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Posts Tagged ‘Dinah Washington’

The Australian wildfires are still raging. Sheer devastation. Well over 18 millions acres (think about it as every single inch of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts being burnt to the ground) up in flames along with dozens of lives, thousands of homes and a staggering amount of wildlife. The current estimate that the number of animals and birds is that well over a billion creatures have perished. Those that survive face a grim future with an environment that will take years to rebound.

That is, if it ever can.

It’s heartbreaking. No, it’s more than that. Heartbreaking seems almost too trivial a word for the holocaust taking place. It’s more like a jagged rip in the very fiber of our souls. As helpless as we feel here on the other side of the globe, as hopeless as it seems from such a distance, we must not turn away.

Their horror may well be the future for many of us.

We have been warned for decades that this time was fast approaching but hubris and greed made us ignore and even scoff at the suggestion that we were destroying the environment that had once been so hospitable to us.

I don’t know what the answers are for climate change or even how to properly help our animal and human friends in Australia. But I know I can’t ignore the problem, can’t just shrug and say that my time here is short now that I am well into middle age and that it’s a problem for those younger than me. It’s that sort of ignorance and carelessness that allowed this to happen in the first place.

I am looking for answers, even if they are small. I can’t save Australia with my small donation but maybe it can help one small displaced creature, plant a tree or two or do anything to alleviate the pain caused by our treatment of this earth.

I hope you will look for answers as well.

This Sunday morning music is a song from the great Dinah Washington from back in 1960 called This Bitter Earth. I am also including a version of the song that combines her original vocals with a musical piece from contemporary composer Max Richter, On the Nature of Daylight, which is  a piece of music that I have played here before. The two combine to create a powerful statement that is fitting for this subject and this time.

I hope you’ll listen to both. And don’t turn away. Do even one small thing to help someone on this bitter earth.

 

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Under the weather this morning but stumbled across this song that I featured here back in 2011. It’s been 7 or 8 years so I guess that’s not too repetitive. Plus, it’s just such a great song from an artist that deserves a lot more attention. Enjoy and have a good Sunday.

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This song is That’s a Rockin’ Good Way sung by Dinah Washington and Brook Benton which made it to #7 on the Pop charts and #1 on the R&B charts in 1959. I heard this song on the radio yesterday for the first time in a long time and it made me think about Washington’s career and legacy.

Known as both the Queen of the Jukeboxes and Queen of the Blues, Washington was one of the biggest recording stars of the 1950’s, singing jazz, blues and pop songs with her earthy delivery.  Her body of work is impressive yet she is seldom mentioned alongside the other jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday. In fact, she is little known today which is a shame not only because so many are missing out on her vast talent but because her story is such a compelling story.

There are all the elements of great drama in her biography, her rise from a poor girl in Alabama to her great success as a major recording artist being only one aspect. There were all the men in her lives including 8 or 9 marriages, depending on which source you believe, and a number of other lovers. There was her battle with drugs and alcohol as well as a struggle with her weight which led to emotional swings that found her fighting with everyone around her, including her fans at times. There was the constant struggle with her record company for the respect she deserved. She had a big, big personality and finally seemed to be coming into her own as an artist when an accidental overdose brought her life to a close in 1963.

She was only 39.

So, here’s just a small sample of her talent. Hopefully, her legacy will continue to grow…

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  This song is That’s a Rockin’ Good Way sung by Dinah Washington and Brook Benton amd it made it to #7 on the Pop charts and #1 on the R&B charts in 1959.  I heard this song on the radio yesterday and it made me think about Washington’s career and legacy.

Known as both the Queen of the Jukeboxes and Queen of the Blues, Washington was one of the biggest recording stars of the 1950’s, singing jazz, blues and pop songs with her earthy delivery.   Her body of work is impressive yet she is seldom mentioned alongside the other jazz greats such as Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holiday.  In fact, she is little known today which is a shame not only because so many are missing out on her vast talent but because her story is such a compelling story. 

There are all the elements of great drama in her biography, her rise from a poor girl in Alabama to her great success as a major recording artist being only one aspect.  There were all the men in her lives including 8 or 9 marriages, depending on which source you believe, and a number of other lovers.  There was her battle with drugs and alcohol as well as a struggle with her weight which led to emotional swings that found her fighting with everyone around her, including her fans at times.  There was the constant struggle with her record company for the respect she deserved.  She had a big, big personality and finally seemed to be coming into her own as an artist when an accidental overdose brought her life to a close in 1963.  She was only 39.  There’s a nice concise bio online from jounalist Dean Robbins that I recommend.

So, here’s just a small sample of her talent.  Hopefully, her legacy will continue to grow…

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