Oh Happy Day & Sunday Music & Sister Act 2

“Oh Happy Day” from Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), with Whoopi Goldberg, and Ryan Toby doing the solo.

UPDATE: Thanks for the likes for this particular post, which triggered an automatic announcement informing me that I have received 1,000 likes on this blog. At 506 posts, that’s almost exactly . . . let’s see here . . . two likes per post!

By gosh, that’s gotta mean something.

I’m just not sure exactly what.

Sunday Music & Aretha Franklin & God Will Take Care of You

From Aretha Franklin, Gospel Greats (1972, re-released 1999 and 2003), with the Southern California Community Choir, directed by Rev. James Cleveland.

Whilst our Sunday offering as always urges this humble blog’s honored readers toward . . . higher matters, I regret that I am compelled, by a damnable oath sealed with drops of my own blood, to link to Nightsky’s (shudder) second Rocktober Countdown!!!!!!!!!!!!! post.

O, do not go there, good friends, I beg you. Or if you do, AVERT YOUR EYES!!!!

Sunday Offering & Mariah Carey & O Holy Night

Recorded in LA (2000) I think.

This is the best rendition of O Holy Night that I know. The studio version on Mariah’s classic Christmas album (1994) is also great, but this one has some additional touches (i.e. the organ, and a bigger role for the choir) and is even better. Also, great live Gospel energy.

Jaco Pastorius & C.C. Riders & Rice Pudding

A very young Jaco was nurturing some amazing chops while touring with Wayne Cochran and C.C. Riders (1972). Song by Charlie Brent.

I got this about half a year ago. It’s a fantastic album with a lot of varied stuff, and I highly recommend it, even with the suboptimal recording quality (almost none of it was professional). A lot still comes out with the sound, including some great live energy.

Cannonball Adderley & Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!

Our sacred music this Sunday emerges unexpectedly from the archives of jazz classics, specifically the album Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Live at “The Club” (1966).

Cannonball Adderley (alto sax), Nat Adderley (cornet), Joe Zawinul (keyboard), Victor Gaskin (bass), Roy McCurdy (drums).

The other unexpected thing is that the writer of this most gospel-infused of jazz standards (Joe Zawinul) came from the mountains of Austria, not from a Baptist church. Zawinul and Wayne Shorter would found the group Weather Report about five years later. In the meantime, many would cover Mercy, Mercy, Mercy!, though this live version continues to be the gold standard. The very first post of this blog featured a cover by Jaco Pastorius, Weather Report’s most famous bassist. It was recorded (probably a bootleg) when he was no longer in Weather Report and was sinking deep into his bipolar disorder in the last years of his relatively young life.

Amy Winehouse & Love Is a Losing Game

From Back to Black (2006).

I got started on an Amy Winehouse retrospective yesterday. To be honest, I don’t know much about her music and may have got it totally wrong in my previous assessment, so I’m going to try to take it one song at a time and see what’s going on. As mentioned, the two hurdles for me have been the watchability factor of the visuals, and the tendency (or so I thought) for her songs not to have a melodic center. This video lets me watch Amy (who is very watchable) without cringing, and she’s got this song tight and under control. A prodigious talent.

Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse & Body and Soul

Tony Bennett is apparently a great admirer of Amy Winehouse’s vocal talent.

I actually wish she would have sung it a little more straight. Most of her songs should have been held down a little tighter, in my opinion. Embellishment by a powerful female vocalist is a fantastic thing, but usually Amy Winehouse sounds to me like embellishment that has lost sight of what it was supposed to be embellishing. It’s like, “I can’t remember what song I’m supposed to be singing because I’m so blasted, but here, I’ll give you this pure soul vibe to go with it anyway.”

I didn’t follow Amy Winehouse too much when she was alive, but knew she was a prodigious vocal talent. As a rule, I admire the noble line of female vocalists, most notably Billy Holiday and Janis Joplin, that were just too thermonuclear to live side by side with us mere mortals, and went out in melting flames. But Billy and Janis at least had their own songs nailed down.

I’ve been doing a hunt for Amy Winehouse clips here since my blog mentor Nightsky introduced me to Kimbra. Kimbra reminded me a lot of Amy Winehouse, not in terms of music since her style is much more subdued, but in terms of face, height, body type, mouth, hair, a lot of things. In my hunt for Amy Winehouse clips, I found the live ones painful to watch because they were train wrecks. You almost feel bad for the musicians, who are put in a moral quandary of having to play with her and thus sort of enable the slow, certain self-destruction. The produced music videos put me off because they do more or less the same thing, just with greater production values, plus, they push this all-in-for-continual-debauchery thing at me so hard that it in the end it seems forced every time. In short, to watch Amy Winehouse is to watch a defiant cry for help. The fact that she oozes sexuality from every pore nonstop makes the experience more uncomfortable. Maybe I should just look for audio only versions so as not to get distracted from the music, and then I could find out what’s there.

RIP, Amy. I would like to have had a whole lot more of your music to listen to.