STEPHEN BERG: The Left Is RightSongs by Stephen Berg except as indicated.
Produced by Stephen Berg except "James Two" produced by Phil King and Stephen Berg.
Stephen Berg: guitars, bass, drums, keyboard, vocals
Charles Hayslett: drums on "Lies"
Erin Berg: background vocal on "Better Life"
This album is dedicated to the memory of Paul Wellstone.
Recorded at Victorian Studios except "James Two" recorded at Phil King's studio and Victorian Studios.
This is my latest CD. If you are a Democrat, you'll love it. If you are not, I don't know. If you love me, you will love it in spite of the political bent. There is also plenty for the non-political here with an actual love song, divorce song, a classical piece, and a happy-go-lucky sort of poor me song. Below are a few notes on the songs. The lyrics are in the lyrics section so you can read them and endlessly search for hidden meanings!
Recorder Fantasy in C
This is an actual scored chamber piece I did on Print Music and just let the MIDI file play into the tape recorder. It is scored for violin, viola, cello, bass, recorder, timpani, snare, and percussion. I like it but it took a long time to do.
My Dad tells me that this is the best song I have ever written. I dont know, as it was written in 1981 for a model named Annie Deutch who sang in our band The Weebles. She was cool, but I wasn't her type at all, I guess. This song has seen many incarnations and the title is the one we gave it while I played in the Necroids from 1982-84. This is shortened and very acoustic.
I can't believe how this song has evolved, and how true it actually is. I just recently read an article regarding the new economic plan that is being pushed by the hard right wing elements of the Republican Party and the Wall Street business Community. The plan is to tax the poor at equal if not higher rates than the very rich. In other words, tax someone making 12,000 a year so that their tax burden is more than 1/3 of their income. The reason for this is to alienate the poor and the disenfranchised so they learn to hate their government. This in turn will make them lousy citizens so they never vote or participate. Pretty brutal. This song grew out of the anger I felt to how the poor are treated in this country
Musically, this grew out of my 70's rock influence. I sort of stole the "Smoke On The Water" chord progression, and added a little "Man On The Silver Mountain" and "Cat Scratch Fever" with a Dire Straits type "Money For Nothing" beginning. The freight train sound of the guitars are actually two guitars overdubbed and delayed with a stereo 40 millisecond delay panned hard right and left. I used high and low frequencies in the distortions. The drums are Charles Hayslett, and I am really happy with the result.
This song grew out of being played live in our show for the past 8 months. This is the first time I've ever recorded a song after we played it live awhile.
All I Know
This grew directly out of the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. I was in the middle of recording this CD when his plane went down. What always amazed me about Wellstone was how dedicated his followers were. These were people who where inspired by Wellstone's message to be the change, to not sit idly by but to take part in the process. I was greatly inspired by Paul, and to a large extent he is why I got involved politically. Paul's message was about love, tolerance, and values.
A kind of throwaway song, but I like it. The last verse says it best though: "I've never been a has been, and I guess I'll always be a never was. I play my tunes to an indifferent world, and only just because." I am 40 years old, destined never to really make it because I'm "past my peak." Even though I think I am playing and writing better than I ever have been, I guess I'm not as pretty as a 22 year old.
The chorus came about from hearing an absolutely horrid song by Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Janice Rand of Star Trek) called "The Light At The End Of The Tunnel." The song was hopeful in that by seeing the light, you knew you were going to make it. Well, I wondered what would happen if you saw the light and knew it was too far away to ever get there! Makes for some pretty happy fare here!
This song was written by my friend Phil King of Kidz X. The story of a man dying in the street and ignored by the Christians appealed to me. I tend to think back on the story of The Good Samaritan, where the goodly and Godly people walked on by. Too often we leave things up to the other guy instead of taking action ourselves. Hence the line: "Someone will help you, help you get out of this hole, but not me!"
Divorce song circa 1991. Enough said.
An old song I wrote with the Necroids, this dates from around 1984. Seemed kind of fitting for today.
The Left Is Right
My English friend Phillip King is always amazed at American politics. To him, left or right have little meaning, and he feels that most of us plow down the middle and have a little conservative and a little liberal in all of us. He also took some exception to this song, as he heard the lines "we don't hurt when we see others hurt." He said that that was not all of us and I had to tell him I agreed. Phillip is amazing in that he gives away 80% of what he earns to any charity, organization, church, that needs the money. He is one of the few right leaning people I have met that is so socially conscious.
Also, it should be pretty obvious this is a Wellstone song too. I wrote it late one night as I was thinking about how all the stuff had happened, and that what he fought for so much couldn't be lost.
Thinking about the changes in my life as I began to grow more in faith, I realized how nothing really worked until I put some trust in God.
The Way We Never Were
A very old song, from around 1992 or so, its been reworked several times. Written during my Bruce Cockburn phase, it is my most blunt statement about where I think the country is going. At some point we need to put our greed aside and just accept people as people, and to acknowledge that what was may not have always been good. I really hesitated to put this on the CD, but if it was honest enough to write, it was honest enough to release.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Recorder Fantasy In C
2. Only Teasing
4. All I Know
5. Tunnel Vision
6. James Two
7. Nothing Matters
8. Social Security
9. The Left Is Right
10. Better Life
11. The Way We Never Were