Mail Myself to You (Woody Guthrie)

This is one of my favorite Woody Guthrie songs, and also one of the mysteries of my life on the folk scene, because… why do people keep saying it’s a kids’ song? Haven’t they read Woody’s books and looked at his drawings? Don’t they know a love song when they hear it?

I must have first heard this on Pete Seeger’s We Shall Overcome LP, since that was the first recording of it. That album came out in 1963, and Pete published it in Sing Out! magazine around the same time, along with five other previously unknown compositions from Woody’s huge horde of unpublished tapes and jottings.  As Pete explained in the accompanying article, a New York publisher had gotten excited when the Weavers got a hit with “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh” (the romantic revision of Woody’s old dust bowl ballad, rewritten by Woody himself in hopes of getting a hit), and asked Woody if he had any more songs. Woody said yes, the publisher gave him a tape machine, Woody spent a few weeks singing into it, and when Pete heard the tapes he recalled being “thunderstruck to find sixty or seventy songs among them that I had never seen before in my life.”

This was one of them, and Pete introduced it at Carnegie Hall as a song Woody had written for his kids — which I suppose I have to believe, since Pete knew Woody and Woody’s quirks a hell of a lot better than I do… but on the other hand, Pete was an enthusiastic father and a one-woman man, while Woody was an enthusiastic father with a lot of other enthusiasms, including pretty much every pretty woman who crossed his path. Which is not to say Woody wouldn’t have sung this song for kids — I’m sure he did, and I’m sure they loved it. I’m just guessing he sang it in some other situations as well, with equal success.

Anyway, I recorded this on my LP back in the 1980s, with the result that a local record company asked if I wanted to do a children’s album… which I didn’t, because when I was a kid I liked cowboy songs, sea shanties, and murder ballads, and that wasn’t what he had in mind. He was thinking of other songs like this — and as far as I’m concerned, there aren’t any. It’s unique, and one of Woody’s masterpieces.

Cow Cow Blues (Charles Davenport)

Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport’s business card claimed he was “The Man that Gave America Boogie-Woogie,” and as Dave Van Ronk used to say, there’s no point in argument. He had as good a claim as anyone, and better than most. In 1925, before any of the other great blues piano players got on record, he recorded a fine version of this piece with a vocal by Dora Carr, his longtime partner on the black vaudeville circuit. It wasn’t titled “boogie woogie,” but that’s what the style would be called after a fellow named Pine Top Smith hit three years later with a piece called “Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie,” and Davenport always claimed he helped Smith arrange and title that record. (The facts are murky, and Peter Silvester, who writes this up in A Left Hand Like God, remains agnostic while seeming to confirm that Davenport helped Smith get the record gig.)

Be that as it may, Davenport was a terrific pianist — check out his “State Street Jive” if you want to hear a truly amazing bassline — and a fine singer, but he will always be remembered for his namesake piece. It quickly became ubiquitous, and every blues and honky-tonk piano player had to work up a version. The Mississippi Delta player Louise Johnson did a nice one titled “On the Wall,” with comments by Son House, who apparently had stolen Johnson’s affections from Charlie Patton during the ride north to record, and there’s a classic reworking by Ray Charles as “Mess Around,” which was also memorably recorded by Professor Longhair.

Along with pianists, it was picked up and reworked by players of other instruments — there’s a kind of sappy big band version by Bob Crosby (Bing’s brother), and two of my favorite versions are by the Mississippi mandolin player Charlie McCoy, one an instrumental titled “Jackson Stomp” and the other a vocal blues called “That Lonesome Train Took My Baby Away.” That was the first piece I ever worked out on mandolin, and I’m pretty sure my guitar version came out of it — though it may have happened the other way around. Either way, I worked it up in the early 1980s and was very happy with the arrangement, because it’s so simple. I came out of a ragtime blues tradition, and Dave Van Ronk had taken me further down the piano ragtime road with some diversions into swing, but this is just some simple riffs in E, inspired by piano but falling naturally on the guitar.

Jack, You’re Dead (Louis Jordan)

I don’t remember when* or where I got my first Louis Jordan album, but I sure remember a lot of the songs on it, and on the next: “Choo-Choo Ch-Boogie,” “Reet, Petite, and Gone,” “Knock Me a Kiss,” and particularly “Jack, You’re Dead.” I fell head over heals for this one, and got a good tip from Dave Van Ronk: I told him I was interested in working up an arrangement, and after laughing and nodding through Jordan’s version, he said, “You oughta keep that descending bass line.” So I did, and recorded it, got some local radio play–not much, maybe just on one station, but enough that for the next few years people would occasionally show up at gigs and ask me to play it.

I need to thank Dave as well for the bridge to the second verse–not because I got it from him, but because I learned from his example that it was OK to rewrite a song if it needed rewriting. Jordan’s version used the same bridge for both verses, which was not only repetitive but repeated the weakest couplet in the lyric. So, following Dave’s example on songs like “That’ll Never Happen No More” and “Somebody Else, Not Me,” I wrote a new lyric for the second bridge… and then Dave let me down, because he liked my new bridge, complimented me on it, promptly forgot about it, and when he recorded his own version used  Jordan’s repeated bridge.

Anyway, Louis Jordan…

It’s crazy that I didn’t know about him before the 1980s, because he was one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music, and specifically in blues and R&B. Whenever I heard B.B. King sing “Let the Good Times Roll,” he was covering Louis Jordan. Chuck Berry said he based his songwriting and performance style on Jordan, and Bill Haley and the Comets were arranged as a white version of Jordan’s Tympany 5. James Brown got his start doing Jordan covers, and was still doing them in the 1960s. But all of that’s just the ripples.

Jordan was a sax player in Chick Webb’s band, one of the greatest bands of the swing era, and coupled for a while with Ella Fitzgerald, but in the late 1930s he had a brainstorm: amplification was coming in, money was tight, jukeboxes were all the rage, and he realized that records could actually sound hotter with a small group, while amplification meant small bands could play halls that had previously needed big bands. So he hit the road with a tight, swinging, fun little outfit that he called the Tympany 5, though it almost always had at least six members. He wrote or bought a bunch of hot, funny jive songs, starred in comical low-budget movies, made entertaining radio appearances… and by the mid-1940s was the most popular recording star in black America, with millions of white, Latino, and Asian fans thrown in.

There is much, much more to be said about Louis Jordan, but for now I’ll just add that he is also a contender for the first major rap star, based on his hit “Beware” in 1946. It is not exactly rap as we now know it, but the lineage is pretty clear. You can catch him doing it at minute 3:50 of this clip from his film of the same name:

*Though I don’t know when I first got into Jordan, it must have been by 1981, since I clearly remember my irritation when Joe Jackson released his Jumpin’ Jive album and it included “Jack, You’re Dead.” I had a horrible moment of fear that people would think I’d learned the song off a Joe Jackson album and was faking my attachment to Louis Jordan… but fortunately no one seems to have bought Jackson’s disc, or at least none mentioned it. (For what it’s worth, I loved Jackson’s Look Sharp album, and even worked up a couple of the songs on it, though not to the point of performing them.)

Antelope Rag (Dave Van Ronk)

In the early 1960s, when other people on the folk scene were learning rural string band and blues music, Dave Van Ronk recorded the first fingerstyle guitar arrangement of a formal, multi-part rag, “St. Louis Tickle.” As I wrote in the “Tickle” installment (and others),  that piece spawned a small ragtime guitar scene that by the mid-1970s had produced a dozen or so albums and spread to Europe. Dave meanwhile had been concentrating on other things. He took a second crack at arranging classic rags on his Ragtime Jug Stompers LP, but handed over the instrumental leads to Danny Kalb, Artie Rose, and Barry Kornfeld, and then he got into modern singer-songwriter styles, formed a rock band, recorded with larger ensembles, and put the fancy guitar work on the back burner.

The hiatus lasted till about 1975, by which time the folk boom was over, he hadn’t managed to cross over to a pop audience, and he was forced to give guitar lessons to pay the rent. For better or worse, that meant he had to think long and hard about his guitar playing, and he reached the conclusion that he was fundamentally an arranger rather than a picker. That, in turn, led to the thought that he should create some more complex arrangements, and he worked out beautiful charts of Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Rag,” Jelly Roll Morton’s “The Pearls,” and a bit later Joplin’s “The Entertainer.”

Dave was haunted, though, by a comment he had made back in “Tickle” days to the effect that solo guitar wasn’t really suited to piano rags and it would be better either to arrange them for two guitars or write new rags specifically for solo fingerstyle performance. So, around 1980, he finally wrote one. I remember the first time he played it for me, sitting on his huge and sagging couch. He was very pleased with how it had turned out, and explained that he’d titled it “Antelope Rag” because a friend had commented that his left-hand movements in the the third section looked like a leaping antelope.

By that time I’d gotten over my own flirtation with classic ragtime, and although I liked the piece I probably wouldn’t have learned it… but a few years later Dave hired me to do the tablature for his guitar instruction book. That meant learning all the arrangements, and this was one of them, and was really fun to play, so I kept playing it. I even played it for Leo Wijnkamp in Antwerp, who was one of Dave’s modern models of a ragtime guitarist, and although Leo was tired of ragtime by then and composing modernist pieces for multiple guitars and clarinets, he said some nice things about the use of dissonance in the fourth section, which made Dave very happy.

(Dave’s guitar book is long out of print, and there don’t seem to be any plans to reissue it, but Dave’s wife is willing to sell tab sheets for this piece — so if you want a copy, get in touch with me.)

Ragged, But Right (Greenbriar Boys, etc.)

I’ve testified in a previous post about my love of the Greenbriar Boys, and in particular their album with this title track. It was one of the formative records of my early teens, in a large part because it was so much fun — kind of like the Kweskin Jug Band, though with more country flavor. This song in particular became one of my standbys, because it was a great way to introduce myself. I’d start my first set with something quiet and pretty — usually “Let the Mermaids Flirt with Me” — and then, when the audience was lulled into thinking I was that kind of guy, I’d hit them with a burst of fast ragtime picking and launch into this:

I just came here to tell you people, I’m ragged, but I’m right,
A thief and I’m a gambler and I’m drunk every night…

Which was stretching the truth a bit, but I was in my early twenties and feeling hot — those were the days when I’d start out wearing a cowboy shirt, then strip down mid-set to a tight black t-shirt with a gaudy picture of Madonna on it. Take that, you folky purists and sensitive singer-songwriters…

The Greenbriars presumably got this from Riley Puckett’s 1934 recording, though I’d been doing it for years before I even knew who Puckett was. That was kind of odd, because he was one of the first major stars in old-time country music, already known throughout the South before Jimmie Rodgers entered a recording studio.

I think I missed him because by the time I came along the revivalist scene had segmented, with blues fans like me on one side and old-time fiddle and string-band folks on another. Since he made lots of records singing ragtime and blues-flavored material, there’s no reason aside from race why Puckett couldn’t have gotten filed on my side along with people like John Hurt and Mance Lipscomb… but race was a major demarcator, plus the fact that he was the guitarist for a fiddle band, Gid Tanner’s Skillet Lickers. That’s how I first heard him, and I assumed he was mostly a sideman, but Tony Russell quotes the Skillett Lickers’ virtuoso fiddler, Clayton McMichen, saying that in commercial terms Puckett was the star: “Riley proved the people wanted to hear singin’, and if he didn’t sing on the records, why, they didn’t sell much.”

“Ragged But Right” had previously been recorded by an African American group led by brothers Rufus and Ben Quillian, who like Puckett were from Georgia, but their version was sufficiently different that it presumably wasn’t his source. The song dates back at least to 1905, when Abbott and Seroff quote the Indianapolis Freeman describing a popular comedian “cleaning up with one of Bob Russell’s latest songs, ‘Ragged, but Right’.” There was a prominent black theatrical producer named Bob Russell in that period, and I assume this was him, but I have no other evidence that he wrote songs, so it may have been something he bought from the actual composer, and a reference from 1909 credits it to a performer known only as Shoe Strings. (Handily for this research, Abbott and Seroff titled their book Ragged but Right.)

As for the guitar twirl in the last verse, I got that from Andy Cohen, and it came in handy when I worked with Howard Armstrong, who liked me to do it in sync with his mandolin twirl.

Gimme A Ride To Heaven, Boy (Terry Allen)

When I was writing for the Boston Globe I would sometimes drop by Rounder Records to see what was new, and one afternoon I stopped by George Thomas’s desk and he handed me Bloodlines by Terry Allen and the Panhandle Mystery Band. I’d never heard of Allen, and  George was so horrified by my confession of ignorance that he also handed me Smokin’ the Dummy and Lubbock (On Everything). So he’s to blame for me becoming a stone Terry Allen fan, and I’m forever grateful.

To be honest, it took a while for me to understand what I was hearing. I got “Gimme a Ride…” immediately and started performing it, but it took another year or two before I recognized the transcendent genius of the Lubbock set and started doing “Wolfman of Del Rio,” which may still be my favorite evocation of what it is to be American, or at least some kind of American. (I’ll get that one up here in a while, but meanwhile I recommend picking up the whole album.)

For those who don’t know his work, Allen is a sculptor and multimedia installation artist, a playwright, a songwriter, a singer and a five- or six-finger pianist. He grew up in Lubbock, where he and his future wife Jo Harvey were the oldest of a high school musical rebel crew that  also included Jo Carol Pierce, Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and a bit later Lloyd Maines, who ended up playing a lot of the instruments in Allen’s backing group, the Panhandle Mystery Band.

Allen’s father ran the Jamboree Hall, where all the top black acts played on Fridays and all the top country acts on Saturdays, and Buddy Holly played guitar for the local country band. Allen’s mother was a honky-tonk piano player and accordionist.

So, out of that, Allen ended up as kind of a prairie Randy Newman, if you had to compare him to anyone, except his music doesn’t sound much like Newman’s and his frames of reference are very different. The music is a lot more minimal, for one thing, maybe because he’s a pretty limited pianist but also because that’s clearly how he likes it. It’s sometimes dry and sometimes Brechtian, and sometimes conceptual like the visual art it sometimes accompanies, and sometimes straight-up country but with weird twists.

None of which is particularly helpful, but I owe him several debts — a later album, Human Remains, arrived just when I was going through a bad break-up and I listened to it over and over for several weeks, interspersed with early Ornette Coleman, which sounds like an odd combination, but it got me through.

And then there’s this song, which speaks for itself.

Because of the Wind (Joe Ely)

I first heard Joe Ely in 1979-80, when I was visiting my erstwhile washboard player, Rob Forbes, in Ithaca  and a friend of his played me Honky Tonk Masquerade. Rob’s friend introduced it as a fusion of new wave rock with country music, but I didn’t hear anything new wave about it — the country sounded country and the rock sounded like Jerry Lee Lewis. Which said, the band had a unique mix of high-powered electric guitar and steel with accordion, and the songs were my first taste of the new Texas scene, which was a huge relief from the singer-songwriter stuff I was hearing back east. (I later learned that the new wave connection was kind of guilt by association: the Clash were huge fans and took Ely on tour with them, so a lot of people first heard him in that context.)

I bought that album, listened to it over and over, learned more than half the songs on it, picked up Ely’s next couple of records as well as his first, which preceded Masquerade, and eventually had the luck to see him live and solo. I saw him a few times with bands as well — a loud rock group with Bobby Keyes on sax and then the reunion of his old Lubbock/Austin band with Lloyd Maines, Ponty Bone, Jesse Taylor, and the addition of a Dutch flamenco guitarist named Teye — but the shows that blew me away were the solo ones. He would come onstage with just an acoustic guitar and I swear he rocked harder than I ever saw him do with a group. His charisma was incredible, his guitar work was as effective as anybody’s this side of Lightnin’ Hopkins — ok, that’s an exaggeration, but in context it was terrific — and I can’t think of any concerts I’ve loved more.

I sang a lot of Joe’s songs in my touring days, and ended up recording one of them, “West Texas Waltz,” because it gave me a chance to play diatonic accordion (of course that song was written by Butch Hancock, Joe’s sometime partner with Jimmie Dale Gilmore in the Flatlanders, but I’m one of the many people who mostly know Butch’s work through Joe). I rarely played this one onstage, because I had other quiet songs and was looking for something else when I went to him, but I always loved it and did it when I had the right crowd, and almost recorded it on my LP… and I still think it’s one of the simplest, prettiest lyrics I’ve ever heard. Pure Texas, without any mythic posing or overstatement.

Incidentally, my own experience of “the breeze that blows from Corpus Christi” is a good deal less romantic. I hitchhiked through there in early December, 1987, as the temperature dived to freezing, with nothing but a light wool jacket. Fortunately  a friendly bum had an extra sweater, but it was still damn cold.

Honky Tonk Heroes (Waylon Jennings)

I owe this song and my further acquaintance with Waylon’s ouevre — and much else — to Peter Guralnick. I first became tangentially aware of Peter when I got into blues as a kid and my mother mentioned that Dr. Guralnick’s son wrote about blues. Dr. Guralnick had removed her impacted wisdom teeth and later dealt with my impacted canines, and he recently celebrated his 102nd birthday. But being a pigheaded kid I didn’t follow up on this first clue and only discovered Peter’s work in my late teens — I don’t remember whether I read Lost Highway or Feel Like Going Home first, because I immediately read the other and in my memory they are merged into a single book.

I learned a lot from those books, but the most important thing was that you didn’t have to sort music into categories — that you could like Waylon Jennings and Howlin’ Wolf for the same reasons, and think of them as singing variations of the same kind of music, along with Hank Williams, Skip James, and Elvis Presley. I didn’t necessarily share all of Peter’s tastes — though I shared a lot of them, and  later found we share many others that didn’t get into those books — but I hunted up every record he mentioned and many of them became central to my understanding of music and led me down the paths I’ve followed ever since.*

Peter described Waylon’s Honky Tonk Heroes as his “landmark album,” so I went right out and bought it, and it sure was a landmark for me. I had tended to dismiss contemporary country music, but that album got me on a kick that extended through another eight or ten Waylon albums, a couple of Willie Nelson’s, at least one of Tompall Glaser’s, and then I connected to Joe Ely and Merle Haggard and worked my way backward to Hank Williams and Bob Wills and forward to Lacey J. Dalton, John Anderson, Dwight Yoakam, and so on and on.

I learned at least a dozen songs off Waylon’s records, but most of them didn’t really suit me — I could never sing “The only two things in life that make it worth living/ Is guitars are tuned good and firm-feelin’ women” with a straight face. This one became a regular in my repertoire, not because it suited me in an autobiographical way but because it suited my ragtime-based guitar style. I learned it one afternoon, played it at the Nameless Coffeehouse in Harvard Square that evening, and got applause for the guitar break, which had never happened before, so I kept playing it.

I only saw Waylon live once, and he was as good as I’d hoped — he still had Ralph Mooney on steel, and the rest of the band was loose and powerful, and he seemed natural, charming, and wild, just like in Guralnick’s piece. His records were mostly spotty, and when I listen back these days I tend to put together my own mixes, but there’s still something in his voice that I can’t get anywhere else, and I still enjoy fooling around with a lot of those songs:

The highway is hotter than nine kinds of hell
The rides are scarce as the rain
When you’re down to your last shuck, with nothing to sell
And too far away for the trains

Like “Honky Tonk Heroes,” that one was penned by Billy Joe Shaver, who wrote most of that landmark Waylon album and deserves his own entry. I saw him a bunch of times over the years, interviewed him a couple of times, love his writing, and he’s a whole other story.

 

*In an earlier post I credited Doug Sahm and Band with setting me on that path, and that record probably hit me at about the same time as Guralnick, though I don’t think I made the connection at the time.

Run Red Run (The Coasters)

Among the fringe benefits of hanging out in Vancouver was a friend of Maggie’s who collected old 45s and made me a tape of oddities and rarities, including LaVerne Baker’s “Saved,” the Court Jesters’ “Roaches,” and the Coasters doing “Run Red Run” and “What About Us?”

Produced and supplied with songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the Coasters were far more political than most fans or historians recall. I’ve already written about “Framed” and “Riot in Cell Block #9,” but this 1959 pairing was their most explicit protest single to hit the charts. “What About Us?” was a thinly disguised plaint for social justice, couched in typically humorous terms:

He goes to eat at the Ritz — big steaks! (That’s the breaks.)
We eat hominy grits, from a bag. (What a drag…)
What about us? What about us?
Don’t want to cause no fuss, but what about us?

“Run, Red, Run” was an urban update of the African tradition of  animal trickster tales, and more directly a hip reworking of the “Signifying Monkey” toasts.  (For more on that, check out a terrific book, Get Your Ass in the Water and Swim Like Me, by Bruce Jackson.)  On the surface it’s about a monkey who turns the tables on the man who has taught him to drink beer and play poker — but it didn’t take much imagination to see the monkey as a stand-in for Africans, Red for white America, and the story for the changes that were happening in those years, from the southern marches to the ghetto riots and the rise of black power.  As Leiber later said, “Once the monkey knows how to play, he knows how to understand other things. And once he understands that he’s being cheated and exploited, he becomes revolutionary.”

In that context, it is ironic that the song appeared on an album that, as was typical at that time, masked the race of the artists with pictures of white people. It’s possible that this was unintentional — in the sense that a white artist may have drawn white people without even considering other options — but that is no less noteworthy, and it’s equally possible that the choice was made with full intent. Berry Gordy, for one, was open about avoiding showing pictures of his groups on Motown album covers in this period, to avoid alienating white buyers — or, perhaps, their parents.

All of which said, it’s a great song, and in 1984 I included it on my LP, Songster/Fingerpicker/Shirtmaker. The guitar part was loosely adapted from John Hammond’s arrangement for Mose Allison’s “Ask Me Nice,” though he made it significantly funkier.

Incidentally, listening back to the Coasters’ records, I seem to have added a touch from the B side: they sing that the monkey is going to go to town in Red’s “new brown suit,” and refer to the rich guy in “What About Us?” as having a car made of suede… I turned the suit into a brown suede suit, having once been impressed to see Tom Lehrer wearing a suede suit at a benefit concert.

 

A Man’s a Man (Bertolt Brecht/Dave Van Ronk)

The title song from Bertolt Brecht’s early play Mann ist Mann, this was my professional recording debut, arranging and playing guitar for Dave Van Ronk. Dave was a great interpreter of Brecht’s songs, and even appeared in an off-Broadway production of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, singing the “Alabama Song.” He recorded that, and “Mack the Knife,” and his own fine translation of “As You Make Your Bed,” and then in the early 1980s Gary Cristall arranged for him to do a Brecht workshop at the Vancouver Folk Festival with the English singer Frankie Armstrong, and then for them to do an album together for his Aural Tradition record label.

I happened to be in Vancouver in the summer of 1982 or thereabouts when Dave came to record and, since he didn’t have any of his New York stalwarts around, I figured it was my chance to get on a Van Ronk session. So I volunteered and Dave — by way of gently brushing me off — said, “If you can come up with a decent arrangement for ‘A Man’s a Man,’ I’ve always wanted to do that one.” He added that it would have to be an arrangement that could be capoed up the neck, since he didn’t know what key was good for him, then left to play at the Edmonton folk festival.

In those days before the internet, it wasn’t easy to find a recording of the song, but fortunately my friend and hostess Maggie found a copy of Eric Bentley’s Brecht album in the library at Simon Fraser University. Fortunately, again, Bentley was a pretty rudimentary pianist and played a simple ragtime accompaniment that transferred easily to the bottom five frets of the guitar… so when Dave got back to Vancouver, there I was with an arrangement and he was stuck.

Brecht wrote Mann ist Mann in 1924, and described it as a comedy, apparently taking Chaplin’s films as a model. He directed the most famous production of it in Berlin in 1931, starring Peter Lorre, who performed during breaks from the shooting schedule of M. It was meant to exemplify Brecht’s theories of modern theater, and was acted in a highly stylized manner, fitting his theory of “alienation” — which in this case apparently meant “purposefully presenting the character in an episodic and incoherent manner in order to emphasize the changing nature of social relations.”* Berlin audiences were effectively alienated, and it closed in five days.

Dave also considered alienation a useful performance technique, though what he meant was that you can make a lyric more effective by framing it in a way that goes directly against its meaning: singing a tender lyric in a rough voice, or a brutal lyric over a gentle accompaniment. This song is a perfect example, using a perky ragtime tune and cheery chit-chat to underline the dehumanizing horror of war. The soldiers are interchangeable cogs, all named Dan, all having the same experiences, and all meaninglessly expendable.

I worked this out for Dave and had no plans to sing it myself, but my friend Monte fell in love with it while I was practicing for the session and made me do it whenever I was back in town, and I got to like it.

As for the Brecht album, it came out in 1989 and this song was Dave’s weakest performance on it — he had very little practice time, and sounds rushed — but he’d been singing the other songs for decades and did them brilliantly, in particular an a cappella version of the title song, “Let No One Deceive You”:

 

*Sarah Thomas, Peter Lorre, Face Maker

Revisiting the songs that have made a home in my head