Lonely Streets

Listen: RealAudio 28.8
Sick of hearing about open stages yet? Well, I hope not, because this song, too, is tightly connected to my open-stage experience.

Back in '96, just as I was opening my Leslie Spit Treeo page, life sucked hard. I only had a few friends, I worked at Scotiabank with a bunch of older people. I needed to kill time, and the web page helped with that. But when I got in touch with Pat and Laura, they invited me to their open stage, Spit Fridays. (Read more about that in "The Open Stage Experience") The first few times I went there, I left feeling exhilerated, and as I walked home from Spadina and Queen to Cabbagetown, I made a song up in my head.

The first time this happened, I promptly forgot both lyrics and melody. Lonely Streets is what I made up the second time.

Especially in the early days, songs never came fully-formed for me. The chorus, verse one and verse two was usually as far as I got. This habit began with "Lonely Streets".

Like sonnets, the last parts of my songs try to resolve the problem posed by the first two parts. You can see this in "The Fishmonger Song", "Chameleons", "Fast Forward", "Wish I Were an Asshole", "The Grave You Dig", "Cut to the Quick" or "The Night We Never Kissed". But often, I don't know the solution to a problem I'm writing about--at least, not when I start writing it. So I write verses one and two, and verse three gets written later.

In this case, I found that the open stage became a community that welcomed me. So my loneliness quelled a bit. And I could conclude, "it's when you're lost that you get found."

Originally, when I wrote this, it wasn't for me to play. For whatever reason, my mind's ear heard Pat and Laura performing it. (I can also imagine Tony Hightower singing "Puff, the Magic Dragon ".) Accordingly, I wrote it with guitar in mind, even though I would not learn guitar for nearly another year. So I can play it on both piano and guitar. And when I make a decent recording of it, I'll do both.

One other thing: one of the chords it uses (at least for piano) is C-F-G, which Tony calls "C with an F root". If anyone can identify it further, I'd love to know.

Recording Notes --CD version

For this new version of Lonely Streets, I used all the original tracks, before the 3-D reverb had been applied, and remixed it with more natural reverb for vocals and Flute

Lonely Streets has 4 tracks:

Recording Notes --Original tape version
(see also My Sister's Guitar recording notes)

Lonely Streets has 5 tracks:

The piano part took forever. I recorded and rerecorded it until I'd got it right. It almosts became a Zen thing, as I tried not to try to get it right. The flute was tricky too, because it had a lot of hiss. I'm not sure if flutes are just like that, or whether my embouchure is shot. At any rate, I ended up filtering the hiss out.

After the wacky reverb of "In the Sighs", I went with a more subdued reverb. There's some stereo effect over speakers, but it's very effective on headphones. Probably also on those "surround sound" boom boxes too.

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

Questions, comments or suggestions about this web site? Email me at aaron.bentley@utoronto.ca