anna & emma -
wrote this in New Hampshire about '79. this a cappella version
was later expanded with an accompaniment a la bach, of which i
hope some day to unearth a recording. the song pays homage to two
very dear ladies i knew as a child growing up in my Brooklyn church
community. it tells it own story, i think, about how
different things appear to us as children versus later in adulthood.
ironically, when i performed this at a folk club in
Vermont in 1980, some hard core dike refugees from NYC actually hissed
in the back of the room. full of attitude, they were sniffing out
any hapless male who would dare to disparage lesbians. one of
them must have thought they found one. the irony plays out 15
years later, when these same dikes are all rushing into church to
sanctify their nuptials. after all, the song is about 2 early
pioneers of their own lifestyle, living a committed life together as
members of a religious community. go figure.
2) death of a hobo -
i wrote this circa '77 on during my transition from living in Chicago
to living in New Hampshire, a transition which i fervently wish
had been shorter. i spent about ten years of my life in NYC in
1977 alone. i hated every moment that i wasn't playing music.
the song encompasses both hope and despair. late one night
a witness an ambulance stopping in front of a Bowery flophouse as one
of the residents was being carried out on a stretcher. just at
that moment a huge, loud semi drove past. proudly emblazoned on
the independent trucker's cab door complete with elaborate pin-striping
and bright running light were to words 'Orange Blossom Special'.
3) get in a groove -
for notes on this song click here
gypsy dance -
for notes on this song click here
eventually, the memoir will
have a lot ot say about the 'gypsy', but we're not there yet.
5) how could i ever leave you -
this is one of my favorite songs. along with 'indian
' , it was written in the fall of 1974, traveling between LA and
Chicago. both songs are for my dear friend and sometime lover,
Joan Probst, with whom i lived for a year in LA. Joan's quiet
gentle care was all that made Los Angeles even marginally bearable.
desperate for any excuse to leave that pit, i left Joan and LA
behind. i'm was an idiot to go, even though it was the right
move at the time. i'm sure i would have had a happier life if i
could have just stayed put with my kind friend.
6) made in chicago -
think this is the first recording i made of this song. i wrote it
rather late in my stay in the windy city. originally, it was an
insrumental, composed 'on speck' for a Chicago radio show. i
wrote it and submitted a tape. i didn't hear anything for weeks
and finally called the station to ask what had become of it. i
was told that nobody at the station had a tape recorder to play it on.
this has to be the lamest excuse i ever heard. it even
beats 'i'm sorry, we're not doing that kind thing right now'. i
subsequently wrote the lyric to fit the music. a little trick
exercise i didn't usually indulge in. i came out rather well, i
7) overweight in california -
i moved to LA in late '72. i was tired of the 'laid
back' attitude to business up north. i was bent now on seriously
working to get some of my songs published and recorded. LA was a
music industry town. i would find what i needed. how
little did i know. i had no idea. LA is one of the stranger
place on earth, but its weird artificial physical character pales
besides the bizarre collection of people that make up the population,
especially the 'entertainment' segment thereof. this song was
written after a particularly disorienting encounter with a 'record
producer' at his home in the Hollywood hills. the guy was
BYZANTINE. his house even more-so. i couldn't wait to get
out of there.
8) ring of keys -
1977, i had acquired a mindset that no longer included any
illusions of commercial success. i was about to relocate to rural
New Hampshire and withdraw from the life of wandering and striving that
had consumed my energies for so many years. this song actually
emerged as a kind of 'revelation' from my now well established regimen
of daily meditation. it was showing me how to at last let go
of the 'locks' that had kept a prisoner for so long
9) sit down stranger -
song was written for someone. i can't remember who. it's
seasoned with the irony of disappointment; in some brief encounter that
awakened a momentary impulse to reach out..... that was quickly
rebuffed. too bad.
10) street racer - for a brief additional note on this song click here .
Bakewell's older kids, Dominic, 16 and Joe, 18, built a hotrod with
their friend Tim Murray. the took the noisy beast 'cruising for
pink slips' on Van Nuys Blvd. on Wednesday nights.
11) the wheel -
came out of a meeting with a stranger on a Greyhound bus trip. it
was long ride from NYC to Chicago, and the middle aged black man seated
beside me shared the story of a dead friend that inspired me to write it.
three steps -
for notes on
this song, click here.
13) to sarah -
this song was written for my friend Sarah Taft Brown, who, at one
point in my wandering through the American mid-west, provided me with a
quiet temporary resting place, for my head on her pillow, and for my
constant yearning for love, in her warm, generous heart. it tells
of a night many years earlier, when i had found a refuge for the night
on a beach far from home on the coast of Mexico.
14) walk on the water -
for notes on this song, click here.
15) what will be divided -
'77 on my first visit to NH, i had met the proprietors of a little folk
club where i was to perform many times over the next 5 years.
Jonathan and Widdie Hall were an unusual couple. without
going into excruciating detail, they were not happy with each
other. and one of their peculiar traits was that they were always
on the lookout for an impartial 'referee' to listen to their tale of
woe and offer and opinion. and so i spent my first night there,
after my show, listening for many hours while they recounted their
troubles. OMG. i wrote this song.