The first question is...should it be Lonely Heart, or Lonelyheart? Interestingly, I see from Big Dave’s original, written on a word processor in the Nineties, that he went for the two word option. But I also remember him telling me that quite a lot of it was lifted directly from, yes, the LONELYHEARTS advertisements that papers used to run. “Seeks quality gentleman to go country dancing” is probably my favourite line in the album and, genius though he was, I’m sure he just nicked it from a real ad. As always with our songs, they belong to the 20th century. Thus, the original last line of the third verse was "Write and enclose recent photograph please", which I changed in the interest of modernity. And the lady in question has been, variously, ash blond, red haired, and now dark haired. Also I remember much mirth over the Jewellery Designer. Clearly, a completely ghastly dude.
Don't Look Back
I think I found this among all the other lyrics in David’s bottom drawer when I first round to his house in Fulham in 1980. Probably intended for his writing partner, Rick Jones, and his band, Meal Ticket. It certainly has a rocking country vibe, which was their style. Chad loved it, and we tried a couple of versions over the years, but this is very much the way I originally heard it.
I Guess I'm Sitting This One Out
A late one. 2009, it says here, at the top of the page. Therefore, completed on Skype, him in Paris, me in London. There were problems finishing it. Only two verses and some stray lines. I remember badgering him to come up with some more. And then, suddenly, “ Think I’ll slip out for a quiet drink. Must be a dimly lit bar etc”. And there it was. Jo and I recorded this twice. The first version was just a tiny bit too fast. Amazing the difference it made slowing it down. Suddenly it relaxed and swung. Probably one of my faves.
From the 80’s. Chad & I had a version of this in demo form, ready for our second album on Rocshire. Which never happened, as the label folded and the owners went to jail. Ah, the good old days of the record biz. In the spirit of the times, I seem to remember trying a lot of funky falsetto backing vocals, in the style of Michael Jackson. Mercifully, they remained unheard until our All Good Things compilation of unheard rarities was released in 2016. One of the delights of The Drawer is being able to record the material the way it was intended to be, regardless of the fashion of the times and the demands by the label to come up with a single.
There is a note at the top of David’s original. 09/80. And then, rather sadly, unp, as in unpublished. Until now, Dave. Because he wrote every day, in every form, from lyrics to detective fiction to comic monologues, one never knew what hidden treasures were to be discovered in his bottom drawer. Occasionally there were flights of lyric poetry. They were always a huge embarrassment to him. “Oh, that one.... dunno what that’s all about” he would say, avoiding my eyes. And of course I would insist on setting them, to his chagrin. I see that that I set the original verses exactly as written, except that the “dreaming butterfly” was originally a "dreaming domino" , whatever that is. Such a rare joy when that happens. A direct hit. Jo’s playing on this track is utterly sublime. Love this one.
It Crossed My Mind
And on the subject of comic monologues, the tale of a fashionista who falls in love. To give you some idea of the age of this song, I note that the “dearest of friends” has variously been Liza, as in Minnelli, Madonna, and now Lady Gaga, all of whom seem to have inhabited that particular role at that particular time. I thought of changing the line from a person to “millions of FaceBook friends”. Or any of the other social media platforms, for that matter; the idea being to not be too specific. But as they all seem to date even faster than celebs, I gave up and went with the talented Lady G. As with quite a number of our songs, I’d love to hear a version with a female singer. Maybe one of these days.
The Way She Goes
One from the late 90’s. There were two extra verses in the original. Both so depressing. “Why is it always strangers who like to call you friend?” “Why does nothing seem as sweet as it did last year?” And so on. Really, a different, utterly depressing song. They had to go. And what are we left with? Well, Lassie and Rin Tin Tin (talk about Old School) and a quote that might be from Damon Runyon, or possibly Satchel Paige. “Everything is 6 to 4 against". Totally true but not exactly 21st century. Somebody explain the references to the children, please.
Look, Spot, Look
So, imagine that I would arrive at Big Dave’s place off the Rue Didot, usually from filming somewhere in Europe, & a merry dinner would ensue with much catching up, no mention of songwriting. Yet. And then to the real reason for the visit.
ME. Er, got any, you know, words? For songs, perhaps?
ME. I see. Might there be a subject? Maybe a title to these words?
HIM. How about a dog?
ME. A dog? You want me to put music to song about a dog? Like, how much is that doggy in the window? Hmmm. Really sophisticated.
HIM. It’s called LOOK, SPOT, LOOK!
And so the gauntlet has been thrown down. The challenge is on. And the next morning I find a tune and a song is born.
I Might Leave
David’s divorce song. Mine will appear deeper into the drawer. It always upset him when I played it. Too close to the bone. I could never work out why they parted. I suspect alcohol had something to do with it, as both Bonnie and Dave ended up in AA. But they clearly adored each other to the end, and Bonnie used to spend a part of each year visiting and caring for the old boy in Paris. The break up had occurred just before I met David in 1980. As my marriage was in terminal trouble at the time, I think we both became even deeper friends, recognising the pain. Not that we talked about it much. Just put all that stuff into the songs. Much later, as it became clear that these songs were going to be primarily performed by me, I asked for changes to suit this strange persona we had created. So, “her high school sweater” became “her old school sweater” as there are no High Schools in England.
Lord, Save Me
This was an old lyric by our old friend Rick Jones, left unfinished in the depths of Dave’s drawer. It was was always hard to work out who had written what in the past. Zanzibar Sunset, for example, remains a matter of some dispute. This one was originally called Heart Within The Heavens (great title, Rick) but went on to ask the Heart to “grant this boon". Er, perhaps not, Rickamus. Then there was the line about “bygone manitou". So as you can see, it needed a tidy up and as I had already set the tune, I insisted David should give a try, not least because we were both hanging out in Paris and Rick was miles away in California. Interestingly, there is another Rick lyric in the drawer which will appear later, and both deal with the matter of a Deity. Curious, as he tells me that he does not have a religious sensibility. But, then again, he is a man of the arts and a fine poet, and people like that are tuned to the universe.
Those of you who are following this body of work may well have noticed the Pierce fondness for Dreams. The topic keeps appearing and I have taken some care to spread them out a bit. Perhaps some future disc could include them all, a Freudian concept album. Tap into the psychotherapist market. At any rate, here we are again and all the better for it.
Where Are You Tonight
A late one, originally written in David’s “boulevardier" persona, another old favourite. Thus, the original title was Where Are You Tonight, Madame? All part of the Pierce myth, a lanky man of letters tipping his hat to the ladies on the boulevards of his beloved Paris. There is another favourite theme here. In Another Rainy Day on BDS 1 you will find “And write another bittersweet love song to some girl I’ll probably never meet". The wistful romantic was often revisited. But of course the Madame thing had to go. I mean, not everyone can be found sipping a glass of something cold and flirting gently on the boulevards of the French capital. Unfortunately.
From the 90’s. In Paris, on one my flying visits. He never thought much of this one. And indeed perhaps this isn’t his finest poetic flourish, but then again simplicity is a good thing when it comes to Popular Music.
The Book of Records
An early one. Definitely from the 80’s. Once again, I suspect this may have been intended for the country rockin’ world that Meal Ticket inhabited. Much influenced by the great Ry Cooder, one of my heroes. In fact, they opened for him in England on one of his tours in the late 70’s. But, as always, David goes for the humour, the ironic twist.