1) get in a groove
this song, and a second song ' old funky song', were written in
late 1971 after the break up of my marriage to Lynne Charles. i
was living at the time at 201 Sequoia Dr. at the foot of our
hill, on the main drag out of San Rafael, was a night club called
the Lion's Share, that featured live music by local bands.
i was booked there to perform several times, and also
resorted to it as my local hang out. Van Morrison performed there
frequently as well. it was convenient venue to for him to
try out new material, since he lived just up the road on the other
hill. i knew him and all his band members and family, so it
was a friendly environment where we often partied till late in the
2) have a cigar
recorded on the RIG album for Capitol in '69. i prefer this
recording. the song itself pokes some fun at fat cats who can't
get the cuban cigars they were accustomed to before before
castro took over. unfortunaltely none of their other vices
were much curtailed.
3) liza bookman
this song written in 1969, is a tribute
to Sister Elizabeth Bookman, of Harlem NY. (see
in 1964, my friend, poet and priest, Ed Marshall,
suggested that we visit a storefront church in Harlem, where one
of his colleagues was the minister. we embarked on a series of
sunday evening vists to the Gospel Light Tabernacle. we were
warmly welcomed by the small congregation, which soon made us feel like
one of their number, even inviting us to join them on a bus trip,
a visit to their sister church in Roanoke, VA. this was my
first exposure to the gospel tradition of the black community that had
become a high art form by mid century. in spite of the Gospel
Light's limited resourses, the music provided by Ms Bookman on
her out of tune broken down spinet piano was simply the most inspiring
i've ever experienced. the song's lyric tell the story.
4) stealin' love
this song, written in 1971, is one of several that
chronicles different emotional perspectives on the break-up of my first
marriage to Lynne Charles. there were many stresses that lead to
the break-up. there is no 'correct' view. it was a failure
and a tragedy for us both. it was not simply the failure of a marriage,
but of an idea each us had of a potential way to cope with life
that ultimately proved inadequate to the strain of reality. this
was recorded in hopes of getting a 'cover' by a recognized artist.
the song had impact, and was well recieved by audiences in my own
performances. i remember showing it to Bette Middler after a
concert she gave in SF in '72. she stopped me after the first
verse. 'too depressing. let's hear something else'.
the song was never 'covered'. too depressing.
5) strongest love
i can't recall if i wrote this for a specific person or
situation. it's clearly meant to encourage someone. :-)
i used to think it was too corny, like 'climb every
mountain' ( ok kids, i know you don''t remember that )
but listiening again after all these year, i like it!
6) three steps
third in the 'gospel series that year. ( see the notes for liza bookman
and walk on the water
) the opening riff is taken from a marion willams recording of the song 'blow, gabriel, blow'
7) walk on the water this
was written in 1971 along with 'three steps'. this song was
inspired by Mahalia Jackson, Marion Williams, and. of course, by
Elizabeth Bookman, 'live' at the Gospel Light Tabernacle at Lenox Av.
and 132nd St in Harlem, NY