Track 46 Before Night Falls

interrogation

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.

Lyrics

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.

CHORUS:

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

CHORUS

 

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

CHORUS

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 46 Before Night Falls

Track 45 Don’t Need a Woman Like You

broken-glass-with-heart

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.

 Lyrics

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

 

Bridge:

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)

syrian-refugee-crisis

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.

 Lyrics

WEST of BAGHDAD (REMIXING HISTORY)

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

 

CHORUS:

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

CHORUS

 

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

CHORUS

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner and Jan Hauenstein All Rights Reserved

 

Track 44 West of Baghdad (Remixing History)

Track 43 T-Boned

car-wreck-pic-628x330

Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded October 22 & 23, 2016. Mixed October 23, 2016.

Genesis: I wrote this song on March 6, 2008. It is about the unexpected in life. One minute someone is doing fine, the next moment everything changes for that person and those around her.

Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitars, B3 Organ, Alto Sax, Drums and Percussion.

Lyrics

T-Boned

The road of life is filled with signs

Stoplights and yellow lines

You have to keep your eyes wide

That’s for sure

You never know, friend

What might occur

 

Belt yourself tight move through life

Check your mirrors not once but twice

Watch your speed

Do what you can

But there comes a point

When it’s out of your hands

 

CHORUS:

A new transaction with each intersection

Part fate part natural selection

Right of way

Light so green

A split second later

It’s an accident scene

You got T-Boned

Out of the Blue

You got T-Boned

Nothing you could do

You got T-Boned

Didn’t have a clue

You got T-Boned

Believe it’s true

You wake up or you don’t

When you get T-Boned

 

Around the corner down the block

Take your chances cheat the clock

With no guarantees

Hesitation won’t do

You’ve got to keep moving

And work things through

CHORUS

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 43 T-Boned

Track 42 If Truth Be Told

35957453-man-walking-away-on-an-empty-desolate-raod-stock-photo

Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded October 16 and 20, 2016. Mixed October 20, 2016.

 

Genesis: This is another song I wrote during FAWM (February Album Writing) 2008. I wrote the words and music on February 10, 2008. I was dealing with some serious issues with a family member and this song was my safety valve to blow off some steam.

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

Lyrics

If Truth Be Told

You’d be out of this house

Out on the street

Walking away

With a small valise

You’d be out in the cold

If Truth Be Told

You’d be pleading and crying

Claiming what’s true

Defying the facts

With your latest tattoo

You’d lose your foothold

If Truth Be Told.

If Truth Be Told

And you shed that skin

Coated with lies

Denial and sin

Standing there naked

Exposed to the light

Wouldn’t make no difference

If you’re wrong or right

You’d be searching for words

Trying to evade

The cards that you dealt

The hand that you played

You’d cross a new threshold

If Truth Be Told

You’d be out in the cold

If Truth Be Told

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 42 If Truth Be Told

Track 41 One Big Rumble, One Big Boom

mushroom-cloud

Recording and Mixing Dates: Recorded October 11 and 13, 2016. Mixed October 13, 2016.

Genesis: I wrote this song on February 23, 2008 as part of FAWM (February Album Writing Month). The title for this song came from a quote by music producer T-Bone Burnett in which he talked about how he liked the rumble and boom of bass drums. (Many of his productions feature the bass drum and the tom-toms over the snare drum.) But I didn’t write about drums, I wrote about violence.

Looking back, the music, structure, and lyrics owe a lot to Bob Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” and Rodney Crowell’s “Ain’t Living Long Like This.” The middle verse is a homage to the famous opening shot in the Orson Welles film, Touch of Evil. The last verse weaves in a few phrases I picked up in Army military intelligence.

Last year, Jan Hauenstein wrote a cool, swinging tune for the lyrics and released it on his album Romance, Predators, Death and the Universe.

Production: Bass Guitar, Electric Guitars, and Drums.

Lyrics

ONE BIG RUMBLE, ONE BIG BOOM

Joe and Sonny were down by the swamp

Got into a Friday night contretemps

Sonny got the better of Joe with his fists

Joe ran to his truck man he was blitzed

He cursed and made a grim remark

With a shotgun barrel gleaming in the dark

By the light of the silvery moon

One Big Rumble

One Big Boom

 

Time bomb ticking in a border town

Disguised by noise you couldn’t hear the sound

A fat cat crossing the borderline

In a rag top Chrysler that looked spit shined

Blue-eyed blonde sitting by his side

The clock struck twelve there went her ride

By the light of the silvery moon

One Big Rumble

One Big Boom

 

Adjutant general and the diplomat

Sitting at the bar chewing up the fat

Near miss wars and high commands

Black bag codes and poker hands

Comparing notes they both agreed

The end will come with blinding speed

By the light of the silvery moon

One Big Rumble

One Big Boom

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

 

Track 41 One Big Rumble, One Big Boom

Track 40 Come the Early Spring

gristmillRecording and Mixing Dates: Recorded October 4 and 6, 2016. Mixed October 6, 2016.

 

Genesis: Since hearing Richard Thompson in Fairport Convention in the late 1960s, I have been a fan of his songwriting and guitar playing. His English take on folk and folk-rock is very special. I wrote “Come the Early Spring” in 1987 and I can see his influence both in lyric style and melody. This dream song about the singer’s beloved marrying the miller’s son came before I learned that my surname means “grist miller” in German. Perhaps I was the one who stole her away from the singer.

Over the years I experimented with a number of arrangements, from acoustic guitar-vocal to heavy electric guitars. I finally settled on an arrangement that suggests the dream state of the singer. The pedal steel guitar, fiddle, and synthesizer produce an undulating drone background that is supported by the rhythms of the guitar and mandolin. The introduction and the interlude were created by extending the first half of the verse chords from half to full measures.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle, Pedal Steel Guitar, Synthesizer, and Drums.

Lyrics

Come the Early Spring

I dreamed her down to Birmingham

I dreamed her to my bed

I told her of my love for her

And this is what she said

“Dream on, dream on, you foolish man

You do not know a thing

For I’m to wed the miller’s son

Come the Early Spring”

 

I was meant to love you dear

You said that you loved me

I haven’t heard a word you said

No change has come to thee

“Forget the words, forget the kiss

Forget the wedding ring

For I’m to wed the miller’s son

Come the Early Spring

 

I told her I was foolish

I told her I was vain

I said that I was filled with love

A cloud pent up with rain

She pulled her hair she pulled her sleeve

She pulled the final string

“I’m to wed the miller’s son

Come the Early Spring”

 

When I awoke I wrote my love

Describing all I dreamed

I laughed and smiled as I penned the tale

The merry words they streamed

Her short reply was to the point

I still can feel the sting

“Yes, I’m to wed the miller’s son

Come the Early Spring”

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner All Rights Reserved

Track 40 Come the Early Spring