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contents:

  1. Can’t Keep Quiet
    1. For some years this existed as a demo about which I had my doubts. Then I decided it was the way I had sung the verses that was bugging me, so I rerecorded them. Lo and behold—it’s alive!! This song is the only keyboard-based one on this album, but I promise more will be forthcoming.
  2. I Give Up
    1. For those who wonder whether the music or the words come first, for me it is usually the music. For quite some time I had a guitar lick, based on D G d g b e' tuning, that I was kicking around before I suddenly thought up the chorus and title. Once I had that, the rest flowed easily. And it definitely had to have ROCK guitars. Even so, musicians in training should please note how important the rests are!
  3. Something to Say
    1. The same story applies to this one, which began life as a guitar solo. Then I thought of the first line, “I’ve got something to say....” and the rest came after I asked myself, well, what DO I have to say? Incidentally, the high range of the vocal seemed the only way to go, but it gave me no end of trouble trying to make it come out acceptably. Your mileage may vary.
  4. A Paradise for Me
    1. This song was one of ten that I wrote with a fellow named Eddie Leiper. He wrote the words and I wrote the music to fit them, which makes these songs’ gestation the opposite from my usual pattern. Eddie is no longer with us, sad to say, but this song lives on. It’s one of a few songs of mine that feature recorders; I played for years in the recorder group at Ventura College, and I have to say I got rather good at it! In this case I got a unique timbre by using three tenor recorders playing in a high register rather than the more usual alto.
  5. When the Winter Comes
    1. After finally buying a ukulele, I just knew I had to use it in some pop/rock songs. Ukulele, drums, bass, and crunchy electric guitars seem to go together remarkably well. The drums in this song came from the “Model 12” virtual instrument in Digital Performer, and trills on the keyboard (by setting adjacent keys to the same snare sound) became amazingly convincing drum rolls as the song is fading out!
  6. Cajun Girl
    1. This song is an homage to a classic Cajun recording from 1928: Ma Blonde est Partie (aka Jolie Blonde) by Amadie, Ophy, & Cleoma Breaux. I can barely explain the hold this song has over me, but there’s something cosmic about it that emerges somehow from the nasal, out-of-tune vocal, the simple two-chord guitar, the wheezy accordion, and the violin floating over the top of it all. For my song, a pair of harmonicas had to stand in for the accordion. (I realize that this sound might be an aquired taste, which is why I will remind you that your player has a “track forward” button on it. At least I hope so.)
  7. Don’t Know About That
    1. I had the chorus of this song for well over a decade before I decided I had better finish the lyrics. This is one of my few forays into social criticism, in which I express my feelings towards certain long-established ideas trumpeted by the loudly religious. I guess the title does in fact say it all! (If you find the lyrics displeasing, perhaps this is a second one you could skip.) Electric guitars, bass, and drums. Oh yes, and my Juno-60 gets to pop in during the bridges doing its Hammond Organ imitation.
  8. Unknown Blues
    1. Based on a guitar tuning of D A d f# b e' and capoed up one fret, this is another song in which the music existed long before I finally put lyrics to it. Acoustic guitars, mostly; recorded in stereo this time, plus handclaps, thumps, and other percussive propulsion, electric bass guitar joining in verse two, and a whistling solo.
  9. The C.I.A. Song
    1. When reports about spying on American citizens started circulating, I thought I would be funny and write a little ditty about it. Really, that’s all I had in mind. I swear. (If the real CIA decides to watch me because of this, they’re going to be BORED TO TEARS and I’m not kidding.) Acoustic guitars, bass, Latin(?)-style percussion, electric guitars, and a trio of flutes round out the instrumentation. The flute in question cost me all of eighty cents in the long-gone “Raj of India” import store; it’s a piece of bamboo with some holes in it! The flute, not the store.
  10. Long Hard Climb
    1. Some songs came easily to me, but for some unknown reason this one was like pulling teeth! The work was worth it, but it really was a LOT of work. For the chord progression I used in the chorus, I had the beginning but couldn’t quite pin down how I wanted it to go after the first two lines. I wrote out and tried over thirty-five variations until settling at last on the version you have before you! The lyrics went through at least two complete revisions as well. And I didn’t think of having the second half of the verse move up a half-step until I had already recorded it, necessitating some very careful re-recording. But the moral is that hard work pays off; I like it so much I made it the title song.
  11. Please Grow Up
    1. Another of the Leiper-Powers collaborations. I originally recorded this and A Paradise for Me in 1977, and these re-recordings are basically the same as the originals, right down to the stereo panning of the instruments, but arguably better-performed! Please Grow Up was even recorded on the same 1/2" analog 8-track tape format I used the first time, though this time it was on my own machine. The Beatles influence on this one should be unmistakable.
  12. Waiting for Tomorrow
    1. A sad kind of a tune, and probably not something in a vein in which I would write any more. A few acoustic guitars and bass seemed to be all the song needed. It was a song that I had recorded, not gotten too excited about, and put away for quite a while before coming back to it and realizing that it had turned out just right!
  13. Song for the Mind
    1. This is actually the second or third song I ever wrote. Oddly, I never got around to making a decent recording of it until now, but I was impelled to tackle it when I finally acquired a decent classical guitar. (This guitar also puts in an appearance in the bridges of Long Hard Climb, where it takes over the rhythm parts and also has a solo.) The lyrics were originally aimed at being peculiar and funny, but the music would have none of that and stayed resolutely serious and somber the whole while. The recorders were not an afterthought; they were in it from the very beginning. In fact, this recording is exactly like my earliest demos in every detail—but substantially better sounding!
  14. The Bug Parade
    1. A childhood filled with 1930s Warner Brothers and Fleischer Brothers cartoons on TV is probably responsible for this little oddity. (There even is a cartoon with that very title, though my song was not directly inspired by it.) Another possible influence would be the recordings of Cliff Edwards (Ukulele Ike), for this is the other appearance of my ukulele on this CD. My violin returns as well, played pizzicato. Plus, there are two instruments here not heard elsewhere in any of my recordings: a Hohner Melodica, which gave just the right touch playing chords on the offbeats, and a clown whistle—well-known to the thirties animators—that demanded to put in an appearance. This song seemed just the thing to put at the end, and so there it is.

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