Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Song of Love"

Mike, Dave & Greg jamming in ancient times! We think it's Mike's house in Natick...
Click to hear "Song of Love":

An L and M song! Lennon & McCartney?? Nah! Lajoie & McBride!

When the band first started in 1976, Mike hadn't yet written any music, though his piano playing already dazzled us. One day, he started working on this song on the piano in the Charismatic Hall under the chapel at Oblates. He came to me and showed me what he had done and asked me for help in finishing the song. I think he had the the chorus and words done and that basic happy little riff you hear in the intro. I came up with some words and structure for verses and a basic overall flow of the song. And voila! song. After that, Mike was off and running, writing masterpieces like "Lonely Dancer" and all the songs we used for the Prodigal Daughter shows for Covenant House like "Prodigal Song". This past year, he has written NEW masterpieces in "Take Me" and "Good Samaritan".

This is really the only song Mike & I co-wrote that we performed, although we always added crucial touches to each other's songs as long as Mike was with the group. I remember playing it for Beth Medeiros' house party and a few other early gigs. (This was beFORE Greg had joined us as our lead guitarist, and that little lead is actually mine. The way I played, it was very good that Greg joined us!).

VERY early LW

This rough demo version I created in the past year and we tried to work on it as a band this summer, but there were problems. This version is too slow and is missing a bridge I forgot about. But I thought I'd publish this to give you an idea of how special what we had was even very early on. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of music, but, much more, for the gift of our love as a group....

Mark LaJOIE!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Covenant House Songs: "Covenant Love" and "Streetwalker"

Covenant House Songs: "Covenant Love" and "Streetwalker"

This is a re-edited version of a post originally published on July 20, 2010

A new *ROUGH DEMO* of "Streetwalker" w/vocals & guitars on 8/31/2013: for “Covenant Love” for "Prodigal Song" }

Early on, the group was invited to play at St. Anselm’s College Chapel for a talk by Fr. Ritter on behalf of Covenant House. [Ironically several LW kids have later gone there for school.] We were impressed by the plight of runaway kids in New York City. Many of them are snatched up by pimps and others into a world of white slavery, drug addiction and disease. Now, many have captured the growing trend by the phrase "human trafficking". Some of us especially Chuck Rossignol and Tony Vassel strove to make contact and see if we could help. (After all, Kids and teenagers were our ministry as well with our Confirmation days and youth-oriented concerts.) They met a fantastic guy with Covenant House named Joe Donnelly, who was a highly effective advocate and organizer Chuck remains friendly with to this day when he works at the UN). We ended up doing fund-raisers and benefit concerts. Then, we went to stay at Covenant House right in Times Square [when it was really bad, pre-Giuliani]. We gave a concert there in the late 1978; this was when Omer Bourque was managing the group. I remember sleeping on the floor in the Chapel there and I actually lived there for two weeks. We did an early version of “Rock and Boat” (or “Boat of Peter”) with my guitar hooked up to a flanger! [Julia’s friend joined up with them and went to the Covenant House in South America later on for several years; they really do some great outreach.]

Later, we came again and gave a concert right in the lobby of Covenant House for the kids. I had written a couple of songs specifically with them in mind. We performed “Covenant Love” there and we did it a lot in concert at that time. “In the streets of New York City, you’re a kid without a home…” This is one of which I’m pretty proud – it draws an analogy between the ‘covenant’ offered by the workers to the kids and the New Covenant the Risen Jesus makes with us in the Eucharist, His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. We have since found and posted a version of this song from early in this time period on our Classic Tracks site. 

This is also one of the few times we performed “Streetwalker”, which pictures one of these kids out there stuck in prostitution. The song got limited, I think, because it could be so easily misinterpreted if the context of Covenant House was not understood. I created a rough demo for it in 2013 which is now posted above. We still hope to record further on this in the coming year.

Later on in 1984, we were doing that big show at Providence Civic Center (?) (when we had that whole “Prodigal Daughter” production going on). We were standing outside (waiting for the Union workers to carry our things a few feet further in order to wait for the next Union worker to carry it a little further!) Chuck heard us jamming unplugged on “Streetwalker” and he freaked, “That’s fanTAStic! It fits the theme of what we’re doing so well and it’s AWESOME…” or something to that effect. But then he had us play it through some more and decided we should NOT do it. I remember two reasons: it was ‘too upbeat’ and – once again – it could be misunderstood. So, it went by the boards and, probably, rightly so. But it sure is one cool, happening piece of jive. I am very glad I was able to reproduce a version you can hear!

(Mike McBride also did related songs like "I Will Not Stay", "Don't Run Away" and so on. We'll try to get them here for you, too.) A later, shorter version of "Don't Run Away" is on our site and "With You I Am" is on Classic Tracks.

Peace out
Mark L.

Friday, August 9, 2013

"Good Samaritan"

"Good Samaritan"

Click to hear "Good Samaritan":
As of 1/15/14, a new remix:

Mike has written a superb song with a message about as central to the Good News as there is, the Commandment to love our neighbor as presented in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. It reminds me of the entire show we used to do, in support of Covenant House, about the Prodigal Daughter.  (Notice that it is a Commandment, not a suggestion to love our neighbor; if we don't live this, we CANNOT know happiness with the God who is Love. Providentially, God provides all the grace we need to do this if we choose to respond to it!)

Musically, I think this song is genius. It reminds me of the synagogue cantor with a raucous touch of the blues; it is the roots of the great Gershwin & Berlin on the Broadway stage, set to rock - a perfect fit for the tone and theme. I think Greg's guitar sounds like Queen at the end. Love the scratchy vinyl intro and that's Josh Loell on the horn, by the way. It's a fantastic arrangement all the way.

When I played the song for Julia, she was doing a prayerful study of the Confiteor prayer, focusing on the phrase "what I have done, and what I have failed to do". The theme of what she was reading was that it is not good enough to merely avoid sin; we must 'clothe ourselves' with the virtues of Christ, especially charity which binds all of them together. Listen to this song, and then read this prayer: the timing was perfect for her, wasn't it? She just couldn't get over that!  [There is a reference in the Didache in 97 AD about saying such a prayer at the beginning of Eucharist, by the way. As the letter of James advises, it is a very good thing to confess our failures to each other, especially failures of charity.]

"Mea maxima culpa...."  Coincidentally, at this same time, a friend posted an awesome story on Facebook about a new pastor who disguised himself as a homeless man and presented himself to his new congregation. Guess what? no one greeted or smiled at him, they acted embarrassed and he was told to go out back! When the new pastor was presented? it was the man they had ignored and rejected! Fantastic lesson there, wouldn't you say? Here is the link to the story:

Listen to this song! Let it urge us all on together to show the most beautiful Thing there is - Caritas, agape!

Friday, July 19, 2013

“Take Me” 2013: Mike McBride Breaks Through

“Take Me”
2013: Mike McBride Breaks Through

Click to listen to "Take Me":

As of August 5, 2013 we have added "Good Samaritan"

The last couple of years, Mike McBride ‘came back’ to us. For many years, circumstances beyond our control had kept him away. But now, he was back at our get-togethers and re-discovering all of our music. We played our reunion concert in 2011 and he came to help me play music and we all jammed at our get-togethers. But recently, he was expressing to some of us how he had this new music he wanted to write, but felt blocked somehow. There seemed to be no way to get it out in the way he wanted. Well, we are here to report that the dam has BROKEN – BIG TIME! Josh has mastered a lot of the art of recording and has helped Mike record what he has in his heart. (And this is just in time to go along with a new impulse I’ve had in recent months to arrange and prepare our songs for recording.) 

Just now, Mike has finished recording the finishing touches on his new song, “Take Me”. (In theme, it sort of reminds me of Clapton’s "Tears in Heaven”.) The result is absolutely beautiful.  These are a few thoughts he had about it:

The music always comes easily for me.  The message takes time, prayer, focus.  Then, as with "Take Me", the message comes and flows.  That's not to diminish the writing process.  I still juggle the organization of the song, write, delete, rewrite, struggle with doubt and insecurity.  Most of my recent music writing is focused on our humanity, where I've been, where am I going, ‘what did I do?’. 
"Take Me" started with events like the Dark Night Rises theatre shooting and so many attacks before and after.  We see so much violence in society today.  Being the parent of two beautiful young children, and I am surrounded by so many wonderful friends (you in LW are the people who give my life reason), I think of the pain and suffering that the survivors feel.  The anger, the lack of control, the inability to conceive how this could happen….so many emotions…The inability to forgive, the guilt of surviving, not being able to protect the loved ones: "Why them God and not me?"  But, somehow, we must continue, always respecting the will of God, being ready when it is our time.  So, we do our best to live a good life, always remembering those whom we have lost, waiting to get to the end, when we can be with them again.

It's difficult to write words about the words.  My hope is that the combination of music and words bring out the emotion that moves others to get meaning that applies to their own life, struggles, pain, and that they can let go and let God take them to eternity.

Chuck saw another level of meaning in that it is our Lord who ultimately said ‘take me’, taking our place in the experience of sin and death, knowing He can take ALL of us with Him to life.

Mike has been a gorgeous piano player right from the start, and this is classic Mike-in-Living-Waters-style (as my son, Peter, recognized immediately. “Wow! That is REALLY Living Waters”, he said.) Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mike sing anything better than this, not anywhere, not anytime. Perfect timing; for the song, for him AND for us as a ministering band. For me, this song is a miraculous confirmation of everything God has done and will do for and through us. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, “Take Me”!

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!

“Take Me”
by Mike McBride
Copyright 2013

I’ve got a one track mind and it’s to be on time
When it’s the right time, Lord, for me
So, steady ahead, and we will get to the end
And we will catch eternity
Take me….
Please take me!

You are the reason for my life
You are the beauty
You are the light
You're everlasting from the start
You are the motion, you are the mind
You are the only one of a kind
You are the potion in my heart                         

So please don’t take our love too soon (please don’t take our love too soon)
Even the darkness has its moonlight (the dark night has its moon)
We will remember all of you (we will remember you)
So please don’t take our love too soon


How can I learn to forgive?
How can I go on living?
When all I ever wanted was to hold you in my arms
To protect you from all harm
To keep you safe and warm
Next time, Lord, take me
Please, take me….

I’ve got a one track mind and it’s to be on time
When it’s the right time, Lord, for me
So, steady ahead, and we will get to the end
And we will catch eternity
Take me….

So I keep living with the living
And I keep giving all I’m giving
And I know one day I’ll come home
Take me home with you
Take me
Please take me…..
Take me

I’ve got a one track mind and it’s to be on time
When it’s the right time, Lord, for me
So, steady ahead, and we will get to the end
And we will catch eternity
Take me….
Please take me…..
Take me

Thursday, April 11, 2013


FLOWING FROM OUR PAST! New Old Songs & Radio

A lot of exCIting stuff has happened in recent months. I, Mark Lajoie, got a microphone and a guitar adapter for my computer and began reworking & re-mixing some old Living Waters songs.  Probably the highlight so far is the collaboration on "Booze Blues Cruise" which features the stellar guitar work of Greg Loell and the mixing of his son, Josh. It really rocks and, as Jim said, it "sounds like Living Waters". A video version with a few photos is above. (Jim Babish set up a sharing folder using DropBox and the long-distance recording was achieved.)  Josh also did a stunningly stellar job on mixing down a very old meditation song, "Jesus".
[ Click here to listen to "Jesus": .]

Can't wait for people to hear "Song of Love" but this is not being heard until Mike McBride is on it, too - just wouldn't be right without him on this, the only song we really co-wrote. Looking forward to more input this summer on many songs.

Another classic rock-flavored tune includes a bird call, "We All Did It":

Another old meditation song, "Forever" was performed with a backing track twice by me and it was just awesome to experience the power of this very old song.
[ Click here to listen to "Forever": ]

There are other songs I have done that have been posted to ReverbNation that need to be re-mixed before they are mastered for a new album, but it looks like that's where we are heading. I think we should call it "Flowing from our Past" or "Flowing". Do you like that? We'll see. But here are some other tunes we have posted on ReverbNation.

"Tell the Whole World"
[UPDATE: We just put up a newer version of this w/o overdriven vocals! 5/5]
"A Stand of Courage"
"Ring the Judas Bell"

Working on several more.....

Another very exciting development is that many of our songs have been put in rotation on a new Catholic radio station, Adoration Radio at . Heard "Peter the Rock", "Nobody Else" and "Jesus" on the station recently.  "Forever" was the song that opened the door there. 

This is what I have prayed for and dreamed of all along...that our music would be crystallized, heard and bring knowledge and blessing.

Peace & Love & JOY,
Mark LaJOIE!