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

ends.

Just me and three hundred million of my closest personal

friends.’


‘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

born.


‘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!


David J

Los Angeles, 2014

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