Bees

After fixing yesterday’s attempt at a song with vocal melody – I decided to try to write a song in the key of B – and I saved the song in Cubase as “bees” – jokingly. Then I wrote the lyrics – and like the guitar chords – they just flowed out. The vocal melody was easy as could be – its exactly the kind of song I can sing given my limited singing abilities. (I will most likely take voice lessons – but I really need to figure out how I want my voice to sound. I know I don’t want to sing opera, art songs or lounge music. I want edgy sounding singing – and am not interested in “pretty / choir boy”). But I digress . . . . Then the Cello / Bass and Piano just rolled out lickety-split . . . Then I remembered an Assemblage piece and Photo I took years ago that had a bee in it – and Voila!

Funny how this all works . . . its a cool journey for sure!

There was a crooked man
Who lived in a crooked house
He made a mess of everything
He really was a Class A Louse

He shot himself in the foot
He kicked himself in the ass
He kicked himself so hard
That he ran out of gas

There was a decent man
Who lived a life of love
He honored everyone he met
He was sent from heaven above

The people loved him back
They knew he really cared
The strength of love was everything
Everything he had he shared

There was a hive of bees
Where all the honey was made
The bees all worked together
The honey was the finest grade

The sweetest honey wins
The peoples hearts and minds
If you want some honey
You have to be very kind

My Small Recording Studio Success

I started recording with Cubase LE two years ago using a Focusrite 2i2 and I had no idea about mixing and just used headphones. I liked Cubase so much I purchased the Pro edition. Here’s what I finally ended up with – a zero latency home studio with great monitoring and mixes:

  • Cubase Pro
  • SSL2+ interface
  • Yamaha HS-5’s for stereo mixing
  • Avantone Cube for mono mixing
  • Fender Mustang 50 watt amp
  • Royer R10 and Shure SM-57 on the guitar amp
  • SE Electronics VR2 for vocals

That’s it – very simple. I had done shootouts on all of the sub $500 interfaces and tried all of the decent microphones in the $500 ish or less class, and these won hands down.

Mike Seniors Mixing Secrets for Small Studios was the major breakthrough. Once I carefully read his book my home studio went from schmoe to pro.

The SSL2+ is quite a bit better than the UA Volt 276 that I have. While I like the Volt 276 ergonomics better, the SSL2+ preamps are the cleanest out of all of the budget interfaces. The MOTU M2 is pretty nice too, but even though the SSL2+ has a few things I feel they could have done better, nothing came close to it’s clean sound.

Half Bright Scholars

I wrote a vocal melody that was out of my league – so I decided to save this song by using “Sprechgesang” – or “speak-sing”. As it turns out – it fits the song much better since its basically a “two guys walk in a bar” joke.

Some of our illustrious politicians went to Ivy League schools. I’m not at all impressed . . . .
Two Half Bright Scholars
Walked into a bar
One forgot his wallet
The other locked his keys In his car

One Half Bright Scholar
Became President
He really believed
That He was Heaven sent

Chorus
Giant swollen ego
Plus Giant swollen head
Amounts to less than zero
When all is done and said



Radio Depot

This is the first song that I’ve written where I used the keyboard to write a vocal melody first with lyrics, then the guitar, then I sang – before adding bass and mandolin. I’m very pleased how it turned out – since I figure I need vocal lessons and a year of singing practice before I become at least “OK” at singing. Its a different way of writing songs, and a very good challenge.

Radio Depot
Railroad station
Used to broadcast
Across this nation

Railroad Depot
Radio station
Trains that travelled
Across this nation

I've been blessed
To know these things
Experience the change
That progress brings

Tubes that glowed
Into the night
Orange amber
Radio light

Trains that whistled
Into the night
Tenders hot
Engine light

I've been blessed
To know these things
Experience the change
That progress brings

Garden Variety

In my garden
Lizards scurry
Past the flowers
In a hurry

Then they stop
Doing their pushups
Stick their tongue out
Leave abruptly

Chirping babies
In the birdhouse
Sing for supper
Mother Titmouse

Father Titmouse
Back and forth
Bringing food
From backyard source

Pocket Fisherman

Pockets full
Pocket book
Going fishing
With a hook

Cast a line
In his pocket
What he found
A rusty locket

Rusty locket
Her young face
Left him stranded
Left in haste

No remorse
Out his door
Jaw hung open
And hit the floor

Wallet empty
Wallet bare
Moths flew out
They were scared

Heart a wallet
Nothing left
Now she's gone
He's bereft

What's the use
Gave up living
Pain's a gift
That keeps on giving

Lint and moths
Pocket rust
Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust

The Door is a Jar

The door
Is a jar
On the hood
Of a car

The hat
Is a lid
On the head
Of a kid

The key
Is a switch
On a wall
Of red bricks

The rug
Is a hat
Made of hair
From a cat



There’s Light

There's Light
There's Light
There's Light
There's Light

Light at the end
Of the tunnel
And for once
It's not a train

There's Light
There's Light
There's Light
There's Light

Carry the zero
I've paid my dues
My time is due
To leave the pain

Broken Wagon

This one requires a little set up. It was 1987 and I was teaching programming classes at a company called PSDI in Cambridge, Mass, in the Boston area.

On the weekend I took a photo pilgramage trip to Lowell, Mass, birthplace of Jack Kerouac. I saw his inspiration for Dr. Sax, and just what it would have been like growing up there. But while crossing a bridge over the Merrimac, near an old mill, I saw a Radio Flyer Wagon, frozen in solid ice on the river.

For me, that was the image that has always stuck with me regarding Lowell.

Kerouac (and my father born in the same year a month apart) would have turned 100. I’m glad to see there were quite a few mentions of this anniversary.

Last night
Last flight
Radio Flyer
Solid Ice

Merrimac
Lowell Mass
Mill Town
Ti Jean

12 Stations
Oblations
Dr. Sax
Notations

Dharma Bums
On The Road
Vue Girard
Very Odd

1914 Ghost Bridge

While I can’t make any sense of this Russian Invasion (or any other war), I can at least think about my parents and grandparents who were part of the two World Wars. My grandfather fought for the Germans in WWI – but was a pacifist and refused to shoot and kill anyone. My father landed on the beach in Normandy in WWII fighting for the Americans, and was in ordinance fixing tanks and jeeps and whatnot. By the time Vietnam rolled around I just missed the draft by a couple of years. My father said he’d move us to Canada if he had to to avoid another senseless war.

You laid in your foxhole
You couldn't hurt a fly
Grandpa Dearest
You're a hero of mine

No country too big
To take another's life
You lived and let live
The Teachings of Christ

Ghosts of that war
Have come back to haunt
The bridge in the valley
What the enemy wants

Chorus

1914 Ghost Bridge
Just over the hill
The enemy advances
Against our will