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Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime- Track 6- Journey

March 6, 2016 2 comments

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Journey by Robert Garcia- Copyright 2015

This May will mark three years since I underwent major cancer surgery; a 7-hour operation that resulted in the removal of more than half my stomach, about 10% of my liver and my gall bladder. Five months earlier I had suffered a perforated ulcer, a dangerous situation in which I was within an hour or two of going into full-fledged septic shock, which would have been fatal. The ulcer saved my life because it was a follow-up endoscopy a few months later that found the cancer that would later be removed.

All’s well that ends well and I have been cancer-free ever since. The smaller stomach has allowed me to maintain my girlish figure. The liver regenerates, so no loss at all really. With no offense to God’s design, the gall bladder, whose main function seems to be processing fatty foods, I have not missed for a single moment.

After a combined 15 weeks of recovery from the two operations- I returned to work and got back into the swing of life, and I wrote the song, Journey.  My Producer, Jeff Severson, says he thinks it’s the first time anyone has ever rhymed the words “journey” and “gurney.” One would hope it doesn’t happen too often.

The inspiration for the song actually came after the first operation when a friend of mine drove me home from the hospital and it felt in some strange way like I’d just been let out of prison. I’d been in there for a very long 7 days and I was just grateful to be alive. As the beginning of the song notes, the leaves were starting to change- Fall had arrived. The colors were beautiful. The cold nip in the air was refreshing. Like the tune says- “so much better than being dead.” And that’s the story I try to impart in Journey– the appreciation for a second chance at life.

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Half way through the project, I decided to drop the song from the album. Musically, Jeff and I were not really connecting on it. It also seemed like a totally self-absorbed story. Lots of people go through stuff like this- what makes me so special and why should anyone give a crap what I have to say on the subject? But Jeff convinced me to put the tune back in. He pointed out that several hundred people had supported me and went along through my little health odyssey with me, following the thing on my blog and on Facebook; they might be interested in my take on all this.

I decided to make the song brief and to produce it as basically as humanly possible. No separate vocal and guitar tracks. No other instrumentation of any kind. I asked Jeff to just set me up like I was playing at a café or something. A mic on my voice, a mic on the acoustic guitar- and we’d record what amounts to a live performance.

So we did the first take. The song ended, and the last drop of sound from the harmonic that closed the tune faded into silence. Jeff turned and said, “That’s it.”

One take. First take. Bam.

I swear I could play Journey a hundred times over and it will never sound as spot-on as the version we recorded that day. It would be the very last thing we recorded for the album.

Journey
By Robert Garcia

Somewhere along a tree-lined road
I lost a heavy load
The leaves were turning orange and yellow and red
I was thinking to myself
This so much better than being dead
It’s been a journey
It’s been a long, long trail
I was lying on a gurney
Just an hour or two from heaven or hell

You learn to take things a day at a time
Sometimes an hour at a time
Sometimes, well, there’s no time at all
Sometimes, time flies- next thing you know it’s the fall
It’s been a Journey
It’s been a long, long trail
But it’s really kind of lucky
To have yourself another chance to prevail

I ain’t ready to say goodbye now
I ain’t ready to say farewell
Taking off into the deep, blue sky
Climbing back onto the carousel
It’s been a Journey
It’s been a long, long trail
And it occurs to me
It’s time to unfurl that sail

And so it goes
And here we go
Wherever the wind will blow

Robert Garcia- Copyright 2015

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Dylan’s Ghost- Songs of a Lifetime is available for digital download at I-Tunes, CD Baby, and Amazon Music. Purists who would like a hard copy of the CD can contact me directly at robert.garcia.56@gmail.com and we’ll make arrangements to ship it out to you.