Springs Rich Pageant

With that camera
Take some pictures
From the palm of your hand
Capture something grand

Its almost spring
The days are longer
The buds will burst
Which one will be first?

I can't wait
For the return of the bees
Spring comes alive
With the buzzing of hives

Unique Art Manufacturing, Marx Tin Toys and Me

The Holoch family immigrated from Stuttgart to Newark, NJ in 1926. My grandfather came over first, and he had to have a sponsor. He was a machinist and his sponsor must have been a relative who knew someone here. It could have been Hildegard Marx, who married my second cousin, twice removed, Adolph Karl Holoch.

My grandfather and grandmother both worked at Unique Art Manufacturing in Newark, NJ. They also ran an apartment building at 206 Avon Avenue. Unique Art was located at 200 Waverly and was walking distance. Waverly was renamed Mohammad Ali (I think in the 70’s).

Because Unique Art had a very strong connection with Marx Toys, I would not be surprised if Hildegard Marx was the connection. You had to know someone and have a job when you immigrated back then.

Before my father passed in 2006, I showed him the thousands of dollars collectors pay for these toys and he laughed and said “For these cheap stamped metal things?”

Anyway, the tenants in their apartment building and at people at work were mostly German immigrants. My family was Evangelishe – which translates to Lutheran, and Hildegard Marx was Jewish. My father spoke German and Yiddish just because that’s what everyone around him spoke, and Yiddish is so close to German anyway.

Yesterdays song has a few Yiddish words thrown in as a nod to my families past life in Newark, NJ. Mazel Tov!

Please Be Mine?

Oh Halina!
Hakings broke the mold
Made of gold
After they made you

Oh Halina!
Your double meniscus
And sweet hibiscus
Got a hold on me

Oh Halina!
You made me see
So differently
You changed my life

Oh Halina!
You're Prefect
In every way
You're a keeper

Oh Halina!
You're so unique
From toe to cheek
Please be mine?


There's a Rhododendron
That grows near the creek
It just popped up
During last summers heat

It was part of a clan
Of like minded plants
They looked very thirsty
I caught them by chance

Now they are tall
And about to bloom
They want to thank me
For watering their roots

Caught in a Trap

See my post on Unique Art Manufacturing and Marx Toys for a hint at why I threw in “Shpilkes” in this song.

I'm caught in a trap
A giant bird cage
I wanna get out
And turn the page

You told me goodbye
Now I'll be free
I'm out of that cage
Where you had me

Please leave me alone
You wanted me gone
Stop following me
Get off of my lawn


Oy vey iz Mir
So many years
Too many shpilkes
Too many tears

Spring is Near

Spring is near
You can feel it
In the sun and air

Soon the Groundhog Speaks
And the Dragon Dance
Happen just this week

The old buckeye trees
Bursting buds will bloom
Along our flowing creek

Soon no vacancy
In our bird houses
Happy melodies

You Can’t Get There From Here

I figured out how to get around my fear of singing (Phonophobia). I make believe I’m some famous rock singer. A while back I channeled Mark E. Smith from The Fall and it turned out quite good. Yesterday was my Elvis day and today I channeled Lou Reed.

You can't get there from here
You must find another way
You've gone way off course
Well that's okay

We all get lost
Off the beaten path
In our misdirection
We always learn fast

Learn from your mistakes
Don't be afraid
Practice makes perfect
You'll make the grade

When you arrive
You will know
Sometimes it takes a while
Sometimes it's slow


You can't get there from here
You can't get there from here
You can't get there from here
You can't get there from here

Don’t Be Cruel

I’m going to see if I can try to continue writing songs for singers. Its different than what I’ve been doing, but the challenge is absolutely intriguing.

For “You Were a Sty in My Eye” I wrote the lyrics, then the music, and I had to keep tweaking the words so they flowed better with the music. I guess that’s called phrasing.

I don’t expect to be a great singer, but I want to be good enough that (in my fantasy world) I’d write these songs for a real singer and real band.

My motivation is the fun I’m having. I never had this much fun back in my 20’s playing gigs at dive bars. Now that I’ve learned basic music theory and work at it every day, after 2 years its all coming together. Its staring to feel natural and part of me. Jeff Tweedy, in his great little book “Write One Song” says he likes 1 in 5 songs and that you have to write every day and you have to create bad songs so you can have good songs. I couldn’t agree more. If I had this approach in the 80’s, I never would have left writing songs for the 30 something years that I did.

I can tell that the hard work is starting to pay off. And yeah, youth is wasted on the young. Hey there’s another funny song in here somewhere …..

Give me a C, a bouncy C!

My Favorite Singers

I grew up really close to the Appalachian Trail. I love any and all Bluegrass singers. I see bluegrass as “Hillbilly Punk”. I also love anything Americana, from Rockabilly, to Folk, Early Blues, etc. Tons of rock and pop…..

As far as more modern singers, here’s a short list:

Michael Stipe
Chris Cornell
Jay Fararr
Ben Schneider (Favorite song last year by Lord Huron)
Mark Kozolek
Iggy Pop
Dori Freeman
Richard Shindell
Natalie Merchant
David Bowie
Lou Reed
Andy Partridge
Colin Moulding
Colin Newman
Graham Lewis
Mike Patton
Johnny Cash
Gary Numan
Aimee Mann
Lucinda Williams
Allison Krause
Colin Melloy
Diana Krall
Elvis Costello
David Byrne
Jonathan Richmond
Layne Staley
Eddie Vedder
Scott Weiland
Neil Young
Mark Mothersbaugh
Debbie Harry
David Sylvian
Bryan Ferry
Gillian Welch
Billie Holiday
Ella Fitzgerald
Curt Cobain
Jim Morrison
Amy Winehouse (I think was so very special)

So many others, I'm overwhelmed and can't do this list just. But Jesus, when you try to sing you immediately understand how important the human voice is and how having a great voice is such a fine instrument. I love the singers who aren't technically great singers but who are so expressive and unique - they prove that if you put your heart and soul into it, with practice you can be at least decent.

I'm in awe of so many great singers.

I Was Born For The Stage

I might finally be over my fear of singing and thinking my voice is awful.

Here’s the funny back story of that last song. Michael Stipe, one of a handful of my favorite rock singers, used to love to do a bad Elvis impression. I thought, “What if I tried a Michael Stipe impression of him singing Elvis Style.

My wife and a few others said, no joke, it’s not terrible singing. I really do want to sing I’ve been deathly afraid of it …..

I was born for the stage
I was born to sing
Countless fans adore me
For my uncertain gift

My heart is on fire
I'm alight with desire
To paint the town red
Everyone is my friend

My adoring fans
Call me Saint
Its my singing
And the sounds that I paint