Valentine’s Time for Revisiting “Refections”

“As I peer – through the window – of lost time -looking over my yesterdays – and all the love I gave in vain….”

(Classic Holland-Dozier-Holland genius lyrics…)

I can dig it thoughout my own unrequited love story. Happy “Valentines’s Day”.

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There are times in all of our lives when we need to meditate and reflect. Some now use the complicated verb “to chill” to describe the same need.   It is healthy for mind, body and soul.  I am in one of those periods now, which probably spawned my latest phantasmagoric “tune-wedgie”, “Reflections” by The Supremes.

Speaking of “soul” , that is what this music was labeled as back in the 1960s in America in Billboard magazine and on the radio..

When the record, “Reflections”, first came out in 1967, the intro sound was markedly different than their earlier, more melodious hits like the 1965 smash, “I Hear A Symphony”.  The intro was electro-spacey and Star Trek psychedelic for The Supremes, who had by then become known as Diana Ross and The Supremes.  Maybe it was at the same time that The Temptations’ “Psychedelic Shack”attacked the charts.  The sound of Motown was evolving.

Ms. Ross’ stage presence evolved as well. In the first performance below, in living “black and white” television, she was shyly portraying the song.  By the time of the next video, you can see her confidence and showmanship grow, exuding a playful and sneaky self-depricating smile that endeared generations of listeners and fans to this very day, in my opinion (IMO).

Check out, enjoy and compare these three performances:

and the outfit changes!

I love how Ms. Ross’s funky confindence grows into this song each time she sings it and how she seems to do the “boogaloo” between verses (a little neck movement thing and the dane of the day when you had to know how to do the latest dance in order to be hip and party hardy!) Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops did a similar jig.

This is the best one, IMO and Ms. Ross et-al get really into it as the song-story progresses!

See the confidence Ms. Ross and the ladies have in the second and third ones?  Mary, why did you hide behind her at one point? lol

Ross is so cute at 1:46 when she is into it and gives a little ad lib “Hoop!” Nice.

This is Hall Of Fame and lifetime favorite music that I want to remind the world, especially the ” millennials” I worked amongst recently about.

Always take time to “reflect” and pray because the music will heal your brain and your prayers will be answered.

 

 

Tune wedgie: “Hey Western Union Man, Send a Moneegram…”

“…still my favorite Jerry Butler jam. From the old Mercury Records label, circa 1988, it mysteriously returns to my musical mind from time-to-time. Maybe because I am still lonely and without a soulmate at my ripe old age…”

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This is still my favorite Jerry Butler jam. It is a powerful hit record. Powerful. Did you know that he and the late Curtis Mayfield were together as part of the dynamic 1960s- early 1970s group, “The Impressions”?  From the old Mercury Records label, it mysteriously returns to my musical mind from time-to-time. Maybe because I am still lonely and without a soulmate at my ripe, old age.  A wealth of music in the mind is a tortorous thing sometime. I remember practicing my drum kit to its funky beat. I am going to estimate that this song came out in 1968.  Please correct me in your comments. Two minutes and forty-five seconds of powerful, masculine vocal, soulful funk. The way it SHOULD always be.  Can you bend your knees and lift this kind of music today?  If not, get back to the damn gym!  I like when early at :46 in the tune he sings, “Send a telegram, send a telegram, HURRY UP, to my baby-bay…”

Now, I made a slight modification to the title due long-distance relationship experience and a dream I had after a recent surgery.  Must have been the pain meds, but the epihinany was that why doesn’t WU use the fact that most ppeople who use their services now wire money as a marketing campaign and change the NAME and use “The Iceman”, Mr. Butler’s fame?  Instead of “send a TELEGRAM, why not, “Send a monegram, to my Baby…”  Notice I changed the spelling of “moneygram” because I think that American Express uses that for,. However, I am sure that Western Union’s legal team can find a way to market “monEgram” without infringement and make it happen.

Heck, I will even do the voice-over for FREE!  All in ALL, a classic and timeless soul song lives on and is still relevant, no matter the purpose.

There is a “live” version of this from 2012 that I wanted to post with these semtiments, until I watched it go way too long. Jerry Butler was never one to do an active, dancing around flamboyant stage act, but now in his Senior years, that version went on for about three minutes too long, which turned it into an agonizing display like, “just let the man leave the stage already!”

“Oh, Western Union man send a telegram to my baby
Send a telegram, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram to my baby
This is what I want you to say

I want you to tell her that I’m all alone
I tried to call her on the phone
Tell her I’m in misery and think she’s avoiding me
And if the telegram don’t do
Send a box of candy too an maybe some flowers

Tell her that I miss her for hours and hours
Send a telegram, send a telegram
Hurry up, send a telegram, man, to my baby
Do you hear what I say?

Oh, Western Union man, send a telegram
Oh, send a telegram to my baby
Western Union man, hey, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram, man, to my baby
This is what I want you to do

Listen, tell me, have you got a boy you can send?
This is what I want him to do
Put him on his bike right away
See if he can get my message through
Maybe tomorrow but mail it right away

I want the girl to know that I missed her
Something like yesterday
Send a telegram, send a telegram, oh
Send a telegram, man, to my baby
Do you hear what I say?

Oh Western Union man why don’t you send a telegram?
Well send a telegram to my baby
Western Union man, send a telegram
Oh send a, send a telegram, send it
Send it, send it, send it, right on to my baby
Do you hear what I say?

Hey Western Union man, send a moneegram, oh
Send a moneegram to my baby, hey”

Songwriters
BUTLER, JERRY / GAMBLE, KENNETH / HUFF, LEON

Trumpeter Whistling, “Lonely Bull”

“The magic of my jukebox-like brain is that when a tune from the past enters it and presses “play” automatically, I can usually find it and/or name it, with the help of YouTube, in seconds! “

Yesterday,  I’m sitting at my boring work desk and haven’t thought about this tune in decades, when suddenly it is in my mind all of the time and I whistled it aloud perfectly as when it was on the radio daily back in the 1960s. The magic of my “jukebox brain” is that when a tune from the past enters it and presses “play” automatically, I can usually find it and/or name it with the help of YouTube, in seconds! So I “google” Herb Alpert and as soon as the “Greatest Hits” album comes up first and I see that familiar A&M Records olive-green label and the first cut, “Lonely Bull”, I was confident that I had my tune du jour.

I believe that simple familiarity is part of the alluring beauty of the music of this bygone era. Suddenly, I could have been in a scene at a Riviera resort in a James Bond (Sean Connery) movie or something! lol  Doesn’t it sound like the background music for one of those scenes?

Herb played a Chicago Benge in the TJBrass days, later a Yamaha, and then a Sima trumpet. I’ve read where he said that the trumpet is not as important as practicing. Practicing scales on the trumpet is boring.   I wish I could interview Mr. Alpert.  I feel like I grew up with him or  maybe he helped me grow up because I used to play the trumpet. My dad, a stiff of the military’s World War II bands wanted me to just practice scales, but Herb Alpert, Al Hirt and Miles Davis shaped my interpretation of the horny horn through the years and I wanted to play words like they did!

Herb Alpert is the man who played the contemporary disco dance classic, “Rise”! I betcha didn’t know that.  More on it later because this post is about Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass’ “The Lonely Bull” as penned by me, “The Lonely Cheetah“.

Now lets jump to his many performances of it over fifty years beginning in 1962! I especially enjoy the one from 1969 where he wore the Star Trek-like “Captain Kirk” shirt and leaned a bit more to the right and waay back from the microphone! lol  I think it one of his signature stances.

Measure several of those performances of this against the slower and more tempered original studio version on the video below, please.  Pour yourself a class of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon and check out this first one, the whole “Lonely Bull” album.

Wow! What a run! I am glad he is still with us in the physical world to possibly blow more magical notes, if he so desires. I wanted to get in-touch with him for this post, but didn’t know how.  Googling A&M Records went nowhere and I gleaned that the label is a casualty of the corporatization of the music industry that we used to know. However, my interview of Herb Alpert research lead me to this insightful video, where we get a flavor of the cool of Mr. Alpert and his philosophies on life and his approach to playing.

Geez, we all age and grey to some extent, but I will always remember the suave, energetic and excitable band leader seen in the above videos – not that he is finished as I write this, by any extent.

And oh, about “Rise” my classic dance 12″ I mentioned above?  From “My Vinyl”collection, here you go:

Any similarities between “Rise” and “The Lonely Bull” that you’d like to discuss?  Just blow some comments at me below!