Favorite Songs of a Different Kind

Back in the day when I was a professional folk singer (yes, that's me, in 1969), there were certain songs that I just loved to perform. Because I was a singer-songwriter, most of the songs were those that I'd penned myself, but I also covered songs by other artists. I thought I'd share with you the top 10 songs that I enjoyed singing. In fact, I still enjoy singing most of them...

  1. LaleƱa (Donovan) ~ This song afforded me as a vocalist the opportunity to play with orchestral sounds using only my voice, because Donovan's recorded version had a wind quartet on it. I sang this song on stage for over 20 years and people still requested it.
  2. I Shall Be Released (Bob Dylan) ~ This one just felt good on the voice and tested how well I'd warmed up my throat! Deni sang this one with me at a Love-In at Griffith Park in L.A., an act that caused the break up between my then manager and me. That was also the first time in my life that I'd ever used the "F" word. I told him to "F*** off!"
  3. But We Smiled and Acted So Shyly (myself) ~ I wrote this when I was 16, performed it throughout my career and eventually recorded it. I still love it, even if it's a constantly repeating stream of dominant, sub-dominant and tonic.
  4. Long Black Veil (traditional) ~ This is one that I sang whenever I sat in with other musicians because it can be performed in any musical style. I've done it in the styles of Folk, Country, Bluegrass and Celtic.
  5. Dr. Long John Blues (Tommy George) ~ I didn't add this to my repertoire until the early 80s. One encounter with Bette Midler's version and I was hooked.
  6. You Leave Me Speechless (myself) ~ Juice Newton's people froze this one for a time, but she never got around to recording it. I'm not even sure she heard it. The late Kin Vassy (of First Edition fame) said when he heard it, "This is one I'd put in the tape deck of my Jeep while driving through the country. Turn it up and sing along at the top of my lungs."
  7. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (Bob Dylan) ~ I still play this when we're sitting on the patio with friends and the mood strikes me. "That big fat moon, she gonna shine like a spoon, but we're gonna let it, you won't regret it..."
  8. Carey (Joni Mitchell) ~ Back in 1969 when I was singing for my supper in Haight-Ashbury, people used to stop and tell me that I sounded like Joni Mitchell. At that time I'd never heard her, all I knew was that she'd written Judy Collins' hit, "Both Sides Now". I made tracks to check her out and I was astounded... and dismayed. I had to invent my voice all over again! I learned "Carey" because it really shows off a singer's ability to perform vocal acrobatics. No one does it like Joni though.
  9. You Got The Love (myself) ~ Since Joni already wrote Carey, I wrote this song, inspired by her unique guitar work and octave-plus vocal leaps. No way I can sing it now, but with enough practice I think I could.
  10. It Ain't Me Babe (Bob Dylan) ~ My arrangement of this great song always got me a standing ovation, so I learned to leave it for the end of my last set. People just love a folksinger with an edge.