Bedroom Demos- Vol. 14

by Terry Scott Taylor

Mercy Again from the Lost Dogs album "Nazarene Crying Towel" (Words and Music by Terry Taylor) ©2002 Shape of Air Music, BMI Lord are you still hiding? Where have you been? I'm praying I'm aching Still waiting Heart breaking Show me your mercy again How long will I feel sorrow? Will it ever end? I'm sighing I'm crying I'm dying Still trying Show me your mercy again I will trust in you I will hope in you To the very end Look for grace in you To help me wait for you Find Your mercy again Lord are you still hiding? Where is my friend? Show me I'm still waiting Show me my hearts breaking Show me Your mercy again Mercy again Mercy again Instruments, vocals- TST Special thanks to Derek Luptak for this month's cover image.
Talitha Kum 05:57
Talitha Kum words and music: Terry Scott Taylor ©2018 Shape Of Air Music, BMI Seated in the doorway Jack’s jolly ghost appeared Wearing a smoking jacket And a boutonnière He’d passed over on that morning In 1963 Wounded in the heart and head Like Camelot and Kennedy Oh, child Talitha Kum I am Mob, the rioting mob With chains to bind the free And we cannot be forgiven Our pig-headed blasphemy We will dive into the waters We will drown beneath the sea These wingless swine too fat to fly And navigate eternity Oh, child Talitha kum (You are only sleeping, No, you are not dead) Rise, child Talitha Kum (The days of slumber fleeting On your funereal bed) New arrivals, long departed Through a door now left unguarded This is a mystery Don’t ask me, let it be Soon and very soon Oh, child Talitha Kum Come touch the garment of the Word made flesh “There is virtue flowing out of me” It’s too late to ask the Sons of Thunder, The roaring sons of Zebedee Or the faithful, faithless fisherman Below the waves of Galilee, The drowned swine floating past him, Or Jack’s ghost, or Kennedy’s Oh, child Talitha Kum (You are only sleeping, No, you are not dead) Rise, child Talitha Kum (The days of slumber fleeting On your funereal bed) New arrivals, long departed Through a door now left unguarded This is a mystery Don’t ask me, let it be Soon and very soon Oh, child Talitha Kum Rise, child Talitha Kum Rise, child Talitha Kum Rise, Child Talitha Kum…….. You are only sleeping No, you are not dead instruments and vocals: T.S. Taylor note: In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet says to Horatio: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” In “Talitha Kum” I have attempted, in the face of currently growing appeals to Naturalistic Reductionism, (the mantra of the so called “New Atheists”), to create, through song, a kind of celebration of transcendency. In the center of the poem’s undercurrent of awe and wonder stands Jesus of Nazareth’s singular triumph over death, and while this may be implicit in the song’s narrative, it is nevertheless the heart of it. Verse one begins with a reference to Bible scholar and translator JB Philip’s amazing account of his encounter with a vision of C.S. Lewis the very day Lewis passed away. Philips, who had never met Lewis and who did not learn of the Oxford don’s death until later that day, claims Lewis appeared to him seated in the doorway of his study “ruddy-cheeked and smiling.” Philips later learned that his vision occurred at the exact moment of Lewis’s passing. I have little reason to doubt this brilliant, trustworthy man’s account. Lewis’s passing was overshadowed by another death that same day, (also referenced in the song)), that of President John F. Kennedy. While I choose to refrain from explaining all of the imagery contained in the poem, I will say that my overall use of seemingly random, loosely related persons and events (the various miracles of our Lord, Peter’s ill-fated walk on water, JFK's assassination, death, resurrection, the reference to the Sons of Thunder, etc.) serve my purpose in capturing the essence of Hamlet’s words to Horatio. Certainly the resurrection of Christ, if true, is the single most powerful refutation of reductionism recorded in all of history, and so we come to the song's chorus where we witness Christ’s encounter with a seemingly dead young girl and her grieving family. The Lord, moved by compassion, proceeds to bring her out of her “sleep” by speaking the Aramaic words “Talitha Kum” (“Young girl, I say to you, arise”) and she is immediately restored to the living. She is of course returned to her former life and to the same corruptible physical body, while Christ’s resurrection, (new body, new life), is the first fruits of God’s promised future restoration of all creation i.e. bodily resurrection, along with the new heaven and the new earth. Christ’s words to the young girl continue to bring me great comfort. I trust the listener will equally find comfort in these words and in the song they have inspired. T.S.T
Home Permanent from the DA album "Vox Humana" Words and Music by Terry Taylor ©1984 Shape of Air Music What I believe, is in my fashion Clothes make the man, here in my passion Gonna stand my ground, for all the world to see Look up and notice me, my hair points to the sky The place I want to be Home permanent Home permanent Home... permanently I drive my car, it is a witness My license plate, it states my business Gonna drive my car, for all the world to see They pull up side of me, my hair hair points to the sky The place I want to be Home permanent Home permanent Home... permanently I gave a toy top to my little brother It says to "Spin from sin" And to my mother, I gave a recipe book It's like no other Now she makes chocolate Bibles - A witness to my unsaved father Aaah.........doot, doot... I dreamed I owned, a T.V. station Am number one, across the nation And there I am, for all the world to see They take the hat off me, my hair points to the sky The place I want to be Home permanent Home permanent Home... permanently Home permanent Home permanent Home... permanently instruments and vocals: T.S.Taylor Note: I composed “Home Permanent” for Daniel Amos’s 1984 album release “Vox Humana,” and if my recollection is accurate this was the first song I wrote for the record and it was the very first tune we ever recorded in the late Doug Doyle’s 3D studios in Costa Mesa California. Inspired by the great abundance at the time of various Christian-themed knick-knacks, bumper stickers, fountain pens, coffee mugs, toys, t-shirts and the like, all bearing some religious imagery or slogan and intended as a so called “witness” or “testimony” to the truth of the Christian faith, “Home Permanent” was my way of subversively satirizing what was essentially a sincere but misguided, and highly dubious means of effectively spreading the Gospel. Not everyone got the joke. I remember playing this song live at one of our concerts and how a number of people in the crowd actually cheered when I sang the line “Now she bakes chocolate bibles, a witness to my unsaved father.” I was so taken aback by this response that after we finished the song I felt compelled to let those in the audience who had misread the song know just how objectionable I found these so called “tools of evangelism” to be. The looks of bewilderment on some of the faces in the crowd spoke volumes to me. In fact I was even confronted after the show by one young lady who angrily chastised me for mocking what she considered “ a Godly means of reaching more non-Christians for Christ,” (said “means” being bible shaped chocolate cakes, Spin From Sin toy tops, and the wearing of one’s hair in an upward sweep that points towards heaven!) The latter was of course the most ludicrous, but of the three it was the only one I hadn’t personally come across. I was in fact the proud owner of a cheap plastic toy top with the words “Spin From Sin” imbedded on its stem which I had purchased from a local Christian book store solely because I thought it was good for a laugh. The Chocolate Bible was also real, being the subject of an article in the local newspaper which also referenced a local car-wash in Southern California the owner had decided to call “God’s Car Wash.” I kid you not. The title of my song “Home Permanent” is a bit of wordplay. It was common, especially back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, that a woman wanting to avoid the high cost of a visit to her local beauty shop had the option of purchasing an in home do-it-yourself hair style kit from her local drug store which allowed her to do her own “do.” This noxious-smelling procedure was known as a “home permanent,” and was quite trendy back in the day. My use of of the term served a dual purpose in the song— it referenced the song’s protagonist use of this hair-style as a means to tell the world about his religious convictions and, at the same time, the lyric played off of his desire to one day go to heaven where he would have a “permanent” dwelling place i.e. “my hair points to the sky, the place I want to be…..home permanent—ly.” It most definitely was not my intention to mock the passionate desire of every Christian to one day be with the Lord, but in writing what was essentially a satire, I knew I was running the risk of making everything, even those parts of the song which were quite sincere, sound like a put-on. I would take a similar approach and risk, years later, with the song “BibleLand.” There are actually two versions of “Home Permanent” in existence. Aside from the official album version, a "single" version was sent early to Christian radio stations for the purpose of promotion. Because the record company needed a song immediately, we did a quick mix of HP and sent it off to them. This version is especially unique because of what is conspicuous by its absence, namely Greg Flesch’s guitar part. Greg joined the band and was brought into the Vox Humana project at some midway point before the album’s completion, thus the album’s later addition of the cleverly constructed guitar accompaniment and solo work as performed by the brilliant Greg Flesch. Both versions are included on the Vox Humana Deluxe re-issue: I said there are two versions of Home Permanent. Actually now there are three, the third now available exclusively to you fine Patreon folks. I hope you have as much fun listening to it as I did recording it. TST
Knock, Breathe, Shine words and music: Terry Scott Taylor and Jerry Davidson (original song recorded by Jacob’s Trouble for their album “Knock, Breathe, Shine”) I’m a little world (4x) Knock, breathe, shine And seek to mend me now Break, burn, heal Make me new again Knock, breathe, shine (Burn me down with your fire) Knock, breathe, shine, (pour new oceans in my eyes) Knock, breathe, shine And seek to mend me now I’m a little world I’m a little world I’m a little world I’m a little world Knock, breathe, shine And seek to mend me now Break, burn, heal Make me new again Knock, breath, shine (Drown my countries with my weeping) Seek to mend me now Knock, breathe, shine (Or wash me if I drown no more) And seek to mend me now I’m a little world (8x) Knock, breathe, shine (Reach my core, shake my foundations) And seek to mend me now Break, burn, heal (Then build me up till I fall no more) Make me new again I’m a little world Knock, breathe, shine And seek to mend me now I’m a little world Knock, breathe, shine And seek to mend me now I’m a little world Burn me down with your fire Pour new oceans in my eyes…. vocals and instruments: T.S. Taylor Note: 1990’s “Knock, Breath, Shine” was originally written for the Jacob’s Trouble album of the same name by yours truly and the band’s lead singer and frontman Jerry Davison. We wrote it together in my living room in Orange County and I recall that, despite the odds that a co-writing situation can become particularly challenging, Jerry was a very sweet and affable guy and quite open and flexible in our exchange of songwriting ideas. I’d like to think he felt the same comfortableness with me. Before producing Jacob's Trouble’s first record “Door Into Summer” I learned that the band had an interesting “Monkees” fixation. In case the reader doesn’t know, the musical group known as The Monkees began as a quartet of actors possessed of varying musical skills who had originally been hand-picked by television producers, back in the late 1960’s, to star in a new television musical sitcom crafted after the big screen antics and style of the Beatles' “Hard Days Night” and “Help.” The comedic T.V. show was a modest hit, and while none of the members of the Monkees actually played instruments on their early radio hits, they did sing on them. They would, on subsequent recordings, actually play their own instruments. Among those in the know, band member Mike Nesmith was and still is an exceptionally talented musician. When at last all of the Jacob’s Trouble band members and I got together for the first time, it was made clear to me from the get-go that they were all quite adamant in their desire for the sonics of their record to mimic that of their heroes. I found the Monkee’s minimalistic sound to be, in the main, a fitting vehicle for delivering the well-crafted, simple pop tunes written for them, but there was nothing particularly exceptional about it. At its worst it was lacking a certain degree of sonic punch. I’d heard this musical style many times before, primarily in early Beatles music, and while I too had watched the television show and greatly enjoyed the Monkee’s catchy radio hits, for a number of reasons I found JT’s Monkees “thing” bemusing. Essentially the Monkees (or rather their creators) were attempting to ape (no pun intended) the minimalistic sounds of those early British invasion pop-rock songs. I found it rather puzzling however that the members of JT claimed to find their inspiration in what was essentially a second-hand copy, over and above the band that actually inspired the Monkees themselves, namely, The Beatles. Why “The Pre-Fab Four” when you’ve got “The Fab Four?” Ironically, with the exception of the vocals, the Monkees themselves didn’t sound like the Monkees! In fact, those early tracks sounded suspiciously like the famous studio cats “The Wrecking Crew” imitating the early work of John, Paul, George, and Ringo. My guess was that in JT’s youthful desire to be identified with a musical entity other than the painfully obvious, (“So you’re inspired by The Beatles huh? How…..typical!”), this would brand them as, irony of ironies, unique! Then again, maybe this was simply about four young guys who, at an early age, shared a common love for a squeaky clean, family fun oriented T.V. show along with the radio hits which it spawned. Whatever the basis of this somewhat vague and fairly subjective sonic quest, I considered it rather low hanging fruit, at least in regard to my own skill level as well as that of my engineer, the great Gene Eugene. My only trepidation was that in a quest to satisfy each band member’s personal/subjective idea of what exactly constituted the Monkees sound, we might wind up chasing our own tails(!) and wasting precious time and energy. JT had the right to draw their inspiration from any source they chose, including a fake T.V. band, but ultimately only a handful of people outside of the band would really care two bananas about Jacob’s Trouble’s music and image being uniquely Monkees-inspired. The public would care however if the album was a stinker. I would do my best not to allow style to negatively impact substance. As most producers and musicians would agree, it’s extremely difficult to ruin a great song with a bad recording, (not likely in this case because of Gene Eugene and the fact that JT was a stable and talented musical unit), and it is equally challenging to turn a bad song into a good one, no matter how many musical layers you add on top of it….or perhaps try to bury it with. Sow ears make for lousy silk purses, as they say. My priority lay first in making sure we had a collection of good tunes to begin with. Thankfully JT had these, but more were needed and thus the writing sessions for “Knock, Breath, Shine” at my home in SoCal. Jacob’s Trouble was a truly great group of individuals, even though, in the pressures of the studio environment, they occasionally came close to living up to their namesake— “trouble” being the operative word here. I’m sure there were times the feeling was mutual. While I admired the guys' passion and youthful vigor, their talent, and the fact they were genuinely sweet people, I was at times simply baffled by one of their members occasional insistence on the superiority of their demos in comparison to what we were accomplishing in the studio. The demos were a fine blueprint for general direction, but certainly not the paradigm of recording art and performance. My job was to do my best to make them better than they were, both the songs and the band, that is. At one point I became a bit exasperated by the constant reference to the demo and said to the band in general “Hey guys, we can shut this thing down right now if you think your cassette demos are closer to what you have in mind. Maybe putting them on vinyl as is and releasing them as your debut album would be your best move.” The point was made, the references stopped, and we all went back to work. At another point in the project I believe I truly frustrated the band by informing them I didn’t think a certain song was suitable for the current record. The band however thought it was one of their most important “message” songs and absolutely insisted it be included. While I had to admire the band’s conviction, I countered that while I agreed with the premise of the song, there was, in my opinion, a whiff of pandering to a Christian audience in it despite it wearing the guise of a message intended primarily for unbelievers. For many years I had nurtured a deep aversion to anything preachy and cliché ridden, especially since I had written a few such songs myself early in my career. I had also been guilty in the past, especially at live shows, of pandering to my audience with a kind of preening preachiness I regret to this day. I didn’t want Jacob’s Trouble making the same mistakes. I explained to them that there was a way to say what they were saying but in a more subtle, therefore more powerful, dramatic, and personal way. Among the many examples I had in mind was Sting’s song “Roxanne.” It doesn’t preach in broad strokes about the life-killing world of prostitution, but instead paints a vivid picture of a young girl caught in the grip of its soul-killing clutches. Sting doesn’t sing “You need to get out of prostitution right NOW before it kills you!” Instead he sings “you don’t have to put on the red light.” Subtle, poetic, plaintive, and personal. Far from being opaque, we immediately get the picture. I wasn’t saying JT was necessarily guilty of pandering, but I was making the point that as Christian songwriters we needed to guard ourselves against such temptations. Even though we may be telling ourselves our only true aim is to shed some light in a dark place, instead we may be subtly guilty of posturing and preaching to the choir in an attempt to gather validating “amens.” This situation was not an easy call for me. It was the first time in my own personal history I had ever drawn such a line in the sand. That’s how passionately I was set against doing the song, and at the same time I knew that the band members might take this very personally. I loved these guys and I knew they basically respected me; God knows I certainly didn’t want to cause a rift in the relationship over this seeming impasse. Still, I was willing to take the risk for the sake of the band and the record. Thank God, in the end we compromised and recorded a variation of the song; ironically it was something I thought was even more direct than the original but without the religious grandstanding, or at least what I perceived as grandstanding. Perhaps in retrospect this was all an overreaction on my part. I do know that I was greatly sincere in my desire to help JT avoid the same kind of mistakes I had once been guilty of making. Despite a few bumps in the road I truly enjoyed the experience of working with these lovely guys on their first two records. Few things are as satisfying as helping a young band find their own unique voice. The band went on to have a relatively brief but quite successful run. To this day they remain great people. Above all they will forever be my brothers in Christ. As to the song I’ve reinterpreted here, I’ve always thought that “Knock, Breath, Shine,” while certainly far from being an earth-shaking classic (“It’s not the centerpiece,” as the late great Gene Eugene used to say in regard to weaker tracks on a record), it is a clever little ditty with a memorable hook. One might in fact call it Monkee-esque! I’ve also taken the liberty of adding a few lyrics. Enjoy! TST
A Great Good Is Coming words and music: Terry Scott Taylor ©2018 Shape Of Air Music, BMI A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold We all know Where this thing is leading The still heart, dying breath, The flesh gone cold We need to know A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold And soon Very soon Leaving now A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold We all know Where this thing is leading The still heart, dying breath, The flesh gone cold We need to know A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold And soon Very soon Leaving now We’d be thankful if you could stay here longer Embrace again with us our suffering and joy And bound to the earth we’ll all be buried under But there’s a ticket to the Most High Country In the pocket of your dust-woven jacket A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold We all know Where this thing is leading The still heart, dying breath, The flesh gone cold We need to know A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold And soon Very soon Leaving now Go on throw off this messy, struggling existence Put on the garments made of everlasting light Slip past our fears, our sorrows, and your own resistance Beyond those dashed and broken expectations There is a “well done” for you in the end There is much more here than meets the eye Much more much more much more Your treasure is where your longing heart resides Inside the world’s great dissonant roar Is the stillness of the kingdom come A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold We all know Where this thing is leading The still heart, dying breath, The flesh gone cold We need to know A great good is coming to you Too big for this world to hold And soon Very soon Leaving now A great good is coming….. Instruments, lead and backing vocals: T.S. Taylor Backing vocals: Deborah Taylor Note: This year’s Easter season, along with the passing of yet another dear friend (and more recently, my dear mother), has been my inspiration as of late for a number of resurrection-themed songs. Another contributing factor is my current reading material. I’m now a little over halfway through NT Wright’s massive and exhaustive study of the resurrection of Christ (“The Resurrection of the Son of God”), and finding it not only informative, inspirational, and faith enriching, but it is a true comfort as well, especially in the light of my having endured the passing of a number of family and friends in recent years. Because of my age and the knowledge that the future will be fraught with the increasing frequency of such overwhelming losses, (along with an ever deepening sense of my own mortality), I find myself drawn as never before to explore this essential tenant of the Christian faith in greater depth. By bringing intellectual heft to the historicity of the bodily appearances of Jesus of Nazareth after his crucifixion and death, Wright seems to me to essentially put to rest the claim that bodily resurrection is nothing more than the faith community’s collective wishful thinking writ large. In short, Wright convinces me, both in heart and head, that more than ever we have excellent reason for the hope that is in us. The quote that inspired this song is from words written to Louisa MacDonald from her husband, the great Scottish author, Christian teacher, and theologian George MacDonald. MacDonald and his family suffered great hardship during their lifetimes, including poverty, frequent illnesses, and the unimaginable death of several children and grandchildren, yet George and his wife remained optimistic and hopeful as a result of their great love for, and dedication to, Jesus Christ. Here is the quote in full: “Oh dear! What a great inn of a place the world is! And thank God! We must widen and widen our thoughts and hearts. A great good is coming to us all—too big for this world to hold.”
William from the album "Daniel Amos" Words and Music by Terry Scott Taylor ©1976 Shape of Air Music, BMI Ol' William in school Readin' a Bible, we laughed 'til we were blue Ol' William said a prayer at noon Over his lunch and we hit him with a spoon Yes, William, the kids were cruel But, I saw something different in you The impression you made put the seed in me That began to grow when I first believed Ol' William on the street Hymn singin', testifyin', and they called him "preacher" I was there when they put him down But I want to say that I've come around Yes, William, the kids were cruel But, I saw something different in you The impression you made put the seed in me That began to grow when I first believed Now, William, isn't it strange That after all these years I'm doing the very same things I laughed about way back there And the example you set Causes me to want to be The same kind of livin' testimony Oh, William, I wish you were here I'd apologize for callin' you queer But I'm sure you forgave me even then So I love you, William, like my best friend Yes, William, the kids were cruel But, I saw something different in you The impression you made put the seed in me That began to grow when I first believed Thank you, William... guitar and vocal: T.S. Taylor Note: “William” is one of my earliest compositions. I believe it was written sometime in 1972. For the self-titled “Daniel Amos” album, our debut record, the decision was made to turn my original, fairly simple folkish arrangement, into something reminiscent of what “The Band” (Dylan’s late 1960’s backup band and a musical powerhouse in their own right during that era) would do. I sang the vocal an octave higher and with more intensity than originally envisioned, using The Band’s bass guitarist Rick Danko’s vocal style as my inspiration. The Garth Hudson-like organ part was played by the late Jonathan David Brown, our then engineer, to add further heft to the homage. The version of the song done here is a simple vocal/guitar arrangement and one that is similar to the way it would have sounded back when I originally sat down to write it. One of the lines of the lyrics “….I’d apologize for calling you weird,” originally read “…I’d apologize for calling you queer,” which producer Al Perkins suggested I change for the obvious reason that no such bold and certainly controversial reference had ever been used in a “gospel” song before, and he wanted to save us from the possibility of being embroiled in a brouhaha coming right out of the gate. I was aware going in that the line would be controversial in that it possessed duel connotations; the reference meaning “strange” and concurrently a derogatory reference to “homosexuals” (as gay individuals were largely referred to at the time). My intention lay primarily with the former, but I had little concern with the possibility of the latter interpretation in the mind of the listener since this too would further serve as a fairly weighty illustration of the depth of the narrator’s pre-conversion prejudice and hostility toward the hero of the story. Anyway, I changed the line without protest, and all things considered I still think it was a good call. For the sake of getting back to the song’s original construction however I have restored the line here. Besides, things have changed. My days of controversy are pretty much behind me, though I must admit that I say this with a sigh and a certain degree of nostalgic yearning. Just call me a glutton for punishment. In another line in the song “I was there when they put him down, but I’m here to say that I’ve come around” my intention was to subtly reference St. Paul’s persecution of the church and his subsequent conversion on the road to Damascus. When this song first went public I was constantly being asked if “William” was a real person. Many people assumed I was telling a personal story about a true incident in my own life. As I assured them back then, and do now, William is a character born of my own imagination, but I will say that since I was a child I have always possessed a passionate heart for the underdog and an equally passionate contempt for bullies. I’ve got a number of flaws and predilections, but treating an individual like William with the kind of hostility demonstrated by the antagonist in the story is not one of them. That being said, in many ways William isn’t fictional at all. Bullies and their victims have always been among us, and the character William, in some sense, embodies every victim of every bully everywhere, just as the narrator of the song represents every victimizer. In today's culture however things have taken an escalating and ever darkening turn. Name calling and spoon throwing is one thing. Today's school bullying, with it’s life and death consequences, certainly makes the harassment found in “William” feel tame by comparison. Nevertheless the song does have a kind of prophetic air about it in light of current school horrors. The nation is desperate for a solution. I believe, at its core, this is largely a moral issue. As to solutions, some of them are hinted at in “William” and they are age-old: grace, mercy, compassion, love, and perhaps more than anything else, repentance.


released July 3, 2018


all rights reserved


If you like Bedroom Demos- Vol. 14, you may also like: