Monthly Archives: October 2005

Little Blue Vacuum Cleaner

Little Blue Vacuum Cleaner
This song from 1973 used to drive one of my frequent music playing buddies absolutely nuts. It was written while I was in the grips of a fascination with what we might call “cosmic whimsy.” The simplest objects and ideas had deep metaphysical resonance for me, imbued with a sublime and reassuring humor. (Well… you know, it seemed sublime at the time.) Maybe it was the grimness of the war or the absurdity of mainstream society… maybe it was that do-it-yourself primal scream therapy program I came up with for myself.

Of course, one man’s whimsy is another’s terminal cuteness, and my pal Caz Camberline, who has over the years suffered through scores of my songs in various performance circumstances, could never swallow the cute formalism of the metaphysical central metaphor.And then there was the vacuum cleaner/highway shoes jump… I really didn’t have an answer for that one. Still don’t.

Now, that’s what A Year of Songs is all about.

Little Blue Vacuum Cleaner

Got yer little blue vaccuum cleaner
got his paregoric got his own Dust Preener
got that San Antone
Got that Dorothy Malone

Got the finity blues
Walking round the city in his highway shoes

Everything he see he suck it right up
nothing left to do he turn on himself
everything that’s outside must be in
everything is known, you just begin again

Got that Einstein Circular Space
got that black hole — he want a little taste
Got the world up inside his head
Where will it go when he finds out he’s he’s

Welcome to samsara now go home
welcome to my universe–here, God is on the phone
You’re welcome to wonder what it’s all about
But please don’t try to tell me when you find out

Got the finity blues
Walking round the city in his highway shoes

(C) 1973,1996 TK Major
(Transcribed from memory with minor revisions Jan 2 1996)


All Because of You


Yesterday’s toys
you throw them all away
you dont even stop to watch
their paper hearts in the flames…

This is one of those songs that will probably never get done ‘right’ unless someone else does it. I probably ought to change the key I typically play it in (I wrote it in E major but typically do everything a half step flat, going so far as to keep my main acoustic guitar downtuned that much)… but I really like the way that big open E major (ok, Eb, but you guitarists will know what I mean) sounds. I can cap up but I need to go down, I think, and… ah… now we’re talking about how making sausage works, huh?) Anyhow, this was the best I could do with this song today. I’m sorry, Virginia, it’s a big nasty world and I’m only human.

[Strike that… I just replaced the recording referenced above and in the links below with a version I recorded Wednesday. Both recordings have problems. I juggled the competing sets of self-revulsions and went with the one I don’t hate right now. Or the one I do, however that works. What can I say? It’s tomorrow already… Have I said, Hey, that’s what the AYoS project’s all about, lately? Ah well. I knew there’d be days like… uh, yesterday.]

All Because of You

He should have E~ g#m g#m
seen it coming
but he never dreamed
he’d ever have to watch her leave
She laughed all the way to Austin
And she cried the rest of the
way to New Orleans

Baby Doll, it’s all because of you g#m ~ f#m
You always sew destruction
No matter what ya say you’re trying to do
Now always get
whatever it is
you want
and as long as I’ve known you
You always want
what you ain’t got

I have known you
such a long long time
and you know I wouldn’t say
it if it wasn’t true
You don’t have a heart I know
but I’m recently convinced there’s no soul
inside of you

Yesterday’s toys you
throw them all away
you dont even watch
to see their paper hearts in the flames
Like a goddess before
the gods learned how to feel
In your universe your world is the
only one that’s real

bridge: c#m ~ g#m ~
(look here baby)
Baby I got the map on you
Every lie you tell
I can drill right through
Baby Doll the fall is coming soon
and when it falls
it’s all gonna be on you

He shoulda E~ g#m g#m
seen it coming
but he never dreamed
he’d have to watch her leave


A Bird Hung in the Sky

A bird hung in the sky...

I wrote the first two verses of this dark little slice of apocalyptica back in the early or mid 70’s and then added another 2 verses — only one of which survived — in 1986.

My initial vision had been general collapse of civilization (as we know it, heh)… but by 1986 I was bitterly convinced that we were squandering any last chances we might have to not plunge the world into an irreversible spiral into gashouse global warming.

(Oh well… it’s like watching a high speed accident on a rainy day… you yell as the oblivious drivers hurtle toward each other, their windows up, their minds filled with details that are going to seem very, very insignificant in about a second and a half. I hate that sound. Where was I? Oh, yeah… the end of the world. As we know it.)

Anyhow, as we artistic types know all too well (or oughta), sincerity and good intentions typically make bad art. As a friendly warning against good intentions, I have included the usually excised last verse here — just so you can see how bad things could get if I wasn’t looking out for y’all.

Now, mind you, by the time I got to the last verse, I was laughing myself off my chair — I knew I would never use it. But I view songwriting like I view other excretory processes — you don’t stop just ’cause you don’t like what’s coming out.

That’s what editing is for and, if you brave those usually excised last two verses, you’ll see why, for this writer, at any rate, editing can be — you know — real important.

A Bird Hung in the Sky

A bird hung in the sky
dipped and whirled and then it spun
A bird hung in the sky
dipped and whirled and then it spun
It flew between the clouds
and dove right into the sun

I stood upon a hill
looked up into the sky
I stood upon a hill
looked up into the sky
The sky turned black
as the sun burnt into my eyes

Don’t the city sure look strange
cars scattered all around
The city sure looks strange
cars scattered all around
Don’t the people look funny
lying there dead on the ground

[excised verse]
Six years underground
Six years of living hell
Six years underground
ever since the ionosphere dispelled
Our old friend Mr. Sun
turned out to be the Fiery King of Hell

(C) 1975,1986,2005, TK Major


What Promises Mean Today

I know what promises mean today.

Now this is an oldie. I believe it was written in 1974.

I was in love at the time (we only kissed, I swear) with this ‘third generation witch’ from Iceland. I don’t know if she had preternormal powers — but I will say that she had the most electric vibes of anyone I think I’ve ever been around. Kissing her was like what I imagine it must be like to grab a Van de Graf generator… you almost expected to see little lightning flashes snaking across your intertwined bodies.

Anyhow, she was a singer and guitar player with a lovely voice and a nice finger picking style and I was a woefully undisciplined beginning musician desperate to escape the “poetry scene.” She and her roommate, another folksinger, were the first people to compliment me on my songwriting in a believable way. (My old friends were just amazed that I finally sort of learned to tune a guitar… it was a long time coming.)

The first song they really warmed up to, In the Course of Events, is yet to come in the AYoS lineup (not that there’s any rhyme, reason, or more than a 2 minute plan in the AYoS process) but I wrote this one soon after and, while they were a bit less enthusiastic about Promises, they felt it built on what I’d accomplished with Course of Events.


One more thing, we’re going to try something new and put the chords up along with the lyrics. (Actually, it’s the lazy way out, since they were already there.) I’d like to encourage anyone so inclined to feel free to cover my songs, so maybe I should make it a little easier. That said… when I do my songs, I seldom get the chords the same way twice… so they should more properly be considered a general guide rather than a detailed, accurate roadmap.

I Know What Promises Mean Today

I know what promises mean today
I don’t care I believe in you anyway
Don’t care what anyone says
C Em
I’ll believe in you unitil I’m dead
At the rate things are going
That cuold be any day
I don’t care I believe in you anyway

You say you’re my lover
my sister my brother my friend
I’m surprised you don’t claim be
my mother my father
and the priest they said they’ll send
at the end

Am Em
And I still don’t care what anyone says
Am Em
I’ll be loving you ’til Im put in my grave
but at the rate things are going
that could be any day
I don’t care I believe in you, anyway