Track 47 After is Always Before


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded June 3, 2014, August 10, 2014, June 30, 2016, November 17 and 22, 2016. Mixed November 22, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote this song on April 7, 2010. I revised the lyrics on May 25, 2015. The song was inspired by a dream. The first verse describes how I dreamed that I was walking an endless hallway, looking for a number I could never find. The hopelessness of the cause permeates the other verses. The last verse clearly is based on my last few years of employment.

The chorus is built on the concept of time, always a favorite with writers. The title comes from a phrase that the German author Gunter Grass wrote in his 2008 memoir, Peeling the Onion. The phrase suggests the elasticity of time and the possibility that some of our actions are preordained.

Leonard Cohen died last week. The mordant lyrics, melancholy music, and lush arrangement point back to the master.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitars, Piano, Organ, String Quartet, Tenor Sax, and Drums.


After is Always Before

I’ve been down this hallway before

Looking for a number on a door

Never found it, though I’ve tried

Someone tricked me someone lied


But I’ll try try try once again

In my book perseverance is no sin

Though the outcome’s not in doubt

I’ll take these cards and play them out



Time is gold

Time is lead

Time is what you love

And what you dread

Time at peace

Time at war


Is always before


I squint hard to place that face

Fighting words in a very quiet place

Turn your back they soon will leave

The hardest part unweave the weave



I walk this hall with a broken key

No longer care what they think of me

I’m a lost cause go write me off

I’m out of touch I’ve gone soft


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 47 After is Always Before

Track 46 Before Night Falls


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded November 3 and 17, 2016. Mixed November 17, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote this song during the 2008 FAWM (February Album Writing Month) and revised some of the words and music in December 2015.

As some of my previous songs show, I am drawn to film noir of the 1940s and 1950s, as well as books by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and James M. Cain. The lyrics document the interaction between a hardboiled detective and a suspect who has been threatened with the third degree. This takes place long before the reading of a suspect’s Fifth Amendment rights became a Supreme Court edict.

I particularly like this arrangement. The pedal steel guitar is a counterpoint to the distorted rhythm guitars. It reminds me of some of Neil Young’s darker albums from the mid-1970s.

Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar, and Drums.


Before Night Falls

You dance around my questions

You hitch and then you slide

Your story keeps on changing

How much you have to hide

I’ve watched you picking fruit

From those poisoned trees.

You grift and lift and always drift

Doing as you please.


I’ll have the truth

Before Night Falls

You’ll give it up

Before Night Falls


You’ve heard about my methods

This ain’t no spelling bee

Patience is no virtue

When it comes to me

To get along you’ll go along

Be my finger man

Point me to the others

Mixed up in this plan



Take it on the heel and toe

Find me what I need

With lots of ground to cover

Best show you’re up to speed

Failure is no option

Here on Curfew Street

I’ll watch what’s coming down

From my ringside seat


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 46 Before Night Falls

Track 45 Don’t Need a Woman Like You


Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded November 3 and 5, 2016. Mixed November 5, 2016.


Genesis: I don’t have the year I wrote this song. I can’t locate a lyric sheet or a demo tape. I believe I wrote it in 1978 or 1979. I do recall that the words and music came together quickly. I performed it like a Hank Williams song from the 1950s. In 1981, John Plomondon turned it into a rollicking country rocker. He played electric guitars, bass, and fiddle. This new recording has a rockabilly edge with the driving guitar and piano.

I was trying to write a commercial country song. A song publisher told me that I should change “woman” to “lover,” as women are a large demographic in country listenership and wouldn’t cotton to me telling off a cheating woman. I briefly acquiesced but have restored “woman” to the title and verses.

Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitars, Pedal Steel Guitar, Piano, and Drums.


Don’t Need A Woman Like You

Honey I don’t like lying

Though lying’s all you do

Honey now don’t deny it

I watched your rendezvous

And that is why

Our love is through

Honey I don’t need a woman like you


Honey we had some good times

But the good times are all gone

You gambled with our future

With all your carrying on

And that is why

I’m feeling blue

Honey I don’t need a woman like you



I’m not the kid that I was when

You first laid eyes on me

I’m a little more wise and worldly

And you won’t take advantage of me

Oh no


Honey I don’t like lying

Though lying’s all you do

Honey now don’t deny it

I watched your rendezvous

And that is why

Our love is through

Honey I don’t need a woman like you

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved


Track 45 Don’t Need a Woman Like You

Track 44 West of Baghdad (Remixing History)


Recording and Mixing Dates: October 29 and November 1, 2016. Mixed November 1, 2016.


Genesis: I wrote the lyrics on February 28, 2008. It was the last song I wrote for the FAWM (February Album Writing Month). The chorus is strangely prescient of the European refugee crisis of the past two years generated by the wars and atrocities in the Middle East.

I wanted to write an apocalyptic song, filled with the thoughts and lines I had been collecting for many years. I dispensed with narrative and let these random associations carry the day. The idea of “remixing history” is an update on how the victors get to rewrite history.   The key line for me is “Of the old world learn to say goodbye. “

I tried to assemble multiple music, percussion, and sound effect loops for the musical bed, hoping I could wed the idea of remixing in the lyrics with the musical accompaniment. I got close (I still have the track and it is oddly compelling) but I eventually abandoned the song.

I gave the lyrics to Jan Hauenstein, in hopes he could come up with a tune. He did and he did a great job. Jan composed the music in 2014 and released it that same year on his Dreams and Nightmares CD. For my version, I made several minor tweaks in the arrangement and changed a couple of words.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitars, Piano, and Drums.



Northwest Passage melting through

Empty heaven residue

Shadow bands across the morning sky

Dark shops selling damaged goods

Snipers nests out in the woods

Network failure we ask you to stand by


Kill the clock we’re quitting time

Behind each fortune stands a crime

Reason sleeps up in the old hotel

The price of culture is a lie

Sovereign tears shed for Versailles

The best revenge in life is living well



West of Baghdad, East of Rome

All God’s children are heading home

Past the point of no return they come

Remix history and change the sound

Turn things up and bring things down

Shift the weight of what’s been said and done


Countries of the shallow grave

Scorching earth and tidal wave

Elder statesman cross a strange terrain

Lost patrols without command

Unmarked cars in shakedown land

Pharaoh’s army rides the circus train


The house of cards has been foreclosed

The books were cooked and then exposed

Bite down hard on that poison pill

Yes I want it do you have some pull

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full

The coup de grace came in a coupe de Ville



Sacred precincts under guard

Admission with an ID card

Start looking for the Old Man in the Sky

Disregard what’s wrong or right

Download Babylon tonight

Of the old world learn to say goodbye


So I sit here mind ajar

Strumming on my moon guitar

Getting squeezed by the hands of time

All my life’s a shakedown cruise

What I found out I rarely use

I learned as much from a nursery rhyme


Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner and Jan Hauenstein All Rights Reserved


Track 44 West of Baghdad (Remixing History)