Featuring a collaboration with Frank Howson as lyricist on six tracks, this is an album of beautiful, laid-back ballads just perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon's listening...
Sun~day (n) anc. - the worship of the sun brought with it the desire to commemorate its life encouraging properties by assigning it a special hour of the day, thereafter a recurring day in ancient calendars (Roman: dies solis, Greek: hemera heliou, German: Sonntag) "Bringer of heat and light, your wondrous sun energy brings also the synergy of soul and spirit. May it forever be thus!" Pleonkhamun IV 2103BC
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SHANTY TOWN (Lyric by Frank Howson) Not a real shanty town of course, this is a destination where destiny plays a mean hand. This could be the mythical end of the line, but when the story gets going with a jaunty bunch of notes you may start to get suspicious. The thumb piano, more correctly known as the mbira or kalimba of Southern and Eastern Africa that you hear at the start and throughout, is not a toy but an instrument many hundreds of years old. It has value in religious ceremonies where its repetitive or cyclical rhythmic phrases are thought to be helpful in communicating with ancestor spirits. "In their sea of sadness you can drown". An Ashanti town is not to be confused with this. The Ashanti are a masterful race of the Gold Coast region of Africa and their towns do not have seas of sadness, so drowning does not constitute a major health hazard there.
OLI-V AND ME (Lyric by Frank Howson) What sweetness that breeze evokes. There must be memories floating on every blush of wind because even the smallest breath of recalling can fill the mind. Bitter-sweet, though, at times that breath can be; borne of lingering longing that forlorn dreams enlist on their way to wakening. Proffer this: "May you always know how much you're loved" but do not follow what the breeze may do with it. Cherish the evocation.
THE FACE I CAN'T FORGET (Lyric by Frank Howson) When I was a callow youth beginning my musical career in the early 1960s, I was privileged to work with the Manhattan Quartet. Bill on piano, Sid on vibraphone, Warren on double bass and Harold vocalising and on drums were an inspiration to many in those days of jazz and late nights on Sydney strips when that city was realising its cool potential. Somehow from the recesses of my musical cache that inspiration emerged in the melody and arrangement for this song. Harold would have caressed the lyric, Sid would have added gloss to the vibe part, Bill and Warren would have classed-up the chords. Ah well, forty-something years too late for all of that. I have a reputation for being tardy.
ALL MY LIFE (Lyric by Frank Howson) Frank started sending me his wonderful lyrics in mid 2005 and, though this was not the first to arrive, it was the first one that really crept into my imagination so it began our collaboration. I was fascinated by its emotion and depth. It also sounded like it could have come from a musical. Many months were to pass before the song reached the recording studio, such was the fine-tuning we embarked on to fashion this piece. So here it now stands, waiting for a musical to lift it from the studio to the stage. Any offers?
THERE WAS A TIME (Lyric by Frank Howson) "Long time ago now" is the wistful imagery that covers the frame of this song. Playful little celeste, sonorous old cello trade lines. The tone is sepia but "ah, what a time". There's that capricious breeze again, evoking "such a sweet and bitter time". Listeners really listen to this song. It whispers and lilts to them and they drift and meander in return. There will always be a time, but not the same time for all ways. Let's meet on the station and talk about where we're going.
YOU IN THE MIRROR Dedicated to the 17th of May. Voluptuous and romantic. Birthday of French composer Erik Satie, who rejected romanticism, but it's International Chocolate Day so the 17th of May can still be voluptuous and romantic. This day in 2004 was the real beginning. The Runes played quite an important part and drawing the same one (the Spirit of Wholeness) three times was beyond my powers of explication. This voluptuous and romantic love song is made all the more so because of Michael Cristiano's superb classical guitar cadenzas. If you can live with the changes of tempo it makes an agreeable parlour waltz, for those who still have a parlour and those couples who can still waltz. "Never forget how important you are".
HONEY FARM We all could do with a Honey Farm. The one that inspired this song had a recording studio as well as honey so nirvana was nearby. No farming was ever undertaken and no undertakers were ever allowed. Honey Farm was there for us on many different levels. Tranquil, sometimes torpid, far away but just up the track, serene and green then blown and brown. However, when we took a break from one of the early recording sessions on that 8th day of December, 1980, it lives in my memory as the reverberations of the news of the shooting of John Lennon engulfed us. So I added tragedy as one of the levels, but that was just another of the faint and plaintive alarms that called me back through the years.
LOVE ME AGAIN In this song it's the departing with the optimism of the rejoining that creates the bond strong enough to withstand any separation. We can't be with our loved ones all the time but the strength of our love can transcend distance. Gordon Lightfoot was probably in the back of my mind when I was writing this and Tommy Emmanuel's melodic classical guitar work augments that influence.
SLEEP TIGHT (Lyric by Frank Howson) Talking of transcending distance with love was very much in Frank's mind. The yearning is deep and palpable. It's a lullaby from afar, almost a prayer for contact. Why are we not together? We've been lost to each other for so long. Is that the way it's going to stay? Wherever you are, goodnight, sleep tight.
I'M LOST WITHOUT YOU This song was written for a movie that didn't get past the screenplay stage. So much passion can go into projects that disappear almost without trace. Perhaps that's the advantage a song has: it can exist in isolation. No one need know that this work was linked to something else, so please don't pass this on. I tried it in a number of ways but always kept coming back to just the guitar and voice to emphasise the loneliness of lost love.
SUN RISE Each new day carries the promise of the sun's energy to all life. May each sun rise like our own sun to nurture us every day so that we may nurture each other. May it forever be thus. Most of my work on these songs had its early inspiration at Highlander Cottage and my thanks go to the dignified gentleman sitting at my keyboard playing classical sonatas while I was looking on in admiration. My thanks also to Nicola, my love, who is so much a part of my life and my spirit. I'm grateful to all of you for listening and reading. I hope this collection of music and lyrics will help you on your way