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OK... I admit it. When I was a kid, before Al Gore invented the Internets and before I could figure out how to play songs by ear, I spent a lot of time at Tower Books going through song books with a pencil and note pad as I wrote down the chords of the songs I wanted to play. Not saying that I was totally innocent in the store going out of business.... But, to spare would be me's of the future tryng to either track down or figure out the chords I will give them to you. Play, sing, have fun. 

Now... Here is the secret... I tune my guitar a full step low. Thus the strings are tuned D-G-C-F-A-D. If you want to play along with the CD (and who wouldn't) take that into consideration. I am listing the chords I actually play and also where I capo for each song, though the chords I am playing are not the chords being played. Or something like that. Point is, if I am not capoing and playing a G chord, it will sound like an F chord. And if I say capo up 2 and play in C, it will sound like a C chord.

Now that the confusion has had time to set in, have fun. If you have any questions, send me an email.

Guitars And Shady Ladies

(The lyrics to this were co-written with a girl named Rochelle who was a good friend in the early 80s. I have not seen her since 1986 and cannot remember how to spell her last name. If she contacts me, I will see that she gets full writing credit and maybe a couple dollars.)

capo 2

B7                                                                  A7   D        F
I wrote a song while watching a movie starring Marilyn Monroe
                Em                                          A7                    D
I wrote a poem with my feet in a river that flowed into Mexico
               C                            G                                D        G
I wrote a tune once on an airplane, but I’ve forgotten how it goes
And there’s a song in that bottle of whisky
G                        D                          G
And I’m going to find it if it takes all night
G                    C      
If it takes all night,
C                      G
Well, that’s all right.
There’s a song in that bottle of whiskey
G                         D                          G
And I’m going to find it if it takes all night


C               G
Give me a shady lady
 D                      G
Under a willow tree
C                         G
Beside a lake and let me take
G                  D
Dreams of ecstasy
G                F
Give me an old guitar
      Eb                            D
To record these things I see
A guitar and a shady lady
          D                            G
And my dreams to comfort me

And then I went to college ‘cuz I didn’t want to work
I’ve cooked Thai food in a restaurant and for a week I was a soda jerk
But I’ve never been an athlete, or a soldier, or a clerk
And now I’m almost 51 and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up
If I grow up
I’m not growing up
I’m singing this song for 26 years and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.


And I want to go out naked, just like the way I came
Just stick a rose between my teeth and toss me on a flame
Pour over an orchard the ashes that remain
And in the spring come eat an apple, and enjoy what I can leave
If I have to leave,
Well don’t you grieve
In the spring come eat an apple and enjoy what I can leave



(The Gong Show was a popular TV show when I wrote this. If you do not remember it, or have spent tons of money on therapy and experimental drugs to rid your mind of it, ask someone less fortunate to explain the last verse)
G                                                       C                      G
She said “You can live forever and you can live tax free
G                                                                                   D
If you trust in God for eternal life, and don’t mind poverty”
                      C                     G                                       C
She said “I’ll give to you the only gift I have and that is me”
        D                          C                       G  
And then she was my roommate for a while

G                                                C                                 G
She looked daily in the mirror to see how much she’d grown
G                                                                                      D
She rubbed my feet and told me jokes and I never felt alone
C                      G                                                     C
Everything she had was free, she liked it best that way
         D                           C               G
And she ate a clove of garlic every day

She put garlic in her salads and never had the flu
So she put it in her scrambled eggs, and peanut butter too
My mouth felt like a furnace when dinner time was through
But it helped in avoiding vampires and plague

She looked daily in the mirror to see how much she’d grown
She rubbed my feet and told me jokes and I never felt alone
Everything we had was free, she liked it best that way
And we ate a clove of garlic every day

Now some things last forever, and others not that long
And for everything we did right, there were three things that went wrong
And the love Gods on the panel gave the two of us the gong
But I find I still think of her every day

Now I look daily in the mirror to see how much I’ve grown
And I tell her jokes when no one’s ‘round, and I never feel alone
But everything I have is mine, I like it best that way
And I eat a clove of garlic every day
And it helps to keep the vampires away

Hal's Train Song
(Hal Wright was a great friend of mine who passed away far too young. Hal loved train songs and I wrote this one in his memory)
capo 6
A guitar and leather jacket
        E7                       Am
Are stashed behind my seat
 Am           Am7
11 years of what we've shared
       Dm                      E7
In a bag between our feet
Am                          Am7
Rollling through the plains
Passing drive by towns and fields of grain
The windows will not open
             E7                      Am
Feeling smothered by the heat

Chorus (instrumental only)

A woman once my lover
I no longer know her way
This train keeps pushing forward
And we share nothing but the day
My view is places we've passed by
And hers is of a future sky
We share no common vision,
There are no words to say


Traveling together
We’re each traveling alone
        F                                             G
Our time now is the only bind that ties
Steel wheels pounding                         
On rails that pop and moan
                   F                        C               Am
And I hear nothing but the silence in her eyes


              Am                  Am7
Rolling farther from the dawn
This old train keeps movin’ on
Wheels mark time that’s gone
In the hands of an unknown driver
                Am                    Am7
Thinking back on younger days
But that was just another phase
Love doesn’t die it fades away
                  E7                         Am
And in the end leaves no survivors

It's night time in Nebraska
We'll be in Denver by the dawn
Hearts are breaking in the heartland
And this train keeps rolling on
Our path continues to unwind
On tracks set down before out time
From her seat she saw the sun set
And I just felt that it was gone

Repeat chorus



(Every songwriter who has ever lived in LA has written at least one song about escaping LA)

capo 4

C                            F                  C              G       C
The rain is falling harder and it chills me to the bone
C                               F                  C          G
Thumbing down to Memphis, traveling alone
        C                     F                     C          G       C    
As I try to find the reason for my time before I die,
C             Am  G                   Am
Like my life, the rain pours by
C             Am  G                   C
Like my life, the rain pours by

As I duck inside a doorway, she is heavy on my mind
Should I have never left, or did I wait too long this time
Stranded without meaning in this misbegotten town
Like my love, the rain pours down
Like my love, the rain pours down

I miss the warmness of her breath upon my shoulder in the dawn
But I know she’s somehow with me, and it helps me carry on
I might see her there before me, I might hear her voice a call
Like my tears, the rain drops fall
Like my tears, the rain drops fall

Coffee Shop

 capo 1

 Am                               Fmaj7     E7                           Am
We sat together sipping coffee in a place that served no wine
Am                            Dm                            B7                          E7
Through the glass the road you watched was for your feet not for mine
Am                                   Fmaj7                   E7                Am
There’s the promise of the future mixed with sorrow in your eyes
Am                                   Dm                   E7                   Am
We both know there’s no tomorrow, and we both hate goodbyes

     C                  G            F                               C
So hold me closer Mary and make the world stand still
C                                   Fmaj7                       G
One last time I’ll run my fingers through your hair
              F                G                      C                      F
You’ve left a form within my heart that no one else will fill
             C                   F                            G         
And wherever my life takes me, you’ll be there
        F                G                           C         Am
Wherever my life takes me you'll be there

In the morning I would watch you as you’d move to greet the day
Early morning Genesis like an animal at play
I hid my face and wondered as I played my secret game
If you’d know I wasn’t sleeping, would your dance have been the same?
Come hold me closer Mary and make the world stand still
I want to run my fingers through your hair
Help me make it through another day the way I know you will
Sooth me with the tenderness you share

Sooth me with the tenderness you share

I saw your eyes and knew you before I heard your name
I watched a life reflecting that would never be the same
As if from a place when time began it was destiny we’d meet
And the first time I made love to you the world was complete
Come hold me closer Mary, and make the world stand still
I want to run my fingers through your hair
I feel you’ve always known me, I know you always will
And wherever your life takes you, I’ll be there
Wherever your life takes you, I'll be there

September Bride
(This was Kathy's birthday present in anticiaption of her 50th birthday which is still a long, long, long way off)
    C                F           C
A late summer day an unknown destination
  F        C       Am          G   
Clear skies around and flowers still in bloom
   C                F           C               
“God watches Iowa” reads a sign on the highway
       F           C             G                C
And you know that it’s true in the eyes of the groom
          F              C   
And there’s a September bride in Coralville Iowa.
        Am           Dm      G
A week on the road and a new love is born
    C                F           C
Kathy Young by the driver, but her name is now different
             F                C           G        C
Their lives come together in fields of sweet corn

Nine years have passed on the coast in the redwoods
They watch from a deck as the sun slips away
She closes her eyes as he brushes her forehead
The hair of deep brown showing traces of gray
There’s a September bride in Anchor Bay California
A second son due and he’s coming along
The husband beside her is strumming a 6 string
Playing to the rhythm of the sea lions song

In the still of the dawn above a field in Napa
There’s a chill in the air grapes are covered with dew
A hot air balloon is carrying lovers
Sharing their world and loving the view
There’s a September love song and a bride almost 50
They still walk together with the same wedding band
Their lives and their bodies, their love and their laughter
Entwined ever after as they walk hand in hand


 (I started writing this in 1982 and finished it in 2008. Sometimes it goes like that.)

 capo 2

 G                               D
I met a girl and she talked for a while
            C                                 G
About needing a father and wanting a child
         C                                           G           Em
She just kept rambling through a chemical smile
         C                D                 G
And didn’t even care if I was listening
She talked about growing up in Tennessee
She talked about Lennon and McCartney
She talked about illusions and reality
And she said she walked with God once


          C                                             G
Everybody on this Earth has had a hard life
    C                                           G
A life that they begin and end alone
          C                                Em
Everybody needs a friend, every now and then   
          Am                                                    D
Everybody has more blessings than they know

A drunk came stumbling down the street
Beside him was a dog with aching feet
The man needs a friend, the dog needs to eat
They took care of each other
And a woman said the Saviour is coming back soon
If I don't accept Him, I'm tempting doom
I need to straighten out my act and clean up my room
To make a good impression


            C                                                   G/B
All my life I’ve tried to hide What I’ve got going on inside
     Am7                                                  G
Ashamed of what my secrets might betray
          C                                       G/B
But then I let you in and felt my life begin again
            Am7                                                D
As the darkness in my heart got washed away

And I don’t care if the sun don’t shine
Because I have my guitar and plenty of wine
And I have you to be my Valentine
I’m happy that I know you
The moon comes up when the sun comes down
I keep getting older as the world spins round
You’re the sweetest thing I’ve ever found
I’m a man because I know you



It Will All Be Perfect

C                        Csus  C              Fmaj7                     C
Dinner’s almost ready, I got your love songs playing too
C               Am                         B7                   E7
I got the flowers, that was a loving thing to do
C                               Csus                      Fmaj7                   C
The pictures are all straightened; clean sheets are on the bed
C                     Am                                  E7                      C
As I close my eyes and think about the better times ahead
Dm                     Dm/B                  C           C/B              Am
In just a couple minutes you’ll be coming through the door
                 C                   F          G                                 Am
And it will all be perfect baby, please don’t hit me any more

There are wounds within your being, I feel it in your hands
And I try my best to comfort you, because I understand
I got nothing that means more than being needed here by you
And if there's anything you ever want, there is nothing I won’t do
Cuz when you hold me close I feel a way I’ve never felt before
And it will all be perfect baby, please don’t hit me anymore

         Dm                          Dm/B
I got friends say I should leave you
                        C                      Am
But they don’t know you like I do
                            Bb                 F                       C
They don’t understand there’s passion in your soul
         Dm                Dm/B
They only see the bruises
          C                   Am
They just don’t realize
                Bb                   F                            Esus
How you warm me in a world that’s just so cold

I’ve spent my life just looking for a place that I belong
And no matter what I try to do, something always has gone wrong
No one’s taken time to know me and still loved me like you do
There’s no one in this world I’ll ever love as much as you
Still there’s a shame that’s deep within me I keep trying to ignore
But it will all be perfect baby, please don’t hit me anymore.


Seafood At The Holiday Inn

(Another escaping LA song. For years I have been saying that this song was inspired by a sign at the Holiday Inn in Tarzana California. Recently someone came to me after a set, rather indignant because the Holiday Inn is in fact not in Tarzana, but rather in Woodland Hills. Is there really a difference?)

G                                           D
Pack up your suitcase and throw it in the car
        C                              G
And I’ll get mine and my best guitar
                      C                                       G
And we’ll be out of this town before the sun disturbs the
          G                 D
Say adios to this valley air
C                      G
Headed off for God knows where
G                C                         G              D              G
And when they look for us at work we’ll be long gone

    C            G                      D                C
Good bye San Fernando, hello America
C                      G                        D
Open up your arms and take us in
  C                           G
Singing songs and flying high
C                             G
Drinking beer and getting by
 G                             D                     G
And eating seafood at the Holiday Inn

Well I pulled my cap down over my eyes
Headed towards the smoggy skies
Armed with my guitar, my songs. and smile
But waiting tables has gone too far
I’ll never be a super star
But I met you babe, and it was all worth while

Good bye San Fernando, hello America
Open up your arms and take us in
A Toyota and the road ahead
Tapes of Springsteen and The Dead
And eating seafood at the Holiday Inn

Playing games with the signs
And counting white lines
C                                                           G
Just a couple hundred miles from the Golden Gate
And then late tonight
When the cars are out of sight
We’ll make love by the side of the Interstate,
It’s going to be so great,
And I don’t want to wait!!

A             E
LA don’t exist no more
               D                                              A
Say goodbye to the past and slam the door
         D                       A            E
The rest of my life is all about you
                         A                                           E
And when we find a place that we love enough
           D                             A
We’ll have someone ship out our stuff
                    D             A
And we will settle down and have a kid or two

D                  A                   E                A
Good bye San Fernando, hello America
D                      A                         E
Open up your arms and take us in
D                             A
Telling jokes and holding hands
D                                A
Sharing dreams and making plans
A                                E                    A
And eating seafood at the Holiday Inn



Life Is Good

(Kathy told me that the world needed a good FU song. This was written while waiting for my lunch in a Korean retaurant. Had the service been better, the song would be shorter. Had it been any worse, I would have gone to the sushi place accross the street.)

capo 2

Life is good since you said goodbye
C                          Am                          G
Life is good ever since you said goodbye
C                                 C7          F                          Dm
I am so happy I could cry, and here’s the reason why
            C               G                    C
Life is good since you said goodbye

You said that it was love at first site
You said that I was perfect as I am
But then you tried to change my hair, how I talk and what I wear
You tried to change me into some other man

Life is good since you said goodbye
Life is good ever since you said goodbye
I am so happy I could cry, and here’s the reason why
Life is good since you said goodbye

I know you’ll find another sucker soon
You’ll treat him like the man of your dreams
But no matter what he tries, just like these other guys,
He will be my drinking buddy by the spring

Life is good since you said goodbye
Life is good ever since you said goodbye
I am so happy I could cry, and here’s the reason why
Life is good since you said goodbye

People who have known me all my life
Saw what I’d become and were amazed
There’s no denying, it’s a fact, you made me cleaning up my act,
Now I’m returning to my wild wicked ways

Life is good since you said goodbye
Life is good ever since you said goodbye
I am so happy I could cry, and here’s the reason why
Life is good since you said goodbye