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About this blog

In this blog I'll start with 'the story behind the songs' of my music, and move on to who knows what as time goes by ...1966374745_hearingroom8-26-3.thumb.jpg.c4a00e3325c6139fbce6194bab341683.jpg

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Mike B

Empty Pages and Lost Songs

Empty Pages and Lost Songs

Released November 2015

 

1  HUMANITY ZOO 4:33
2  EMPTY PAGES 4:38
3  BOSTON BECKONING 3;43
4  THE UNRUNG BELL 3:41
5  THUNDER MOON 4:27
6  LIFE WAS FINE 2:56
7  THANK YOU 3:36
8  50 YEARS AGO 5:05
9  THE CHAINS 3:29
10 A BETTER DAY 3:50
11 DREAM 3:34
12 HOUSE OF STONE 4:25
13 ONCE IN A WHILE 4:38
14 NEVER EVER 4:28
15 YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU 4:52

 

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All instruments and vocals:  Mike Birch except drums on Humanity Zoo, Boston Beckoning and A Better Day by John Belancieri.

All songs written by Mike Birch

  

My 3rd album of original songs.  ‘Empty Pages’ refers to the track of the same name (see explanation below).  ‘Lost Songs’ – some of these songs were dropped from the previous two albums for various reasons, or hadn’t got recorded in time for them.  The album title was inspired by Tolkien’s “Lost Tales”.

This was my 2nd album recorded using a computer DAW, and was slowly learning the ‘ins and outs’.  I had done some acoustic treatment in my room (rockwool bass traps – not ‘acoustic foam’) and inexpensive but decent monitor speakers (JBL LSR305s) that at last allowed me to hear the low end of my mixes.

 

Track 1 ‘Humanity Zoo’

 

 

A statement on the current human condition, people locked to their online devices, in cages of their own making.

 

Humanity Zoo

 

Day after day we work and we work

Color dissolves, monochrome lurks

Graffiti and garbage, city of dirt

Strain to see through the grit until eyes hurt

 

Bright colors leech away from the never-ending threat

And we blame ourselves all day, it's so easy to forget

We're human

 

Trudging along like 1984 drones

Heads bent sideways, stuck to iPhones

Don't notice or acknowledge the person next to you

All just exhibits in the humanity zoo

 

Bright colors leech away from the never-ending threat

And we blame ourselves all day, it's so easy to forget

We're human

 

The reflection of our souls can be beautiful

When seen from a stone's throw away

But face to face with the universe's soul

Can make us scared of life's passion play

 

Bright colors leech away from the never-ending threat

And we blame ourselves all day, it's so easy to forget

We're human, we’re human

 

Inside the cage looking out

Outside the cage looking in

We're all human

In this humanity zoo

 

Track 2 ‘Empty Pages’

 

I read a short story where the protagonist describes how people live (and look at) their lives:  one big event after another (births, deaths, marriage, job changes, etc) and tend to forget or ignore the day-to-day living and what is going on all the time.  Similar to a hardcover book, where the chapter always starts on the right hand page, sometimes there are blank pages between the last page of the previous chapter and the first page of the next chapter.  In fact, though, in our lives these aren’t really ‘blank pages’ at all, they are filled with all the things that make our lives what they are besides the big events.

 

Empty Pages

 

Nothing seems to happen

Everything’s bleak and bare

Thoughts and words unspoken

No one seems to care

 

All past times are gone

Written into history

So much going on now

Blinded by what we can't see

 

Seems like life is just a stack of empty pages

Stuck between memorable times

Always trying to fill up space that’s gone on for ages

As if emptiness was some kind of crime

 

The last chapter ended yesterday

All the happiness, sadness and pain

Every day starts a new page

Work, play, sunshine or rain

 

Yesterday's chapter is over

Tomorrow's hasn't begun

Today all we do is hesitate

Thinking of all we have done

 

Seems like life is just a stack of empty pages

Stuck between memorable times

Always trying to fill up space that’s gone on for ages

As if emptiness was some kind of crime

 

Tonight let's do something different

Write our names in the sky

Fill up all the empty pages

With what it is to be alive

 

Seems like life is just a stack of empty pages

Stuck between memorable times

Always trying to fill up space that’s gone on for ages

As if emptiness was some kind of crime

 

 

Track 3 ‘Boston Beckoning’

 

I started writing the original version of this song in the late 80s when a Boston radio station had a contest soliciting a new state anthem.  Unfortunately, they wanted a ‘lead sheet’ submitted along with a recording, so I never completed the song.  Fast forward to the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, as the city and area recovered from this horrible incident, I dug out this old song, and rewrote it. I had already finished the production work for my second album by the time I finished recording this, so could not include it on that album.

 

Boston Beckoning

 

I can see you in my mind's eye

Shining in the morning light

Golden rays of sunrise

Making you look so bright

Watching Bruins and Red Sox games

Dancing to the latest tunes

Partying all night long

Under a New England Moon

 

I can hear Boston beckoning

In my mind, in my heart

I can hear Boston beckoning

All the miles can’t keep us apart

 

I remember your sparkle

Like a night of a thousand suns

I remember all the good times

The excitement, all the fun

When I'm away

All the miles bring me down

When I'm away from you

I just can't wait to get back to Boston town

 

I can hear Boston beckoning

In my mind, in my heart

I can hear Boston beckoning

All the miles can’t keep us apart

 

When things go bad, people are put to the test

Boston's people have proved they're the very best

Always aiming to put things right, no matter what's gone wrong

Boston's proud, Boston's Strong!

 

I can hear Boston beckoning

In my mind, in my heart

I can hear Boston beckoning

All the miles can’t keep us apart

I can hear Boston beckoning

In my soul, in my heart

I can hear Boston beckoning

All the miles can’t keep us apart

 

 

Track 4 ‘The Unrung Bell’

 

The idea for this song came from a guy at a meeting I was attending.  Basically – if you don’t ring that bell, you have wasted the opportunity to do something.  It represents potential.  Of course once you ring the bell, you can’t ‘unring’ it.

 

The Unrung Bell

 

Opportunities go flying by

Chances missed, no logic applied

Worries abound, a mind that’s scared

Retreat to shadows, no one cares

 

Hear the silence

A call for help

Hovering unheard

An unrung bell

 

From the dark a quiet voice

Defining need to make a choice

Concerns still linger – where to begin

Strength will come from deep within

 

Hear the silence

A call for help

Hovering unheard

An unrung bell

 

No pasts return, no regrets

Live for now, never forget

Today is the day, live it well

Listen to the ringing of the bell

 

Must step up, take a stance

Forget doubts, one last chance

Make it right, truth to tell

Raise our hands, ring that bell

An answered call for help

Hands together tell

Of the ringing bell

Hands together tell

Of the ringing bell

Hands together tell

Of the ringing bell

 

 

Track 5 ‘Thunder Moon’

 

One of the Native American names for a seasonal full moon, this song is about the craziness that is happening around the world due to global climate change.

 

Thunder Moon


Remember winter, just a short while ago
Snow Moon glows above ice and snow
Now summer's here, cities aflame
Warnings unheeded,  are we to blame?


Ominous future is hovering near
Panicking people shaking with fear
Times are bad, things are getting worse
Fury unleashed under the full moon’s curse

Hot July night
Under cold stars
Where are we now
Has it gone too far
Will the answers
Come to us soon
Waiting in the light
Of the Thunder Moon

El Nino, polar vortex, what does it mean?
Iron Eyes crying over what might have been
Drought and wildfires, devastating floods
Inhuman violence leads to rivers of blood

Dark clouds tower up far overhead
Lightning strikes down, lives torn to shreds
Monsoons and tornados across the land
How much more can we stand?

Hot July night
Under cold stars
Where are we now
Has it gone too far
Will the answers
Come to us soon
Waiting in the light
Of the Thunder Moon

 

 

Track 6 ‘Life Was Fine’

 

This song started as a nostalgic look to the past, but then it became about a friend who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on July 4th of the year we graduated high school.  The song was used to memorialize deceased classmates in youtube videos for the Sandwich (Massachusetts) High School Class of 1974 and Class of 1975 for 40 year class reunions.

 

Life Was Fine

 

Something sparks a flood of memories

Those childhood days full of energy

Everyday life hoping for so much more

The whole world waiting just outside the door

 

It's been said that you can never go back

Can't change the past, alter the facts

Forget bad things, learn from the times

When things were so much easier and life was fine

 

Hey old friend it's been a while

So many ups and downs, frowns and smiles

Have to admit I hadn't thought of you

Too much going on, too much I've been through

 

I know it's said that you can never go back

Can't change the past, alter the facts

Forget bad things, learn from the times

When things were so much easier and life was fine

 

Wish we could talk together again

I wish the good times hadn't come to an end

But you were gone in the blink of an eye

I look up to the sky and I wonder why

 

I know it's been said that you can never go back

Can't change the past, alter the facts

Forget bad things, learn from the times

When things were so much easier and life was fine

 

Life was fine ... life was fine

 

 

Track 7 ‘Thank You’

 

A song prompt from the monthly songwriter circle I co-facilitate, suggested as Thanksgiving approached.  Definitely a ‘thank you’ to my wife!

 

Thank You

 

Every day things

Tend to be ignored

Unacknowledged

Never explored

Easy to go through life, eyes half-closed

Just go with the flow, nothing opposed

 

Life’s too busy

Hard to stay focused

Bleary eyes

What matters goes unnoticed

It’s easy to decide just to get by

Better to take the harder road and try

 

Thank you for doing what you do

I just want to say thank you

 

Light the dark

Chase monsters away

Sometimes forget

What’s done every day

It’s not easy to try and remember

All the things that become part of forever

 

Thank you for doing what you do

I just want to say thank you

 

 

Track 8 ’50 Years Ago’

 

I wrote this on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles playing the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, in 1964.  At 7 years old, it had a big influence on my life.  The audience cheers heard in the second and third choruses and outro of the song are actually pulled from the tv show’s soundtrack – all the screaming girls in the audience.

 

50 Years Ago 

 

It was a different time, it was a different place

Men in suit and ties, the first man in space

Women wore pretty dresses, took care of kids and homes

Cleaning up the messes, talking on princess phones

 

50 years ago, shots heard 'round the world

Flags at half mast, all flying unfurled

Wasn't it just yesterday, no it was a long time ago

So much has come and gone, time moves fast and slow

 

It was a different time, it was a different place

Selma to San Francisco, Martin's dream for the human race

Fighting in Asian fields, destroyed so many youths

Students wouldn't yield, trying to expose all the truths

 

50 years ago, music heard 'round the world

Rock and roll, long hair, the screaming of the girls

Wasn't it just yesterday, no it was a long time ago

So much has come and gone, time moves fast and slow

 

Where did the time go

What happened to innocence

Where did our minds go

Nothing makes any sense

 

50 years ago, music heard 'round the world

Rock and roll, long hair, the screaming of the girls

Wasn't it just yesterday, no it was a long time ago

So much has come and gone, time moves fast and slow

 

Where did the time go

50 years ago ...

 

 

Track 9 ‘The Chains’

 

Lyrics were originally penned by another songwriter, who ‘gave’ them to me to use unconditionally.  Incidentally, he’s the limo driver who inspired the song on my 4th album, ‘Mr Limo Driver’.  When he posted these lyrics on a music forum I commented that I’d like to try something with them, and he gave me permission to use them without crediting him.  So, thanks again Mike (14music)!

 

The Chains
 

Tell them old stories
And how it was wrong
Make sure they remember
It’s never been gone

Tell them the mountain
Is so hard to climb
It’s ok to dream, but
It may not be time

Preserve the fears from long ago
It’s not the same, but don’t let them know
You need to justify the blame
Always remind them……of the chains
 

Live in resentment
No reason to try
The past is their anchor
You keep it alive

Preserve the fears from long ago
It’s not the same, but don’t let them know
You need to justify the blame
Always remind them……of the chains

 

They crawl because you tell them they can’t walk
Then you comfort them and say it’s not their fault

Preserve the fears from long ago
It’s not the same, but don’t let them know
You need to justify the blame
Always remind them…..of the chains
Remind them of the chains

Remind them of the chains

 

 

 

Track 10 ‘A Better Day’

 

Trying to be hopeful, after a depressing start.  No idea where the lyrical inspiration came from (except the obvious Monty Python line), but the overall feel and music have some Kinks influence.

 

A Better Day

 

It's always darkest before the dawn

A better day will always come

 

The sun comes up on a brand new day

Last night's darkness is swept away

Can't change the past, don't even try

Keep moving forward, keep your head high

 

Always look on the brighter side of life

Forget what's wrong, do what's right

Looking back won't help anything

Look ahead, smile and sing:

It's a better day, a better day

 

It's too easy to sit and dwell on the past

Regretting every decision you made too fast

Morning gives the chance to start again

Embrace today, yesterday was then

 

Always look on the brighter side of life

Forget what's wrong, do what's right

Looking back won't help anything

Look ahead, smile and sing:

It's a better day, a better day

 

Here's knowing the sun will always shine on you

Here's wishing all your friends will always be true

Here's hoping you will never lose your way

Here's wishing you a better day

 

You never know when your time will come

Better enjoy everything no matter where its from

Don't say 'it's not your style'

Enjoy your life, laugh and smile

 

Always look on the brighter side of life

Forget what's wrong, do what's right

Looking back won't help anything

Look ahead, smile and sing:

It's a better day, a better day

It's a better day, a better day

It's a better day, a better day

It's a better day, a better day

It's a better day, a better day

It's a better day

 

Track 11 ‘Dream’

 

An old song lyric that sat unused for many years, rewritten and recorded for this album – and never played again!

Dream

 

A needing plea, a hopeful tear

 

Hard to believe it’s another year

Gone by

Wishing away a lonely day

Hoping for a bright sunny ray

From the sky

 

Trying to put all the stupid things from the past behind you

Hoping against hope that someone will try and find you

Thinking you’ll never find someone to remind you

What it’s all about

 

Dream yourself a dream

Of how it all could be

What do past and present mean

When you’re waiting to be free

 

A quiet time, then a hopeful sign

A pair of eyes that sure catch mine

So deep

More than black and white, feels so right

Maybe tonight I’ll see the light

When I sleep

 

Trying to think of everything I can do to find you

Thinking of how I can get some kind of sign to you

Hoping against hope that I can remind you

What it’s all about, what it’s all about

 

Dream yourself a dream

Of how it all could be

What do past and present mean

When you’re waiting to be free

 

Track 12 ‘House of Stone’

 

 

This is one of the ‘lost songs’ from a few years before, originally titled ‘House of Glass, House of Stone’, about people who either put their whole lives out there for all to see, or those who do the opposite and hide their life’s details from others - a comment on the internet and social media.  I completely re-recorded it from the original version.

 

House of Stone

 

Shut off from the world behind walls of cold stone

Never reaching out to others, always so alone

Can't see the people as they walk on by

They can't see you or hear you cry

 

Won't you come out of your house of stone?

Life is too short to be living it all alone

Open up the door, spread your arms, open your eyes

Life can give you such a wonderful surprise

 

Smiling at the world behind a wall of glass so clear

Never hesitating to show the heartache, and the fear

People staring in at everything they can see

Every little detail as open as a book can be

 

Won't you come out of your house of glass?

Life is too short, you got to make each moment last

Stop catering to the world, think what you can do

When you stop living for others and start living for you

 

Won't you come out of your house of stone?

Life is too short to be living it all alone

Open up the door, spread your arms, open your eyes

Life can give you such a wonderful surprise

 

Come out of your house of stone

Come out of your house of glass

Come out of your house of stone

Come out of your house of glass

 

 

Track 13 ‘Once In A While’

 

Another ‘lost song’, this one dates back to my high school years.  I recorded it twice before, including a version for my 1st album, but didn’t like how it came out, so scrapped it and started again.  This is a much simpler version (the first version had 16 guitar tracks alone!)  After playing a solo version of this song at a songwriting seminar I attended, I came to the realization that all songwriters have different ideas on that makes a song ‘good’, and how songs should be crafted – and there is no one ‘right’ way to do it. 

 

Once In A While

 

Once in a while I like to sit by myself

And think of you

It took me a while to realize

You're a part of all I do

 

Then when I see you again

It makes me feel so good

Oh I hope it'll never end

I'd make time stand still if I could

 

You came into my life

When I needed you most

You made my life fresh again

Oh I hope you know

 

 (That) when, when I see you again

It makes me feel so good

Oh I hope it'll never end

I'd make time stand still if I could

 

Once in a while I like to sit by myself and think of you...

Once in a while...

 

 

Track 14 ‘Never Ever’

 

A love song for my wife and life as it was developing at the time.

 

Never Ever

 

Sleepless night ends with a tired dawn

Lonely day the sun just can’t warm

No ambition, nothing to focus on

Head is hurting like a nearing storm

 

At a loss, can‘t figure what to do

Then hope arrives, a bright light that is you

 

Never ever thought of what I missed

Never ever believed that a kiss

            Could lead to such bliss

Never ever thought love could be like this

            Never ever like this

 

Colors return, more than shades of grey

Don‘t have to hide my head inside

No fear of what happened yesterday

Whatever I decide, I’ll know I tried

 

Aim to win, I know what I must do

Find the light, the light that is you

 

Never ever thought of what I missed

Never ever believed that a kiss

            Could lead to such bliss

Never ever thought love could be like this

            Never ever like this

 

Can’t guess about tomorrow

The future I can’t control

The one sure thing I do know:

Today feels good, good right down to my soul

 

Never ever thought of what I missed

Never ever believed that a kiss

            Could lead to such bliss

Never ever thought love could be like this

            Never ever like this

 

 

Track 15 ‘You Can’t Take It With You’

 

The last of the ‘lost songs’ on this album, this one was a fictional ballad I wrote in the mid-80s. the open ‘cowboy’ guitar chords and twangy Telecaster and slide lead guitars give it kind of a ‘country music’ feel, although that was not my original songwriting intention.

 

You Can’t Take It With You

 

We all remember Mary
Back in those days wild and scary
Riots in the street, the Vietnam un-war
Mary kept pushing us for more

She said our band could change the world
Just four guys and one determined girl   
So we worked and tried, sweated it out
We'd listen to Mary as she sang and shout

You can't take it with you
You got to give it what you can, when you can
You can't take it with you
You got to try, try the best you can

When calmer days finally returned
We'd been lucky, no one got burned
Kids doing drugs, we just kept working harder
Doing songs about nukes and Jimmy Carter

Mary pushed us on, hour by hour
She said, 'we've got the power
Can't take the time to sit and rest
Cause you know we can be the very best'

You can't take it with you
You got to give it what you can, when you can
You can't take it with you
You got to try, try the best you can

It was just a few years ago
After a long Saturday show
A car cash - Mary was lying there
Bright white sheets, blood in her hair
She looked at me and said 'give me your hand
And promise me you'll never break up the band'

You can't take it with you
You got to give it what you can, when you can
You can't take it with you
You got to try, try the best you can

 

We keep playing our songs                              
Trying to right all the wrongs                                                     
Like Mary taught us, so long ago                                              
You've got to give all, but go with the flow
You know that we still believe
That Mary's still with us, there’s no need to grieve 
Somewhere out there, amongst the crowd
Head held up, standing proud (she's singing)

 

You can't take it with you
You got to give it what you can, when you can
You can't take it with you
You got to try, try the best you can

 

All of these songs can bought/downloaded at Bandcamp, or iTunes/Apple Music or streamed on Spotify

Mike B

40 Years of Life, Love, and Happiness and all of those things

Released September, 2011

All instruments and vocals:  Mike Birch

All songs written by Mike Birch

Track listing:

1 WHEN THE BOMB FALLS 4:56
2 SMART ANGEL 5:15
3 SHE STOLE MY HEART 3:03
4 EYE TO EYE 5:03
5 SMALL SMALL WORLD 3:58
6 CRAZY MAN 6:26
7 MONTREAL SKY 3:55
8 HAVE I TOLD YOU TODAY 3:45
9 THE ROAD 4:53
10 THOUGHTS OF FALL AND YOU 3:11
11 DEMONS 4:34
12 RISE UP 3:36
13 EVERYTHING FADES 6:14

 

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My first album release, consisting of songs written over the 40 years since I started playing guitar, with the last few songs included written in early 2011.

All the songs were recorded on a small Boss BR600 digital multi-tracker, it was very much a learning experience as my previous recording experiences had been with a couple of stereo cassette decks.  I did all the instruments on this, with drums a combination of the Boss rhythm machine built into the recorder and ‘live drums’ played on my keyboard.

 

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An old college friend who was working for Neil Young at the time volunteered to ‘master’ the primitive recordings.  In doing so, he got two of the songs reversed in the song order – but still having the original title order, so the CD artwork had the songs listed incorrectly.  Listening to these track s now, I think the ‘mastering’ might have helped the low EQ and high EQ of the tracks at the expense of the midrange.  Maybe one day I’ll go back and re-record all these tracks – as if I’d ever have enough time!

The front cover artwork for the CD was done by the daughter of a friend, Meghan Mahoney.

 

Track 1 When the Bomb Falls

 

 

 

Written and first copyrighted in 1982 or 83, this was my first original song to be performed regularly in my ‘classic rock’ band, Jillian (named after the drummer’s baby daughter). We were playing gigs regularly in the Boston area.

At the time I was reading a lot of science fiction – a used book store in Harvard Square (Cambridge, MA) was a frequent stop for me on my daily 5 mile bicycle commute.  I’d buy several used books a week (at 50% cover price) and then would sell most of them back when I was done reading them.  So this song came out of my head based on many of the doom-and-gloom stories as well as what was going on in the world at that time.

 

When the Bomb Falls

 

You say you're getting tired of all the city strife

You'd like to get away, start a new life

Too many people pushing and shoving at you

What you gonna do?

 

You say you hate all the dirt in the street

You can't stand any of the people that you meet

Well don't you worry 'cause in just a short while

There won't be nothing left except a nuclear pile

 

When the bomb falls

There won't be nothing left at all

When the bomb falls

You can say goodbye to it all

 

There won't be any more kids crying in the night

No more bullies or gangs that you gotta fight

There won't be anyone left who can kiss and hug you

What you gonna do?

 

You know that pretty soon, someone's gonna drop that bomb

Before the storm, there's always a bit of calm

So you might as well say 'so long', kiss your ass goodbye

Cause when the bomb falls we're all gonna die

 

When the bomb falls

There won't be nothing left at all

When the bomb falls

You can say goodbye to it all

When the bomb falls

There won't be nothing left at all

When the bomb falls

You can say goodbye - goodbye to it all

 

Track 2 ‘Smart Angel’

 

 

This song was written in 2009, after the death of Farrah Fawcett.  A friend had always admired her, and told me that Farrah was really the ‘smart Charlie’s Angel’, parlaying her looks (and talent?) into a successful career.  The character in the song is a composite of many different women in my life and the title of the album comes from a line in the chorus of this song.

 

Smart Angel

 

Get home from work after a long hard day

She always know just the right thing to say

A soothing touch, a hug to relieve the stress

She makes a bad day into a total success

 

When light turns to dark and night moves on in

You'll find that smart angel getting under your skin

She'll fill you with brightness, banish the night

Make you feel everything is so alright

 

She's a smart angel but you can't see her wings

Keeps things to herself, except when she sings

Of life, love and happiness and all of those things

She's a smart angel, sends a heart flying on wings

 

Pay your taxes, pay your dues, do your chores

Smart angel will always encourage you to do more

Than just settle for everyday mediocrity

She'll push you further than you thought you could be

 

When night goes black, stars hidden from view

Smart angle will help you tell the false from true

She'll push back darkness, bring back choice

Sing out to you in a clear voice

 

She's a smart angel but you can't see her wings

Keeps things to herself, except when she sings

Of life, love and happiness and all of those things

She's a smart angel, sends a heart flying on wings

 

When day turns to night and the lights go out

An angel can cry too, without a doubt

Like everyone else an angel can feel alone

No one to share with, all on her own

 

She's a smart angel but you can't see her wings

Keeps things to herself, except when she sings

Of life, love and happiness and all of those things

She's a smart angel, sends a heart flying on wings

 

She's a smart angel but you can't see her wings

Keeps things to herself, except when she sings

Of life, love and happiness and all of those things

She's a smart angel, sends a heart flying on wings

 

 

Track 3 ‘She Stole My Heart’

 

 

 

This was the 3rd of my original songs played by my band, Jillian.   Whereas the previous songs (When The Bomb Falls and Talk On The Radio, a song never recorded) were both major chord/no set key songs typical of the rock music of the day, this one was simple ‘key of G’ rocker, which I wrote in the style of perennial Boston rockers The Stompers.  The bass player in Jillian, who preferred the easy C-Am-F-G-type songs of the early 60s was so thankful that he could finally do some ‘regular harmonies’ on this song.

 

She Stole My Heart

 

Here she comes down the street, looking so tough

Walking real proud, strutting her stuff

She don’t even see how much she means to me

She stole my heart right away from me

 

She’s looking so good, like a royal queen

Moving so smooth, like a well-oiled machine

She don’t even know how much I love her so

She stole my heart but she don’t know

 

She stole my heart (she stole my heart)

She stole it right away from me

She stole my heart (she stole my heart)

Right away from me

 

She’s looking so cool, even in the heat

Swaying to her own invisible beat

She’s so fine, I’ve got to make her mine

She stole my heart, but I don’t mind

 

She stole my heart (she stole my heart)

She stole it right away from me

She stole my heart (she stole my heart)

Right away from me

 

She stole my heart she stole my heart

She stole my heart right away from me

She stole my heart (she stole my heart)

She stole it right away from me

She stole my heart (she stole my heart)

Right away from me

 

 

 

Track 4 ‘Eye To Eye’

 

 

 

The first song I wrote on keyboards in the 80s, having just bought a cheap Casio keyboard.  The band was going through tough times – first the rhythm guitarist had quit, and the keyboardist/guitarist we’d found to replace him was stretching everything.  The bass player wanted to change us into a wedding band.  Add to that some problems in the relationship I was in at the time …

 

Eye To Eye

 

You don’t say good morning anymore

When you wake up to a sunny day

At night, when I walk through the door

You don’t even look my way

We don’t talk together, like we used to do

You’re not listening to me and I’m not listening to you

 

We can’t help but shout and fight

When we’re together for a minute or more

When I want to turn out the lights

You want to stay up ‘til four

We don’t do anything like we used to do

I’m always off by myself and it’s the same with you

 

You and I, we don’t see eye to eye anymore  (X2)

 

Just when I think everything could be the same as before

Your eyes flash at me and I’m heading for the door

Things will never be the same as they were before

You and I, we don’t see eye to eye anymore, no

 

We don’t laugh together, like we used to do

You’re always laughing at me and I’m laughing at you

 

You and I, we don’t see eye to eye anymore  (X2)

 

 

Track 5 ‘Small Small World’

 

 

By 2010, the world was connected so much more than had ever been possible a few years before.  Suddenly one could have friends around the world, some of whom one had never met in person, some who might have been met only once or twice, and others who one had known for years.  I wrote this song after hearing of the death of a woman I had met only one time, but had exchanged ‘bootleg’ CDs with a few times.

 

Small Small World

 

When we were just little kids our whole world was just our neighborhood

Collection of backyards, a field, and streams, some shady wood

Every day we saw all our friends

We never thought that one day it would end

 

It used to be such a small small world

But now it’s a much bigger space

And no one will ever fill the void

No one will take your place

 

As we grew up we grew apart, our world got bigger every day, every year

The old small town became a memory, memories of old friends simply disappeared

Every year we said it was such a shame

We never had anyone else to blame

 

It used to be such a small small world

But now it’s a much smaller space

And no one will ever fill the void

No one will take your place

 

In this brave new world, in so many ways

We reach out and touch so many friends every day

Special people who share our smiles, frowns and words

Leave their marks on our leaves, we all want to be heard

 

You might get us to admit that we’re all starting to get old

Watching days and years flying by, keep ahold of your friends you don’t need to be told

Every friend that has touched your heart

Hold ‘em close don’t grow apart

 

It used to be such a small small world

But now it’s a much bigger space

And no one will ever fill the void

No one will take your place

 

It used to be such a great big world

But now it’s a much smaller space

And no one will ever fill the void

No one will take your place

 

 

Track 6 ‘Crazy Man’

 

 

Another song I wrote for my band Jillian, never got as far as playing this one live (see comment above in ‘Eye to Eye’ about the band).  I was writing at least a song a week, recording demos on cassette, and some songs fell to the wayside.

Based on my experiences talking to Viet Nam war vets during the summer I worked on Otis Air Force Base and was frequenting the ‘Officers Club’ (bar) frequently at night, it easily can apply to vets from any age.

 

Crazy Man

 

You should have seen when he was 22

Fresh home from Europe a hero of World War 2

With his stripes, stars and purple heart

He was made to break all the girls’ hearts

He didn’t want to settle down

He just wanted to hit the town

Every night…

 

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

 

The years went by and he got old

The young girls got tired of the stories he told

Of good times and good old friends

He didn’t realize they’d come to an end

So he keeps on drinking his booze

So he doesn’t have to choose

To see reality…

 

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

 

Days go by so slow

When you’re lonely and old

Life is such a bore

You don’t care any more

 

You see him now sitting at the bus stand

All by himself, he’s a lonely old man

No friends, no family to call his own

No one to help him he’s all alone

He shouts and swears at people going by

But they won’t look at him in the eye

And see his tears…

 

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

 

Days go by so slow

When you’re lonely and old

Life is such a bore

You don’t care any more

 

One day soon he’ll be lying in a cold damp grave

No one will remember all the lives he saved

Back in those days of blood and death

When the air was so thick you couldn’t catch your breath

But no one wants to remember those days gone by

When he was the apple of everyone’s eye

Not anymore…

 

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

He’s a crazy man, a crazy old man

 

A crazy old man…

 

 

Track 7 ‘Montreal Sky’

 

 

I lived in Montreal for 3 years in the mid-70s while attending university there.  It was a time of very little musical creativity for me, but a lot of partying.  In the park in the middle of the city is a small mountain, Mont-Royal, that gives the city its name.  I would often climb the long staircase leading to the top cliffs to find a solitary place to soak up the sun and watch the clouds blow eastward.

The final verse in this song includes some lyrics by my wife, as the song originally had an extra instrumental section instead of lyrics.

 

Montreal Sky

 

In this concrete maze of a city

I know there’s a place outdoors for me

I just climb your side into heaven

And chase all my bad dreams away

 

Looking out over the city

Watching white cotton wisps overhead

I can see the earth for miles

And I dream of being out there

 

Sun sparkling on the US dome

Snow capped mountains in the east

I want to follow your swift currents of air

But I know that will never be

 

I want to fly above your beautiful sky

I want to take the wind in my hand

I want to fly high

 

A languid moon flooding the city

Dancing on the water with a shine

A want to catch the moon with my eyes

And keep it close for a while

 

Wavy water running down the river

I wonder where you lead to

I’d like to follow you through the land

And see all I’d like to see

 

I want to fly above your beautiful sky

I want to take the wind in my hand

I want to fly high

 

 It’s a sunny day  a beautiful morning

It’s a sunny day   a new spring day

It’s a sunny day   a beautiful morning

It’s a sunny day  my life is born again

It’s a sunny day   a beautiful morning

It’s a sunny day

 

 

Track 8 ‘Have I Told You Today’

 

 

By the early 90s I had given up songwriting, and playing music in general.  When I started dating my wife, in 1999, she lived 400 miles away from me, and this song was born.  It was the only complete song I wrote in the ‘90s.

 

Have I Told You Today

 

Have I told you today how much I think of you

Have I told you how much you’re on my mind

When I think of all the good times we’ve had

I can’t help feeling a little bit sad… that we’re not together right now

 

Have I told you today how much you mean to me

Have I told you how great you make me feel

When life gets tough and I’m feeling down

I know you’ll always be around … and make me feel good again

 

Have I told you today that I love you

Have I told you how much I really love you

Have I told you today that I love you

 

Have I told you today how good you make my life

Have I told you today how sweet you are to me

When you b ring sunshine to a grey day

I love you in so many ways… you are my heart and my soul

 

Have I told you today that I love you

Have I told you how much I really love you

Have I told you today that I love you

 

Have I told you today that I love you

Have I told you today that I love you

Have I told you today that I love you

Have I told you today that I love you

 

 

 

Track 9 ‘The Road’

 

 

I had to include this song in the collection as it was the first full song I ever wrote (1971)!  Yes, just 2 chords, as I struggled to learn the guitar.  I was doing a lot of hitchhiking at the time, so this song’s lyrics came out more easily than playing the guitar.

I remember a time in 1972 when I was hitchhiking from Cape Cod to Connecticut (with backpack and acoustic guitar) and got a ride in a Volkswagen Beetle from a guy who had already picked up two other hitchhikers.  They squeezed into the back seat, I got in the front passenger seat, and the driver asked me to play something.  Somehow I got the guitar out of its case, and at a weird angle, started playing this song, singing it very very quietly.  Luckily, I only needed about a 20 minute ride at that point, so don’t think I played anything else!

 

The Road

 

Lonely man by the side of the road

Wishing to God he was home

Lonely man by the side of the road

Oh don’t you feel alone

 

No one stops to give him a ride

No one stops to say hello

No one stops to make a friend

All alone on the road

 

Oh don’t ever go on the road

You’ll never make it off

The road is a killing place

Oh, don’t go on the road

 

Oh don’t ever go on the road

You’ll never make it off

The road is a killing place

Oh, don’t go on the road

 

 

Track 10 ‘Thoughts of Fall and You’

 

 

Written for a girlfriend (who I dated for about 6 months) from Cape Cod while I was going to school in Montreal.  I’m pretty sure she never heard this song, or either of the others I wrote for her.

 

Thoughts of Fall and You

 

Fall is coming ‘round again

Leaves are floating in the air

If you ask me I’ll tell you

I don’t really care

My mind is all on you

You better believe I know you know it’s true

 

Ooh baby, I miss you so much

Ooh baby, wanna feel your touch

Ooh baby, want you here beside me

Yeah, you and me

 

Cold rain is falling down

Soaks me to the skin

But I’m warm and dry

Where my mind has been

You’re always with me, love

You always bring the golden sunshine above

 

Ooh baby, I miss you so much

Ooh baby, wanna feel your touch

Ooh baby, want you here beside me

Yeah, you and me

 

Yes I know we’re far apart

But that’s in miles, not in our hearts

We’re as close as our minds want us to be

Yeah, you and me

 

When I see ou again

I know my heart’ll beat fast

I’m going to kiss you and touch you

Make up for last days past

I’m going to tell you I love you

Hope you love me too

 

Ooh baby, I miss you so much

Ooh baby, wanna feel your touch

Ooh baby, want you here beside me

Yeah, you and me

 

 

Track 11 & 12 ‘Demons/Rise Up’

 

 

The last of the songs penned for this album, in 2011, some dark personal things were happening at the time, but there was still hope, hence the duality of this song combination.  Demons is the only song I’ve ever recorded with a ‘drop D’ tuning (on guitar and bass), which gives it that hard darker edge.

 

Demons

 

We keep our troubles down deep inside

Even from the world we smile and lie

Place troubles in the dark, we cannot cope

When things seem out of control, out of hope

 

We lie to the world, we lie to ourselves

Can’t escape from our personal hell

We give into the pull of the demons and the devil

Down a dangerous slope, we can’t get level

 

You can’t be happy with the world until you’re happy with yourself

You can’t be happy with me, until you’re happy with yourself

 

We’re living in a world of rampant hypocrisy

Decipher the truth, the truth will set us all free

Don’t turn aside when things get strange

Conquer your demons, change what you can change

 

Don’t give up or give in when times are bleak

Reach for inner strength from where we speak

The things that you know, the things that you control

Beat your demons down, go for the gold

 

You can’t be happy with the world until you’re happy with yourself

You can’t be happy with me, until you’re happy with yourself

 

If you have personal demons, well good for you, for you

Most of us fight our own demons, it’s all we can do, all we can do

We must fight our own demons, we can try, we can try

If we don’t; fight our own demons, we will die, we will die

 

You can’t be happy with the world until you’re happy with yourself

You can’t be happy with me, until you’re happy with yourself

 

Rise Up

 

Henry David told me it’s okay to move to my own beat

I should not care if I’m not cool or perceived as incomplete

Or if I change my stance, I don’t have concrete feet

I’ll keep on doing what’s right out here on the street

 

Rise up, rise up, off the floor

Rise up, rise up, and do more

Rise up, rise up, greet the new day

Rise up, rise up, do it your own way

Rise up, rise up, to the (?) song

Rise up, rise up, you are the one

Rise up, rise up…

 

Track 13 ‘Everything Fades’

 

 

Written and recorded prior to tracks 11 & 12, sometime in 2010, one can interpret the path things were going on in my life at the time.  The reverb lead guitar part imparts a very melancholy touch to close out the album.

 

Everything Fades

 

Can you still remember how much fun it was

Running out in December through the snow and the mud

All the holiday magic, how you could not sleep

Nothing could be tragic, nothing could be deep

Childhood so carefree, no thoughts of the past

Living for the now, the now will last

 

Everything fades, it fades away

Everything fades, it fades away

 

Can you still remember your first teenage love

A new school in September, a face like a light from above

A feeling that grabbed you down deep in your heart

Love that felt so true you knew you’d never be apart

But time moved on, people do change

And then came a dawn when everything seemed strange

 

Everything fades, it fades away

Everything fades, it fades away

 

White and black shade to gray

Old friends go missing every day

Present and past, an emotional display

But the spiritual bouquet is all swept away

 

Can you still remember as you got older

Once a fire, now an ember, in your heart you’re much colder

Thinking of all those you once called friends

You know how it goes but where will it end?

Will you end up lonely at the end of the day

Or is it only that it all fades away?

 

Everything fades, it fades away

Everything fades, it fades away

 

These songs can be purchased for download at my Bandcamp page:   https://mikebirchmusic.bandcamp.com

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