Thoughts On – Musical Inspiration

Over the last two-months I got to see two of my favourite singers – Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kiki Dee, along with her amazing musical partner and guitarist, Carmelo Luggeri.
Mary Chapin Carpenter ticket - 30 September 2014 (Q8)forblog      Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri ticket
It was great seeing these ladies (and a gentleman) ‘live’ as I have often produced illustration after illustration (often working until the early hours of the morning) whilst listening to them. Some music has gone-the-journey with me, as I have been a fan of Kiki Dee since I was a teenager (which was more years now than I care to reflect on). I remember buying the LP of ‘Perfect Timing’ in the early ‘80s, after saving what seemed like a considerable amount of pocket-money. It was well worth it and even now I still love this Kiki Dee album (although the LP has long since gone and been replaced with a CD).  I’m also a big fan of the new albums , which Kiki and Carmelo have worked on together – ‘Almost Naked’, ‘The Walk Of Faith’, ‘A Place Where I Can Go’

Music really inspires me, and if I am listening to Simon and Garfunkel, Nanci Griffith, Carrie Newcomer, Miriam Stockley, Eva Cassidy and the two ladies above (the list could go on), I know that I will be inspired. Sometimes it’s just a certain song that gets right to your heart. I tend to have favourite songs by nearly all of my favourite singers, but ‘This Shirt’ is one of my favourites by Mary Chapin Carpenter. I love the way that the story unwinds about this much-loved and well-worn piece of clothing. Mary Chapin Carpenter has got a fantastic voice to tell the story.

A newcomer to my musical collection (pardon the pun) is Carrie Newcomer. I am smitten with her songs too. Can anybody listen to ‘Betty’s Diner’ without getting tears in their eyes? It’s great hearing the lyrics about people, from all walks of life, all congregating in the same place and being looked after by a caring and wise waitress, called Melinda.  I will have to do a post on favourite songs on another occasion…

Just want to say a big thank you (out there) to the musical artists that have inspired me over the years… Kiki, Crystal, Belinda, Wanda, Nanci, Trisha, Mary, Emmylou, Eva, Carrie…I salute you!

Songs that I would recommend (to anyone!):

Kiki Dee: ‘How Glad I Am’ (put your dancing shoes on beforehand), ‘Loving and Free’, ‘Song For Adam’, ‘One And Only Love’‘Into Eternity’, ‘There’s A Need’ and all of her hits: ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’, ‘Star’…  I would run out of (cyber)space if I listed them all!
Emmylou Harris: ‘Boulder to Birmingham’, ‘If I Could Only Win Your Love’‘To Know Him Is To Love Him’. Great songs!
Mary Chapin Carpenter: This Shirt’, ‘Down In Mary’s Land’, ‘Quittin’ Time’ (I am listening to that right now!)
Carrie Newcomer: Before And After’, ‘Betty’s Diner’, ‘There Is A Tree’
Eva Cassidy: ‘Fields Of Gold’, ‘I Know You By Heart’, ‘True Colours’…  Wonderful singer!
Miriam Stockley: ‘Arcadia’ and so many more… This lady has a fantastic voice.
Nanci Griffith: ‘Once In A Very Blue Moon’ and ‘Late Night Grande Hotel’ and many more
Belinda Carlisle: ‘Summer Rain‘Heaven Is A Place On Earth’
Simon and Garfunkel: ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘Scarborough Fair’, ‘April Come She Will’
Tracy Grammer: ‘April Come She Will’, ‘Gypsy Rose’ and so many others…
Wanda Jackson: ‘I May Never Get To Heaven’, ‘Silver Threads And Golden Needles’ and many more…
Trisha Yearwood: ‘On A Bus To St. Cloud’ (one of my favourites!)
The Carpenters: ‘Top Of The World’…(you should hear me sing it!)

Doris Day       A childhood favourite actress/singer of mine (and worthy of her own post)

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Please Mr. Postman – Bear-a-thought Illustration

I lived and worked in Carlisle, Cumbria from November 1990 to September 1998. In those nearly eight-years, I made some wonderful friends and gained a great love of this historic city, which is located near England’s Lake District.
Please Mr. Postman for Blog (low-res)
When I was working on the 2010 Bear-a-thought Calendar, entitled ‘Song Bears’ I chose to illustrate a very well-known hit song ‘Please Mr. Postman’. This tune was first released fifty-three years ago to this day*.

Carlisle was the first place to gain a pillar-box in mainland Britain (making it the ideal choice for my illustration) and now boasts a handsome, scarlet hexagonal Penfold pillar-box in front of the city’s Town Hall. I gained permission to sketch the pillar-box (which was difficult at the time, as it was surrounded by scaffolding) and incorporated Dylan, the bear, into the picture.  The bear, was named after my friend Jennifer A. Stephenson’s grandson, Dylan. The majority of the outfits that my bears wore in the illustrations from 2005 to 2014 were designed and created by Jennifer. She was an invaluable help and an enthusiastic supporter of my work. I’m not always delighted with the final results or outcomes of my artwork, but, thankfully, this one managed to capture everything I had imagined.  I’m a person who loves to get personal letters in the mail; so I didn’t have any choice but to include a song featuring a postman…  Now did I?

The ‘Please Mr. Postman’ song was first released on 21 August 1961, by The Marvelettes and later released by The Beatles on 22 November 1963 and later again by The Carpenters on 8 November 1974.

*Note: The song ‘Please Mr. Postman’ was released on 21 August 1961, by The Marvelettes (which consisted of: Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, Georgeanna Tillman and Wanda Young).