Michael Dyer

Story

I had been thinking of my various troubles and how I wasn't going to let them get me down. Suddenly, the refrain for this song (music and words) came to me.

Lyrics

WON'T BREAK ME DOWN
Michael Dyer
© 2010

I seen hard times since last we met. Sometimes whatchya want ain't whatchya get.

Been down so low, subway seems too high. Been havin' troubles, jus' gettin' by.

Got laid off some gray months back. So many debts, I can't keep track.

At times I feel like I'm jus' hell bound, but ain't gonna let that, break me down.

No, won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down.

Now I been accused, of another man's crimes. And for his sins, I gotta do his time.

Judge's gavel made an awful sound, but ain't gonna let that break me down.

No, won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down.

Jail doctor claims I'm dyin' proof. Endured too long, way past my youth.

"Your heart is weak. That's a losin' streak." The way he speaks, it sounds so bleak.

But misery's never getting' to me. No self-pity will I ever see.

Ya can turn away, shake your head an' frown, but ain't lettin' nothin' break me down.

No, won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down.

My life so lean, turnin' mean and meaner. Feel taken to the proverbial cleaners.

My woman's off, with some other man. Says he gives her more than I ever can.

May never see my poor kids again. But won't be prayin', nor sighin' amen.

Jackhammers poundin' me into the ground, but they ain't never gonna break me down.

I feel like Job, that bible man. God bettin' devil: What can I really stand?

Reverend says gotta be lost to be found. But this I know: They won't break me down.

Let 'em work disasters that awe and astound, But they won't never, ever, break me down!

Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down. Won't break me down.

Michael Dyer

Story

When certain stars die, they collapse and become so dense that their gravity won't allow even light to escape and are termed "black holes". The region at which light is bent back in on itself is called the "event horizon". The physicist Roger Penrose has proposed a "censorship conjecture", namely, that any object with such intense gravity will always be shrouded by an event horizon and we will never be able to know what goes on inside such objects. Other physicists disagree and believe that there may be circumstances in which no event horizon arises. These astrophysicists term such (as yet undiscovered) celestial objects "naked singularities".

The moment I read the phrase "naked singularity" the idea came to me to write a song about such hypothesized cosmic objects, but in a way as to also be a song about a love relationship of great intensity. At that time I already had a melody. To come up with the lyrics I relied on my crude knowledge of gravity. For example, while some physicists believe that gravity itself arises from tiny vibrating strings, others believe that it is due to the interaction of 2-dimensional objects, called "membranes" (also "branes") and some physicists speculate that the spinning and shearing forces of intense gravity may cause time to flow backwards.

Lyrics

NAKED SINGULARITY
Michael Dyer
© 2010

You're my naked singularity, My very own cosmic rarity,

No lectures or censorship conjectures,
Will change your strange, Space-time sublime.

Your body, of such intensity, Can feel a gravity, Of such depravity,
No compromisin'. No event horizon.

Though your soul's exposed, God only knows!

You're my naked singularity, Attracted to my membrane's polarity.

As we're nearin', spinnin' and shearin', All that matters disappears,
Within our spheres.

You're my naked singularity, A love obscure and pure,
in theory so eerie,

The infinite, I admit, It's an attraction.

Your expansions and contractions, End all distractions.

You're a temporal and spatial paradox.
Your strings unwindin' all my quantum-lovin' clocks.

You're a temporal and spatial paradox.
New worlds open when your portal, Unlocks.

Your gravity waves, I really crave, I crave.

You're my naked singularity, Can feel a gravity, of such depravity,

A love sublime, In our own space-time.

Your shocking waves, What I really crave!

Michael Dyer

Story

I already had the melody for this blues song when I started thinking about how, sometimes, we can't help reliving past, failed relationships in our daydreams. With this thought the lyrics came to me.

Lyrics

WHISKY AND GRAVEL
Michael Dyer
© 2010

Don't wanna dream your face anymore.
Don't wanna see where broken dreams are stored.

Must I re-live our last, memories? Why can't I dream just what I please?

I'm takin' walks where we used to stroll.
Can't help myself, like some poor lost soul.

I know just what has to be replaced.
Memories of your sweet embrace.

Paths we traveled, intertwine like lace.
Hard to unravel and hard to erase.

I've covered our tracks with whisky and gravel,
Whisky & gravel, So hard to taste.

Don't wanna dream your face anymore.
Don't wanna see where broken dreams are stored.

Must I re-live our last, memories?
Why can't I dream just what I please?

Paths we traveled, intertwine like lace.
Hard to unravel and hard to erase.

I've covered our tracks with whisky and gravel,
Whisky & gravel. So hard to taste.

Can't let go, that would bring more pain.
Paths go nowhere in this foggy rain.

Gotta keep walkin' and not look back.

At empty bottles on gravel tracks.

Michael Dyer

Story

I knew someone who just had a bad experience. I told her not to become a victim twice (the second time occurring when the victim blames herself for what someone else did to her). I told her not to be hard on herself. Right after this, the song came to me.

Lyrics

EBB AND FLOW
Michael Dyer
© 2010

I feel, your ebb and flow, Baby. I feel, your ebb and flow.

I feel, you're lost and low, Baby. I feel, you're lost and low.

But look around, across the ground. Sunflowers rise.

I know, you can be, Baby, so very, hard on yourself. 
I know, you can be, Baby, so very, hard on yourself.

But turn your ear. You will hear, Birds on the wing, that sing.

And ya need this song, Baby. Ya need this song.
To heal, whatever's wrong, Baby, To heal, whatever's wrong.

So take my hand. How we began. Ain't no demands.

We'll stroll the warm, magic Earth. And swim the tide's foamin' surf.
And dream on clear, starry nights, And seek the sun's, soft delights.
Delights, delights!

I feel, your ebb and flow, Baby. I feel, your ebb and flow.

And I see, your special glow, Baby. I see, your special glow.

So reach down. Touch the ground.

Feel the Earth, In rebirth!

Michael Dyer

Story

I took my song "Deep Sink Holes" (from my 2007 CD: Compli-intricated Life) and modified the chords and the refrain a bit. I also made the vocals somewhat bluesier.

Lyrics

BENEATH CONTEMPT BLUES
Michael Dyer
© 2010

How can you sink so low, Hand-deliver underhanded blows?

How can you lie down in the gutter, Just to lie with some vulgar other?

Oh, what you just had to attempt,
Reeks like muck and sinks beneath, Beneath contempt!

He won't care for your special essence. His desire's now, in late senescence.
For him it's all just pretend. I know 'cause he was, once a friend.
Some friend!

Beneath contempt. You're both beneath contempt, yeah!

You swore we'd grow old together. You swore we would, Weather any weather.
You painted such lofty goals, But now I see your deep sinkholes.
Swallowing all dreams in sight. Swallowing even the birds in flight.
Swallowing our past delights.

Deep sinkholes seem to be our plight. Our blight.

Beneath contempt. Oh, beneath contempt, yeah!

How can you sink so low, Hand-deliver underhanded blows?
How can you lie down in the gutter, Just to lie with that vulgar other?

Oh, what you just had to attempt.
Reeks like muck and sinks beneath, Beneath contempt.

Oh yeah, you're beneath contempt!

With a modicum of dignity, I hereby declare our love, officially,
Just some lost history. Oh, some past history. You're history!

Beneath contempt.

Michael Dyer

Story

The strange, falsetto-style of this song came about because I had heard a podcast (on NPR's "Fresh Air") about how Alan Lomax (the famous ethnomusicologist) had recorded the songs of Vera Hall, a school teacher in the late 1930s, and about how she would throw in a kind-of falsetto at the end of her verses, and how unusual that was. Hearing her inspired me to try something similar in this song.

Lyrics

BLUES BRULEE
Michael Dyer
© 2010

A blues brulee can't be made, Just any old way.

First, ya gotta strain away, All that hate, and soon, Not too late.

A blues brulee can't be made, Just any old way.

Harder to cook than any guilt soufflé.

'Cause ya gotta boil those sorrows away, not tomorrow,
But today.

Then ya gotta reduce, Suspicion and misuse. By stirring in lots of sweet sin.

Then peal away all the hurt, so ya won't,
Get burnt.

And don't forget the whipped cream,
Of lovers' dreams and lovers' schemes.

Gotta be daring, when ya sprinkle on the caring.
Don't be sparing, With that caring!

Now serve it hot and on the spot. Takes all ya got, To get it right.

blues brulee ain't no delight, alone. Needs fine wine and tender tone.

Served smooth and blue, it's meant,

Just for two.

Michael Dyer

Story

This is a rearrangement of an earlier song ("Nothing Seems Like What It Seems", on my first CD of the same name). Here I have added a key shift and a chorus, along with tightening up the lyrics.

Lyrics

NOTHIN' SEEMS QUITE RIGHT

Michael Dyer

© 2010

Asleep, awakened, high above, the many few below.
Alone, together, are the stars, too blind now to behold.

All naked we are covered, by hopes we dare not hold.
Remember we've forgotten us, too deaf now to be told.

Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.
Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.

The inside out of everyone is silence in a sound.
Forgotten we've remembered us, too drunk now to be drowned.

Shadows placed above our heads, cast light upon the ground.
Below the dark has won its fight, too lost now to be found.

Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.
Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.

Up is down. Straight is round. Awake's a narrow beam.
Nothing seems like what it seems, until you're home with me.

Young look old and fire feels cold. Nights are rather mean.
Nothing seems like what it seems, until you're home with me.

Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.
Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.

A is Z. There's a missing key and water never cleans.
Nothing seems like what it seems, until you're home with me.

I feel your lovin' in my dreams, awake I cannot be.
Nothing seems like what it seems, until you're home with me.

Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.
Nothin' seems quite right, tonight, 'Til you're home with me.

Michael Dyer

Story

I had just been put on forced furlough and the idea of doing an economic-based blues song came to me. For those unfamiliar with some of the terms in this song, here is an explanation: There are two types of credit default swaps: 1. The buyer owns a security and purchases insurance to protect against default. This sounds strange: If the security might default, just sell it rather than bet against yourself. Explanation: Banks used credit default swaps to evade requirements that they must hold some capital as a type of collateral against their loans and investments. Regulators accepted swaps to show there was no risk of default, thus no need for this protective capital. 2. In "naked" or "synthetic" credit default swaps the insurance buyer does not own the security being insured. This is pure gambling.

In the 19th century, bucket shops gambled on stocks they didn't own. Bucket shops were blamed for the Panic of 1907 and the states outlawed them. These swaps were re-legalized with The Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, when Congress and a lame-duck Pres. Clinton immunized credit default swaps from being regulated by the states.

The investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs convinced a huge insurance company, AIG (American Group International, Inc.) to sell many credit default swaps (without capital to cover them in case of defaults). When these swaps became toxic (resulting in enormous liabilities/losses) AIG was saved from bankruptcy by a huge influx of taxpayers' money by the US Government.

Two rating firms, Moody and Standard & Poor (S & P), took many subprime home mortgages (i.e., homeowners with very poor credit ratings and thus high risk of defaulting on their loans), aggregated many of them together, re-rated them AAA quality and then sold them around the world to unsuspecting investors. After Goldman Sachs itself was bailed out by taxpayer money, they gave themselves billions of dollars in bonuses. Alan Greenspan, who was chair of the US Federal Reserve for 18 years, in Oct. 2008 admitted to Congress that it was a mistake to not have regulated default swaps and other forms of derivatives.

Finally, the housing bubble itself was caused by the US Government's policy of making extremely low interest rates available for purchasing homes. Canada, for example, did not have a housing bubble because its government did not follow the same monetary policy. The Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is a US government-created agency that is supposed to protect investors from fraud but failed to do so. All of the above resulted in the global Financial Crisis of 2008/9.

In 2010, many states/cities were still on the verge of bankruptcy; hundreds of thousands had lost their homes; unemployment over 12% in many areas and thousands of state teachers and other state employees have been laid off or given forced furloughs. The "new president" refers to Pres. Obama, who went along with the previous plan of Pres. Bush to bail out financial firms with taxpayers' money.

In Dec-2009 China held about $900billion of US government debt. The USA national debt in 2010 is equal to over $30,000 owed by every U.S. man, woman, and child. Leverage is just a word to make being-in-debt sound sexy (rather than risky). A derivative is a financial instrument whose value is derived from other financial instruments; so a credit default swap is a type of derivative. A Quant is a quantitative analyst -- usually someone with a math, statistics or physics degree whose job is one of creating mathematically complex financial derivatives.

Lyrics

CREDIT DEFAULT SWAP BLUES
Michael Dyer
© 2010

Those investment bankers paid the rating firms to say,
that Subprime mortgage 'vestments were the truth, the path, the way,
To protect our savings, for a rainy day.

But they lied to us, diced and fried us, With the worst storm in decades.

Now I'm on forced furlough, while my neighbors lose their homes,
But S.E.C. good fellas ride limos made of chrome.

Congress had decreed, let hogs like AIG,
Take premiums, unilateral, Insure swaps, without collateral.

Oh, where were bucket-shop cops, To make the madness stop?

It's so appalling. No new regulations, Just some name calling.

Goldman Sachs acts smug, with billions in bonuses,
While pullin' out the rug, Our taxes to be spent, Says our new president.

I'm Moody on S & P. They should all be in jail, ya see.
Without any chance for bail.

And now the same crooks are paid, to clean up this mess,
While my state, town and county, In severe layoff distress.

China holds all our debt. They'll own our country soon, I bet.

It's appallin' just how far we've fallen.

I'm so blue and bummed out, and pissed off as well.
I'd vote 'em back to where they came from, Back to flamin' hell!

It's so appallin', just how far we've fallen.

I got the blues,

The quant-leveraged, toxic asset, aggravated-aggregated,
Greenspan scam, derivative doo-wap,

Credit default swap blues.

Michael Dyer

Story

At one point I said to my wife "While we're waiting for nothing to happen, we should ..." and she said "That would make a nice title to a song." I then thought of a prison convict dreaming of what he will do when furloughed.

Lyrics

WHILE WAITIN' FOR NOTHIN' TO HAPPEN
Michael Dyer
© 2010

While waitin' for nothin' to happen, while hatin' this hot, heavy work.
While waitin' for nothin' to happen, I'm slowly goin' berserk.

I'm dreamin' you're swayin' your hips. And puckerin' up those full, red lips.

I'm dreamin' you're archin' your back,
Dreamin' you're all dressed in black.

While pressin' metal plates in the yard, gotta be on guard for a shiv.

Can make men bleed so hard.

While pressin' plates in the prison yard, I'm dreamin' a casino,
And platinum credit card.

We're winnin' a ton of chips. Havin' fun while you're lickin' your lips.

Another brandy to savor, sip by sip. Havin' fun, winnin' those chips.

I'm so fantasizin'. It's not so surprisin'.
In my mind we dine, On lobster and wine.

Tomorrow, my only crime, will be lovin' you, All the time,

'Cause you're so divine!

Dreamin' too much, for my own good. I feel a jab. It's a shiv,
Made of plastic and wood.

Just one more day to go, Before my furlough.
Sorry, looks like I might be a no-show.

Red blood turnin' dirt to rusty mud. Collapsin' with a dull, dull thud.

I'm startin' to fade to grey. Just another prison-day cliche.

While waitin' for nothin', nothin' to happen,

Finally nothing,

It came my way.

Michael Dyer

Story

I drastically altered the lyrics and arrangement of an earlier song ("Countin' Down" © 2007, appearing in CD: Butterfly's Release) to produce this blues song.

Lyrics

COUNTIN' DOWN BLUES

Michael Dyer

© 2010

10 9 8 7 6 5, 4-or 3-ee 2-oo-oo 1.
He's countin' down to one; been on the run.
He's been on the run. He's been on the run.

He's countin' down the months, for the one he hunts for.
Countin' down the weeks 'til he touches her cheeks.
Countin' down the days, and all the ways, 
To love her when she comes. Love her when she stays. 
Love her when she comes and when she stays.

10 9 8 7 6 5, 4-or 3-ee 2-oo-oo 1.
He's countin' down to one; been on the run.
He's been on the run. Oh yeah, been on the run.

What a dreamy vision. There was no decision.
She jumped his bones. Hurtin' heart groans.
Body aches. Nights lies awake,

Countin' ways to love her, under the covers.
Countin' ways to love her, under the covers.

He's countin' down the hours, and all the powers,
That kept her from him. Almost done him in,
Now he's hanging on, by his fingertips,
Dreamin' of her eyes. Dreamin' of her lips.
Dreamin' of her eyes and of her lips.

10 9 8 7 6 5, 4-or 3-ee 2-oo-oo 1.
He's countin' down to one, nearly done.
Countin' ways to love her when she comes.
Countin' ways to love her when she stays.

He's countin' down the minutes, to sin, it's to sin.
Countin' down seconds. Her vision now beckons.

Countin' down, countin' down, all agony. All that agony, To ecstasy!

All agony, to ecstasy!
All agony, to ecstasy!

Michael Dyer

Story

I was feeling lost and lonely and playing some blues riffs on the guitar when these lyrics suddenly came to me. It then took a few hours to hone them.

Lyrics

DON'T KNOW WHERE I AM
Michael Dyer
© 2010

Don't know where I am. Don't know where I been.
But I'm on the lam and know, How cold my sins.

Don't know what I got. Don't know what I need.
Though I ain't been caught I can feel, Where I bleed.

An' I can't tell right from wrong. Jus' know I don't belong.
An' I can't tell night from day. Jus' that the pain, Won't go away.

Don't know who I am. Don't know who I've been.
Jus' know trouble. Oh, the trouble, I'm in.

Don't know how to live. Don't know what it takes.
Don't know how to give. Jus' know,
To forsake and fake.

An' I can't tell up from down. An' I can't tell dirt from ground.
An' I can't tell short from long. Jus' know I don't belong.

An' I wait and wait, at the starting gate.
But I hate that wait, 'Cause I came, Too late.

Don't know why I'm here. Don't know why these tears.
Are flowin' down, around, My frozen ears.

Don't know why I'm lost. Jus' know I'm alone.
Don't know what the cost to find, My way back home.

An' I can't tell right from wrong. Jus' know I don't belong.
An' I can't tell night from day. Jus' that the pain,
Won't go away.

Michael Dyer

Story

I can make steel drum sounds via keyboard synthesizer, so i wanted to try combining this sound with guitar to create a calypso style of blues.

Lyrics

This is an instrumental piece, so no lyrics.

Michael Dyer

Story

I thought it would be interesting to write a philosophical blues song. I first wrote a poem representing an atheist's point of view. Then I drastically modified the poem to become lyrics that would match the rhythm of the music.

Lyrics

ATHEIST'S LAMENT
Michael Dyer
© 2010

With a soul I could survive my demise.
Enjoy that heaven religions surmise.

But if dreams and schemes are just functions of brain,
When mine goes lame, gone! Who's to blame?

They say souls created on conception. Then last forever without exception.
But if I'm nowhere before my birth, Won't I be nowhere when all that earth,
Covers my corpse, distorting, it warps,
In repose, decomposing all of my hopes?

All joy and love, all pleasure and hurt,
Revert to that dark, crumbling dirt.

Despite insistin' on something more,
Despite resistin' a death we abhor,
It's approaching, so try and make sense,
Of our imminent nonexistence.

Some see proof in miracles, I don't mean to be satirical,
But hordes of pilgrims to places like Lourdes,
Their vision magically restored,
Had diseases with bouts of remission.
Despite their ambitions, those thought cured,
In time became stone blind.

No god there, no reason, no rhyme.

Did a god create complexity? In seven days, such perplexity.
But evolution has, with no designer,
Made things so fine, even so much finer.
Than we humans have engineered,
Just what all those religions feared.

Plenty left for mass extinctions,
We're fossils soon, with no distinctions.

So who still needs an atheist's lament?
Those who fear being now hell bent.

Can't believe, but hope to retrieve,
Divine intent that's heaven sent.
(Imminent, divine intent. Two thousand years, still unsent.)
(Imminent, divine intent. Two thousand years, still unsent.)

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