Something in the Moonlight

by Steven Grossman

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credits

released June 2, 2011

Steven’s vocals recorded:
Paul Dresher Studios, Berkeley, CA, May 2–6, 1991
Judith Casselberry, engineer
Christopher Bergman, assistant engineer
Mimi Fox, electric guitar

Digital vocal editing:
Hip Records, New York City
July 1993, January and February 1994
Elliott Goldkind, Engineer

Instrumental tracks recorded:
Waterfront Studios, Hoboken, NJ, July 1993
Doug Conroy, Engineer
Looking Glass Studios, New York City, July 1994, January 2003
Dante De Sole, engineer

Mastering:
Absolute Audio, New York City, April 2004
Fred Kevorkian, engineer

Musicians:

Annette A. Aguilar – percussion (Go On A Holiday)
Matt Balitsaris – electric and acoustic guitar (Winter Story, Something in the Moonlight, Going Out to Play)
Bob DeBellis – baritone saxophone, bass flute, flute
Dave Douglas – trumpet
Richard Dworkin – drums, percussion
Ron Gonzales – electric guitar
David Hofstra – bass
Phillip Johnston – alto and tenor saxophones; arrangements (Something in the Moonlight, In Defense of Spring)
Toshi Reagon – acoustic guitar (Step)
Joe Ruddick – organ, piano (Last Pioneers)
Bill Ruyle – marimba, vibraphone
Steve Sandberg - piano, keyboards; arrangement (Winter Story)
Steve Swell – trombone
Deborah Weisz – trombone (Going Out To Play)

The Bobs – vocal accompaniment (A Greasy Griddle and A Short Order Cook)
Aleah Long – supporting vocals (Go On A Holiday, Truce with the Moon)
Michael Finch, Sally A. White, Aaron Williams – supporting vocals (The Last Pioneers)
Janis Russell – supporting vocals, vocal arrangement (The Last Pioneers)


Special Thanks:
Christopher Bergman, Randall Bourscheidt, Chris Cochrane, Billie June Damon, Joseph Dalton, Jim Fouratt, Brennan Gerard, Claudia Hickey, Barbara (b. g.) Nabors Glass, Danny Nicoletta, Austin Noto, Susan Schulman, Elliot Sokolov, Chaya Spector.

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Track Name: Buena Vista
Buena Vista
Words and music by Steven Grossman

There’s a chill in my bedroom
a storm in the park
What with these guys in their Levi’s
just out for a lark
Well I know I’ve missed my dinner
I know you know that I’ve been
in Buena Vista striking matches in the wind

Well it’s a series of signals
innuendo and keys
It’s a lovely combination
of romance and sleaze
And I can always take those scratches
with a silly kind of grin
In Buena Vista striking matches in the wind

Now don’t you go passing any judgement
don’t go cutting down the trees
For I’ve seen you from my window
brushing the dirt from your knees
I’m in control of where I’m going
hey, it could end or begin
In Buena Vista striking matches in the wind
In Buena Vista striking matches in the wind

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Truce with the Moon
Truce With the Moon
Words and music by Steven Grossman

Truce with the moon
I’m calling a truce with the
(Calling a truce with the)
Truce with the moon
I’m calling a truce with the
(Calling a truce with the)

Maybe it was the Buena Vista fog
Or maybe it was the power of muscle-house steam
That prairied the hard and mysterious hills
we put between us and a loving dream
Or perhaps it was the glow of Mission Rock shine
that cataracted the vision when we fell out of time

Chorus:
I balance the hourglass
And I cradle this tune
My impossible lullaby
Calling a truce with the moon
I’m calling a truce with the moon

Doesn’t it feel like the first time again
this revving of such emotion under summer skin
Not a second to tarry in this moment of Bay
bridging the long expanse between these holidays
And I want you more than heaven and eternity
to see me as I see you, wanting you wanting me

Chorus

I’ll take the night and the clouds from your sky
and see your morning eyes
Take the promises and pins
and all the could-have-beens
the sorrowful days
and throw them all away

I say aren’t we what we remember and speak
an historical conversation of rise and defeats
A perpetual chatter, an original voice
enhancing or undermining each and every choice
And surrender is the tender I barter tonight
for passage to the moon, to remain in the light
Remain in the light, remain in the light

Chorus

© JUCA Music
Track Name: California Now
California Now
Words and music by Steven Grossman

I’ve been going out nightly
doesn’t much matter where
I get home every day or so
to water the plants and check the mail
Go out for the evening paper
watch the children at the candy store
Pass the grocery and the fruit stand
I don’t shop much anymore

It seems we came to a decision
but I swear I don’t remember how
I know it’s selfish to ask
but must you be in California now

We called it a vacation
I needed time to be alone
I said I’d come to live with you in half a year
when all my work here is done
My producers gave me this piano
my writing – well it’s coming along
But for this sad preoccupation
that finds its way into every song

It seems we came to an agreement
but I swear I don’t remember how
I know it’s crazy to ask
but must you be in California now
Must you be in California now?

There are others who dream of you
others who know your nights
I don’t suspect you’ll be lonely
or that I can see you before our time
I go with men from the bar
who ask me for my company
But there just isn’t that connection
You’d call me “Blood”
I’d call you “Family”

It seems we came to a decision
but I swear I don’t remember how
Yet I believe we’ll be together
even though you’re in California now
I believe in California now

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Winter Story
A Winter Story
Words and music by Steven Grossman

There’s a storm in the making
my windows are shaking
newspapers swirl in the sky
The radio this morning
gave overcast warnings
I was never good at taking goodbyes
Goodbye

Do you remember when we first joined plans?
My friend we had no way to know, to know, to know
If a summer’s worth of kisses in the sand
could build us a castle in the snow

It’s a winter story
the jealousy, the fury
Camphor the soul, a season to hold
It’s the numbing of life, flowing water to ice
The muffler and the sneeze
and a damp ominous breeze
I was never good at taking goodbyes

Do you remember when we were together last?
My friend there’s no way I know, I know, I know
That the flower of the seed miscast
can carry its own through the snow

It’s a winter story
the trickery, the glory
Credit at the store and blankets for the poor
It’s the chilling of blood cleansing water to mud
The tinsel and the star and an ominous wind from afar – Oooh

It’s a winter story
the jealousy, the fury
Fire in the trash and flurries on the lash
It’s the coming of frost and I’m missing you Austin
Your quiet and storm
Your body so willing and warm, willing and warm – Oooh
I was never good at taking goodbyes
Never, never good at taking goodbyes
I was never good at taking goodbyes

© JUCA Music
Track Name: In Defense of Spring
In Defense of Spring
Words and music by Steven Grossman

There’s no sense in us fighting, we either do or don’t
and there is no sense in hoping, we either will or we won’t
And when it comes to getting better being only better when
the times are full of other times, it’s time to pause again.

Chorus:
To make a memory, an agreement with the heart
on which to gauge all memories to come
Let’s incriminate the winter
investigate the fall
but rally in defense of spring

There’s no sense in us fighting, someone’s going to lose
Another way than right and wrong is another way to chose
And when the judge and missionaries pass sentence on our dance
we’ll offer them as evidence the night we took a chance

Chorus

Now the heart it is a ticket you can pay for with a dream
And dreams, well they are avenues of intention and means
And when your season changes, don’t you buckle at the bone
You give them notice any way that baby’s coming home

Chorus

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Pearl Moon
Pearl Moon
Words and music by Steven Grossman

I’ve been cruising on a fantasy
throwing all caution to the wind
Knock on the door and there’s a man to see
and he’s looking like he’d like to get me pinned
I told him sometimes it can be so heavenly
but other times you’ll just stay home and fight
Then looking up I saw a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night
I saw a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night

I’ve been spinning on a carousel
Dancing in a feverish high
Never thought I could fare this well
but tonight you set a course for the sky
You come and pick me up and you take me out to dinner
Leave me in the morning light
Leave me thinking of a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night
Leave me thinking of a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night

You’ve been laying on my bed all ready
while I make other arrangements on the phone
Guess you were looking for something more steady
but I tell you that I want to be alone
Now maybe I’m not the type for settling down
or maybe what we had just wasn’t right
Now looking up I see a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night
I see this pearl moon sitting in the throat of night

I’ve been cruising on a fantasy
Throwing all caution to the wind
Knock on the door and there’s a man to see
and he’s looking like he’d like to get me pinned
I told him sometimes it can be so heavenly
but other times you’ll just stay home and fight
Then looking up I saw a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night
I saw a pearl moon sitting in the throat of night

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Last Pioneers
The Last Pioneers
Words and music by Steven Grossman

You control what I watch on the T. V.
what I dance to at the bar
Get your hand into everything
try to get me to look like what you are
Now I may wear your fashions
and work that nine to five
But I told you all along
there are things that I won’t compromise

Now my producers didn’t want me
said I was too direct
I went home and I trashed myself
my friend J said, “What did you expect?
They want you to live a lie so you’ll get on the radio
But keep on doing what you’re doing
and you’ve already stolen the show”
I said, “I know, I know”

Chorus:
From the brothers who can’t disguise it
even in men’s clothing
and the sisters who just do not pass
Comes the spirit of my people
of courage over fear
Comes the only trust I’ll find
when the enemies are clear
If the other struggles were over
we would still be here
The last pioneers

Now you say I ought to have a present
ought to have the pride
But you were so disrespectful
that on your birthday I just cried
There’s a fleet of ships on the Hudson
and a sailor’s open hand
And when he offered me passage
I said, “There is no promised land”

And there are people on the rooftops
holding cameras and drinks
An SOS to Miss Liberty
I said, “Let the old girl sink!
Tonight I am feeling righteous
I’ve got my music and my cause
And though the sirens may be screaming
though those sirens may be screaming
I can only hear applause

Chorus

© JUCA Music
Track Name: A Greasy Griddle (and a Short-Order Cook)
A Greasy Griddle and a Short Order Cook
Words and music by Steven Grossman

In a Castro café after hours
craving burgers, buns and fries
I was reaching for hot sauce and salt on the counter
when the flip of an egg caught my eye
It wasn’t the crazy wrist action that started the attraction
the sunny side over that got me to look
I couldn’t ask for a better sight
on a long and a cold Monday night

Chorus:
Than a greasy griddle, a short order cook, boy
A greasy griddle and a short order cook
He’s got a hell of a lot of work
there’ll be a hell of a lot of perking tonight, tonight, tonight
He’s got a hell of a lot of work
there’ll be a hell of a lot of perking tonight

Waiters in sneakers, trays in the air
carrying water, checks, and change
I was trying to stay steady but my seat began to swivel
to the sound of somethin’ sizzlin’ on the range
It wasn’t the fish deep-fryin’ that got me sighin’
but a voice so cherry that everything shook
A Broadway evening couldn’t be finer
than the show that was playing at the diner

Chorus

Now, how about another cup of coffee? – “No, No!”
Another piece of pie? – I said “No, No
There’s only one thing that I’m wanting to go”

Well it’s a quarter to four and I ought to be at home
cuddled up and cozy with some cuddly guy
If the devil doesn’t get me before, then when it’s time to go
I’m gonna look for that neon sign in the sky
When the muffins are poppin’ and the kitchen is hoppin’
I will never again settle for a rocker and book
The equator couldn’t be much hotter
than the time I will make when I got, oh boy
A greasy griddle, a short order cook, boy
a greasy griddle and a short order cook
A greasy griddle and a short order cook, boy
a greasy griddle and a short order cook.

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Mostly Like Children
Mostly Like Children
Words and music by Steven Grossman

Alone with the TV
alone in the house
With make believe coffee
in an oversized blouse
Giggling in the mirror
with a red runny nose
Is a daydreaming child in grown-up clothes
There’s a daydreaming child in grown-up clothes. Grown-up clothes

Alone with the records
alone in a room
With a make-believe audience
and a microphone broom
Taking bows from the sofa in socks without toes
is a child with visions in grown-up clothes
There’s a child with visions in grown-up clothes. Grown-up clothes

Alone by the window
alone in a sheet
In make believe love-light
and a mysterious heat
Heady with adventure
and for a friend that often shows
Dressed in childlike wonder and grown-up clothes
Dressed in childlike wonder and grown-up clothes
Well I believe that we are mostly like these children in grown-up clothes.

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Out to Play
Going Out To Play
Words and music by Steven Grossman

It wasn’t my intent
It’s just a familiar inclination
to be mean
The malcontent
full of these inflammations
What a scene to be this spent
and prematurely bent
Going out to play

Perhaps it’s a device
Only a failed gesticulation
To be seen
a Fanny Brice
With manic complications
What a fumble, how inept
a secret better kept
Going out to play

When the core is too fragile
the anger too real
When the memories are too vivid
and there’s too much to feel
When the vision in the glass
gets haggard and muddy
I go within
and I call this old buddy

The idiot savant
the laughing Pagliacci
So obscenely bon vivant
assuring that you not see
the synapse that was skipped
the rainbowed makeup kit
Going out to play
Going out to play
Well it’s a stiff or busted lip
in the gladiator’s pit
Going out to play

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Go on a Holiday
Go On A Holiday
Words and music by Steven Grossman

Whoever told you
you can get away acting so carelessly
Must have had their head up [their/there]
really is a lesson in every experience
A lesson and another action

So when Surly gets your tongue
to talking trash like that
You tell Surly to get back
tell him to stay away
Be a friend to yourself (Go on)
A friend to yourself (Go on)
A friend to yourself
Go on a holiday, go on a holiday

Take a vacation
an emotional excursion to a magic place
Where vision is the food for your taste
of new adventure and a stronger security
Away now! To a happier day now

So when Moody comes around
and gets you feeling low
You tell Moody where to go
tell him to stay away
Be a friend to yourself (Go on)
A friend to yourself (Go on)
A friend to yourself
Go on a holiday, go on a holiday

So when are you leaving? – Don’t know
Did you hear what I said? – Guess so
You need to be waking up somewhere new in a comfortable bed –
Is that so? Well I got me no ticket
Just go – And I got me no clothes
Just go
You just take my advice and you do something nice
to advantage your soul, to advantage your soul

There is a center
a quiet place connecting you to right ideas
You need only change the habit
that fears the dance of freedom
and another reality
that moves now, in a positive groove now

And when Junkie comes around
and wants to spend the night
You tell Junkie, “Take a hike!”
Tell him to stay away
Be a friend to yourself (Go on)
a friend to yourself (Go on)
From now and here after
we’ll bury the past for a new bit of laughter
and holiday
Go on a holiday
Go on a holiday

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Step
Step
A song for Paul Carey
Words and music by Steven Grossman

It started at the office, proceeded to the gym
Everybody asking, “Where’s that red-haired boy been?”
Some of us were wondering could this be the big – A
All of us were hoping that he wouldn’t stay away

What good is the office, why bother with the gym?
If you can’t concentrate and you keep getting thin?
What good is the air if you can’t catch your – breath?
What good is a pillow if you can’t get your rest?

Chorus:
Step, step. Look at all we have got
Step, step. Will we make it to the top?
Step, step. One at a time
Step, step. It’s a mighty hard climb

Mitzi doesn’t speak and she doesn’t get tense
with limited knowledge and infinite sense
She waits on her dinner and welcomes the - leash
and somehow we know that this dog do capeesh

Red isn’t fearless, he just takes it in stride
and he surely isn’t careless with matters of pride
He dreams of Australia in his mechanical - chair
of grabbing his lover and taking him there

Chorus

Gravity will pull you and moods they will shift
a friend with compassion is always a gift
A cure is for the moment and always on my - mind
when miracles are tardy and nature is blind

Well the office is for earning and working what you know
the gym is for the body and watching it grow
Forever is elusive and happens to - day
Death is made for living and just a step away

Step, step. Look at all we have got
Step, step. Will we make it to the top?
Step, step. When you step to the stars
I’ll be watching the sky just to see where you are

© JUCA Music
Track Name: Something in the Moonlight
Something in the Moonlight
Words and music by Steven Grossman

It’s not that you’re here
though I know you’re away
Why do you take up my time?
Have you come to stay?
We don’t talk like we used to
In fact you never say a word
But I feel you crawling in beside me
climbing up the stairs
They try to tell me you couldn’t be there
But it’s the same preoccupation
I think of you the most
When they ask me, I ask them
Do you believe in ghosts?

Chorus:
Something’s in the moonlight
just outside the door
Parachuting silently
coming to haunt me some more
Something’s in the moonlight
Could it be a rebellious star?
Come to earth to tell me of a home afar

Everyone who ever was
everyone to be
What do you do with your time in eternity?
Is it thoughtless, in limbo?
Are you screaming to return?
I wonder do you have feelings
and do you have a form
Have you transcended right and wrong?
Does it matter how it happened
in a war or overdose?
When they ask us, can we tell them
we want to be a ghost

Chorus:

Will I recognize you?
How much more can you see?
When I make up my mind
will you come and get me?
Will I truly be ready?
Will it happen too soon?
Will I be complete and reconciled
or have to pay for what I’ve done
Will I perceive it as judgment or celestial fun?
To spend forever in the light
or forever will I roast
When they ask me, I’ll tell them
I believe in ghosts

Chorus

© JUCA Music