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The Ann Reed Big Book of Lyrics 1978 - 2013
The Ann Reed|
Big Book of Lyrics
1978 - 2013
I don't remember the first song I wrote. I do remember the first song I wrote and kept: "Jessie," the first lyric in this book. It was 1978 and with my friend Sue, I was taking the train to Missoula, Mon- tana. A family seated behind us included a young girl named Jessie. When Sue and I took out our guitars, Jessie got very excited, thinking we might play train songs all the way to our destination. My repertoire featured songs like "Little Boxes," "If I Had a Hammer," "Blowin' in the Wind," plus a whole bunch of not-too-good church songs.
I played the full extent of my train repertoire: "I've Been Workin' on the Railroad." That's it, I told Jessie. The kid was not happy.
So, I wrote her a song. And to my knowledge, she's never heard it.
Each of these lyrics has a story behind it. In this book, at the end of a song's text is the copyright date and the title of the recording on which the song can be found. As I read through album and song titles, I see places and people, relationships past and present. I remember who or what inspired the song. I recall where I was when I wrote it, where and with whom I recorded it. There are some things I'd rather forget, but for the most part, I am very fortunate to have more cherished memories than ones I try in vain to cram down the disposal.
Writing poetry, even bad poetry, can get an awkward adolescent girl through junior high and high school. That's what came first, followed by the lifesaving discovery of the guitar.
To be writing now, 35 years after keeping that first song, is not much of a surprise. This was never a hobby, nor was it anything I took lightly. The process has changed some over the years. It takes me longer to write a song. I don't know where the melody comes from — but then I never did. I sit there and play the guitar and hum a little bit and some chords get together and I hear myself say, "Yeah ..." out loud in an empty room. I fuss over the words, how they fit together, their weight, their meaning, their rhythm.
I've logged a lot of miles playing these songs and introducing them to people who have taken them into their hearts. I have always said that the most songwriters can hope for is that their songs go out and make friends on their own. I am fortunate indeed to have had that happen.
Thank you for being a good friend to these songs.
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