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Morning Song – Jumpin’ At The Woodside

Love B. Woods owned a lot of rooming establishments in mid-20th century Harlem. His Hotel Theresa was known as “the Waldorf of Harlem” and is today an officially designated New York City landmark.

By contrast, the Woodside Hotel—which had its best years when the Theresa was still a segregated business catering only to whites—was torn down decades ago and lives on only in Count Basie’s signature song, “Jumpin’ At The Woodside”.

Throughout the 1930s, the Woodside was the preferred place to stay in New York for Basie’s orchestra, as well as many other touring musicians and Negro League teams. Depending on whether you were talking about the scene, the dance music, or what was going on in the rooms upstairs, “Jumpin’ At The Woodside” could have a number of meanings.

Listening to Basie and his orchestra (solos by Earle Warren, Buck Clayton, Lester Young and Herschel Evans) swing, I suspect he meant all of them at once.



Beauty All Around Me – Balcony Garden


Morning Song – Despacito

Reggaeton and pop, Spanish and English, Puerto Rico and Canada, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber—it’s not just sexual tension that makes “Despacito” the song of the summer so far this year in the United States (and much of the world—it’s already topped the charts in 45 countries).

But yes, it’s mostly sexual tension: the conflicting desires of the narrator(s) who knows he has to take it slowly (“despacito“) with his lover but also can barely contain himself when he’s around her. “Despacito” is sexy, playful, danceable: what’s not to love?


Beauty All Around Me – Church Overlooking Harbor


Morning Song – You’re The One

Listening again to Tracy Chapman’s hushed, earnest, playful, intimate singing on her 2002 single, “You’re The One”, you too might be more than willing to have other people call you all those names (“crazy, no good…bitter, mean…no count-mixed up-account for nothing-day away from a bum on a street“) as long as she would say

Let’ em talk you down, call you names;
My mind’s made up, it ain’t gonna change;
I’m sure in my heart, happy and free;
You’re the one,
You’re the one,
You’re the one for me.


Beauty All Around Me – Striped Cathedral


Morning Song – What Is Life

What happened when George Harrison left the Beatles and wrote a Motown love song infused with Hindu spirituality and a fuzztone guitar….