Some Reviews and a Conversation About the Songs:
(This CD was recorded back in 1992. At the time I was going through a few of those tough, life changing moments and this record reflects this somewhat but I also like to think there is humor here and a sense of how we must keep carrying on. I let it go out of print but a lot of my fans always loved this CD and convinced me to put it back in print. So, here it is.)
“The latest effort from Pat Maloney recalls the awkward sensation of rubber-necking a car wreck: It’s too hard to look, but, also, to look away. His extraordinary heartfelt writing paints all too honest pictures of various dysfunctions, heartbreaks, and yearnings of an Irish-
American within his family life: A father losing it on the roof in “Except Without The Wings,” a lonely alcoholic grandparent in, “Very, Very, Old Fitzgerald,” the death of a son in the title track.
Maloney imbues his unflinching expressions with the flair of a street poet - judiciously- where occasionally rich turns of phrase are always kept in synch. Wrenching but compelling.
James Campbell Performing Songwriter 3/94
“…If Christy Brown (Author of “My Left Foot) could have expressed himself through music, it might have sounded a lot like Pat Maloney…” Tucson Weekly
“…He’s like a mix of Stephen Foster and a surreal John Prine…”
Track 1 “Just Like Goodbye”
You get a brand new pain and it always seems to remind you of something you have felt before. I guess we are born in pain and events along the way remind us of that.
Track 2 “Except Without The Wings”
This is a staggering, loopy sort of song. A song about trying to get free of the earth’s pull but never quite pulling it off. I think of my dad who was a wild, beautiful soul who carried a little too much weight to be able to fly. Maybe if we all had wings…
Track 3 “Very, Very Old Fitzgerald”
I wrote this song about an old man who used to come into our local bar every afternoon. He made everyone feel very uncomfortable because he would just sit alone and stare into space and sort of look at you disapprovingly while grumbling to himself. When I sat at the bar and read the bottles, I always remember a bottle of bourbon called “Very Old Fitzgerald.” That was also this fella’s last name. I thought this guy was peculiar to our bar but as I have performed this song, I have had many people tell me of a man like that in their local bar. Maybe this guy is our conscience. He makes you conscious of your failings. He also makes you sense the loneliness in life.
Track 4 “Gretl”
This is a sort of retelling of the fairytale, Hansel and Gretel. As the song winds out and Gretl is saved by The Woodsman, you start to wonder who is more lost. I guess I was thinking of having children and watching them start to wander into the unknown and being unable to really save them.
Track 5 “Highway Don’t Make A Good Woman”
Another in the long line of road laments. The road is no lady.
Track 6 “The Loneliness Birds”
This was one of the hardest to write songs I have ever done. I had read a book by Bryce Courtenay called, “The Power Of One.” It’s about a young boy in South Africa who goes through many hard times and many hard losses. When sadness comes into his life he likens it to big dark birds that cast their shadow across his life. He calls them loneliness birds and they lay a stone egg in his heart that hatches into sadness. I thought this was a beautiful image.
I suffered a heavy loss right before I recorded this CD and I knew I wanted “The Loneliness Birds” to be the title but I hadn’t written the song yet. One day I was recalling the look of grief I once saw on my mother’s face when she didn’t think anyone was looking. When she realized I was present, she immediately shook off that grief like it never existed. It was such a glimpse of deep grief denied by such strength. It shook me to my core and inspired this song.
Track 7 “Go Down Tom”
I love The Clancy Brothers and I was trying to write an “Irish” song. I think it wound up sounding a bit like the Clancy Brothers crossed with Bo Diddley. A song about a young man who is warned not to be like his dad.
Track 8 “Light My Way, Mend My Heart”
This is still one of my favorite songs that I have written and always an audience favorite. I guess it’s a sort of anthem. It’s laying yourself open to beauty and pain alike and a call to continue on despite the losses and the grief. It’s a song you must sing when leaving the cemetery.
Track 9 “ Heart Time”
A fun song about the irrepressible heart never behaving as he should. He keeps breaking out of jail and running wild and free while the head and the tongue try to keep him locked up.
Track 10 “The Ghost Of Billy Fink”
Many years ago I was visiting Northern Arizona and a few of us camped in a little spot on The Mingus Mountains. That night we were all visited by terrible nightmares that seemed real. In the morning we sheepishly compared notes and found we all had very similar dreams and visions.(There were no drugs involved.) As we walked out a bit from our campground we found a wood plaque in a tree noting the recent death of Billy fink.
Twenty years later I was staying in The O’Connor Hotel in The Town of Jerome which is stuck in the side of the mountain and I woke up and started playing this song. I am sure it is actually authored by the Ghost of Billy Fink. I don’t know what it means but I love the images.
Track 11 “Goodnight Irene Again”
I wrote this song for my mother, Irene Maloney. She is a beautiful person and my hero. She raised 9 wild kids and my wild father on not much more than her strength, sense of dignity and beauty. She could make the commonplace seem so special turning everyday objects into jewels. She fell head over heels in love with my dad and never stopped loving him in that way no matter what happened. Without her I have no idea what would have become of us kids. She would go about her daily chores always singing snatches of songs that we thought were mystical incantations. About 1951, The Weavers had a big hit with the song, “Goodnight Irene.” Everyone would always sing that song to her and she came to really hate that song. So, I wrote this one for her, “Goodnight Irene Again.”
Track 12 “American Dollar”
I wrote this song about a disgruntled ex-pat who realizes how much he misses America after he goes to a foreign country to live and pisses his money away and is stranded with a bunch of foreigners who don’t like him. I actually wrote this before the hostage crisis of the 80’s but I began to call it the Hostage Song after that event because I thought it fit so well.
Track 13 “Floating Away”
When we are children, we live in a beautiful land-until our innocence is washed away by life’s storms.