“Letters to Myself” Collection of Songs

Words and music © 2010 by Rob Birdwell.  All rights reserved.

http://www.birdwellmusic.com

 

Another Name For It  words and music by Rob Birdwell

You won't know

Anything you don't already know

You'll just have another name for it

You won't go

Anyplace you haven't been before

You'll just see another side of it

You won't feel

Anything you haven't felt before

You'll just feel it longer

You won't find

Any new or better love

The one you share grows stronger

What I find amazing

From this strange and lovely trip

Is how we're all so hypnotized

Or maybe there's another name for it

(instrumental solo)

All your time

Will seem to fade into

All your yesterdays

All your dreams

May come to pass

But you gotta dream 'em anyway

And your voice

May not carry far

But speak on out

And all those times

When you don't know who the hell you are

Well, that's okay

Marching through the tempest

With my hopeful candle lit

Clinging to my optimism

Or maybe there's another name for it

You won't know

Anything you don't already know

You'll just have another name for it...


Something About This Town  words and music by Rob Birdwell

There's something about this town

There's something about this town

The girls are a little bit hairier

But I don't think they're any scarier

Than other city girls

There's something about this town

There's something about this town

The men are all dangerous but that’s alright

Don't look into their eyes unless you want to fight

And get yourself hurt

Oh, There’s something about this town

We don’t like you creeping around

But you can stay here

You can stay for a while

You can stay

Stick around...

(solo/instrumental)

Oh, There’s something about this town

Our dirty secrets might bring you down

But you can stay here

You can stay for a while

You can stay

Hang around...

There's something about this town

There's something about this town

The women are wicked but that's alright

Don't look into their eyes unless you want some strange dreams

Every single night

Oh, there’s something about this town

We like to keep it safe and sound

So you should stay here

You should stay for a while

You can stay here

You can stay for a while

You can stay here

You can lay here

Close your eyes

Close your eyes

And stay...


That's Not The Way To Love Me  words and music by Rob Birdwell

Maybe I'm wrong

Maybe I'm right

Either way I'm a fool

For you baby tonight

I just needed your tenderness

I needed your touch

A little understanding

Was I asking too much?

Oh, that's not the way to play it

That's not the way to say it

That's not the way to love me

I had my hopes

You would be there

If for no other reason

Than to show me you care

But you left me lonely

And misunderstood

I know you didn't mean to

But that's just no good

Oh, that's not the way to play it

That's not the way to say it

That's not the way to love me

Don't say a word

Not if you don't really mean it

But if you say nothing

That could be all I need to know

Oh, that's not the way to play it

That's not the way to say it

That's not the way to love me


Old Mountain  words and music by Rob Birdwell

Old mountain

Reaching to the sky above

I sure miss you

You must know the greatest love

All change since the dawn of time

Even you - in your gentle way

You made it through just fine...

Old mountain

I could use your strength tonight

To lift me through the abyss

Will you help me make it right?

Help me

Face the changes that I'm going through

Do you still

Face these changes too?

You do...you do....you do!

(solo/instrumental)

Old mountain

You were once a young mountain

Growing slowing

Changing as that river rolled along

Help me

Face the changes that I'm going through

Do you still

Face these changes too?

You do...

Old mountain

Reaching to the sky above

I sure miss you

You must know the greatest love...


We Did It  words and music by Rob Birdwell

I went to a party

At the center of the city

Met a red headed girl

Who was looking very pretty

Got her number, got her name

Things would never be the the same

But we did not know that then

Made a date to meet up

At a Hollywood pub

Could not light her cigarette

Was still so happy that we met

Strolled along the Walk of Fame

Kissed her then I felt the flame

So invited her to meet my cat

She said “perhaps another time”

I said “hey that's fine”

Walked her back to her car

She drove home, it wasn't far

Called her up the next day

Then again the next day

And again, then we went to see a movie

It was Erik the Viking

It could have been anything

It was just good to be together in the city

And the flower that I stole

Was my ace in the hole

She smiled and asked

So how's that little kitty?

We went back to my pad

I was a Hollywood lad

With a studio-kitchenette-bath

We abused the elevator

And nearly nine months later

There were three of us

But you can do the math

We did it

We did it

We did it till the morning light

We did it

We did it

We did it and we did it right

A friend called me up

Just a week or two later

Haven't seen you in a while

Tell me about her alligator

Is she pretty

Is she funny

Does she make a lot of money

And did you mention that she has a little sister?

I said yes, yes,

I don't know,

I'm pretty sure, I think so

It's really getting late

And tonight we've got a date

Good catching up, we'll talk again

But I don't know exactly when

I gotta go, she's calling

See ya later mister

We did it

We did it

We did it till the morning light

We did it

We did it

We did it and we did it right

I went to a party

At the center of the city

Met a red headed girl

Who was looking very pretty

Got her number, got her name

Things would never be the the same

But we did not know that then

We went back to my pad

I was a Hollywood lad

With a studio-kitchenette-bath

We abused the elevator

And nearly nine months later

There were three of us

But you can do the math

And so the story goes

There's much more to it I suppose

But since then there hasn't been a single other

Kids, you can laugh or you can cry

It's my favorite alibi

The story of how I met your mother

We did it...


Danny Wore A Fisherman's Cap   words and music by Rob Birdwell

A long time ago

I knew a man

And I listened to the stories he told

Of his wife and his kids

Back in old Mexico

Danny was a handyman who fixed things real good

If no one could fix it

Well, Danny sure could

Lending his hammer and mending a gap

Old Danny wore a fisherman's cap

His crooked old smile

We'd talk for a while

And our worlds seemed so far apart

With him old as the sun

And me making my start

Oh, Danny was a handyman who fixed things real good

If no one could fix it

Well, Danny sure could

Lending his hammer and mending the gap

Old Danny wore a fisherman's cap

Sending his money

Back to old Mexico

Well I hope he found fortune

And lived a good life

I hope he got home

To his kids and his wife

Oh, Danny was a handyman who fixed things real good

If no one could fix it

Well, Danny sure could

Lending his hammer and mending a gap

Old Danny wore a fisherman's cap


Things Can Only Get Worse  words and music by Rob Birdwell

I've got everything a man could want and more

a finger in every pie a foot in every door

a clean bill of health

from head clear down to toe

truck started up just fine today

the newspaper didn't come, but that's o.k.

if there's some bad news happening

I don't need it any old way

'cause every time I roll it's a seven

and my baby, she's an 11

it's raining outside but I'm kept dry

by the good fortune pouring from heaven

I used to think things could only get better each day

but now I must consider the reverse

pray on your knees for times like these

'cause things can only get worse

I’ve got money in the bank and more on the way

the seeds are sown and we're making hay

the radio is playing

every tune I want it to play

got the media moguls nipping at my feet

how ‘bout that re-dedication of my very own street

and the honorary laureates

are rumored to be coming my way

    (chorus)

fortune has a tendency

to favor the unplanned

fortune needs no pilot

she flies unmanned

stockbroker sent good news my way

that penny stock blew through the roof today

so I'll be selling it off

and rolling it into my nest egg

fish are biting and the mood is light

got the wind at my back and a belly tight

there's a smile on my face

everything is going so right

    (chorus)


End Of The World Party  words and music by Rob Birdwell

At the end of the world party

Laughter from the hallway

While other revelers pined

Nursing their homemade wine

At the end of the world party

Each one of us strangers

And the best of friends

At the party that never ends

It was the end of the world party

The end of the world party...

Children were oddly missing

And everyone was kissing someone new

I tried to kiss my way back to you

At the end of the world party...        

Oh happy day

Nobody wants to be alone

Oh happy day

We're all searching for a way back home

At the end of the world party

Some folks spoke of dreams

And all that might have been

We partied in spite of them


Honey Bee  words and music by Rob Birdwell

another busy day in paradise

Oh, now baby don't she look nice

I'm a blitzin' and a buzzin'

gunna get my stuff

bring it home to pretty mamma

gotta give her enough

I'm just a little ol' bee in the hive

she doesn't even know I'm alive

I'm just a little ol' bee in the hive

she doesn't even know I'm alive - or do she?

honey bee - going to work

honey bee - bringing it home

honey bee - going berserk

honey-beeing in that honey comb...

she's the queen

I'm a belle ringer

she's got the hive

I've got the stinger

gunna make a whole lot of honey

I'm buzzed now

cause the days are sunny

zig-zag

flower to flower

collecting that stuff

hour after hour

busy bee

ain't nothing to it

tell ya all why

this dizzy bee do it...

    sweet is her nectar

    and I'm her honey bee...

another fly by though the neighborhood

oh, by-golly don't she look good

got the pedal to the metal

gotta get that stuff

bring it home to pretty mamma

she can never get enough

I'm just a little ol' bee in the hive

doing what a honey bee do to survive

I'm just a little ol' bee in the hive

sure to feel good to be alive...

(chorus, etc.)

“Letters to Myself” collection of songs:

Words and music © 2010 by Rob Birdwell.  All rights reserved.

http://www.birdwellmusic.com


Letters to Myself - Liner Notes

Another Name For It - Contains all the first chords I learned on Mandolin and some I’m not sure I know yet!  The lyric to this one came out nice I thought - hardly any sign of a struggle.

Something About This Town - Don’t be fooled by the sometimes pleasing sounds.  This is a dark and scary town I’m singing about.  It was partially inspired by a Stephen King short story in which a young couple get lost on a logging road in the Pacific Northwest, only to discover a very strange little town.  My version is very much distorted from King’s vision, but like King there’s a bit of humor mixed into the macabre.  With lyrics like “the girls are a little bit hairier / but I don’t think they’re any scarier than other city girls” I probably just signed my ticket to obscurity forever - well, that’s just the way it goes.

That’s Not The Way To Love Me - A tip of the hat to one of my favorite singer songwriters, Elvis Costello, with a bit of Roy Orbison in there too.  I especially think this tune could work well performed by a female - I might even prefer it that way, but the male version is the way it leaves the gate.  Despite the somewhat maudlin title, I actually came up with it as a joke - it just sounded funny to me.  As of July 2010, I couldn’t find a single song title matching this when I searched google. Could this be a true classic song, one that generations of writers simply neglected to write?

We Did It - This is a 100% true story, probably the only one in the batch! Happy anniversary Christel, my splendiferous wife of all these years.  It still seems like yesterday to me.  Our son, Frey Birdwell, plays guitar!  

Danny Wore A Fisherman’s Cap - There really was (and hopefully still is) a guy named Danny.  He was a building maintenance guy where I worked and he was a very nice man.  Danny always went out of his way to do a good job and took an interest in everyone’s life - I found his stories to be interesting, although I was too young to grasp the gravity of his life situation and the challenges he certainly must have faced.  I can’t say for sure if he wore a fisherman’s cap though; probably more like an L.A. Dodger’s baseball cap.  Grant me some poetic license here.

Things Can Only Get Worse - They say every song needs an angle and I thought this one played out pretty well. My youngest daughter, Maja Birdwell, sings the improvised vocal fills!  “Fortune has a tendancy to favor the unplanned / Fortune needs no pilot / She flies unmanned” is one of my favorite lines - worth the struggle!

End of the World Party - I woke up one morning completely enveloped with an incredibly vivid dream of being lost in Los Angeles: I was alone, amongst strangers who all seemed very busy with their party plans and relationships.  I must have left before the fun started, because I was soon wandering the streets of L.A., lost, trying to get home.  When I awoke I wondered, for hours, what it all meant, so I wrote a song about it.  My youngest daughter, Maja Birdwell, sings with me on this one!

Honey Bee - Not originally conceived as part of this collection, this track was unfinished from my summer of 2009 “Cheap Sensations” sessions, which never materialized into a CD release.  I was losing interest in most of the material and the burdensome production I seemed to be venturing into was sucking all my creative energies and crashing my computer.  So I created a CD called “Sweet Surrender” instead, which was almost completely improvised and had very little in the way of “producing” other than performing and mixing two tracks together.  So in the summer of 2010 I re-opened this particular track only to discover it had “bonus track” written all over it.  It’s really just a simple little blues tune.  I produced it with my Steely Dan hat on, but when I channel Elvis (Presley) and play it on Mandolin, it’s got a really cool vibe to it too.

Futher Reading - Back-Story Behind Some of the Songs

The songs in this collection started out as rough demos (and one might argue they still are!) as I was learning to play Mandolin.  Why not just stick to the dang horn you might say?  We’ll, I’m musically restless. I walk into a music store and wish I owned the whole place so I could spend all my time dabbling.

 

On a whim, Viking (from The Svens) loaned me his Mandolin in January of 2010 and I fell in love with the sound and musical possibilities it offered. I'm very rough around the edges on it, but without that little 8-string wonder most of these songs would never have been written or recorded!  And I haven't played this much Bass since my Bird From Mars days, so that was pretty interesting...and humbling.  I had a nice lesson with Joe Sikich who showed me how to navigate the Mandolin a bit better.  Naturally, this was long after I’d committed a number of tracks.  Ah, ignorance is bliss (until you have to mix it all later!).

With Mandolin in hand and some ideas/lyrics for songs, the end results were coming out parsed down to the bare essentials.  Little fills, melodies and musical “icing” began to overlay my usual tracks.  Some songs that I’d had sitting around for a summer or two were re-evaluated with the new possibilities of strum and hints of twang.  Eventually, my “just for me” demos seemed like they might be worthy of sharing.  Well, here they are!

In general I simply enjoyed the process of getting lost writing these songs. Once the lyrics took form they almost sounded like they were were messages intended for some other "me" in a different place and time.  And that’s not unique to my work and I see it all the time in other writers’ work.  Still it’s always a interesting to step back from the passion that compelled the writing of a song and wonder: “Where is this stuff coming from?!”

The line between writing something for orchestra, a jazz group or a simple song has always been a fuzzy one for me since I enjoy each so much and they all seem like they're cut from the same cloth anyhow. I like to imagine there's some sort of convergence coming at some point. That's why I've never stopped writing and producing my little songs or 'bon-bons' as I call them.  I may not produce or release all the songs I write (I have a lot of them!) but I get a lot of pleasure out of the simple things and this particular set of songs formed into what I thought was a pretty cohesive collection - they are a glimpse into some of my experiences and dreams. My hope is that others, especially other musicians, will realize that these songs are intended for them too and hopefully I'll get to hear their interpretations someday since I can never be completely satisfied with my own renditions, despite my best efforts.

Enjoy!

Rob Birdwell

July 2010