was kept, the second batch of three went into the bread drawer and the third were thrown into the fire. Why all the seed stashing? To keep money, food and warmth coming all year. The pomegranate tradition is still practiced in Brazil, though most people wrap three seeds in foil and keep them in their wallets.

That’s it for this week.


Sleep well.

Have a great weekend!

From this week’s Sunday Gospel reading:

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.

He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child.

When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.”

After their audience with the king they set out.

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.

They were overjoyed at seeing the star,  they saw the child with Mary his mother.

They prostrated themselves and did him homage.

Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,  they departed for their country by another way.