Behind the Songs for Show 6.

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I'm Retired Now (2001)

This is the truth about my retirement from Western Kentucky University. I was there for 33 years. I couldn't figure out how to fit 33 years into the meter of the song and so I said "30 years or so". Close enough. And so what am I doing with all that spare time?

Saturday Night at the Opry (1996)

"The Opry" is of course Nashville's "Grand Old Opry". The song grew directly out of Iris DeMent's song "Mama's Opry". After hearing her song for the first time I started remembering my own childhood listening to the Opry on clear channel WSM from far away Nashville first in Iowa and later delighted to find that I could hear it in Florida. That was where I used to tune in the radio and sit on the couch with the beaten up guitar my older brother had traded a shotgun for. My story and song are both quite different from those of Mss. DeMent. The retirement I speak of in the song happened several years ago. Realistically, I don't think there is any possibility of becoming well known outside of Bowling Green KY. But I'll be able to do more local personal appearances.

Down In the Valley

What is there to say about this old chestnut. We all sang it in school and/or summer camp. There are probably a dozen or more additional verses but I have decided to omit them so the song won't take up the whole show.

Living, Loving (1994)

This title has an interesting alliterative sound with the two words differing by only one letter. It is one of the few songs in which the tune came first. Prior to 1992 I had neglected my musical talents. Starting in that year I did a lot of practicing to recover my skill. One day when I was working on thumb and finger picking I found this tune. It took a while before I found the right words to go with it. The tune, with different words, served as the opening theme for my late lamented TV show for several years. The third verse is aimed at people who think there work controls them instead of the reverse and who think that we exist to work instead of the reverse.

My TV show is no longer late having undergone reincarnation.

Shot From Guns (1997)

The fifth song I wrote was titled "The Pictures On My Radio" composed in 1993. I have strong nostalgic feelings about the old radio shows and I really miss them. At the 1997 Kentucky state convention of the National Federation of the Blind I was singing some of my songs for some of my friends and one of them (Gerry Rader) thought of the old commercial which used the phrase "shot from guns". She said "that sounds like a song title". I agreed and shortly after returning to my home I wrote the song. The key phrase is "Did you eat the serial shot from guns?". Well, did you?

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."

Snow on the Roof (2001)

This one recycles an old metaphor to answer a notion often expressed by young songwriters that the elderly are sexless. As the Eagles put it " with hands as cold as ice." Men and women even over 100 are still able to have and enjoy sex. So if you are young and reading this just think what you have to look forward to.

Riding with the Engineer

This song was inspired by a book I red titled "Zephyr" by Henry Kaiser. (not the same Henry Kaiser of the old car) This Henry Kaiser road a train named "The Zephyr" (The old California Zephyr) from Minnesota to California. He started out as a passenger but in the last few chapters of the book he was riding in the engine cab -- something every child dreams of. His vivid descriptions combine with my own imagination to make this lyric. Pardon the sound effects, I couldn't resist.

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