A Picture

by Allan Thomas

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about

Produced by Richard Gottehrer


Allan Thomas - vocals & acoustic guitar
Jack Lee - electric & nylon string guitar, piano, organ & harp
Steve Edelman - acoustic & electric bass
Bill "Fuzz" Weicht - drums
Jack McGann - acoustic guitar
Buddy Lucas - tenor sax
George Devins - vibes & cabasa
Ellie Greenwich - backing vocals



1970 found me back in NYC after some traveling around the US gigging solo, and as backing guitarist for singer Lynn Kellogg of the play Hair fame. I was playing regularly in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village such as The Bitter End, Café Fenjon, Café A Go Go, and Gerdies Folk City. It all changed for me when I landed a week stand at The Gaslight on MacDougal Street. At this gig I was "discovered" by all-around-music-guy David Wilkes who brought me to the attention of Seymore Stein and Richard Gotteherer of Sire Records.

The Gaslight was a classic Village coffee house: a little hole-in-the-ground basement club frequented by the usual tourists and an assemblage of colorful local characters including poets, comics and mainly folk and blues musicians. This was 1970, already nine or so years after Dylan's arrival and subsequent meteoric rise. But it was still essential to play the Gaslight. The room was tiny and cramped with maybe a half dozen wooden tables and benches, the audience only three feet away from the small stage. Yet so much magic transpired there night after night year after year.

Next-door was the Kettle of Fish bar and grill - a major hangout for the denizens of MacDougal Street. I met composer David Amram, songwriter Len Chandler and poet Charles John Quarto there. Dylans one-time cohort Bobby Neurwith livened up the joint from time to time. The sawdust-on-the-floor place vibrated with raw creative energy.

One night between sets at the Gaslight my sideman Steve Burgh and I slipped outside and sat down on a stoop on a quiet street around the corner. We lit one up and within two seconds a couple of undercover narcs jumped in our faces and threatened to haul us off to jail. Talk about a bring-down. We somehow convinced them that we were just a couple of musicians playing at the Gaslight, and not big dealers or anything. To our shock they took our stash and let us go.

Everybody came through the Village to play when in NYC. A young Bonnie Riatt, Kris Kristofferson, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Mose Allison and a holy host of other artists could be seen on any given night. In '67 I had seen Van Morrison with his group Them at the Bitter End, singing ‘Brown Eyed Girl’. Within minutes you could walk over to the East Village and catch John Coltrane’s pianist McCoy Tyner, playing at the Five Spot. Or head up to Bleecker Street to the Top of the Village Gate and hear Bill Evans playing deep solo piano. If you were a songwriter this was the place to be. The whole neighborhood oozed creativity and art. The Village was legend, and a great place to work on your craft.

Sire Records offered me a four album record deal. This was a major boon, a huge opportunity and a boost to my self-confidence. I felt fortunate to be chosen because there were so many other gifted artists in the Village that would have given anything for a record deal. Deep down I knew I wasn't one of the most talented of singer songwriters by any stretch of the imagination, but still felt there was a place for me somewhere in the realm of recorded and live music.

The producer was Richard Gottehrer, an articulate cat probably in his mid-thirties who was soft spoken but knew his shit. I appreciated his laid-back but all-business attitude and enjoyed working with him throughout the whole process. Having been a recording artist and writer himself he knew how to coax the best performances. He'd had a hit in his youth with a group called the Strangeloves, and would later produce the Go Go's and Joan Armatrading among others.

Richard agreed to fly in three of my musician buddies from around the country for the sessions. These were brothers I had met during my extensive hitchhiking adventures thtoughout the states the previous year. The boy's stayed in the basement apartment at my folks house in Brooklyn, and Sire Records had rented a car for me to bring us all to rehearsals at Baggies in the Village for several days.

Multi instrumentalist Jack Lee came in from Nashville where he was playing guitar and piano with Tracy Nelson's band Mother Earth. Bassist Steve Edelman flew in from L.A. and Bill ‘Fuzz’ Weicht joined us from Dayton Ohio to play drums. I felt a special energy with each of them when we played my songs, and thought they would play well together on the album regardless of having never met.

This is the way I wanted to record rather than using all NYC session players. We did have overdub sessions with studio heavy hitters Buddy Lucas on tenor sax, and George Devins on cabasa and vibes. Ellie Greenwich and crew sang back up vocals on a couple of tunes as well. They were the producers choices and their addition to the album was perfect.

Richard and I picked 10 of the thirty or so songs I had written in the 1967- 1970 period. The sessions were at Media Sound on west 57th street. Veteran Neal Ceppos was the engineer.

After the main sessions with the rhythm section, I recorded 'A Picture' and also 'Circles' with another friend and occasional sideman, Jack McGann. We played acoustic guitars and I sang live.

Richard had his work cut out for him as far as eliciting a decent lead vocal from me especially on songs I had to overdub the lead after tracking the music rather than sing live. I was a bit uncomfortable wearing headphones and had difficulty communicating what I wanted for the headphone mix. I was wet behind the ears in regards to the world of recording and like anything had to learn something new. He had a lot of patience and we tried a few methods until we found the one that worked, even going so far as to place small speakers in front of me, but behind the mic, for monitoring the tracks instead of headphones.

At one point during a break in the sessions I took the rental car and drove way out to the tip of Long Island to practice singing with the tracks. I had a Norelco cassette player that the good folks at Sire Records had given to me as part of an advance agaist future royalties. As far as I know there is still a ways to go for that cassette player to be paid back.

After all was asaid and done I wound up being really happy with everyones performances on the the album. Looking back, some of my singing and songwriting was not all that, but the album was definitely an accurate picture of where I was at as a twenty-two year old singer and songwriter only three years into my game. There was a long way to go but I felt like I was growing and stretching my wings.

During breaks in the sessions I wandered around the studio and met different artists who were also recording there. Richie Havens, one of the few black solo singer songwriters wielding an acoustic steel-string in the folk world was one such artist. Richie was a charismatic, big-hearted cat, who had played at Woodstock a couple of years earlier.

Downstairs in the church-like basement Stevie Wonder was recording his ‘Talking Book’ album with Bob Margouleff and Malcom Cecil producing and engineering. Bob and Malcom befriended me and over the years I was a guest of theirs at several Stevie Wonder sessions.

A Picture was promoted nationally and received some airplay. It was also distributed nationwide.

All in all what an amazing experience for a Brooklyn boy. If it hadn't been for some dumb decisions I made after the first Sire Records release I might have gone on to do three more albums with them, but in typical AT fashion, I fucked it up good and wouldn't have another record deal till I created my own record label some seventeen years later. Hindsight really is twenty-twenty vision. Such is life.


Drummer Bill Weicht continues to play select soulful gigs in Dayton Ohio, and is stretching everyones imagination on canvas.

Bassist Steve Edelman would go on to become one of LA's top classical music double bass players. In 1969 at the age of 19 he landed his first job as Assistant Principal Bass in the Phoenix Symphony. After his stint with Phoenix, it was back to Hollywood where he has played on over 500 movie sound tracks. His favorite movie score to record was with composer Elmer Bernstien, Animal House. Steve has held the Principal Bass chair with the Pacific Symphony for the last twenty-five years.

Jack Lee has played his music everywhere from Carnegie Hall to Isabel’s South Sea Island Bar in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. At 19, he was opening for Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner and others with his own band, Oz. Jack also toured and recorded with Bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs on piano. Since then, Jack has been a busy session musician in Los Angeles. A true multi-instrumentalist, Jack performs on piano, guitar, lapslide, bass & harmonica. And, as a music arranger and producer, Jack has supported many prominent New Thought artists, authors and teachers. He is currently the music director at Unity of Ventura, CA. Mr Lee continues to have a passionate interest in healing frequencies and meditation. It was a real treat to have Jack play keyboards with me at a house concert in Venice CA. in 2008.

Producer Richard Gottehrer co-founded The Orchard - a digital music distribution company - in 1997. He is a legendary songwriter having written "My Boyfriend's Back," a multi-platinum producer - Blondie, The Go-Go's, and Joan Armatrading - and music industry entrepreneur. His songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others. Richard co-founded Sire Records - later sold to the Time Warner Corporation - which quickly became one of the industry's leading independent record companies with a roster that included Madonna, the Talking Heads, the Ramones, the Pretenders and Depeche Mode. Drawing on his wide range of experience and broad overview of the music industry, he has been instrumental in developing and shaping the way music is distributed and sold.

I'd like to mention that since no master tape has been located, a high quality transfer was pulled from a vinyl release copy, and as such will have surface noise and an occasional click or pop, but we feel that some people would like to hear this album regardless.

credits

released January 1, 1971

All songs written by Allan Thomas

Engineered by Neal Ceppos
Studio - Media Sound
Cover art and photograpy - Frank Gauna
Record label - Sire Records

© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP

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Allan Thomas Hanalei, Hawaii

Aloha and welcome to my Bandcamp Music Store home page. Here you can listen to full-length samples of all six Allan Thomas albums. Also to be found are credits, photos, stories and lyrics for all songs. Dig in...

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Track Name: Nine To Five Routine
Nine To Five Routine

words & music - Allan Thomas


I've quit that nine to five routine
Ain't gonna work that way no more
Devoting my time to creatin' me
And I don't care how long I've got to be poor

Now working five days a week that don't allow me
The time I need to grow
I'll sacrifice the security for a future I can call my own

I ain't gonna follow no one else's footsteps but mine
I got to make my own way
Taking my time
Skeptical people they say I'll be a nobody
They scorn me and say I'm a fool
But knowing my decision is right
Means more to me than following the rule
I've quit that nine to five routine

Now I'm not saying that nine to five ain't no good
For some folk it's all they've got
But what may be good for someone else
Perhaps for me is not for
I've quit that nine to five routine
You can bear my witness
I've quit that nine to five routine


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: D Train
D Train

words & music - Allan Thomas


Rusty wheels turnin' under New York town
Step in quick for the door knock you down
We're going ridin' on a subway
Bound for Brooklyn tonight
Hold on

Keep your eyes wide open
Watch the people watching you
It's thirty-cents admission
The show's always new
We're going ridin' on the D train
Bound for Brooklyn tonight
And here's some advice

Don't you let the five-o'clock rush make mush out of you
And make sure that you listen to the stories
That the Drunk man has got for you
Ridin' on the D Train's like dreaming in your sleep
Anything might happen anyone might leap
We're going ridin' on the D train
Bound for Brooklyn tonight
Jack why don't you take a ride

When she keeps you waitin'
You will frown down the track
But when you hear her heartbeat a hummin'
You will hum right back
We're going ridin' on the D train
Bound for Brooklyn tonight
You better hold on


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Headin' For the Open Road
Headin' For The Open Road


words & music - Allan Thomas


Feels as if this past week has lasted about a year
'Cause I been working so doggone hard
Waiting for the weekend to appear
But now at last the time has arrived
to find myself some peace of mind and come alive

I'm headin' for the open road
Which way I'm going I don't know
I might walk I might ride but I can't decide
Just what I'm gonna do
But I know I know
That I'm headin' for the open road

Through the week my responsibilities
They weigh heavily on my soul
Constantly reminding me of what must be done
For me to reach my goal
But I get relief in knowing I can rest for a while
When I close the door behind me
I'll sing with a smile

I'm headin' for the open road
Which way I'm going I don't know
I might walk I might ride but I can't decide
Just what I'm gonna do
But I know I know
That I'm headin' for the open road

Too much pressure on me
Has taken too much out of me
But now at last the time has arrived
To find myself some peace of mind and come alive

I'm headin' for the open road
Which way I'm going I don't know
I might walk I might ride but I can't decide
Just what I'm about to do
But I know I know
Deep down in my soul I know
That I'm headin' for the open road



© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Hitch Hiker Song
Hitch-Hiker Song

words & music Allan Thomas


He's hitchin' down the highway
With the wind blowing through his hair
Smiling and singing a song full of hope to share
Suitcase and guitar by his side waiting for a ride

He's on his way to somewhere
But just where he doesn't know
Another town a pretty face a friendship he can sew
A troubadour of subtle songs is he
And this is what he sings

Li di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life
Li di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life

He's been rambling for as long as he recalls
Picking up the pieces and breaking down the walls
He always loves to listen to the lessons
The drivers tongues do tell

Li di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life
Li di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life

Li di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life
Li di de di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life

So if you see him hitchin' down the road in front of you
Do remember in your heart
He's people passing through
And please be kind he's only trying to find
Himself just like you

Singin' Li di de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life
Li di de dum de dum I'm searching for a strum
Hitchin' down the highway of life
I'm Hitchin' down the highway of life


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: In The Rain
In The Rain

words & music - Allan Thomas


It's raining little drops of life come rolling down
It's raining mother nature is sending down
Her love into our lives

To me the rain is so beautiful
I think it's too bad most people don't see
All the beauty in the rain
The falling rain

I think I'm gonna I think I'm gonna
Stay out in this falling rain
I think I'm gonna I think I'm gonna let it touch my face
Well I'm gonna watch it slow down the world's pace

It's raining and I'm soaking wet
It's raining I think it's sad that most people they never get the feelings that I do
In the rain the beautiful rain
In the rain
Mother nature's mood changing
Life giving fresh feeling rain


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Ridin'
Ridin'

words & music - Allan Thomas


All I want to do
Is provide a ride for you
And all you've got to do is listen
And I will take you ridin' with me

Now I am fond of ridin'
And I know that you are too
So close your eyes and listen listen
Allan will take you ridin' with him
Lets' go for a ride

All I want to do
Is provide a ride for you
That's all I'm trying to do
And all you've got to do is listen
And I will take you ridin' with me
I'll take you ridin' with me
I'll take you ridin'
I will take you ridin' with me


1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Let It Flow
Let It Flow

words & music - Allan Thomas


A seed was planted in my heart today
When my eyes beheld your glow
Now that seed is beginning to grow
Getting stronger with every hello
I can feel it searching for the sunshine
Which only your loving can provide
We're both beginning to need you now
But this time I'm not gonna hide

I'm gonna let it flow
Gonna let it flow

Just to watch you laugh and sing and smile
Is enough of a life giving shower
To help the seed within my heart to grow
Into a beautiful flower
With the right climate and plenty of care
I'm sure we'll be able to share
All the profits of a love-ripened harvest
That both of us helped to prepare

I'm gonna let it flow
Gonna let it flow

With the right climate and plenty of care
I'm sure we'll be able to share
All the profits of a love-ripened harvest
That both of us helped to prepare

I'm gonna let it flow flow flow
I'm gonna let it flow
Need to see our love flow
And I will wait if I have to darling
With the patience of a farmers soul
Flow gonna let it flow
And I need you like a flower needs the sunshine
Let it flow


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Communication
Communication

words & music -Allan Thomas


See the playground over there
Children playing unaware
Singing and laughing through the day
Well those kids won't always be that way

You see their gonna grow up
Into a world not often kind
Some of those kids will make it
But the others will be left behind

We've got to reach out and offer them all we can
Reach out and lend the young a helping hand
I'm singing about communication

Pick a child who'll play life's games
And that child will never never fail
Then pick a child who'll spend his life
Dying behind the bars of jail

These are the paths
The paths of each child's unchosen fate
People all we can do is try
We've got to try to guide them towards the right gate

We've got to reach out and offer them all that we can
Before it's too late
Reach out and lend the young a healing hand

Offer them understanding
Give them some kindness too
We've all traveled that lonely road before
Our experience should tell us how to help them through

People we've got to reach out
And offer them all that we can
Tomorrow it's their turn to reach on out
And lend the young a helping hand
I'm singing about communication


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Walls
Walls

words & music - Allan Thomas


The tears stream down her cheeks like rain
Expounding anxiety and pain
All the frustration that she is feeling
Is the result of her finally dealing
With visions constantly revealing
The walls that stand so tall 'tween her and me
They stand so tall between her and me

Points are lost and points are gained
Still the deadly game goes on just the same
The principal purpose is a compromise
But that reasoning is just a disguise
While she lets her emotions rise
Over the walls that stand so tall 'tween her and me
They stand so tall between her and me
All I see is walls

All the stone-cold words she didn't mean to say
But somehow they find my ears anyway
A moments madness reveals hidden thoughts
The name calling blame falling will cost
Deep in misunderstanding we are lost
Under the walls that stand so tall 'tween her and me
They stand so tall
They stand so tall between her and me


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: Circles
Circles

words & music - Allan Thomas


Round and round in circles
Everything seems to go round
The earth keeps turning the sun keeps burning
They both keep returning to where they're bound
Round and round and round in circles they go

Round and round in cycles
Everything sure does seem to roll round
The seasons they come and go
The more you learn the less you seem to know
Round and round in cycles we go

Round and round and up and down
Round and round we go
Round and round and up and down
Where we stop we don't know
Thats a simple philosophy
Yet it signifies everything I seem to see
Around you and me

Round and round in circles
Everything seems to go round
Round and round in circles
Everything seems to go round
The earth keeps turning the sun keeps burning
We all go returning to where we're bound

Round and round in circles
Round and round in cycles
Round and round in circles we go


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP
Track Name: A Picture
A Picture

words & music - Allan Thomas


I want to paint a picture for you
So you may see what I've seen too
And I'll use colors of loneliness shades of blue
Colors of children and barking dogs too
Colors of wandering wondering why
Wishing and waiting while watching the sky

These are the images I choose to use
I'll paint a picture for the price of my dues

And I'll use colors of music and moments of love
Colors of questions and signs from above
Colors of patience and colors of pain
Colors of Dylan and colors of Coltrane

These are the images that I choose to use
I'll paint a picture for the price of my dues

I want to paint a picture for you
So you may see what I've seen too

And I'll use colors of grain sun-struck and gold
Colors of a man afraid to grow old
Colors of war bloody and red
Colors of lies upon which we're fed

These are images that I choose to use
I'll paint this picture for the price of my dues

And I'll use colors of laughter and colors of jail
Counting and cursing while waiting for mail
Colors of death doom and desire
Colors of naked ladies on fire

These are images that I've chosen to use
I've painted my picture for the price of my dues

Now I've wanted to paint a picture for you
And I hope you have seen what I've seen too


© 1971 Bleu Disque Music - ASCAP