Milestones

M I L E S T O N E S

Cold Winter Nights

Copyright 1992, song written by John Clancy

Song performed by John Clancy on Hamburg Steinway, Model "A" Grand Piano

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991

Cold Winter Nights


There was a time I couldn't lose;
and every blow I took, I used.
My friends looked to me for truth;
I never lied, but what I knew, I'd hide inside the light
The lights, I knew, would guide us through
Rock N Roll never owned my soul
I used if once, but now I'm whole
Traces? Yes, I've felt the pull...
embracing what was once all that I knew
The lights, I knew, would guide us through
Are we bound to the ground, or can we fly?
We'll never know, unless we try
So I gave it my best shot, I tried.. well didn't I?
Then why won't this damn dream die?
On Cold Winter Nights, I can still see the lights;
My friends are still with me, looking down from the heights
of a Stage on Mount Olympus,
playing music for the Gods
...we beat the odds.

Maiden Voyage [MLC#1]

Copyright 1992, Score by John Clancy

A double tracked Acoustic Guitar Duet, performed by John Clancy. with additional sound effects from the Korg O1W ProX.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991 - Using a TASCAM 8516 16 track analog tape machine.

Maiden Voyage [MLC#1]


The Mid-life Crisis Trilogy on Milestones concerns the story of the archetypal character, "Bob The Sailor Man". One day, our neighbor was wearing shirt decorated with large horizontal stripes, and when Kathleen introduced him to her girlfriend's 5 year old daughter as "Al", the little girl corrected Kathleen, and said "No, that's not Al, that's Bob The Sailor Man". Well, I know a good character name when I hear one. A story for a 3 song EP was inspired, the first modest "release" from Shawnee Sound, and was the basis for what would become Milestones.

Island Treasure Hunt [MLC#2]

Copyright 1992, music written by John Clancy

John Clancy on Acoustic guitars, Acoustic drums, all other instruments and sound effects from the Korg O1W ProX keyboard.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991 - Using a TASCAM 8516 16 track analog tape machine.

Island Treasure Hunt


The "Buried Treasure" is within us already, of course, but it requires a perilous voyage, and a secret map to find it, and most of us would never, ever embark upon such a journey, unless we find that we have nothing to lose.

I started on the drums as a young lad, and Keith Moon of the Who was my idol back then, specifically his performances on the original release of "Tommy". I played every song like that, and they all sounded pretty much like my drumming performance on this track, so I did not get a lot of interest in my services as a drummer, and I quickly adapted to bass and acoustic guitars, on my way to keys. Appropriate for this 2nd of 3 mid-life crisis tracks, that my 35 year old self was able to channel the 15 year old drummer inside, one last time. The harmonica is from the Korg, and was an improv, one take. I did not even realize it was the lead instrument in the mix until after it was recorded. A happy accident.

Overboard [MLC#3]

Copyright 1992, song written by John Clancy

All instruments performed by John Clancy: Kurzeil K1000 keyboard, Simmons & Roland Drum pads driving an Alesis D4, Hamburg Steinway Model A Grand Piano, Korg O1W Pro-X Strings and sound effects.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991 - Using a TASCAM 8516 16 track analog tape machine.

Overboard [MLC#3]


The story behind this last act in this mid-life-crisis Trilogy is best summed up in the Epic Poem titled "Bob the Sailorman", included below.

Retirement

Copyright 1992, music for Orchestral Ensemble written by John Clancy

Song performed by John Clancy via Encore Software driving the Korg O1W Pro/X Orchestral Expansion Card.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991

Retirement


The theme in 7/4 was randomly keyed into a computer at Shawnee Sound, and set on repeat so that I could debug a midi wiring problem in the studio. By the time the connections were fixed, the tune found it's way into my subconcious, and I started composing counterpoint and harmony to go with it. It sets a somcehwat contemplative mood, so my 35 year old self reckoned this must be what Retirement must be like, I had visions of an old couple feeding pigeons on a bench, reflecting on old times. As I write this, I am a few short months from 60, and have no plans to feed the pigeons as of yet, but the overall mood does strike a chord, at least on some days.

The Last Beat

Copyright 1992, song written by John Clancy

Song performed by John Clancy via Encore notation editor, driving an Alesis D4 percussion module, Korg O1W Pro/X, and a Kurzweil K1000.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991

The Last Beat


This is actually just the last couple of bars of Retirement, but at some point when this work was digitized from the original Cassette Master Tape, my extra long rest was interpretted as a new track start event, so this "song" remains one of the shortest songs ever to be up for sale, on iTunes. Noce that I now have the "Play All" button, so this should now render as originally intended.

Cremation

Copyright 1992, song written by John Clancy

All instruments performed by John Clancy: Acoustic Drums, Hammond C3 Organ, Korg O1W Pro-X on top of a sequenced set of tracks originally scored using Encore notation software.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991 - Using a TASCAM 8516 16 track analog tape machine.

Cremation


A bit of a rocker to close things out, and this one was a hybrid of sequenced and live playing. I remember playing the kettle drum parts with my left hand and playing the main theme on a Hammond C3, but the Hammond must have been mixed out at some point, because I no longer hear it - I do know that the middle bits were sequenced, so I think this was originally played live into a sequencer, bits were added in the Encore music notation editor, then "performed" back to the 16 track analog machine, where the final acoustic performances were added. An odd process for this one, but I was pretty happy with the results, and I still am.

One Last Look

Copyright 1992, song written by John Clancy

All instruments performed live by John Clancy: Simmons and Roland electronic pads into an Alesis D4, Korg O1W Pro-X and Kurzweil keyboards.

Engineering by John Clancy at Shawnee Sound, 1991 - Using a TASCAM 8516 16 track analog tape machine.

One Last Look


The afterword, or postcript, following cremation which implies another viewpoint from this "reality", once all is said and done. There is a line at the end of my favorite piece of music, "Close to the Edge" by Yes, that sums up the emotion better than any lyric I have managed to write for this tune "Then according to the man who showed his outstretched arm to space, He turned around and pointed, revealing all the human race. I shook my head and smiled a whisper, knowing all about the place." Well, that's the idea here, except smaller, more personal. A prayer that we are able to judge our own actions with mercy, and forgiveness, and love, once we wrap things up down here.

The main themes were written long ago, in my mother's guest house, and were originally intended for moog & mellotron. There are 2 piano parts recorded here, but over the years I have managed to get the escence of the 2 parts together, for a single piano treatment that I could play live, which I did do at a few of Kathleen's "candle light suppers", back in the day. As I write these notes in July 2015, I am preparing a new work of piano only melodies, and I intend to reprise this one for single piano. So, moogs & mellotrons, to 2 pianos, finally down to 1 piano...we are who we are, as a result of our experience, and we are become the essence and the vessel for everything we do and everything we feel, for all of time. Be kind to each other, - J Clancy, July 2015.


The Epic Tale of Bob, The Sailor Man


Chapter 9 - Bob, The Sea, The Air and The Night


As a sea that surrounds the silent cries of it`s captive citizens,
like an ancient ancestor`s morality imposed upon an old, unrepentant friend
with it`s endless mass that intimidates the giants, as it demands the respect of the gods it anoints,
As it were possessed of a drunken intelligence, that upon a wild tempest might,
Choke and crush and squeeze the rightous, and so end the life within it,
in a sad, maddened moment of suicidal fright

Well, the massive sailing ship did dance, on top of that sea, in blind disobedience
To its currents, and its laws, and its precedents, and all that it issued with an aimless stench
And to the false authority that came from far below its depths
And Bob the Sailor Man knew that his life aboard was in so many ways indebted to,
and in so many ways dismembered from, the lumbering essence that flowed
without so much as a conscience beneath his soul

For this was the only life that he knew, this creature of creatures that stirred beneath
And Bob The Sailor Man believed,that while the lungs of any man breathed,
that he could never really be a part of it not utterly, at least
And so the sea felt strangely safe, like a gun, or a battle planned
And time passed like an enemy held at bay, for Bob, the Sailor Man

Now you must know, that for all men here, it was the season of the nervous calm
And of a wretched mortal fear, buried so deep below the ancient, ignorant waves
that it could not but scarcely be felt
And at night the sea of man could not sleep as it teased and it fussed
nor could it speak, nor could it be slowed, by the moods of the clean, and the sweet, dark, emotional winds that provided for all of his needs

And Bob, The Sailor Man, drew the watch this night, and he could feel the cold misty air
Explore his face, and his grey tangled hair, as a soft, benign question began to form, about his ears:

For what purpose, have you come here?

And Bob The Sailor Man could not answer: for of this,
or for any other purpose, and more that he did not know
so:

Did not the crisp, salt spiced, seaborne air acknowledge Bob, the Sailor Man,
as a permanent and unremoveable share, and as a part of the whole of it`s limitless span
And the wicked past could find no meaning in this night,
and of the future past to come, no face could form
And softly, yet clearly, did Bob, the Sailor Man, bear witness to the moment,
as it stood alone
And breathed a freedom into his breast, and drew a peace into his sight,
And all of time faded, into the forever oceans of the night

As a blinding, brilliant dawn broke the spell, and ignited the horizon`s horizontal span
And so was witnessed a deliverance of one just soul from it`s shell
and left lit a Virgin Candle of Hope in Bob, The Sailor Man.