Original Song – “You And Me”

You And Me is a song about changing the world and making a difference to people like you and me.  Changing the world isn’t about revolutions, ideology, politics or slogans – it’s about making a difference to people and changing hearts through love – one heart at a time.  If everyone in the world simply chose love as the answer, the world would be changed in the span of a single heartbeat.  Can it be done?  Sure.  Will it be done?  It’s up to you and me…  “So we have to work together, If we want to change the world, And we’re thinkin’ that we can, And we’re thinkin’ that we can, Make a difference to people, Like you and me…”

As with all of my early songs during which I worked with my friend Gordon Olvera, I’ve shared the copyright with him for trying to give voice to my songs.  Also, emailed versions of these songs lose their chord alignment and formatting, so refer to the original post and/or the scanned lyric sheet as your guide.

"You and Me" - "Thousand Faces", Collected Works Volume III, Gordon Olvera/Mark Jones, Copyright 1990, All Rights Reserved

You And Me

“Thousand Faces”, Collected Works Volume III, Gordon Olvera/Mark Jones, Copyright 1990, All Rights Reserved

Intro:

Em   F   Em   F     (x2)

Verse One:

     Em                        F

We want to change the world

           Em                          F

And we want to make things right

         Em           F

We’re looking all around us

         Em                     F

And it doesn’t feel quite right

         Em                     F

And it doesn’t feel quite right

           Am                    Em

And we don’t like what’s goin’ on

           Am                      Em

And we don’t like what we see

               F                       C

But you’re thinkin’ that you can’t

                Dm                    C

And you’re thinkin’ that you can’t

          Dm              C

Make a difference to people

      Dm        C

Like you and me

Chorus:

      Am                Em

It’s up to you and me

              F

Can’t you see

              C

Can’t you see

         G                 Am

We’re all that we’ve got

     G                    Am

We only have each other

                F          Am

And that’s you and me

F          Am

You and me

F          C

You and me     (Ending only)

Verse Two:

       Em                F

Just stop and look around you

           Em                     F

Look at all the people you see

           Em             F

There’s not a single person

      Em                          F

Any different than you or me

      Em                          F

Any different than you or me

           Am                     Em

We can change the world around us

           Am                  Em

We can help each other out

        F                 C

If we just take the time

        Dm              C

If we just take the time

    Dm        C

To help one another

      Dm        C

Like you and me

Verse Three:

     Em                 F

It’s up to you and me

    Em                         F

To try and make things right

Em                  F

We can make it happen

              Em                       F

And we’re starting right here tonight

Em                      F

Starting right here tonight

         Am               Em

So we have to work together

        Am                       Em

If we want to change the world

               F                     C

And we’re thinkin’ that we can

              Dm                   C

And we’re thinkin’ that we can

          Dm              C

Make a difference to people

      Dm        C

Like you and me

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Original Music – Studio Recording Sessions: Set Lists

I have started the process of converting the recordings of some of my songs from DAT (Digital Audio Tape) into CD versions, so that I can eventually post them to this blog as a, “part of my life’s journey.”  As a songwriter, I want these rough demos that I recorded to be available for you to listen to, as they are a significant part of what I have accomplished in my life.  The whole purpose of recording these songs was so that another musician could listen to my songs and understand how the melodies went, because I couldn’t write them out correctly by hand.  These songs are only a portion of the total number of songs that I’ve written, and the others were not recorded as part of this project because I couldn’t play them on guitar, and because my piano playing wasn’t good enough to play them, sing – and do it all correctly at the same time.

In fact, the first time that I ever even attempted to play the piano and sing while recording was on Sets 17 and 18A.  I had a lot of trouble playing the studio piano well, because my old piano at home had “slippery” keys, and this expensive studio electric piano had “non-slippery” keys.  I found that my fingers didn’t move and slide around as I wanted them to; which was frustrating to me because it all didn’t work out very well and the performances were sub-par at best.  I suppose that my sweating palms had a little something to do with it too!

I found a quote in WikiAnswers, from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem, “In Memoriam: 27, 1850,” that says: “Hold it true, whate’er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.”  So in the end, I would rather have dreamed of writing songs, written songs and then recorded my own attempts at translating them for the world, then to have never tried.  If no one in the entire world likes these songs, and negatively critiques my abilities to write and record songs – that’s fine – because I actually did something that I had dreamed of doing!  🙂  And, exceeded my own personal expectations in the process.  When I originally said a prayer for the ability to write songs; at the time I had never written a song, couldn’t sing, couldn’t play guitar, and my piano playing was only really a distant memory from grade school.  I then started writing my first song in the very minute the prayer was finished.  The fact that I actually wrote and recorded 18 Sets of songs in this process (and wrote more that are not recorded here) – really amazes me.

During the process of writing songs in the very beginning; I asked a friend of mine, Gordon Olvera, to try and help play them for me – as I didn’t sing and didn’t play guitar.  I wrote all of my early songs on the piano only, and had everything else “floating in my head” that I couldn’t get out.  I have always personally thought of Gordon as the American version of “Paul McCartney” – as he is the most gifted and talented musician, vocalist and guitar player that I have ever known.  We played with these early songs and eventually progressed to a little practice studio to have fun with them.  Gordon gave my songs a “voice” in the beginning.  I had originally written them, and we then worked on them together, and there was no way to know where my original version and his contributions started and stopped; so when I went to register them for copyright protection I gave Gordon full songwriting credits for all of the early songs we worked on together – indicated by an asterisk (*) below.

As I’ve said before, you can listen, play and perform these songs for your personal use and enjoyment as you like.  The only thing I ask is for you to remember that they are copyrighted; so if you want to do anything in a commercial capacity with them – like sell or publish them, I ask that you contact me to discuss your project(s).  (mark.d.jones @cox.net – close the gap when sending an email to me)  I’ll sort out the details with Gordon as necessary.  On Monday I go to a local studio to begin the DAT tape to CD project, and once I have the recordings on CD, I’ll figure out how to get them posted into this blog for you.  Each song will eventually be posted as a separate article with the song’s background, lyrics and chords; but this will take some time.  So, if you hear a song from this collection and would like the lyrics and chords to it, just let me know – and I’ll get it posted for you as soon as I can get to it!  🙂

 

 Mark D. Jones – Studio Recording Sessions – Set Lists

1996-1998, at ZigZag Music Productions, Cambridgeshire, UK   (http://www.zigzagmusic.com)

Copyright 1990-1993, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

*Songs: Copyright 1990-1991, Mark D. Jones and Gordon Olvera, All Rights Reserved

 

Set One:  (DAT Tape #1, September 21, 1996 – Vocals & Fender Stratocaster Electric Guitar)

  1. The Lord’s Prayer
  2. The 23rd Psalm (Take One)
  3. The 23rd Psalm (Take Two)
  4. Simple Man
  5. The World Gently Weeps
  6. Hold out for the Dawn (Plus Distortion)
  7. Hold out for the Dawn (Minus Distortion)
  8. Children of Woodstock (Slow Tempo) *
  9. Children of Woodstock (Fast Tempo) *
  10. Walkin’ Shoes
  11. Masquerade
  12. Little Darlin’ *
  13. Open My Eyes
  14. One Man
  15. Dreams Never Die

Set Two:  (DAT Tape #1, October 5, 1996 – Vocals & Ovation 12 String Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (16)        Green Eyed Sally
  2. (17)        Cross of My Lord
  3. (18)        Time Stands Still
  4. (19)        Labor of Love
  5. (20)        Reflections
  6. (21)        Love and Life
  7. (22)        Answered the Wind
  8. (23)        Baby, Baby
  9. (24)        Show the World
  10. (25)        Changed Man

Set Three:  (DAT Tape #1, October 19, 1996 – Vocals & Ovation 12 String Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (26)        You’re the One (Take One – With Pick) *
  2. (27)        You’re the One (Take Two – Fingers Only) *
  3. (28)        You’re the One (Take Three – Fingers Only) *
  4. (29)        Love You So (Take One)
  5. (30)        Love You So (Take Two)
  6. (31)        Dreamer *
  7. (32)        Follow Your Heart
  8. (33)        Promised Land *
  9. (34)        Walk With Me
  10. (35)        Lost and Found
  11. (36)        Love Again *
  12. (37)        Jennifer *
  13. (38)        Do You Care

Set Four:  (DAT Tape #2, November 16, 1996 – Vocals & Ovation 12 String Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (39)        The Dream Lives On (Take One)
  2. (40)        The Dream Lives On (Take Two)
  3. (41)        Treat ‘em Nice (Take One)
  4. (42)        Treat ‘em Nice (Take Two)
  5. (43)        Sign of the Times
  6. (44)        On My Knees (Take One)
  7. (45)        On My Knees (Take Two)
  8. (46)        Lord You Know
  9. (47)        Papa
  10. (48)        Workin’ Man
  11. (49)        Need Your Lovin’
  12. (50)        Love For You
  13. (51)        You Get What You Pray For

Set Five:  (DAT Tape #2 or #3, November 30, 1996 – Vocals & Ovation 12 String Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (52)        Simple Man (Version II) (Take One)
  2. (53)        Simple Man (Version II) (Take Two)
  3. (54)        Dance With Me *
  4. (55)        Dawn of Morning (Take One)
  5. (56)        Dawn of Morning (Take Two)
  6. (57)        Live For You (Take One)
  7. (58)        Live For You (Take Two)
  8. (59)        Love’s Like a Rainbow (Take One) *
  9. (60)        Love’s Like a Rainbow (Take Two) *
  10. (61)        Love’s Like a Rainbow (Take Three) *
  11. (62)        Girl Next Door
  12. (63)        Loves Me Crazy
  13. (64)        Love is the Key (Take One) *
  14. (65)        Love is the Key (Take Two) *
  15. (66)        Christ Callin’
  16. (67)        Sixteen Candles (Take One)
  17. (68)        Sixteen Candles (Take Two)

Set Six:  (DAT Tape #3, December 14, 1996 – Vocals & Ovation 12 String Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (69)        Mercy, Mercy (Take One)
  2. (70)        Mercy, Mercy (Take Two)
  3. (71)        Mercy, Mercy (Take Three)
  4. (72)        Winds of Change
  5. (73)        Copenhagen (Take One) *
  6. (74)        Copenhagen (Take Two) *
  7. (75)        My Life’s Journey (Take One)
  8. (76)        My Life’s Journey (Take Two)
  9. (77)        Little Baby *
  10. (78)        Too young To Understand
  11. (79)        Looking For the Sun (Take One) *
  12. (80)        Looking For the Sun (Take Two) *
  13. (81)        The Emperor Has no Clothes
  14. (82)        One Man Against Time *
  15. (83)        One Day

Set Seven:  (DAT Tape #4, January, 18, 1997 – Vocals & Ovation 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (84)        England (Take One)
  2. (85)        England (Take Two)
  3. (86)        Thousand Faces *
  4. (87)        Mountain Starlight *
  5. (88)        Tropical Dreams *
  6. (89)        Climbing My Mountain
  7. (90)        Penny For Your Thoughts (Take One)
  8. (91)        Penny For Your Thoughts (Take Two)
  9. (92)        House of the Lord
  10. (93)        Like a River (Take One)
  11. (94)        Like a River (Take Two)
  12. (95)        Still Have Time
  13. (96)        When Will We Begin (Take One) *
  14. (97)        When Will We Begin (Take Two) *

Set Eight:  (DAT Tape #4, February 15, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (98)        Hand in Hand (Take One)
  2. (99)        Hand in Hand (Take Two)
  3. (100)      Singin’ the Blues
  4.  (101)     My Little Lady
  5. (102)      Seems Like Rain (Take One) *
  6. (103)      Seems Like Rain (Take Two) *
  7. (104)      Lonely Eyes (Take One)
  8. (105)      Lonely Eyes (Take Two)
  9. (106)      Great Divide
  10. (107)      Love is Like a Flower (Take One)
  11. (108)      Love is Like a Flower (Take Two)
  12. (109)      On the Trail (Take One)
  13. (110)      On the Trail (Take Two)
  14. (111)      On the Trail (Take Three)
  15. (112)      Your Love (Take One) *
  16. (113)      Your Love (Take Two) *
  17. (114)      Oh Lord (Take One)
  18. (115)      Oh Lord (Take Two)
  19. (116)      Oh Lord (Take Three)

Set Nine:  (DAT Tape #5, March 1, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (117)      Hills of Tennessee (Take One)
  2. (118)      Hills of Tennessee (Take Two)
  3. (119)      Hills of Tennessee (Take Three)
  4. (120)      Blues State of Mind
  5. (121)      For You *
  6. (122)      Hypnotized
  7. (123)      A Feelin’ (Take One)
  8. (124)      A Feelin’ (Take Two)
  9. (125)      Barriers
  10. (126)      Amen
  11. (127)      The One I Never Knew (Take One) *
  12. (128)      The One I Never Knew (Take Two) *
  13. (129)      Dreamin’ Man
  14. (130)      Yahweh (God) (Take One)
  15. (131)      Yahweh (God) (Take Two)

Set Ten:  (DAT Tape #5 and #6, April 26, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (132)      Fly Eagle Fly (Take One)
  2. (133)      Fly Eagle Fly (Take Two)
  3. (134)      Times of Our Lives (Take One)
  4. (135)      Times of Our Lives (Take Two)
  5. (136)      Sail Away (Take One)
  6. (137)      Sail Away (Take Two)
  7. (138)      Lookin’ For Heaven (Take One)
  8. (139)      Lookin’ For Heaven (Take Two)
  9. (140)      Tell Me Please (Take One)
  10. (141)      Tell Me Please (Take Two)
  11. (142)      Dry My Tears (Take One)
  12. (143)      Dry My Tears (Take Two)
  13. (144)      Someone New (Take One)
  14. (145)      Someone New (Take Two)
  15. (146)      You Challenge Me (Take One)
  16. (147)      You Challenge Me (Take Two)
  17. (148)      Can’t Stop That Feelin’ (Take One)
  18. (149)      Can’t Stop That Feelin’ (Take Two)
  19. (150)      A Better Way (Take One)
  20. (151)      A Better Way (Take Two)

Set Eleven:  (DAT Tape #6, May 24, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (152)      You and Me (Take One) *
  2. (153)      You and Me (Take Two) *
  3. (154)      Story of My Life
  4. (155)      Lady, Oh Lady (Take One)
  5. (156)      Lady, Oh Lady (Take Two)
  6. (157)      Lady, Oh Lady (Take Three)
  7. (158)      Lady, Oh Lady (Take Four)
  8. (159)      Follow the Light (Take One)
  9. (160)      Follow the Light (Take Two)
  10. (161)      Breakthrough (Take One)
  11. (162)      Breakthrough (Take Two)
  12. (163)      Who Do You Love
  13. (164)      Time Gives Me No Answers (Take One) *
  14. (165)      Time Gives Me No Answers (Take Two) *
  15. (166)      Only One (Take One)
  16. (167)      Only One (Take Two)
  17. (168)      Two Paths
  18. (169)      Do You Know (Take One)
  19. (170)      Do You Know (Take Two)
  20. (171)      Do You Know (Take Three)
  21. (172)      For The World (Take One)
  22. (173)      For The World (Take Two)
  23. (174)      For The World (Take Three)

Set Twelve:  (DAT Tape #6, June 28, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (175)      Man and Wife
  2. (176)      Lost in Love (Take One)
  3. (177)      Lost in Love (Take Two)
  4. (178)      Unconditional Love (Take One)
  5. (179)      Unconditional Love (Take Two)
  6. (180)      Missin’ Her (Take One)
  7. (181)      Missin’ Her (Take Two)
  8. (182)      Fly Away (Take One)
  9. (183)      Fly Away (Take Two)
  10. (184)      Pretty Baby (Take One)
  11. (185)      Pretty Baby (Take Two)
  12. (186)      Mary
  13. (187)      On My Own (Take One) *
  14. (188)      On My Own (Take Two) *
  15. (189)      Win the Peace (Take One)
  16. (190)      Win the Peace (Take Two)
  17. (191)      Dreams Come True (Take One)
  18. (192)      Dreams Come True (Take Two)
  19. (193)      Girls (Take One)
  20. (194)      Girls (Take Two)
  21. (195)      Follow Your Dreams (Take One)
  22. (196)      Follow Your Dreams (Take Two)
  23. (197)      Follow Your Dreams (Take Three)

Set Thirteen: (DAT Tape #7, August 30, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (198)      Christmas Comes But Once A Year (Take One)
  2. (199)      Christmas Comes But Once A Year (Take Two)
  3. (200)      Sing Songs of Joy
  4. (201)      An Old Fashioned Christmas (Take One)
  5. (202)      An Old Fashioned Christmas (Take Two)
  6. (203)      Glory To God
  7. (204)      Light Of Christ
  8. (205)      Peace Be With You
  9. (206)      Noel
  10. (207)      How Could I Serve Him
  11. (208)      Eyes of a Child (Take One)
  12. (209)      Eyes of a Child (Take Two)
  13. (210)      Just as I Have Loved You

Set Fourteen:  (DAT Tape #7, September 27, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (211)      Merry Christmas (Take One)
  2. (212)      Merry Christmas (Take Two)
  3. (213)      Open Your Heart
  4. (214)      Live As One
  5. (215)      Love At First Sight
  6. (216)      My Lord My God
  7. (217)      Amazed
  8. (218)      Amazed
  9. (219)      Crooked Highway
  10. (220)      Smile For Me
  11. (221)      I Try To Understand (In Memory of Capt Jerry Lindh and Maj David M. McGuire)
  12. (222)      Fountain Of Love (Take One)
  13. (223)      Fountain Of Love (Take Two)

Set Fifteen:  (DAT Tape #7 and #8, November 15, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (224)      Crossroads (Take One)
  2. (225)      Crossroads (Take Two)
  3. (226)      Crossroads (Take Three)
  4. (227)      Highway To Nowhere (Take One) *
  5. (228)      Highway To Nowhere (Take Two) *
  6. (229)      Lord Knows
  7. (230)      The One That I Loved (Take One) *
  8. (231)      The One That I Loved (Take Two) *
  9. (232)      Still Got The Blues
  10. (233)      Fruit Of Your Heart
  11. (234)      The World
  12. (235)      Me and My Piano (Take One)
  13. (236)      Me and My Piano (Take Two)
  14. (237)      In A Song (Take One)
  15. (238)      In A Song (Take Two)
  16. (239)      In A Song (Take Three)
  17. (240)      Heart and Soul (Take One)
  18. (241)      Heart and Soul (Take Two)
  19. (242)      Heart and Soul (Take Three)

Set Sixteen:  (DAT Tape #8, December 13, 1997 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (243)      Ridin’ That Train (Take One) *
  2. (244)      Ridin’ That Train (Take Two) *
  3. (245)      Ridin’ That Train (Take Three) *
  4. (246)      Ridin’ That Train (Take Four) *
  5. (247)      In The Name Of Pride *
  6. (248)      Only Three (David’s Song) (Take One) *
  7. (249)      Only Three (David’s Song) (Take Two) *
  8. (250)      Only Three (David’s Song) (Take Three) *
  9. (251)      Paradise (Take One) *
  10. (252)      Paradise (Take Two) *
  11. (253)      Changes *
  12. (254)      A Little Time (Take One) *
  13. (255)      A Little Time (Take Two) *
  14. (256)      Sunshine (Take One) *
  15. (257)      Sunshine (Take Two) *
  16. (258)      Sonny (In Memory of 1Lt Steve Sundstrom) *
  17. (259)      Do You Think About Me (Take One) *
  18. (260)      Do You Think About Me (Take Two) *
  19. (261)      When Will You See (Take One) *
  20. (262)      When Will You See (Take Two) *

Set Seventeen:  (DAT Tape #8, January 17, 1998 – Vocals & 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar)

  1. (263)      Comin’ Home
  2. (264)      Do You Wonder (Take One)
  3. (265)      Do You Wonder (Take Two)
  4. (266)      No Reason Why (Take One)
  5. (267)      No Reason Why (Take Two)
  6. (268)      Lucky One
  7. (269)      Wait and See (Take One)
  8. (270)      Wait and See (Take Two)
  9. (271)      No Man’s Land
  10. (272)      Run To You
  11. (273)      More Than Friends
  12. (274)      Do You Know
  13. (275)      Alright Tonight

Set Seventeen (Test): (DAT Tape #8, January 17, 1998 – Vocals & Electric Piano Test Session)

  1. (276)      Alright Tonight
  2. (277)      Comin’ Home
  3. (278)      Do You Wonder
  4. (279)      No Reason Why
  5. (280)      Lucky One
  6. (281)      Wait and See (Take One)
  7. (282)      Wait and See (Take Two)
  8. (283)      No Man’s Land
  9. (284)      Run To You
  10. (285)      More Than Friends
  11. (286)      Do You Know

Set Eighteen “A”:  (DAT Tape #9, March 7, 1998 – Vocals, 12 String Ovation Acoustic Guitar & Electric Piano Test Session)

  1. (287)      Sweet Blues * (Vocals, Guitar, Piano)
  2. (288)      Where Have You Been * (Vocals, Guitar, Piano)
  3.  (289)     Louder Than Words * (Vocals, Guitar, Piano)
  4. (290)      Sweet Love * (Vocals, Guitar, Piano)
  5. (291)      Lady Of My Dreams * (Vocals, Guitar, Piano)
  6. (292)      Sweet Blues * (Vocals, Guitar)
  7. (293)      Where Have You Been * (Vocals, Guitar)
  8. (294)      Louder Than Words * (Vocals, Guitar)
  9. (295)      Sweet Love * (Vocals, Guitar)
  10. (296)      Lady Of My Dreams * (Vocals, Guitar)
  11. (297)      Sweet Blues * (Piano)
  12. (298)      Where Have You Been * (Piano)
  13. (299)      Louder Than Words * (Piano)
  14. (300)      Sweet Love * (Piano)
  15. (301)      Lady Of My Dreams * (Piano)

Original Song – “An Old Fashioned Christmas”

An Old Fashioned Christmas is my portrayal of everything that is warm, cozy, sincere and authentic about family and their relationship with Christ through three generations at Christmas; focusing primarily on children, grandparents and the memories of the song’s narrator.  Everyone has a role and a part to play in reinforcing a loving and nurturing family – from the pure joy of children to the dedication of loving and devoted parents, to the inclusion and warm participation of involved and loving grandparents.  Of course no family is the ideal standard to emulate, and every family has its issues to deal with, as a fact and matter of life itself; but this song was my attempt to include all the best features of family and Christmas memories from a timeless perspective into a single Christmas song.

The title is an interesting story in and of itself.  Shortly after I had begun writing songs I answered an advertisement to, “Have your song included in an upcoming collection of songs to be called – An Old Fashioned Christmas.”  The second song that I ever wrote was a Christmas song called, Sing Songs of Joy; so I wrote out the music, note for note, as carefully and perfectly as I could by hand with the lyrics – as if it was a piece of published sheet music.  I mailed away the written song along with my check and waited for their response.  Months later I received a single cassette tape with my song included in a compilation with other songs, and sat down to listen to it.  What I heard was a singer making a half hearted and almost joking attempt to record my song along with some simple background instrumentation.

I sat there after listening to my song and I had a lot of mixed emotions.  As a songwriter and as an author, everything you write is personal, even if you know that some of your pieces are better than others; if a piece didn’t have some kind of meaning to you, you wouldn’t have written it.  The melody on the recording was pretty much accurate – if you overlooked the part where the singer got the words all wrong and didn’t bother to do a retake – and the resulting obvious lackadaisical attitude in the studio.  Regardless of the recording attempt or quality, listening to Sing Songs of Joy was the first time I had ever heard one of my own songs recorded in any version or format, and for a songwriter that is pretty special.  Secondly, I could hear the potential in what “wasn’t” recorded.  As I songwriter, I can mentally “hear” the song in my head in a finished format, but for me it was nearly impossible to translate that into something audible.  I couldn’t sing to save my life, my piano playing was essentially self-taught and not performance quality, I didn’t know how to play the guitar or any other instruments – so the song was essentially trapped in my head unable to be expressed to the world.

There was a certain amount of self-disappointment for having thrown away “good money” on what was essentially a worthless recording.  I felt like a fool, having been taken by an unknown record company in Hollywood.  Over time I began to start giving myself a break – how was I to know that it would be a half-hearted and lousy effort?  I couldn’t have known that in advance.  For all I knew these may have been serious professionals that would see something in my song, and the rest could have been “history” now – as they say when something becomes an “overnight success.”  The truth is there are very few overnight success stories – and some of them end up going terribly wrong.

What I learned from this experience is to dig deep, and find a way within yourself to reach your goals without thinking that someone else would hand you something on a silver platter out of the blue.  I kept writing songs on our piano and started purchasing equipment over time and teaching myself how to use or play them: a simple 4 track tape deck, a Roland synthesizer, a Fender Stratocaster, an Applause 6 string acoustic guitar, an Ovation 12 string acoustic guitar, a very large Sonar drum kit (a piece at a time it seemed), a Carvin amp stack, a Carvin mixer and used Peavey PA speakers.  I taught myself how to sing, play the drums and the guitar – all while moving to England from Germany, learning how to fly the  F-111 – first in New Mexico and then in rural Oxfordshire, England – and continued to write songs on the piano and later on the guitar.

Soon after moving to Oxfordshire I began making simple DAT (Digital Audio Tape) cassette recordings at a local recording studio, which was an in-home studio set-up in what was essentially a converted spare bedroom and closet.  Eventually I stopped writing music until I figured out what to do with the 200+ songs that I had written – and as you see I’m still working through that process.  It was a pragmatic decision because life was just too “full” and there were too many unfinished projects and loose ends to continue adding more to the mix.

Everything cost money over time and served a purpose – to find within myself the ability to express my music.  When I retired from the Air Force our family moved to New Hampshire.  I played my guitar and sang at a number of open mic sessions at a local hole-in-the-wall bar, playing a whole range of songs – including religious pieces.  I realized that the performing life was not ever going to be mine from that experience – as I can’t memorize song titles, music or lyrics – and have to read them off of a music stand.  I got pretty comfortable actually playing my songs, and actually enjoyed the experience though.  The place was never really that crowded, and folks were spread out at the bar, sitting at tables and playing pool – in various stages of talking, drinking, eating and listening.  The apex of my entire open mic “performing career” as it was, came one night when I had finished playing my set and packed my guitar away in its case; I walked past a table and a young woman said, “You’re awesome.”  That one little phrase, from that one person, in that one moment in time – really made my day.

My performing went into “retirement” shortly after the time her comment was made, as our family moved west; and after six years of storing everything in a basement and then later in a garage, I gave all of that music equipment to a young aspiring musician with tremendous talent who is now in USAF pilot training.  I sold our little upright piano, and the only thing I kept is the 12 string Ovation guitar that someday I’ll pull out from under the bed and get acquainted with again.  All things have a purpose and a season, and happen for a reason.  Now I’m writing this blog and who knows what I’ll be doing two or five years from now.  So now we come full circle and back to An Old Fashioned Christmas.

After the disappointment with the “professional” recording of Sing Songs of Joy, I began to think, “Well what did you expect, Mark?”  These people in Hollywood probably don’t know who Jesus really is, so how could they actually “understand” what an old fashioned Christmas was really about?  They didn’t have any “understanding” of Christmas or Jesus or the reason for His birth.  So I sat down to write a song with the real message of Christmas – one of many that were to follow.

~~~~~~~~~~

I recorded my original song “An Old Fashioned Christmas” on Set 13 in 1997 ~ it’s a fictional song that speaks to cherished childhood memories and the real meaning of Christmas ~ enjoy! ♡ 🙂 Mark

~~~~~~~~~~

"An Old Fashioned Christmas", Pg 1 of 2 - "Christmas 1991",  Collected Works Volume VIII, Copyright 1991, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved"An Old Fashioned Christmas", Pg 2 of 2 - "Christmas 1991", Collected Works Volume VIII, Copyright 1991, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

An Old Fashioned Christmas

“Christmas 1991” – Collected Works Volume VIII, Copyright 1991, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Verse 1:

       C            C      G    F             C

I’m dreaming of an old fashioned Christmas

       G       G         F

The way it used to be

F          C     G      F

Ridin’ a one horse sleigh

F          C        F        G

Singing carols on our way

G        F            G             C

With a fresh cut Christmas tree

            F                              G

We had picked ourselves that day

     Dm                             G

To Grandma’s house we’d ride

              Dm         C

When we were children

       Dm           Dm           G    

The fields were white with snow

     Dm        Dm      G

All bundled head to toe

      C      C            F

We sang along our way

F              C           G             F

Christ was born on Christmas day

F        C  G    G        F  G

Hal-le-lu-jah, Hal-le-lu-jah

G              Am        G             F

Christ was born on Christmas day

F        C    G            F          

Jesus was born that day

             Dm           C

The first Christmas day

Verse 2:

          C             C       G    F             C

Those Christmas memories bring me back

     G         G      F

To days so long ago

F            C           G        F

With my Grandpa by the fire

F           C           F    G

Reading from his Bible

G     F      G             C

The story of Christ’s birth

               F                   G

And we’d listen to every word

          Dm                 G

As he read to each of us

              Dm         C

When we were children

      Dm         Dm          G    

The tree was filled with lights

      Dm        Dm       G

The fire was burning bright

      C        C     F

We were a family

F              C             G             F

Gathered ’round the Christmas tree

F          C           G     G       F  G

Singing Hal-le-lu-jah, Hal-le-lu-jah

G              Am       G              F

Christ was born on Christmas day

F        C    G            F           

Jesus was born that day

              Dm          C

The first Christmas day

Verse 3:

     C             C         G     F             C               

My Grandma used to sing Christmas carols

       G    G             F

And knit beside the fire

F         C   G    F

In her rocking chair

F        C       F             G

As we sang along with her

G     F       G       C

She was a joy to hear

            F                       G

Singing songs I still hold dear

           Dm                  G

As she sang to each of us

              Dm          C

When we were children

       Dm          Dm  G    

The Christmas cookies

       Dm         Dm          G

And presents ’round the tree

      C          C              F

We sang on Christmas Eve

F               C          G             F

Christ was born on Christmas day

F        C  G     G       F  G

Hal-le-lu-jah, Hal-le-lu-jah

G              Am        G             F

Christ was born on Christmas day

F        C    G            F           

Jesus was born that day

             Dm           C

The first Christmas day

Original Song – “Green Eyed Sally”

Green Eyed Sally is a complex song about relationships.  It tells the story of Sally, a girlfriend or spouse who has decided to throw away her current life to go off and search for herself – for who she really is and wants to be.  The story line discusses the age old tale of ‘the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence’ and the personal search for meaning and fulfillment.

There often comes a point in people’s lives when they realize that the dream, or song, that they carry somewhere deep inside of them has been deferred too long – to the point where they suddenly realize that they never even attempted to live out their hopes and dreams.  Once they realize this, the tendency is to make an irrational decision to throw everything away and finally chase that dream before it’s too late.  Too often they are too late and ill equipped to succeed in their last ditch attempt to rescue their lives – and in the process others get hurt – spouses, children, family and friends.  How much better it would be to deliberately live a life with purpose and meaning all along, so as to not face a mid-life crisis in a panic after realizing that you never even reached for your dreams.

Green Eyed Sally builds over four verses to peak at the song’s conclusion.  The singer’s impassioned plea is an attempt to build a bridge to her and find some common ground for her to return home, “I’m looking at your rainbow’s end right before our door, I know that you’ve always wanted a little somethin’ more, Maybe you and I can find, Somethin’ worth staying for, Won’t you come back to me…”

~~~~~~~~~~

I recorded my original song “Green Eyed Sally” on Set Two in 1996, and it tells the story of a woman who has left home to search for herself – while her significant other makes an impassioned plea for her to return back home. If I was to do this song again I would begin much slower, instead of racing from the beginning, but this is simply a snapshot from that day in my life ~ enjoy! ♡ 🙂 Mark

~~~~~~~~~~

(Emailed versions of these songs lose their chord alignment and formatting, so refer to the original post and/or the scanned lyric sheet as your guide!)

 "Green Eyed Sally" - "You Get What You Pray For", Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Green Eyed Sally

“You Get What You Pray For” – Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Intro:

E/A     (x4)

D/A     (x4)

E/F/G7/D

Verse One:

D                G   

Green eyed Sally

                D                        G

Won’t you come’ on home to me

D                G

Green eyed Sally

D                       G

Come’ on back to me

                   A

You’ve been chasing every rainbow, lookin’ for your pot of gold

                   E

You’ve been running around with every guy, that you could grab a’ hold

      F

You turned your back on me, and left me standin’ in the cold

                G7                  D

Won’t you come home to me     (x3)   (End)

Verse Two:

D                G

Green eyed Sally

       D                     G

You know I love you so

D                G

Green eyed Sally

        D                     G

Why did you have to go

       A

You packed your bags and moved away, drivin’ on down the road

       E

You said you’ve got to play the field, before you got too old

       F

You threw away your life with me, tryin’ to lighten your load

               G7               D

Don’t you still care for me     (x3)

Verse Three:

D                G

Green eyed Sally

           D                     G

Where are you runnin’ to

D                G

Green eyed Sally

         D                       G

What are you going to do

           A

You’ve run around this town all night, flirtin’ with every guy

          E

Has it ever crossed your mind to stop, for awhile and wonder why

F

Guys will take you home but then, they’ll always say good bye

                G7         D

Won’t you still love me     (x3)

Verse Four:

D                G

Green eyed Sally

D                          G

Won’t you think of me

D                G

Green eyed Sally

D                                       G

Home’s where you ought to be

      A

I’m lookin’ at your rainbow’s end, right before our door

   E

I know that you’ve always wanted, a little something more

F

Maybe you and I can find, somethin’ worth stayin’ for

                G7                 D

Won’t you come back to me     (x3)   (Return to verse one and repeat)

Original Song – “Masquerade”

Masquerade is a special song for me, that is, if it was possible that one song could mean any more than the others to a songwriter.  Every song holds something special and unique in a songwriter’s heart, because the song itself is an extension and a direct reflection of that heart.  Conceptually, as if in a dreamy video, the singer is walking through the reality of what is life today, and looking around and commenting on what he sees – without complete clarity or understanding himself – but no one seems to notice him, hear him or even know that he is there.  He is a detached presence trying to get everyone’s attention and wake them up to how they’re living, but they keep going about their normal lives.  The song is about the contrast of good versus evil, beauty versus emptiness, kind hearts versus cold hearts, awareness versus unknowing, love versus pretense, truth versus masquerade and what’s possible versus the status quo.  It starts slow and passionately and slowly builds in intensity.  During Verse II there is a sharp, dramatic and momentary pause or hesitation after the word “stop” – before immediately beginning again with continued intensity.

Someone not from our world – say a visionary angel who came to our world to enlighten us – could rightly ask us to justify why we live and have structured a society the way we have.   Why have we placed the emphasis on ourselves and not on others?  Since we live for such a short relative time span, why don’t we concentrate our priorities on values instead of possessions?  When love is the most precious element of the universe, and is universally free and in unlimited supply, why isn’t the foundation of our society constructed with such a wondrous substance?  Why do we hold currency and precious metals as a currency of exchange – instead of kindness, tenderness and love?

When we finally experience Heaven, we will truly understand what it means to love, to be loved, to cherish and to hold dear the things of the heart.  In our human experience we can’t understand the vast potential of possibility that could exist here on Earth – if we only but tried.  One thing I’m very sure about though – if I was to start over with the Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs on the living room carpet in order to build a new society completely from scratch – it wouldn’t look anything like ours does today.  Here I’m talking about the social fabric and not the political structure.  For humans, nothing can replace democracy, but even that can be improved upon.  The emphasis in my new world would be on truth, on values, on cherishing time as a precious commodity, and heartbeats as a measure of units.  Value would come from hearts that are true, and our treasure would be the love we share and give away.

Perhaps dreaming of things unknown, but long hoped for isn’t a prestigious job title in our society today – but sign me up – because it’s the job that I want and the job that I strive for.  I would rather be a volunteer in a self-defined imaginary position, than to accept something less.  Because time is fleeting and short – and this just may be the very last job title that I ever hold – even if no one reads it or recognizes the value in it.  It really doesn’t matter in the end, because it’s the job title that I’ve given myself – “Dreamer of All Things Possible, but Unknown to the World.”  Welcome to my world – there’s room for everyone!

~~~~~~~~~~

‘Masquerade’ is another song from my first recorded set of songs, and you can tell how my voice wavers a lot from my nerves ~ especially in the first half of the song before settling down a bit in the second half of the song. In the coming days I’ll post one song a day from all 19 sets of songs that I recorded back in the mid-1990’s ~ enjoy! ♡ 🙂 Mark

~~~~~~~~~~

 "Masquerade" - "You Get What You Pray For", Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Masquerade

“You Get What You Pray For” – Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Verse I:

Am

Everywhere I look around

  G

I see the sights and hear the sounds

    D                                  A

Of life, as I pass along my way

Am

Things I see and things I hear

      G

Are often cloudy never clear

D                                   A

Where, is the truth in life today

      Am

The world has turned itself upside

G

Down the things we’ve lost can’t be

D                        A

Found, it’s only a masquerade

      D        A

It’s only, a masquerade  (x2)

Chorus:

C                          G

Where, has beauty gone

D                                   A

Where, have kind hearts gone

C                   G

Why, is life so cold

D                    A

Why, does evil hold

      C                          G

The hearts, of so many men

   D              A

I pray, Lord Amen

       C                      G

That love, will fill the world

        D                      A

That love, will fill the world

      G                       A

That love, will fill the world

Verse II:

Am

Can’t you see the things I see

G

Can’t you feel the things I feel

D                                      A

As I look around me every day

Am

Why does the world have to go on this

G

Way why don’t we stop –  and

D                                 A

Say, we’ve had enough today

Am

Let’s, build a world based on

G

Love, build a world we can be proud

D                      A

Of, instead, of a masquerade

D                  A

Instead, of a masquerade  (x2)

Original Song – “Cross Of My Lord”

Easter is fast approaching, so I thought I’d post the only Easter song that I’ve written – Cross Of My Lord – before the season of Lent is over and the Easter celebration is completed.  The lyrics are really quite powerful, in a reflective, introspective and personal way, as we examine our own personal relationship with Jesus and the cross.

The song tells the entire Easter story through the eyes of an eye witness observer of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In verse one, the crucifixion of Jesus is over, the crowds have dispersed and all gone home, and it is the next morning as the sun rises and a “new day dawns.”  From the lyrics we understand that the observer followed Jesus, observed his triumphant Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem, knew his teachings, watched the crucifixion with the crowds, and has now returned the next morning to contemplate the meaning of the empty cross.  The crowds have all gone home, and he finds himself alone, face to face with the cross of his Lord – trying to understand the events of the day before and what the empty cross means to him personally.

In verse two, the observer and eye witness looks upon the tomb of Jesus, with the stone rolled away.  Again, the observer has arrived after the crowds have departed as the sun “dawns on a new day.”  He or she searches their heart for the meaning of the empty tomb and steps inside to see where Jesus defeated death and walked away.  The observer notes that “death lost its power that day” as Jesus rose from and defeated death once and for all.

Verse three describes the events observed by many eye witnesses after the resurrection of Jesus – walking along the road with Jesus, blessing and breaking bread with Jesus, conversing with and being enlightened by Jesus, displaying the wounds on His hands and feet, eating fish and ascending to Heaven – all as a “new day dawned.”

The chorus echoes the reflective, introspective and personal relationship the observer has with Jesus.  The cross remains and the fear is gone, because Christ died for him and “death has no power over me” – Jesus died to save his soul and wash his sins away.  As the song ends it slowly fades into a refrain that asks for Jesus and God the Father to return and for the Holy Spirit to descend upon us – Hallelujah.

~~~~~~~~~~

It’s only appropriate that I’m posting the only Easter song I’ve written here on Easter, 2014. This song is from Set 2 and I play my Fender Strat run through an effect that I liked at the time. The song is about the impressions of an eye witness to the events leading up to and after Easter Sunday. The singer returns to the site of the empty cross and tomb long after the crowds have left and reflects on what has happened ~ and what it all means… Easter Blessings to you all! ♡ 🙂 Mark

 "Cross Of My Lord", (Pg 1 of 2) "Three Chords and a Prayer", Collected Works Volume VI, Copyright 1991, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved"Cross Of My Lord" - (Pg 2 of 2) "Three Chords and a Prayer", Collected Works Volume VI, Copyright 1991, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Cross Of My Lord

“Three Chords and a Prayer”, Collected Works Volume VI, Copyright 1991, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Verse One:

       F                                       G

The cross of my Lord stands on Calvary’s hill

       F                             G

The wind is calm and the silence still

           F                           G

As the sun comes up from behind the hill

          C           D

And a new day dawns

        C           D

As a new day dawns

   F                               G

I look to the cross and I stand alone

       F                            G

The crowds have left and all gone home

   F                             G

I search myself as I’m standin’ there

                 C                    D

For they’ve taken my Lord away

            C                    D

They’ve taken my Lord away

Chorus:

  G               Em            C                     D

I look to the cross and I have nothing to fear

           G                  Em           C          D

For my Lord died for me on the cross of Calvary

         G                  Em        C                                   D

But it stands empty now and death has no power over me

            F            C                    G

For my Lord rose again from the grave

     F                C                  G

He died so my soul would be saved

     F               C                              G

He died so my sins would be washed away

Ending (after last chorus):

     F               C                   G

He died so my soul would be saved

      F                                       G

The cross of my Lord stands on Calvary’s hill

      F                             G

The wind is calm and the silence still

          F                           G

As the sun comes up from behind the hill

         C           D

And a new day dawns

       C           D

As a new day dawns

C                D        C           D

Come, Lord Jesus…Hal-le-lu-jah

C                 D         C           D

Come, Jesus Christ…Hal-le-lu-jah

C                D        C          D

Come, Holy Spirit…Hal-le-lu-jah

C                     D         C           D

Come, God the Father…Hal-le-lu-jah

C               D

Come, Lord Christ

Verse Two:

       F                                   G

The stone from the tomb was rolled away

      F                     G

My Lord got up and walked away

        F                G

And death lost its power today

         C            D

And a new day dawned

       C            D

As a new day dawned

  F                                G

I look in the tomb and I stand alone

       F                             G

The crowds have left and all gone home

   F                             G

I search myself as I’m standing there

           C                   D

For my Lord has risen today

           C                   D

For my Lord has risen today

Verse Three:

     F                               G

My Lord walked along the road today

     F                               G

He blessed the bread and broke it today

     F                           G

He talked to many and showed us the way

       C            D

As a new day dawned

       C            D

As a new day dawned

     F                                     G

He showed the wounds on His hands and feet

                     F                                   G

When He was hungry He had a piece of fish to eat

     F                         G

He rose to Heaven to take His seat

C               D

Beside God today

          C                         D

To the right of the Father today

Original Song – “Hold Out For The Dawn”

Hold Out For The Dawn was written on the guitar and is rather up tempo and can be played slow to start and rather fast to finish.  It has the urgency of someone who is at wits end, with the symbology of someone about to drown or dry up in the desert – except the real theme is the fallen world around us.  The singer is pleading for salvation for the fallen world and the only answer is in Jesus Christ.  The singer equates the salvation of Christ to a life ring thrown to a drowning man or someone that is lost struggling to be found – for both them self and for the world.  The guitar chord Esus4* has the asterisk because it is slightly modified.  My guitar is put away right now, but I’m sure that only the top two strings of the three that are normally depressed to make the chord are held down – the other four remain open.  It is still an Esus4 – but not only is it easier to play, I think it gives a slight modification to the chord’s sound that I liked.  The melody remains flat along the first line, and then rises falls and rises again on the second line.  The chorus goes downhill as far as melody goes.  I like to think of song lyrics as complete entities all to them self, sort of like poetry, telling a story or making a point that can stand alone.  Good song lyrics could be published without the chords or music as literature that stands alone.  The (x3) notation at the end of the verses and chorus denotes that the line is to be repeated three times.  I suppose that the type of rock music today that would equate to this song when played well would be U2 – with Edge keeping a consistent rhythm throughout the verses and cutting loose into the chorus.  As a songwriter…it is my option to dream big dreams!  🙂

"You Get What You Pray For", Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

“Hold Out For The Dawn” – “You Get What You Pray For”, Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Hold Out For The Dawn

“You Get What You Pray For” – Collected Works Volume XIII, Copyright 1992, Mark D. Jones, All Rights Reserved

Verse I:

E                                Esus4*

Where do you go when life around you

E                  Esus4*

Seems to fall apart

E                                        Esus4*

Where do you look when the world around you

E                           Esus4*

Slowly breaks your heart

E                            Esus4*

What do you do and where do you go

  E                      Esus4*

Is anywhere safe today

     E                     Esus4*

I’m watchin’ as the world around me

E                 Esus4*

Slowly fades away     (x3)

Chorus:

         G     A           E

As we slide into the dark     (x3)

D     A  E

Hold on to the light

D                 A           E

Don’t let the darkness come

D     A         E

Hold on with all your might

D           A        E

Hold out for the Dawn     (x3)

Verse 2:

E                     Esus4*

Stranded in the desert sun

E                        Esus4*

Without a drop to drink

E                 Esus4*

Cast off in a lifeboat

          E                   Esus4*

As the ship begins to sink

E                          Esus4*

We are the victims in the world

     E                         Esus4*

As man tears himself apart

E              Esus4*

Lookin’ all around me

E                         Esus4*

Slowly breaks my heart     (x3)

Verse 3:

     E                      Esus4*

I’m reachin’ out for somethin’

E              Esus4*

That I can understand

     E                    Esus4*

I’m holdin’ on to a golden Cross

       E                 Esus4*

Held tightly in my hands

E                            Esus4*

Please Lord will you give me

      E                                  Esus4*

The strength of your guiding light

E                  Esus4*

Lord give me Salvation

      E                   Esus4*

And save my soul tonight     (x3)

Original Song – “Me and My Piano”

Me and My Piano captures the essence of my early songwriting on the piano, as I worked late into the night getting a new song completed and transcribed onto paper from the piano.  It’s an endearing song for me, because it captures all those long, lonely nights on the piano in my early period of songwriting, while later on I wrote mostly on the guitar.  I cherish the memories of writing songs late into the night on my piano, and hope you can carry away at least the essence of this love relationship between me, my piano, lyric, rhyme, verse and melody!

~~~~~~~~~~

I recorded my original song “Me And My Piano” in two takes as demos on Set 15 in 1997, and it’s an autobiographical glimpse into my songwriting done on the piano, yet played on the guitar, “It’s been years in the makin’, Spending long, lonely nights, Me and my piano, Workin’ late into the night…” Enjoy! ♡ 🙂 Mark

~~~~~~~~~~

(Note: Emailed versions of these songs lose their chord alignment and formatting, so refer to the original post and/or the scanned lyric sheet as your guide!)

"Listen to the Music", Collected Works Volume IV, Mark D. Jones, Copyright 1991, All Rights Reserved

“Me and My Piano” – “Listen to the Music”, Collected Works Volume IV, Mark D. Jones, Copyright 1991, All Rights Reserved

Me and My Piano

“Listen to the Music” – Collected Works Volume IV, Mark D. Jones, Copyright 1991, All Rights Reserved

Verse I:

C            Am            F

It’s been years in the makin’

              Am   Am    F

Spending long, lonely nights

G         G   Dm

Me and my piano

Dm        Am             F

Workin’ late into the night

                     C             C    F

Sometimes it don’t come easy

                     Dm               Am

Sometimes it don’t come at all

                   Dm  Dm  G

And minutes run into hours

        Am    F       G

Long after nightfall

      C              C        Am

But sometimes music flows

Am    Dm      Dm            Am

Sometimes it works out right

         Dm  Dm  G

As it races on before me

            Am  F    G

Running into the night

Dm      Dm  G

Me and my piano

                 Dm     C

We’re doin’ alright—

Verse II:

C           Am       F

Running into the night

            Am   Am     F

As the hours run along

G          G      Dm

Looking for a love song

    Dm  Am               F

As I search inside of me

            C        C        F

For the feelings that I have

                  Dm    Dm        Am

Somewhere deep inside of me

            Dm         G

And the melody to fit them

             Am       F        G

With the proper harmony

C           C             Am

I (often) lose —– myself

Am     Dm     Dm        Am

As the music starts to flow

          Dm     Dm       G

And I (often) keep on playing

       Am   F         G

Until late into the night

Dm      Dm  G

Me and my piano

                 Dm   C

We’re doin’ alright

Dm      Dm  G

Me and my piano

                  Dm  C

We’re doin’ alright—

How I Started Writing Songs

I had always wanted to be a songwriter, ever since I was a child taking piano lessons.  The only creative exercise that my piano teacher ever gave me was to write a song one day.  All of a sudden my piano lessons went from boring and repetitive scale exercises into the realm of a creative process that held my attention.  What I wrote from that exercise was probably forgettable, but the idea of writing songs began germinating in my mind.  There was never another song writing exercise that I can remember, and the idea lay dormant in my mind at the subconscious level for a few years.

My friend Dan from the sixth grade on who lived down the street was one of the popular guys in my school.  He was an only child and his parents were from Denmark – so there was a different atmosphere at his house than I was used to.  More of a laid back approach to life.  Dan’s father was also an artist, so the environment was very creative at his home.  Dan played the drums, and also had a stereo in his room which is where he introduced me to early Genesis, Yes, Rush, Queen and other progressive rock bands in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

One day in high school he came over and we sat down at my piano and I tried to write a song – and nothing happened.  It was if I had never played the piano before.  I didn’t know the first thing about what to do or where to start.  In my piano lessons I had learned to play scales and classical pieces of music, but I knew nothing about the theory of music and couldn’t show you what a G chord looked like on the keyboard.  Everything that I had learned was rote and mechanical – nothing organic or theoretical.  But in my heart, I still wanted to be able to write songs someday.

Later on in high school I decided to experiment in a free form and organic way to learn and discover just what a piano was and how I could build a relationship of understanding with it.  I was actually thinking in a way that this piano was a “living” instrument, and after all these years needed an introduction of sorts.  So I sat down and just started playing notes randomly and in combinations.  Most often the notes I played were unharmonious, and clashed terribly with each other.  I had no music or notes and simply tried to discover what the essence was of this instrument.  Occasionally, I played something spontaneously that sounded ok, but I couldn’t tell you why or know how to repeat the sequence – it was dumb luck at the time.

Eventually I could play something spontaneously without music that sounded ok about 60 percent of the time, and I liked the originality of creating something out of nothing – but I was still in the introductory phase of getting to know this instrument, and nothing I was doing actually resembled anything like a song.  I had a Genesis song book that I would play out of, and wished I could write something that was as soaring and lyrical as those songs – but I couldn’t do it.

It wasn’t until I studied Pre-Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University that I progressed any further in my piano playing.  One day I was walking across campus and saw the Music building.  I decided to investigate and discovered that the entire basement was full of practice rooms and each one had a piano in it.  I spent a lot of time creating random sounds in those practice rooms, and got better at making the notes sound ok, but nothing I did would ever be considered by anyone to be a song.  I soon began noticing people looking into the room while I practiced, through the small window in the door.  From then on I always taped a piece of paper over the window so no one could see me practicing.  All I wanted to do was experiment with sound and try to figure out what worked.  It was a hobby of mine, and I never progressed into music theory or bought a book on chords or fundamentals of the piano.  I was still introducing myself to this instrument.

Over the years I experimented when I could, but the process was less and less frequent as there wasn’t a piano around to practice on.  I remember once during my bike trip to Europe, I was at someone’s home and sat down at their piano for a few minutes and experimented.  When I joined the Air Force one of the first things I bought was an old upright piano that never amounted to anything, as it went into long term storage almost right away when I received my first overseas assignment to Germany.  After my wife and I were married, we had an assignment to Mather AFB in Sacramento, CA, where I was an Instructor Navigator for navigator students that had qualified for a fighter assignment; and we bought a nice little oak upright piano.  Our follow-on assignment was back to Germany, and that’s where I started writing songs.

We lived in a little village in the central western area of what was West Germany at the time, in the area close to Trier, and near the border with Luxembourg.  I was participating in a base exercise and working 12 hour night shifts, so my wife and son went to stay with her parents for a few days.  Walking through an empty house I saw the piano and decided to play around for a few minutes on it.  It was some 17 years later from that day when my friend Dan stopped by back in high school and I attempted to write a song.  Just as I went to begin while seated on the piano bench, I stopped and decided to say a prayer first.  On the piano there was a porcelain Lladro statue of Mary in front of me that I had purchased in Spain.  I said, “Lord, you know that it has been my will to be a songwriter for all these many years.  If it is Your Will also that I write songs then let Your Will be done.  You know of my desire to be a songwriter.”  Then I said a follow-on prayer, “Mary, if it is Your Son’s Will that I be a songwriter, please intercede on my behalf.”  At the time I was a Presbyterian and my wife and I had attended both Protestant and Roman Catholic services over the years as she was raised Roman Catholic.

After the prayer I started to do my experimenting again on the piano keyboard.  I fell into a chord progression that immediately sounded promising and went to get a notebook and a pencil.  When I sat down again I wrote my first song from start to finish without getting up – and then another.  They were both Christmas type songs and it was late fall and approaching the season of Advent – the four weeks prior to Christmas.  The year was 1989.  Immediately I was “behind the power curve” as we say in aviation.  I had scribbled down both songs the best that I could, and then later began making a better copy.  I tried to write the lyrics and notes as best as I could and make a neat copy.  This administrative side of writing music was overwhelming – it took hours to write it all out, work out any corrections and eventually type an accurate version.  I felt compelled to do the very best job that I could – knowing how my writing began with an answered prayer.  I wasn’t trained to write out music longhand, and struggled to do it correctly.  In the mean time, every time I sat down at the piano I wrote another song – or two – and I kept falling further behind on the administrative side of it all.  You know the saying, “Be careful what you pray for, you might just get it!” came to mind – and I was “religiously” committed to the best work that I could do.

Later on I bought a guitar, and the first day I had it I learned my first three chords and was writing songs with it.  I didn’t know how to sing and clearly wasn’t a performer, but I had what I wanted and just wrote songs and played them for myself.  The first song that I’ll post here will be Me and My Piano which was written in 1991.  I will post it first because it illustrates the process that occurred when I sat down to write a song.  We used to call ourselves the “late night putterers” because after my young son was in bed my wife and I would putter around the house catching up on things we needed to do, and that’s when I would write my songs.  In those days we’d go to bed around 11:30 pm, which is a far cry from my current 9:00 pm bedtime – or earlier!  After posting Me and My Piano, I’ll just post follow-on songs randomly depending on what interests me at the time.  In the fall I’ll start posting Christmas Carols, which are some of my favorite pieces that I’ve written.

I don’t have my piano any longer, and gave away all of my instruments and equipment that I had acquired over the years to a promising young musician who just entered Air Force pilot training – except for a single 12 string acoustic Ovation guitar.  This phase of my life had run its course.  I had taught myself to play the drums and had a large Sonor drum kit, twp electric guitars, two acoustic guitars, a synthesizer, and a cobbled together P.A. that included a large Carvin amp.  I taught myself to sing, spent time in a little recording studio when I was in England making basic versions of my songs and even played in a bar on a number of occasions during their “open mic” evenings – but performing wasn’t to be my thing.  I couldn’t memorize any of the lyrics or chords to my songs and as a singer I was only a weak average at best.  But I had accomplished what I had set out to do, which was to write songs.

Songs themselves are a little slice of life itself, with a life all to themselves.  The lyrics tell a story and the music behind them creates an atmosphere that doesn’t exist from the words alone.  I will post the chords along with the lyrics to my songs – as I still don’t know how to write individual musical notation correctly.  It doesn’t matter though.  If you play with these songs and come up with your own melody to my chords and lyrics, then all the better.  Experiment and enjoy – because at the end of the day it’s all about the music!

If you are a musician that would like to play any of my songs, with your own interpretation of the melody, then feel free to do so – in fact I encourage you!  After all, the only purpose for music is to play it for someone to listen to – even if only for the musician who is playing it.  The only thing I ask is that you acknowledge where you found the song, and if any of these songs were to be included in a commercial venture – please contact me for permission, as they are all copyrighted.  My email address is: mark.d.jones  @cox.net (close the gap when sending an email to me).  Thanks!  🙂