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Category Archives: holidays

2008 Music Maven Christmas Playlist

manger

Hope you all have a very safe and Merry Christmas and a most blessed New Year.  To assist in your merriment, here’s my annual Christmas playlist…a little old school.

Grown Up Christmas List —  Michael Buble’

Let it Snow — John Legend

Away in a Manger  —  Ella Fitzgerald

Santa Clause is Coming to Town — Bing Crosby

Christmas Waltz — Frank Sinatra

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Me — Stevie Wonder

Go Tell it on the Mountain — Mahalia Jackson

We Three Kings — George Strait

The Christmas Blues — Dean Martin

Winter Wonderland — Tony Bennett

Do You Hear What I Hear?  — Perry Como

Celebrate Me Home — Kenny Loggins

Silent Night — Elvis Presley

Run, Run Rudolph — Keith Richards

Christmas Auld Lang Syne — Bobby Darin

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen — Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlen

Little Drummer Boy — Bob Seger

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas — Judy Garland

Jingle Bells — Sinatra & Crosby

O Come, O Come Emmanuel — Enya

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Posted by on December 24, 2008 in christmas, holidays, music maven

 

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A WONDERful Christmas Time…

stevie20wonder2013

Sorry for being so absent lately.  Not that there’s not alot of music thoughts going through my head, it’s just that something has to give, sometime.  With work, hauling down the decorations, decorating, gift searching, gift buying, gift wrapping, cleaning, cooking, college searching, and the various asundry tasks on my To Do list, that there is no “free time” to write the type of meaningful posts that I like to do.  And, after all, I can’t give up “The Midgets” on Monday night or Biggest Loser on Tuesday or the host of mindless crap (a quote from my husband) that I consider valued entertainment after 5 p.m.  Truth is, after a long day, all I want is mindless crap, but that’s another topic for another day.

While I’ve been busy, I haven’t been void of music and of course my FAVORITE genre of Christmas music.  We officially kicked off the Holiday season with some festive tunes on our drive back to Alabama from Louisiana after Thanksgiving and each day, I’ve been sampling my vast Christmas collection and compiling my list for the 2nd Annual Music Maven Christmas Playlist.  Be on the lookout over the next week or so for that compilation of Christmas goodness.

I’ve always LOVED Stevie Wonder’s Christmas music, particularly What Christmas Means to Me.  It just gets me in the right Christmas spirit and is such a happy song.  And, the other night, I was watching the movie This Christmas and heard an old familiar Wonder song that I hadn’t thought of in a long, long time.

The WONDERfulness of Twinkle, Twinkle is the fact that just like the Christmas season it’s joyful, melancoly, introspective and warm….just one of the great tunes of Stevie’s enduring Christmas repetoire.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Me is one of those soulful songs of the period when a plethora of non-traditional Christmas music was introduced, capturing the spirit of Christmas in new ways.  In 1967, Little Stevie Wonder having just dropped the “Little” and fresh off of hits like FingerTips, Uptight (It’s Alright), A Place in the Sun  and For Once in My Life, Wonder released an epic Christmas compilation, Someday at Christmas and Twinkle, Twinkle was one of the hidden gems on this wonderful collection of the man entering his heyday. 

Someday at Christmas is a mix of traditional and non-traditional Christmas songs and was released right after Thanksgiving in ’67 and was, no doubt, well-received.  However, I don’t recall hearing much of Stevie’s Christmas music until I was an adult and largely through movie soundtracks.  That’s how I got turned on to What Christmas Means to Me, the anchor song on Someday at Christmas.

This song always puts me in such a festive mood.  The kind of Risky Business, Tom Cruise in tighty whities, sock sliding across the floor in sunglasses, strummin’ air guitar kind of mood.  It is one of my absolute favorite Christmas PARTY songs.

But, Someday at Christmas has a little something for everyone and is a superbly well-rounded record, particularly for a specialty CD.  But then, it IS Stevie Wonder, after all.  A Warm Little Home on the Hill and Bedtime for Toys bring a sweetness and longing for family, home and hearth.  A new find that I am particularly enjoying this year is The Day That Love Began, which is a combination of doo-wop, Motown, and classic Wonder:

I like that one almost as much as the inspiring, soulful One Little Christmas Tree.  (NOTE:  The video for One Little Christmas Tree was pulled off of YouTube, so the others may vanish, as well…another subject for another post.)

Of course, Stevie doesn’t stray too far away from the standards with traditional takes on The Christmas Song, Silver Bells, Ave Maria, and The Little Drummer Boy…all of which are superbly sublime.

If you’re looking to expand your Christmas collection, Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas CD is a “must have”.  Unfortunately, the original album/compilation is no longer available, but fear not…all songs from this CD, plus a couple more are available on iTunes and Amazon via 20th Century Masters under The Christmas Collection: Stevie Wonder.

stevie-wonder-xmas1

Click here to order from iTunes.

Many times, when I’m doing research for these posts, I find unanticipated nuggets.  This time, I found a wonderful cover of Someday at Christmas, by a very talented young man named Justin Bieber:

Just goes to show that good music endures.  BTW, Stevie Wonder re-released For Once in My Life as a single this past Monday…40 years after original release. 

Everything old is new again. 

 

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Thanks for things BIG and small…

  Thank You for the Music, ABBA

….and thanks to you all for coming here and being such great compadres on the musical road of life.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into God’s presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God! It is he that made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him, bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures for ever,
and his faithfulness to all generations. 
— Psalm 100

 HAPPY THANKSGIVING

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2008 in holidays

 

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Veterans’ Salute

flanders-field-poppies

On this Veterans’ Day, I offer a heart-felt “Thank You” to all of those soldiers who answered the call…reluctantly or enthusiastically…from small towns and city centers…rich and poor…those who returned and those who did not.

  Day After Tomorrow, Joan Baez

Never forget.

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2008 in holidays, inspiration

 

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Happy Halloween, Peeps!

BOO!!!

Happy Trick or Treating on this glorious Fall day! 

Check out last year’s Halloween Mix if you need some tunes. 

Make sure you stay safe and beware THE BOOGIE MAN….Bad ’70s clothes can be hazardous to your health.

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2008 in classic rock, halloween, holidays

 

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July 4th, 1776

In the course of history, there are tipping points. The crucifixion of Jesus, the assassination of Julius Ceasar, the split of Martin Luther from the church, are all examples of events that literally changed the course of history.

Of course, the establishment of the United States has proven to be one of the greatest tipping points of all time. Had the colonists remained under British rule, it is likely that France and Spain would have extended it’s colonies in the vastness of North America and at some point, wars for territory and assets would have been fought. Undoubtedly, North America would look dramatically different and the empires of Europe would also.

In the late 1700’s, British colonists weary of tyranny and lack of protection took perhaps the boldest steps ever. They reluctantly, and with some dissention, decided to create a revolution and to severe the umbilical cord to the most powerful nation on Earth. Certainly they had an advantage of distance, yet the impediments to success were almost insurmountable. Yet, they did not shy away from the creation of what needed to be, what HAD to be…for themselves and future generations.

Many have maintained that the Declaration of Independence and the subsequent Constitution of the United States was a product of the times. Rhetoric and inflammatory passion supposedly fueled a few reactionaries to tailor the documents to insight the revolution and make them rich. Others contend that Jefferson wrote the document on the equivalent of a cocktail napkin on a coffee break and that the words were just words and shouldn’t be taken literally.

I whole-heartedly disagree. There was intent and calculation on every word, every decision. Jefferson was chosen because Adams and Franklin were such polarizing figures that the document was sure to be dismissed by many who thought them too “revolutionary”. Jefferson was considered somewhat of a moderate and as a Virginia planter had credibility among slave owners — a large percent of the population at that time, that would be needed to support the revolution.

Jefferson drafted the document over many excruciating weeks, submitting his draft to Franklin and Adams. Franklin, alone, submitted 48 word changes, including the revision of “pursuit of happiness” in place of “property”. However, likely one of the most painful omissions that Jefferson reluctantly allowed was the extensive paragraph that specifically addressed the issue of slavery and would have served as a basis to abolish the slave trade. Unfortunately, this would produce grave consequences and another war down the road, not to mention the outright hypocrisy of a document that proclaims “all men are equal”.

But through all the turmoil and strife, the document has served as a testament of what can happen when thoughtful and intelligent people with a purpose unite to do the right thing. While certainly not perfect and always in need of improvement, our process of government fundamentally works for the good of all its citizens. We are able to come and go as we please, worship in whatever temple, church or mosque we care to (or not), we generally have an open forum to discuss our concerns and dissent on various issues, AND in America, no-one is ever exempt to attaining great things.

The thoughtfulness and passion of those brave souls who forged ahead 232 years ago, resonates just as strongly today:

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. –Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them. He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people. He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within. He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands. He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries. He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States: For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury: For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences: For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies: For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments: For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever. He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation. He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people. Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends. We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The signers of the Declaration:
New Hampshire – Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts – John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island – Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut – Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York – William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey – Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania – Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware – Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland – Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia – George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina – William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina – Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia – Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

I just can’t resist….

Revolution, The Beatles

Seems fitting to include the real “British Invasion”.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2008 in holidays, the beatles

 

Fathers

It’s not particularly easy to write about Father’s Day as this year is truly our first “fatherless” Father’s Day. Having lost Mr. D’s Dad back in late January, there are no cards to buy nor phone calls to make to express appreciation for all of the love and patience over the years.

When my own father passed away in the fall of 2005, I shed very few tears. Perhaps it was the detachment of making all of the arrangements, assisting my mother through her own grief, or a disbelief that he was really gone, but I remember feeling very strange about my outward lack of emotion.

However, just over two years later at my father-in-law’s services I was near inconsolable. I’m not a very demonstrative person emotionally, so I think my visible sadness was a little concerning to my husband’s family. While I was sad for my husband and his loss, I think the grief I was expressing was more for my own father and my own loss that I was finally able to “see” and feel only after time had passed.

So, lately, I’ve been reflecting on my father and his impact on me and my family. First, this is/was my Daddy…

For me, this picture epitomizes my father. From the cynical smirk on his face, to the ever-present cigar, the camera in his pocket and surrounded by the plants that defined his life. A horticulturist for nearly 60 years, he saw beauty in plants and flowers and loved growing and propagating all types of flora.

My Daddy experienced a significant amount of hurt and disappointment in his life, but he never used it as an excuse for anything. He was highly intelligent and intellectual with a side order of honesty and sincerity. He was a very principled man and he expected no less from his children.

In preparing this post, I scoured my vast library of pictures for a picture of he and I together when I was younger and I could not locate one. He was usually behind the camera and he wasn’t very demonstrative with us when we were growing up. A quiet and private man, he didn’t go in for a lot of hugging and kissing, so we were left to just “know” that he loved us. As an adult, however, he became much more “open”, particularly with his grandkids. In the one picture I could find of he and I together, look who is the center of attention.

He dearly loved his grandchildren and was so proud of each of them. This is one of my favorite pictures. It’s Mini-DD with my Daddy for Easter, when he was two and a half.

The joy on both of their faces is so evident. Also true to my father’s nature was his sense of “habit” and routine. Just about every picture I could find of my father in later years has him wearing this burgundy plantation shirt with all of his “essentials” packed into his breast pocket.

When he died, my mother gave Mini-DD one of my father’s pocket knives. For those who knew him, the significance of those knives is relevant as he was never without one and could always be relied upon to open a box or cut an apple. It is one of his grandson’s prized possessions.

As for his daughter….his youngest child….the girl he called “BooBoo”….I wasn’t left with a prized possession. More importantly, he left me an understanding of living a life of integrity, a love of family and history, and an example of loving a partner until your last breath.

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do

Daughters, John Mayer (from Where the Light Is DVD to be released July 1st) — performance at The Nokia, L.A., 12/07.