Monday, March 22, 2010



That's it. That's what I have written.

I need help finishing this song. I'd welcome any suggestions as to lyrics to follow up this theme.

I wrote that line, that riff, that start of a song, some twenty-something years ago this summer, as I began contemplating my exit from police work and making a change. Either going to law school OR continuing my law enforcement career somewhere else like L.A. or at a different level as an investigator (the Federales, A D.A.'s office, United States Marshal or possibly even an intelligence agency like the D.O.D.).

I was single at the time, and playing with a very good blues based band led by my friend Mikey Ray. Mikey was doing stuff that could be best described as original and cover Texas guitar based blues. We covered artists like Les Dudak, Stevie Ray Vaughn (hence my dubbing of Mikey and Billy and Ricky with the middle name RAY), Eric Clapton and other similar artists. Mikey Ray had a bunch of originals and I had a ton of lyrics and rhythms and melodies of songs I had also written, and we combined them and continued doing that over rest of the 80's in a series of bands and jam bands that we played with.

So I had a ton of comp time at work, which I had to take or lose, and took a week long vacation by myself (my first one of those ever) and went to Corpus Christi and got a place at the beach in a highrise. It was in the late spring, and the complex I was at was empty. It had a great balcony, and I took to watching sunsets while playing on my acoustic guitar. In fact, since I had no neighbors to my room, I was able to do my rudimentary playing on one of Mikey Ray's high end acoustic guitars that I had borrowed to my heart's content.

The Unfinished Song is an upbeat, acoustically driven 8th note rhythm line on the guitar. I do have some music for the chorus as well, but until I get past the one damn stanza I have managed to write for that tune, it just can't progress. Think 70's to early 80's Jimmy Buffett acoustic guitar and vocals with a Texas blues rock band behind him. Which is pretty much what he had in the Coral Reefer's Band during what I and many other Buffett fans consider to be his best period in the late 70's and early 80's.

So it was with tunes like that, framing what I was feeling sitting on that balcony one night in the 80's at the beach on North Padre near Corpus, staring at the Gulf of Mexico waves and thinking about how relaxing it was there away from my job and the future and just totally being sort of at one with myself and the surroundings.

I had sailed that week on a rented Hobie Cat from the T-Head harbor. I had surfed, if you can call it that, on some semi-large (for Texas) waves that were coming in one day, again on a rented board. I had fished a bunch, both fly fishing and trout popping cork fishing with a bay guide and on a short distance ocean party boat.

I had seen several good bands in town in the evening, including a Doors cover band at some large place that used to be pretty far into town on S.P.I.D., a band that was so authentic that the singer had some sort of overdose on alcohol and pills and was hauled away via a REAL ambulance with police and everything. I thought that was a very authentic show. I had seen a couple of other good local bands at this place I liked then called Dr. Livingston's that had a jungle motif.

I had several friends living there then and was able to hang out with them in the evenings, but that afternoon when I wrote the first stanza to The Unfinished Song, I thought I had a great tune in the works. I still do, and could use some help.


Mikey Ray later morphed into more of a Wheedley-Whee Eddie Van Halen type of guitar work, and I followed right along with him. We had a good run of writing and some performing as an original hard rock band in the late 1980's with a great singer named Joe who really actually sounded like Robert Plant in his natural voice. We played a couple of covers like "Whipping Post" and "When The Levee Breaks" but otherwise we had three sets of original music we had written ourselves.

Mikey Ray was really my first longtime song writing partner of real songs that we actually liked and that just seemed to go together. Since then, I've contributed lyrics and melodies and rhythms to songs I've written with other entire groups of people or as to drum tracks that I've come up with for the songs of other people. It's always flattering when I hear other drummers who followed me up in certain bands play a part the way I played it when I originated the part when the artist wrote the song.

Although I've been lucky to play with some really talented and somewhat infamous folks, none of the songs I've ever written or helped to write have been published or used, unlike those of some of my more talented friends have done. And some have made some real large money from their musical efforts when major artists picked up their tunes.

But I have several CD's worth of songs that were written by me and Mikey during two very distinct phases of the mid to late 1980's, and I still love listening to them. And even a few of my friends genuinely like those tunes as well.

And I've got lots of other lyrics and melodies and basslines and drum riffs that I've recorded or written over the past few years, as Ricky Ray, Billy Ray and I have tried to develop our songwriting skills together, with a couple of successes in the past 8 years particularly.

But then there's that passage that starts this post. I have a melody and a bridge and just some general musical ideas that goes along with that line, and I actually wrote another line at the time that I have deemed too hokey to be used.



I just need some help with some more lyrics. It's a song about Texas, and the Texas beach, and relaxing, and music, and having a good time in life.

Finish the lyrics to my song, or help me do so, and I'll record the music onto Garage band with a REAL guitar player like Billy Ray and a real singer and post it here.

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