Disconnect The Dots: ‘There must be 50 +/- steps to Nix your Lover

 Ok, it’s been a while since I posted a song.
Been busy, behind the scenery, sending to ‘C’ (‘Sunshine’) a ‘Song-a-Day’, roughly, as Promised. Smart move, for me at least; she’s inspired an exhausting but long-over-due organization of my 150 or so recorded tunes.
Today’s subject is basically a ‘How to?’ instruction-sheet’ for creating at least this one song. I’ll try to make it easy-reading. “Easier said than done” comes to mind.
The Steps:
1) First, like with AA, you need to realize that you have a problem. Spending nights until dawn in hopeless scrutiny of every bar or suspect ‘rival’s sad-sack parking lot; attempting to, for better or worse, at least know the facts about your ‘trusted other’s’ reasons for not being home in bed where she once belonged will do that to a guy, love-struck as he may once have been. Comes a time, like Vietnam, when you roll the choppers off the deck into the sea and sail homeward, albeit wishing it had turned out differently.
2) Ok, Lyrics: Do try to make ’em rhyme. A unifying concept helps. At the time I was writing programs and also witnessing the ‘negatives’ of mis-connecting ‘the red wire’ on devices. I’d also grown up with that innocently-charming colouring-book device ‘Connect the Dots’. So yeah, concept.
3) Here’s where it gets laborious: Musical skills and equipment:
A) Buy a piano and learn to play it. Best done pre-need; that is; pre-puberty. Find the chords which magically express angst and borderline-suicidal intent.
B) Buy and master the guitar. Can’t ‘Leave yer Lover’ without a guitar track, although I’ve tried.
C) Nothing conveys love and/or horror like a saxophone. Buy one, and expect to spend a few years learning which levers provide the correct leverage. By then (see below) the chick has come back, tail between legs, asking for forgiveness. But reserve your pardons until you master every riff from Charlie Parker, Coltrane, or Sonny Rollins. Revenge; best ‘served cold’
D) Of course you’ll need a Hammond organ for the tune. I recommend a mid-40s ‘B-3’ with at least two(2) Leslie speakers. Takes a year or so to learn where to position the mics and the draw-bars , but worth every penny.
(D Oops, recording equipment: Buy what you can afford;… for this song it was 2 thrown-away-for-good-reason 2-track machines. You end up switching cassettes back and forth like an over-worked strip-tease dancer, but hey, your money all went for gas, chasing the slut you dumbly fell in love with. And you’re by now used to less than high ‘fidelity’, right?
E) Learn to sing. No, not just in the shower. We’re talking in-tune harmonies.
F) Write the song! Oughta have a couple verses, a chorus, a break-part, plus not sound hackneyed and cliche-ed. Donald Fagen is a great mentor here, I’ll venture.
G) Record the goddamn thing. Come up with a nice variety of excuses why you won’t be at work today. Or quit your job entirely. First things first, huh?
H) And finally, I’m happy to announce, the resulting Song is best enjoyed after, as males like me are sadly wont to do, exacting a 1000X retrospective re-penetration price for her ‘wanderings’. Not that she’s totally absolved or implicitly-trusted by now, but last night’s chicken and baked potatoes candle-light dinner, for example, does express a certain kind of remorse. She paid, of course. And I saved the receipts for all the cash-out spent making the following song.  (Hoping I expressed that elegantly)
Thanks for reading/ listening.
And the above Steps ought to work fine for anyone with a similar ‘issue’/ JS

Verse One:

I’ve seen this Looney Tune?
It’s the one where the Dish runs away with the Tiny Spoon?
You choose your Foreign Legion
But I zap your mindless program; I call the tune

Kill the lights; unscrew the bulbs
Suck the cables through the wall
I self-destruct; the scene dissolves
I leave no trace at all
I slip Tabs ‘A’ and ‘B’ in each other’s slots
Put the batteries in backwards; Disconnect the Dots

Verse Two:

You put your mind on the line
But I call your bluff and you fold with Space and Time
You doubt my magic is clean?
But I lie awake with my demon subroutine.
You’ll choose your phony line-up:
All your friends are here
They’ll love my final wind-up!
I watch their outlines disappear

I slip Tab ‘A’ and ‘B’ in each other’s slots
Put the batteries in backwards; Disconnect the Dots


‘We were only stars in the sky’; that’s your point of view?
There’ll be signs of trouble in the skies tonight
As the stars un-glue!

I slip Tab ‘A’ and ‘B’ in each other’s slots
Put the batteries in backwards; Disconnect the Dots
Disconnect the Dots
-instr outro-


21 thoughts on “Disconnect The Dots: ‘There must be 50 +/- steps to Nix your Lover

  1. somewittyhandle

    And yet you still had the budget to hire Sonny Stitt on tenor, Eumir Deodato on B3, and Art Taylor on the drums?

    Seriously, it’s unbelievable that a masterpiece such as this could be produced by one man with a couple of tape decks.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Oy, I left out any reference to percussion.
      With due respect for the drumstick-artists I’ve worked with (but paid insufficient attention to ‘How do they do that?!’ ) the drum tracks are more easily ‘synthesized’ than the rest of the mess.
      So happy you found it enjoyable; even had I ‘149 ‘Likes’, I’d still print your reaction and refrigerator-magnet it preferentially, for a daily confirmation that I’d contributed something. Paul Simon simply listed suggested dialogue; but Solberg wrote a DIY tutorial.
      Kinda thinking that both you and your daughter could/should do the same. (Hint)…
      First the ‘Face’, then the ‘Thunder’… or was it vice verse??
      I had a college-age friend/actor who did summer-stock roles, then went to NYC in off-Broadway leading roles. We partied after the premier, me in shock, asking him ‘How long did it take you to get *that* good??’ IDK, mebbe I thought being a Dustin Hoffman was as simple as ‘pretending to be someone else.’. He generously asked ‘How much time you got, guy?’ Moral: there must also be ’50 steps to becoming Guildenstern .’ Rosenkrantz? Forget about it.
      Thanks again for your interest, bro.

      1. somewittyhandle

        Thinking about it, if there are 9 drawbars, each with 9 possible settings, you need to try out 9^9= 387,420,489 combinations to happen upon the right positions. Supposing each adjustment and trial took 2 minutes, then, working 12 hours per day, 365 days per year, the job would be done in just under 2000 years. Since your instrument was not built until the 40’s I deduce that there must be considerable expertise and judgement accelerating the process..

        1. solberg73 Post author

          Aha! So *that’s* what I wuz doing through the 70s and 80s. I’d given up trying to remember.
          Seriously, in those days you were pretty much left to your own devices. One of them was obviously ‘looking over the shoulders of giants’. Literally. Got a good start playing in black gospel churches I guess. And luckily, (youthful bravado) pestered in person Jimmy Smith (friend of a friend), Wild Bill Davis once when I shared a stage with Ellington, Never did more than try to copy Chester Thompson (Tower of Power); one of my favorites, by ear.
          In the end I had basically only a half dozen settings, ranging from unobtrusive supportive to ‘Hey guys, look at me! An incredible tool, the Hammond ; what more could a man want.
          Actually, the leslie rotating speakers and their speeds are to me the main thrill. I toggled ’em with my left knee.
          My B-3 is now safely(?) stored on the 2nd floor of the milk-parlor building back on the farm. For when I sufficiently remember the meaning of Life enough to resume playing it.
          Thanks for the math, Duncan. A million monkeys at a keyboard finally playing ‘Green Onions’.

            1. solberg73 Post author

              I’ll need to research his drawbars. Mine was ‘pull out all the stops’ which I totally loved doing… if only to demonstrate allegiance to the etymological source of the metaphor/ expression. Not to ignore the ‘edge of wetness’ impact on impressionable’ dear ones

                1. solberg73 Post author

                  That phrasing could indeed connote the same general activity, albeit with a prurient bent. Thanks for your continuing interest; keeps me alert

          1. promisesunshine

            Aha. It really is no accident that you make music.
            This kinda reminded of a book we read in school. Picture book, because that’s where I am. I don’t know if you’d have a way of checking it out, should I recall the name of it.
            Also, I saw the border to Egypt is closed now. You’re stuck there.

            1. solberg73 Post author

              Do send a title/author.
              As to the Pharoah(!) Shirely, you must know that the whole point of my suffering through 3 hours of reading of the Passover Book (‘Aggadah’) tonight is to recount and stress *NOT* being in Egypt. I have now 55 minutes to dress up for the occasion .. and perhaps, as Jack Nicholson confessed to Shurely McClain: ‘We may need to get drunk for this!’. (Terms of Endearment’, dear)

              1. promisesunshine

                Trombone Shorty. by himself- Troy Andrews. Which kinda makes me feel a little sheepish, knowing you might know of the guy.
                For future reference, when I’m more myself, I’m pretty good with Googling for context (for Terms of Endearment). The other thing finds me more sheepish still. I was thinking about the OT/NT difference. NT are just like Americans: we have no concept of anyone else. (God help me, I’m both.)
                Dress nice for your reading.

    1. solberg73 Post author

      I suppose the sub-text is Samson, pulling the columns down on everyone’s heads, and proclaiming with his last breath:” Die, Me and the P’listines together! ”
      Toothpaste is equally relevant, though less mythical/poetic…

  2. promisesunshine

    This might be my most favorite ever posting from the brilliant, talented mind of J Solberg, everything not fictional here is real. Not, of course, because my head is turned having my name in the lights. (groupie!)
    Can’t ‘Leave yer Lover’ without a guitar track. Poignant advice. I think it needs to be in neon somewhere. Or engraved in stone. Who knows.
    Ok. I’m going to see if I can find a sax on Craigs List, everything else I’m sure I can do by this afternoon.
    Also, I cleverly “saved” the song all by myself. Surely one of those 30something lines of gibberish is the actual song? (The answer is no.)

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Not to worry, dear. Yea, before the cock crows, ye shall be with me in Paradise. (Love using NT references here; the locals ‘never heard of the Guy’
      And in fact, I’ve been instructed, by music-biz big-shots, that songs sent for possible sale ought to be in a totally stripped-down bare-bones style. A singer plus a $29.95 Casio keyboard played with two fingers into a Mister Microphone.
      So, yeah, the sax is mainly a way to tell the neighbors, melodically, that you’re ‘Mad as hell, and ain’t gonna take it anymore’! I guess.
      My grandpa made shoes for horsies. Hammers, plus cranking the fans for the hot ovens, unless I was there to help. Wonder what he’d think of today’s ‘click’ culture?
      Bottom line: Turns out out I wrote this song so that 30 years later I could sit here, all goose-bumps, and entertain an aether-friend…. Worth every penny, dear

      1. promisesunshine

        and I didn’t even have to cook a chicken.
        Since you make me laugh so much, I must share true story (from 2 minutes ago). First time tickling (or, in my case, scratching?) the ivories since the you-know-what. Surprisingly, painful. I said to the spouse, “ooh, that hurt”. He said, “what hurt?” (all concern and such) to which I replied, “playing the keys?”. And laughed at my own hilarity. Also, totally worth it where’s my nap.

        1. solberg73 Post author

          Play on.. I’ve had reveries where ten minutes in the Key of Ab was sufficient unto the day, the troubles there-of. (Sermon on the Mount)
          Oy, I sense a competitor in the mist..
          Tickle them ebony and ivory, an invention (the piano) once thought of as ‘hawt’ as the latest I-phone/Android fluff.
          A blissful sleep you should have, in any key/ JS

    1. solberg73 Post author

      Thrilled to hear from you! Susie! And gratifying to merit the sublime attention of one who knows of whom we speak…
      And has long been a lighthouse for me on the shoals of so-easily-misconstrued Reality.
      Yeah, wrote a song, thought it’d catharsize my anguish. Mebbe for half an hour?
      On the phone 5 minutes ago, I ended with ‘Camah sh’ani ohev otach!
      So much for Art..
      Your wise advisc; ‘stop talking to bimbos’ runs oddly counter to historical sources of literary inspiration.
      Ok, enough. Tickled pink to hear from your, luv…

  3. eleanorio

    Okay, sorry, I’m really late to the party here. I came, I read, I listened. It occurs to me that when you disconnect the dots, you lose all your constellations. I can no longer say, mazal tov. I can, however, wish you a chag sameach. Bravo!

    1. solberg73 Post author

      As I said, the Samson option: ‘Die, me along with my tormentors. What need have I then for stars?
      Hag Sameah to you also; I’m stocked up on food and spirits this year


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