All of Me #Musical Monday

The song I’m featuring today is from Willie Nelson’s album, Stardust. I learned it during the summer my family built a music room onto our house while I was in high school. You can read about that here.

According to Wikipedia, “All of Me,” written by Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons, was published in 1931 by Irving Berlin, Inc. Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra recorded the song on December 1st of that year with vocalist Mildred Bailey, and it reached the top of the U.S. pop charts. Within weeks, two more versions became popular: one by Louis Armstrong and one by Ben Selvin and His Orchestra.

The song was used in the 1932 film, Careless Lady and sung by Frank Sinatra in the 1948 movie, Meet Danny Wilson. It was also popularized by such artists as Count Basie and Billie Holiday. I hope you enjoy my rendition, based loosely on Willie Nelson’s version.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

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Both Sides, Now #Musical Monday

The song I’m singing today was on one of the first eight-track cartridges I had when I was eight years old. It comes from Judy Collins’ 1967 album, Wild Flowers, which has other songs I enjoyed such as “Since You Asked” and “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye.” At such a young age, I couldn’t understand these songs, but I appreciated their soothing melodies and rich harmonies.

According to Wikipedia, “Both Sides, Now” was written by Joni Mitchell and included on her album, Clouds in 1969. The title comes from a lyric from the song. It has since been recorded by such artists as Frank Sinatra and Willie Nelson. Joni Mitchell re-recorded the song with an orchestral arrangement for her album, Both Sides Now in 2000. I hope you enjoy my rendition, based on the Judy Collins version.

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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September Song #Musical Monday

In the summer of 1979, before my senior year of high school, we were having our home remodeled, enlarging our screened-in back porch to make it a music room. I’ve always been sensitive to loud noises, especially those created by power tools, cement mixers, and other construction implements. So, as a distraction, I took up singing and accompanying myself on the piano. I’d been doing this since I was twelve, but I wasn’t serious about it until that summer.

For my birthday, I’d received Willie Nelson’s album, Stardust, on cassette. This album popularized such old standards as “Blue Skies,” “Moonlight in Vermont,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” and “September Song,” the one I’m singing for you today. So, I decided to learn some of these songs.

Once I did, my younger brother often joined me on drums. By that time, Dad had acquired a string bass, and he occasionally played along.

Since the room that was being remodeled was adjacent to the dining room where the piano and drums were located, we no doubt entertained the construction crew. When men came through the dining room on their way to the rest room, they complimented us. By summer’s end, the addition was complete, and we had a new room in which to play our music.

According to Wikipedia, “September Song” was composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Maxwell Anderson. It was introduced by Walter Huston in the 1938 Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday. It was also used in the 1950 film, September Affair, and in the British television series, May to December, and was recorded by numerous artists.

My rendition is based on Willie Nelson’s version. If I’d recorded it during that summer of 1979, the music would no doubt have been punctuated by hammering, sawing, and drilling. Now, during this last week of September, you’ll just hear the song. Enjoy!

By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy, and may you always have positive experiences.

New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Front cover contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.

***

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Books I Read This Month

It’s a Long Story: My Life by Willie Nelson. Copyright 2015.

This month, country super star Willie Nelson received a prestigious award from the Library of Congress along with Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, and Stevie Wonder. I thought it would be a good time to read his memoir.

He starts by talking about his early life growing up in Abbott, Texas, where he and his older sister Bobbi were raised by their grandparents because their parents, who were also musicians, did a lot of traveling. Willie took an interest in music at an early age. He describes how he felt after his grandfather died when he was about five or six. Soon after that, his grandmother made him sing a song at a church revival meeting. He was apparently so nervous that he picked his nose constantly before the performance, and by the time he got on the stage, blood was pouring out of his nostrils and onto his clean, white sailor suit. That earned him the nickname Booger Red.

As a teen-ager, he played in various bands that performed in bars and dance halls in the area. He curbed his grandmother’s disapproval of this by giving her the money he earned. His sister Bobbi became proficient at the piano while he played the guitar, and they often played together, even as adults.

After graduating from high school, Willie went to work trimming trees but gave up on that when he fell out of one. He then entered the Air Force in the hope of being a pilot in the Korean War but washed out a year or so later.

After returning home, he married the first of four wives, a waitress at a drive-in restaurant. She gave birth to three children, and the family traveled around Texas, California, and Oregon where Willie worked as a disc jockey and at other odd jobs and performed in various night clubs. Eventually, they settled in Nashville, Tennessee, where he got a job as a songwriter at a local music publishing house. That was when his career took off.

He then describes the next five decades of his career: what inspired him to write and record many of his songs and albums, associating with Waylon Jennings, Chris Christofferson, Johnny Cash, and others, the purchase of a myriad of properties in Tennessee, Texas, Colorado, and Hawaii, and his movie career. He describes his divorce from his first wife and his marriages to and divorces from two other wives before finally settling down with a make-up artist at one of the locations where he was filming in the 1990’s. He talks about giving up alcohol in 1971 after releasing “Whiskey River” and his continued use of marijuana. He explains how he wormed his way out of scrapes with the law as a result of his drug use and avoided many unhappy returns from the IRS by giving them all the proceeds from some of his concerts.

In the end, he talks about pot and his opinion of the music industry. He believes marijuana should be legalized and isn’t bothered by the fact that nowadays, with the use of music subscription services online, record sales are down. He never depended on royalties from the sale of his records but on the sale of tickets to his concerts. If people listen to his music on computers or smart phones, and that inspires them to hear him in person, that makes him happy.

The recording of this book I downloaded was produced by Hachette Audio. Although Willie doesn’t read the entire book in this recording, he narrates the introduction at the beginning, and at the end, there’s a recording of him singing one of his songs, “It’s a Long Story: My Life,” the same title as the memoir. To me, this isn’t as good as his other songs such as “Pauncho and Lefty,” “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and all the songs from Stardust, my favorite Willie Nelson album which I still have on cassette.

On April 29th, 2015, Willie Nelson turned 82. One thing he loves to do is travel so here’s a song that illustrates this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBN86y30Ufc . Willie Nelson is still on the road.

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Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir by Linda Ronstadt. Copyright 2013.

Linda Ronstadt details her life from her birth and childhood in Tucson, Arizona, to her life as a singer in Los Angeles and New York, to her retirement. She talks about her childhood in Arizona: receiving her first pony at the age of five, her mother becoming paralyzed from the waist down, attending a parochial school, making music with her family, and how her music was influenced by her Mexican heritage and such artists as Frank Sinatra. When she decided to move to Los Angeles after graduating from high school in the 1960’s, her father presented her with his guitar and pointed out that as long as she had an instrument, she wouldn’t be hungry.

She then goes on to talk about her career over the next few decades until her last performance in 2009. She explains how her first band, The Stone Ponies, was formed and then describes how she performed with the Eagles and then a myriad of other artists including Emmie Lou Harris and Dolly Parton. She explains how her style evolved from country and rock to old standards and Mexican music.

There are a couple of things I didn’t like about the book. First of all, Linda tells her story mostly as a narrative with little dialog. Although I found her experiences fascinating, it would have been nice if she did more showing and less telling. Also, at the end of the book, she says that she lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her two children who are transitioning from being teen-agers to adulthood. I would like to have known if these children were her own or if she adopted them. If they were her own, who was their father?

The book also includes a discography that lists all the albums she recorded through the years. As a teen-ager, I listened to many of these albums on eight-track tape including Heart Like a Wheel and Prisoner in Disguise. In the 1980’s, I had a cassette recording of What’s New, her first album of old standards. Today, I still have on CD her first trio album with Dolly Parton and Emmie Lou Harris and Cansiones de Mis Padres, her first recording of Mexican songs.

My favorite Linda Ronstadt tune is “Heart Like a Wheel.” In the book, she describes how she fell in love with the song. I can see why. It touched me when I was thirteen, and today, it reminds me of my love for my late husband Bill and how I lost him. To hear it, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OABmOJdMoU .

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Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author

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