Serene Sunday: Let It Be

My real life situation has required decisions concerning excepting the status quo or standing and fighting.  Fortunately, doing the latter stood out like a neon sign.  The problem has been gathering the mental energy to go the long haul.

Lately I’ve been thinking of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Of course, you don’t have to be spiritual to understand the sage advice.  I’ve found the most difficult part is accepting things I cannot change. Letting go of the desire to control a situation I cannot affect in any meaningful way is humbling.  This segues to today’s video, Let It Be, by the Beatles.

Let It Be – The Beatles – Lyrics

Uploaded by vH3L3N4v on 2008-06-14.

Serene Sunday: Summer Breeze

It’s the Labor Day weekend for those in the US.  This usually means the end of summer and wearing white.  But with the strange weather this year, there’s no telling.  Because I’m old, I’ve reached back to 1972 and Seals & Crofts with their #1 hit, Summer Breeze.  Adieu, summer.

Enjoy the weekend.

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♪ Summer Breeze is the title of a song written and recorded by Seals and Crofts that has been covered by The Isley Brothers, Type O Negative, the Three Tenors, and several other artists. One of the distinctive backing instruments on Summer Breeze is a child’s toy piano.

Serene Sunday: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

My friend Elsa arrived to belatedly celebrate her birthday which she shares with a certain person.  When asked for her serene choice, she suggested Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.  Let’s see what Wiki has to say:

Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring is the most common English title of the 10th movement of the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 composed by Johann Sebastian Bach. A transcription by the English pianist Myra Hess (1890–1965) was published in 1926 for piano solo and in 1934 for piano duet.   The British organist Peter Hurford made his organ transcription for the chorale movement as well. Today, it is often performed at wedding ceremonies slowly and reverently, in defiance of the effect suggested by Bach in his original scoring, for voices with trumpet, oboes, strings, and continuo. Written during his first year in Leipzig, Germany, this chorale movement is one of Bach’s most enduring works.”


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Serene Sunday: Hair

Good morning star shine!  For some reason songs from Hair are stuck in my head… hmmm, wonder why?  Particularly one mentioned by our Fitzg.  So, Fitg, this is *your* fault.  Let’s see what the venerable Wiki has to say:

“Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a rock musical with a book and lyrics by James Radoand Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. A product of the hippie counter-culture and sexual revolution of the 1960s, several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The musical’s profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of “rock musical”, using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a “Be-In” finale.  Hair tells the story of the “tribe”, a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.

After an Off-Broadway debut in October 1967 at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and a subsequent run in a midtown discothèque space, the show opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. Simultaneous productions in cities across the United States and Europe followed shortly thereafter, including a successful London production that ran for 1,997 performances. Since then, numerous productions have been staged around the world, spawning dozens of recordings of the musical, including the 3 million-selling original Broadway cast recording. Some of the songs from its score became Top 10 hits, and a feature film adaptation was released in 1979. A Broadway revival opened on March 31, 2009, earning strong reviews and winning the Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for best revival of a musical. In 2008, Time magazine wrote, “Today Hair seems, if anything, more daring than ever.”

Bet you didn’t know all that.   Here I was confusing it with Oh! Calcutta!, another musical infamous for full frontal nudity.  I recall wanting to see Hair as a child but my parents heard about the naked cast climbing over the seats, so that was vetoed.

A popular group in the 1960’s, the 5th Dimension recorded two songs together  from the musical, Aquarius and Let in the Sunshine.  Released in 1969, the single held the number one position on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks and was certified Platinum.   Wow, I feel old.


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Serene Sunday – Peace Train

Serene Sunday is interrupted to report from sunny, hot Chicago.  The NATO summit meeting is starting today at McCormick Place, just 9 blocks south from me.  Meanwhile, in Grant Park, the protesters are expected to hold a rally and then march south on Michigan Avenue a block away, to the site of the summit.  Needless to say, the area is a bit anxious.

So far, demonstration have been pretty peaceful with a few scrums with police.  But nobody knows what could happen if more violent elements join.  Downtown and the South Loop has been preparing for this like the coming of WWIII.  Police and private security are crawling all over the place.  My building is on semi-lockdown.  If we aren’t instantly recognized, we need ID to get in and out, pedestrians and motorists. Anything that can used to throw or smash have been removed.  All the streets around me are now blocked off.  Lake Shore Drive is closed which is almost unheard of.  Many of the businesses have boarded over their windows. Choppers are flying back and forth.   I’ve not seen anything like this.

Right now it seems like everybody is out walking the dogs and milling around in pockets.  Nobody knows what will happen.  Hopefully it will be a non-event.

In the meantime, enjoy Peace Train by Cat Stevens.

Cat Stevens- Peace Train

Wakefield Peace Train – a lava lamp photo collage dedicated to a village at a hallowed junction between time and space – where the story of its glory is written in seasons beside the tracks of the old 909


Serene Sunday – Reach Out

There was a lot of chatter last night in chat.  At the end of the evening, the following song popped up which I think is appropriate for today.  So in instead of the Hallelujah Chorus, I present something a bit groovier.  Here is Reach Out, by the Four Tops from 1967.

Four Tops – Reach Out (I’ll Be There) (1967) HD 0815007

HQ-Video. Four Tops – Reach Out (I’ll Be There), ein Hit im Jahr 1966.

Serene Sunday – The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is a central prayer of Christianity, based on Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.  Albert Hay Malotte set it to music in 1935.  Many artists have recorded it but this rendition performed in 1967 is my favorite by far.  From the first note,  Barbra Streisand’s voice somehow captures me and keeps me riveted until the last note.  Her voice in its heyday was so melodious and beautiful, I find it hard to describe.  The simple words of the prayer combined with her voice and the orchestral backup is unbeatable.

BARBRA STREISAND the lord’s prayer

from the 1967 BARBRA STREISAND – A CHRISTMAS ALBUM – created at


Serene Sunday – Summertime

It’s still the dead of winter, so it seems like a good time for this song.  Summertime was composed for the 1935 opera, Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin.  The author of the book upon which it was based, DuBose Heyward penned the lyrics.  Here is a rendition with the great Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong.

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Summertime

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong – Summertime. The best version, I guess.


Serene Sunday – Chances Are

Hello Dear Reader.  I’ve been fighting with Winston, still, this past week.  Right now, he’s run off with his tail between his legs.  So, I’m seizing this window of opportunity to post Serene Sunday.  It just so happens I got a request while chatting in ArmitageWorld last night.  The chatter loves Johnny Mathis’s smooth lush vocals and requested a specific song.  Said she, “Of course, I think of the words as they pertain to RA!”  So, this is for you (you know who you are).

Here is Johnny Mathis singing “Chances Are.”  According to good ole Wikipedia,  “It was listed on Billboard‘s “Most Played by Jockeys” survey for Johnny Mathis, charting in 1957, and was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. The song reached No. 4 on Billboard‘s Best Sellers in Stores survey, along with its flip “The Twelfth of Never.”

Johnny Mathis – Chances Are

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Here are some lovely pics to make your day serene indeed.  Enjoy everybody.



All pictures courtesy of


Serene Sunday – Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen

Winston hasn’t been behaving.  He’s been running amok and taking all my attention the past few days.  Unfortunately, the to-do broke my proud running of streak of daily blogs since September.  Sad, but true.  There’s no help for it but to get up, dust myself off, and start again.  While the little monster is corralled in his kennel, this feels like a good day to present today’s song.

Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen is an old slave spiritual recorded by many artists.  Louis Armstrong’s version is best known.  Marian Anderson recorded it in 1925 and Lena Horne in 1946.




Here is a version by Sam Cooke who set several spirituals to Rhythm & Blues.


Sam Cooke – Nobody knows the trouble the i’ve seen

Sam Cooke


Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Nobody knows my sorrow
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen
Glory hallelujah!
Sometimes I’m up, sometimes I’m down
Oh, yes, Lord
Sometimes I’m almost to the ground
Oh, yes, Lord
Although you see me going ‘long so
Oh, yes, Lord
I have my trials here below
Oh, yes, Lord
If you get there before I do
Oh, yes, Lord
Tell all-a my friends I’m coming too
Oh, yes, Lord
* The second line (“Nobody knows my sorrow”) is changed in some renditions to be “Nobody knows but Jesus”.

Serene Sunday – Amen

Sorry, I was captivated again by the damndest search terms landing on my blog.  But I’ve learned my lesson this time and won’t compound the problem by listing them again.  So, you’re just have to wonder.  Heheheh.

Getting back to some serenity, the following song popped into my head.  Amen was a written by Jeston Hairston for the Sidney Poitier film Lillies of the Field in 1963.  It was popularized by the Impressions.  It reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 Single chart in 1964.

Lilies of the Field – Amen

This is the final scene in the film directed by Ralph Nelson. It’s the scene where Homer Smith, played by Sidney Poitier leaves Mother Maria, played by Lilia Skala after building them a chapel. After taking one last look at the chapel he built, Smith, knowing that his work is done, slips into his car and drives quietly off into the night.


Here is a modern version by Take 6 I particularly like.

Take 6 – Amen ! (Live)

Amen + interview 1991.



Serene Sunday – O Holy Night

Since my Christmas surprise begins next Sunday and runs for eight days, this is the last holiday Serene Sunday this month.  So, I’ll end with my favorite Christmas carol, O Holy Night.  According to my fave go-to wealth of information, Wiki:

O Holy Night” (“Cantique de Noël“) is a well-known Christmas carol composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” (Midnight, Christians) by Placide Cappeau (1808–1877), a wine merchant and poet, who had been asked by a parish priest to write a Christmas poem. Unitarian ministerJohn Sullivan Dwight, editor of Dwight’s Journal of Music, created a singing edition based on Cappeau’s French text in 1855. In both the French original and in the two familiar English versions of the carol, the text reflects on the birth of Jesus and of mankind’s redemption.

I’ve always loved this carol, not for the words, but for the slow beautiful melody usually performed with strings and a very good vocalist.  My iPod has at least 15 renditions of various artists ranging from simple to power singing.  Here are my top three favorites by Johnny Mathis, Josh Groban, and Celine Dion.  Which one do you prefer?

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Josh Groban – O Holy Night (Cover by Tyler)

Uploaded by MrSoundCheck1 on 2011-12-01.

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Serene Sunday – Ave Maria

Ave Maria is not a Christmas song although it’s played mostly during the holiday season.  As Jazzbaby stated on her blog, there are two versions, the Shubert and the Bach-Gounod version.  My favorite is the Gounod sung by one my favorite voices, Johnny Mathis.

Ave Maria – Johnny Mathis (Bach-Gounod)

The Bach-Gounod version of the Ave Maria was requested by my special friend, 19rebel57. The pictures were provided by her, as well. Some may not be aware that the “Ave Maria” is the Catholic Prayer, “Hail Mary,” sung in Latin. The first part of the prayer comes from the The New Testament.


He also does the  Schubert version, too.  Which one do you prefer?

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Serene Sunday – Winter Wonderland

It’s supposed to snow tomorrow!  That makes this snow bunny quite happy. So starting off the Serene Sundays of holiday music is Winter Wonderland sung by Johnny Mathis.  It was part of one of the most famous Christmas albums every recorded, Merry Christmas.  Recorded in 1958, it was Mathis’s seventh album but first Christmas album.  Percy Faith was the musical director.  Winter Wonderland itself is a winter tune but treated as a Christmastime song.  It was written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyricist). Through the decades it has been recorded by over 150 different artists and is considered a holiday pop standard.

Winter Wonderland sung by Johnny Mathis

♪ Make sure to see the new wide screen version; a link is below and also in the video responses. Winter Wonderland ~ Sung by Johnny Mathis ~ No copy infraction intended on my videos. ~ Dedicated to the romantic Christmas heart that beats in each of us.


Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We’re happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.

Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He’ll say: Are you married?
We’ll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you’re in town.

Later on, we’ll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we’ve made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.

In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he’s a circus clown
We’ll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.

When it snows, ain’t it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.



Serene Sunday – Down by the Riverside

When I was child, I recalled watching the great Mahalia Jackson on the Flip Wilson show.  She sang a renditions of the gospel spiritual, Down by the Riverside that had the crowd singing and clapping along.  I finally found the piece on YouTube and it brought back memories.

Down by the Riverside dates prior to the Civil War when slaves sang it as a work song adding lines from other spirituals.    It was first published in Carl Sandburg’s The American Songbag in 1927 and has been recorded many times since then.

Mahalia Jackson – Down By The Riverside

Mahalia Jackson ao vivo


  1. Gonna lay down my burden,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside.
    Gonna lay down my burden,
    Down by the riverside,
    Down by the riverside.

I ain’t go study war no more,
study war no more,
ain’t go study war no more.
I ain’t go study war no more,
study war no more,
ain’t go study oh war no more.

  1. Gonna lay down my sword and shield
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna try on my long white robe
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna try on my starry crown
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna put on my golden shoes
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna talk with the Prince of Peace
    Down by the riverside…


  1. Gonna shake hands around the world
    Down by the riverside…



Serene Sunday – Rejoice in the Sun

The film Silent Running, produced in 1972, impressed me as a child.  The movie depicted a future in which all planet life had become extinct. The remaining was saved and maintained in greenhouse-like geodesic domes orbiting in space for eventual reforestation of Earth.  It followed the actions of a scientist, who fought to maintain the forestry against callous corporate interests, accompanied by his robots Huey, Dewey, and Louie.  Joan Baez sings Rejoice in the Sun, a lovely, simple, but haunting melody of what it might happen on Earth if we don’t pay attention.  This movie is a stirring cautionary tale I highly recommend.


Joan Baez ‘Rejoice in the Sun’ – Silent Running

Her performance with the footage from the 1972 motion Picture ‘Silent Running’ Fields of children running wild in the sun Like a forest is your child growing wild in the sun Doomed in his innocence in the sun Gather your children to your side in the sun Tell them all they love will die, Tell them why in the sun Tell them it’s not too late Cultivate one by one Tell them to harvest and rejoice in the sun


Fields of children running wild in the sun
Like a forest is your child growing wild in the sun
Doomed in his innocence in the sun

Gather your children to your side in the sun
Tell them all they love will die,
Tell them why in the sun

Tell them it’s not too late
Cultivate one by one
Tell them to harvest and rejoice in the sun


Serene Sunday – Oh Happy Day

Did you know that Oh Happy Day was the 1967 gospel arrangement of an 18th century hymn?  English clergyman Phillips Doddridge first wrote the song in the mid 18th century.  It was rewritten several times and given a new melody into the 20th century.  In 1969, the Edwin Hawkins gospel singers turned it into an international hit.  It enjoyed renewed popularity after Sister Act 2 in 1993.  The lead singer was 15 year old Ryan Toby.
This is a cheerful uplifting song which never fails to get my foot tapping and put a smile on my face. Enjoy.

Sister Act 2 – Oh Happy Day

A clip from Sister Act 2.