Lionel Ritchie (All Night Long, Motown, 1983 )
Here I am, writing about playing again…
Curtis Mayfield, a Chicago native, wrote a soulful song in the same year that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The country was heartbroken – a beloved, genuinely charismatic leader was snuffed out and snatched from our lives. We had had Camelot and now there was chaos. Jacqueline Kennedy, whose pink suit got splattered with blood, was sitting next to her husband in the open car when his skull was shattered. She was traumatized, and so were we…
Curtis Mayfield’s poem organically emerged, offering solace, soothing me then and now:
“Cause it’s alright…Give yourself a chance…have a good time.” (“It’s All Right,”released on a 45 in 1963).
Over the years, the lyrics remained, vaguely, in my consciousness… On Saturday, I researched a link from someone’s twitter profile. The Impressions popped up. I had no clue that Mayfield, one of my favorite singers, was part of a trio: Curtis Mayfield, Fred Cash, and Sam Gooden.
This past Thursday night, I ate at Guido on Flatbush Avenue (Brooklyn near the 3 train) – a fab, authentic, Japanese restaurant. On my right was the owner’s graffiti wall where diners scribble their thoughts…’Peace through music’ jumped out at me. Ummm I thought. Of course…music, the universal language….a vibration which changes the water in our 50+ trillion cells. The words of A. J. Muste, an American peace activist are apt: “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” The Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, explains that in the present moment, we create internal peace with kindness, joy and our smile with each step we take. This inner experience reflects outward and peace is shared (“Peace is Every Step”, 1991). I would say choose love over fear in your daily thoughts and interactions…and compassion grows, touching everyone through our connection with All That Is.
Returning to Lionel Ritchie:
“…Come join the fun, it’s a merry-go-round
Everyone’s dancing their troubles away
Come join our party, See how we play!…”
In closing, I want to add a further thought from the Impressions, 1965, ABC – Paramount:
“People get ready, there’s a train comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board.
All you need is faith…no ticket, you just thank the Lord.”
I’d say that the train is finally here.