Welcome

The Prodigal Gospel... 

well, I'd like to believe that you'll always be near me

that we'll meet again in that 'sweet bye and bye'

how I'd love to believe that you could still hear me

when I raise my voice to the sky...

...(the opening lines to an old song of mine...)... on my mind this morning with the news that an old friend has had his partner of many ears 'pass on'...'cross over'... whatever we tend to label that last transition from this 'mortal coil'... the biblical story of the 'prodigal son' was always a favourite of mine, though being raised in a Catholic household, the bible was not a big reference manual... my heart is heavy, and with my old friend and musical partner J.P. Hovercraft.

 

...a quote... 

..." Dennis is one of the most clever, articulate songwriters, ever....eloquence personified..."

...Gary Peeples... guitarist of Jackson Delta and Al Black's 'Steady Band' had this to say about my work in a Facebook post somewhere back on down the line... and when asked if I could use his quote for my own awkward attempts at self promotion; graciously agreed. 

   "You are always welcome to whatever humble service or quote that comes from me", he replied. I had mentioned that " ...in these uncertain times, the respect of one's peers is more than sufficient reason to carry on.." (May 12th, 2020). And haven't "these times" just become more and more uncertain? 

    I launched 'Lone Gunman at the Assassin's Hotel' in an intimate setting at the SLAB in March 2019, and have since given away hundreds of copies, as well as included it in t's entirety for free download (along with 'The Brave Work' and the initial eponymous effort) in this site, in hopes of getting the tunes 'out there' to any who appreciate the song as te prime 'art form' of our generation. Not necessarily a 'sound' business plan, but music had never been about 'business' for me, and is even less so, now that 'the music business' seems to be in transition and/or disarray. There are so many musicians out there trying to scrape by, I just can't be bothered wit the 'nickel and dime' aspects of streaming services, and to be honest, the whole 'online' aspect just leaves me cold.

    I hope folks support those most in need, but for my part, the songs are free. Help yourself to what you will, and try to support those that need it most. love to all, d.

scene his shadow... 

..well... it has bee a long time since I've been able to 'log in' to this 'blog'; especially on my lap-top, as opposed to my iPad... I had hoped to get off to a fresh start yesterday (being 'groundhog day' and all), and was not able to gain access, (yet again) from my iPad, either.

     I was beginning to despair of this whole routine (and my account with Bandzoogle), but it would seem that my 'tech pal' and photography friend Jackie Wimbush has been able to sort it out. So, (a day late and a dollar short) I am given opportunity to consider an actual 'blog' as opposed to just cataloguing lyric and recordings for 'posterity'. A time for new beginnings, perhaps? 

   I was following my good friend Phil Connor's 'blog' that he was keeping from his little hide-a-way down Mexico way, and as impressed as I was with his candor in recounting his formative years, I know I will not be able to quite so forthright in my own attempt to chronicle 'my life in art', or at least less revealing as to my personal history. "What a long, strange trip it's been..." to quote the 'Dead'; never one of my favourite groups growing up, but a musical entity that I have come to appreciate more with the passing of time (and SO many of the musicians of m-m-m-my g-g-g-g-eneration...).

    So, having posted many of my more 'relevant' lyrics, and given the sequential nature of a 'blog'. I don't want to delve to deeply into early attempts at lyric; thinking that the first songs just don't stand up to the ones that came later, with a little experience and maturity that this half-century (and more)  with a guitar in my hands and a song in my heart has hopefully brought me. 

    I have recently had cataract surgery on both eyes, and am enjoying my new lease on vision immensely. Not being able to read for pleasure ( let alone see a keyboard or screen clearly) has been at trial, to say the least. Driving was getting to be a serious challenge as well, and though my surgeon did not pull my ability to do so, I was much reduced in scope and circumstance, navigating a very short circuit (my sister's house, the grocery store, the 'SLAB'; all within a few blocks of ne another) with extreme vigilance, and never at night. I guess in \the good old days' one just went blind. 

    The 'SLAB"... well... that has been a truly remarkable opportunity, and one of the only real 'positives' to come out of the whole pandemic problem. I'll catalogue some photographs of tis wonderful little spot at some point for posterity, but  suffice it to say that the 'SLAB' is a lovely little 'garage' that has never seen an automobile; but has hosted many a fine small 'house concert' (cousin Michael P. O'Toole and I 'released' the most recent recording there in March of 2019; \Lone Gunman at the Assassin's Hotel). and Phil and Yvonne Connor (in whose backyard 'the SLAB' exists) were so kind as to leave me a key when they went to Mexico last season. Before their return, we were in the grip of the global pandemic, and my 'residency' has been extended into this winter, as well. A remarkable opportunity, and though I'm not a 'high achiever' or driven to rite or record at a fevered pace; ot has been a wonderful chance to spend countless 'indolent hours' with my (large) family of guitars. and a few new songs have inevitably transpired.

   Cousin Michael P. and I continue t get together weekly of a Wednesday afternoon (and hopefully will do so again today), keeping our distance and making music  that hopefully we ill get to share with a 'live' audience at some point, but who knows when or where that will be. I'm not overly inclined to present myself 'online'; but will add a couple of video clips that we did for submission to the 'Blue Valentine' memorial effort this year; which will be a 'virtual' get together in honour of the late Willie P. Bennett; gone thirteen years this month. Well, that's it for this installment; 'for hat it's worth'. love to all, d.

... some scenes... 

some scenes obscene won’t be unseen

our histories haunt us all in kind

memory, not a slate to be wiped clean

we are all captives of the mind

love can ennoble or demean

too often declared ‘blind’...

 

some scenes obscene can’t be unseen

invective hurled can’t be retrieved

be sure to say just what you mean

if you are apt to be believed

those who live as libertines

oft may be deceived.

 

some scenes obscene won’t be unseen

aspersions cast can’t be repealed

often a fine line between

what remains obscured or revealed

conscience inclined to intervene

whose lips shall remain sealed?

In My Wildest Dreams 

...waking from more curious dreams than usual; I am inclined to share a recent lyric...

 

in my wildest dreams... there are tamer scenes

where we stop and catch our breath ...reflect upon the gift

see time for what it is; simple and precious, just like this...

I see you in my wildest dreams.

 

I'm prone to fantasy... comes easily to me...

imagination knows no bounds... and while my heart still pounds

I'll make of love what I will... and give my all, until...

comes my time to be set free.

 

in my darkest night... when my soul cries for light

and I fear unfamiliar shores... what lies behind darkened doors...

you'll stir in your sleep; and I know somehow you keep

me anchored, even in my wildest dreams...

 

in my wildest dreams... there are tamer scenes...

where we stop and catch our breath... revel in the gift...

cherish time for what it is... simple and precious, just like this...

I'll meet you in my wildest dreams.

    ...well... a song for 'older' lovers, perhaps... born of a lazy, 'jazzy' progression on the guitar in my 'indolent hours' these past weeks and months I've had access to 'The SLAB' as my personal musical playground... this one will get recorded when we get back to that sort of thing. I have found much to recommend 're-writing' lyric by hand, in liquid ink... often just a word will change, here and there... I guess lyric and poetry are inevitably fluid things... open to re-interpretation in repetition... love to all, d.

 

Just Another Rainy Sunshiny Day (the lyric)... 

...of course, the 'blog' presents items in order of appearance, and the 'reflection' on this lyric will be below this page... apparently there is no way to mess around with the format, so...

 

my brother tasked me to write him this song...

he asked when we both knew his time was not long...

he said: "I'll leave it to you, just what to say; but call it

'Just Another Rainy Sunshiny Day'..."...

 

we shared a room; a decade but light years apart.b..

I fell asleep to 'Only the Lonely'... 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'...

he slipped into psychosis to the hits of the day as they'd play...

working on his own rainy sunshiny day...

 

now I don't know just where it went wrong

can you blame a sad slow radio song?

Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, too...

'Town Without Pity'... 'Blue Bayou'...

 

now it's just another rainy sunshiny day

clouds of my own making keeping blue skies at bay

I suppose... I surmise... that these tears in my eyes

come with just another rainy sunshiny day...

 

now it's just anther rainy sunshiny day

how I wish he was here, so I could play

my simple song for him... hear what he'd have to say

about 'Just Another Rainy Sunshiny Day'...

 

no, I don't know just where it all went wrong

can you blame a sad, slow radio song?

Roy Orbison... Gene Pitney, too...

'Town Without Pity'... 'Blue Bayou'...

(then perhaps a reference to Don and Phil)

"Love Hurts... love scars... love wounds... and mars...

 any heart.. not tough... or strong... enough... to take a lot of pain..."

(the Everly Brothers hit written by Felice and Boudeleaux Bryant, of course).

 

"Just Another Rainy Sunshiny Day..." (reflection on the writing of a song) 

... "Dennis is one of the most clever, articulate songwriters ever...eloquence personified..."

... Gary Peeples ( guitarist/songwriter; member of Jackson Delta (blues band) and Al Black's 'Steady Band' -February 10th, 2019. ...whew... that's quite a quote (unsolicited) from a friend and peer on Facebook, in relation to some reference to songwriting, I suppose. I came across it on an envelope yesterday and it gt me to thinking about songwriting in general and this song in particular. As I've delved through 'my back pages' in the creation of this blog, I've not been concerned with any sort of chronological order, and have skipped through eras and traumas as the spirit moved me. I've never considered songwriting as 'craft' so much as 'vocation''; and over the half century or so that I have aspired to the sobriquet (there's a word that hasn't cropped up lately) 'songwriter' I've mostly waited for the lyric to come to me. most often in near complete form.  ave not pursued commercial reward or appeal as a motivating factor, and don't go looking for 'topics' or engage in 'co-writing' (much, at least not regularly or successfully). But when my brother Peter directed me to write him a song, of course I said I would. He only gave me the title: "Just Another Rainy Sunshiny Day"; and I dutifully scribbled it down in my notes at his bedside.

    I came up with a stanza or chorus of some sort either before or shortly after he 'crossed over', and I was actually at his side (with guitar in hand) when he did. I'm pretty sure I described this experience in the notes to "Jesus, My Brother..." (earlier in these 'pages'). below, that effort...

it's just another rainy sunshiny day...

clouds of my making, keeping blue skies at bay

I suppose, I surmise; that these tears in my eyes

come with 'just another rainy sunshiny day'...

    and so it sat... he died... I regretted not having knuckled down and written a damn song for him before he did. Over these past months I have had access to 'The SLAB'; the lovely little performance space behind Phil and Yvonne Connor's house here in town; and in some of my indolent hours there playing guitar and singing to an empty room; the lyric coalesced and became a song... for my brother; who always regretted getting a gun (.22 Cooey single shot rifle) and not a guitar as requested for some birthday in his teens. He had a paper route and a record player with a growing album collection in the years that we shared a room in the little 'war time' house in East City (Peterborough) and  I fell asleep to Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, the Everly Brothers, Buck Owens, Hank Williams, etc., etc. ... quite a education in song, in retrospect. 

    Peter slipped into psychosis, and spent much of his life a mental health in/out patient living close to the street in Toronto, where he died. This song is for him, and will be the next one recorded when cousin Michael P. O'Toole and I (hopefully) get back to regular rehearsal and recording after 'the pandemic' has (hopefully) passed. maybe on a new page. love to all, d.

Ould Soul 

old soul...   you are  traveler

old soul...   odyssey unraveling

old soul...   trying to find a way home

...

heartbeat... like an ancient drum

complete... vision soon will come

defeat...      something you've never known

...

you see the universe in a grain of sand

a lifetime in the blink of an eye

always hungering to understand

never demanding why...

...

old soul... immune to siren's call

old soul... seen empires rise and fall

old soul... so together, so alone

seeking that sense of certainty

shining in a true love's smile

the fleeting glimpse of eternity

in the eyes of a newborn child...

...

old soul...   you are a traveler

old soul...   one more life unraveling

old soul...   trying to find a way home

something  you've never known...

so together… so alone.

     ... well... this song seems complete enough that I've been singing it in my sleep, so I'll put it in here and not lose track of it. Just the other day a bit f verse from recent times got married up with a song that has been with me for a long while (Virgin Heart)…  I'll track that down and make revision... recent weeks have found me singing much more and enjoying it in equal measure. love to all, d.

TheGift of the Moon and Stars 

I can only give you the moon and stars

they're yours for the asking... there for the taking

we can catch fireflies in jars

we'll be basking in the light they're making

let this summer's night roll slowly

your love makes me feel real and holy...

...

lazy days come and go...

the moon waxes and wanes, and comes 'round again

we can watch our love grow

a bit of you and me... and now we are three

how shall I interpret your sigh?

is that a tear come to your eye?

...

I can only give you the moon and stars

spin rings from Saturn, and roll you in clover

anything your heart desires

as long as we can dream, I'll be your lover

lover, take me in your arms...

...

and I will give you the moon and stars...

   ... well... a song from a time of wonder and amazement... a child in the making... hearts full of love and promise... from the 1990 live recording, and written while Kyle was preparing to make entry into the world... seems so long ago, now... and the dream died with him, I suppose... gallant effort was made to make a life beyond, but in the end it was not to be... the moon and stars remain; and on this day of a 'super moon' this old song comes to mind, so it takes it's place among the others... it was as close to 'jazz' as the '& Friends' got, I suppose. " and s it goes..." I dedicate this song to every couple who try to make a 'go' of parenting,whether or not the child is of their own making... love to all, d.

True Love's Time has Come 

men are born to be bound by duty

bred to be slaves to beauty

bled by social pressure from the cradle to the grave

I've worn my heart on my sleeve, and it's led me to believe

that true and lasting impressions are the only ones I'll crave

...

love would do well to be blind; but not so, deaf and dumb

there's a song in my mind... singin' 'true love's time has come'

true love's time has come

...

I believe they broke the mold, when they cast your heart of gold

you are a boon companion to this lonesome old fool

call it proscribed romance; be it luck or circumstance;

sometime it seems so brand new

times it's for sure 'old school'.

 

... love would do well to be blind...(repeat chorus)...

 

I'm serving you fair warning; I'll be loving you each morning

I'll be bugging you for hugging every hour of the day

I'll be scribblin' you new songs, trying to right all my wrongs;

I believe we belong, in a betrothed way!

...love would do well to be blind... (repeat chorus and fade...)...

    ... well ...  this is a country 'romp' of one sort or another... never been recorded, and not near the top of the list; but it came to mind, and I thought I'd put it down while it was still in my head. An older tune, for sure; from the Bandanna! days, no doubt. Having had some small success as a recording outfit; the lure of the 'radio rodeo' was strong. Our friends in Prairie Oyster were making a splash in Canada, and even south of the border; it seemed as though there might be some sort of future as a singing cowboy after all; even just on a local level. There had been a well established C&W scene in Peterborough, with places to play (sometimes six nights and a matinee ...honky-tonkin' night and day...); but mostly weekend work; and that was beginning to dry up. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to 'cut my teeth' in the fading 'glory' of a flourishing bar scene; but of course a 'bar scene' is just that. When came a time to 'get on the bus' and go out on the road with a real touring act; I chose to go back to school and get some 'working papers' in social services. It was time to start considering 'family' as opposed to a full time career in music; and even with all the changes in my 'family' status over the years; I'm glad I made that choice. 'The Brave Work' took it's toll on me; but it was good work; and effort spent in the service of others helped me keep my head more or less together; at least more so than it might have fared in the blind pursuit of 'fame and fortune'. love to all, d.