Behind the Songs for Show 4.

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Oh Take Me Back There

One day early in 1994 I was feeling nostalgic for my long-gone childhood and the home I can never go back to because it no longer exists. This has been the origin of many of my songs maybe too many. But I can't help it. Nostalgia goes with gray hair. The past always seems better than the present because as I say in the last verse "... we forget about the bad things and remember only good."

Wild Strawberries (1994 With Grace Haynes Smith)

My Aunt Grace wrote poems all her life. Most were in no regular meter and not rhymed. A few were in ballad meter and rhymed. I set some of these to music with her permission. "Wild Strawberries" is by far the most successful of these. There was one line I have always been uncomfortable with

"A sudden downpour caught us
far from a friendly house
She shivered drenched and fevered a
pathetic little mouse."

I imagine she agonized over these two ballad lines for many hours. To refer to a loved one as "... a pathetic little mouse" is hardly complementary. Also the house - mouse rhyme is quite cliched. I have now changed it to

"A sudden summer downpour
drenched us to the bone
She shivered in a fever
I was helpless all alone."

I hope you don't mind Aunt Grace.

My Wasted Years (1994)

I was still learning how to write when I wrote this song in 1994. This one has gone through a number of revisions large and small. In the most recent revision I exchanged 7 words for 6 in the second stanza.

I sort of imagined myself in this position but the person in the song is not me.

Old Time Movies (1995)

My wife and I bought our first VCR in 1977 when they were new and unproven. We knew that it wouldn't be long before movies older than a year would come out on video cassette just as music came out on audio cassette. It turned out we were right. We now have a DVD player and love to watch movies, the older the better. It's only natural that I should have written a song in praise of old movies. I have asked viewers and listeners to send me their own verses about their favorite movies. Send em in , guys and gals. I promise I won't rip you off. You'll get full credit and a share of the money. Just remember half of nothing is still nothing. I'm still waiting. Is anybody out there?

If you can't quite place the tune I borrowed it from the Irish. Don't worry, I'll return it when I'm finished with it.

Untying Knots (1998)

Breaking up seems to be an inevitable part of love. I have never been through a divorce so I can only imagine what it must be like. I had a couple of girl friends before finally finding Sue. Breaking up with them was bad enough. A divorce must be 100 times worse.

Sweet Betsy From Pike (Public Domain)

I first heard the song from the singing of Bearl Ives. A lot could be pontificated about it such as "It embodies the pioneer spirit" but to me it's like a well worn comfortable pair of shoes. It's an old friend.

I couldn't resist having a little fun with the last verse.

Alone in the Dark (1993)

Considering how long ago this song was written it's a little surprising that its revision history is as short as it is. I guess I got it mostly right by accident. I don't remember how the idea came into being but in my mind I can hear Jim Reeves singing it. Yes, I know he has been dead for many years. He should have lived longer or I should have written it sooner.

I'm Getting Nowhere Fast (1996)

More years ago than I care to remember I worked in a radio factory between high school and college. I was the only one there who knew what the parts were and why they had to be put in a particular place. Everybody was bored to death, including me. All of us would have been somewhere else doing something else if we could have. I called back those memories to write this song.

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