SONGS

Some writers do not like “explaining” their work and I suppose I can understand why. I don’t mind at all and always found it really interesting when a song I quite liked was elaborated on by the writer. I’m not sure if anyone will be interested but just in case I’ll go into each one- music and lyrics.

                                                         SIDE ONE-

1. “Conversations With Emily” 

Music- 

  I was noodling around on the guitar and I “stumbled” upon an arpeggio made up of 3 notes with the low and high notes the same and the middle note descending in half steps. With the low note as B and the high as E and the first middle note as D# this gave the first 4 chords as Emaj7, E7, C#m7, Cmaj7. I sang a melody over this that fills in the missing notes in the chord and then took it from there. I wanted the chorus music to have a much harder feel so I set it in C# minor with a completely different beat. The organ solo (with much, much practice!!) I thought came out rather nice and is played on the L.C. tour organ. I put the verse arpeggio Epiphone Casino guitar part through the Leslie speaker and is recorded in stereo- great sound for sure! 

Lyrics- 

  The song should be called “Conversations With Naomi” as that is who it is really about- but it just doesn’t sing well at all- so I changed it to Emily. Naomi Scully helped me out so much when I was working on some of the L.C. records after the tour. Quite often we would have coffee and talk for “a while” before getting going. She is a brilliant woman and was always so interesting and intriguing to converse with on many an esoteric subject.  She is also of exceptionally gifted artistic talent- so I was thrilled and grateful to have her do the cover art and the entire jacket design.

2. “A Very Good Year” 

Music- 

  This started off as a folk song in a minor key. Eventually I added a bit of a key shift and it ended up being rather up- beat! I always liked the way Rick Wakeman would play those fast B3 arpeggios so I put some of those in. The violin is a Mellotron sample from a Nord keyboard. I made a conscious attempt to have the music reflect the mood of the lyrics. Each story ends with a spirited drum section and then a melodic (but different) violin figure. The drums are meant to symbolize the chaos of a romantic “break-up” with the violin sections the tranquil emotional transition. 

Lyrics- 

  The original title of the song was “Downtown Girls”. I thought about 3 very different relationships (semi- autobiographical of course!).  To make it clear there is no residual bitterness whatsoever the last line brings in the title and over riding sentiment- “All and all I thought it was a very good year”.

3. “For Her Smile” 

Music- 

  I have always liked the way major seventh chords sound on the nylon string guitar. I was trying out a few progressions when I found one that sounded nice and not too overly familiar. Like the previous song I tried to have the music change with the lyric. The major seventh sections were meant to have a sort of “dream like” reminiscent quality. I think this is further enhanced by the use of the Wurlitzer electric piano (with plenty of tremolo) and the very close two part harmony on the vocal. The music then shifts to a harder minor feel as the lyric reflects the true reality of the situation. The bridge is separated into a similar stylistic mode. My sincerest thanks go out to Neil Larsen for the great Hammond B3 playing. 

Lyrics-

  Leonard would end pretty much every concert with the song “I Tried to Leave You” (before coming back for the musical epilogue- “Whither Thou Goest”- or later in the tour “Save the Last Dance For Me”). “I Tried to Leave You” ends with the line “Here’s a man just working for your smile”. I heard that so many times and then one day I thought – what about a song- “For Her Smile”. I told Leonard about it- he laughed and said that was a good idea! As most lyrics are this is also “semi-autobiographical”- about a relationship that never really went anywhere.

4. “Always Winter” 

Music- 

   This is a “piano” song written on my 1883 Hallett and Davis piano. I do love that piano and as I rescued it from being junked I think there is a spirit in it that helps me out! This song is in A major but the A major chord is not played until the final chord as an A/F# takes its place opening every verse. The form is a bit unusual for me- it goes verse 1, verse 2, bridge 1, verse 3, bridge 2 and end.  One rather odd thing- in the second bridge there is a progression I wanted to go Bm7 to C#m7. When I played it my bass hand which was intending to go from B to C# strangely went from B to A! I had in no way planned on this and said “Oh that’s wrong”- then I played it again and said “no that is much nicer”. In no way was this meant to be as it was like the spirit of the piano made me do it!  The chord is an Amaj9 instead of a C#m7- something I would never ever think of. It plays on the word “feel” and gives a nice emotional musical context to that word.  As the lyric is a bit melancholy I wanted the music to finish on a hopeful chord- hence the one and only use of the A major. 

Lyrics- 

  When I was at graduate school at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana we would sometimes drive to Chicago. I always remember how bleak it looked in the winter- “a sea of snow” with “trees in cloaks of white” so I thought of using these images as a metaphor for a song about depression. Although I am not a sufferer myself I imagine to be constantly depressed must feel as if it is always winter- “no thaw in sight” just waiting and hoping to feel- “that summer wind once more”.

5. “World of Her Own” 

Music- 

       I came up with this guitar figure based on a descending bass part- A/A, A/G, D/F#, F/F. This makes up the verse until the transition chord E/E, E/D, E/C#, E/B. A pre-chorus and a chorus follow in the key of E after that which I wrote on the piano. The wah-wah guitar is a “homage” to one of my very favorite guitarists- Dave Mason.  As this would be the last song on the first side I wanted to have an extended outro. The drums collapse to mono with the Mellotron horns, and guitar, and wah-wah vamping out. 

Lyrics- 

     There was a woman I knew on the L.C. tour that I felt was truly unique. She was quite beautiful, extremely smart, exceedingly charming- in short her allure was “positively Circean”!!! I did spend some time with her and although there was no romantic connection I always found her captivating in the extreme. One interesting aspect of the lyrics are the rather complicated rhyme scheme. The inner rhymes (a great show tune technique!) make the lyric flow very smoothly. The story as portrayed is a bit of an exaggeration- but the spirit is indeed sincere.

                                                       SIDE TWO-

1. “Yesterday’s Man” 

Music- 

   I do like the musical motif of the vocal melody holding one note while the chords (harmony) changes around it. In this case it is the melody being a D note over D, G, Bb major chords. Being sung in three part harmony I think it makes a nice (slightly striking) opening sequence. The rest of the song is nothing unusual except for possibly the 2 bridges after each of the first two choruses or perhaps they should be called just extended choruses. I got the idea from Justin Hayward’s songs with The Moody Blues. A lot of his compositions have many different sections- and in his case- they are all excellent! I owe an editing thanks to my good friend Debbie Little. When I played her the original it had a 16 bar guitar solo and a slightly different ending. She very kindly and diplomatically said “I think you might want to give some thought to cutting the solo in half- and I really like those D, G, Bb chords- could you bring them back at the end?” Of course what she really meant was Ed, come on now, you don’t have the lead guitar chops to pull off a 16 bar solo!! (I totally agree with her!) So I cut the solo in half and put the chords at the end- much, much better for sure. As Debbie is a great songwriter/musician herself- it comes as no surprise that she was able to improve on my effort. 

Lyrics- 

    I was in Trader Joe’s and saw this guy around my age all tricked out in full hippie regalia. He had the pretty full complement from the gray balding ponytail down to the sandals. Now don’t get me wrong- far be it from me to judge anyone’s look or fashion choices- but something just seemed off- like he missed the last train back to Woodstock many, many yesterdays ago. I went home and wrote the lyric about that very thing. Believe me the irony of the fact that this whole record is meant to sound like something from “yesterday” is not lost on me. In my own way I am my own “Yesterday’s Man”- albeit a musical one. (I would never ever have a balding grey ponytail, wear beads and tie-dye, or socks with sandals.) I suppose in more ways than one- “It’s harder to move on, from the twilight than the dawn”.

2. “Enough of Time” 

Music- 

   I wrote this on piano with the full intention of having a horn section throughout- like those superb horn parts on the 60’s songs by The Grassroots as in “Temptation Eyes” and “Midnight Confession”. I do not know who arranged or played those (perhaps “The Wrecking Crew”??) but they are just fantastic. I do like the key change facilitated by the whole step up tack-piano runs. This puts the verses in E and  choruses in F#. After a transitional genuine tape machine flange the intro comes back as the outro with a vocal “round” using the word “time” (like a clock??) and a plaintive alto sax solo nicely played by Jenny Wabich completes the journey playing over the same intro piano sequence. 

Lyrics- 

   As anyone who has been on an “extended” music tour knows- it is extremely hectic! Although there were persons I wished to spend time with it there was always much too rushing around for that ever to happen. I wrote this song thinking about one particular person whose company I always very much enjoyed. I am glad to add that we have since on occasion been known to “wile away a sunny afternoon”- always nice. 

3. “Something to Smile About” 

Music- 

   Quite a number of song “standards” have a vocal intro that never comes back. It is generally rather non-melodic and often chordally complex so when the actual song starts it appears very melodic by contrast. I always admired this technique and thought John Lennon used it at least three times to great affect- “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, “Bad to Me” (sung by Billy J. Kramer), and his masterpiece , “If I Fell”. The main verse sections of my song are kind of bouncy, as I envisioned a sort of “Cole Porter” feel. I put in a half step down key change to a minor key in the bridges as the lyric tone changes from wholly optimistic to slightly somber. The clarinet arrangement adds a nostalgic character similar to their use in The Beatles- “When I’m 64” and “Honey Pie”. Many thanks to Brian Walsh- playing all the clarinet and baritone clarinet parts.

Lyrics- 

   When I was working on L.C.’s song “You Got Me Singing” I thought to myself- “I’ve got to write a happy song like that”. What about “You Got Me Smiling”- no, no much too close- so it eventually changed into – “Something to Smile About”.