Creative Writing Saturday

Blue skies

Blue skies (Photo credit: Ennor)

In considering the post for today, I read stories, essays, poems, haiku’s and more, looking for something that is, to me, both meaningful and relevant. As I did so, music played in the background and I could not resist singing along to some of the lyrics–that’s when i hit me. What is more creative than song lyrics written by musical artists and their muses?

Perhaps, I am simply aging myself, but this week, I am posting the lyrics to a song from one of my favorite musical artists of all time, Marvin Gaye. He was an artist long before his time and based on information obtained here on Song Facts, considered himself “a student of Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda.” He published this prophetic song in 1971, but it still holds true 43 years later. I share in his lament and I hope that you will too.

Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) Lyrics

“Woo ah, mercy mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Ah oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?
Oh, na na…
My sweet Lord… No
My Lord… My sweet Lord”

If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing him sing the song, you might enjoy hearing and watching this video. I urge you to listen to it and tell me what you think. (I apologize in advance for the preceding commercial, but you can skip it in a matter of seconds.)


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My Favorite Oldies Rhythm and Blues/Soul Talents

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin (Photo credit: Thomas Hawk)

Music. I love music–all types of music from country, new age, contemporary, jazz, rhythm & blues (a.k.a. R&B), reggae and more. The only genre of music that I am indifferent to, is opera. I was never exposed to it, and as I grew older never developed an appreciation for it.  Of all the genres however, rhythm & blues is my rock.

I grew up listening to what is now considered “R&B” music. I fully realize that the music you grow up with often plays a huge factor in dictating your future likes and dislikes, and that my choices will invariably differ from others. As a teenager,  I used to sit alone, in a dark room, jamming to R&B tunes on the radio. I knew all the words and sang my heart out. I have an okay voice, but believe me, it is nothing to write home about. Anyway, I find that there was, and still is, heart, passion and soul in the R&B oldies that is rarely replicated in today’s music.   Regardless of the time or place, the oldies will invariably stop me in my tracks and send me careening back to that girl singing her heart and soul along with the music that she loved. It is not easy for me to whittle my loves down, but I’ve listed them, as well as little tidbits of information about each one.

  1. Aretha Franklin I adore Aretha Franklin. She instills heart and soul in her songs, and does so better than anyone that I can think of.
  2. The Staple Singers This is a family group consisting of among others, Papa Staples and his daughters. Like many of that era, their music has its’ roots in gospel music.
  3. Al Green He was also known as the Rev. Al Green because in 1976, he was ordained pastor of a Memphis, Tennessee church located down the street from Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
  4. Marvin Gaye When Barry Gordy, head of Motown records, first heard Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” he refused to released it fearing that it was ‘too political.” Although the song refers to the ills of the day, I find that it is equally applicable today. Sadly, in 1984, Gaye’s father killed him.
  5. The Jackson Five Okay, before you call me on it, I admit that the group also sang pop songs, but they also sang R&B and soul music. Given the amount of time that I spent singing and dancing to their music, I can not in good conscience exclude them.
  6. The Temptations A five man group, the Temptations were known for their dance moves and flashy dress.
  7. Ike and Tina Turner A husband and wife duo with a tumultuous relationship. After severing ties from Ike Turner, Tina Turner became a popular solo artist.
  8. Stevie Wonder He was 12 years old when he recorded Fingertips I and Fingertips II.

As I said at the outset, this is an incomplete list of the musicians who affected me throughout my childhood. Yet, they are representative of the music that touched my heart and is seared into my soul. To this day, I am apt to burst into song when I hear a familiar tune.

More than that, I’ve come to realize that,

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” ~Maya Angelou

Much like books, music is a balm for my mind, body and spirit. Through music, I learned the value of acknowledging, expressing and understanding complex emotions. Through it, I learned that music could be my voice, whatever my thoughts and feelings, and that I was rarely alone in those feelings.

What about you? Do you have any music memories? How does music influence you? I’d love to hear.

Blessings, Lydia