Steven has suggested that I post some songs on his website/blog, and I think this is the perfect one to start with. Thank you Steven for giving me another outlet for whatever talent I happen to possess.
Back to Salome – Shawn Colvin
A great song that you may remember hearing at some point in your life. You would be correct if you saw the movie “Tin Cup” where the writer Shawn Colvin’s recording was part of the soundtrack. I love the tempo and beat this song makes you follow and you don’t even have to try, it just happens. It is a lovely tune and very unusual in a somewhat whimsical way. I think you will like it too.
Cecil and the Cement Truck – Randall Hylton
Randall Hylton could write a song instantly and was very well known for that talent. He wrote quite a few songs many recorded by well known artisits. Cecil and the Cement Truck is not one of his more well known or famous songs. I think it is a good, well written song although the topic is a little strange. Listen and you will hear a story that is both sad and funny at the same time. His recordings are now becoming rare since he died suddenly in 2001 at age 56. I like this song and it usually elicits knowing chuckles from the audience when I finish it. Randall Hylton recorded this but to my knowledge nobody else has, probably due to the message the song delivers. I find it catchy and fun to sing.
Dear Hearts and Gentle People – Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard
What a wonderful song, folks! Recorded by many top stars of the late 40s and 50s and Billboard charting almost with every one. Now this is where it gets interesting. Sammy Fain and Bob Hilliard were inspired to write the song based on a scrap of paper with the words “Dear friends and gentle hearts” written on it that was found on the body of Stephen Foster when he was discovered dead in a New York hotel room in January 1864. How can I not record this great song? How can I not do it jubilantly?
Don’t Know Why – Jesse Harris
Written by Jesse Harris, this was one of Norah Jones first recordings on her very first album “Come Away With Me” in 2002. Hauntingly beautiful, I have loved this song from the first time I ever heard it. Not an easy one to do, I decided to try and give it a little different sound with the guitar instead of a keyboard. For a long time I stayed away from approaching this one due to its complexity and the fact that it is so iconic to Norah Jones and her particular style of jazz. Once I tried it, I was totally captured and knew I had to record this no matter how many times I needed to practice singing it. My guess is I practiced it way over a hundred times before I felt comfortable with it. The sound is good, but not as good as Norah Jones does it.
Don’t Waste It On The Blues – Jerry Vandiver & Sandy Ramos
Jerry Vandiver is a very good songwriter with 10 top-10 hits, and over 15 million credits on recordings. In addition he is a producer of recordings. His songs have been recorded by some very big names in the music business. He has also written and published a very successful book as a songwriter’s guide: “Your First Cut: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting There.”
Sandy Ramos has also been a very successful award winning songwriter with over 25 million recordings to her credit, many done by major recording artists. She is known as the “Songtuner” in the business, and offers her services to fine tune, pitch or evaluate songs from writers and beginning writers, or to be a mentor and coach to those aspiring to write and publish songs.
Their combined effort Don’t Waste It On The Blues was recorded by Gene Watson and is very much out of the mold for his style. He performs it to much applause during his tour performances. I like the beat, the guitar work and the way the song flows making the lyrics come alive to the listener. Everybody will probably agree this is a great song. How can it miss with teachers Vandiver and Ramos as the writers? I hope you like my version.
Dream Chaser – Jeffrey Hawthorne Bullock & Brent Maher
Put two of the best known behind-the-scenes music guys together with songwriting as the goal and you will have a great result. Written by multiple Grammy award winner Brent Maher for songwriting, producing, recording engineering, and a top level executive in the music business and well known songwriter Jeffrey Hawthorne Bullock both of whom have worked with many of the great artists of the past 60 years, and you realize this song demands attention. Dream Chaser was written for The Judds and recorded by them in 1983 on the Wynonna and Naomi album which also includes some of their most famous songs like Mama He’s Crazy. When I personally heard this song it spoke to me in a thousand different ways forcing me to find a way to record it as my own. I am mesmerized by the fingering on the guitar dancing all around the lyrics in my arrangement. I like this song so much I believe this could be my signature song. I hope you enjoy it, too.
Good Morning Beautiful – Zach Lyle and Todd Cerney
A great story of how this became a song. The new songwriter Zach Lyle was searching with no results for an idea for a song on his way to work for the first time with songwriter legend Todd Cerney. Wracking his brain, he turned off an exit to head to work and there was the idea right in front of his eyes. “Good Morning Beautiful” was spray painted in white paint on a large boulder right at the exit. He took the idea to Cerney, they developed a quick melody on the guitar and they instantly began writing the song. However, no known recording star wanted it, most saying it was too simple. Finally Steve Holy, an unknown at the time, recorded it in early 1998. It lingered around in limbo until it was released in late 1998. It quickly went to number one, and stayed there for 5 weeks. “People tell us that it’s become ‘their song,’ or they played it at their wedding,” says Todd. “That’s the most rewarding thing.” Now that is a cool story, don’t you think? I liked it the first time I heard it years ago, and I still consider it near the top of my list of favorite songs.
Grandpa, Tell Me About The Good Old Days – Jamie O’Hara
This was the Grammy “Song of the Year” in 1986 recorded by the Judds: Naomi and Wynonna. It was also chosen by members of the Western Writers of America as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. Designed as a song to mourn the decline and abandonment of traditional values and the hectic lifestyle of today (mid 1980s,) it has become even more appropriate for the current times. Written by Jamie O’Hara, formerly an outstanding multi-sport athlete out of Toledo, Ohio and potentially an NFL player, he was permanently sidelined due to injury. Music then became his focus and his true calling. Artists who have recorded his songs read like a long list of Who’s Who in Country/Americana music. I cannot possibly do as good a job as the Judd’s fine recording, but it still makes me happy to sing it.
Hello Love – Betty Jean Robinson & Aileen Mnich
Hello Love was Hank Snow’s seventh and final number one on the U. S. country singles chart, and his first number one in twelve years. The single stayed at number one for a single week in 1974 and spent a total of ten weeks on the chart. When Hello Love peaked in popularity, Snow (at 59 years, 11 months) became the oldest singer to have a No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. The record stood for more than 26 years, until Kenny Rogers (at 61 years, 9 months), eclipsed the record with “Buy Me a Rose.” A catchy little tune, Hello Love is a lot of fun to sing.
Hold You In My Heart – Arnold, Horton, and Dilbeck 1947
I’ve been doing this song for years and years. I started, much like my friend Steven Burns, experimenting with the tempo and phrasing and decided this is so well written it can handle many varieties of each. The one your hear is the most recent version. I tried something different with the recording as well. I recorded this using the amplifier for both guitar and voice. The recorder was about three feet in from of me and 15 degrees to the right was the amplifier and about 4 feet from the recorder. A little different sound, but not bad. Written by Eddie Arnold, Hal Horton and Tommy Dilbeck in 1947, and recorded by Arnold that same year, it spent 46 weeks near the top of the charts. It is a fun song to just relax and let your mind guide you in phrasing the lyrics. Before it’s over, the fun feeds on the fun and you are having a blast, as the singer. I’m glad I recorded it. It makes me feel good to listen to it. I hope it affects you the same way.
I Catch Myself – Bruce Burch
Recorded by Gene Watson on his album AT LAST released in 1991. This is the epitome of the type of great songs recorded by him in his very unique style. My cover of this song is not nearly as well done as the original, but I fell in love with this one when I first heard it and knew at some point I would try and record a decent version of it. This is one I performed at my high school class reunion last year (2014) and felt like it was very well received there. It was new to my repertoire back then, and that was the first time I did it in public. I didn’t record it until 8 months later. It surely tests the limits of my vocal range as measured in both octave scale and voice power. I hope you like it as much as I do.
I Cross My Heart – George Strait 1992
George Strait recorded this song as the finale song for the movie of the same title in 1992. It went to number one in the USA and Canadian charts soon afterwards. Written by Steve Dorff and Eric Kaz, it is a wonderful song that has a lot of “heart” in it. A little difficult to sing solo and pay attention to the complex guitar patterns, this one is not perfect in the recording, but it still is a good song by my standards. I just love doing this one. Again, no editing or manipulation off the recorder; just raw sounds. I hope you like it, too.
I Didn’t Think of You at All – Roger Brown
I just home recorded this song and find it one of the best vehicles I have ever encountered where emotions can be expressed, and lends itself to push me to make the emotions come out. I simply love this song and find it very satisfying to sing. Written by Roger Brown many years ago, and recorded by Gene Watson, who is a master of choosing great songs, I somewhat borrowed his arrangement with some modifications to suit my tastes. When I practice at home I find this the first song of the session I do, and also the very last one. I think the song is that good.
I Told You So – Randy Travis 1988
This song was written by Randy Travis even before he was known as Randy Travis. His stage name then was Randy Ray and he was almost an unknown except in the Charlotte, N. C. area where he performed in night clubs. A really good song it was one of his earliest recordings and one that helped make him famous. The song expresses emotions right out front with no apologies, and is quite well done. Carrie Underwood had great success with a recording of this song, too, where she paired with Travis in a duet. Notably it was written about the time she was born back in 1983. It became number one hits for both artists and interestingly 20 years apart 1989 and 2009. This is one of those great songs that shows up every so often and everybody seems to like it. Suffice to say, I like it a lot. I wish Randy great success in his recovery from a very severe stroke in mid 2013.
I’ll Be Missing You – Charlie Landsborough
You will have to think of the British Isles for this song. Written by a very good songwriter and performer in both England and Ireland, this man writes beautiful songs in the English Country style. This one he recorded in a slow tempo, but I moved the tempo up which gives the song a different feel altogether. It is kind of dreamy in either style, but less so in the version I do. Charlie Landsborough is highly thought of overseas. He has performed most of his life, but only became famous late in life when he was much older than you would think a new recording artist would be. He was 53 when his first big hit happened with “What Colour Is The Wind.” He is now well into his 70s and is still writing and performing songs all over the world.
If I Could Only Fly –Blaze Foley
Blaze Foley was an enormously talented songwriter from Texas who wrote some beautiful songs. Choosing to be out of the normal stream of songwriters and musicians he carried on his life as he chose, not bending to somebody else’s vision. He wrote this song to his wife after he was forced as a musician to be on the road for long periods of time trying to make a living. It has all the emotions of someone who misses being home. Recorded by Merle Haggard in 2000, it served as a song that refreshed Merle’s career after he abandoned his drug and alcohol lifestyle. It was also recorded by others including Willie Nelson. Sadly, Blaze was subsequently shot to death at age 39 trying to break up a fight. This is a great song, and one that reaches deeply into anybody’s emotional reservoir bringing out a heaping handful of vibrant feelings.
If You Could Read My Mind – Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Lightfoot has written and performed many great songs over the years. This one he wrote in 1969 and released in 1971 very early in his career, and the immediate acceptance of it in Canada, Britain and the US was very surprising and set Lightfoot on the path of popularity he still enjoys today. It was written about the breakup of his first marriage. I have done this song for about 8 years, and I never find it anything but fresh sounding every time I hear it. The guitar work is interesting and certainly is patterned after Lightfoot’s style. I’m not unusual in liking this song and doing it. This is one of the most covered songs of all times having been done by multitudes of performers over many genres.
In Tall Buildings – John Hartford
John Hartford wrote and recorded this quirky piece in 1969, and it was reissued after his death in 2002. Sometimes called “Going To Work In Tall Buildings” it received mixed reviews and one song critic gave it a very public D+ his disdain was so great. Hartford always did things his own way regardless of what others thought of him so it was of little surprise that he wrote many songs that critics didn’t understand, but audiences loved. I guess he was a real enigma but with the explosive hit of Gentle On My Mind with Glen Campbell few challenged his weird sense of creativity. A very talented multiple instrument musician he captured his audiences with those strange songs. This one captured me
Magnolia Wind – Guy Clark and Shawn Camp
Guy Clark, who left us in May 2016, is the epitome of independent thinking and following his own star. His sensitivity and elegance in song writing contrasts boldly with his rough and tumble looks and carefree lifestyle. Many term him the king of the Texas Troubadours of the 70s, 80s and 90s. Droves of songwriters and singers were attracted to him for his great songs and his poetic brilliance. Shawn Camp is a Grammy winner for his music, his songwriting and his record producing skills. Magnolia Wind is a hauntingly beautiful portrait of love that shines through their well worn emotional filters. My version is intentionally unpolished to capture the raw-edged essence but still demonstrate the superfine grace and elegance of superb songwriting skills. To me it is like finding a gold nugget in a creek bed. This is a tribute to Guy Clark’s genius. Cheers to you, Guy Clark.
Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
1968 was the year this one hit the airwaves and quickly rushed to number 1. It was the fifth number 1 for Haggard who wrote and recorded this great song. Scores of well known musicians have recorded it since then including Johnny Cash, The Grateful Dead, David Alan Coe, Willie Nelson. In 1999 it was selected to be in the Grammy Hall of Fame. A somewhat loose autobiographical depiction of Haggard’s early life with deference to his mother was the reason for the song. It is truly a great one.
Mean Ol’ Derby Blues – Berk Bryant
A fun song I got when I visited my friend earlier this year in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the writer of the song, although I took some liberty to make a bridge for it. His name is Berk Bryant, otherwise widely know as “The Country Gentleman.” He has been a radio disc jockey since the early 1950s, and currently has a Sunday 3 hour show on WFPK public radio out of Louisville. This is about as close as I get to Bluegrass music, but if I have to do it, then I like it that I can do Berk’s song.
I first met Berk when he as a DJ in Lynchburg, Virginia back in the late 1950s. He was the Master of Ceremonies for a talent show that my twin brother and I entered and won second place. The talent contest preceded a show by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, who, by the way, were part of the judges for the talent contest. The next few years would show that Flatt and Scruggs would explode in popularity due to doing the backup music for the TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies.” To this day they are still very popular. Obviously this song is about the Kentucky Derby.
My Kind of Girl – William Bell and Booker T. Jones, Jr.
First recorded by Matt Monro of England in 1961 in True Stereo when most recordings were still done in Mono, George Martin of Beatles fame was the producer. Others who subsequently recorded this very nice jazzy song were Perry Como, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tom Jones. The writers are both very well known songwriters and musicians, and both went to high school together in Memphis back in the 1950s and early 1960s. The great instrumental hit of 1962, Green Onions, was written and recorded by Jones. Both writers produced songs that were recorded by many well known artists over the years. Although the impact of a full orchestra makes this song really come alive, the simple guitar accompaniment that I do gives it a new and refreshing sound, I think.
Old Loves Never Die – Dave Kirby & Warren Robb
Recorded by Gene Watson, Ray Price, Foster and Allen, Leona Williams and Merle Haggard, and others. It is a beautifully written song that can be sung upbeat or as a slow moving ballad much in the style that Ray Price recorded it. All of the versions mesmerize the listener and takes him back to memories of old loves. This version is loosely based upon the Gene Watson style.
Please Don’t Bury Me – John Prine 1973
From the talented song writer and performer John Prine who wrote it and released it as a recording in 1973, very early in his career. John Prine knows no boundaries when it comes to what subjects to use for a song. This is a prime example of one that pushes the boundaries hard. Still, it is a peppy song that many relate to when they hear it, and find themselves smiling in agreement with the lyrics and the music. The morbidity of the subject is cleverly taken from serious to whimsical brilliantly. I have done this one on many occasions and as the final ring of the guitar fades at the end it usually finds the audience and my fellow musicians smiling. I hope you will find yourself doing the same.
She’s No Lady – Paul Weber
I liked this song the first time I heard it. It corralled me and took me deep into the trap of thinking the song was about a mistress. Boy, was I relieved when I learned the object of the song was a guitar. There is so much fun in playing and singing this song. Brilliantly written by Paul Weber, and recorded by, you guessed it, Gene Watson. I think I like a song about a guitar player and his guitar having a love affair since I can relate quite well to that. Actually its about music, not the guitar, or otherwise the owner would not freely pass around his guitar exposing it to unknown challenges. Peppy beat, and again, I know you get tired of me saying it, but this is a fun song to do.
Streets of London – Traditional
This a hauntingly beautiful and prophetically sad song. My research says it is a traditional song, but the version I first heard was done by Liam Clancy, probably the most well know member of the Irish singing group The Clancy Brothers. It is always a favorite of mine to sing and I have requests all the time to do this one. I recorded this with the amplifier turned on so I could retain the subtleties of the phrases. A slight echo which I think enhances this song shows up in the recording because of the amplifier’s use, and I feel is appropriate for the emotions of this song. None of my recordings placed in INTENDED CONSEQUENCES have been edited or electronically altered in any way. They are raw takes right off the ZOOM H2 recorder. Thanks again to Steven for allowing me to do this.
Teardrops Will Kiss the Morning Dew – Paul Craft
Paul Craft wrote this song, and Alison Krauss recorded it as well as some other artists. Amazingly it is not one of Alison’s more well known songs. Beautifully crafted, it is a lot of fun to sing. I find that people like to listen to this one, too. I took the song and made it my own by doing it in the fashion that feels comfortable to me. This song reaches across lots of perimeters so is a great crossover song lending itself to bluegrass, country, pop and I can even see it in more modern styles of music that I don’t attempt to play.
That’s the Way Love Goes – Lefty Frizzell and Sanger D. Shafer
Johnny Rodriguez first recorded and had a hit with it in 1973-74. Merle Haggard and Janet Jackson also recorded this fabulous song and both had hits with it a decade apart in the 1980s and 1990s. The alternate version I heard with Haggard singing with the performer Jewel was so sweet it brought tears to my eyes. That made this song very special to me. This is just a very exceptional song here and deserves to be listened to frequently. I have sung it at several places and I always seem to find a listener or two with the sniffles when I finish. It seems more than just a few people really care for and relate to this song.
This Old Guitar – John Denver
I have been doing this song for a number of years now, but very often it gets pushed back in the long list of songs. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because it is a little harder to do than most songs. Written by John Denver when he rediscovered his first guitar, a 1910 Gibson archtop, after it had been lost for many years. It was originally given to him by his grandmother, so it had tremendous sentimental value to John. The joy of getting it back was the impetus for this song. In a way it is a biography of his life to that point. It is a fine song and I can relate to it quite well. The recording again was with the amp turned on for the guitar, but the voice amplification was muted a bit. Picture in your mind that old guitar just giving up the memories when you listen.
To Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan
A super song written by none other than the great Bob Dylan. Complex to sing and play, many people have recorded it including Dylan himself. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to get an acceptable recording of it. This one is far from perfect, but it may be the best I can do without having more errors. It requires absolute concentration to just get through it. I love this song and wish I could do it better, but I wanted to get this one on the web site before I reached the century mark. Here it is in pretty good fashion and I hope the listener will overlook the few blunders I made in executing the song. Maybe Bob Dylan would execute me for my style, but look his version up on YouTube if you want to see how he did it.
Train Carrying Jimmie Rodgers Home – Greg Brown 1981
Jimmie Rodgers is generally credited with being the father of Country music and a major influence in the music called ‘the blues.” He was also was known as The Singing Brakeman, having worked on the railroad in several capacities. Popular with the common folk originally for his singing and yodeling, he was seen a one of the few bright spots during the great depression of the 1930s. He was one of the first modern recording artists of the era. His music became widely known in many genres as giving hope to desperate times of the 1930s. He died of tuberculosis (consumption) in 1933 at 35 years old which saddened his followers very much. He died in New York City after laboriously recording his last songs while extremely sick, and he died shortly (two days)after completing his last recording session. His body was transported back to Meridian Mississippi, his birthplace, by train. To honor him the train engineers blew the whistle frequently to let people know they were passing with his body on board. People far and wide would gather to watch the train go through their towns and rural areas, and considered it a last tribute to the 1930s equivalent of a music idol. It was also significant since many of his songs were related to the railroad. This song was written years later by Greg Brown and recorded by him in 1981. Brown is the husband of Iris Dement, another country and folk artist. I just like the song, and put my own stamp of doing it on the song. Many tell me they like the way I do it, so here is it.
Try Not To Look So Pretty – Dwight Yoakam 1994
Try Not To Look So Pretty is a song that I have been doing for a quite a few years. It is one that I’ve enjoyed doing a lot both privately and in groups. Written and recorded by Dwight Yoakam in 1994, I am surprised that few have heard it. It is a beautiful song that speaks to the heart of every woman. And it speaks to every man who has been stricken speechless with the overwhelming beauty of a woman. I’m often asked “Where did that great song come from?” I just like singing it. I hope you like it as well.
When She Touches Me – Charles Quillen and Michael McGuire
An excellent song that was recorded by Gene Watson. Gene is rightly referred to as “The Singer’s Singer”. His powerful voice and multi-octave range allows him to sing some of the most challenging songs with an ease that comes from pure, natural talent as well as many years performing onstage. This song is a challenge, but I love to sing it because of that. The emotions packed into this song are remarkable, and allows the singer many options to express them. I hope you like my version.
Wooden Heart – Bert Kaempfert
You may recognize this song from the Elvis Presley movie G. I. BLUES from 1960. Written in part by Bert Kaempfert it is really the only song I remember from the movie. It is unusually catchy with an unusual cadence and tempo. I have adapted it to just guitar and singing. The German phrases I had to learn the best way I could since I have never studied the German language. The pronunciation may not be perfect but it is as close as I can come. A somewhat short song it nevertheless captures your attention right from the get go. I like it a lot, and as far as I can tell I’m the only one who does this one. I hope you like it, too.
You Don’t Know Me – Cindy Walker and Eddy Arnold
What a song this one is! Written by Cindy Walker on a suggestion from Eddy Arnold in 1955, it has been recorded by many top artists with great success. Jerry Vale, Eddy Arnold, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Harry Connick, Jr. and hundreds more. It has frequently made the charts in both pop and country, but the first number one was by Ray Charles in 1962 followed by Mickey Gilley 19 years later. Walker tells that the “. . . song just started singing. It sort of wrote itself. ” It has been part of many movies. Postcards From the Edge and Two Girls and a Guy being two of them. It has been recorded and released over 19 times on albums since the year 2000 proving that great songs help sell recordings.
Yesterday’s Lovers – Ronnie Milsap
An obscure song recorded early in Milsap’s career, Yesterday’s Lovers is a really good song that packs a ton of emotions into what breaking up can do to people. I cannot find in my research who actually wrote the song. It was released on his album “Only One Love in my Life” in 1978. That was the 14th album for this very prolific singer.