In the Afternoon

The standard ukulele tuning is G4-C4-E4-A4, with the G on the 4th string an octave higher than you might expect. I like the low-G tuning, G3-C4-E4-A4, because it gives you some bass notes to play with. I have to say I love the Aquila strings, partly because they are made in Italy: http://www.aquilacorde.com/

Anyway, on this song I tune the low string down to F3, which gives me a nice F bass note for the F major chord, and then I let that low F keep droning through the Gm chord. And that’s most of the song, just F and Gm/f. There’s a C/g in the bridge, and then a C/f at the end that was an accident when I recorded this, but I liked the way it sounded so I kept it.

Another song I wrote sitting by the creek, just feeling good. The words and music pretty much came together, though I fiddled with the words for a while. Listen to it here:

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/in-the-afternoon

Chords and lyrics:

In the Afternoon

I like to sing a song or two in the afternoon, in the afternoon     F   Gm/f    F  Gm/f
I like to sing a song for you in the afternoon, in the afternoon     F   Gm/f    F  Gm/f
No way to know what song I’ll sing in the afternoon                     F   Gm/f    F  Gm/f
No way to know what tomorrow will bring in the afternoon       F   Gm/f    F  Gm/f
In the afternoon, in the afternoon                                                      F   Gm/f

I know I’ll come here once again in the afternoon             C    Gm/f     F  Gm/f
I know I’ll come and find a friend in the afternoon           C    Gm/f     F   Gm/f
In the afternoon, in the afternoon                                         F    Gm/f

I like to see your smiling face in the afternoon, in the afternoon
That’s how I know this is a holy place in the afternoon, in the afternoon
No way to know what games we’ll play in the afternoon
No way to know how long we’ll stay in the afternoon
In the afternoon, in the afternoon

I know I’ll come here once again in the afternoon
I know I’ll come and find a friend in the afternoon
In the afternoon, in the afternoon

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I Can’t Believe

At my house we’ve been watching a fair number of French movies. They make some lovely little comedies in France. We’ve noticed that the songs on the soundtracks usually seem to be in English. It’s strange, because there’s no shortage of great French music. In fact we just saw the amazing Jessica Fichot and her band here at Cafe Coda in Chico a few days ago. Check her out at http://www.jessicasongs.com/.

Anyway, recently we were watching a movie called Romantics Anonymous (Les émotifs anonymes) which we really enjoyed, and the song during the closing credits was this great song called “Big Jet Plane.” It turned out that the song is written and performed by a brother and sister duo from Australia, Angus and Julia Stone. Here is the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYoyXK13Iyc

The chorus is just the line “Gonna take her for a ride on a big jet plane” repeated over and over, and it really hooked me. I decided I wanted to write a song with a repeating line like that, so I did. In the end, I even stole their chord progression, although I changed the key.

The resulting song does not much resemble “Big Jet Plane” as far as I can tell. This song has a bit of an angry edge to it, and even contains the F-word – sorry, but it was the best rhyme for “stuck.” The lyrics express the feeling you get when you find yourself stuck in a repeating pattern that you’re not enjoying. It could be in your individual life or in a relationship; it could be the whole civilization you’re part of. You’re doing the same thing over and over again, even though the result is not pleasant. Can you wake up and change the pattern?

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/i-cant-believe

I Can’t Believe

I can’t believe we’re here again                     E   C#m   G#m
I can’t believe it’s true                                    E   C#m   G#m
I can’t believe we’re here again                     E   C#m   G#m
Up the creek with no canoe                           E   C#m   G#m

I can’t believe this is happening again
I can’t believe my eyes
I can’t believe this is happening again
Are we so unwise?

Can we wise up, can we change it?              A      G#m
Can we wake up, and rearrange it?              A       B

I can’t believe that we’re here again             E        C#m       G#m
I can’t believe that we’re here again             E        C#m       G#m

I can’t believe we’re doing this again
I can’t believe my ears
I can’t believe we’re screwing up again
Living out our fears

I can’t believe we’re stuck in it again
I can’t believe it’s real
I can’t believe we’re fucking up again
Ain’t it time to heal?

Can we heal it, can we change it?
Can we feel it, and rearrange it?

I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again
I can’t believe that we’re here again

Treehugger

Three months ago I began a six-month sabbatical with the intention of devoting myself to writing songs. I started going through my notebooks, looking at songs I had started, and doing my best to finish them. One thing I found was just four lines about hugging a tree. I wrote a few more lines, and pretty soon I had this song.

In the first verse I used the expression “by Jove” without thinking. But when I wrote the rest of the verses, I followed the pattern, using the ancient Roman names for the Earth and Venus (and the associated goddesses). In the last verse, I added a new sky-god to the pantheon.

The sexual imagery in the lyrics is not meant to be taken literally, though whatever floats your boat is cool with me. I think the song is suggesting that the world around us is alive and in some way conscious, not just the animals and trees, but even the rocks, the water, the air and sunlight. And that we will enjoy life much more when we learn to live in harmony with our fellow sentient beings. To say that consciousness is a basic feature of the universe may sound strange, but that is the conclusion of many of the most profound scientific thinkers in recent years. And it’s how most of us humans have always understood things, other than during the past few hundred years of untethered rationality in Western thought. I think we are waking up from the trance of reason and reclaiming our original awareness of our connection with the natural world. And this means better times for us individually, for the human race as a whole, and for Terra and all her creatures.

Or maybe it’s just a song about getting it on with trees and rocks. What do you think?

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/treehugger

Treehugger

I hugged a tree today                                                  F#m       B
It was a lascivious act                                                 A            F#m
You know I gave that tree some love                       F#m       B
And by Jove it loved me back                                    A            F#m

I fondled a stone today
It was an erotic encounter
I needed a stone to touch
And by Terra you know I found her

Yeah I found that love I needed                                 B         C#m
It was waitin’ just for me                                             E         F#m
I always find the love I’m needin’                              B         C#
And it’s given to me free                                              A         B
It’s given free                                                                  F#m

I dove in the creek today
Felt the water on my naked skin
I needed some liquid love
And by Venus she let me in

I kissed the sky today
We shared a sweet caress
I asked the sky to hold me
And by Jimi he said yes

Yeah I found that love I needed
It was waitin’ just for me
I always find the love I’m needin’
And it’s given to me free

They call me treehugger
They call me treehugger
Oh yeah

Everyone Is Beautiful

As the old saying has it, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” and like most old sayings, there’s a lot of truth in it. Whether by divine grace or through the patient application of pints of ale, we have all known moments in which we saw the infinite beauty of everything and everyone around us. But we live in a culture and often in a state of consciousness that insists on measuring, comparing, and evaluating everything, even (and especially) the beauty of the people we see. So we have beauty contests, the 100 sexiest people, who is hot and who is not. What a load of hooey!

So, here’s a song to remind myself that when I remember how to see, I find that every single person is beautiful.

I just recorded this today at home, so it’s not the same sound quality as the other recordings currently on my Bandcamp site. I’d be interested to know what you think of the sound quality, and also what you think of the song.

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/everyone-is-beautiful

Everyone Is Beautiful

Maybe the top of your head just touches the sky                    D      A     D
Maybe your feet just barely reach the ground                          G      A     D
Maybe you move like a willow tree swaying in the breeze       Bm    A     G     D
Maybe you’re just the cutest thing in town                               G       A

The hair on your head might be red or green or purple
It might be long or short or just a memory
Your hands might be soft as silk, or warm like Spanish leather
Your voice might be Jerry or jubilee

But everyone is beautiful don’t you know               G     A    D
Everyone is beautiful through and through             G     A    D
I’m finally learning, although I’m learning slow       G     D     G     D
That everyone is beautiful like you                         G     A     D

Some of us are new to the planet
Some of us have been here many years
Some of us are feeling fresh as a daisy
Some of us just need another beer

Some folks like to use a cane for walking
Some folks like to dance across the floor
Some folks keep you laughing with a wink and a smile
Some folks leave you always wanting more

But everyone is beautiful don’t you know
Everyone is beautiful through and through
I’m finally learning, although I’m learning slow
That everyone is beautiful like you

Yes everyone is beautiful when you learn to see
Everyone is beautiful it’s true
Look around with eyes of love and I guarantee
That everyone is beautiful like you
Look around with eyes of love and you’ll see it’s true
Everyone is beautiful like you

Corporation

I could have called this song “Godzilla,” but there’s already a pretty good song by that name:

The monsters that menace us today are the great multinational corporations. We created them and gave them legal personhood, but they are much more powerful than human beings. A corporation like Monsanto or Exxon controls vast resources, lives in many countries at once, never sleeps and never dies. It has a vast brain, but no heart, and it is ruthless in its pursuit of the only thing it cares about – profit. The people who work for a corporation may not want to destroy a rainforest or make bombs or level mountaintops for coal or crowd garment workers into unsafe buildings, but the corporation will do whatever is necessary to make money. And governments are pretty much run by the big corporations, especially in the United States, so you rarely see any government action restricting corporate power.

I’m not really that into fighting against the corporate world. I prefer to focus on living the way I want to live. I believe that we are creating an alternate economy that will eventually prevail, a people-centered economy based on local transactions, where money plays less of a role. We will live more simply, spend more of our time enjoying life and taking care of each other. The big corporations will eventually fade away. But for some reason, I was moved to write this song. What do you think? Does it get annoying when I keep repeating “I’m a corporation” over and over?

Here’s the song on Bandcamp:

http://scottlape.bandcamp.com/track/corporation

And here are the chords and lyrics:

Corporation

They say I’m a person, I’ve got a superhuman brain         Am    Dm
But I don’t have a heart, don’t feel any pain                       E7     Am
They say I’m a person, but I never sleep                            Am    Dm
And if you suffer, I sure won’t weep                                    E7      Am

I’m big, I’m mean, I’m a money machine                             F       G
I fill the air with lies, I don’t care who dies                           Am     F     G
‘Cause I’m a corporation                                                          Am

They say I’m a person, but I’m bigger than you
If you’re in my way, I’ll crush you too
They say I’m a person, but I’ll never die
I’ll keep on growing, ‘til I bleed you dry

I’m big, I’m mean, I’m a money machine                             F       G
I fill the air with lies, I don’t care who dies                           Am     F     G
‘Cause I’m a corporation, I’m living large                            Am     F
I’m a corporation, and I’m in charge                                    G       Am
I’m a corporation, the public enemy                                   Am       F
I’m a corporation, watch out for me                                     G       Am

I patent the weeds, you gotta pay to grow ‘em
I patent the seeds, you gotta pay to sow’em
I own the water, the sky and the land
I own you too, don’t you understand

I’m big, I’m mean, I’m a money machine
I fill the air with smoke, I don’t care who chokes
‘Cause I’m a corporation                                     Am
I’m a corporation                                                  F
I’m a corporation                                                  G
I’m a corporation                                                  Am
I’m a corporation                                                  Am
I’m a corporation                                                   F
I’m a corporation                                                   G
I’m a corporation                                                   Am

If I had a heart, I might be afraid
‘Cause if the people want, I could be unmade
If I had legs, I might try to run
‘Cause if the people choose, I could be undone