Music helps soothe your frazzled nerves and the holidays can indeed get on your very last nerve. So, Better Homes and Garden’s healthy countdown task today is to play soothing music.
This works out great because I made a mixed-CD for The “It’s A Very Shenry Christmas” CD Swap hosted by my friend Kristie via her blog Fresh on Fridays.
The theme is “Beauty in the Dark” and we’re tasked to explain each song choice. And, no, we’re not pirating music to make our CDs.
These are the beautiful songs I would listen to in the dark—perhaps outside snuggling with my husband under a quilt while enjoying the stars overhead.
- Summertime by Janis Joplin: no, it’s not summer here in the Northern Hemisphere but this song always evokes memories of hearing Janis Joplin live on a night many, many years ago. It’s a great song.
- The Rose by Bette Midler. The legend is that this is about Janis Joplin. It describes both sides of love, a subject that seemed to confuse the troubled Ms. Joplin.
- Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening performed by Musicians Out of the Box. This is a reading of Robert Frost’s poem of the same name whilst Vivaldi’s Winter plays in the background. I love Robert Frost’s poetry as well as Vivaldi.
- Peaches & Diesel by Eric Clapton. I have a thing about the blues, a really big thing. It plucks at the chords of my soul. This is an instrumental I find lovely by a master of the blues guitar.
- Tin Pan Alley by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble. Oh, delicious—more blues by another master.
- Georgia On My Mind by Ray Charles. Just beautiful.
- Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers. This is our song—as in my husband and me. No matter where we are—the grocery store or anyplace else—if this song comes over the store’s sound system, my husband and I dance to it. We do not much care what other people think about that. Our favorite line from this song is “Time can do so much.”
- Hello Stranger by Barbara Lewis. I always think of my joy when my husband returns from a long business trip—it always feels like he’s been gone forever and then, suddenly, he’s home again and I’m ever so happy.
- You Shook Me by Led Zeppelin. This is from their first album; music from my high school days (I graduated in 1970). It’s hard rock mixed with the blues. Everyone says the group’s song Stairway to Heaven is sexy but You Shook Me is the song that does it for me. Although I don’t include it on my CD, the song flows perfectly into their next one, Dazed and Confused. The whole album is fantastic.
- I Will Always Love You as sung by Whitney Houston. She may not be one, but she sings this song like an angel.
- Stand By Me by Ben E. King. Oh man, this is just beautiful.
- Still Water by The Four Tops. I had a copy of this record (yes, an old-fashioned record with plastic and grooves and everything) which I played continuously during my first year of college. The whole dorm hated me after awhile.
- Last Date by Floyd Cramer. This is my only country choice for this CD mix. An instrumental, I love the rhythm and the sentiment it evokes.
- Sleep My Love by Glenn Yarbrough. Somewhat folksy, this is a pretty love song by a man with a wonderful voice.
- Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair) by Harry Belafonte. This lovely song tells the story of a father who hears his daughter’s prayer for new ribbons, his effort to procure some during the night, and his amazement when the ribbons she prayed for appear the next morning.
- Seeds of Love by Loreena McKennitt. I have every one of her albums and love them all—it’s Celtic New Age music. I chose this song because it’s a gorgeous reminder to sow seeds of love.
- The Planets, Movement 2: Venus—the Bringer of Peace by Holst. The Planets is one of my favorite classical pieces of music. I adore Holst’s first movement Mars but it’s about war and not appropriate for this swap theme. So, I chose Venus as a quiet and graceful end to the CD. I heard The Planets played by the North Carolina Symphony while in grad school and remember sitting in my seat at the end with tears running down my face—I was so touched.
Oh, this one sounds good!