Where We've Never Been
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Note from the Producer
thing I love about Mayne Smith as a songwriter
is the fact that — starting
from a craftsman’s solid basis and
musical expertise in traditional styles like
bluegrass, folk song, and honky-tonk country
music — he is absolutely fearless about
plunging into a wide variety of other American
song styles he has somehow absorbed, and
using them to express himself and get to
the emotional heart of the situation he’s
exploring in his lyrics.
On this album, you hear him writing not only classic honky-tonk and bluegrass
(both styles he uses beautifully); you also hear charming early 60s pop/rock
(“My Dancing Days,” “Letting People Go”), gutbucket
Mississippi/ Chicago blues (“TransAtlantic Blues”), smooth
jazz tunes (“Solitaire,” “Saturday 6 A.M.”), raw
roadhouse R&B (“Stoned Again”), an intimate acoustic love
song (“My Heart’s Content”), good-humored Tex-Mex (“Mojave
Wind”), and a bravura rendition of the Louisiana/Texas 12/8 slow-dance
lament (“To Each His Own”). You hear the way he can use an
old song to build a new one — working the melody of “Careless
Love,” one of the all-time great American folk songs, into his own “Careless
Love Again,” in a way that somehow makes you hear the meaning of
the older song with a poignant new awareness. And you hear a song (“Saturday
Matinee”) which spans traditional Appalachian folk ballads, gritty
blues, and down-and-dirty rock and roll to tell one of the great American
road stories — a story that is true and taken directly from Mayne’s
own life experience, and which he somehow uses to comment on the power
of myth, movies, heroic archetypes in our lives — all in the tough,
concrete, concise language of a narrative folk tale, of a guy sitting next
to you in a bar talking to you about his hard life. This is songwriting
on a level that would knock Raymond Chandler out! Mayne just writes the
song because — he’s who he is.
It’s his musical craft, combined with his ability to get to the heart
of the matter and really touch you with a song, that makes him so inspiring
to work with, that keeps me coming back to his music. It’s this quality
of emotional authenticity — along with the wonderful singing, writing,
and playing — that makes this an album for you to keep coming back
to and keep thinking about.
Careless Love Again (4:18)
2. My Dancing Days (3:23)
3. Saturday Matinee (6:01)
4. I Like It (2:36)
5. Letting People Go (4:03)
6. Let the Good Love Flow (2:17)
7. I’m Still Hungry (3:34)
8. It’s Not Time to Go (3:54)
9. Solitaire (3:29)
10. They’ll Know Who I Am (2:24)
11. Stoned Again (3:10), by M. Smith and M. Greenhill
12. Home Away from Home (4:10)
13. Dateline Ramble (2:35), by M. Smith, N. Rosenberg, E. Neff, T. Mitsui
14. Saturday 6 A.M. (4:41)
15. Lost Another One (2:57)
16. To Each His Own (4:25)
17. TransAtlantic Blues (3:51)
18. Back to the Lost Highway (2:38)
19. Mojave Wind (4:49)
20. My Heart’s Content (3:18), by M. Smith, G. Wilson-Smith, J. Harper
songs were composed exclusively by Mayne Smith except as noted.
All songs copyright © Hillgreen Music: <www.folkloreproductions.com/publishing.html> (BMI).
Notes on the individual songs and the recorded performances,
along with lyrics, are available in the SONG
LYRICS section of this website. Here is a general listing of the people
who played on this album.
The electric group on this album was made up of Johnny
Harper (lead guitar), John Hall (drums), and Marty
Holland (electric bass). The piano and (on several tunes) organ was
provided by John R. Burr.
Other contributions, as specified in the song-notes, came from Tom
Rozum (tenor harmonies), Tony
Marcus (fiddle), Sam Page (bass fiddle), Jim
Peterson (alto saxophone), and Gary Smith (mouth harp).
It was an honor to work with all of them.
The Redwood Canyon Ramblers started playing together about 50
years ago, with Mayne (guitar), Neil Rosenberg (banjo),
and Scott Hambly (mandolin). We picked and sang together through
Berkeley High School. Tom Glass (bass) joined us for our biggest
season, the summer of 1960. Ed
Neff (fiddle) has performed with us on important occasions
Credits and Acknowledgements
album is a songmaker’s look at his favorite offspring, most of them unknown
but to a precious few. A lot of the songs have not been released to the public
at all before; some are available on other records, but I wanted to present them
in a different light. All of them honestly represent states of my own mind — that
is, Places I’ve Been.
All the songs were written by me, sometimes with others as noted. They began
coming in 1965 and still emerge occasionally. With three exceptions, all the
recordings on this CD are new. I sing lead and play acoustic guitar on all the
songs unless it is otherwise noted. On some cuts, I also play “dobro”-style
steel guitar (2, 6, 7, 17) and electric pedal steel guitar (1, 4, 5, 12).
Johnny Harper, friend and collaborator for thirty years,
produced this record and had a hand in every decision. He led the electric studio
band, wrote charts and arrangements, and played almost all the electric guitar
parts. Without him, the album would probably not have been made. He plays and
sings with voices that are right on my frequency.
Particular thanks to Mitch Greenhill, my musical partner
since 1969. We have composed, performed, and recorded together in many contexts,
and to him I owe a big proportion of my musical knowledge and capability. His
acoustic guitar work graces “Saturday 6 A.M.” and “Mojave Wind,” and
his singing and electric lead guitar are featured on “Stoned Again.” We
have collaborated on a lot of the best music I’ve ever played.
Gail Wilson-Smith, my soul-partner and best friend, the
only person who knows all “my secrets and my ways and means,” has
provided the context of all my work for twenty-five years, and she took the CD
cover photograph and Photoshopped it aggressively. I bless her daily and sometimes
remember to say Thank You. (I was responsible for the design and computer work
that went into the CD package.)
Ray Bierl <www.RayBierl.com> was
not directly involved in these recordings, but he was one of the first, besides
myself, to learn and sing my songs. I can’t adequately express my admiration
for his singing, fiddling, and exquisite taste.
Cogan converted my old
demo tapes to digital format and offered sage
counsel. Thanks also to Sharkbite Studios (Oakland,
California) and Adam Myatt, our engineer. The
CD was mastered by Paul Stubblebine and manufactured
by Oasis CD.
WERE LAST REVISED 4/8/09
with No Overdubs
This album was recorded in a big old Victorian house near Grass Valley,
California, where our friend Paul Emery lived and operated his personal
label, Bennett House Records. The year was 1986, and Mitch and I felt right
at home in this small Gold Country town. We had
been performing as a duo for about 10 years at little clubs and giant folk
festivals, mostly on the West Coast but also across Canada. It was released
on cassette as BHR107; with Paul’s permission we reissued it as a
CD in 1999 (GSCD02). Now, in 2010, that run of albums has sold out and
we’ve had another batch manufactured in the new wallet format that
uses no plastic.
contrast to our 1979 album, with its numerous guest musicians,
BWWNB was recorded direct-to-digital on video cassette tape.
These are all live performances of Mitch and me playing one
instrument apiece. There are no overdubs, no special effects,
nothing taken out “in the mix.” If you listen
for them, you will hear a few more mistakes than on our multi-tracked
studio albums, but nothing to be ashamed of. These are some
of our best compositions and arrangements, and though we’ve
both grown as musicians in the intervening 20-odd years,
I truly enjoy listening to this record. We were working in
the simple format that we knew best, giving the music everything
You’ll find the lyrics
for my compositions on this album, along with explanatory
notes, in the SONG LYRICS AND NOTES section of this website.
Jay Gould’s Daughter (3:08). Traditional,
arranged and adapted by Smith & Greenhill (© 1970,
2. I Wish I Was Here Tonight (4:22). Greenhill (© 1983, Folklore,
3. Lost Another One (2:39). Smith © 1982, Hillgreen, BMI
4. Carmen Goes To Bimini (3:38). Based on “Comin in on a Wing
and a Prayer” by H. Adamson & J. McHugh (© 1943, Robbins, ASCAP)
and “Habanera” by G. Bizet (1875, P.D.); combined, arranged and
adapted by Greenhill & Smith (© Folklore, ASCAP). This cut was included
in the collection Out on the Rolling Sea: a Tribute to the Music of Joseph
Spence (Green Linnet Records GLCD 3095, © 1994 Hokey Pokey Records).
5. Ranger’s Command (3:08). W. Guthrie (© 1963, Ludlow,
6. Face In The Crowd (4:01). Greenhill (© 1975, Folklore, ASCAP).
7. Slave To A Six-String Guitar (5:23). Smith & Greenhill (© 1985,
8. Transatlantic Blues (3:36). Smith (© 1983, Hillgreen, BMI).
9. Boulevard’s End (2:23). Greenhill (© 1983, Folklore,
10. Steel Guitar Rag (3:35). L. McAuliffe/M. Travis & C. Stone
(©1947, Bourne, ASCAP).
11. Teach Me To Cry (3:20). Smith (© 1977, Hillgreen, BMI).
12. Dividing Up Friends (3:26). Greenhill (©1986, Folklore, ASCAP).
13. Careless Love Again (3:50). Smith (© 1974, Hillgreen, BMI).
14. Time Is Draggin’ On (3:39). Greenhill (© 1983, Folklore,
is a reissue of Bennett House Records cassette BHR107, engineered
by Paul Emery in Grass Valley California in 1986. Recorded
live in real time with no overdubs. All rights reserved.
(P) and © 1986, 1999, and 2010.
Cover photo plus moral and material support, Gail Wilson-Smith. Graphic design,
Jake Belsky and Mayne Smith. Thanks also to Mike Cogan, Elinor and Manny at
Folklore, Tom Schmidt, Claire Lhermitte, and the Grass Valley gang.
In memory of my father, Henry Nash Smith, 1906–1986: R.I.P.
Special Message from Rosalie
Storm Coming is the result of a long-time collaboration between
Mitch Greenhill, who helped me to find my voice to sing while building his
own beautifully unique musical house, and Mayne Smith, whose voices, human
and instrumental, have always entranced me. Both write finely crafted songs
that are in touch with real-life and are a pleasure to listen to or sing. Their
choice of material is impeccable and their treatment is, as always, original
and exciting. Just like a good watch, given time, care and skill, a well-made
thing with moving parts, it works.
1. Storm Coming (3:37), Smith/Greenhill, Hillgreen Music
2. It’s Not Time to Go (3:28), Smith, Hillgreen Music
Don’t You See that Train (4:18), A. Delmore, Vidor
4. Freight Train Blues (2:48), Trad., arr. & adapt. Smith/Greenhill
5. Joshua (4:45), Greenhill, Folklore Music (ASCAP)
6. Ain’t No Instant Replay (2:38), Greenhill, Folklore
7. Tucson One More Time (2:43), Smith, Hillgreen Music (BMI)
8. Alameda Blues (3:38), Smith/Greenhill, Hillgreen Music
9. Brightwood Fire (3:48), Greenhill, Folklore Music (ASCAP)
10. Saturday Matinee (4:07), Smith, Hillgreen Music (BMI)
11. Satisfied Mind (4:11), Hayes/Rhodes, Starday Publ.
To contact Hillgreen Music or Folklore Music, please
visit Folklore International Artists
Credits and Acknowledgements
Coming, GSCD01 (including music, text, and Eric
cover painting) is reissued by permission from the original
1979 Bay Records LP, Bay 215.
Mayne Smith: vocals, rhythm guitars, Dobro, pedal steel
Mitch Greenhill: vocals, lead and rhythm
guitar, electric bass, horn charts
Stuart Brotman: double bass, cymbalom,
Mahal plays rhythm (electric piano and percussion)
Not Time to Go.”
Doc Watson picks lead guitar on “Don’t
You See That Train.”
Merle Watson plays slide guitar on “Freight
Schmidt plays clarinet on “Ain’t No
Tony Marcus frails the
banjo on “Saturday Matinee.”
Burleson & Maryann Price sing background vocals
as the Primordial Oohs.
Larry Hanks sings bass on “Joshua” and plays jew’s
harp on “Saturday Matinee.”
The horns: Mike Morris, tenor and alto saxophones; Cal Lewiston,
trumpet; Al Bent, trombone; and Gary Myose, baritone saxophone.
thanks to Michael Ruggles, Delilah Lewis, Big Joe Burleson,
Janet Smith, and Hideo Kamimoto. Also to Frontier — Lee
Poundstone, Dave Holt, Michael Woodward — our old band.
dedicated to Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail alone
around the world. Beware the willewas.
Produced by Mitch Greenhill, Mayne Smith, and Mike Cogan.
Engineered by Mike Cogan at Bay Records Studio in Alameda,
Management: Folklore International Artists, Inc. , Santa
Monica, CA <www.folkloreproductions.com>,
(P) and © 1979 and 1999.
and Merle Watson appeared courtesy of United Artist Records.
Cover art by Eric von Schmidt.
THESE NOTES WERE LAST REVISED 4/8/09