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Life... ya gotta be doin' something...


Some Songs!

Updated: Dec 30, 2023


I enjoy trying to learn to play the guitar and trying to learn songs which, for whatever reason, happen to reach out and grab me. I'm certainly not a musician, this doesn't come naturally or easily, but if I struggle long enough I can amuse myself, and perhaps amuse you too!

This page is a work in progress. It's simply a collection of songs that I enjoy playing. I'm going to try to add another song to this page occasionally. These songs will all be my cover versions of other people's songs which have, for some reason, attracted my attention.

These are recorded in my living room, with no overdubs. I usually record each song two or three times and then publish on this page the version which had the least screw-ups.

I use a pair of AT4041 cardioid condenser mics, one for the guitar (placed around 20 to 30 cm from the guitar, more or less over the 14th fret, pointed toward the sound hole), and one for the vocal (placed about 20 cm from my mouth, either slightly off to the side or using a pop filter). The audio is digitized by a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, and editing is done on Reaper. The guitar is a Yamaha A3R with medium gauge strings for the bass, light gauge strings for the treble, and a custom Tusq bridge saddle which I made.

Each song on this page starts off with a built-in music player, then some comments, and finally download links to use if you want to add the mp3 song to your own music library and/or download a PDF file with the lyrics and chords.

 (P.S. There are also lots of additional songs, some being my original compositions, mostly related to Dances of Universal Peace, on my Celebration page.)


Here are the songs that I've gotten around to recording for this web page... with newest additions added on the end:

1) Give Me My Flowers (While I'm Living)

I stumbled across this song while reading an obituary! The song was first recorded by Flatt and Scruggs in 1957, with lyrics written by their wives and a friend of their wives.

This song was originally performed in a Gospel/Bluegrass style, which I wasn't really too fond of, but I really liked the lyrics, so I just created my own guitar part, tweaked the tempo, and really enjoy the result. I hope you do too!

Download this song:  Give Me My Flowers - mp3 song download

Lyrics and Chords:    Give Me My Flowers - PDF download


2)  How Long

This song is from Frank Stokes, a Memphis musician, who originally recorded the song in August, 1928. I recently heard the song on Spotify, and decided to learn it. In the original version, there are two guitars, but in my version there's just one, just me fingerpicking.

I immediately liked the brisk pace and joyfully bouncy guitar part which, to me, turn what could have been mournful, poor-me lyrics into a playful and hopeful look at a future which triumphs over a troublesome event in the past.

Download this song:  How Long - mp3 song download

Lyrics and Chords:    How Long - PDF download


3)  I Shall Not Be Moved:

This song is inspired by Mississippi John Hurt's version, which he said he learned from a 1929 recording by Charlie Patton. Over the years, there have been some rather slow and somber versions of this tune, but this version is somewhat more upbeat.

For me, this song is a joyful celebration of having established a worthwhile goal and being mindfully engaged in the pursuit of it, firmly resisting being moved from that intention. I like that idea!

This song became popular in the 1960's civil rights movement, and continues to be used in that manner, with the lyrics often changed to "We Shall Not Be Moved".

The song was originally copyrighted in 1908 by Alfred H. Ackley and B.D Ackley, and seems to be based on Psalm 1:1-4, which offers these thoughts:

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Download this song:  I Shall Not Be Moved - download

Lyrics and Chords:    I Shall Not Be Moved - PDF download


4)  Harlem River Blues:

This song is by Justin Townes Earle. To me, the song is a metaphor about willfully, skillfully, mindfully choosing to take the reins of opportunity in our own hands, getting rid of old baggage and heading off on our life journey in the manner which seems best.

The original version was sung a bit slower, and I've tried and tried to play it slower, but even if I start off with a metronome set at a slower pace, I still end up at this happy-go-lucky pace. It's just a fun pace (for me).

Download this song:  Harlem River Blues - download

Lyrics and Chords:    Harlem River Blues - PDF download


5) Mary I'm Comin' Back Home

This song is by Eric Anderson, a singer-songwriter whom I have admired for 60 years. (Oh my, that's a long time!) My version is inspired by the manner in which the song was performed on the album entitled One More Shot by Danko/Fjeld/Anderson.

Throughout the verses, in my version, the strings are being muted with my right hand, to give a darker, more somber tone to the lyrics. In contrast, the chorus and the instrumental break are played without muting, to render a brighter, more hopeful feeling.

Download this song:  Mary I'm Comin' Back home - mp3 song download

Lyrics and Chords:    Mary I'm Comin' Back Home - PDF download