Notes on the songs...





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Mona Ray
I hesitate to say it, because it depends on what I have had for breakfast, but I think "Mona Ray" is one of the best tunes I have been able to come up with. It is being covered a lot these days by a number of classical players. It is slowly seeping into the academic repertoire. I think it is because the structure of it is very clean.It has a nice motion.
    For me, the who reason for the tune was the woman's name....Mona Ray. I was sitting in a motel at the airport watching the tube and she was a customer in a commercial for a furniture store in Santa Barbara. Underneath her, they flashed her name, Mona Ray. You don't get many thrills in a motel room, but that name was poetry to me. If you can ever attribute a source, that is as close at it gets.
[from Anthology liner notes] Dropped D tuning.


When Shrimps Learn to Whistle
That is a quote from Khrushchev in a speech he gave at the U.N. He said there would be American ships in the Bosporus when shrimps learned to whistle. Finally, one of these yokels came up with a metaphor. I hate to hear those guys talk, because they sound like they don't have any fun at all.
[from Anthology liner notes] Played in Open C.

Twilight Property


Bill Cheatham


Vertical Trees


Medley: San Antonio Rose, America
Open G tuning.


Constant Traveler
I took me a while to realize it, but I had written this thing called "Constant Traveler." When I finally looked at it, it looked an awful lot like "Open Country Joy." When I put "Open Country Joy" on the anthology [Leo Kottke 1971-1976/Did You Hear Me?], I thought I would make the proper nod to John [McLaughlin, leader of the Mahavishnu Orchestra]. It pissed a few people off, expecting to hear something that they hadn't heard before. The similarities are not as strong as I thought they were at the time, but they are close enough.
    I had done a lot of shows with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and that was just phenomenal fun. I didn't know if it was going to work. I was knocked out by their first record [The Inner Mounting Flame], and I had no idea whether I could get over with that crowd, of [if] any of my people would show up, or if any of them would have anything in common It was kind of unnerving.
    The first show that we did was at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. It was a beautiful hall. John's first words to me were, "Boy, you sure travel light." He pulled up with all those drums, semis, and things.
    There wasn't a night that it didn't click. One of the greatest nights I ever had was at William & Mary, where we played in some kind of a beautiful chapel that had an oval room with a frescoed ceiling. It was a gorgeous room. I went out there that night and just murdered it. It was one of those nights. It just sucked right down to the ground and never [took] an unsure step. It was just so satisfying and good. The crowd exploded. When it really works like that, you feel so cleaned out and together and glad.
    So I walked off, and instead of the usual break between the support and the Mahavishnu, they walked on and picked up where I left off and just took it off the planet. I will never forget that night. It was many that worked so well. It was a great privilege to be part of something like that.
[from Anthology liner notes] Standard tuning.

Why Ask Why?


Taking a Sandwich to a Feast


Hole in the Day
Hole in the Day lake in Minnesota. Played in Standard tuning.

Mona Roy

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