My favorite song because it works so well. Not sure why I wrote this, but I remember sitting in my room in Goldensbridge and channeling it, playing on a classical guitar that I had at the time. Most of my songs are written, at least in form, for someone else. In the end, though, they’re mostly about me. And in this sing I cut out the middleman. I think of this song as me singing to my reflection in a mirror, and in fact, in my play Nomad, I have the main character do that. On this recording, Eric’s sublime flute playing really lifts the piece. The parenthetical title is the title I used to use for the song, the “toad” a reference to my lifelong identification with frogs.
One of the first songs I ever wrote, back when I was 16 in the summer of ’63. I was at the beach in Goldensbridge watching two of my favorite kids, Jeremy Schneider and Diane Brown, playing in the sand and this song happened. It reflects the social protest sentiments of the time, the music I was brought up listening to, but it’s had enough appeal to last over the years. People responded well when I performed it and that, more than anything else, gave me the confidence to continue on writing. The song is played on a 12-string channeling the style of Pete Seeger, the slight accelerando at the end mimicking Seeger’s playing on The Bells of Rhymney.
Leslie Hall was brought up to Goldensbridge as a teenager to be a mother’s helper. Everyone fell in love with her, including me. The music is just my old Gibson 12 singing, the lyrics are quintessential ’60s imagery. It was totally consistent with her wonderful sense of irony that she could brighten up a room like few others could. I reconnected with Leslie (now Leslie Charles) on Facebook and despite the decades, the core of who she is and why I loved her come through with almost every post. I toyed with mescaline a couple of times and once or twice got off on it, and there was a mellowness to it that permeated my senses like talking to Leslie on an August night.