Things have changed a lot. When I was young, music was bought and sold differently from the way it is now. First of all, we bought records. (These are now considered retro, and so they are called “vinyl.”) That meant you would go to a record store (yes, you had to physically go there!).
There were no CDs, no digital downloads, no streaming platforms. It was more difficult to hear a song before you bought it.
So how did you know what to buy? And that’s something that hasn’t changed. This weird challenge has always been there. Songwriters want you to hear their songs, but how do you get interested in hearing a song, before you have – well – HEARD it?
Back then, maybe you heard something on the radio, or maybe a friend played something for you…but still, it wasn’t that easy, not like today.
And what about the artists? How could they get their music heard? They could give it away for free, right? But then how do they pay the bills and keep writing songs?
One thing that could help was words. Many albums had what they called “liner notes.” These were short, written descriptions of each song. Using words, they would try to describe what you would hear, hoping you would want to listen and maybe even buy the record. (Just like I’m trying to do right now…)
Hopefully you have had a chance to listen to the free tracks I was able to make available (we have to do SOME of that!). The fact that you are reading this might mean you liked what you heard; maybe enough to want to hear more.
So here goes, here is my version of “liner notes.”
WHAT IS “WHEN I GET OLD?”
Simon – I’m the third oldest of ten kids; the oldest of seven boys. That means I have a lot of experience with facing the indignity of having a new baby brother. Suddenly, everybody is so in love with the new baby, that they hardly pay attention to me anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love my brothers, but is that fair? Oh, and none of them are named Simon. I changed the name to protect the guilty.
Hot Day in the City – For my long-term life-partner and wife. I wrote it for her 50th birthday. I asked myself what I could say about her, and this is what I got. The most difficult writing assignment I have ever taken on.
I Think of You – a break-up song. It can take a while to adjust, when that person is no longer there. The title was inspired by Johnny Mercer’s lyrics to the song “I Thought About You.”
Geese – I wrote this walking to and from work, by a lake along the way. The seasons go around. Children grow up into old folks, someday the old folks leave. For inspiration many thanks go to Joni Mitchell, Mary Oliver and Chuck Berry.
When I Get Old – I grew up around old men who smoked cigars and laughed out loud. What keeps us from completely letting go and indulging our worst habits? In my case, I still want the affection of those I love.
I Wish Mom Would Come – at the YMCA in our decaying old mill town my brothers and I took swimming lessons. Our mom was not always on time picking us up…
Hot Summer Nights – Do you ever wish you could go back to your childhood home?
Knuckleheads – Seriously, what you gonna do about them?
Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs – On a cross-country road trip I noticed one morning that I’d been having the same breakfast each day; but each day in a different town. That interested me.
About You – another break-up song. Boy, it can take a while sometimes.
The Dead – Growing up, I heard about life after death. What if it’s the other way around?
You Were the Mountains – Sometimes living gets overwhelming.
THANKS for reading. You can learn more about the album and hear clips from the songs here:
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