I had this friend named Donna George. I knew her from work with the socially-active Albany United Methodist Society. I don’t know why, but certain people, including a particular pastor, treated her quite badly, taking advantage of her good will. I think that, at some level, I felt a lot of sympathy for her. Ultimately, she saw our relationship one way, and I another, yet we managed to maintain a friendship in spite of that.
In 2002, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Knowing she would be incapable of making decisions very soon, she got three or four of her friends to come to St. Peter’s hospice to explain her wishes that we divvy up her music, books and art and give them to various buddies before she died, lest her family, from whom she was mostly estranged, could get their hands on them.
I was one of the folks in charge of the music, giving this person some Sinatra, and that person some classical albums, et al. I held onto a Beach Boys box set, which I had given her, and I also kept the Roberta Flack album Quiet Fire, for it contained a cover of the BeeGees’ To Love Somebody, which represented in song what she wished our relationship would be. Continue reading Me and Donna George
Stevie Wonder is 60 years old today. Only 60? Seems that he’s been around forever. I guess that’s what happens when you’re dubbed the “12-year-old genius.” Wish I had the time to indicate all of his significance in my musical life. Among other things, I’ve stated that he and Paul Simon were THE two most important artists in my record collection in the 1970s. Here are just some highlights.
Really don’t remember the earlier singles, such as “Fingertips, Part 2”, except as an oldie. The first song I recall listened to, on the radio, was Uptight (Everything’s Alright) in 1966. I loved it! Later, I got an album from my sister’s godfather, of all people, of Bill Cosby called Silver Throat, where he sings a parody of Uptight called Little Old Man.
My sister owned the 1966 album Down to Earth, containing the title track and A Place In the Sun, the latter a song written by Stevie that everyone at the time seemed compelled to cover. I owned 1970’s Signed Sealed Delivered.
Possibly my favorite Wonder song in the early years was 1967’s “I Was Made to Love Her”
I owned the so-so 1967 Someday At Christmas, though it contains THE great secular Christmas tune, “What Christmas Means to Me.” Continue reading Stevie Wonder is 60