My latest new songs collection [Transfigured] is still only being
introduced post-production and already there are reasons to be very
pleased and excited by the early response. Old friends and new have
offered glowing reviews of the new work and Expecting Rain [the #1 Bob
Dylan website in the world], honored me and my new album on March 26
with a link to my new record between links for Gordon Lightfoot and Bob
Dylan. Pretty cool and I was totally surprised and amazed to discover
that, but thrilled of course, especially since it introduced me and my
songs to music lovers all over the civilized world. My thanks to them
and to all of you who may be newcomers to In Touch With The Mystery and
to me and my music. I'm an obscure and private professional songwriter.
An artist, not an act. Picasso, not paint-by-number songs, as one
appreciative music business friend put it recently in reference to my
latest album. Without a doubt, these 12 new songs represent my best work
to date as a songwriter/artist and so it is my hope that everyone who
visits here to peruse the mysterious contents, will also give a listen
and enjoy my songs and music. All my best. FRANK TRAINOR TRANSFIGURED
I worked for a time in 1973 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and while living there I had opportunities to experience some great live music including Mitch Ryder and The Detroit Wheels whose 1966 smash Devil With The Blue Dress On /Good Golly Miss Molly was the record that fully ignited my fevered soul and made me wanna rock for real. I also managed one time to snag a '5th row center' ticket for a Jeff Beck concert at Cobo Hall in Detroit. I was a fan and Beck, Bogert & Appice [bassist/vocalist Tim Bogert and drummer/vocalist Carmen Appice, both former Cactus and Vanilla Fudge alums] did not disappoint. So I was thrilled to be seated so close to the stage and excited for the music to begin. Soon enough and without any fanfare, a bunch of scruffy guys, who appeared to be weary roadies, casually sauntered out from the wings and began to play the instruments that were waiting just for them. Who were these guys? Song after song they literally blew us away. I couldn’t believe how an unknown and unbilled opening act could be this damn good and not be the headliner. They were absolutely great and they made me almost not care if Beck, Bogert & Appice even showed up. The music they played were the songs from their debut album Can’t Buy A Thrill. The band was Steely Dan. And oh yeah, Beck, Bogert & Appice tore the roof off the place too. Perhaps the most satisfying concert I’ve ever experienced. Also noteworthy from my time in the Wolverine State, was a top drawer blues revue in Ypsilanti, a town not far from Ann Arbor. The headliner was B.B. King and featuring the legendary Howlin’ Wolf, so I made my way down the highway to catch the show which was held at an event venue called Bowen Field House which resembled a gymnasium with a stage and man was it hot in that hall that night. Maybe the music had raised the temperature because the joint was absolutely smokin’…as were the many other "joints" filling the air throughout the auditorium…and Howlin’ Wolf, who’d just gotten out of the hospital, began his set wearing a sheepskin coat…literally a wolf in sheep’s clothing…Howlin' Wolf died not long after that show which took place March 23, 1973. 39 long years ago. I was there. And now…I’m here.
Moody, bluesy, and melodic, Fred Neil was one of the most compelling folk-rockers to emerge from Greenwich Village in the mid-’60s. His albums showcased his extraordinarily low, rich voice on intensely personal and reflective compositions. His influence was subtle but significant; before forming the Lovin’ Spoonful, John Sebastian played harmonica on Neil’s first album, which also featured guitarist Felix Pappalardi, who went on to produce Cream. The Jefferson Airplane featured Neil’s “Other Side of This Life” prominently in their concerts, and dedicated a couple of songs (“Ballad of You and Me and Pooneil” and “House at Pooneil Corner”) to him. On the B-side of “Crying” is Neil’s “Candy Man,” one of Roy Orbison’s bluesiest efforts. Stephen Stills has mentioned Neil as an influence on his guitar playing. Most famously, Harry Nilsson took Neil’s “Everybody’s Talkin’” into the Top Ten as the theme to the movie Midnight Cowboy.
For all his tangential influence, Neil himself remained an enigmatic, mysterious figure. His recorded output was formidable but sparse. During 1964 he recorded as a duo with Vince Martin, which yielded an album for Elektra, Tear Down the Walls. His drumless solo debut, Bleecker & MacDougal (which did have additional instruments), ranked as one of the best efforts from the era in which folk was just beginning its transition to folk-rock. The bluesiest of his albums, it contained some of his best songs, including “Little Bit of Rain,” “Other Side of This Life,” and “Candy Man.” His true peak was his follow-up, Fred Neil, which made a full transition to electric instruments. Less bluesy in tenor, it featured “Everybody’s Talkin’,” as well as an equal gem in “The Dolphins.”
Neil’s subsequent slide into obscurity was strange and quick. Sessions, from 1968, was a much more casual and slapdash affair that included some instrumental jamming. Always a recluse, he retreated to his home in Coconut Grove, FL, after achieving cult success, and didn’t release anything after a live album in 1971. His obscurity was enforced by an absence of domestic compact-disc reissues of his best work, a situation rectified with a superb best-of compilation by Collectors’ Choice and the 2001 reissue of Tear Down the Walls/Bleecker & MacDougal by Elektra. He continued to play, but only for those close to him. Neil, ill with cancer, unexpectedly passed on July 7, 2001, at his home in Florida.
- Richie Unterberger (All Music Guide) H/T Fred Neil
Recent encounters with the folk music community have provided many insights lately into a well established network of allied interests whose main thrust, beyond the promotion of folk/roots music, appears to be an organizational adherence to a collectivist system of “Community” imperatives. The North American folk music alliance is apparently founded in the guiding principle of community first and the many who operate within this system are expected as well to be ideologically and politically motivated towards Leftist ‘Social Justice’ causes. The roots of the North American folk music scene, which reached its apex as a popular wave movement in the 1960’s, are Communist/Marxist in ethos reflecting the spirit of Italian atheist Antonio Gramsciand his famed “long march through the culture”. So, what is a spiritually Catholic, philosophically conservative, Songwriter/Artist to say when his Individual Integrity, founded in Supernatural Grace and Craft, confronts atheist secular humanist social justice folk music community folks.
Well, he could begin by expressing Light through his professional talents demonstrating a uniquely original core and substance gleaned from a mature catalog representing the highest values of idiomatic singer/songwriter culture of the past 50 years reminding once again that GREAT SONGS count as first principle in this idiomatic equation above all in terms of an individual's creativity and artistic fulfillment.
He could indeed posit the scandal that The Song is Everything. The truest and deepest soul secret of the mysterious Muse herself. The purposeful gift of Light in lyric and melody. Songwriter/Artists actually worthy of the categorical descriptive, know full well that the pen alone is not mightier than the WORD because The Song IS the WORD.
The WORD is Everything.
I AM WHO I AM says the Song. Write YOU are…says the WORD.
Now go forth and chordify.
Songwriters are not musicians in the strictest sense. They’re writers. But there are many musicians who foolishly believe they can write songs because, after all, they’re musicians and how hard can it really be. Obviously there are exceptions. There are some truly great Singer/Songwriter/Musician talents who do it all. Paul McCartney comes to mind. But in the main, top flight, first chair musicians don’t deceive themselves by posing as songwriters andPro Songwriters don’t confuse or conflate the two distinct crafts and their respective disciplines. Lesser musicians can’t help themselves unfortunately. If it rhymes, its fine, they'll say. They "wrote it"...must be a song...right...?
Wrong! You need the MUSE to light the FUSE. Craft to fuel the Fire!
Which brings us to our freshly minted interior conversation of the day.
A bit of fun and truth in a little match-up we’ll call Folks vs Frank
Reportage begins…for the sake of argument...right here…right now.
Folks say…”hey, you’re great…but sorry, you’re an old white guy…that’s politically incorrect now...you’re invisible…that’s strike one…but your songs are utterly fantastic and you should join us…but first…take these chains and wait over there in the dark…someone in our elite group will deign to adjudicate you at some point eventually and you’ll proceed to go on bowing and scraping to our agenda.”
Frank says…”You cap my knees with a jack-booted heel, order me to the dungeon to drown in my own drool and invite me to join you. Interesting…must be cool to deal with the weak kneed ”
Folks say…”yes…and our much older white guy…whose name is profanely unsacred and who started this whole pork fest years ago…shall owed be his name…he’s a big time communist so we think you’d probably be uncomfortable as we’re all of the Left ourselves and our legion of many useful ‘Social Justice’ advocates all agree that indeed, we’d be quite uncomfortable ourselves with a conservative troglodyte like you…but…ORWELL…come join us anyway...”
Frank says…”Sounds like some sort of a guild…any dues…?
Folks say…”oh, $$ thousands…and have we mentioned that your songs are great…virtually worthless…BUT…we’re big fans of even the lamest Larry Lay Downs who wish to touch the hem of our garments because as you know…we’re the big bang and it all starts with Community…although we certainly can’t do it alone…we represent the credit of all and claim you just enough to wet our collective beaks”
Frank says…”Wow…so how many of these selfless sacrifices am I even worthy to claim as the writer of…um…uh…how many songs of mine did you say you listened to again…? Oh, right…it was 50...and you truly LOVED them all…each one knocking you out harder than the last…that’s great…by the way, I mentioned that I’m a Catholic and a Conservative right…?...and that I don’t hate a soul…”
Folks say…” WE have several awards and many gold records…”
Frank says…”yeah…that’s great…so what happens tomorrow…?
Folks say…”You’ve heard of course that THE SONG is not important…it’s THE COMMUNITY that’s important…the song is nothing really…although yours are GREAT…you’re the real deal…”
Frank says…”So I’ve heard….but THE SONG is everything. Community is an abstract construct like Animal Farm.”
Folks say…”you may find yourself exiled…banished to the gulag of your own mind and soul…alone in the wilderness without sustenance or warmth from our calcified community to affirm your narcissism and appreciate your talents in mass exultation of wonder…but woe to an exiled non-compliant…glory to us all who paved the way to get you to the gig for a nickel and a dime…you indentured servant you”
Frank says…”Praise The Lord…you actually offer solitude…repose for the weary…?...far from the madding crowd…?...aloneness with The Light that pierces all darkness and guides one to the Unknowing…?
Hey now...that’s the ticket…now you’re talkin’…thanks for showin’ me the way to get back homeward…wow…just for a second there I thought saw something move…but only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove…not me…no way…besides, I’ve been trying to get as far away from myself as I can for a long time now…so this is absolutely great news…and it’s all over now baby blue.”
Folks say…”you’ll have to be punished for your impudence…don’t you realize that we and socialist government socan/cirpa/factor funding have the power to make you and the power to break you…”
Frank says…”well, you obviously have no idea what THE SONG means in its mystical character depths, so I’ll take it that you don’t understand what BREAK means either...I’ll take BREAK for a song Alex…it truly warms the heart of Truth/Beauty/Unity…with talent on loan from God…to stand up proud and be counted…you can go your own way…you can call it another lonely day…”
Folks say…”you’re just too much…you haven’t got a prayer…”
Frank says…”you’re not enough…but a prayer is precisely what I have got…like this one...things I love the most...things I need the least...”
Folks say…”Folk off…”
Frank says…”Right On…and may God Bless Us…Every…One..."
Naw…I'm just wonderin' why every well I've drilled has gone dry. I'm always snappin' at the dog & cryin' at the Andy Griffith Show. Whoever said the hand is quicker than the eye has never tried to brush away a tear or ever had his hand burn for a Randall Knife.
Hmmm...I believe you…and trust it’s true
But in the meantime...
I'm gonna start my pickin' right now...
Just tell me where you'll be...
Desperado pointed down the road and said, Eternity!
Eternity…? said Frankie T with a voice as cold as ice.
What kind of house is this, I said, where I have come to roam?
It's not a house, said Beckham. It's not a house, it's a home.
Chris Gantry, Tony Joe White, Billy Swan, Bob Beckham, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson - Combine Writers Reunion - photo credit CJ Flanagan
But what was really cool was our CMA week open house...hanging out and diggin' in to fresh New York deli trays flown in special for Sir Charles Koppelman and Marty Bandier...lot of silver limos on the row that week...anyway, we're all hangin' and who walks up to join us but Mickey Newbury and Billy Joe Shaver...and then Stewart Harris asked if I was from Canada and it turned out that he had actually spent an entire summer in the early 70's playing a steady gig in my home province. He worked every other week-end alternating with some other singer who - as it turns out - was me. We never met because our paths had never crossed but I always wondered just who that other dude was who worked those other week-ends I was off. We met for the very first time 15 years later standing in that Combine/SBK parking lot talking with Guy Clark, Mickey Newbury and Billy Joe Shaver. How about that for mystical coincidence, eh...? Even Robert Earl Keen Jr. thought that story was crazier than Copenhagen. I even played a few of my songs for Billy Joe in the Combine studio. He said; "man...you're tough...!" Yeah…well, there ain't nobody tougher than you brother Shaver.
And how about Tony Joe White rockin' the house in Belle Meade at the Cockeyed Camel with Steve Cropper & Duck Dunn settin' the hook in the swamp with TJW & his Lightnin' Hopkins soul...now that's what I'm talkin' about...later that week we threw down with a "crappie fry" at Leanne & Tony Joe's out in Franklin. Great gigs up in Louisville also with songwriters Alan Rhody and Don Henry.
Nashville is a songwriter's sacred ground...
I was the pilgrim wasted on the sidewalk...
I was also Billy Dee…17 when I turned 21…
It’s a long tough difficult story but I had to beat the devil...
So I jumped a greyhound in ’72 and set off to find Kristofferson.
15 years later, I set my suitcase down at Combine Music.
Music City Row. To keep the chilly wind off my guitar.
Did I sign my contract in Kris Kristofferson's office...?
There is that mysterious Fatima prophecy from 1917 however.
Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. The first and second parts of the “secret” refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. Our Lady’s words at Fatima
You may not like my appearance May not like my song May not like the way I talk But you like the way I'm gone I'm a free born man My home is on my back I know every inch of highway And every foot of back road Every mile of railroad track
I caught this ramblin' fever long ago When I first heard a lonesome whistle blow If someone said I ever gave a damn They damn sure told you wrong I've had ramblin' fever all along
I've always been crazy and the trouble that it's put me through Been busted for things that I did, and I didn't do I can't say I’m proud of all of the things that I’ve done But I can say I’ve never intentionally hurt anyone I've always been different with one foot over the line Winding up somewhere one step ahead or behind It ain't been so easy but I guess I shouldn't complain I've always been crazy but it's kept me from going insane
A false clock tries to tick out my time To disgrace, distract, and bother me And the dirt of gossip blows into my face And the dust of rumors covers me But if the arrow is straight And the point is slick It can pierce through dust no matter how thick So I'll make my stand And remain as I am And I'll bid farewell and not give a damn
Friends...gather round for my farewell party...
I know you'll have fun...
You'll be free at the end of my farewell party...
I know you'll be glad when I'm gone...
And someday babies you'll pause to recall sayin'...he did THAT sitting down...it oughta be against the law...he never flinched
I did my growin' up young. At a very early age, I departed No Man's Island and set out to meet The Stranger by drifting around various big cities in North America. Spent many years in The Big Smoke where I produced hit songs/pop records for country radio. Eventually signed as a pro songwriter with a legendary Nashville publisher. Grew restless with that Ball & Chain. So I headed out where the mountains meet the sky. Heaven's Remains. But who knows how long that's gonna last or where the next transcendent trails of Rare Breed Vision will eventually be discovered. Maverick Tunesmith Duty equals Blood and Bounty Beauty.
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...