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Song of the Month #23 - “Boogie Woogie Therapy”

(Track #1 on The Road Less Traveled CD)

 

RLT Album Cover                                       Lyrics:  If your web browser does not support the Flash Player* included with the Lyrics, or you are uncomfortable allowing/downloading the plug-in/add-on, you can still listen to this song while you read.  Just go to our Downloads Page and click on the link, “Buy The Road Less Traveled Songs from Napster”.  Then, click on "Boogie Woogie Therapy."  You can listen to it for free (not available outside the USA).

                                                         *Not being a techie, I use the term “Flash Player” loosely.

 

As I have stated somewhere in one of my other Song of the Month articles, I believe songs come out of the air.  They come into your soul and form from the ideas, feelings, and emotions you are experiencing.  Most of the time, the creation that takes shape is temporary.  However, when the concept will not go away, you are on your way to scoring a new song.  “Boogie Woogie Therapy” descended on me and met up with two unrelated ideas.  The first, my belief that action plays a major role in getting rid of the blues, merged with the thought of Siobhan and me wanting to create a new sound with her bass.  When these two notions would not leave me alone, I knew I was off and running with a new song.

 

We all encounter the blues, and here is what I quite often experience when it pays a visit to me.  I usually wake up with a real empty feeling inside of me.  Everything seems hopeless, and struggling with the daily activities of life seems futile.  All the negative aspects of my life bombard my spirit, and they take over.  I feel like I am in a boxing match with the world champion, Mr. Negativity, and he is kicking my butt all over the ring.  Each punch he throws at me reminds me of what I haven’t done, what I can’t do, or what a failure I am, and the only solace I get from this experience is I realize it is temporary.  Just like the weather, these emotional Thunderheads clear, and the sun comes out again.  I have discovered you can wait for these clouds to move on when they are ready, or you can precipitate their disappearance with action.  Since I am a person who does not like to wallow in negativity, I usually just start moving, and within a short time, my emotional lows start to drift away.

 

When I start moving, I usually begin by choosing rather simple activities.  For example, I’ll start doing the dishes, and after my head clears a little, I’ll flip on the audio book I have setting on the counter next to the sink.  The actions of cleaning and reading slowly begin to erase whatever grip negativity has had on me, and I start to feel better.  Walking, cycling, playing the guitar, and going out to listen to music are just a few other simple activities I use to trigger the evaporation of my pessimism.  Occasionally, when I am out listening to music, I’ll get up and dance, but it is not one of my favorite actions for getting rid of the blues.  Nevertheless, I have observed the tremendous positive impact it has on those who love to dance.

 

One day while Siobhan and I were in the midst of a rehearsal, I thought about how dancing helps to shake off the blues.  We had just finished playing “Shotgun Boogie,” an old boogie tune by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  This was the first boogie tune we ever learned, and we were psyched because it gave Siobhan an opportunity to create an awesome new sound with her bass.  Unfortunately, while we were ecstatic about the sound of the bass, we were not very thrilled with the content of the song.  Learning a song is somewhat similar to writing one.  You learn it, rehearse it, and try it out on your audience.  If it doesn’t feel right to you, you scrap it from the playlist.  Unfortunately, “Shotgun Boogie” did not feel right, and we got rid of it.  However, learning the song was not a total waste of time because it gave birth to “Boogie Woogie Therapy.”

 

Unwilling to give up this great new sound we were getting with Siobhan’s bass, I spontaneously broke into the first verse and chorus of “Boogie Woogie Therapy.”  We played it over and over again, and it felt right.  I then added a harmonica break, and we played the verse, chorus, and harmonica break until we were exhausted.  Being so juiced from the new song we created, I went to my computer, and within a few hours, I had the remaining verses to the song.

 

“Boogie Woogie Therapy” is pure Americana.  It is an upbeat tune depicting a philosophy you can use when the blues gets its grip on you.  The philosophy is simple.  Whether you are eighteen or eighty, you will always encounter emotional lows.  You can either wait until these lows move on of their own accord, or you can trigger their disappearance with action.  Of course, the song suggests you get up and get going.  By the request of many, Siobhan and I recorded this song without the help of any studio musicians.  In addition to our basic sound of the guitar, harmonica, vocals, and bass, I gave the recording some depth by dubbing in some additional harmonies, an electric guitar, and blending harmonicas.  Pay attention to Siobhan’s bass in this one!  It’s exquisite!  It’ll make you get up and dance!  If you are in your car, keep your eye on your speedometer!  It’s the first song on the CD; so, pop it in your stereo, and listen to it with your first cup of coffee!  I guarantee it will jumpstart your day!  Hope you have time to check it out!  I like it, and I hope you do, too!

 

I dedicated this song to Kathy Cooley.  Kathy, the lovely wife of Rich Cooley, the guy who recorded this CD, validated the effect we wanted to create with “Boogie Woogie Therapy.”  Kathy, who loves to dance, came into her husband’s studio one night while he was listening to the song.  The first words out of her mouth were, “Hey, I like that song!”  It put a smile on her face and got her dancing, just what we wanted the song to do.  I also dedicated the song to Kathy because she has the ability to comfortably sustain her marriage to a musician.  Being married to a musician is not easy.  Many sacrifices have to be made, and my hat is off to any spouse of a musician who can do this.

 

Along with dedicating this song to Kathy Cooley, I indicated in the liner notes the song was inspired by Siobhan’s bass playing.  Siobhan not only accommodates my playing music, but she has made it better over the years.  She started by running my sound in the eighties, and she has become an excellent sound person.  She picked up the bass in the early nineties, and she continues to amaze me with the new sounds she produces.  Finally, she mixed the songs on this CD, and she did the graphics for the cover.  In both cases, she received many terrific compliments for her work.  What I like the best about all of her accomplishments is she achieved them by following her instincts, not the rules.  It’s been an excellent strategy for her, and I hope she never gives it up!

 

We recorded this song in 2008 at Rich Cooley Studios, a little studio in Canandaigua, New York.  Rich Cooley Studios is owned and operated by Rich Cooley, an excellent singer/songwriter, music teacher, and recording engineer.  When you record with Rich, you can always count on him for a relaxed recording session with a genuine and sincere effort to produce the best recording possible.  I highly recommend Rich if you are interested in doing some recording on a small scale level.  Rich is most comfortable when he is recording a solo artist or a duo.  Check him out if this is what you need!

 

Well, there you have it.  I’ll have another song of the month for you next month.  If you have any comments or suggestions, please pass them on to me.  This is a work in progress, and I am always looking for new ways to improve it.

 

(E-Mailed 2/18/09)

 

 

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