What About The Things
Funny how it goes. I never really rated this one until I changed the key, which in turn changed the chords and the whole thing came alive. I know we wrote this in Paris in the 80's because originally there was a line about" the President going to California for a rest". Thus... Reagan. Later I asked David to lose that line as I wanted the song to be unspecific. However, it's remarkable that the rest of the headlines we kept in are totally relevant today. Nothing changes, it would seem.
One of my absolute favourite lyrics. In a few words, a short story. I think we may have changed what the man did to "buys and sells companies". I have a vague memory that, once again, it was rather particularly American and of its time. But the words are brilliant. And I mean that most sincerely.
Well, her name wasn't Joanna. I just needed another three syllable name. The lady in question lived in Paris and I took her round to Dave's one day. He was most impressed and came up with a rather grubby lyric. Lotsa "double entendres", as they say in those parts. There was no chorus at that stage. Many years later I insisted Dave give me some more to work on and thus" tease me some more please" etc arrived, and suddenly we had a song.
I'm A Big Boy Now
A late one, this. Certainly within the last five years. An example of how we managed to write long distance, so to speak. A great muddle of words would arrive by email and I would then look for the core of the song. Basically an editing job, trying to find the best bits. And then explaining that we needed another two verses. Sometimes, a bit like pulling teeth. But worth it.
Only the Brave
Again, a recent one. It absolutely sums up David, the jester who loved to perform for friends but could never be a professional entertainer. I hope to include this in our upcoming shows but it is going to be a bit odd singing about "hiding from the spotlight" whilst standing centre stage in, yes, the spotlight. We shall see.
I've Saved All Your Letters
This is the last song we actually wrote together. I was so excited by the emerging song that I went to Paris and sat by his bedside and literally dragged the rest of the lyric out of the old boy, weak as he was by then. "Safely tucked away", he said. "That's the killer line...Safely". And then a huge grin. So right. That one word tells us everything. I love this song.
A really early lyric. Those who follow such things will know that I put another tune to these words on the album Chad and I did for Rocshire records in the mid 80's. I never felt that the tune really fitted the Film Noir words. Much more of a late night jazz feel was needed. Dave always said that this song summed up his favourite world, when dames were dames and 'tecs were 'tecs and guys in fedoras always entered with a gun. Those who know his detective novels will immediately understand.
Can't Keep Up With My Dreams Anymore
Well, just how miserable do you want to be? This is one from the late 90's. Nothing to do with me, I just write the tunes. I included this song in an attempt at a musical theatre piece based on the vast Bottom Drawer in 2001. The wonderful Una Stubbs sang this and the audience melted. One of the few things that worked that evening. It's a killer, do doubt about it. Jo Meacham's favourite, by the way.
What Do I Know
David was going through a period of writing unbelievably complicated, densely witty, lyrics. A real challenge to set. See the next track "Wonder What Happened To Mary". I had been engrossed in The Beatles Anthology in the mid 90's and challenged David to write something a lot simpler. He went for the early Sixties stuff and this lyric is what arrived. Then it turned into something completely different. Funny how these things happen.
Wonder What Happened To Mary
Another of the old boy's story songs. Tricky stuff, you will agree. The inspiration may have been to do with a local painter in Paris, an American woman called Mary who sold posters of her work in the neighbourhood bars at the time. Or maybe the name Mary just fitted. One from the MIddle Period, i.e. the 90's.
Lie To Me
A later one, from this century. Once again, a strong contender for Sad Song Of The Year. Where did he get these miserable situations from, we ask. That said, I have had dealing with poets and this stuff is meat and drink to them. The sadder the better. They thrive on it.
Same Old Plot
Time to cheer up a bit. This one's from the late 80's. David is having a quiet joke at his own expense, writing about "middle aged waitresses frightened of mirrors" and suchlike. There is a great song about exactly that coming along in the next album. That's right...waitress, etc. He loved the images. "Roses pressed in an album, saved from some long ago spring". It's almost a silent movie. Not that cheerful, come to think of it.
Out Of My Mind
One from the mid 80's, again. I think we actually completed this in California. Not much to say about it, really. The old major to minor trick, I note. Some amusing chord progressions. And do people still buy TV guides? Yes is the answer, having looked in newsagents. Still current. Phew.
What's The Score?
A really early one, from the same time as Zanzibar Sunset. It may well have been left over from the days when he and Rick Jones were writing for that fine band, Meal Ticket. There are a number of lyrics from that period which I think of as his Tex Mex phase. I'm introducing them by degrees. So many bars. So much disappointment. You couldn't handle them all at the same time. Trust me on this one.