All Night Radio
Back in 1991 a friend of mine at work gave me a tape of some guitar he recorded and asked if I was interested in writing some lyrics for them. After listening to some of Barry's tunes for a few days I turned four of them into Owl & Monkey, I Can't Leave You Alone, Reoccurring Dream, and Dick Tracy which all appear in All Night Radio. The first named for the coffee shop in San Francisco where I wrote the words and the latter two being a bit lyrically (and musically) dark and creepy. No true stories here, just wrote down what the music was telling me. THe pictures in my mind were vivid when I heard these tunes. Other than a rough demo tape of just vocals and guitar they never really saw the light of day. I then took a 13 year break from writing and in 2006 decide to complete the album I started all those years ago. You can tell it was a long time ago because I wanted to make an "album" and not a CD. Here it is...... When I was growing up, as far back as I can remember, I would always go to sleep listening to the radio and often wake to the sound of static after the station had signed off. I can still hear the jingle of JC's Golden Oldies on WLLH in Lowell. I used to think all of these performers were singing live and would come into the radio station to perform each song. One after another, every night, what a show! To this day I can't be in my car, house, or office, without the radio (sometimes my iPod) on. I wrote All Night Radio one night waiting for Ron to come over and lay down some bass for some of the other songs. Ended up he couldn't make it so I sat down and this wrote itself in about half an hour. Thanks for not showing up Ron! Having trekked across country by car several times I've had some very memorable moments in small town America. One day I broke down on the border of Illinois and Indiana while I was driving from Boston to California. I spent the entire morning at the local garage, the best breakfast joint in town, and even got a haircut at the barbershop, complete with a barber-pole by the front door. That particular morning was the best part of my trip as I look back. I heard the same story several times that morning about a car accident that a popular teenager had been in over the weekend. By noon, I felt like I knew the poor girl. Blue Lines are those small roads on maps (in blue) that I find are the best way to see real America. A kid on summer vacation with his parents, sitting on the deck and watching his high school sweetheart walk down the beach all by herself. The only problem is that she doesn't know she is his sweetheart. He's wondering why he's sitting there and not walking down the beach with her. But years later.....happy ending. He ends up Together with the one he was supposed to be with. Perhaps that summer fling was not meant to be. It might have torn a hole in the fabric of the universe and undid everything that was destined to happen. Either that or it would have been a kick-ass summer?? I wanted to do a song that was rather stripped down and lose. No fancy chords, notes, and not too many instruments. You Got to Help Yourself is a little bluesy, folksy, everyday song in E that took at least 20 minutes to write. Didn't realize it when I was putting it together but after listening to it I'd say my influence here is Norman Blake. Do you know what happens to people when the sun comes out after a long, cold, grey winter in San Francisco? They go nuts. They swarm the streets and parks, floating on air being happy and friendly to everyone. I guess we on the east coast would call it spring fever. It's a wicked natural high. It was such a day that I wrote Owl and Monkey. Owl and Monkey was my favorite local coffee shop in the Sunset. Strong coffee, open mic each weekend, and full of people reading, writing, or just chillin'. Within about a two month period I met several different couples who got married, divorced, and remarried. It made me think of people who do that and can't stand being together or apart but they just keep coming back to each other because they have to. Their stories are summed up here, at least how I see them, in Wandering Back to You. Last year I visited The Spy Museum in Washington DC with my wife and kids. There was an exhibit on informants and they showed an old movie on how you could help preserve "national security". It recounted a story of how disaster struck when a soldier who was out drinking gave some tramp information about troop movement. The troop was later ambushed. Remember the saying "lose lips sink ships?" That slogan was a focus of the film and widely used many years ago. Since 9-11, it seems we have become a bit over zealous about a lot of things. Funny though we announce everything we do, all of our strategy these days on CNN. If the people who ginned up the slogan "lose lips sink ships" could hear what we broadcast to the world today they might think we were crazy. Paranoia strikes deep now more than ever. Some things never change. Seems like if they are not People Like Us they are not to be trusted. Believe me, this song does not poke fun at our friends to the north, it pokes fun at their neighbors to the south. I Can't Leave You Alone started out as an acoustic folk tune but when Greg and I were recording some horns on another song we started playing around with this. Greg laid down some great horn tracks and I changed the guitar to electric which gave it a whole new feeling. Reoccurring Dream and Dick Tracy just wrote themselves. As I listened to the music for each song the whole thing played out in my head. This is NOT based on any experience in my life!