Singing the obvious to the oblivious

by mike skliar

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about

This latest album of mine covers a range of topics and moods from the political to the personal, from love songs to tribute songs, childhood memory songs, calls to action, and statements about the state of affairs of us all.

All songs written by Mike Skliar (that's me) except "We are the instrument" and "How Cold Was It"- music by Mike Skliar, lyric by Nancy Rost and Mike Skliar, and "What once was missing" -music by Mike Skliar, lyric by Mike Skliar & T.C.Elliott.

Special thanks to Paul "Hoopshank" Turrell, who added such excellent bass and drums to several tracks (Singing about the obvious, Moron v Maniac, Tardy Lane). Paul, along with my co-writers Nancy Rost and T.C. Elliott, along with myself and a thousand or so other folks, are all part of this great online songwriting happening called "February Album Writing Month" which happens every year.

Much of this album was written as part of the February Album Writing Month (FAWM) challenge in February 2014, while a few songs were written in 2013, as part of the 50/90 challenge.

"Bernie and Sylvia" is the true story of my wife's mother and uncle during WW2, and thanks to the family for telling all those stories about those all-but-impossible to imagine times.

"Girl with the smile in her eyes' is a brand new song about my wonderful wife Helen, who I give a special special thanks to, of course.

Enjoy!

credits

released April 20, 2014

Mike Skliar- vocals, acoustic 6 and 12 string guitars, bass, electric guitar, mandolin, dobro, percussion, and on "When someone.." additional Garageband programming.

Paul "Hoopshank" Turrell- drums and bass on "Singing about the Obvious", "Moron v maniac", and drums on "Tardy Lane"

Nancy Rost- background vocals on "We are the instrument"

tags

license

all rights reserved
Track Name: Singing about the obvious to the oblivious
Some talk about the global situation,
and some change the station
I talk about climate change
and you’re just out of range

Singing about the obvious to the oblivious
to some it’s inconvenient and to some it might be hideous
I'm just singing the obvious to the oblivious

Some scoff at what science finds,
invent new ways to be blind
But if we all take the easy route,
the bad outcome won’t be in doubt

Singing about the obvious to the oblivious
to some it’s nonexistent and there’s nothing really to discuss
I'm just singing the obvious to the oblivious

You get distracted and bored about the subject
what's it going to take for you to connect?
Why bother talking it falls on deaf ears
you're going to find out when your world disappears

When things you know start going extinct
will it make you think?
or just look at your phone and stare,
or rearrange the deck chairs

Singing about the obvious to the oblivious
Thinking that some of us just want to be lascivious
to some it’s inconvenient and to some it might be hideous
to some it’s nonexistent and there’s nothing really to discuss
Singing about the obvious to the oblivious

© 2014 M. Skliar
Track Name: We are the instrument
Love - you can turn the world around
You can lift us off the ground
Land us on my feet


Love - you can lead us to the light
I know it’ll be alright
You make us feel complete


Every day I’m thankful
For everything you are
Every night I know we can touch the stars


And when we touch the stars, we have touched the infinite
And the music plays us as if we are the instrument


Love - you can fill the world with bliss
You can give it happiness
Everything sublime


Love - love can make the world alright
Love can be a guiding light
Just like yours and mine


Every day I’m thankful
For everything you are
Every night I feel like we can touch the stars


And when we touch the stars, we have touched the infinite
And the music plays us as if we are the instrument

© Nancy Rost & Mike Skliar 2014
Track Name: Philip Seymour Hoffman
What makes someone go down like that, to a place from which he can’t get back
Not just anyone, but the best at what he does, who always stood out from the pack

You played hundreds of characters, played and lived them all the way
Who else could do it, and who would want to throw it all away?

to do your work you had to visit the darkness, stray so far from conformity
Is the fix that good, is the high that high, that it’s worth checking out for all eternity

I could namecheck all the movies that I saw you in, make a list long and full of magic
But I never thought that list would end like this, so damn tragic

You played hundreds of characters, played and lived them all the way
Who else could do it, and who would want to throw it all away?
© M. Skliar 2014
Track Name: Bernie and Sylvia
Bernie and Sylvia, brother and sister, in a little town in the Polish Ukraine
It was 1942 the Germans marched in, nothing would be ever be the same
They were 9 and 11, their mother had died, a couple years before, nobody knows why
Their father Jankel and Uncle Usher were tall and strong, known throughout the countryside

Their father argued with a local policeman, a stupid thing to do, to pick a fight
That week a man named Sandrick gave them a warning that a mob would kill them tonight
Now they bundled up the kids, and the old grandmother, walked into the forest in the Polish Ukraine
They made no fire that would give off any smoke, in hiding in the forest they remained

After a few weeks, venturing out to a farm, to take some potatoes just to stay alive
They found out all the other Jews in their village were marched to ditch then shot and died
The father and uncle swam frozen rivers, for miles in search of food they’d go
They almost didn’t make it back one time and the grandmother died in the snow

When Jankel and Usher made it back, Bernie and Sylvia were barely warm
By good luck a farmer decided to help, a night or two sleeping in the barn
But most of the time they were out in the forest, sleeping in the snow, in the rain and sleet
Bernie asked his father will there ever come a time when we will sit at a table and eat

His father replied, there will come a time, when you’ll even have herring with black bread and jam
And if we can just stay here a little while longer, the Germans will be gone from this land
Two years passed, in the forest they hid, it’s hard to conceive of this living hell
Sylvia remembers when they cut off her pigtails, those pigtails walked away by themselves

Moving thru the forest, to beat back the Germans, a small group of Russian partisans
Came across the four wandering souls, who by then could hardly stand
They told them to go to the town of Manievich, and they would be safe for the rest of the war
The Russians had no great love for the Jews, but hated the Germans even more

They were there for four years and then emigrated, to a relative in Montreal
Leaving the ghosts of a thousand little towns, and too many of the dead to recall

Bernie went to school and became an attorney, he married and had children 1 2 3 4 5
Sylvia also got married and also had five children, it’s amazing that Bernie and Sylvia survived

Sylvia doesn’t talk about the war years much, and her daughter Helen is now my wife
And Bernie just died at the age of 80, such a strange and improbable life

Bernie and Sylvia, brother and sister, in a little town in the Polish Ukraine
It was 1942 the Germans marched in, nothing would be ever be the same

© 2013 M. Skliar
Track Name: Chris Christie don't get misty
Chris Christie don’t get misty, but your presidential run is thru
You screwed Ft lee, obviously, its what you intended to do
You went ahead and closed the bridge
Maybe you should have just closed the fridge
Chris Christie don’t get misty but your presidential run is thru

You can’t deny even if you try you like to throw your weight around
That ft lee scheme played like a dream you’ve been dreaming since the last 100 pounds
You scream at teachers every chance you get
President Christie? Not just yet
You cant deny even if you try you like to throw your weight around

Your aides were fixin, like Richard Nixon, for a big big second term win
Called a special election just for protection, so Corey Booker wouldn’t mess with your spin
Endorsements you did not have to rig
You still would have won pretty big
Your aides were fixin’ like Richard Nixon, for a big big second term win

And now those aides they are afraid, so the leaks are starting to flow
When they start to sing about everything, your problems are going to grow
You weaved your web without much thinking
That web won’t hold when you start sinking
And now those aides are afraid, so the leaks are starting to flow

solo

Chris Christie don’t get misty, but your presidential run is thru
You screwed Ft lee, obviously, its what you intended to do
You went ahead and closed the bridge
Maybe you should have just closed the fridge
Chris Christie don’t get misty but your presidential run is thru


© M. Skliar 2014
Track Name: The girl with the smile in her eyes
My partner in crime in this lifetime
the girl with the smile in her eyes
She came along just at the right time
A mysterious lovely surprise
And grabbing my hand she made me understand
That the troubles are fewer and the skies are bluer
As blue as the blue of her eyes
The girl with the smile in her eyes

She came here from Toronto
The girl with the smile in her eyes
One look and I knew that I want to
With all that that implies
And grabbing my hand she made me understand
That the troubles are fewer and the skies are bluer
As blue as the blue of her eyes
The girl with the smile in her eyes

So now all these many years after
With the girl with the smile in her eyes
The moments are filled with laughter
It’s still the best surprise
And grabbing my hand she made me understand
That the troubles are fewer and the skies are bluer
As blue as the blue of her eyes
The girl with the smile in her eyes

© 2014 M. Skliar
Track Name: Money screams
Like falling rain in a monsoon season
Cash rains down on politicians
even more now and here’s one reason
Those fat cat donors got what they’re wishing

Money talks money yells
Aint no limit to ringing that bell
Money talks money screams
It’s a one percenter’s dream

Wealthy Corporations are free to speak
And cash seems to be their nouns and verbs
Speaking for the strong against the weak
What once was a democracy is getting absurd

Money talks money yells
Aint no limit to ringing that bell
Money talks money screams
It’s a one percenter’s dream

A lot of green can drown out the truth and make something black look white
The message is repeated and sooner or later the masses will say that’s right

So many issues like immigration
Or gun control, which a majority supports
The monied interests kill the legislation
And now the money’s even bigger thanks to the Supreme Court

Money talks, money yells, money talks, money screams (2x)


© 2014 M. Skliar
Track Name: Tardy Lane
At my old house on Tardy lane we had a big backyard
Lots of grass, and hedges that always needed trimming
And in that backyard there were trees of every kind
Sycamore Cherry and a weeping willow it was almost forest living

I'd climb those trees and my mom made pies from the cherries
And a corner garden for cucumbers and tomatoes
My first dog Skipper explored every inch of that backyard
Dug a hole under the hedge one day decided he just had to go

We never saw that dog again, But soon we got another
And Alfie wasn't so much the family pet he was almost a brother

Last week I saw a for sale notice on the Internet
40 years after we left the house on tardy Lane
With photos showing inside and outside of our old house
Such a strange experience nothing was the same

A giant swimming pools took up half the backyard
No trees no shade no hedges that needed trimming
Just that big swimming pool surrounded by concrete
And right in the middle some big damn fool swimming

In the back of my mind I still see those trees
Do they still exist if they’re only in my memories?

At my old house on Tardy lane we had a big backyard
Lots of grass, and hedges that always needed trimming
And in that backyard there were trees of every kind
Sycamore Cherry and a weeping willow it was almost forest living


© 2014 M. Skliar
Track Name: Moron v maniac
If you drive less than the limit, they’ll say that moron’s too slow
But drive too quick and the nickname will stick, look at that maniac go
It's the same with religion and politics, If you're different you must be wrong
it’s getting so that even “Hello” means we don’t get along

There are those who like division, and subtraction best of all
Who only skill is that they can build the same kinds of walls
And in the name of their deity, they’re prone to demonize
Surrounded by those who wear the same clothes, cause the others are uncivilized

If you’ve got a religious belief, that your tribe is better than mine
You’d best be prepared to live your life scared, or up on the battle lines
Or maybe embrace our differences, and our similarities
That might be more fun and in the long run just maybe your god agrees

© M. Skliar 2014
Track Name: When someone came back
When Jesus came back and heard about Obamacare he said count me in
A government that does not help the poor is a government of sin

When Jesus heard about gun control he said that makes me glad
Thou shall not kill was something said to me by my dad

When Jesus heard about Occupy Wall Street he said good idea
He said you know that shouldn't surprise you, I've been saying that stuff for 2000 years

He was embarrassed with all the crazy things that were done in his name
But he couldn't wait to try the Cronut, and he loved those new bike lanes

But the most surprising thing that we learned about Jesus when he returned
Was that his dad really did look just exactly like George Burns

When Jesus came back and heard about Obamacare he said count me in
Cause a government that does not help the sick is a government of sin

© M. Skliar 2013
Track Name: Pete was a man (for Pete Seeger)
Pete was a man was a mighty mighty man was a mighty fine man was he
He sang in places large and small ofttimes he'd sing for free
He sang so many songs that came from every time and place
You could not help but sing along as part of the human race

Back in the 1930s depression ruled the land
Pete sang songs about struggles of the workingman
For those whose road was rocky, with no money to ride
There was no doubt, that folks like Pete, were always on your side

And in the early 50s he had a big pop hit
But he never cared about those things, integrity was it
So when the right wing congressmen insisted that he talk
He took the First Amendment told them to take a walk

Pete was a man was a mighty mighty man was a mighty fine man was he
He sang in places large and small ofttimes he'd sing for free
he sang Irish ballads, Russian ballads, lullabys and blues
You could not help but sing along, it was the human thing to do

When the civil rights movement needed songs to sing
Pete sang an old spiritual to Martin Luther King
He changed a few words round, singing as he strummed
Got half the country singing ‘we shall overcome’

He was banned on TV, as the 60’s turned more bloody
Till the Smothers Brothers insisted, he sang ‘waist deep in big muddy’
He sang of war and peace, and the struggle for liberation
although his music wasn’t played on many radio stations)

Pete was a man was a mighty mighty man was a mighty fine man was he
He sang in places large and small ofttimes he'd sing for free
He sang with abandon, with the joy of a young kid
You could not help but sing along, and be glad that you did

He saw the Hudson River, so dirty you could not swim
He said let’s try to clean it up, they all laughed at him
He slowly stopped those factories from making it their sink
And now the Hudson River, is clean enough to drink

I first heard ‘if I had a hammer’ at my summer camp
I still remember that feeling, like someone had lit a lamp
Then I got home and told my mom, and my jaw it hit the floor
Pete Seeger had been my mom’s summer camp music counselor

Pete was a man was a mighty mighty man was a mighty fine man was he
He sang in places large and small ofttimes he'd sing for free
He sang so many songs that came from every time and place
You could not help but sing along as part of the human race

© M. Skliar 2014
Track Name: How cold was it?
How cold was it

It was so cold that the anti-freeze, froze
It was so cold that the little red liquid in the thermometer turned blue in the cold
It was so cold that Frosty the snowman booked a one way ticket to Miami Beach
It was so cold that the penguins started buying long underwear

How cold was it

It was so cold that soap bubbles turned solid and froze
It was so cold that radio stations that played cool jazz decided to stop playing
It was so cold that an ice cream truck was colder on the outside then the inside
It was so cold that the weather forecasts measured the temperature using negative exponential numbers

How cold was it

It was so cold that snowflakes decided it was too cold to be different and huddled together for warmth
It was so cold that hot chili peppers became edible in bulk
It was so cold that people put hot pockets in their pockets
It was so cold that striptease artists started putting on extra clothes
It was so cold that a woman had hot flashes and a crowd gathered around her for warmth

© M. Skliar and N. Rost 2014
Track Name: Bob Dylan-the Bootleg series vol 10 (another self portrait)
Come gather round women gather round men
Tell you about bootleg series volume ten
Another “Self-portrait” here again
'What is this sh--' Rolling Stone said then

We all didn't get it back in the day
We didn't know what Bob was trying to say
Singing 'the boxer' and 'blue moon'
Is it all just a joke or is he crazy as a loon

43 years later and the world has changed fast
No one cares to go thru his trash
He's just another guy not the holy one
And the kids just listen to Mumford and son

But on those long ago sessions with David Bromberg
Some really nice things we has never heard
These hands, thirsty boots and pretty saro
And beautiful singing it all just flowed

Some gems from new morning like 'time passes slowly'
And two great takes of 'went to see the gypsy'
Just when you think those sonic wonders will cease
Solo piano 'when I paint my masterpiece'

The bonus edition has the Isle of Wight show
That legendary concert with the band you know
Three of the Beatles were there in the crowd
Now Paul McCartney can hear what he missed ...loud

Now the big question for Bob Dylan junkies
What other releases will we all see
Will it be the second leg of rolling thunder
Or the gospel years maybe they'll plunder

One thing that might just send us to heaven
Those long rumored songs from 1977
So many things would be just great
Like a complete big box of the basement tapes

What's in the vault no way of knowing
And the pile of recordings seems to be growing
Maybe down at the bottom of the pile
The duet between him and Gomer Pyle

So come gather round women and mostly men
Here's the Bootleg series volume ten
Rolling stone loves it now
Four and a half stars out of five stars...wow

© M. Skliar 2013
Track Name: What once was missing
What once was missing, now is found
What once was silent now makes sound
Its clearer now than it was before
The rainclouds scatter when at your door


When tied in knots, and feeling frayed
And all our passions can’t be obeyed
The time has come to change up gears
And cast away the good old fears


Grab the chance when chances come
Learn to live what life becomes

Grab the chance when chances come
Learn to love what life becomes


What once was missing, now is found
What once was silent now makes sound
Its clearer now than it was before
The rainclouds scatter when at your door


© 2014 M. Skliar & T.C. Elliott