Bedroom Demos- Vol. 16

by Terry Scott Taylor

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1.
. A Trick of The Light words and music: Terry Scott Taylor ©2018 Shape Of Air Music, BMI I saw Gene today movin’ fast on his feet, Makin’ his way through the crowd on the street Maybe gettin’ back to a Green Room track, Or the one Where the horses run in Los Alamitos Oh no, that can’t be right All I suppose it was Was a trick of The Light I saw Tom again through the bar and grill window On piano he played his song’s final crescendo Thought I’d go in, grab the leg of my friend He’ll grab mine It’s another fine ol’ “Low Five” Oh no, that can’t be right All I suppose it was Was a trick of The Light I’ve seen Doug and Dave and my old friend Joe Where the shadows danced and the light fell so It crowned their heads like a saint’s halo My heart said “yes” till my eyes said “no” I saw Mama again and Dad among the funeral crowd Dad was looking content Of course Mom was laughing long and loud They looked like visitors from another place and time, Not one you will find In this old world Oh no, that can’t be right All I suppose it was Was a trick of The Light All I suppose it was Was a trick of The Light vocals and instruments: T.S. Taylor Note: All of the names appearing in “a Trick of The Light” are those of precious friends and family members I have lost in relatively recent years; Gene Eugene, Tom Howard, Doug Doyle, Dave Perry, Joe Daugherty, and my Mom and Dad. This is my tribute to them. I did see “Mom” at her own funeral, though it turned out to be her niece whose appearance had been transformed into my Mothers by a shaft of sunlight perfectly framing her head and face. She appeared to be Mom clothed now in her new and imperishable resurrected body. The “Low Five” mentioned in the song is real. This was Tom Howard's and my traditional greeting whenever we got together again after a time of absence, and it never failed to crack up anyone in the room who witnessed it. A few years back I did see a man who looked amazingly like Gene “makin’ his way through the crowd on the street.” How painful and sweet was that encounter. I’m certain most of us have had this kind of experience; a face in the crowd who has an uncanny resemblance to someone dear, now lost to us. A little gift from God, or just a “trick of the light”? God only knows. If I were a betting man I think my money would be on the former.
2.
. Faces To The Window from the Daniel Amos album "¡Alarma!" Words and Music by Terry Taylor ©1981 Shape Of Air Music, BMI I go to work, I work hard, I do come home exhausted I go to sleep quite early, lights off and I roll over At night I'm keeping warm, the morning comes too soon All is well, it's O.K., till I hear the bell and I say "My little breakfast is a little bit of hell" For they got their faces to the window Pressin' their faces to the window Little bitty beggars with the great big eyes I turn the channel but to my surprise They still press their faces to the window I go to church each Sunday, I go to lovely picnics I say my prayers at bedtime, I try to be a witness I lose a little sleep, but I whistle while I make my bed The summer sun is shining, in clouds a silver lining Why do I find I'm shouting, "When is Thy kingdom coming?" They got their faces to the window They're pressin' their faces to the window Those little bitty beggars with the great big eyes I turn the channel but to my surprise They still press their faces to the window I go to work, I work hard, I do come home exhausted I go to sleep quite early, lights off and I roll over It's nice I'm keeping warm, the morning comes too soon All is well, it's O.K., till I hear the bell and I say "My little breakfast is a little bit of hell" 'Cuz they got their faces to the window Pressin' their faces to the window Little bitty beggars with the great big eyes I turn the channel but to my surprise They still got their faces to the Little bitty beggars with the great big eyes I turn the channel but to my surprise They still press their faces to the window They still press their faces to the They still press their faces to the window guitar and vocal: T.S.T Note: I’ve been reading a lot of George MacDonald lately, especially his sermons, which are sometimes so convicting that there are moments when I actually consider refraining from reading any further. This stuff truly gets under the skin and I sense that most readers first response to his God-inspired words is to make peace with the idea that now that you’ve been cut to the quick there is no going back. God has spoken through this man to you, so now what will you DO? Big on the list of MacDonald’s pet peeves are those who acknowledge the person and Lordship of Christ, but don’t know Him; A destructive, (perhaps eternally so), self-deception maintained through lack of obedience. If you know it, Macdonald is essentially saying, then DO it. “Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because He said 'Do it', or once abstained because He said 'Do not do it.' It is simply absurd for you to say you believe even want to believe, in Him, if you do not anything He tells you.” -George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons Got a bit of a squirm going there my friend? Welcome to the club. And this is only mildly hard hitting compared to some of the other stuff. “Faces to the Window” makes its point without any need here for elaboration. I’ve always felt the song’s story line would have made a good “Twilight Zone” episode. Its picture of the easy going, contented “believer” suddenly confronted with his failure to face the reality of a broken world in which his own comfort takes precedent over those whose suffering is an everyday reality, seems quite in line with MacDonald’s thought. My reinterpretation of the song, now stripped of its new-wave stylings, seems to me to get to the heart of the thing by doing a more effective job of capturing the fear, paranoia, and guilt of the song’s protagonist.
3.
Meanwhile from the Daniel Amos album "Mr Buechner's Dream" Music by Daniel Amos, Words by T.S. Taylor ©2001 Shape Of Air Music/BMI I told her Things could not be better Every day's red letter for me I told her My burdens are much lighter And all the lights are brighter for me Chorus: Makes her so happy so I'll lie again Makes her so happy so I'll lie again I told her 'don't worry any longer' 'Cos faith is getting stronger in me I told her All the things I'm learning How the tide is turning for me Chorus Meanwhile I'm feeling like a ghost On the edge of night Restless for a home I can glimpse In the fading light Craving for something I can never Quite get right Feeling only inches away Meanwhile I pass through the crowd On the boulevard Turn a deaf ear to every laugh That is coming hard Add another pile to the trash In the junkyard While keeping all the waking dogs at bay I told her Things could not be better Every day's red letter for me Chorus vocals and instruments: T.S. Taylor Note: The idea for this song (a cut from Daniel Amos’ Mr. Buechner’s Dream), was generated by my contemplation of those times in our lives when we are confronted by the choice between telling someone the absolute truth or else hedging our bets in order to spare them embarrassment, inordinate worry, or possibly deep mental pain and anguish. I’ve experienced this type of situation myself a handful of times throughout the course of my life but this became a particularly poignant and heartbreaking dilemma when my mother, may she rest in peace, was deep in the throes of Alzheimers and I was put in the position of being compelled by compassion and love to answer some of her inquiries in such a way as to spare her further and deeper suffering. Without going into all the details, I will say this would essentially involve inquiries she would occasionally make concerning the welfare of certain family members, including my Dad who had long been deceased at the time. Setting the situational ethic argument aside, (“a lie is a lie in God’s eyes”), it seems to me that common sense tells us that there is a distinction between this kind of what I would call “a compassionate fabrication” as opposed to a bold face lie told in order to save our own skin. We all know the old “Do I look fat in this dress?” scenario; in “Meanwhile…” I’m imagining a less comical narrative in which a son or daughter is assuring a deeply concerned mother that their life is on track and that everything is copacetic. All of this is either hinted at or strongly implied, but what is plainly stated is the narrator’s confession (to himself as well as the listener) that in fact the contrary is true; things haven’t been going very well at all. We don’t know the full extent of our hero’s difficulties or the mother’s mental frailty, but we do get the sense that the “lie” doesn’t appear to be self-centered or ego driven but rather told in order to spare the mother any possible despair. Neither are we told to which degree this “lie” may serve the better good but we do get the impression that the Narrator, though no doubt possessed of a guilty conscience, sincerely believes he is justified in his deception. Along with the specific personal details, I’ve intentionally set the moral and ethical issues aside, choosing again to let the listener, if so inclined, to grapple with any implications.
4.
Sins of the Fathers from the DA album Songs of the Heart Written by TST ©1995 Shape of Air Music, BMI There's that counter kid with the Insufficient mustache He's another one of those bright and Funny young know-it-alls He's got the fire of the immortal Soul burnin' there in his Bright porcelain blue eyes He humors me, and, like always, I just let it slide Sometimes I'm tempted to tell him "Hey kid, the world still goes on, Even after we've passed through it, Long after we're gone" And who can avoid the sins of the fathers? But you go ahead kid It's your turn to walk on water Well life is God's gift, but the years have weight And I'm logy, a little sluggish My back's bothering me again and my bones are rigid I feel like I've lived too many years, But then again not long enough I could offer the boy some kind of words of wisdom, Clichés about life being tough Tell him all about unrealized expectations, Pass on a couple of tips, But I've learned after all these years You can't teach these young dogs new tricks And who can avoid the sins of the fathers? But you go ahead kid It's your turn to walk on water I see this world is fast becoming a place Meant only for survivors Where the glands have replaced the heart and soul And we act out our darkest desires So here's another prayer for the boy For God's mercy and His grace For salvation and love And the courage to make The world a better place and who can avoid?.......... Well the kid smiles and pours me another cup of thick bitter coffee He's caught in the sunlight through the window -- He looks like he's from another country (not a part of this unbalanced, wounded world with its wonders and sorrows and joys and miseries) I shuffle out and leave him To his hopes and dreams As I hang on to my memories Well ...... you hang on too, son And who can avoid the sins of the fathers But you go ahead kid It's your turn to walk on water Do your best to undo the sins of the fathers Go ahead kid It's your turn to walk on water guitar and vocal: T.S.Taylor Note: Daniel Amos’s “Songs of the Heart” is a concept record which tells the story of a fictional retired couple, Bud and Irma Ackendorf, who travel Route 66 in a metaphorical search for a lost America and a seemingly simpler past. SOTH is essentially a journey of self-discovery in which a number of strange events occur including, among other surreal incidents, a bonafide religious miracle, a young lady performing a passionate Hula at a bus stop, and a talented ghost who plays the organ at a local dive bar and appears to be stalking our protagonists. The couple figuratively comes to the end of the road when Irma’s beloved husband passes away shortly after the couple arrives home. While composing songs for SOTH it occurred to me that a scene in which Bud confronts his younger self in the form of a slightly arrogant teenage waiter at a local diner, would be an effective means of revealing, through Bud’s inner dialogue, his attitude and thoughts about life, modernity, youth, old age, and death. As listeners, we discover that as cantankerous and “fuddy-duddy” as Bud can sometimes appear to be, he has a genuine grandfatherly affection for the kind but condescending young man behind the counter and, knowing how the sorrows, disappointments, and sufferings of life can, as the years pass, turn a once passionately hopeful and idealistic heart cold and bitter, Bud silently prays for the boy, wishing him “mercy…grace…salvation…love…and the courage to make the world a better place.” Instead of a “get off my lawn” kind of old geezer who has little tolerance for the arrogance and folly of youth, we encounter a fairly wise and compassionate elderly man who, while still acknowledging (in a humorous way) the boys youthful pride, mentally embraces the young man in a moment of tender empathy. Lyrically I tried to capture what is often the dynamic between the old and the young in which young people are guilty of presuming that the elderly are unaware that they’re being patronized by those who, by virtue of their youth, think themselves more progressive, wise, and knowledgeable. Bud knows the boy is being slightly condescending but he says he “just let’s it slide.” We know that Bud has been around the block a few times and certainly “knows a thing or two” as they say, and we know too that the boy has a long way to go and much to learn. We also know that Bud figures there is no use preaching to the lad. These are things that life will hopefully teach him. When I wrote “SOTF” I had to imagine being an elderly man looking back on his life and the heady days of his youth. Now that I’m living the reality, I find myself becoming closer and closer to my old friend Bud in almost every way.
5.
. I Plan, God Laughs words and music: Terry Scott Taylor It’s another door slammed and bolted It’s one more window locked You were on your way back home and Now you're not With my fingers I form a steeple In such a way when I open my hands There's no one home Then I call your number Just to hear your message on the phone Maybe next month Maybe next year Oh my oh my it’s been a long long time I plan. God laughs. I plan. God laughs. Here’s another faded photo In the year before things changed I took hard that betrayal Of an old friend, now estranged How could I be so mistaken Why couldn’t I see in all that time I’d been walking a wire? Or that I’d be one of many who Got torched in his scorched-earth fire? I thought by now He’d come around All would be forgiven ‘cos Love would break us down I planned. God laughed. I planned. God laughed. The day is restless as a land-locked sailor Anxious to move on from old history Its baggage is ready and stacked Against the wall with a yellowing map And it’s dreaming of the whispering sea “You’ll dig a hole to China” Said my younger days “And die before you get old, Go out in glory’s blaze” I won’t be aloof like my father, Rest his soul, or like my mother Worried about too many things Pull myself up by my boot-straps, Be an optimistic dancer in the rain Maybe next week, Sometime this year These things don’t happen over night God plans. I laugh. God plans. I laugh. God plans. I laugh. God plans. I laugh……. vocals and instruments: T.S. Taylor Note: I’ve always felt a certain affinity for this old chestnut (“Man plans, God laughs)”. This is another way of saying our ideas of what we desire for and in our lives may be quite different than, or even at odds with, what God intends for us. Our Lord may not be literally laughing, but he may indeed be amused by our presumptions; His aim is not to make us nicer people, or well-respected citizens, or tops in our profession. His aim is to form Christ in us. Through any means possible. I know that, at least for myself, it’s not until I’m able to look back, perhaps years later, on a confusing or dark time in my life, (one that I would have readily spared myself from) before I’m able to have some understanding and perspective as to why I was taken down a particular path. Sometimes, because “we see through a glass darkly,” the “why?” remains a mystery to me and I must make peace with the idea that I may never get the answer, at least in this lifetime. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways and he will direct your paths.” (Prov. 3: 5 & 6) is a scripture that particularly resonates with me. Following its advice however may be much more difficult than it first appears. While our religious ideals may be quite lofty, the truth is we are hard-wired for wanting to be in control. Let go of the steering wheel and we are in for the Mr. Toad's Wild Ride of our lives. Then there are the times when we sell ourselves (and God) short, reasoning that we need to be ever humble and that humility is found in thinking small. At times this may be true, but there are times when all along he’s been wanting to give us much more than we’ve been asking for. I’ve been the recipient of too many blessings to count in my lifetime, and there are many of them which I never saw coming. He is indeed a God of wonders….and surprises. The listener will notice I’ve done a reversal with the songs lyric on the last chorus. It’s God doing the planning now and I’m the one doing the laughing. Perhaps it’s a laugh of delight. Or it may be that, like Abraham and Sarah’s laughter, it’s a laugh of incredulity; The Lord is doing something insanely impossible. I just don’t see it yet.
6.
. LITTLE, Big from the TST EP "LITTLE, Big" Words & Music by Terry Scott Taylor ©2002 Shape of Air Music (BMI) Nah nah nah nah nah nah... Goin' home to my little house To my little wife and not so little kids There inside my little world Is the love I feel So big, BIG, big Driving in my little car Up the little street, back from my little gig There inside my little heart Is the love I feel So big, BIG, big I told a little man to day A little lie About his little wig It looked fake, I said he looked great It was just a little fib 'Cos a little love is what he needs And that's big, BIG, big At noon I ate a little lunch At my little desk with its little chair I typed you out a little note Said "Friend, you're in my little prayer And then I had a little laugh I remembered Dad and his little jig And I shed a tiny tear for my little past 'Cos the loss I feel is so BIG, BIG, BIG And the love I feel is so BIG, BIG, BIG vocals and instruments: T.S. Taylor Note: When I first conceived of writing the songs for what eventually became the e.p. “Little, Big,” I had to be constantly vigilant in reminding myself to think “small” and intimate in regard to both the lyrics and the studio production. I mention the latter because as is my customary thought process whenever I’m writing a tune, I am simultaneously imagining its instrumental arrangement and sonic approach once I’m in the studio with whatever musical entity I’m involved with at the time. In some sense a band is playing (Lost Dogs, DA, etc.) in my head whenever I write, and I am hearing snippets of each members particular part being played. A large percentage of these mental parts do make it to the record, but of course much is open ended as well, leaving a good deal of creative space for everyone once we’re rehearsing the tune and recording inside the studio itself. “Little, Big” was no exception. I had my dear friend, band mate, and occasional production collaborator Rob Watson in mind when I began to write the songs for “Little, Big.” Rob had been my co-producer on my first solo recording “Knowledge and Innocence” and since I felt that “Little, Big” would have much in common with K&I, Rob was the obvious and perfect choice for my collaborator. An added benefit of my partnership with Rob was his amazing versatility and creative prowess as a keyboardist, and since I had imagined “Little, Big” as a keyboard centric project, it all worked out quite nicely. Rob’s home studio in Eagle Rock was (and is) the perfect place to record a “small” record because of its quaint comfortableness, and since the project would not call for drum set-ups or outside musicians (Rob and I played all the parts, save for one guitar part and a female backing vocal), Rob’s place was ideal for our purposes. I owe much of the influence for “Little, Big” to the “Friends” record by “The Beach Boys.” “Friends” is filled with a number of simple little narrative songs that are of the personal “slice of life” variety and I wanted to capture this same kind of feel with LB. The title cut was my first composition and set the tone for the rest of the record, and like the other cuts on the LP this too was a peek into my personal, and fairly ordinary, life. At the time I really did live on “a little street” in a “little house.” The line about my late Father doing “a little jig” was, as most observant fans picked up at the time, a reference to another song, (and true event), captured in “Avocado Faultline’s" “Papa Danced On Olvera Street.” And yes, as many of my listeners noted at the time, the title of the record is one I lifted from John Crowley, author of the book by the same title. At the time I conceived of LB, I had plans to follow it up sometime in the future with a related LP entitled, naturally, “Big, Little.” Men plan, God laughs. I was never able to get around to it, but who knows? Maybe one day. With this new recording I’ve taken what was already a very simple song and stripped it down even further. Aside from a few embellishments, the version here is closer in spirit to the acoustic/ vocal version I composed in “my little house” one sunny afternoon in 2002.

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released September 19, 2018

Vocals, guitars- TST
Mastered by Bruce Neher
Cover photo by Tom Gulotta

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