Bonus Zone
"Wherever you are tonight, you are not alone
I am there beside you as the big wheel spins us home"

Something For You
  • Credits and Notes
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Something For You Credits

Produced by Erik Dyba and Mike Goldenberg
Recorded by Erik Dyba at Hyde Street Studios and The Space Bar, SF
Mixed and mastered by Erik Dyba at The Space Bar
Songs, Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar—Mike Goldenberg
Hammond B3, Electric Guitar, Drums and Percussion—Erik Dyba
Bass—Chuck Oakes, except for Erik on Track 2
Harmony Vocals—Marissa Malvino, Chuck Oakes, Erik, Mike, Doug Jones
Violin—Calvin K. Murasaki
Song Consultant—Karen Zabel
Erik wrote the music on Track 5

This one's for Goldy


Work on Something For You began in the summer of 2002 at Hyde Street Studios, paused while The Space Bar was contructed, and finished up in January of 2005, quite a bit behind schedule and budget. I'm told a good rule of thumb is: everything having to do with recording takes twice and long and costs twice as much as you thought it would. From song selection and pre-production meetings through arranging, tracking, mixing, and mastering (not to mention building a first-class studio from scratch) we have tested and proven the truth of this. I have to say, I'm quite pleased with the result of all the time, work, and meticulous care—I hope that you are, too.

Here are some notes on the songs, more to come as soon as:

Starlight Special

My father was a hobo and a union organizer during the Thirties. The verses are stories he told me when I was a kid. They’re all true and he was there, ‘tho I have taken some small liberties with history. The strikers "fortified the buildings" during the longshoremen’s strike, which was in 1934, not ’39. MacArthur was still a colonel at the time of the Bonus March (1932) and probably didn’t need to load up his howitzers. He led his men across the Anacostia River on a white charger, against President Hoover’s direct personal order, and attacked the main encampment of protesters, burning them out of their shacks and tents. My father saw the smoke rising over Anacostia Flats as he was leaving DC.

The chorus is my version of the "Wabash Cannonball", said by some to be a song about the last train a dying ‘bo rides. There was a run called the "Pacific Starlight", ‘tho I don’t know when or where it operated. My dad died in 2002, and I do sometimes see him ridin’ on that Starlight Special train, headin’ home again.

Little Bird

I had the verses together but was having trouble with the chorus, as usual. The song was not one of those that fall ripe from the tree into your lap. I put the verses aside for a few minutes and when I came back to them there was a small bird outside my window, chirping. The chorus came real fast after that.

The Heart of Love

A few years ago I went to a San Francisco Folk Music Club camp out over the Fourth of July weekend, in a spectacular redwood grove up in the mountains above Santa Cruz. The evening featured many hours of playing and singing at several song circles, and by the time I finally gave it up at 2:00 AM I was fairly well worked. I had set up camp in my favorite place, a natural depression at the center of a circle of young redwoods. These smaller trees sometimes grow up in a protective ring around an old "mother" tree that has been logged, struck by lightening, or otherwise injured or removed. It is a magical site for a small camp, if one is quite careful not to disturb the shallow roots of the redwood trees.

I slept soundly, but was awakened at sunrise by several squawking blue jays. I was quite spaced out. There was a song in my head and I had only to reach out, open my guitar case, and pull out the Taylor to get it going. The melody really did seem to be pre-formed, already there in the air, and my job was get the lyrics down on it before it got away. Forty minutes later "The Heart of Love" was finished, except for part of the last verse, which came later that day. I tried to write a middle eight for it, but the part never really jelled; we just dropped that in the studio and did a short solo instead.

I have always felt that the song was a gift of the local spirit inhabiting that place. I have not gone there again.

Don’t Blame Me

I had what I thought was a pretty straightforward country melody, except the words kept coming out weird. Definitely not contemporary Nashville-style lyrics, but they seemed to hang together well enough. I played it for my song consultant, along with a couple of cover songs, and she said: "Is that a John Prine song?" Then I knew it was a keeper. Times like that do sort of make up for those other times, like when I cover an obscure Dylan song and somebody asks if it’s an original. "Well, yes, I should have written it…but Dylan got there first."

Done to You

This is my 9-11 song. It was written on September 14th. My journal entry for that day includes the chorus lyric and the following: “I have not seen anything like this since JFK went down, but that didn’t do what the massacre in NY will do. I think America is about to take the wrong road, the violent road…” Four days later I went into Hyde Street and recorded it. Within two weeks I’d sent it to about thirty radio stations; some even played it. The original vocal was done by David Max because I hated every take I sang that night. During the Something For You sessions, I dug up a CD mixed version without vocals and decided to give it another try. We just dropped my new vocal into the old mix and tweaked it up a little. Erik does the spooky guitar and atmosphere. Unfortunately, the song seems to be getting more current and topical as the years blunder on.