Give Me Five…featuring Aretha Franklin

Its Sunday. My favorite day of the week. Always has been, and I think it always will be. I know so many people who have the Sunday-dread, but to me its this bonus day, a day when I feel inspired more, creative, motivated. A day where I feel like errands are done and to-do lists are put aside, and I can free up time to write, listen to music, create, cook, not have to do anything in particular. Maybe watch a movie. Maybe lose myself in a book. Maybe talk a walk or a mini-road trip. A bonus day, the best day, at least that’s how Sundays have always felt like, to me.

I woke with the first song in today’s Give Me Five in my head. Not a bad way to start the best day of the week.

I hope you find something to like about your Sunday today, too. The first Sunday of 2021.

“Say a Little Prayer” by Aretha Franklin – from the album, Aretha Now (1968)

“The moment I wake up,
before I put on my makeup,
I say a little prayer for you.
While combing my hair, now,
and wondering what dress to wear now,
I say a little prayer for you.”

This was the song I woke up to. Aretha’s voice singing in my head. This song always reminds me of my mother. I can hear her voice singing-a-long while she drove me to school, or maybe while we drove to the grocery store (Alpha Beta was our regular), or to a fabric store (her favorite) or a record store (my favorite). Music was always a part of our house. Music was something my mother loved. A love I inherited from her and grew into an obsession. I’m grateful she gave me so much music, and so many songs – like this one.

“Jealous Guy” by Hurray For The Riff Raff – from the album, My Dearest Darkest Neighbor (2013)

There are quite a few cover versions of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”. My favorite has always been Bryan Ferry’s – but, I think this one – by Hurray For The Riff Raff – may have moved in to first place favorite.

Hurray For The Riff Raff is fronted by Alynda Mariposa Segarra, a Puerto Rican New Yorker who put together the band after moving to New Orleans. You can check out more of their music here. You can pick-up merch and music (vinyl even) here. Hurray For The Riff Raff (Alynda) joined up with Waxahatchee and Bedouine last year to record a very keen cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen” that is worth checking-out, too.

“Black Hole Sun” by Brandi Carlile – from the single, A Rooster Says (2021)

Released this year – first new 2021 song I’ve heard – is Brandi Carlile’s very cool cover of “Black Hole Sun”. This version is better than I would have imagined. Its a true to the take on the song, and Brandi’s voice really suits I really like the rawness and vulnerability in her voice and the way she sings it – especially towards the end when her passion powers out of her. It gives me chills at that point.

I stumbled into this cover by accident this morning. A happy musical accident. Love it.

“Cosmic Dancer” by Valerie June – from the single, “Cosmic Dancer” (2019)

T-Rex/Marc Bolan is one of my forever favorites, and “Cosmic Dancer” is one of my forever favorite songs. I’m particular with my T-Rex covers – some I love, and some just don’t work for me. I have such love for the original tracks. This one – by Valerie June – that I discovered today , I’m really enjoying. I like the different take to it, the twang in her voice, the change in music genre her musical choices take me into.

This is me meeting Valerie and her music for the first time. I’m looking forward to hearing more. To listen and learn more about Valerie, and support her art, go here.

“Manhattan” by Cat Power – from the album, Sun (2012)

I’ve been a Cat Power/Chan Marshall fan for a long time. I have so many favorite songs and albums of hers, tracks that are go-to’s for playlists and musical moods. Lately I’ve been digging deep into her album Sun, from 2012. In this new dive-in I’ve been obsessing over the song “Manhattan”.

Someday, New York, I will get to visit you and learn what its like to walk in your streets.

You can do your own digging into Cat Power, and support her and her music here.

Check back frequently to see what 5 songs will be added next to the Give Me Five Playlist for January 2021. You can listen as it grows on Spotify and YouTube.

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