Friday, January 12, 2007

Willows weep... tears melt in cool water

On a lake...

I don't write a lot of what you'd call love songs.

Broken hearts, betrayals, disillusionment, dissolution, self-destruction, simmering anger... that's my turf. They didn't call me the Bard of Bitterness, Denial, and Regret for nothin'...

But this is a love song. And I've always had a soft spot for it.

This version is a little unusual for AYoS. While it's built around acoustic guitar, there are a couple of voices (both mine), and the second guitar, instead of noodling around the melody as usual, tries to somewhat mirror the first (and it comes oddly close, considering what a sloppy guitarist I truly am... perhaps too close to do much good). I even threw in a little echo, a stab at otherworldliness that will no doubt just irritate some purists -- but what are they doing listening to me, anyhow?

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previous AYoS versions
September 23, 2006
March 25, 2006
December 18, 2005


On a lake
the faded yellow row boat
drifts in lazy circles
while I fall in love with you

Emily Emily
watch the sky go around
Emily Emily
watch the sky

Willows weep
tears melt in cool water
your white cotton dress
you warm brown legs
your deep green eyes

Emily Emily
watch the sky go around
Emily Emily
watch the sky

(C)1982, TK Major

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Coming to your hometown before too long...

Have you embraced the Beast?

He never thought he'd be glad to see tanks rolling down Main Street.

But after masked gunmen with machine guns and grenades killed the mayor and half the city council, he decided maybe martial law wasn't so bad.

The regional authority said it was the foreign fighters but the rumor spread quickly through town that the gunmen spoke only awkward, oddly accented pidgin Spanish among themselves and several times lapsed into what sounded like American English, recognizable even in the chaos of death and destruction.

But there was no knowing. The police had mostly either been killed or had deserted.

When the tanks rolled into town, it was a relief -- even if a lot of folks suspected it was the regional authority behind the attacks, anyway.

Six months later and the regional authority had been commandeering private homes to bivouac troops -- or extracting exorbitant "resettlement avoidance fees" from those who could come up with the money. The schools hadn't opened in five months. There was only electricity 4 hours a day most days.

Since the water plant had been bombed, citizens were dependent on regional authority water trucks -- and if you wanted to make sure your four hour wait for water was fruitful, you had to cough up bribes to assure yourself a place in the front of the queue.

Bribes were the rule. And when there was no money or no electronics or no furniture, then people sold what they could; it was a desperate, clawing marketplace of desperation and doomsday carnality.

He found himself obsessing these days on how it all started. Sometimes it felt like it must have been this way for generations -- but he remembered the crisp winter day little more than a decade earlier, the abortion of an election and the installation of the loser as president.

He hadn't thought it was such a big deal at the time -- after all, he'd voted for the appointed president along with something considerably less than half the voters. Still, it was close, he had told himself. Someone had to do something.

But , now, every time he traced it all back... that's where everything seemed to start -- like the first mortal error, the first offense against the gods in some epic tragedy.


Not, you know, to put too fine a point on it (or perhaps too ham-fisted a fist)... but this song below is dedicated to the appointed president -- who I --unlike the protagonist in the vignette above, did not vote for:

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December 13, 2005 version
February 15, 2006 version

Have You Embraced the Beast?

Have you embraced the beast?
I see the mark is on your face
Have you embraced the beast?
Are you a slave of greed and hate?

Have you embraced the beast?
Do you serve the war machine?
Have you embraced the beast?
Did you trade in your soul on (for) the finer things?

Have you embraced the beast?
Do your taxes buy bullets for fascist death squads?
Have you embraced the beast?
They'll be coming to your hometown before too long . . .

Have you embraced the beast?
I see the mark is on your face
Have you embraced the beast?
Are you a slave of greed and hate?

Have you embraced the beast?

Copyright 1984, TK Major

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

All these toys -- all these games...

When Ashley Said Good-bye

He remembered thinking, "Oh, god, now she's in love."

There he was, just crawling out of one bed and now, here he was, with this new girl, spent, lying easily across him, propped up on an elbow tucked between his arm and his ribs, a goofy smile on her lips and a faraway look in her eyes. He thought at the time that they must look like a European coffee advert.

He had thought he was going to give himself some time, some emotional space. But before he knew it she was watching TV at his house four nights a week and cooking him breakfast.

She was warm and comfortable and and one day, just as he found himself getting used to it and liking it -- she was gone.

There was no talking to her. There was no asking why. Did he do something? Not really. Was there someone new? Not anyone who means anything.

Was there any chance? No.

He couldn't believe he asked.

Before her, he wouldn't have.

He mooned around for days, then weeks. His buddies tried to get him to go out but he sat in the long summer evenings, watching the sky darken through his open window, as the shadows drew the room into darkness and an open bottle of whisky kept an even inch in the bottom of a tumbler by the couch.

He studied the indigo sky over the tops of his bare feet and tried to think about nothing.

It was getting easier everyday.

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16 May 2006 version
29 September 2005 version

When Ashley Said Goodbye

Amber said hello when Ashley said good-bye
I said hold on but there's no wondering why
when love wants in, love can knock down yer door

I said Amber, I think this is forever
she said baby you're yanking on my tether
when all is said and done love will even up the score

Love will fool ya -- love can kill ya
Love is all that love can give ya
and still you keep coming back for more

Love is funny -- love is cruel
Love'll make Einstein act just like a fool
Love'll make a tomcat dive in-a swimin pool

All these toys all these games
all these pretty dollhouses going up in flames
if you play around enough you know you're gonna get burned

Love will fool ya -- love can kill ya
Love is all that love can give ya
and still you keep coming back for more

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday after Monday

Monday, January 8

One of the things that happens when you write songs -- especially if you record them yourself -- is that by the time you have anything presentable to the public, you, youself, already hate the song. Or are at least totally sick of it.

So I'm here to share that with you in the form of what I'm calling a songwriter demo, essentially a rough first draft production, with keyboards, drums, back up vocals and so forth -- of "Chain of Mondays," which, no, you're not mistaken, was also the subject of last Tuesday's "Monday on Tuesday" post commemorating the first workday of the new year.

And today is the first Monday.

So it's all legit.

And, besides, this song has never had a proper rough production demo and it's almost a year old -- so, it's all for a good cause.

I started out looking for an anthem but what I've got so far is a kind of garage rock...

chain of mondays
songwriter demo (first draft full production)

[UPDATE: I decided the recording I'd posted here was just too flawed to put up on the web. Imagine, if you can. Please feel free to enjoy one of the previous versions...]

previous AYoS versions
Monday, February 13, 2006
Monday, April 03, 2006
Tuesday, January 02, 2007

chain of mondays

a thousand mondays
that's just 19 years
put your head down
put yourself in gear

before you know it
the day is done
fall asleep
and there's another one

chain of mondays
wrapped round my life
chain of mondays
until the day I die

I'm good at what I do
but what I do is dumb
pushing things around
all day long

what's it all for
don't ask me
i'm just a well-worn gear
in the big machine

chain of mondays...

don't take off my shackles
i don't want to be free
cause theres nowhere to go
and no one to be

been at the grindstone
for so damn long
there's nothing much left
except this song:

chain of mondays...

(C)2006, TK Major