Life Is Good
David Fahl's songs cover a wide range of musical styles; from straight-ahead renderings of the more usual forms to experiments with calypso, reggae, samba, and what he calls \'hillbilly hip-hop\' rhythms. Fahl\'s facility with song structure enables him to come up with catchy hook-filled tunes and to put together songs that defy every rule in the book and still flow like the coolest of Tin Pan Alley. He\'s got drinking songs, philosophy songs, story songs, theology songs, political songs, funny songs, sad songs, mad songs, bitter songs, cheerful songs, mean songs, and all kinds of love songs; happy love songs, guilty love songs, desperate love songs, hopeful love songs, angry love songs, dirty love songs and holy love songs. He\'s got songs about bad women, good women, women who go both ways, thieves, hustlers, rich men, men who work, angels, cowboys, good guys, cops, and substance abusers. Among other subjects addressed are money, marriage, adultery, revenge, true love, revolution, enlightenment, and Jesus. Fahl\'s songs consistently shed light on their subjects from unique and surprising perspectives. Influences include Harry Belafonte, Chuck Berry, William Blake, The Book of Proverbs (King James Version), James Brown, Johnny Cash, Hopalong Cassidy, Ornette Coleman, Robert Crumb, Miles Davis, Willie Dixon, Bob Dylan, Billy Gibbons, Emmet Grogan, Merle Haggard, Elmore James, Krishnamurti, Lyle Lovett, Rene Magritte, Henry Miller, Michael O\'Donoghue, Pops Overstreet, Paganini, Edgar Allen Poe, Prince, The Ramones, Rolling Stones, Rumi, Karl Stockhausen, Merle Travis, U2, Walt Whitman, Hank Williams, Howling Wolf, William Butler Yeats, Neil Young. Useless Facts: Has spent as much time in jail as Johnny Cash (and more recently). From the same state as Bob Dylan. IRS problems lasting longer than Willie Nelson\'s. As of 6/97, all his guitars are old enough to drink. Has been accused of having no personality. No known aliases. Doesn\'t believe in boundaries. Secretly believes he has natural rhythm. What others have said: "We admire David enough to think whatever he does, it will be darned good." Joe Parsons, River Oaks Redneck, June 11, 2002 "Fahl\'s smoky baritone calls to mind David Allan Coe and Waylon Jennings" John Lomax, Houston Press, May 15, 2003 Few of the songs on "Life is Good" sound like typical singer/songwriter material. While nominally a solo CD, it contains performances by some of the Houston musicians it's been my pleasure to work with over the years. Many of the cuts were set up to give the soloists room to play and they took advantage of the opportunity to provide many magical moments. 1. Battle of New Jericho. The song: A traditional folk ballad I made up myself; a story that takes place in a world of the US west circa 1868, the Middle East circa 1000 BC, and somewhere in the 23rd century AD all at once. The recording: Banjo & fiddle from Buddy Allen, acoustic guitar, and a set of changes from an incorrect learning of a familiar pop song which shall remain nameless here. 2. Jo's Got Nothing (But Nothing to Say) The song: This is the tune my now-grown daughter asked me to put on the CD. It's one of the first songs I wrote that anyone remembered. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl. The recording: Joining me on this vocal duet is Beth Mefford, a friend of several years' standing who once played congas and sang with David Fahl & the Strange Attractors. She's a jazz singer now, but helped me out with the old folkie stuff anyway. 3. Waterwall The song: The waterwall is a landmark in Houston, at one end of a nice lawn facing graceful Phillip Johnson skyscraper. On nice Saturdays, quincinera parties get their pictures taken there. Late at night, couples from the Richmond Strip meat markets hang out and make out. This song is what happens when a folk singer tries to write a James Brown song, the lyrics inspired by hearing Dylan's "Obviously 5 Believers" on the radio. The recording: Victor Agis's bass and Dana Harrington's drumming set an awesome groove that gives Buddy's fiddle, Kat Jones's flute, and Jimmy Mac's guitar an excuse to do some of the prettiest ensemble jamming I've ever heard. 4. The Girls in their Summer Dresses. The song: I wrote this at the request of my ex-wife in honor of the Irwin Shaw short story of the same name. The recording: Julia Olivares, one of the best jazz pianists in Houston, helped out here. A long time ago we played this song during a jam at the now legendary Boatyard; a bar that had great music any night of the week. This is the one tune on the record that reminds me of the music my mother and her sister used to play in my grandmother's living room. 5. Graduation Day The song: There were three relationships breaking up at once in my small circle of friends, all of them due to changing atti tudes, increased maturity. The recording: My idea of a straightforward pop arrangement 6. Life is Good The song: Written about three months before a beer company's famous ad campaign using the same phrase. During my first visit to the Kerrville Folk Festival I was hanging with a buddy who seemed unwilling to let the beautiful scenery, fine weather, great music and company keep him from his accustomed state of perpetual anxiety. I repeated the three-word mantra endlessly in an attempt to remind him. The song got written back in civilization a week later. The recording: This has my alltime favorite recorded Jimmy Mac guitar solo in the middle. 7. Gifts of Smoke The song: This was a poem before it was a song. Then it was a reggae tune. For a friend who had a hard time dealing with a relationship that was all it ever would be. The recording: All me. Showing off on acoustic guitars. 8. Running with the Outlaws The song: A day in the life. Some folks live without working, though not so well. This is an attempt to do in songwriting what poets accomplished in the first half of the 20th century; freedom from the restrictions of formal verse patterns. The recording: Buddy, Kat & Jimmy again. 9. Dealer Don't Know The song: A bitter bitch-is-gone-the-hell-with-her thing. The recording: me on acoustics again. 10. Close My Eyes The song: There was a period when I was reading lots of Sufi material and enthralled with the notion of exalting desperate, senseless, longing. Inhaling the scent of a woman you hold as you dance. The recording: Prettiest thing I've ever done, with lots and lots of help. 11. Casey & the Fireman The song: First two verses were given to me by Pops Overstreet, a blues singer I used to work with in the late 80s. I added the last two and tried to give them a setting as close to Pops's music as I could. The recording: One chord blues, no drums, early John Lee Hooker. Harp by Bob Kerswill. 12. Kelly's Doing Fine The song: One of my first sad love songs, with no basis in reality at all. It once had no rhymes, but a bass player said it needed a bridge. The recording: features vocals by Melissa Adams, an excellent singer/songwriter with a fine album out, Firefly. She was a 5th member of Loky for several months in 2000. 13. A Love Like You The song: At the end of the 'Sufi' period, my last desperate love song. The recoding: An experiment in layering acoustic leads, topped off with one of Jimmy's trademark flameouts. 14. Time Passes The song: Larry Dahl, are you out there? A college roommate had this phrase in sign on his wall. Maybe the 3rd song I ever wrote. No one will ever hear the first two. The record: simple as possible.