One Son Flew

This song came about after a conversation I had with a good friend. We were talking about her husband who is a confident and trustworthy and successful human being, and her brother-in-law who is almost the exact opposite. It turns out that most of us know of family situations that resemble this or are perhaps part of one themselves.

The sons in this song could very easily have been daughters. I was thinking of many of the people in my life experience where one sibling follows a steady path and another flounders. Nature/nurture argument doesn’t apply. I know a set of twins where one twin is a successful psychologist and her twin occupies the fringes of society and has trouble staying out of jail and/or being sober. They both had the same genes and the same parenting….the same opportunities, the same privilege.

one son flew.....  one son fell 
one son knew.....    the other …not so well

Both were loved    both were fledged
both free range birds both led to the edge

one son flew...

one flew straight away.      he returns when he can
building his own nest        was always part of the plan

One son flew...

one worries in circles.        he never really left 
afraid of the ledge              afraid of the test

One son flew...

afraid of the ledge.                but longing to be free
clinging to the branches.     of a disappearing tree

one son flew ...

in order to soar.        you need to trust your wings
It’s never really too late     to try on different things

The coddling can’t continue you’re really on your own
waiting for the words..... “This bird has flown”





Lorelei

The Lorelei legend is about a rock on the river Rhine that is sometimes mistaken for a beautiful maiden.
My Lorelei is about a beautiful maiden who masquerades as a rock.



You were recklessly abandoned
So you floated to love
You chose a mate at random
And you gloated above
You lived your life in tandem
Until you’d had enough
And then with reckless abandon
You let push come to shove
Stick your chin out – hang tough

Lorelei Lora Lorelei, Don’t let them see you cry, Lorelei

Sticks and stones can’t hurt you
Through your rough tough had enough skin
And people can’t desert you
If you never let them in
And if you never buy a ticket
It’s for sure you’ll never win
If there’s a problem you can lick it
Or just take it on the chin
That’s the ticket – that’s the spin

Lorelei Lora Lorelei Don’t let them see you cry, Lorelei

But I see you in the forest
Looking slight beneath the trees
I hear you sing another chorus
Lilting lightly on the breeze
And I sense your skin is porous
When I see you on your knees
But then you tense and you ignore this
And return to your deep freeze
Another day – you didn’t seize

Lorelei Lora Lorelei I love to see you cry, Lorelei


Caught In The Doldrums

I wrote and recorded this shortly after reading “The Life Of Pi” by Yann Martel. There were many aspects of my life that were out of whack. I felt stuck…no goals to reach, no safe place to land…no going back… ennui.

The sax solo is by local legend Dave Turner.

Caught In The Doldrums

I need just a little breeze
To fill my sail
Just a little breath of wind 
to lift your veil 
just a little breeze
to give me a nudge
I need a little breeze 
Or I can’t budge
Caught in the doldrums

Caught in the doldrums
Drifting aimlessly
Caught in the doldrums
Nothing on an endless sea
Caught in the doldrums
It’s all the same
There’s nothing new

I’ve been bobbing on the tide
Such a useless endless ride
I got nothing left to try
And no tears left to cry
Caught in the doldrums
Caught in the doldrums

I’ve been sitting, waiting for
Something to occur, but
Time is hesitating and 
Nothing wants to stir
Caught in the doldrums
Caught in the doldrums

Caught in the doldrums
Drifting aimlessly
Caught in the doldrums
Nothing on an endless sea
Caught in the doldrums
It’s all the same
There’s nothing new

Don’t know where I ought to be 
But I know it’s not at sea
Don’t know what I ought to do 
Everything I see is blue
Caught in the doldrums
Caught in the doldrums
(repeat A and B )

©2008 IGH


























































Come Into The Light

Darkness and shadow can be overwhelming. A friend showed me an experiment. He asked me to cup my hands so as to have a small pocket of darkness. He then asked me how much my pocket of darkness affected the room. Then He turned out the light and struck a match…  
This song chronicles the crooked path I had to take from trying to salvage something that had changed forever to forgiveness of myself and my first wife. I had just watched The Buona Vista Social Club and my setting for this song kind of reflects that. I particularly loved "Chan Chan".

I used to see the sky 
Reflected in your eyes
The stars, the clouds, The fireworks
Revealed your soul

But now they don’t look back
Except when they attack
There’s an overwhelming lack
And a gaping hole

The days are getting shorter 
and the dark drags on forever 
and the sleepless nights 
so heartlessly provoke

now that shadow rules the day
the truth gets in the way
and the fading light’s 
obscured by smudge and smoke

If we could find a balance 
Between our torments and our talents,
Change our habits and create an equinox
We need something to remind us
Of another place to find us 
Than between the proverbial 
Hard place and the rocks

Come into the light 
Keep it in your sight
Let the stars above 
Illuminate your soul

Forget about your ghosts
‘cause life’s too short to host
resentments, hatred
will never make you whole 

I Couldn’t Get Across

In August 2007 a bridge in Minneapolis collapsed. In September I was driving to work which included a few kilometers on highway 25. One of the overpasses had been dismantled and they were building another one. I got to thinking about “what ifs” and imagined a young couple “hot to trot” that each lived on opposite sides of a river. I imagined someone in Lachine in love with someone in Kahnawake on opposite sides of a river that freezes in winter (The St.Lawrence)

Reading the lyrics just now, I am struck by how much this lyric resembles a Roadrunner cartoon plot. Only thing missing is a delivery from ACME.

I took it to the bridge, but the bridge was gone
I couldn’t get back to my baby
The river’s very wide, couldn’t see the other side
So i had to decide what would the way be
(I said)
Why’s she gotta be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay

I took it to the bridge but the bridge was down
I couldn’t get around to my baby
I’d have to dive right in, had to be sink or swim
I might have to drown for my baby
(I said)
Why’s she gotta be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay

I went to the bank to see if I could ford
But I just can’t afford to see my baby
The bank was very steep and the water, way too deep
And baby, baby it was way too wavy
(I said)
Why’s she gotta be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay

I went to find a boat but it wouldn’t stay afloat
I couldn’t get across to my baby
The water’s way too cold, it’ll freeze soon I was told
You can walk across and take it to my baby
But I had no winter clothes, and in trying, froze my toes
Now how am I supposed to find my baby
(I say)
Why’s she got to be so far away
How come I can’t get to her today
I just want her to come out and play
But today it’s here I gotta stay





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