I’m A Caboose

I retired gradually. My teaching career was becoming less and less my passion, and the generation gap was becoming more and more evident. I went down to a four day week for two years and then down to three days until the pandemic sidelined most of us and my career just petered out. Before the pandemic hit, the school council voted to eliminate music in favour of “Arts Dramatique” which discouraged me. I jokingly asked: “Are you saying I’m irreplaceable?”. They said it is too hard to find a bilingual music teacher, but they did not even attempt to find one. I was always having to deal with “the more important subjects” to get any sort of extra time for rehearsal or for anything that disrupted the status quo. I was feeling kind of bitter, but I realized that change is constant in this world. buildings get re-purposed, roads get re-routed, occupations wither and die, etc.

The caboose has always attracted my attention. I thought “How cool, a fort on wheels” As a child I was always finding cool places to be alone and play at establishing a new home. Putting junk and “treasures” in it and delving deep into my imagination. A caboose represented the acme of all that. I was appalled when in the mid 1980’s the caboose was replaced with an electronic device. No longer needed, they became redundant, scrapped, repurposed and entered into history much like blacksmiths, video stores, journalists, mom and pop stores,etc.

As my relevance waned, I felt more and more like a relic of the past, but coupled with a fierce determination to remain relevant in my art and have produced more music in the past few years than I had in the previous decade.

I recorded this as part of my “just me and a guitar” sessions at Boutique de Son nd the album was almost done when the pandemic hit. Throughout the pandemic I wrote and recorded profusely and my “already in the can” material sat unheard. I released three albums this summer which is kind of an overload, but I see it more as unclogging a drain and letting things flow unimpeded now the music is out there.

I commissioned my friend Jacquie Dinsmore to paint an orphaned caboose.

All the jobs I ever trained for Tend to fade away
They say that I'm Redundant They say I'm In the way

I used to dig the ice out  of the river over there
I'd store it packed in straw  They don't need that anymore

I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
I used to have a function I used to have a use
I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
They left me at the junction When they cut me loose

I used to stoke the engines With my sweat and filthy coal
But technology replaced me  And I've got nowhere to go

I wanna be a classic car an antique shop filled with artifacts
I wanna be a 10 cent chocolate bar, But, they say, there's no going back

I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
Rusting on a rusty spur Waiting for things to occur
I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
They left me at the junction When they cut me loose

I used to sell their products until the products disappeared
Or else they're made overseas They can't afford to make them here

The world is spinning way too fast And I used to ride the Trunk
The treasures of the recent past Now are worthless junk

I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
I used to have a function I used to have a use
I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
They left me at the junction When they cut me loose

I've always been quite attached to trains They always know which way they're going
Now the trains they whistle past, They don't slow down, they move too fast

I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
I used to have a function I used to have a use
I'm a caboose, I'm a caboose
They left me at the junction When they cut me loose
I'm a caboose.


The Pearl

I had just re-read Steinbeck’s The Pearl when the news of yet another friend’s demise arrived. I don’t exactly remember why I called this song “The Pearl” except Steinbeck’s Pearl was something coveted and was going to improve the lot of Kino and his family. Maybe it is about searching for pearls, but never finding it or finding it like Kino did, and realizing it was going to destroy you. Artificial happiness is never as stimulating as actual happiness.

You thought you'd get away with it
Thought you'd never get caught
What were you expecting? 
This is what you got

This is what you got
This is what you got
It wasn't what you wanted
It wasn't what you thought

You got a belly full of pain
A pocketful of dust
Your heart broken again
And a junkyard full of rust

You wanted to stay high
Have a permanent good time
Now you're struggling to get by
And you're hungry all the time

This is....
(8)
You wanted a big change
A change at any cost
Look at what you've gained
Look at what you lost

This is..




Chet’s Habit

I have been a long time fan of Chet’s music and I was fortunate to see him several times where he transfixed the audiences with his mastery of the idiom. I was lucky. Perhaps if he had been nodding I would have been less forgiving, but he wasn’t, and his artistry shone.

In 1986 at the Montreal Jazz Festival Chet Baker and Paul Bley started a highly anticipated duo concert together, but Chet was in such bad shape, he needed to be led off the stage to a chorus of boos and insults. This both saddened me and angered me. Sad because he had a superior gift that has been simultaneously aided and eroded by his addiction.

I channeled my feelings into an instrumental piece and recorded it in 1995 with a full band. Although I am pleased with this recording, I felt the intro should have been more rubato and I wish I had held the long notes at the end of phrases a little longer…

Chet’s Habit has been part of my repertoire and got better over time. One day, while playing it, I experienced the rhapsody of being high and escaping my woes and worries much in the same way drugs might take me away. The lines that became the lyric spilled out of me like a faucet fills a glass, and the instrumental was now a song.

In 2019 I took possession of my brand new handcrafted Greenfield guitar built for me by my friend Michael Greenfield. I revisited some of my repertoire as I got to know the guitar and because the Greenfield sustains superbly and the overtones are so pleasant I decided to re-record Chet’s habit.

I had just attended an important music conference and was trying to stir up interest in my work so I could enter the “house concert” scene. The people who interviewed me did not even listen to my discs because they were not representative of solo me (o sole mio).

I booked George Doxas’ studio where I am very comfortable working and recorded 30 songs which I pared down to what is released on the solo album “I’m A Caboose” of just me and guitar as one might experience my music at a home concert. The other songs have not been released yet; not because they suck, but I felt that thematically they did not fit the album. They will fit some future projects no doubt.

Sailing …over the sea
trying to forget that I’m me

Drifting…wafting… Floating along…
In a song

Sailing …over the waves
I got nothing left to save
Drifting… Wafting… floating along…
Through my horn

Words(2005) and Music(1986) 
By:  Ian Goodall Hanchet


1995 version

2019 version

1381 Poll Tax Blues

https://ianhanchet.bandcamp.com/track/1381-poll-tax-blues

Digging into my ancestry has unearthed a story of one of my ancestors who was beheaded in the Peasant’s Revolt of 1381 in England. Not sure if he is a direct ancestor (I doubt it because he was decapitated at the age of 22 and had only one child), but he is a part of the family lore.

About a month ago I was in attendance at a performance of Celtic music played by my friends Patrick Hutchison and Jeff Deeprose. Their repertoire included many songs that were actually ancient stories of derring-do that have been passed down through the ages by minstrels in pubs and taverns. I thought “Hey, maybe I can write a song about John Hanchauch (variation of Hanchet)!”

I researched the Wat Tyler Rebellion and The Peasant's Revolt (the same thing) and determined that it was a righteous protest against injustice. I was worried that he might be like the recent "Freedom Convoys" and the infamous dolts of January sixth. I think not. They were protesting against the Feudal system and the injustice of taxation from the people least able to afford it. In present day terms, it is like the rich paying an insignificant percentage of their income while the same percentage from farmers and tradesmen is a huge dent in their breadwinning. 

I hate the idea of "classes" as in upper and lower and middle classes. I have seen wealthy people with no "class" and I have seen people with nothing sharing what they have and exhibiting more "class" than most people will ever have within them.

I am a Canadian and I have a strong socialist bent. I resent Royalty and deplore "celebrity" and don't get me started on Privilege and billionaires,etc. I hope this (admittedly an ear worm of a) song sees traction. Please share it widely.

Oh, the 14th century was a very rough age
unless  clothes of silk was what you wore
on top of plague, famine and war, they want to tax us even more
But We’re not going to take it any more

how much you going to bleed us for you bastards
how much you going to take from us in taxes 
how much you going to bleed us for you bastards
We’re not going to take it anymore

John Ball had a dream in which every human being 
was an equal and shared the bounty of the land 
where the rich became aware of the people in their care 
Who felt the balance of wealth was unfair

how much you going to bleed us for you bastards?..

"When Adam delved and …Eve span 
Who was then the gentleman?"
who made you king and me an underling?
I’m not going to bow to you no more

how much you going to bleed us for you bastards?....

 silly king  Richard was only fourteen 
he never ever learned to play nice
they did his sums while he twiddled his thumbs and he
followed all their bad advice

they said tax em once, tax em once again 
take away their milk, take away their grain
we need more money to pay for more war 
the treasury’s weakened, better tax em some more

how much you going to bleed us for you bastards?.....

At only twenty two John Hanchauch, to be true
Led some men on up to Cambridge town
These men had no fear, and their mission was clear
Find the manors of their foes and burn them down



John’s future had been shining  bright before him
at twenty years of age, he’d just been wed
But he couldn’t stand the rules of these aristocratic fools
And in just two years he’d lost his head

Henry DeSpencer, fighting bishop for the king
Needed somebody to fail
Dispenser of “justice” ordered the axe
And Hanchauch’s head fell in the pail.

how much you going to bleed us for you bastards
how much you going to take from us in taxes 
how much you going to bleed us for you bastards
We’re not going to take it anymore

how much you going to bleed us for you bastards
Headless men can’t pay taxes 
how much you going to bleed us for you bastards
You’ll get nothing from me anymore

Laisse-Moi Tranquille

https://music.apple.com/ca/album/laisse-moi-tranquille/1064949053?i=1064949438

In a former life (1990-2000) as a music therapist working in a school with children with Autism I encountered a very bright, but very remote young boy. My job was to engage with this child using music as part of the overall stream of therapeutic services offered to our clientele.

This boy would be dropped off at the music room where there were many visual stimuli and manipulables to play with. I used a technique called “mirroring” which I learned about through the work of Nordoff and Robbins. I watched his movement and improvised on the piano matching his movement rhythmically and resting when he was static. The goal was for him to become aware of an “other” (me) through non-verbal communication and share in the interaction as a kind of game where sometimes I got to lead.

On this one occasion, he was left off and I “followed” him on the piano. After about 15 minutes of this, I could see he was becoming agitated by my relentless pursuit and he turned away from me and said in a very loud voice “Laisse-moi dans mon monde!”. I was shocked because this child had not previously shown much verbal skill apart from pointing at the various pairs of fluorescent lights that lined the ceiling and pointing at each and saying “ça s’allume” if the lights were on or “ça s’allume pas” if they were off.

Not one to let it go at “Leave me in my world”, I asked him “what was in his world?” and he turned to me and smiled and said “des belles images”. This was a turning point for both of us. I respected his wish and I stopped mirroring him and started to play something beautiful for myself while continuing to watch the boy play. As I played I thought: “I’d like to be in a world where there are beautiful images” and I thought about the number of times I have been pulled out of my reverie by something mundane like an alarm, or a parental obligation. I started to question what I was doing which was to pull people into “our world” which ran contrary to my raison d’être as an artist which was to create beautiful worlds out of my imagination.

Many years later I was trying to learn “The Heart Of The Matter” by Don Henley. The opening guitar chords are similar to the chords of “Free Falling” by Tom Petty: Henley’s has a melody based off a D chord followed by and an A7sus4 chord where the voicing was root, fifth, octave root, fourth, and the seventh on top. I kept missing the exact voicing of either the first or second chord. My fingers were used to the Tom Petty. In frustration I looked at my mistake as I would instruct a student to and realised I kept playing the D with the fifth(A) in the bass. I played the D/A and improvised a little melody which was similar to both Henley and Petty. Cool! I knew a new song was coming! Then the bell rang (I was on a break at school) and I thought “Laisse-moi dans mon monde!” as the kids raced into my class.

I had some help with the French grammar from a colleague just to make sure of the conjugation, etc.

By the time I got to record this in a real studio (Boutique de Son) my voice was not quite recovered from a head cold and I could not sing the highest note to my satisfaction so I tuned my Martin D28 down a whole tone and sang it in C rather than D.

Laisse-moi tranquille

Laisse-moi tranquille dans mon monde
Un jardin de sérénité
Laisse-moi tranquille dans mon monde
La vérité à éviter
Toujours l’été

Ton monde n’importe rien pour moi
Je n’ai pas de lien avec toi
Chez moi je reste maître et Roi
Rien de mauvais, de beaux portraits
Dans mon palais

De belles images
Dans les nuages
Douces berceuses
Pensées hereuses

La paix existe dans mon monde
Mon jardin de sérénité
Laisse-moi vivre dans mon monde
Il est parfait
De tout beauté
Ma vérité
Ma vérité.

For those who may not understand French, I have included a translation

Leave me alone in my world
a garden of serenity
leave me alone in my world
reality is to be avoided and 
it’s always summer

your world means nothing to me 
I have no connection to you
at home I am master and king
nothing is bad, there are beautiful portraits in my palace

beautiful images in the clouds
soft lullabies and happy thoughts

Peace is present in my world
my garden of serenity
let me live in my world
it is perfect
and beautiful
my reality 
my reality

Little Boy Lost

I am very happy with the way this song turned out. It is an out and out guitar fest rocker! I overdubbed several guitar solo parts and got a great help from Victor Labelle on slide guitar.

Faced with the inevitable and the futility of life Little Boy Blue rocks out and raises the middle finger!

https://music.apple.com/ca/album/rockheads-paradise/1631413918

I search for the title, I search for the deed
I know what I want, I know what I need
In the blink of an eye, With a slash from a pen
Little boy lost Is born again

           Oh....oh.... little boy lost

Bait and wait ‘neath the shade of a tree
Hook and weight, we were meant to be free
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,
Little boy lost, looking for truth (proof)

            Oh....oh.... little boy lost

Ashes to ashes the world still turns
Dust to dust, food for worms
Makes me want to holler, makes me want to shout
What am I here for? What’s it all about?

            Oh....oh.... little boy lost

Live for today, just another cliché
It’s still the truth, I’ll use it anyway
It’s all been done (we’re) variations on a theme
Living every nightmare, vetting every dream

            Oh....oh.... little boy lost

Little boy lost, little boy found
Little boy tossed like waste on the ground

            Oh....oh.... little boy lost


I Wonder

As we age, more and more people disappear. Some just go, and others are eroded slowly through the various things that beleaguer us as we grow older. This song is written from the perspective of someone (not me)who was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease filtered through my own musings on aging.

“Wonder” is a noun and is also a verb. Both are wonderful. I am thankful that my wonder and playfulness are still in evidence, but I wonder how I’d be if they weren’t.

I know the song is long, this is not pop music, but meant to convey ideas and a feeling. Worth 6 minutes and 14 seconds. It took a lot longer to write and record…

listen here: https://ianhanchet.band camp.com/track/i-wonder

I wonder where the wonder went
More miles travelled, they came and went
Our Wonder years already spent
Wondering what anything meant
-Oh-oh-I wonder

I wonder Who I was meant to be
If I’ve seen all that I was meant to see
Or was it all just fantasy
I wonder if I’m really me
-oh-oh-I wonder

I wonder what this is all about
If anybody anywhere could have bailed me out
If I ever bought in, or did I drop out
Hey, Alfie, what’s it all about

I wonder when I can feel it again
If I’ll ever be relieved of residual pain
If I ever figure out what’s been driving me insane
And where I’ll get off this runaway train

I wonder where my my serenity went
The worries in my head should be paying me rent
All of my joy has already been spent
I wonder where everybody went
Oh, oh, I wonder

I wonder why things turned out like they did
Some things in the open, some things hid
I wonder was my offer the winning bid
I wonder if it’ll be the same for my kids
oh, oh, I wonder

I wonder how I’m going to cope with these things now
If I’m going to have a smile or a furrowed brow
I wonder where I’m going to point my prow
Am I going to take everything that life will allow

I wonder why this all seems so strange
Why all of my targets are out of range
I wonder if I’m willing to change
Pretty sure something can be arranged
oh, oh, I wonder.....

No More Worries

A friend of mine told me “ All the energy you put into worrying is not going to change the outcome!” . He turned out to be absolutely right and thus started my transformation to a new life.

I wrote this song while sitting alone in the sun on a deck in Deep Cove Nova Scotia. I was in drop D tuning and just fooling around when the song appeared and wrote itself.

https://music.apple.com/ca/album/new-life/1064949053


I used to worry all the time what will the future bring
The future arrived anyway 
Worrying didn’t change a thing
I was always in the future, I was always in the past
I was never in the here and now 
And the present quickly passed
No more worries
No more worries

Worrying changed my face. I always wore a frown
When I ploughed another furrow
It always pointed down
The thing about a wrinkle is that you can always tell
How someone lived their life
And if they lived it well 
No more worries
No more worries

I worried ‘bout so many things my thinking was deranged
‘cause what’s the point in worrying
‘bout things you cannot change
you might as well burn water,  or wash your face with bark
be breathing without oxygen
be reading in the dark
No more worries
No more worries

Nothing comes from worrying, I heard a stranger say
It robs you of your energy
To live your life today
So give me all your worries, I’ll take your heavy load
You can rise up singing
And go dancing down the road
No more worries No more worries




Hardware Store For Bread

This is a song from off of my second CD. Long before the end of my first marriage I was lamenting the fact that things change and what used to be the status quo was irretrievable. The concept of going to the hardware store for bread iI culled from the Al-Anon literature.

https://music.apple.com/ca/album/boy-blue/1632193158

There used to be a bakery 
on this corner
and I was really tight 
with the owner

it opened in the morning
she baked ‘til late at night
the bread was always fresh 
the dough was sweet and light

something happened late one night
the baker woke up in a fright
her darkest fears were realized
and she was rendered paralyzed

I’m going to the hardware store
 for bread
Wish it was like before
I want to be fed

I said “I’ll help you make the bread”
I just made a mess instead
I wish someone could rescue me 
‘Cause I don’t have the recipe

I tried to learn from fancy books
I even asked more experienced cooks
I prayed and sweated, I did all that it took
but my bread is met with dirty looks

I’m going to the hardware store
 for bread...again...

Wish it was like before
I want to be fed... again...

swallowing my pride I must confess
Baking’s not what I do best
gotta get this off my chest
I thought I knew her but I just guessed

I’ve been exposed I’m just a faker
I’ll probably never be a baker
I’ll always love her but I can’t make her
become a giver and not a taker (so)

I’m going to the hardware store
 for bread...again...
Wish it was like before
I want to be fed... again...

I’ve wasted flour and baking powder
kneading more and crying louder
I’ve burned more than I could ever sell
made more mistakes than I can ever tell

Do you remember when we took a vow?
The vows were made for times like now 
seems we never saw richer
seems we never saw health
seems all our dreams have headed south

I’m going to the hardware store
 for bread...again...
Wish it was like before
I want to be fed... again...

I Don’t Want To Wear A Hat/ What About You?

These two songs of mine are about doing too much for others at the expense of one’s self. The songs are written decades apart and the first one is written in the first person and the second song is written in the third person.

“I Don’t Want To Wear A Hat” grew out of a conversation I had with a close friend who naively asked me “How’s it going?” on a day when I was overwhelmed. I told him I was so tired, I didn’t know how long I could keep going. I said something like”I wake up and put on my daddy hat, I put on my driver’s cap for the commute to work where I put on my teacher’s hat and then the driver’s hat again for the ride home and then maybe a chef’s hat or hubby hat and so on…” He then asked me “…and how are your migraines?” I told him of my further misery and he then wisely suggested I should “take off some of those hats.”

The second song was written a few years ago with several people in mind. Mostly my life partner and my mother, but I know many people in the “giving” professions of education and health care and so when you put em in a blender….. The song hit home with one of my wife’s cousins who was visiting from Wales. She said last night that she sings it to herself when she feels overwhelmed by her three jobs, extended family duties including aged uncle and several children and grandchildren at an age when she should be putting her feet up.

I Don't Want To Wear A Hat

The greatest hat I ever wore                  
Kept my four corners warm
Sheltered me from every storm
Man, I miss that hat!

Some hats are too loose
Some hats fit too tight
Some hats I get to choose
But nothing seems to fit right

I don't want to wear a hat
The ceiling’s low and my head’s too fat

I wear a hat when I go to work
Another one when I get home
I wear a hat when I’m out with friends
I even wear one when I’m alone

I can’t remember when my head was bare
Since I was young, there’s always been something there
Always on the go, always on the do
Always trying to try on something new

(chorus)

When you where a hat it’s hard to dream
If you’re a dreamer your head will be splitting at the seams
Cause if your head’s too big like mine is
A hat’ll just confine this

If I gotta wear one, make it fit
Not just my head, but what’s in it
If I gotta wear one, make it cool
I’m tired of changing hats like a fool

(chorus)

In god’s house I try to keep my head bare
But prayer caps and "do"er caps keep slipping up there
I wish I didn’t care
What hat I wear when people stare

(chorus)
I think it’s pretty unfair
I just want to feel the wind in my hair

 https://ianhanchet.bandcamp.com/track/what-about-you
What About You?

You hit the ground running
With a list of things to do
You’re always going and coming
You’ve got too much to chew

You give yourself away
At the start of every day
You do it for no pay, it’s a fact
You never think about you!

What about you?
I think it’s time for you to renew
What about you?

You look out for your brother,
Father, sister, and your mother
Look out for strangers too

You feed the squirrels and birds
Leave me at a loss for words
You’re kind to everybody but you

What about you?
What about you?
I think it’s time for you to renew
What about you?

No one says “I’ll do it!”
So you step up to the plate
You did your day already,
Now you’re working late

You’d think someone might thank you,
Show that they appreciate
You sacrificed your dinner’s
Lying cold upon the plate

What about....

You volunteer for everything
You put your life on hold
They will suck you dry
You’re still young, but feeling old

The weight of the world is
Something you can’t bear
No matter how you try,
The world doesn’t care about you

What about...

The world will keep on turning
Even if you stop
Going do do do do do do do
Do do until you drop

There’s more to life than doing
I’m afraid you’re missing out
Things that are worth pursuing,
I’m right without a doubt,what about

You....