Restless Spirits Passing Thru the Void

by J.Andrew

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    Reflections on the past - Searching for peace in the present: The people and places that have come and gone from Philadelphia and beyond...

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about

I wrote and recorded most of these songs after getting out of school. Wanted to take time to explore the creative side of my mind - wanted to break free of the predetermined monotony that I found myself getting locked into like so many of us do. I also began to realize just how cathartic the act of writing songs could be – about people and places that I knew, particularly those that lived deep within my memory and remained unresolved. Some of those people are from where I grew up in Philadelphia. There is something about the many moods of this place that has always fed the creative urge of sensitive people. Sometimes it is joyous and hopeful, other times it is bittersweet. Often it can provide a dark reality. Equal consideration was given to where I went to school in Connecticut – the people that I met in that town remain some of the more unique individuals that I’ve known, bar none.

Used a program called ‘Wavelab’ and the soundcard of my computer at the time, while teaching myself how to record and mix the music to the limits of the equipment that was available to me. While the guitar is my main instrument, I have always been drawn to the sound of the Rhodes electric piano ever since I was a child. When I heard “Song for Bobby Smith” by Gil Scott-Heron, I found myself on a quest to find an electric piano and didn’t care about the long-term consequences of debt when the opportunity finally came to own one. The electric piano is featured prominently in many of these songs and was used mostly as a compositional tool - usually it provided me with a basic expression that the rest of the song would then build from. I played most of the instruments myself except for the drums – my friend Cheryl was the vocalist.

I sincerely believe you will enjoy my songs. All of them convey a sincere and honest sentiment. Some songs are intensely personal but you will find that all of them are universal in theme. To pass on music that makes me feel something to good folks like you and everyone else who listens here...there is something intensely personal about that. In the times we are living in, it’s a downright revolutionary act.

credits

released December 27, 2012

Meaning of Songs

1. Introduction

I chose this to open up my ‘album’ because it sets the tone. The voice you hear was taken from an old audio tape from the 70’s of my late father, Jim. He was reading from an unknown source – I thought that the phrases were vague enough to leave the meaning of this song open to interpretation.

Me: Bass, Guitar
David Hewitt: Electric Piano

2. Entering Philadelphia

I feel that this instrumental, at least in my own mind, captures the mood of Philadelphia particularly at night. None of the other cities I’ve visited can quite evoke the same mood of Philadelphia, my hometown.

Me: Bass, Guitar, Electric Piano, Morin Khuur

3. Bob Davis (Back to the World)

This song was partially inspired by the fact that I grew up around a lot of Vietnam vets in my neighborhood.

Me: Bass, Electric Piano
Freddie (Vietnam vet): Flute
Cheryl Henderson: Vocals

4. Who Will Watch The Watchers?

Something to keep in mind in these Orwellian times…

Me: Bass, Guitar, Electric Piano, assorted percussion, bowed Guitar

5. Willie Part 2

Willie was a schizophrenic living in Middletown, Connecticut. When I was living in Connecticut for school, I worked late sometimes walking home at 3 or 4 in the morning. On cold winter nights, Willie was the only soul in sight, always walking, and passing me by without a word. Willie was my reference point that I had arrived back to school in Connecticut from Philadelphia because he was always walking the streets or standing on a corner. He had an ability to look right through a person. I heard secondhand that he was hit by a car and died weeks before I left Connecticut for good – I heard the whole town turned out for his funeral.

Me: Bass, Guitar, Electric Piano, Percussion, Toy Xylophone
Cheryl Henderson: Vocals

6. Jam in the Attic

This was just an improvised jam from 1999 with me on the guitar and assorted percussion and a friend on bass and assorted percussion.

Me: Guitar, Percussion

7. Death’s Headquarters

“Death’s Headquarters” was Sun Ra’s description of the city of Philadelphia. This song is a reflection on all of the mindless violence that takes place in our city, and how we all need to start taking a long hard look at causes instead of effects.

Me: Bass, Guitar, Electric Piano, Theremin, Flex-a-Tone

8. One More Soul Revived

This is a message of peace, and kindness to strangers – downright revolutionary concepts in today’s times.

Me: Bass, Guitar, Electric Piano, Vibraslap
Cheryl Henderson: Vocals

9. A Misunderstanding

The misunderstanding described here functions on two levels. There is a misunderstanding that can happen sometimes between two people. There is also the misunderstanding associated with who you think someone is as opposed to who they really and truly are...but sometimes fantasy can get such a grip on you that you can’t see the reality staring you right in the face. In my particular case, both kinds of misunderstandings applied to the same person.

Me: Bass, Electric Piano, Guitar (with volume pedal and with violin bow), Conga Drums,
Drum Machine

10. On The Porch With Chip

Chip was my roommate when I was away in Connecticut for school. I miss our conversations on the porch where we lived and deeply miss that phase of my life.

Me: Bass, Guitar, Synth, Clavinet, Electric Piano

11. Van

Van was a real person I knew when I was going to school in Connecticut. All of the situations described in the lyrics are true – some people had a problem with Van because he was different, though I considered him a good friend.

Me: Bass, Guitar, Electric Piano, assorted percussion
Cheryl Henderson: Vocals

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J.Andrew Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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