DAVID J on the new solo album, ‘An Eclipse of Ships’
The man in the looking glass, who can he be?
The man in the looking glass, can he possibly be me?
Where's our young Romeo, the lad who used to sigh?
Who's the middle-aged Lothario with a twinkle in his eye?
He seem so much wiser now, less lonely but then
Could be he's only pretending again
Man in the looking glass, smiling away, how's your sacroiliac today?
Where's your first love affair, that tragedy d'amour?
The true love you thought would be the end of you for sure
Man in the looking glass, have no regrets
The man who's wise never forgets
That life is worth living if once in a while
You can look in that looking glass and smile
‘Man In The Looking Glass’
( Bart Howard )
The lyrics to this rather drole Sinatra song resonate strongly with
this ‘middle-aged Lothario’. The rakish old feller who penned the
whimsical, romantic odes found on the polyamorous song cycle
that is ‘An Eclipse of Ships’. Essentially a journal of the heart and
a paean to Woman as muse. Recorded by candlelight in the City
of Angels, the album is a showcase for lustrous jewels retrieved
by a gentleman thief from the boudoirs of beautiful women.
The title, ‘An Eclipse of Ships’ is a play on the old metaphorical
Longfellow line, ‘ships that pass in the night’, which refers to the
rare incident of seaborne vessels sailing directly past each other
in the dark. Traditionally, sailors would shine a light onto each
other’s hulls as a poignant greeting before continuing on their
respective voyages. The phrase was later employed to describe
a brief, intense encounter between two people who then part,
never to see each other again. The variation used for my title was
written in a missive from one of the subjects of one of the songs
and used to describe our somewhat transient relationship.
Another stolen gem!
"Ships that pass in the night, and speak (to) each other in
passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life, we pass and speak (to) one another, Only
a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence."
From ‘Tales of a Wayside Inn’ by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
At the heart of most of these songs there is a woman and I
consider myself privileged and blessed to have known these
various manifestations of the great eternal muse. Some for only
moments and others for many years. This is an album that has
been percolating for a very long time and during it’s execution I
believe that I finally managed to fully access my inner Serge
Gainsbourg! Indeed, it was at a tribute concert at the Hollywood
Bowl for the late great libertine and chanteur, that the single, ‘You
Suit A Rainy Day’ was inspired. The pretty young bohemian girl
who accompanied me to that event was certainly a ‘Francophile
of the first order’ and when the performance was over she could
not help but dance across the famous stage in her stars and
stripes high wedge shoes, pirouetting under the famous
clamshell arch. The song’s lyric bubbled up a few days later as I
was awaiting her arrival at my apartment as a wonderful gloomy
storm brewed over the Hollywood Hills.
‘In The Blue Hour In Berlin’. I had been on tour in Europe and
when it was over I went back to Berlin and drifted around that
beautifully broken city for a couple of weeks just soaking
everything up. I went to an art exhibition with a German friend
and when we came out she exclaimed: “Oh! It’s the blue hour!”
Referring to the particular azure hue evident at dusk in winter.
The idea for the song took flight and I went on to document
various experiences that I had over the week that I was there,
including an encounter with a tall Teutonic beauty at the
notorious KitKat Club. Part of the lyric refers to her passionate
exhortation that I throttle her to the point of erotic asphyxiation.
Anything to oblige, meine liebe!
‘Excruciating Allure‘ details an obsessive love affair and the
agony that ensued when it was over. ( Eh, still with me, sports
fans? ) On a lighter note, ‘Where The Bloodline
Ends’ ( Vasectomy Song ) is exactly that! The opening line
makes play with the French idiom, ‘la petit mort’.
‘Well, I’m sitting here on little death row, where the bloodline
Just me and three hundred million of my closest personal
‘La Femme de Montreal’ concerns a bewitching French Canadian
aerialist / dancer with whom I crossed paths whilst on tour in that
fair city in Quebec. A lovely lady, both inside and out. An
eyebrow raising contortionist too!
‘Yokohama Blues’ describes the time when I was stranded in
Japan due to a bureaucratic cock up. There was a girl, there was
a train, there was a golden fleece and much saki went under the
bridge! I only managed to get back home by having a vet fake a
doctor’s note detailing a medical emergency which urgently
required my attendance back in the good old USA. This through
the ingenious auspices of my good wife and also our landlord.
( His brother was the vet! )
‘Little Miss Impeccable’ is an affectionate evocation of a big
eyed, petite poet, one who ‘chooses her words as a duelist
chooses pistols’ and has the legend, ‘Impeccable’ tattooed
across the underside of her wrist.
‘Visitation’ ( Song For An Elegant Angel ) was the result of a late
night conversation over bourbon with a beautiful porn star of
some renown. The song was written in the wee small hours after
she had left. ( All participants were over the age of eighteen. )
‘Dust In The Wind’ was written on the red eye to New York City,
having just left the protagonist in Portland. Half Filipino, half
German, the wildest woman I have ever met and a raging exotic
beauty to boot. I had the feeling that there would be a guitar
there in the friend’s Manhattan apartment where I was destined
to stay. There was. Along with some excellent thirty year old
single malt whiskey and a note from my generous host
suggesting that it be put to good use. It was and the song was
‘The You of Yesteryear’ was written for my wife. It’s composition
was unusual in that I wrote it ( in great part ) in a guitar shop, on a
Spanish style nylon stringed guitar that was for sale in the local
store. I was considering buying it despite it’s lofty price tag.
Every time I went back, teetering on the edge of commitment, I
would pick it up, cradle it lovingly in my arms and always play the
same lyrical melody. I fell in love with the instrument and
consequently slapped down a deposit with the intention of
settling up in the new year. My dear wife, bless her, cognisant of
my desire but unaware of the transaction, went into the shop to
buy it for me as a Christmas present and found out that I had
pipped her to the post! It was only fitting therefore, that the epic
song that I finished on it should be for her. Having said that, I
have become aware that it could be adopted as something of a
piquant anthem for my original female fan base which these
days, consists of charming ladies of a certain age!
‘Hot Sheet Hotel’ is actually an older song that I have been
tweaking over the years. One early concept I had for this album
was that each song would be a story from a room in the hot
sheet hotel but that would have been highly disrespectful to the
wonderful muses who inspired this humble work of homage.
So, to all those those radiant ladies, may I deferentially doff my
hat, smile and bid a fond ‘adieu’ and as a parting shot, sincerely
state that my wife is a very understanding woman!
Los Angeles, 2014