Calico Pie and Other Poems by Edward Lear

  • Release date: May 22, 2011
  • Catalog #: PAu003459713 / 2010-02-28
One hundred, sixty years in the fanciful world of Edward Lear, there was an Owl and a Pussy cat, a Duck and a Kangaroo, and many more delightful characters who had bold adventures.   Uncle Arly, who traveled the world with cricket on the end of his nose, and the green headed Jumblies, who went to sea in a Sieve,  are but two of the ten works presented.   Suzanne Birrell, whether singing jazz, pop, or folk, is a story teller at heart. In this album, recorded live, Suzanne gives new life to these charming age old favorites with melodies equally hyptnotizing and memorable.  Suzanne doesn’t just tell the story, she acts them out in character voices and with feelings of great pathos and humor.  She will captivate your imagination with her customary over the top performance that enthralls children and adults alike.    Careful – You’ll find yourself caught up in the stories and singing along!
Suzanne Birrell- Vocals, Acoustic Bass, and Percussion   *   Tom Duarte-Accoustic Guitar   *    Joel Jaffe Engineer   *   Jaxon Victorine- Assistant Engineer   *   Photography by John Kraus  *   Cover by Suzanne Birrell   *   All music composed by Suzanne Birrell ASCAP   *   All Lyrics composed by Edward Lear (1812-1888)   *   Recorded at Studio D, Sausalito, California, USA  December 2010   *   Album: Calico Pie  and other Poems by Edward Lear set to Music by Suzanne Birrell    *   PAu003459713 / 2010-02-28


  1. 1

    The Broom, The Shovel, The Poker, and The Tongs Birrell / Lear


    The Broom, The Shovel, The Poker, and The Tongs –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    The Broom and the Shovel, the Poker and Tongs
    They all took a drive in the Park,
    And they each sang a song, Ding-a-dong, Ding-a-dong,
    Before they went back in the dark.
    Mr. Poker he sat quite upright in the coach,
    Mr. Tongs made a clatter and clash,
    Miss Shovel was dressed all in black (with a brooch),
    Mrs. Broom was in blue (with a sash).
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong! And they all sang a song!

    “O Shovel so lovely!” the Poker he sang,
    “You have perfectly conquered my heart!
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong! If you're pleased with my song,
    I will feed you with cold apple tart!
    When you scrape up the coals with a delicate sound,
    You enrapture my life with delight!
    Your nose is so shiny! Your head is so round!
    And your shape is so slender and bright!
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong! Ain't you pleased with my song?”

    “Alas! Mrs. Broom!” sighed the Tongs in his song,
    “O is it because I'm so thin,
    And my legs are so long Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong!
    That you don't care about me a pin?
    Ah! fairest of creatures, when sweeping the room,
    Ah! why don't you heed my complaint!
    Must you needs be so cruel, you beautiful Broom,
    Because you are covered with paint?
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong! You are certainly wrong!'

    Mrs. Broom and Miss Shovel together they sang, '
    What nonsense you're singing to-day!'
    Said the Shovel, 'I'll certainly hit you a bang!'
    Said the Broom, “And I'll sweep you away!”
    So the Coachman drove homeward as fast as he could,
    Perceiving their anger with pain;
    But they put on the kettle and little by little,
    They all became happy again.
    Ding-a-dong! Ding-a-dong! There's an end of my song!'

  2. 2

    Calico Pie Birrell / Lear


    Calico Pie –Birrell / Lear

    By Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    Calico Pie
    The little Birds fly
    Down to the calico tree,
    Their wings were blue, And they sang “Tilly-loo!”
    Till away they flew,
    And they never came back to me!
    They never came back!
    They never came back!
    They never came back to me!

    Calico Jam
    The little Fish swam,
    Over the syllabub sea,
    He took off his hat, To the Sole and the Sprat,
    And the Willeby Wat.
    And he never came back to me,
    he never, cameback,
    he never came back,
    He never came back to me!

    Calico Ban,
    The little Mice ran,
    To be ready in time for tea,
    Flippity flup,They drank it all up,
    And danced in the cup,
    And they never came back to me!
    They never came back!
    They never came back!
    They never came back to me!

    Calico Drum,
    The Grasshoppers come,
    The Butterfly, Beetle, and Bee,
    Over the ground, Around and around,
    With a hop and a bound,
    And they never came back to me!
    They never came back!
    They never came back!
    They never came back to me!

  3. 3

    The Duck And The Kangaroo Birrell / Lear


    The Duck And The Kangaroo –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    Said the Duck to the Kangaroo,
    ”Good gracious! how you hop!
    Over the fields and the water too,
    As if you never would stop!
    My life is a bore in this nasty pond,
    And I long to go out in the world beyond!
    I wish I could hop like you!” Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

    “Please give me a ride on your back!'
    Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.
    'I would sit quite still, and say nothing but "Quack,"
    The whole of the long day through!
    And we'd go to the Dee, and the Jelly Bo Lee,
    Over the land and over the sea.
    Please take me a ride! O do!” Said the Duck to the Kangaroo.

    Said the Kangaroo to the Duck,
    “This requires some little reflection;
    Perhaps on the whole it might bring me luck,
    And there seems but one objection,
    Which is, if you'll let me speak so bold,
    Your feet are unpleasantly wet and cold,
    And would probably give me the roo-Matiz!”
    said the Kangaroo.

    Said the Duck ,”As I sat on the rocks,
    I have thought over that completely,
    And I bought four pairs of worsted socks
    Which fit my web-feet neatly.
    And to keep out the cold I've bought a cloak,
    And every day a cigar I'll smoke,
    All to follow my own dear true Love of a Kangaroo!”

    Said the Kangaroo,”I'm ready!
    All in the moonlight pale;
    But to balance me well, dear Duck, sit steady!
    And quite at the end of my tail!”
    So away they went with a hop and a bound,
    And they hopped the whole world three times round;
    And who so happy, O who, As the duck and the Kangaroo?

  4. 4

    Incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly Birrell / Lear


    Incidents in the Life of My Uncle Arly –Birrell / Lear

    Oh! My aged Uncle Arly!
    Sitting on a heap of Barley
    Thro' the silent hours of night,
    Close beside a leafy thicket:
    On his nose there was a Cricket,
    In his hat a Railway-Ticket;
    (But his shoes were far too tight.)

    Long ago, in youth, he squandered
    All his goods away, and wander'd
    To the Tiniskoop-hills afar.
    There on golden sunsets blazing,
    Every morning found him gazing,
    Singing, "Orb! you're quite amazing!
    How I wonder what you are!"

    Like the ancient Medes and Persians,
    Always by his own exertions
    He subsisted on those hills;
    Whiles, by teaching children spelling,
    Or at times by merely yelling,
    Or at intervals by selling
    "Propter's Nicodemus Pills."

    Later in his morning rambles
    He perceived the moving brambles
    Something square and white disclose;
    Twas a First-class Railway Ticket;
    But, on stooping down to pick it
    Off the ground,a pea-green Cricket
    settled on my uncle’s Nose.

    Never-never more-Oh! never,
    Did that Cricket leave him ever,
    Dawn or evening, day or night;
    Clinging as a constant treasure,
    Chirping with a cheerious measure,
    Wholly to my uncle's pleasure,
    (But his shoes were far too tight!)

    So for three-and-forty winters,
    Till his shoes were worn to splinters,
    All those hills he wander'd o'er,
    Sometimes silent; sometimes yelling;
    Till he came to Borley-Melling,
    Near his old ancestral dwelling
    (But his shoes were far too tight!)

    On a little heap of Barley
    Died my aged uncle Arly,
    And they buried him one night;
    Close beside the leafy thicket;
    There, his hat and Railway-Ticket;
    There, his ever-faithful Cricket;
    (But his shoes were far too tight!)

  5. 5

    The Cummerbund Birrell / Lear


    The Cummerbund –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    She sat upon her Dobie,
    To watch the Evening Star,
    And all the Punkahs as they passed,
    Cried, 'My! how fair you are!'

    Around her bower, with quivering leaves,
    The tall Kamsamahs grew,
    And Kitmutgars in wild festoons
    Hung down from Tchokis blue.

    Below her home the river rolled
    With soft meloobious sound,
    Where golden-finned Chuprassies swam,
    In myriads circling round.

    Above, on talles trees remote
    Green Ayahs perched alone,
    And all night long the Mussak moan'd
    Its melancholy tone.

    And where the purple Nullahs threw
    Their branches far and wide,
    And silvery Goreewallahs flew
    In silence, side by side,

    The little Bheesties' twittering cry
    Rose on the fragrant air,
    And oft the angry Jampan howled
    Deep in his hateful lair.

    She sat upon her Dobie,
    She heard the Nimmak hum,
    When all at once a cry arose,
    'The Cummerbund is come!'

    In vain she fled: -- with open jaws
    The angry monster followed,
    And so (before assistance came)
    That Lady Fair was swallowed.

    They sought in vain for even a bone
    Respectfully to bury,
    They said, -- 'Hers was a dreadful fate!'
    (And Echo answered 'Very.')

    They nailed her Dobie to the wall,
    Where last her form was seen,
    And underneath they wrote these words,
    In yellow, blue, and green:

    Beware, ye Fair! Ye Fair, beware!
    Nor sit out late at night,
    Lest horrid Cummerbunds shouldcome,
    And swallow you outright.

  6. 6

    The Jumblies Birrell / Lear


    The Jumblies –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    They went to sea in a Sieve, they did,
    In a Sieve they went to sea:
    In spite of all their friends could say,
    On a winter's morn, on a stormy day,
    In a Sieve they went to sea!
    And when the Sieve turned round and round,
    And every one cried, “You'll all be drowned!”
    They called aloud, “Our Sieve ain't big,
    But we don't care a button! We don't care a fig!
    In a Sieve we'll go to sea!”

    Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.

    They sailed away in a Sieve, they did,
    In a Sieve they sailed so fast,
    With only a beautiful pea-green veil
    Tied with a riband by way of a sail,
    To a small tobacco-pipe mast;
    And every one said, who saw them go,
    “O won't they be soon upset, you know!
    For the sky is dark, and the voyage is long,
    And happen what may, it's extremely wrong
    In a Sieve to sail so fast!”

    Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their handsare blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.

    The water it soon came in, it did,
    The water it soon came in;
    So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
    In pinky paper all folded neat,
    And they fastened it down with a pin.
    And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
    And each of them said, “How wise we are!
    Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
    Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
    While round in our Sieve we spin!”

    Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their handsare blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.

    And all night long they sailed away;
    And when the sun went down,
    They whistled and warbled a moony song
    To the echoing sound of a coppery gong,
    In the shade of the mountains brown.
    ”O Timballo! How happy we are,
    When we live in a Sieve and a crockery-jar,
    And all night long in the moonlight pale,
    We sail away with a pea-green sail,
    In the shade of the mountains brown!

    Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their handsare blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.

    They sailed to the Western Sea, they did,
    To a land all covered with trees,
    And they bought an Owl, and a useful Cart,
    And a pound of Rice, and a Cranberry Tart,
    And a and a Cranberry Tart,
    And a hive of silvery Bees.
    And they bought a Pig, and some green Jack-daws,
    And a lovely Monkey with lollipop paws,
    And forty bottles of Ring-Bo-Ree,
    And no end of Stilton Cheese.

    Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their handsare blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.

    In twenty years they all came back,
    In 20 years or more,
    And every one said, 'How tall they'v e grown!
    For they've been to the Lakes, and the Terrible Zone,
    And the hills of the Chankly Bore!'
    And they drank their health, and gave them a feast
    Of dumplings made of beautiful yeast;
    And every one said, 'If we only live,
    We too will go to sea in a Sieve,T
    o the hills of the Chankly Bore!'

    Far and few, far and few, Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their handsare blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.

  7. 7

    The Dong With The Luminous Nose Birrell / Lear


    The Dong With The Luminous Nose –Birrell / Lear

    by edward Lear (1812-1888)

    When awful darkness and silence reign
    Over the great Gromboolian plain,
    Through the long, long wintry nights;
    When the angry breakers roar
    As they beat on the rocky shore;
    When Storm-clouds brood on the towering heights
    Of the Hills of the Chankly Bore.

    Then, through the vast and gloomy dark,
    There moves what seems a fiery spark
    A lonely spark with silvery rays
    Piercing the coal-black night,
    A Meteor strange and bright:
    Hither and thither the vision strays,
    A single lurid light.

    Slowly it wanders, pauses, creeeps,
    Anon it sparkles,flashes and leaps;
    And ever as onward it gleaming goes,
    a light on the Bong-tree stems it throws.
    And those who watch at that midnight hour
    From Hall or Terrace, or lofty Tower,
    Cry, as the wild light passes along,-
    “'The Dong!
    The Dong!
    The wandering Dong through the forest goes!
    The Dong!
    The Dong!
    The Dong with a luminous Nose!'

    Long years ago, The Dong was happy and gay,
    Till he fell in love with a Jumbly Girl
    Who came to those shores one day,
    For the Jumblies came in a sieve, they did,
    Landing at eve near the Zemmery Fidd.
    Where the Oblong Oysters grow,
    And the rocks are smooth and gray.
    And all the woods and the valleys rang With the
    Chorus they daily and nightly sang,

    “Far and Few, far and few
    are the Lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.”

    Happily, happily passed those days!
    While the cheerful Jumblies staid;
    They danced in circlets all night long,
    To the plaintive pipe of the lively Dong,
    In moonlight, shine, or shade.
    For day and night he was always there
    By the side of the Jumbly Girl so fair,
    With her sky-blue hands, and her sea-green hair.

    Till the morning came of that hateful day
    When the Jumblies sailed in their sieve away,
    And the Dong was left on the cruel shore
    Gazing-gazing for evermore,
    Ever keeping his weary eyes on T
    hat pea-green sail on the far horizon,
    Singing the Jumbly Chorus still
    As he sat all day on the grassy hill,

    “Far and Few, far and few
    are the Lands where the Jumblies live;
    Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
    And they went to sea in a Sieve.”

    But when the sun was low in the West,
    The Dong arose and said;--
    “What little sense I once possessed
    Has quite gone out of my head!'
    And since that day he wanders still
    By lake or forest, marsh and hill, Singing--
    ”O somewhere, in valley or plain
    'Might I find my Jumbly Girl again!
    'For ever I'll seek by lake and shore
    Till I find my Jumbly Girl once more!'

    Playing a pipe with silvery squeaks,
    Since then his Jumbly Girl he seeks,
    And because by night he could not see,
    He gathered the bark of the Twangum Tree
    On the flowery plain that grows.
    And he wove him a wondrous Nose,-
    A Nose as strange as a Nose could be!

    Of vast proportions
    and painted red,
    And tied with cords
    to the back of his head.
    In a hollow rounded space it ended,
    With a luminous Lamp within suspended,
    All fenced about With a bandage stout.
    To prevent the wind from blowing it out;
    And with holes all round to send the light,
    In gleaming rays on the dismal night.

    And now each night, and all night long,
    Over those plains still roams the Dong!
    And above the wail of the Chimp and Snipe
    You may hear the squeak of his plaintive pipe,
    While ever he seeks, but seeks in vain
    To meet with his Jumbly Girl again;
    Lonely and wild, all night he goes,
    The Dong with a luminous Nose!

    And all who watch at the midnight hour,
    From Hall or Terrace, or lofty Tower,
    Cry, as they trace the Meteor bright,
    Moving along through the dreary night,
    This is the hour when forth he goes,
    The Dong with a luminous Nose!
    Yonder over the plaine he goes;
    He goes,
    He goes!
    The Dong with a luminous Nose!

  8. 8

    The owl and the pussycat Birrell / Lear


    The owl and the pussycat –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    The Owl and the Pussy-cat
    went to sea In a beautiful pea green boat,
    They took some honey, and plenty of money
    Wrapped up in a five pound note.
    The Owl looked up to the stars above,
    And sang to a small guitar,
    O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
    What a beautiful Pussy you are,
    You are,
    You are!
    What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

    Pussy said to the Owl,
    “You elegant fowl! How charmingly sweet you sing!
    O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
    But what shall we do for a ring?”
    They sailed away, for a year and a day,
    To the land where the Bong-tree grows
    And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
    With a ring at the end of his nose,
    His nose,
    His nose,
    With a ring on the end of his nose!

    “Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
    Your ring?' Said the Piggy, “I will.”
    So they took it away, and were married next day
    By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
    They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
    Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
    And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
    They danced by the light of the moon,
    The moon,
    The moon,
    They danced by the light of the moon!

  9. 9

    The Courtship of The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò Birrell / Lear


    The Courtship of The Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    On the Coast of Coromandel
    Where the early pumpkins blow,
    In the middle of the woods
    Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy Bò.
    Two old chairs, and half a candle,
    One old jug without a handle,
    These were all his worldly goods:
    In the middle of the woods,
    These were all his worldly goods,
    Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Of the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    Once, among the Bong-trees walking
    Where the early pumpkins blow,
    To a little heap of stones
    Came the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
    There he heard a Lady talking,
    To some milk-white Hens of Dorking,
    ''Tis the lady Jingly Jones!
    On that little heap of stones
    Sits the Lady Jingly Jones!”
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    'Lady Jingly! Lady Jingly!
    Sitting where the pumpkins blow,
    Will you come and be my wife?'
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
    “I am tired of living singly,
    On this coast so wild and shingly,
    I'm a-weary of my life:
    If you'll come and be my wife,
    Quite serene would be my life!”
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    On this Coast of Coromandel,
    Shrimps and watercresses grow,
    Prawns are plentiful and cheap,”
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
    “You shall have my chairs and candle,
    And my jug without a handle!
    Gaze upon the rolling deep
    ('Fish is plentiful and cheap)
    As the sea, my love is deep!”
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    Lady Jingly answered sadly,
    And her tears began to flow,
    'Your proposal comes too late,
    Mr. Yonhy-Bonghy-Bo.
    I would be your wife most gladly!”
    (Here she twirled her fingers madly,)
    “But in England I've a mate!
    Yes! you've asked me far too late,
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    Mr. Jones (his name is Handel,
    ( 'Handel Jones, Esquire, & Co.)
    Dorking fowls delights to send,
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
    Keep, oh! keep yourchairs and candle,
    And your jug without a handle,
    I can merely be your friend!
    Should my Jones more Dorkings send,
    I will give you three, my friend!
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    Though you've such a tiny body,
    And your head so large doth grow,
    Though your hat may blow away
    Mr. Yonhy-Bonghy-Bo.
    Though you're such a Hoddy Doddy
    Yet a wish that I could modify
    the words I needs must say!
    Will you please to go away?
    That is all I have to sa
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-B,
    Mr. Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    Down the slippery slopes of Myrtle,
    Where the early pumpkins blow,
    To the calm and silent sea Fled
    Came the Yonhy-Bonghy-Bo.
    There, beyond the Bay of Gurtle,
    Lay a large and lively Turtle,
    'You're the Cove,' he said, 'for me
    On your back beyond the sea,
    Turtle, you shall carry me!'
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Said the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    Through the silent-roaring ocean
    Did the Turtle swiftly go;
    Holding fast upon his shell Rode
    Fled the Yonghy-Bongy-Bo.
    With a sad primæval motion
    Towards the sunset isles of Boshen
    Still the Turtle bore him well
    Holding fast upon his shell,
    'Lady Jingly Jones, farewell!'
    Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    Sang the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

    From the Coast of Coromandel,
    Did that Lady never go;
    On that heap of stones she mourns
    For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.
    On that Coast of Coromandel,
    In his jug without a handle
    Still she weeps, and daily moans;
    On that little hep of stones
    To her Dorking Hens she moans,
    For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò,
    For the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bò.

  10. 10

    The New Vestments Birrell / Lear


    The New Vestments –Birrell / Lear

    by Edward Lear (1812-1888)

    There lived an old man in the Kingdom of Tess,
    Who invented a purely original dress;
    And when it was perfectly made and complete,
    He opened the door, and walked into the street.

    By way of a hat, he'd a loaf of Brown Bread,
    In the middle of which he inserted his head;
    His Shirt was made up of no end of dead Mice,
    The warmth of whose skins was quite fluffy and nice;
    His Drawers were of Rabbit-skins, so were his shoes
    His stockings were skins, but it is not known whose;
    His Waistcoat and Trowsers were made of Pork Chops;
    His Buttons were Jujubes, and Chocolate Drops;
    His Coat was all Pancakes, with Jam for a border,
    And a girdle of Biscuits to keep it in order;
    And he wore over all, as a screen from bad weather,
    A Cloak of green Cabbage-leaves stitched all together.

    He had walked a short way, when he heard a great noise,
    Of all sorts of Beasticles, Birdlings, and Boys;
    And from every long street and dark lane in the town
    Beasts, Birdles, and Boys in a tumult rushed down.
    Two Cows and a half ate his Cabbage-leaf Cloak;
    Four Apes seized his Girdle, which vanished like smoke;
    Three Kids ate up half of his Pancaky Coat,
    And the tails were devour'd by an ancient He Goat;
    An army of Dogs in a twinkling tore up his
    Pork Waistcoat and Trowsers to give to their Puppies;
    And while they were growling, and mumbling the Chops,
    Ten boys prigged the Jujubes and Chocolate Drops.

    He tried to run back to his house, but in vain,
    For Scores of fat Pigs came again and again;
    They rushed out of stables and hovels and doors,
    They tore off his stockings, his shoes, and his drawers;
    And now from the housetops with screechings descend,
    Striped, spotted, white, black, and grey Cats without end,
    They jumped on his shoulders and knocked off his hat,
    When Crows, Ducks, and Hens made a mincemeat of that;
    They speedily flew at his sleeves in trice,
    And utterly tore up his Shirt of dead Mice;
    They swallowed the last of his Shirt with a squall,
    Whereon he ran home with no clothes on at all.

    And he said to himself as he bolted the door,
    “I will not wear a similar dress any more,
    Any more, any more, any more, never more!”

Recorded in STUDIO D!

Guitarist Tom Duarte and I laid down the tracks for the 10 songs in the project at STUDIO D in Sausalito.  I always like to record live- Magic happens; but it was a new experience for Tom.  I am happy to report, he is a now a convert.

I went back in to add bass and percussion.  Lots of rubato made it just a tad tricky.  We had never even bothered to count into the songs and the songs do have a narration/ rubato quality.  I so have a free spirit.  But, I got  it together.   One take in “Incidents in the life of My Uncle Arly” which goes back and forth between adagio and allegro.  The Tacoma sounds very fine.

In the Control Room at Studio D

Studio D Rocks

The room itself is perfect.  Engineer Joel is a WHIZ.  He plays the pro tools with the virtuosity of a piano player.  Keeps the energy up and creative sparks flowing.  I performed the songs-rather theatrical- so I was not glued to the mic.  Joel and Jason captured the magic moments.  We laid down 10 songs in two sessions-total time 9 hours.  Tom was reading the music-one song was 9 pages (7 minutes) long.  We had to pause in order to rotate pages.  Once we stopped because I burst out laughing I was having so much fun.

About the Compositions

The compositions are composed to the poems of Edward Lear, a British poet (1812-1888).   Edward Lear is most famous for his Nonsense Poems which include such favorites as the Owl and the Pussycat.  When I first started setting the poems to music I found it interesting that all the tunes seemed to fine themselves in a minor key in spite how wonderfully fanciful I found the poem.  In doing the background search on the author, I discovered he was a manic depressive.   I had connected!

My melodies took on a life of their own.  I initially wrote a play (Calico Pie) around the first three compositions.  I ended up throwing away the first act and leaving the singer behind.  However, the subsequent acts became dotted with of bits and pieces of the poems of Edward Lear.  It became obvious that I needed to compose melodies to rest of the songs.  With those compositions, the singer re-entered the play as a street musician, which is where the songs are performed.

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