Last Wednesday we had a good time, and I really needed this to lift my spirits. It had been a very rough week but this event was so therapeutic for me. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday we weren’t sure if anyone was coming out. The place was “packed.” We did a lot of music, but this one tune I wanted to share with you today. We did a classic by Sly and the Family Stone entitled “Family Affair.” If you are ever in the Philadelphia area on a Wednesday evening I hope you come join us. Live music is beautiful. We are at the Crab Tavern (201 North Macdade Blvd in Darby, PA, from 8:00 to 12 midnight). We never practiced this song before, but we did it anyway. Thank you so much for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Today is Thanksgiving. Today is about giving thanks for the blessings you have. In my opinion, there is a “lot” to be thankful for. I realize that the holidays will be different for me this year. The loss of my father has had a strong impact on my life, but I am still blessed. Blessed in so many ways. I wanted my father to be healed and that is “exactly” what God did. Pop is no longer in pain. Pop doesn’t have to worry about walking again. Pop doesn’t have to feel like a burden to anyone. Today is Thanksgiving, and I have a “lot” to be thankful for. You do too. Happy Thanksgiving to you. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish the very best to you and your family:)
“Emotions and expressions.” Do we always convey what we feel? Whenever I do gigs I try to smile a lot, even when I am feeling down. I would hate to go to a show and see an entertainer be depressed throughout the entire performance. I could not do that for people who pay money to come see me. Everyone is human. We all have down moments. Is it our responsibility to conceal them whenever in public? This past weekend was a major test for me. The death of my father made me realize my vulnerability. In some instances I did good, and in others I failed miserably. I have come to realize that as long as we all are humane then no one is immune from emotions and expressions. Depending on the circumstances, we all have to make do the very best we can. I try to learn from each experience I have, whether it is negative or positive. That works for me. Thank you so much for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
KC and the Sunshine band with Brett Jolly in bass guitar
There are so many things to ponder when it comes to loved ones who are dying. From our own perspective we want those who are terminal to continue living, but should we be that selfish? One of the things to consider is that “life” and “quality of life” are “not” the same thing. For instance, if someone needs a machine to help them breathe is that a choice that they want, or is that something that “we” want? What good is life if you cannot do the things in life that make it fun? My father had already lost most of his friends. He had diabetes and couldn’t walk or stand. He was bed ridden with nurses coming daily to care for him. This was once a proud and independent man who never had to depend on anyone other than himself. I used to manage senior citizen apartments where death and deterioration were common occurrences. I have literally seen people “will” themselves to death before. My father stopped eating as much a few weeks prior to his demise. This once proud man seemed to have lost the desire for continuing the battle for life. Could I blame him? No, I couldn’t. It is one thing to fight. It is another thing to fight continually. At some point you have to concede. The selfish part of me wanted Pop to continue striving, but everyone comes with their own expiration date. One day I will have to wrestle with my own will to live against the adversaries of death. I would not be concerned so much about me. My fate is inevitable, but I care deeply for those I leave behind. Death is a part of life, and I understand that so much more now. Each new day brings me a little more strength to deal with this. If you live long enough you will encounter this story in your own life. We cannot keep people forever and we should not be the ones to determine who should stay and who shouldn’t. God is good. That is what matters most. My father is no longer in pain, no longer worried about standing up or even walking. He is finally with my mother in a much better place than here. In his situation, he “won.” Winning doesn’t always mean that you have a victory. Winning can mean that you fought the great fight. I know Pop. I know what others have gone through. They won too. Death is a part of life…. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Elton Jolly, 1931 to 2019…. RIP
The day I always dreaded arrived Saturday. I knew it was coming, but somehow I kept hoping that if I closed my eyes it would get better. Friday night I had played a gig in Atlantic City, gotten home afterwards and went to bed. My father, who was bed ridden and couldn’t walk was asleep in his room. Early Saturday morning my brother called me and said that we had an emergency. Pop had vomited blood and we needed to get him out to the hospital quick. We got him out and Pop was still alive when he left. My brother drove him there, but not long after that my brother arrived back home. I didn’t know if they kept Pop or if he was still in the car. My brother told me that they did everything they could for Pop. Still not totally coherent, I am thinking that Pop is okay. My brother then said that Pop passed away. It hit me slowly, and after a few I could no longer hold back the tears or even speak straight. Pop was tired of life, and I could understand that perfectly. There is a huge difference between “life” and “quality of life.” Just because you are living doesn’t mean that you have a great quality of life. All of Pop’s friends were gone. Pop had done speeches with Martin Luther King, Coretta Scott King, Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson and many more. Pop had also had meetings with 5 different Presidents. For me, the best part was that through all of this he still managed to be an outstanding father. I challenged him on everything, and he “never ever had a wrong answer for me.” Pop also was a great Gospel singer. There was a lot that Pop did, and my brother and I loved and respected him. It is easy for me to tell you about how great my father was. However, today I aim to “show you.” This is a NAACP conference (I believe the year was 1989) and Pop is on the program to speak along with Benjamin Hooks and Coretta Scott King. This is Pop’s speech, and once you hear this you will understand how this man was such a positive influence on my life. It would be selfish for me to think that I could keep him forever. We all have an “expiration date.” For those of you who wish to see how great a man he was, I simply offer this clip: Thank you so much for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
As I have said before, we like to tackle any request. It doesn’t make a difference if we have played it before or not. It doesn’t make a difference if we can even sing it. The joy of our event is that we don’t back down from it. This past Wednesday someone requested this song from Prince. To be truthful, vocally this song is in a very high range and it is extremely difficult to sing (especially while playing), but I don’t care. On this song we featured our guitarist Christopher Odom and our keyboardist Stan Brisbon. On top of this we had a lot of fun just playing this tune. I never consider myself to be a singer, but I will tackle tunes vocally because we don’t have anyone else who knows the songs. I will play the bass line to any song imaginable and that is why taking requests is so magical for me. I hope you enjoy the tune. Thank you so much for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
I am an avid advocate for live music. The impact it can have on our lives is monumental. A case in point is this video. Can you imagine the energy you would have felt from being there? If live music is to survive, then it needs our support. Don’t let them take it away from us. Musicians need to play, and singers need to sing. This pretending stuff may save some people money, but it won’t satisfy those who truly love a live concert. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
For those of you who are “young enough” to remember, Bill Withers was a great “clean material” artist who had a fantastic career. I was a young man when he came out on the scene but I enjoyed his music tremendously. A couple of years ago I was told that I was going to have the opportunity to actually “play” for him onstage and I became very excited about it. It had been so long since I had seen pictures of him I wondered if I was even going to recognize him. I only remembered the dark haired young man that I saw on television. Well, when I went into the area where the performers were, I saw the back of a man who seemed older but was tall. Instead of his hair being dark colored it was all white. I went up to him and introduced myself and he told me that he was Bill Withers. A lot of times when you talk to someone of a celebrity status they don’t talk much, but Mr. Withers was much different. We talked about a lot and I listened tremendously. I asked him why he didn’t perform anymore and he just flat out told me that the music industry changed so much that he no longer wanted to be a part of it. He said that he left on his own terms and has not looked back. We even talked about his image back then. He said that they brought in an expert to “teach” him guitar. He knew nothing about the instrument at all, but he used the few chords that were shown to him to write a tune entitled “Grandma’s hands.” Amazingly we talked for about an hour. I have heard people say that it is difficult to get an interview with him, but I had no problem with it at all. It was awesome to work with him and I wish I could do so again. His throat is somewhat damaged now and he doesn’t really want to sing. There is a great possibility that I might have been the very last bass player to play for him (I can’t say that for a fact, though). Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought, and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Bill Withers (Far Left with grey t-shirt) and Anthony Hamilton in white shirt rehearsing with Brett Jolly at PIR studios
Great people are only ordinary people who have the resolve to attempt great things
A specific case in point: In Texas a man has been on death row for 21 years. His name is Rodney Reed, and he was sentenced to death for killing a woman. He was found guilty by an all white jury and he exhausted all of his appeals. He was given a reprieve from execution last week because of new evidence discovered. The woman had a husband who said he would strangle her if she ever had an affair on him. For some strange reason, the belt that was used to strangle her was never tested, but yet the execution date had been “set” for Rodney Reed . Here is an article on the case:
There are several things wrong with this case, but one thing that I think is worth mentioning is that the victim was white while Rodney Reed is black. Reed had been asked if he knew the victim, but Reed lied because he knew in Texas no one would have liked the fact that he was involved in an interracial affair with a white woman, and subsequently that would work against him. While he was wrong for lying, the circumstances under which he lied made perfect sense to me. The evidence found that he had a relationship with the victim, but it doesn’t mean that he killed her. You can read this case and determine your own diagnosis. I think that race is a strong issue in everything we do. When Kobe Bryant had a rape case going against him, and Tiger Woods was vilified for infidelity, and finally when O.J. Simpson had the trial of the century all of these cases involved rich black athletes and white women. These cases were “highly publicized” and people paid much attention. This is one of the reasons why I feel the death penalty is wrong. If we could get rid of racism it might have a chance, but with Rodney Reed’s case he spent 21 years awaiting his execution that came very close to happening. That is time that he will never get back. It doesn’t save him from anything yet, because they still have to “hope” that the governor at least reviews the case. Killing someone to prove that killing is wrong just doesn’t make sense to me. If we could eliminate “other factors” for court hearings they might seem more fair. Reed should not be in jail for having a relationship with a white woman. I sincerely hope that when the new evidence is considered that it exonerates him and they subsequently free him. I don’t want to see this because he is black. I want to see this because I want him to have a fair trial. His execution would only have brought out more things wrong with the death penalty. Once the decision to execute is carried out then you can’t bring victims back. Until justice is perfected, I think we need to consider this. Thank you for checking out my Daily Thought and as always I wish you the very best that life has to offer.
Melba Moore in concert with Brett Jolly on bas guitar