“Give me all the notes on the keyboard, and I can do nothing. Give me three notes and I can make a symphony.”
Some time ago Carol told me one of her music teachers quoted Tchaikovsky as saying something like that. I just Googled it and could find no evidence that he or anyone else said it. I’m glad I didn’t know that until now. That quote ultimately made my singing these songs possible.
About 5 years ago, I hurt the index finger on my left hand in such a way that it would not fully bend without pain. The only real impact it had on my life was I couldn’t play a lot of basic chords on my guitar. My doctor said the finger could be surgically repaired, but that didn’t seem worth it to me. I was never a good guitar player anyway. So I thought I’d just quit playing and leave it at that. One day I was fooling around with the guitar and discovered that I could still play a few chords with my remaining three good fingers, among them the standard three chord progression in the key of D. I remembered Carol’s quote and thought, OK, maybe three is enough. I figured if I learned to finger pick I could make those three sound different enough to cover a range of songs. I found a few easy songs to start with (cowboy songs, like “Red River Valley,” some old spirituals, etc.) learned them, and enjoyed it. So I found others from many genres—rock and roll, country, blues, folk, big band, show tunes—along the way and did the same. In the beginning, I didn’t sound very good, I could tell, so I’d close the door of the back room when I played. After a while I got better and Carol started to come out there to listen. Then I’d go where she was to play some of the songs. I learned dozens of songs, all of which she heard repeatedly, love songs, happy songs, sad songs, old songs, new songs, anything I could adapt to my three chords and my voice. She enjoyed them and I enjoyed singing them for her. A couple of years ago (summer 2015) I decided to record some, for me primarily, just to listen to at home here, as a way to remember my time with her. I sent a few to my family, who liked them. Then I started uploading more and more of them here so I could also listen to them when I was out or away. Now I put up pretty much everything I sing, in assorted groups that make momentary sense to me.
N. B.: If you have musical training or talent, enter at your own risk. I have neither. As the old song says: “I sing because I’m happy; I sing because I’m free.” Well “happy” at least to be able to inhabit all these amazing feelings, and “free” at least to add what I want to my own website!
Peaceful easy feelings
So this is my second take on my “first” album, some sweet, simple love songs I wrote mostly last August (2017), and a couple of my older songs that seemed to fit pretty well. It’s called “Wistful Thinking.”
Here’s the first song I wrote, about two years ago, in its original, raw form. I think it’s cool and says exactly what I wanted to say around that time.
I’m into something good (and it sounds a lot like 1966!)
The day that I stop counting . . .
I’ll be leaving soon and these next two playlists say both sides of what I want to say on the way out:
Long as I can see the light . . .
. . . Somewhere over the rainbow
Leonard Cohen x five
The sweetest thing I’ve ever known . . .
Yes, I AM lonesome tonight! So what’s it to ya’?
Bye-bye love songs
Dream, dream, dream
The birds and the bees
A bunch of Big Band era songs I like
Some songs I needed to sing while I’m still “In the Dark”
Some old gospel songs I just felt like singing
Some sweet songs with “baby” in the title
A few under “blue”
Some not-Valentine’s Day songs
Had a hankerin’ for some Hank . . .