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BIRD MANCINI: Song Notes

Song Notes for Bird Mancini Lounge CD

BirdManciniLoungeCDCoverSmall.jpg

1.  If You Wanna Get To Know Me

Words & music Ruby Bird  
New version, not previously released, ©2013

Ruby:  This song was inspired years ago by a common behavior I had observed of women in nightclubs where we frequently played.  I thought it was funny, but they had such an attitude.  I wonder if in the end it helped them find what they were looking for. 

2.  The Listener
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
New, not previously released, ©2013

Billy:  In my other life I run Second Story Recording Studio.  I often find myself listening to my client’s life stories, trials and tribulations.  Of course I share my stories too.  So I feel a bit like the comic strip character Lucy from Peanuts with my “Doctor is In” sign.  5 cents please.

3.  Bridge 51
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
Remastered with new intro, originally released on “Tuning In, Tuning Out” CD by Bird Mancini ©2010

Ruby: There is an actual bridge on I 89 near Burlington, Vermont named Bridge 51.  As Billy and I were crossing this very high stretch of road over the Green Mountains, we both thought about the metaphoric implications to this stage of our lives.  Billy came up with this beautiful song as a result.  This version has a brief guitar intro that we left off the original version on “Tuning In Tuning Out”.

4.  You Don’t Know What I’m Saying
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
New, not previously released, ©2013

Billy:  This was actually written many years ago but is one of those songs that never made it to a CD until now.  Some songs never leave your consciousness, they just rattle around until you get them out.

5.  What Gets Me This Way?
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
New instrumental version, not previously released, ©2013
Original version with lyrics released on “Pie In The Sky” CD by The Sky Blues (early Bird Mancini), ©1996

Billy:  There are words on the original version, which was more blues based.  This instrumental version was created for film but didn’t make it there…. yet.   Any filmmakers need a song?

6.  Midway Dream Café
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
Remastered, background vocals added
Original version released on “Pie In The Sky” CD by The Sky Blues ©1996

Billy:  I used to run a blues jam at The Midway Café in Jamaica Plain, MA, and would run into all kinds of people.  There was a regular named Sally who couldn’t sing very well, but always enjoyed herself.  There was a guy at the bar who was a Vietnam Vet but also a flower child too.  Why the song turned out to be bossa nova style, I have no idea—it just did. 

7.  Jet Setting In Morocco
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
Remastered, original released on “Bird Mancini” CD by Bird Mancini ©2002

Billy:  Here’s what a reviewer said: “Beautiful and enchanting piece that is not unlike the smoothest Brazilian jazz that most people in the US first heard on the mid 60s classic, “The Girl From Ipanema” by Astrud and Joao Gilberto.”  I don’t know why I wrote that song or where it came from.  It’s one of those songs that just happens, but probably it’s me just wishing I could do what I want do.

8.  Pond Life
Words by Curt Naihersey, music by Billy Carl Mancini
Reworked, remixed and remastered.  Original version released on “The Prodigal Muse” by Mr. Curt ©2000

Ruby: Many years ago Boston music legend, Mr. Curt, composed the lyrics to this song in response to a call for songs about Jamaica Pond, for an eventual CD release as the Save The Pond project, or something like that. Billy came up with the music and we recorded and submitted the entry.  The project was abandoned and never released until Mr. Curt included the original version on his CD “The Prodigal Muse.”  This version has an added bass guitar and some new vocals, but is still pretty faithful to the original.  

9.  Patagonia
Music by Billy Carl Mancini
New, not previously released, ©2013

Billy:  I woke up with this one in my head.  Had to run to the recorder to save a sleepy version.  Ruby came up with the title…we spent part of our honeymoon at Lake Patagonia in southern Arizona.

10.  Somedays
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
Remastered, original released on “Funny Day” CD by Bird Mancini ©2007

Billy:  Bossa nova feel, light percussion, sparkly guitars and dreamy vocals—all contemplating the fact that we can only change ourselves…not people, places or circumstances around us.

11.  Northridge
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
Originally released on “Tuning In, Tuning Out” CD by Bird Mancini ©2010

Billy:  This is not the first song I ever wrote, but among the first.  There actually is a Northridge, I’m told, in California, but I didn’t know about it at the time the song was written.  It’s just a place I imagined. 

12.  Running To You (Coda)
Words & music by Billy Carl Mancini
Remastered instrumental coda, organ intro added.  Entire original song with lyrics released on “Bird Mancini” CD by Bird Mancini ©2002

Billy:  This is the coda to a full-length song we used to play out every week, and jam the heck out of it at the clubs.   It merges rock to a Santana groove, according to one reviewer.

 

 

LYRICS

TUNING IN/TUNING OUT

  ©R. Mason/B. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

Do you remember that time at Jon and Nancy’s?

We were all still young and free and wild

We took a ride to find a book of smiles inside

Just a mile past Alan’s barn

 

Who am I…

I’m tuning in to listen to your beating heart

Who you are…

If you can hear me squeeze my hand

Where we are…

I want to filter out the static and the dark

Give me a sign you understand

 

So I stepped out of your car and the sky exploded

Blasted by a billion zillion stars

And you said, “Bet ya don’t see that much in the city”

And we just looked at the stars…

For what seemed a long time…

But was probably just a minute

 

Who am I…

I’m tuning in to listen to your beating heart

Who you are…

If you can hear me squeeze my hand

Where we are…

I want to filter out the static and the dark

Give me a sign you understand 

 

Who am I…

I’m tuning in to listen to your beating heart

Who you are…

If you can hear me squeeze my hand

Where we are…

I’m tuning out the news that everyone is dead

Give me a sign you understand

 

I’m tuning in, you’re tuning out

 

Ruby Bird vocals, harmonica / Billy Carl Mancini vocals, guitars, drums,

conga, percussion / Rick Calcagni 4 & 6 string basses

 

 

 

GREEN WALLS

©B. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

I don’t want to live here

I don’t want to stay

Why did you bring me here

To the house on the hill

 

I want to go back home

Where the steps are wide

With my secret place waiting

And the ceilings are high

 

I remember the smiling lines

When we knew just who we were

A faded, yellow dream of mine is all that I have now

Lock me up inside the green walls

Let me feel your never ending love

 

I’m gonna walk out now

Through the rain and the cold

Cause anything’s better

Than the things I don’t know

 

There’s too many people

And I don’t know their names

Coming at me with pitchforks

Like the devil’s own pain

 

I remember the smiling lines

When we knew just who we were

A faded, yellow dream of mine is all that I have now

Lock me up inside the green walls

Let me near your never ending love

 

Wrap me up inside the green walls

Shimmering in never ending love

 

Lock me up inside the green walls…

Wrap me up inside the green walls…

 

Billy Carl Mancini vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, Hofner bass / 

Ruby Bird vocals, accordion / Larry Harvey  drums 

 

 

 

(I WANT MY OWN) BRIAN EPSTEIN

©B. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

I want my own Brian Epstein

Someone who will keep me in line

Like the tracks on the B&M line

To get me to my home

 

I want my own Brian Epstein

Someone to look after me

Someone who’ll be there for me

Whenever I’m alone

 

When the alarm clock rings I will roll back to my slumber

When the telephone rings I will leave it for another

Time to catch the midtown but I don’t recall the number

Time to meet an old friend, what’s her name, did I once love her?

 

Lately I feel so out of control

It’s a feeling that nobody knows

I can’t tell you, it doesn’t make sense

I thought I’d be somewhere besides this (by now)

 

I could write a story but I couldn’t be a reader

I could get religion but I wouldn’t hear the preacher

I could be a hippie but someone would steal my reefer

Find a girl to marry but I prob’ly couldn’t keep her

 

Oh oh oh

I want my own Brian Epstein

I need him to keep me in line

He might be a girl, it might be a boy, might be the Lord, 

Might be this noise, might be this song, just string me along…

I want my I want my…. 

I want my own Brian Epstein to keep me in line

 

Billy Carl Mancini vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, piano, Korg CX3 / 

Ruby Bird vocals, accordion, keys, melodica / John Bridge bass / 

Larry Harvey drums

 

 

 

DIDN’T LAST LONG DID IT?

©R. Mason  Bonk Zone Music ASCAP


A few seconds ago that sky was red 

Now the dark is settling in

Oh didn’t last long, did it?

 

Sweet birdsong it fills the sky

Then a yellow feather fly

Oh didn’t last long

 

A few months ago the market was high

Now it’s on an endless slide

Oh didn’t last long, did it?

 

Now dollar, euro, yen and pound

Make the world go round and round

Said that war wouldn’t last long

Oh but they was wrong

 

Blue butterfly lights on a rose

And the summer comes and goes

Oh didn’t last long, did it?

 

Your baby child as sweet as can be

Turn around he’s 23.

Oh didn’t last long, did it?

 

Once upon a time you’re a gleam in your daddy’s eye

Now the dark is settling in

Oh didn’t last long, didn’t last long, didn’t last long,

Did it?

 

Ruby Bird vocals, accordion / Billy Carl Mancini 1974 Guild D35 acoustic / 

Glenn Williams ukulele / Cliff Tetle clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, 

tenor sax / Ken Steiner upright bass / Larry Dersch drums

 

 

 

NORTHRIDGE

©B. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

I met you in a little town

Your smiles coverin’ up my frown

Your eyes runnin’ up and down

Whether you knew it or not

 

Come with me to Northridge

Come with me to Northridge

It’s the place of my birth

 

I can’t believe what I’ve done to myself

You tried hard still I died inside

Believe me when I say to you

I’ll still be strong though I’ve cried

 

I feel like a hundred men

Thinkin’ ‘bout where I been

But inside of me I’ve got this locked

What can I do but talk

 

The leaves they’re falling in my head

The rain it’s falling like I said

When will all the wind stop blowin’

When will I be free to get where I’m goin’

 

Ruby Bird vocals / Billy Carl Mancini vocals, 1974 Guild D35

acoustic, 1988 Fender Strat / Sven Larson electric upright bass / 

Eric Michael Kelley conga, triangle, claves, shakers

 

 

 

BECAUSE IT’S DECEMBER

©B. Mason  Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

A winter day

The sky is standing still

The snow is grey

I think I need a pill

(Na na na…..)  I’m sliding down the hill

(Na na na…..)  I’ll climb back to the top

 

Because it’s December

I see your crooked smile

Because it’s December

The Savior is a child

Because it’s December

The sun is cold as ice

And now I remember

The headlights burning bright

 

I think I’ll stay 

Like hibernating bears

Inside a cave

And dream away despair

The children’s cheery smiles

Will keep me for a while

 

The sky is standing still

I think I’ve caught a chill

But memories we share

Will wash away despair

 

Billy Carl Mancini vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, Hofner bass / 

Ruby Bird vocals, accordion, sleigh bells, glockenspiel, tambourine, bells / 

Larry Harvey  drums 

 

 

 

TRUTH

©R. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

The polar ice is melting, the Amazon still burns

And some still aren’t convinced we’re past the point of no return

And we just keep on doing like we haven’t got a clue

But Truth it has a funny way of catching up with you

 

Yeah Truth will set you free, oh yeah

Don’t want anyone to worry ‘bout me I know that

Truth will set you free

Truth will set you, Truth will set you free

 

The pale horse is riding on a continent in pain

And children go to slaughter by a government insane

And we can look out yonder, enjoy the pleasant view

But Truth it has a funny way of catching up with you

 

Now you might say to your friend “I don’t believe at all

That God is waiting in the wings to make the final call”

But it doesn’t matter what we might think is true

Cause in the end the Truth is gonna find its way to you

 

Ruby Bird vocals, accordion, melodica / Billy Carl Mancini guitars, second bass /

Tim Casey organ / Steve Gilligan first bass / Lenny Shea drums /

Backing chorus: Sal Baglio, Ruby Bird, Steve Gilligan, Madeleine Hall, 

Billy Carl Mancini, Lenny Shea, Ramona Silver, with additional backing vocals

by Madeleine Hall

 

 

 

BRIDGE 51

©B. Mason  Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

I’m riding just for the sake of today

I’ve seen some trouble along the way

Some people give up the journey too soon

Old roots can make a new flower bloom

 

On Bridge 51 there is a long way to fall

On Bridge 51 I’ll steer away from the siren’s call

 

I’m so glad I’ve got you to show me the way

Without you I’d probably lose my way

New highways will always be where we belong

It’s wide open, just like we’re twenty-one

 

On Bridge 51 there is a long way to fall

On Bridge 51 I’ll steer away from the setting sun

Bridge 51 I can see further than where I’ve gone

Bridge 51 I’m rolling over the horizon

 

Ruby Bird vocals, accordion / Billy Carl Mancini vocals, 1974 Guild

D35 guitar, 1988 Fender Strat, tonette / John Bridge bass / 

Larry Harvey drums, claves, shakers, Antiguan seed pod, finger cymbals

 

 

WRITTEN IN THE STARS

©B. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

I don’t care if no one wants us

I don’t care what people think about us

As long as we’re together

We’ll be happy to the letter

It’s not important we’ve got no money in the bank

We’ve got no one to thank for that but ourselves

 

What if we grow old and grey

Like everyone around us said we would

Our parent’s warnings crashing all around us

Like so much driftwood

Well at least we’ll have the memories of a lifetime

Never having to think twice I’m sure of that

 

Well I wonder if it’s all been planned 

By a greater power than me

If we live or die, if we’re rich or poor

Is it written in the stars?

Well if that’s the case and we can’t erase

The things that are to be

Then I won’t ask why, I won’t ask for more

Than what’s written in the stars

 

Time will tell us if we’ve done wrong

We may live to hear the swan song

Ringing in our ears forever

Long beyond the twelfth of never

On the other hand we might just get it right

But either way the guiding light will be our love

 

Billy Carl Mancini vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, Hofner bass, 

Dominica, suitcase, plywood, dehumidifier / Ruby Bird vocals, accordion, 

piano, tambourine / Larry Harvey drums, shaker, cabasa

 

 

 

RAINDROPS  

©B. Mason Bonk Zone Music ASCAP

 

In my room the shades are all drawn low

Tapping little fingers on my window

 

Oh I want to feel the raindrops on my face

Yes I need to feel the raindrops on my face

 

When the sun is up and the sky is blue 

And your love is all around

It’s surrounding me, it’s distracting me

Like a hallway full of sound

 

Still I want to feel the raindrops on my face

And I want to be transported into space

Like some reckless meteor that’s lost its place

And your love will cushion me against the fall

 

Billy Carl Mancini vocals, guitars, bass, glockenspiel 

SONG NOTES

BIRD MANCINI Tuning In/Tuning Out

Notes from Ruby & Billy Carl


TuningIn-TuningOut_small.jpg

 

 

These song notes will be updated as we write them.  Here's what we've got so far...

 

TUNING IN/TUNING OUT

Ruby:  Growing up in rural Missouri, my cousin, Duane, and I attended elementary and high school together and were party to our share of harmless mischief in those slightly more innocent days. A couple of years ago, Duane suffered from sleep apnea for months and eventually was so sleep deprived he fell into a coma. At that time his wife asked all who knew him to write a few anecdotes from our common past, hoping to spark a reaction from him, and this brought a flood of memories back to those days in the Midwest.  If you’ve ever been to the country far away from city lights on a clear night, you’ve seen stars as they were meant to be seen.   

 

Billy:  I had a melody and a couple of lines spinning around my head.  I had some vague notion about tuning in and tuning out because I’m always listening to talk radio with headphones late at night and drifting in and out of sleep.  Ruby heard what I was doing and was inspired to write about her cousin.  We put it all together and, voila, a song is born.

 

DIDN'T LAST LONG DID IT?

Ruby:  One evening Billy and I were driving home with some classic Louis Armstrong playing. As we rounded a corner, we saw a sunset that turned the whole sky in front of us bright red.  But as the sun quickly set and the dark settled in around us, I said, “Wow, that didn’t last long, did it?”  “That’s a song,” said Billy.  “Hmmmm…”  A couple days later, I had this little tune written in a classic 30’s jazz style. Cliff Tetle plays a terrific clarinet on this one. 

 

BECAUSE IT'S DECEMBER

Billy:  The song refers to my many memories of December....my Mom, who's birthday was in December ("I see your crooked smile"), the Christmas season ("the Savior is a child"), the stunning month that John Lennon was shot ("The headlights burning bright"), and on and on...The headlights burning bright line refers to a couple of days after JL was murdered and Yoko asked that we all drive during the day with our headlights on as a rememberance.  There was little more we could do.  It was an unbelievable time in our lives.  We were not so young and innocent after that.  But, besides all that heaviness, I also was remembering happy childhood times; sledding down Whitcomb's Hill with a light snow falling at dusk...my friends all laughing and smiling and in the moment.

 

TRUTH

Ruby:  This came along about the time that Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” was making the rounds.  I borrowed a line from the Bible and Billy came up with this rock guitar riff to my gospel style tune. The star of this show is the big rockin’ chorus, played by a few of our singing friends and a little studio magic, and Madeleine Hall’s extra bluesy bits at the rolling rocking end. 

 

 

BIRD MANCINI Funny Day

Notes from Ruby & Billy Carl


FunnyDay_small.jpg

 

Holly
Holly was a young girl in Billy's distant past, unmercifully teased by herschoolmates. She didn't last long at his school, but her mystery remains.
Ruby
I was heavily into listening to XTC at the time I wrote this one. Don't know if I captured any of that but that's the way I hear it. Even though I wrote specifically about a girl I knew, I also included some personal experiences too. Most of us went through a certain loneliness or isolation as children didn't we?
Billy Carl

 

A Funny Day To Be Alive
We met Mark Green for the first time just a few days before he died from cancer. He was in hospice at home, barely aware of us, but managed a smile even in this state when I whispered in his ear, We'll be right behind you.
Ruby

And that's what started me writing this song initially but as usual it developed into some of my own experienceslike trying to hold on to the precious times when you're with your friends and having a good time. It all moves so fast and no matter how hard we try we can't slow it down. But we can play it all back in our mind's eye.
Billy Carl

 

Better Man
I've always been into that sort of British Invasion sound and hoped to accomplish some sense of that in this song. And of course I couldn't leave out the hand claps and cowbell. I actually wrote this song after seeing a local Boston band called Muck & The Mires do their version of Brit rock. The title just sort of rolled out of my mouth before I even had a clue what I was saying. In the end it's about all my arty friends putting themselves out there for all to see..it's a risky thing and can be painful but no sense keeping it all locked up inside.
Billy Carl

 

The Other Side
This came to me shortly after a near-death experience in the ocean, as the currents were pulling me out to sea faster than I could swim back in. Fortunately I was rescued, but strangely, I became much more freaked out after I was back on shore.
Ruby

I wrote the middle section one day when I was trying to play this tune on piano. Of course I can't play piano but sometimes playing an instrument you don't know how to play yields new musical avenues. The words were easy..I just remembered how alone, scared and helpless I felt watching Ruby floating out to sea.
Billy Carl

 

Through Your Eyes
I wrote this one from the viewpoint of being Ruby and being married to me or something like that. We were probably having disagreements about music and life. Of course my own views are there too since I am what I am. The title also works well with the artwork on the cover.the eyes. That was just a happy coincidence. This one sounds a little bit secret agent-y with Ruby's addition of vibes.
Billy Carl

 

Rest of My Life
This is one of those songs where I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. You know, wondering what it's all about. Thinking that maybe I'd be the only one to ever hear any of the songs I'd written. And who cares anyway right? I went through a period of writing songs about this subject but try to keep most of them out of sight. This one has a nice crunchy yet melodic sound. And, while in the studio recording the song with our rhythm section du jour (Rick Calcagni & Jim Clements) we just kind of spontaneously broke into an extended Latin groove at the end that I really dug.
Billy Carl

 

So Cool
This is about being in a band. Any band.
Ruby

I didn't write this one but I sure had fun playing it!
Billy Carl

 

No Saints Can Say
The first part of this a cappella tune was written by Billy about 20 years ago and the second part just in the last few months. Good to finish what you've started once in awhile.
Ruby 

Can you tell that I've spent a lot of time listening to Todd, Brian Wilson and The Beatles? The title of the song refers to the Jane Smaldone painting on our album cover. Jane has a series of paintings all inspired by the story of Saint Lucy. It was originally called No Words Can Sayî but Saints seemed to work nicely too.
Billy Carl
Yeah, the story of Saint Lucy bears repeating. The short version is that she stabbed her own eyes out in protest of being forced to marry, rather than being allowed to live her life devoted to God. Legend says that her eyes actually grew back, leading to her eventual Sainthood.
Ruby

 

Somedays
Like many songwriters I have tapes and tapes of half written songs..mostly melodies without lyrics. Once in a great while I'll torture myself and play them back. Sometimes a melody or chord structure will hit me and I don't even remember writing it. This was the case with Somedays. Lyrically, I just wanted to convey the way I felt about not really being able to change the world or my friends or my wife. It all goes on with or without me. I can only change me. It also refers to conversations I've had with Ruby about being happy. If I think about it I'm not sure but if I don't think about it I might be. Oops..I'm thinking about it.
Billy Carl

What exactly do you mean by change my wife???
Ruby

 

Heart of the City
The intro to this song was originally supposed to be city noises, or at least conjure up city noises. I'm not sure if it does that or not but it goes from calm to tense sounding and back. It's kind of a soundscape thing that I learned from working with people like Mr. Curt (who plays ebo on the intro) and listening to the more experimental sides of Lennon & McCartney. The main part of the song moves into Americana sounds. As Sven Larson said (who graces this tune with his fretless electric bass) It's a rocker! The lyrics just reflect what I see all around me in the city: violence, noise, fear and the need to escape it all.
Billy Carl

 

Long Road Home
I'm still on the city theme with this song. Basically just about keeping your eyes open and keeping your guard up. We got kind of a rock-a-billy groove on this one. Even included a washboard track after seeing Clifton Cheniere's son play at, of all places, The Museum of Fine Arts.
Billy Carl

 

Not This Time
I wrote this one way back when I was a teenager. Hence the sort of simple love song that it is. I used to write lyrics while working in a deli (on deli paper) while waiting for the next customer to order a pound of ham salad. The music somehow always stayed with me but we never recorded or played it out until now. Ruby felt that the lyrics sounded like a conversation between two lovers though it wasn't originally conceived that way. So we have Ruby & I switching off vocal lines and finally singing in harmony. Our studio drummer Mike Ahrens thought the slow middle part of the song sounded like Pink Floyd. Odd because I don't actually own a Pink Floyd album I'm embarrassed to say. But I still tried to conjure up David Gilmour when I played the solo. Billy Carl

Just for the record, in a previous life I had a Pink Floyd album, and dug it.
Ruby

 

Red Geraniums
My grandmother wrote beautiful, funny poems as was fitting for the beautiful, funny person she was. Red Geraniums, though, had special poignancy and was recited at her funeral. While reading this poem for the hundredth time, a tune came suddenly and sharply to mind, too strong to ignore. So I put them together. This song is dedicated to her.
Ruby

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