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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

Entries in this blog

Mike B

I won't be publishing the lyrics for Love and War until I have all the song lyric videos posted, which will be right before the official internet release date of October 15.  But you can listen to the pre-released songs and read the lyrcis on youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/mikebirchmusic

 

In the meantime, I'm gearing up for a couple of unofficial 'CD Release' shows and a new acoustic open mic I'll be hosting.

 

Sept 19 - open mic at Muddy Waters Pub & Restaurant, Methuen, MA  7:30-10:30

Sept 30 - 'feature' at the open mic at Walnut Street Cafe, Lynn, MA, I'll be going on around 8:30.

Oct 3 - open mic at Muddy Waters Pub & Restaurant, Methuen, MA  7:30-10:30

Oct 7 - Brunch Show at Serendipity Cafe, Maynard, MA 11am-1pm

Mike B

Peace Freedom Sanity Serenity

Released August 2013

All songs written by Mike Birch

All instruments and vocals by Mike Birch except drums on ‘The Beast Within’ by Simone Morettin

Mastering by Max Corbacho at Splendor Mastering

 

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Peace Of The Sea   4:32

What About The Children  4:46

The Weatherman and I  4:27

Freedom Song  3:24

Which Way To Go  5:05

The Beast Within  6:55

On The Edge  4:32

Searching For The Gold  5:01

Under An Overcst Sky  3:47

Dark Street  5:00

Pay It Forward  3:35

Another Year  4:46

Used To Be  4:42

Believe  6:13

Return To The Sea  4:32

 

Peace Of The Sea

 

 

 

 

Peace Of The Sea

 

Out of the pale silver sea, a time long past

A return to the warmth and the calm at last

The call of the waves beckons us so deeply to return

The peace of the water will soothe the everyday burn

 

The peace of the sea

Return to the sea (back to the peace)

To the serenity  (back to the sea)

The peace of the sea, return to the sea

 

Whispering wind across the singing sands of an early morning beach

Salty scent of the ocean calling out to all within reach

A return to the past within everyone’s soul

Back to the water we came from so long ago

 

The peace of the sea

Return to the sea (back to the peace)

To the serenity  (back to the sea)

The peace of the sea, return to the sea

 

Underwater silence, bubbles drift up and away

Soft surrounding warmth makes it feel okay

Blue-green light from a diffused overhead sun

Back to the sea, return to the one

 

The peace of the sea

Return to the sea (back to the peace)

Sanity and serenity  (back to the sea)

The peace of the sea, return to the sea

 

What About The Children

 

 

 

What About The Children

 

Innocence and tranquility seem so easy to reach

Pleasant Valley Sunday, sunset on a golden beach

Do what you want, when you want, freedom of speech

Remember to ‘do unto others’, practice what you preech

 

What about the children who will never be the same

What about you and I and those who feel ashamed

What about the families – no one’ll remember their names

What about the funerals where no one ever came

 

From the suburbs of middle America to the dusty roads of the MiddleEast

Love-starved children left on their own to wander lonely streets

Parents working overtime to pay for family feasts

Forgetting hugs are worth so much more than all the latest treats

 

What about the children who will never be the same

What about you and I and those who feel no shame

What about the families – no one’ll remember their names

What about the funerals where no one ever came

 

Break the silence, agonies in the dark

Stop the violence, let children wish upon a start

 

What about the children who will never be the same

What about you and I giving them a world that’s sane

What about the families – no one’ll remember their names

What about the funerals where no one ever came

 

 

The Weatherman And I

 

 

 

 

The Weatherman And I

 

Monday starts with a hopeful sign

Golden sunrise, temperature’s fine

But light fades away, it gets cold by noon

What once was so hopeful is gone all too soon

 

The weatherman’s always wrong and so am I

Can never seem to get things right, I can’t deny

The days may start sunny but they change to clouds of gray

The weatherman and I are always wrong, every day

 

A gentle spring rain promising growth and more

Changes to thunder and lightning and a heavy downpour

Washing away young green growth and hope

With despair and darkness and a sharp steep slope

 

The weatherman’s always wrong and so am I

Can never seem to get things right, I can’t deny

The days may start sunny but they change to clouds of gray

The weatherman and I are always wrong, in every way

 

A clear night sky, the stars shine clear and bright

Hunter rises in the east, guarding all in sight

Storm clouds roll in hiding stars and moon

What once was so hopeful is gone all too soon

 

The weatherman’s always wrong and so am I

Can never seem to get things right, I can’t deny

The days may start sunny but they change to clouds of gray

The weatherman and I are always wrong, each and every day

 

Freedom Song

 

 

 

Freedom Song

 

Springtime rainstorm, summertime morning light

Sing for the new day, darling, everything’s going to be alright

We’ve lost all our cares and worries on the road behind us

The future has no meaning, the present is enough for us

 

We can never be free enough, we can never be free

It’s all a deceptive illusion that just isn’t real

We can never be free, we can never be free

 

So we hit the road again, traveling to who knows where

The road is our freedom now, we’ll stay on it as long as we dare

We’ll keep looking for our missing freedom, never knowing what we’re looking for

But the search will go on forever, we’ll keep searching for more

 

We can never be free enough, we can never be free

It’s all a deceptive illusion that just isn’t real

We can never be free, we can never be free

 

The days are bright and sunny, hope the blue skies don't turn to gray

The air seems so fresh and bright when I'm living this way

Following the sunset trails into the golden light

In real life dreams can come true, with the living that’s right

 

We can never be free enough, we can never be free

It’s all a deceptive illusion that just isn’t real

We can never be free, we can never be free

 

Which Way To Go

 

 

 

 

Which Way To Go

 

Searching for answers to the wheres and the whys

Wading through piles of vague and useless replies

Looking for the truths amongst all the lies

But my tears are only from the smoke that gets in my eyes

 

Wandering empty streets alone with my thoughts

Mind plays funny tricks, tied up in knots

Bright lights in my face, eyes blink away spots

Explosions in my head like violent pistol shots

 

How can, how can we know

Which way, which way to go

Take it easy, take it slow

Don’t know, don’t know which way to go

 

Wondering at midnight where the stars all have gone

Where’d the light go, where’d the darkness come from

Thought that day and night had been agreed upon

But blackness is so complete, there can’t be a dawn

 

How can, how can we know

Which way, which way to go

Take it easy, take it slow

Don’t know, don’t know which way to go

 

Blue lights are flashing

But there’s no one around

Emotions are crashing

But not making a sound

Energy’s peaking

So how come I feel so down

What am I seeking?

Head is starting to pound

 

La-la-la…

 

How can, how can we know

Which way, which way to go

Take it easy, take it slow

Don’t know, don’t know which way to go

 

The Beast Within

 

 

 

The Beast Within

 

Cruel desire, internal rage drives the need

Uncertain emotions, don’t care where they lead

Forgotten learnings, no common sense

Animal instinct rules over intelligence

The dreams and visions, the call of a higher place

Running, thinking no longer part of the human race

Endless pursuit, don’t know if you’re chaser or chased

Can’t remember the look of a friendly face

 

The beast within us must be contained

The anger and violence kept under chain

Human compassion can’t take the strain

Beat the beast down is all that remains

 

Unending anger, a nagging pull down

Helpless feeling, a whimpering sound

A whispered plea for help from above

Hopeless resolution from a world without love

The feeling of freedom when at last we can see

Clarified vision no longer looking blindly

Taking it slowly, smalls steps, so carefully

Wondering thoughts, to be suddenly free

 

The beast within us must be contained

The anger and violence kept under chain

Human compassion can’t take the strain

Beat the beast down is all that remains

 

Hear the sire song’s call

It speaks to us all

Thick or thin

It’s the beast within

 

Middle of the night

A place without light

Purity or sin

It’s the beast within

 

Through the lust and the rage

Escape from the cage

Friend or kin

It’s the beast within

 

Impossible to resist

Like a stranger’s kiss

Heads will spin

It’s the beast within

 

Thick or thin, it’s the beast within

Purity or sin, it’s the beast within

Friend or kin, it’s the beast within

Your head will spin, it’s the beast within

 

On The Edge

 

 

 

On The Edge

 

Standing on the edge of a cliff

One step more, it’s all over

And if the ground should start to shift

It won’t matter about the four-leaf clover

You’ve had in your pocket since you were a kid

‘Cause there won’t be anyone to throw you a rope

And no one will care what you did

Or that you took that step because there was no hope

 

Fall from the edge into oblivion

Stray from the path into oblivion

 

Balanced on the edge of a knife

Don’t want to go back, don’t want to go forward

Temptation is take the big dive

But sanity can prevail from a few good words

That were spoken by someone of a like mind

Who was listening when needed to be heard

And spared just a little time

To clear up the things that had got so blurred

 

Fall from the edge into oblivion

Stray from the path into oblivion

 

Searching For The Gold

 

 

 

 

Searching For The Gold

 

Home can seem so empty when you’re always digging for more

Too driven to enjoy the calm, too anxious to score

Even more things and more dollars, but what’s it all for?

You can’t be at peace if you’re always fighting a war

 

We’re always searching for the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow

Always looking for something more – what, we don’t know

We’re searching north and south, east and west for something we can hold

And we’re always missing the rainbow while we’re searching for the gold

 

It can be a long long tale from childhood to dust

Seeking out knowledge and wisdom, resisting the greed and the lust

We do what we can, but it seems that we must

Let all we believe in fade or corrode into rust

 

We’re always searching for the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow

Always looking for something more – what, we don’t know

We’re searching north and south, east and west for something we can hold

And we’re always missing the rainbow while we’re searching for the gold

 

People running here and there

Maddened lemmings don’t seem to care

Scrambling, scrounging, pulling out their hair

Crazy striving to go nowhere

 

When the setting sun drives you to use the last of it’s light

Why not stop and look at the colors, the silhouettes of birds taking flight?

Watch the western horizon as the pastels fade into the night

And the stars come out one by one, shining down so bright

 

We’re always searching for the pot of the gold at the end of the rainbow

Always looking for something more – what, we don’t know

We’re searching north and south, east and west for something we can hold

And we’re always missing the rainbow while we’re searching for the gold

 

Under An Overcast Sky

 

 

 

Under An Overcast Sky

 

Rain coming down, soaked to the bone

Fog so thick, standing in a crowd all alone

Incongruity, nothing makes sense

Past, present, future, all seem meaningless

 

Living under an overcast sky

Never wondering about the reasons why

A glimpse of the sun, just another lie

No sanity in a mind that’s hypnotized

 

Ice and snow on the ground, dark nothingness above

Frozen feelings, no hate, passion or love

Breath freezes solid in the bitter cold

Warmth and joy can’t be bought or sold

 

Used to living under an overcast sky

Never wondering about the reasons why

A glimpse of the sun, just another lie

No sanity in a mind that’s hypnotized

 

Rays of sun at last burn through the dark

Brightness and joy flood in from the spark

Rainbow magically appear

Clouds melt away, along with the fear

 

No longer living under an overcast sky

Knowing all the answers, no wondering why

Darkness is gone, spirits are high

All is sanity, come let us fly

 

Let us fly, under an overcast sky…

 

Dark Street

 

 

 

Dark Street

 

Been out walking alone for so long

Nothing is right when everything is wrong

The night goes ever one when I can’t see the dawn

Need to get some help to see the road I’m on

‘Cause the road is paved with heartache and pain

Of everyday troubles that hit me again and again

And leave me a loss to try to explain

Why it is what it is, it’s the same old refrain

 

Moving down a dark street

One step further from ever being free

Dark can’t beat darkness only light will let us see

As we’re moving down a dark street

 

Dirt and dust in front of me hanging in the air so thick

Pain in my head makes me feel sick

Always chose the wrong path no matter how I picked

What seemed the easy way was just a nasty trick

Sick of the bullshit and the everyday lack

Of hopeful light to push away the black

Feelings and thoughts that won’t go away

No matter what is done or what I say

 

Moving down a dark street

One step further from ever being free

Dark can’t beat darkness only light will let us see

As we’re moving down a dark street

 

Moving away from a dark place

Back to living amongst the human race

Light will beat the darkness, light will set us free

Keep us moving away from a dark street

 

Moving away from a dark street

One step closer to being free

Light can beat the darkness, light will let us see

Keep us moving away from a dark street

 

Pay It Forward

 

 

 

Pay It Forward

 

Remember when your car stopped on the road

And you pulled off to the side

And then a man stopped nearby

And offered you a ride

Remember that time at the beach

As a sandcastle-building child

That boy who just started helping

Building a wall to fend off the tide

 

Pay it forward, pay it back

Help when you can, take up the slack

Of those who don’t give a damn

About their fellow man

Pay it forward, pay it back

 

See that poor soul sitting all alone

On the dirty city sidewalk

He’s looking for someone to help him out

To find a key to the lock

That keeps him so far down

He can hardly talk

Someone to come and lift him up

Help him from under his rock

 

Pay it forward, pay it back

Help when you can, take up the slack

Of those who don’t give a damn

About their fellow man

Pay it forward, pay it back

 

One day you might be needing help, too

You may find others looking down on you

Feeling like there’s nothing that you can do

There’s always hope if you’re one of those who

 

Pays it forward, pays it back

Help when you can, take up the slack

Of those who don’t give a damn

About their fellow man

Pay it forward, pay it back

 

Another Year

 

 

 

Another Year

 

A new year starts so cold

January starts to unfold

Like an origami figure only half-made

And intricate plans not yet laid

The promise of more as springtime nears

Warmth to melt all the ice and fears

Feelings blossom like flowers in May

Swollen desire as doubts go away

 

Used to hate the thought of another year

Didn’t want to think of another year

Could not believe it was another year

Now I’m looking forward to another year with you

 

Passions flame in the summer heat

Fire in hearts at last set free

Rain-filled rivers and mountains of wonder

The shared sound of a storm’s loud thunder

The portents of an ending as autumn appears

Artist’s pallet of colors so bright you can hear

The changing of the leaves in the westerly wind

Life can be more than ever imagined

 

Used to hate the thought of another year

Didn’t want to think of another year

Could not believe it was another year

Now I’m looking forward to another year with you

 

Winter’s winds and cold again draw close

Past year’s memories hang hauntingly like ghosts

But the fire continues bright in hearts and souls

Love will fight the snow and ice, fill all the voids and holes

 

Used to hate the thought of another year

Didn’t want to think of another year

Could not believe it was another year

Now I’m looking forward to another year with you

 

 

Used To Be

 

 

 

Used To Be

 

Used to be I couldn’t see the stars in the night

Used to be I wouldn’t look up above for fright

Wouldn’t dare to look at myself in the mirror

Couldn’t face up to the facts or the fear

 

The sun comes up on the eastern horizon

And I know that I really should be rising

But my mind is still dark, don’t want to wake up

Still can’t find a way to hold my head up

 

Used to think that I was all alone

Used to believe my actions were all written in stone

But some helpful words came like light from above

Start to believe in what I’m made of

 

The sun comes out from behind a dark gray cloud

Start to believe I can figure it all out

Not alone anymore, friends can help me up

Help me find a way to hold my head up

 

The sun’s light shines all around

No longer unsure, I can hold my ground

Friends, faith and belief has helped me up

I have learned I can always hold my head up

 

 

Believe

 

 

 

 

 

Believe

 

When I was young I believe in truth, family and love\

What I saw and what I did, no help from any powers above

As my world expanded, I found it easy to deceive

My own sense of what is right, of what I believed

 

If you believe in me, I will believe in you

There’s nothing that together we can’t do

If I believe in you, will you believe in me?

There’s nothing to keep us from being free

 

As I grew into adulthood, I forgot what I had relied on

Pressures from every side, no time for beliefs that were gone

Life got too busy, I forgot to be strong

No time for thinking, forgetting what’s right or wrong

 

If you believe in me, I will believe in you

There’s nothing that together we can’t do

If I believe in you, will you believe in me?

There’s nothing to keep us from being free

 

Not that I’m older I’ve discovered I’ve got to believe in myself

Can’t constantly do things for others, put my own life on a shelf

I’ve got to be strong, strong as I can be

I’ve got believe, believe in me

 

If you believe in me, I will believe in you

There’s nothing that together we can’t do

If I believe in you, will you believe in me?

There’s nothing to keep us from being free

 

 

Return to the Sea

 

 

 

At last you have won

At peace, rising of the sun

All is shining, all are one

Long past are childhood fears

Dried up are the adult tears

 

Return to the sea

Tranquility

Peaceful and free

Return to the sea

 

Despair is washed away

No cares with the light of day

Freedom attained in every way

Together, never alone

At last you are home

 

Return to the sea

Sanity, serenity

Peaceful and free

Return to the sea

 

Mike B

Every once in a while I get inspired by some nonsense on the news or on social media and pen a satirical song!  None of these songs have been released on albums, but some are available to purchase as downloads from my Bandcamp site.

 

The Massacre of Bowling Green

 

 

This was written right after Trump’s counselor referenced this fictitious event in a number of interviews.

 

The Massacre of Bowling Green

 

 

We all remember where we were

That treacherous day

The cries of anguish echoing

From not-so-far away

But no shots were fired

We’re getting so tired

Of alternative facts from the lips of Kellyanne Conway

 

We won’t remember the dead from the Massacre of Bowling Green

There wasn’t any bloodshed, the streets all stayed serene

But we sure will remember what we might have seen

As Kellyanne told us of the Massacre of Bowling Green

 

Everyone’s gotten used to

The lies from Washington

It’s just political bravado

A waste of oxygen

But we’re all pissed

At the thought of more of this

All the fake news from the mouth of an elected moron

 

We won’t remember the dead from the Massacre of Bowling Green

There wasn’t any bloodshed, the streets all stayed serene

But we sure will remember what we might have seen

As Kellyanne told us of the Massacre of Bowling Green

 

They’re laughing at the US in Europe

The whole world’s thinking that we’re nuts

Media’s in a frenzy, and things are getting deadly

Because of alternative facts from a putz

 

We won’t remember the dead from the Massacre of Bowling Green

There wasn’t any bloodshed, the streets all stayed serene

But we sure will remember what we might have seen

As Kellyanne told us of the Massacre of Bowling Green

 

 

1989

 

 

When Taylor Swift released her album titled ‘1989’ I couldn’t help but think that it was kind of self-grandizing – after all it was the year she had been born, and she knew nothing about it first-hand.  So I thought I’d tell the real story of 1989.  By the way I have nothing against Taylor Swift - she has parlayed her early country music career into a multi-million dollar industry, even if the music has been over-produced to appeal to the public’s low standards/wants.

 

1989

 

In the year 1988

Taylor Swift hadn’t been born yet

Things were great

 

In 1989 I was all of 33

Living the good life, high and free

The future didn’t matter, at least not to me

All I needed was enough time to party

 

When did things start to go wrong?

When did meaning go out of the songs?

 

1989, the wall came crashing down

GPS and IPOs started, the world kept going ‘round

Can’t say I remember, but there must have been a sign

The world started going to hell in 1989.

 

In 1989 music producers, they took us for fools

Hits from Madonna, the Bangles and frickin’ Paula Abdul

Can’t blame Ms. Swift, if that’s what she learned in school

1989 was the start of music being uncool

 

When did things start to go wrong?

When did meaning go out of the songs?

 

1989, the wall came crashing down

George Bush Senior was president, and the world kept going around

Can’t say I remember, but there must have been a sign

The world started going to hell in 1989.

Can’t say I remember, but there must have been a sign

The world started going to hell in 1989.

The world started going to hell in 1989

 

Winter Sucks

 

 

 

One year we had a particularly hard winter here in New England and it just never seemed to want to end, I wrote this song and started performing it at open mics, and winter finally did end!  I always got people to shout out the ‘winter sucks’ at the end of the chorus, then on the final one – they’d shout it out by themselves.

 

Winter Sucks

 

I’m tired of winter

Of snow sleet slush and ice

I’m so sick of shoveling

And my back is paying the price

 

Winter sucks!

You heard me right

Give me back summer’s warm sunlight

I don’t want any more cold bad luck

All I can say is

Winter Sucks!

 

My car got run into a ditch

My a speeding snowplow

My insurance man, he said

It’s all my fault somehow

 

Winter sucks!

You heard me right

Give me back summer’s warm sunlight

I don’t want any more cold bad luck

All I can say is

Winter Sucks!

 

One day soon I’m going to move south

Where the sun shines warm my friend

I’ll lay on the beach with a drink in hand

And never think about winter again

 

I slipped on the ice,fell on my ass

Got frostbite on my nose

Stuck outside when I lost my keys

Now I can’t feel my toes

 

Winter sucks!

You heard me right

Give me back summer’s warm sunlight

I don’t want any more cold bad luck

All I can say is

Winter Sucks!

 

One day soon I’m going to move south

Where the sun shines warm my friend

I’ll lay on the beach with a drink in hand

And never think about winter again

 

Winter sucks!

You heard me right

Give me back summer’s warm sunlight

No more cold, I don’t give a fuck

All I can say is

Winter Sucks!

 

All I can say is

Winter Sucks!

 

All I can say is

 

 

Little Red Cup

 

 

 

This was a quick write when all of a sudden it was “big news” that Starbucks had to change their traditional seasonal coffee paper cup because it was ‘too Christian’.  This live video is all that remains of the poor little red cup…

 

Little Red Cup

 

I used to laugh with Santa Claus

Dance with all the reindeer

But now I must give pause

Before I give someone the wrong idea

Not religious, no worry

When I say have a Merry Christmas day

Don’t be in such a hurry

To judge my old-fashioned ways

I say Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Joyeaux Noel

 

I miss the snowflakes on my little red cup

Starbucks, it just ain’t the same

I think I better quickly drink my coffee up

‘Cause this world has gone insane

 

Can’t say Merry Christmas

Gotta say Happy Holidays

I can’t understand all the fuss

As long as it’s a day off with pay

I say Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Sheng Dan Kuai Le

 

I miss my little snowflakes on my little red cup

Starbucks, it just ain’t the same

I think I better quickly drink my coffee up

‘Cause this world has gone insane

 

Oh little red cup, what did they do to you

I don’t think you did anything wrong

McDonalds turned you purple this year

Why can’t we all get along?

 

I miss the snowflakes on my little red cup

Starbucks, it just ain’t the same

I think I better quickly drink my coffee up

‘Cause this PC stuff is a pain

Yes, this world has gone insane

 

Mike B

Fact and Fiction

Released December, 2016

All instruments and vocals:  Mike Birch

All songs written by Mike Birch

 

1) Gypsy Wind
2) Look Down The Road
3) Open All Night
4) Ashes and Trees
5) Mr Limo Driver
6) Thirty Miles to Richmond
7) Miss Mexico
8 ) Desert Snow
9) The Good From the Bad
10) Sandcastles
11) The Traveler
12) Kiss or Kill
13) Chasing the Sunlight
14) Scarlet and Sable
15) The Winds of Change

 

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My 4th album of original songs, these were all ‘story’ songs, some completely factual, some based on facts, some completely fictional and some a little bit of both fact and fiction.  Many of these songs had already been recorded when I released my 3rd album, hence the relatively quick release (1 year) after the previous one.

 

Track 1 ‘Gypsy Wind’

 

 

 

Fiction!  Story of a gypsy dancer/singer who arrives and steals the songwriter’s heart.  As I didn't have a nylon string guitar (yet) when I recorded this, I used a baritone ukulele for that part.

 

Gypsy Wind

 

She glides around the campfire

Guitar plays soft and slow

Flames reach ever higher

Gypsy dancer’s face is aglow

 

Her voice calls out a shimmering note

Begging stars and moon to listen

It’s as if time has slowed

She is one with the gypsy wind

 

She moves with the gypsy wind

She sings with the gypsy wind

 

Helplessly falling

Victim drawn to her calling

Hypnotized by her form

Blown away by the gypsy storm

 

Dark hair flows, streams of night

Siren song takes control

Her eyes flash to his inner fire

Summoning to her gypsy soul

 

She moves with the gypsy wind

She sings with the gypsy wind

She moves with the gypsy wind

She is one with the gypsy wind

 

Helplessly falling

Victim drawn to her calling

Hypnotized by her form

Blown away by the gypsy storm

 

She is one with the gypsy wind

 

 

Track 2 ‘Look Down the Road’

 

 

 

Based on fact!  I wrote this while reading the Neil Young biography “Shakey”, based on the time when he left Ontario for the west coast.  I tried to capture some of the early-Neil guitar sound for this one.

 

Look Down the Road

 

The grass here sure is brown

Bound to be greener over there

Maybe there won’t be anyone

Ragging on my long hair

I’m getting kind of tired

Of all the crap in this old town

Sorry I have to tell you

I won’t be sticking around

 

I’m not one to waste time looking back

Doesn’t matter what happened before,  what I never had

I must be moving before I’m too damn old

Wonder where I’m heading?  Just look down the road

 

Wasn’t too long, plans were made

Soon the deed of leaving was done

On the road with a couple of friends

In an old car that barely runs

Along the way we argue

But we have plenty of fun

Searching for that greener grass

Speeding down old route 101

 

I’m not one to waste time looking back

Doesn’t matter what happened before,  what I never had

I must be moving before I’m too damn old

Wonder where I’m heading?  Just look down the road

 

Never wanted to hurt your feelings

It was nothing you did or said

I knew I’d be leaving

Staying long’s not in my head

 

West coast ain’t much different

‘Cept that the grass’s always brown

Parted ways with my old friends

Got a job when the car broke down

Heard you called, looking for me

But your memory hurts down to my soul

Thinking about heading out one more time

Wondering where my wandering will lead … as I look down the road

 

I’m not one to waste time looking back

Doesn’t matter what happened before,  what I never had

I must be moving before I’m too damn old

Wonder where I am tonight?  Look down the road

 

 

Track 3 ‘Open All Night’

 

 

Based on fact!  Some friends ran an open mic at a restaurant (formerly pancake house) that stayed open late for food and also had a bar room (beer and wine only).  Some of the characters there one night inspired the verses. 

 

Open All Night

 

Mr and Mrs Brown, wearing frowns, fried eggs for dinner

Reverend Jones, always alone, knows he’s really a sinner

The waitress talks to them and smiles, and for a little while

They feel like winners

 

Open All Night bar and grill pancake emporium

Saturday night all the lonely people come

Open All Night bar and grill pancake emporium

Where do all the people come from?

 

Carol Ann with a fake tan drinking with her mom at the bar

She’s just 31, having no fun, asks why meeting men is so hard

The bartender pours another round and smiles, and for a little while

She forgets the invisible scars

 

Open All Night bar and grill pancake emporium

Saturday night all the lonely people come

Open All Night bar and grill pancake emporium

Where do all the people come from?

 

Sign of our times, sad people everywhere

Wrapped up in their own misery, no one cares

 

In a corner I sit, spotlight lit, playing my guitar

I’m just like them, looking for friends, waiting for tips in a jar

The people listen clap and smile, and for a little while

Our home is this bar

 

Open All Night bar and grill pancake emporium

Saturday night all the lonely people come

Open All Night bar and grill pancake emporium

Where do all the people come from?

 

 

 

Track 4 ‘Ashes and Trees’

 

 

 

Fiction!  This lyric came about as an exercise, equating metaphorically love and fire – starting out strong, eventually burning out and fading to embers and ashes.

 

Ashes and Trees

 

Promise of endless summer, fireworks and bonfires

Like children filled with wonder, passionate hearts of desire

 

The fire burns bright, smoke drifts away on the breeze

Last hope smolders amid the ashes and the trees

 

Sparks kindle flames, heat almost too much to bear

Two souls melt together, hot life to share

 

The fire burns bright, smoke drifts away on the breeze

Last hope smolders amid the ashes and the trees

 

All flames finally fade

Embers change to gray

Summer heat becomes winter cold

And love can lose its hold

 

The fire burns out, smoke drifts away on the breeze

Last hope smolders, amid the ashes and the trees

 

 

Track 5 ‘Mr Limo Driver’

 

 

 

Fiction based on fact!  On The Muse songwriter forum, there was one member who happened to be the limousine driver for another forum member.  I contemplated what it would be like driving a ‘star’ around every day as one’s job.

 

Mr Limo Driver

 

Watching in the mirror

Adjusting your makeup and your hair

Sipping champagne

Talking on the phone to people who only care

That you’re the only reason

They live as high as they do

And when the day is over

Do any of them really care for you?

 

Then I hear “Mr. Limo Driver, won’t you take me away?”

But it’s only your order to drive you home, it’s the end of another day

 

Mr. Limo Driver, never rides in the back

Mr. Limo Driver, white shirt, jacket of black

Stoically silent, a master of tact

Mr. Limo Driver – I never ride in the back

 

Star of screen and stage

So why do you look so sad?

Fortune and fame

Must be more good than bad

Hard for me to fathom

What’s going on inside your mind

The obviously forced smile

Can’t hide all the pain behind

 

Then I hear “Mr. Limo Driver, won’t you take me away?”

But it’s only your order to drive you home, it’s the end of another day

 

Mr. Limo Driver, never rides in the back

Mr. Limo Driver, white shirt, jacket of black

Stoically silent, a master of tact

Mr. Limo Driver – never rides in the back

 

At a red light my imagination drifts

To things that will never be

Then I catch your face in the mirror

Your eyes looking back at me

 

Then I hear “Mr. Limo Driver, won’t you take me away?”

But it’s only my imagination, it’s the end of another day

 

Mr. Limo Driver, never rides in the back

Mr. Limo Driver, white shirt, jacket of black

Stoically silent, a master of tact

Mr. Limo Driver – never rides in the back

Mr. Limo Driver – I never ride in the back

 

Track 6 ‘Thirty Miles to Richmond’

 

 

Fiction!  I had read a science fiction short story titled something like ’20 days to Earth’ where the main character was returning to the planet where he was born, and then the idea of a soldier returning home came to me.  Fiction, of course, because the singer turns out to be dead by the last verse.

 

Thirty Miles To Richmond

 

Papa shook my hand as we waited for the bus

Mama was crying, making her usual fuss

My sisters were smiling, their eyes glistening with tears

I climbed aboard the bus, then watched Richmond disappear

 

Camp was tough as everyone had warned

You have to work hard to earn a uniform

Sarge built a team from a bunch of innocent kids

Taught us to stay alive no matter what we did

 

Thirty miles to Richmond

This journey will finally end

Thirty miles to Richmond

I’ll soon be home again

 

Soon we were sent off to an unknown land

To fight in a war we didn’t understand

Surrounded by my friends, it was the usual tale

We were from the land of freedom, we could never fail

 

Tommy was my buddy

He was like a brother to me

Could do the work of ten

Thought we’d make history

But a bullet cut him down

No mercy from the enemy

As I wept over him

They did the same to me

 

Thirty miles to Richmond

This journey will finally end

Thirty miles to Richmond

I’ll soon be home again

 

 

Track 7 ‘Miss Mexico’

 

 

Based on fact!  Back in my Montreal university days, there was a very pretty girl in the dorms who had come from Mexico, but she was American – her father was an embassy worker, I think. One of the guys in the dorm nicknamed her ‘Miss Mexico’.  We exchanged a few pen pal letters during the summer between 1st and 2nd years at school.  During the 2nd year, she started dating the guy who had nicknamed her, and he was a real womanizer.  One night as I was returning from the library (really!) to my student ghetto apartment, she was coming down the sidewalk crying her eyes out, after finding out the guy had been using her and cheating on her.  We spent the night together, she kicked me out of her place around dawn.  I never saw or heard from her again.

The music came about as a 'chord challenge' from a member at a music-related forum.

 

Miss Mexico

 

Sweetness and innocence

Even more behind a pretty face

Hidden intelligence

Kept quietly in its place

 

Admiral ambitions

Become so much more

Forget inhibitions

And walk through that open door

 

Do you miss your family?

Do you miss a life care –free?

 

Miss Mexico

Do you feel alone?

Miss Mexico

Do you miss your home?

Do you, do you, Miss Mexico?

 

I tried to warn you

That you were a little naïve

You would not listen

'Til the night he made you leave

 

Do you miss your family?

Do you miss a life care –free?

 

Miss Mexico

Do you feel alone?

Miss Mexico

Do you miss your home?

Do you, do you, Miss Mexico?

 

Hard to hide behind a mask

When your life has crashed

I’ve been trying to help you

But you won’t let me through

 

Do you miss your family?

Do you miss a life care –free?

 

Miss Mexico

Do you feel alone?

Miss Mexico

Do you miss your home?

Do you, do you, Miss Mexico?

 

 

Track 8 ‘Desert Snow’

 

 

Fact!  I wrote this song after reading the following post on the forum at acousticguitarforum.com.

 

This post is about miracles. 


One year ago tonight we were taking our girls to the hospital to say a final goodbye to my dad. There were plenty of tears in the car. My dad was taken down suddenly by an asthma attack. He never woke up. As we were thinking about how terribly unfair this was, and negotiating rush hour traffic, the skies opened up and sent down a flurry of snow. In the Phoenix area. That almost never happens. By the time we parked our world had transformed. The girls' tears had turned to smiles and they spun around the parking lot and caught snowflakes on their tongues. I was witnessing a miracle. And I know it was Dad telling us it would be okay. We hurried into the lobby and shook the snow out of our hair. The snow had fallen so suddenly that people in the lobby at first did not register that it was snowing and when they did, a new energy filled the room. I ran upstairs and told Dad's wife, who had remained at his bedside for two days non-stop, to look out the window. She did, and her soul was lifted momentarily from her problems. 


Little did we know that in a hospital just a few miles north of us, also being covered in snow, a gentleman from Flagstaff was surrounded by his family and they were preparing to say goodbye, too. The man needed a liver and they were not sure one would come in time. The next day my dad was released from his earthly body. As we were saying goodbye, they were grasping onto hope. They told us later that when they found out the news the first thing they did was pray for our family. We felt those prayers, and they helped us to heal. And when we found out in those same moments that my dad had been able to provide someone a liver, we prayed for the recovery and healing of that unknown person. A few months ago we were blessed to meet these new extended members of our family. They are the most warm-hearted down to earth people. We felt an immediate bond with them. Today we got a message from the gentleman that he is going for his annual checkup and the liver is still working out fine for him. He keeps Dad's photo in his kitchen. We are now one family.


It's interesting how things work out. I still feel dad's spirit around from time to time. His wife has witnessed concrete signs that he is still watching over her, too. Dad is not gone; he is just harder to get ahold of these days. I can't believe it's been a year since the miracle snowstorm. And yet in some ways I can't believe it's been 35 years since dad sung me to sleep at night with the same guitar I'm now learning to play. I can't believe it's been twenty years since I went away to college and discovered who I was inside and what I wanted to do with my life. I can't believe that my little baby girl is now thirteen. Sometimes I can still feel the weight of her little baby self in my arms and instead I see before me the young woman she's becoming. We all transition a little bit every day. Life is a process of saying goodbye to the old and welcoming the new. Tonight in the darkness I will be reflecting on the people and things I have said goodbye to. Tomorrow when the sun rises, I want to reflect on the blessings that surround me, and look forward to the new experiences yet to come.

 

 

Desert Snow

 

Feelings of sadness under empty skies

Traveling miles just to say goodbye

No one says it, but everyone knows it's true

Everything changes and memories fade, too.

 

Then a sign, a message from above

Sent to remind us of all the love

No matter what, there's always hope

From something unexpected, like desert snow.

 

All of a sudden dark day turns bright

Crystalline beauty, blanket of white

Grief is muffled, like footsteps in snow

A gift to a stranger, to let them grow.

 

Remember when things get too tough

We've got within us the power of love

No matter how bad, there's always hope

Some kind of miracle, like desert snow.

 

No matter how it seems, you're never alone

You can find new dreams, your destiny unknown

Feel it, feel it in your soul

Like desert snow

 

A new sunrise, a brand new start

Feel it inside, feel it in your heart

They're always with us, sweet memories

Bringing a smile, like a cool desert breeze.

 

Remember when things get too tough

We've got within us the power of love

No matter how bad, there's always hope

Some kind of miracle, like desert snow.

Like desert snow,     like desert snow

 

Track 9 ‘The Good From the Bad’

 

 

Fiction based on fact!  So many stories on media about women abused by their husbands/boyfriends, and I also witnessed some mental abusing of women/friends I knew.  So the lyric’s facts are fiction, but not the problem.

 

The Good From The Bad

 

She always told her best friends

Her nose was her best feature

Wrinkled it up so cute

When she was kissing up to a teacher

 

It seems so long ago

She doesn’t know where time went

Doesn’t want to think

How that nose got all bent

 

He promised her diamonds

Instead she got fists of rock

But she thinks that she deserved

Everything she got

 

Can’t tell the good from the bad

It’s the only love she’s ever had

Put up with the abuse

Always an excuse

Can’t tell the good from the bad

 

Another night in the ER

This time a broken arm

Questions get no answers

But she’s sure he didn’t mean any harm

Get away her friends all say

But it’s not something she will do

All the tears, shame and pain

She still thinks love will see them through

 

He promised her the world

Instead all she got was dirt

She still believes

That it’s all she is worth

 

Can’t tell the good from the bad

It’s the only love she’s ever had

Put up with the abuse

Always an excuse

Can’t tell the good from the bad

 

Opposites why do they attract? It’s a hard fact

Good is drawn to bad

Pleasure and pain, quite insane

Good and bad together again

 

Can’t tell the good from the bad

It’s the only love she’s ever had

Put up with the abuse

Always an excuse

Can’t tell the good from the bad

 

 

Track 10 ‘Sandcastles’

 

 

Fiction!  An idea of someone unhappy or unsatisfied with their life who escapes into dreamland whenever she can.  I heard the phrase 'building sandcastles in dreams' one morning on the radio on my way to work, so this one wrote itself quickly.

 

Sandcastles

 

Up with the sun
Never real fun
Show the kids love every day
Wipe a nose
Watch the bus go
Help her husband on his way

Shower and dress
Kitchen’s a mess
It’ll have to wait until later
Workday calls
Mothers shift at the mall
Another day of meaningless labor

Late at night, when things go quiet
She closes her eyes, and smiles

She’s building sandcastles in her dreams
Waves won’t wash them away
A place where she can be a queen
Until the break of day … takes it away

Make dinner and clean
Husband watches TV
Help the kids do homework
When did life change
Sun turned to rain
Is this all she really deserves?

But late at night, when things go quiet
She closes her eyes, and smiles

She’s building sandcastles in her dreams
Waves won’t wash them away
A place where she can be a queen
Until the break of day … takes it away 

 

 

Track 11 ‘The Traveler’

 

 

Fiction!  Loosely based on the character of Dr Who, from the BBC television series.

 

The Traveler

 

There at the beginning, there at the end

Looks so familiar like a long lost friend

So elusive, a shadow amongst men

Seeming to help, then gone again

 

No time paradox, no reason for prayer

Appearing where needed, everywhere here and there

 

He’s the Traveler through space and time

His wisdom and patience are touching all lives

Ending war and famine, committing no crime

He’s the Traveler, making sure we survive

 

Looks too young, feels too old

Burning with fever, but touch is ice cold

Shining so bright dark as a black hole

That looks right through into your soul

 

No time paradox, no reason for prayer

Appearing where needed, everywhere here and there

 

He’s the Traveler through space and time

His wisdom and patience are touching all lives

Ending war and famine, committing no crime

He’s the Traveler, making sure we survive

 

Round and round

No way to get down

Round and round

A whisper of sound

Round and round

And round and round again

 

 

Track 12 ‘Kiss or Kill’

 

 

Fact!  This is the story of Alix Tichelman, the media-named ‘Call Girl Killer’.  The song was written while she was still awaiting trial for the death of a millionaire Google executive.  She eventually entered a plea bargain of involuntary manslaughter to avoid life imprisonment for murder.  'Kiss or Kill' is one of her tattoos, and some of the lyrics are directly from her writings.

 

Kiss or Kill

 

Daddy’s little princess

Mommy’s little girl

Childhood of innocence

Protected from the world

One day things are different

Daddy’s never home

Mommy's past caring where he went

And the princess is alone

 

No blaming destiny, or the lack of will
It's all or nothing, kiss or kill

 

Teen years are tough

Sometimes so unfair

Saying ‘no’ is not enough

No one seems to care

Mind and feelings go numb

It’s easier to pretend

Than trying to pick up and run

From a world you can’t comprehend

 

No blaming destiny, or the lack of will
It's all or nothing, kiss or kill

 

Caught in a freezing whirlpool

Ice grips the soul

Emotions are torn to dust

In a suffocating black hole

Nothing really matters anymore

Each day takes its toll

Feeling ripped from thought

The heart grows cold

 

Escape from reality

It’s so easy to do

Don’t care about eternity

So there’s nothing left to lose

Love is hell, hell is love

Nothing is for sure

When facts aren’t enough

No reasoning any more

 

No blaming destiny, courage from a pill
It's all or nothing, kiss or kill

It's all or nothing, kiss or kill

It's all or nothing, kiss or kill

 

 

Track 13 ‘Chasing the Sunlight’

 

 

Fiction!  In the songwriter circle I help run, at our monthly meeting we’ll come up with a prompt or theme to write a song to for the next meeting.  One month, it was suggested we all write to a particular title, and chose quite a trite one!  Not sure how I decided the lyric would be a story of birds.  Or is it allegory?

 

Chasing The Sunlight

 

Season’s changing, feel it in my bones

Time for rearranging, flying on home

Another year’s passed, it doesn’t seem fair

I thought it would last but I’m alone in the air

 

I’m still chasing the sunlight

Trying to get things to feel alright

Adding some color to all the grey

It would be a much brighter day … if you were still here

 

Remember the sun, our very first spring

Nestling the young under spread wings

Fierce winds came, I couldn’t protect you too

Watched you swept away, nothing I could do

 

I’m still chasing the sunlight

Trying to get things to feel alright

Adding some color to all the grey

It would be a much brighter day … if you were still here

 

Shadows can be hard to escape

Descending darkness from a simple mistake

Brightness can seem within easy grasp

But then can slip away too fast

 

I’m still chasing the sunlight

Trying to get things to feel alright

Adding some color to all the grey

It would be a much brighter day … if you were still here

 

 

Track 14 ‘Scarlet and Sable’

 

 

Fiction!  Fantasy story with a medieval flare.  I was trying to go for a sound similar to Ritchie Blackmore’s current music in his band Blackmore’s Night.

 

Scarlet and Sable

 

Miss Scarlet wore sable boots to stomp on men's hearts

But the blame wasn't all on her, the men did their part

She had turquoise on her fingers, silver on her toes

The men would follow her wherever she goes

 

Scarlet and sable

Myth and fable

Turquoise and silver

All the joys delivered

Blood is black under moonlight

Silvery runes glowing in the night

 

Miss Scarlet had golden keys to open all the doors

That hid the secrets never known before

Immortality, wisdom, infinite wealth

Cures for all illness, of unending health

 

Scarlet and sable

Myth and fable

Turquoise and silver

All the joys delivered

Blood is black under moonlight

Silvery runes glowing in the night

 

Scarlet and sable, myth and fable….

 

Miss Scarlet had the power to make the heavens open up

In a deluge of rain, then quickly turn to sun

A magic unknown in man's modern times

Where reality and fantasy are intertwined

 

Scarlet and sable

Myth and fable

Turquoise and silver

All the joys delivered

Blood is black under moonlight

Silvery runes glowing in the night

 

Scarlet and sable, myth and fable ...

 

 

Track 15 ‘The Winds of Change’

 

 

Fiction!  Based on a science fiction short story I read where a group of people are tasked with journeying into the past to correct things done by another time-traveling group.  When the past changes catch up to the present, its like a whirlwind as things transform.

 

The Winds of Change

 

Feeling hovers, dark

Wants to stop my heart

Silent whispers lead to the grave

Rising panic builds

Unexplained guilt

There’s nothing left to save

 

Squeeze eyes shut

Can’t keep it out

A vision of what shouldn’t be

Makes little sense

I must confess

I’m frightened by what I see

 

The air grows cold

Time twists then takes hold

Something sure feels strange

Wait for it … the winds of change

 

Fireball expands

All part of the plan

Can’t halt it once it begins

Nuclear strike

God-awful night

Destroy a multitude of sins

 

The air grows cold

Time twists then takes hold

Something sure feels strange

Wait for it … the winds of change

 

Must go back

Into the past

Change a fact

Make it fast

Fix neglect

Now is changed

Butterfly effect

Time rearranged

 

The air grows cold

Time twists then takes hold

Something sure feels strange

Wait for it … the winds of change

 

Mike B

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 Bilancieri.

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 what 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

Mastering by Hands-On Sound

 

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 tracks 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 angel 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 going to 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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