Lilliput: The Importance of Friendship

Life at times may not seem what it should be
And you may find you’re ill at ease.
But always remember the sun will rise tomorrow
And it can change all you see.
The world we live in can dwarf the greatest man
And you may think we haven’t a prayer.
And the only way to retain your sanity
Is surround yourself with people who care.
Responsibilities will hunt down your soul
There’s no escaping and they’ll follow wherever you go.
But take one thing at a time and pursue it to its end
And always remember; never forsake your friends.

This song means a great deal to me personally. I play it often when I’m low and it really makes me feel better. It almost feels as if someone else wrote it because to admit that I love it so much seems egocentric. I think the theme is timeless, but I was only 17 or 18 when I wrote it. I didn’t record it right away because I wanted to do it justice and figured I’d probably learn a lot during my first recording session. The title, Lilliput, of course refers to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift…but, I never actually read the book. It’s supposed to be clever and convey how small an individual is and how overwhelming life’s trials can be without the support of solid friendships.

Musically, I like the song for its finger-picked guitar (vaguely reminiscent of Paul Simon’s Kathy’s Song which usually follows this tune when I perform it live). Done right, it sounds pretty good. Done wrong…it sounds like I’m wearing boxing gloves. I studied guitar for almost 5 years, but I taught myself to fingerpick because I liked Paul Simon and James Taylor and America and CSNY, etc. When I was younger, I could actually work in three fingers (and my thumb), but now I play almost exclusively with only two fingers (and my thumb) while anchoring my pinky on the pickguard.

The song was recorded in Youngstown, Ohio on Jack Chamberlain’s PortaStudio. There are only 4 tracks to this song (acoustic rhythm guitar, lead vocal, harmony, and solo acoustic guitar). The solo guitar was an afterthought and I never really liked it (and the lead vocal is wicked flat), in fact, I believe the whole song could be done much better. Nevertheless, it’s the best version I recorded so far.

I played all the guitars and sang both harmonies.

Originally recorded in 4-track mono. Mixed to stereo cassette (2-track) in 1983. Re-engineered to digital from the stereo mixdown using Cool96 September 1999

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