Drift Away.

I always love coming across interesting facts. When those facts are associated with music, it’s that much better. The song Drift Away, the most famous version being by Dobie Gray, was written by a man named Mentor Williams. The song has been covered numerous times, and in 2002 was performed by Pop Culture Stuff on Ronovan WritesUncle Kracker featuring Dobie Gray. That version reached the Top 10 and Dobie Gray set the record for the longest number of years between Top 10 hits at 30 years. The same song also topped the Adult Contemporary Charts for 28 Weeks, setting another record.

All of that is wonderful and interesting, but should not be a surprise coming from Mentor Williams, the writer of the song. Consider this, his brother won a Grammy, Academy, and Golden Globe award for the love Evergreen, the theme from the movie A Star is Born, a Grammy for best Children’s Album with The Muppet Movie, from which I had to sing Rainbow Connection at my 6th Grade Graduation, and as recently as 2014 won a Grammy Album of the Year, and is obviously a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The sad part of it all, for all that talent, most of the world knows this man as Little Enos from the Smokey and the Bandit movies.

Yes, Mentor Williams is the brother of Paul Williams.

The song here, Drift Away, was a songwriting breakthrough for Mentor. He learned through this song to allow his emotions to spill over into his lyrics. Every person will take from a song what they like, what they want to. I have my takeaways. Almost every line makes sense to me in parts of my life. I repeat, ALMOST every line. Some obviously don’t, but that “I want to get lost in your rock and roll” takes on a meaning that if you really listen, I think you can interpret quite well.

Following the original version there is a link to the 2002 version. Dobie Gray sings and appears in the 2002 video.

Enjoy.

https://youtu.be/A69BertdSt4

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Paul Winter-Jazz, World Music, and flying to the moon.

Paul WinterDo you know Paul Winter?

A lot of people know him without knowing him.

You’ll know him from one of three different reasons.

The Paul Winter Sextet was a cultural ambassador to Latin America for the United States State Department. They spent 6 months performing throughout Latin America and were greatly inspired by what they heard, especially the Bossa Nova music in Brazil.

On November 19, 1962, the Paul Winter Sextet set up on the stage of the East Room of the White House. Down the hall was the President, unable to attend because of the Sino-Indian War, between China and India. It was on that day a cease-fire was declared and the air support from the US that was on the way for India was called back. Although JFK could not attend, it is said he could still hear the music.

The first ever Jazz concert at the White House occurred at the invitation of Jacqueline Kennedy in her series of Concerts for Young People by Young People and 10- to-19-year-old children of diplomats and government officials attended. It was said the First Lady could barely sit still.

“Simply wonderful. There has never been anything like it here before.” Talking to the 23-year-old jazz sextet leader from Altoona, Pa., Mrs. Kennedy said, “I think it’s so great to see you up there.”-The New York Herald Tribune, Nov. 20, 1962

Other than the obvious first for a Jazz concert, the integrated band showed a change moving through society. The band had problems while traveling in places like Miami and even Utah when the Black members of the group were not allowed to stay in the same hotels as the others. The band would then move on until they found another place to stay, if possible.

paul-winter-white-house

Paul Winter and Jacqueline Kennedy.

The Paul Winter Sextet eventually became the Paul Winter Consort. If you are a fan of space, astronauts, or the Apollo program you may know it was his third album, Road, that was taken to the moon by the astronauts of Apollo 15. Two craters on the moon were named after two songs from that album, Ghost Beads and Icarus.

The song Icarus.

https://youtu.be/xbGGIBTnCXA
Icarus Crater

The Icarus Crater.

In 1971 the Paul Winter Consort struck gold in producer George Martin. The George Martin of Beatles fame. The he landmark album Icarus, which was released in 1972, which George Martin described as “the finest album I’ve ever made”

Paul Winter is one of the pioneers of what has become known as World Music. He combines music styles from around the world as well as including the sounds of nature, such as bird song.

Paul Winter

Here is the Paul Winter Sextet performing on the show Jazz Casual back in 1963, a few months after performing at the White House. The video is about 29 minutes long. Enjoy as much as you like. Visit Amazon for his music by clicking HERE.



Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling by PS Bartlett and Ronovan HesterRonovan Hester is an author, with his debut historical adventure novel Amber Wake: Gabriel Falling due out in February 14, 2016. He shares his life through his blog RonovanWrites.WordPress.com. His love of poetry, authors and community through his online world has lead to the creation of a site dedicated to book reviews, interviews and author resources known as LitWorldInterviews.com.

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