Archive for January 20th, 2018

Death Cafe: Albany (NY), taking place on Tuesday, January 23 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Pine Hills branch of the Albany Public Library, 517 Western Avenue, is based on the Death Cafe tradition started by Jon Underwood in England in 2011. It will be facilitated by Melissa White, a hospice volunteer and an experienced educator and researcher.

There’s no need for any particular background, just having a interest in talking about death. No agenda or specific therapy, but most people find it helpful to be able to speak about a range of death-related things that many around us find upsetting or otherwise taboo.

Strangers meet in a safe place to eat baked goods, drink hot beverages, and talk freely about the taboo that we all experience. Read more about it here.

As my friend Amy, who’s been a hospice worker for 10 years, wrote: “Don’t let the title scare you. I see the value and importance of being able to talk about, plan, and discuss your thoughts about the final chapter of your life. Just like birth, it is a natural process, and while it comes with sadness, it can be a peaceful, beautiful and reverent time.”

I missed the fact that Kenny Loggins turned 70 on January 6. I liked some of his songs, and others, not so much.

But I LOVE the House on Pooh Corners story, how the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band wanted to record it, but the Disney lawyers put the kibosh on it. Loggins told then-girlfriend Marnie Walker how bummed he was. She talked to her daddy, who happened to be president of Disney.

Thanks to Marnie and her dad Card Walker, Disney “allowed the Dirt Band to put the song on their Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy album… Then Loggins put it on Loggins & Messina’s debut album the following year. And now, more than 40 years later, he still manages to make a song about Winnie the Pooh sound cool.”

And the Loggins & Messina partnership is another interesting narrative. “Jim Messina, formerly of Poco and Buffalo Springfield, was working as an independent record producer… in 1970 when he was introduced to Kenny Loggins, then a little-known singer-songwriter… When Columbia signed Loggins (with the assistance of Messina) to a six-album contract, recording began in earnest for Loggins’ debut album, with Messina as producer. [Messina] also assembled The Kenny Loggins Band by summoning old friends…

“Messina originally intended to lend his name to the Loggins project only to help introduce the unknown Loggins to Messina’s well-established audiences. But by the time the album was completed, Messina had contributed so much to the album – in terms of songwriting, arrangement, instrumentation, and vocals – that an ‘accidental’ duo was born. Thus, the full name of their first album was Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin’ In. Although the album went unnoticed by radio upon release, it eventually found success by autumn 1972, particularly on college campuses where the pair toured heavily…

I remember singing the chorus of “This Is It” with my sister Leslie when we both visited my parents and sister Marcia in Charlotte, but what I did not know was that it was “for Loggins’ ailing father who had to choose between life and death. The song earned Loggins the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. NBC used the song as theme music for its coverage of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 1980 and 1981.” Yeah, I do remember the constant play during March Madness.

Listen to

Loggins & Messina
House at Pooh Corner
Your Mama Don’t Dance

Kenny Loggins
This Is It
Footloose (I own the soundtrack but never saw the movie)
Vox Humana
Danger Zone
Nobody’s Fool

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