What Living’s All About: Liner Notes and Lyrics

Back cover (aka tray card) for What Living’s All About. Photo of Alicia by portrait photographer Nils Juul-Hansen in 1999.

Alicia Bay Laurel created What Living’s All About: Jazz, Blues and Other Moist Situations as the third in her CD series. In 2000, Alicia recorded Music From Living on the Earth: Free-spirited Original Songs for Voice and Guitar from the Late ‘60s and Early ‘70s, playing open-tuned guitar in the John Fahey style, followed in 2001 by Living In Hawaii Style: Original and Historic Hawaiian Songs, Sung With Slack Key Guitar, featuring Hawaiian spiritualist/chanter Lei’ohu Ryder and jazz guitarist/vocalist Sam Ahia.  Alicia is best known for her 1970 best-selling hand-written back-to-nature manual Living on the Earth, now in its fifth edition in English, and in print since 1974 in Japanese. 


All songs (music and lyrics) by Alicia Bay Laurel (c) 2006, and published by Bay Tree Music (ASCAP), except “I Could Write A Book” (music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Lorenz Hart) (c) 1940, and published by Williamson Music Company and Chappell & Company, and “Nature Boy” (music and lyrics by Eden Ahbez) (c) 1948, and published by Golden World.The spoken words on “I Could Write A Book” are quoted from How To Write A Book Proposal, Third Edition, (c) 2003 by renowned literary agent Michael Larsen. They are used with the kind permission of Writer’s Digest Books, a division of F+W Publications, Inc., Cincinnati, Ohio.  All rights reserved. If you could write a book, you need to read this one. The spoken words on “Love, Understanding and Peace” are quoted from the Bible, New Testament, Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, and are in public domain. The powwow chanting and drumming at the end of “America The Blues” is from Honor The Earth Powwow: Songs of the Great Lakes Indians, recorded by Mickey Hart and Dr. Thomas Vennum, Jr. of the Smithsonian, and originally released by Rykodisc in 1991.  The humpback whale song after the powwow is a sample I found on findsounds.com, but not even the webmaster of the website from which it originated was able to tell me from whence it came.


Cover paintings, graphic design and liner notes by Alicia Bay Laurel (c) 2006

Tray card photo of Alicia by portrait photographer Nils Juul-Hansen

Manufactured by A to Z Media for Indigo With Stars, Inc. (Alicia Bay Laurel’s art, music and literary business)

Executive Producer (the person who paid for everything): Alicia Bay Laurel.

Producers (the people who decided together which instruments and singers went on which song, and how to arrange the songs): Oscar-and Emmy Award-winning film composer Ron Grant, and Alicia Bay Laurel. 

Recording: The original sketch for the project was recorded in August 2005 at Seawest Studios, in Pahoa, Hawaii, with Hoku Award-winning owner/engineer Rick Asher Keefer (who recorded Alicia’s first two CDs).  All of Alicia’s guitar parts and her vocal on Best of the Rest of You are from those sessions.  Ron Grant recorded in his own studio some of the vocal parts for “America the Blues” and “Love, Understanding and Peace,” and created the electronic symphony on “America the Blues.” All of the other recording, mixing and mastering was accomplished in November and December 2005 and January and February 2006 at the studio of Scott Fraser in Los Angeles.  Scott is the recording engineer and live sound technician for the Kronos Quartet’s recordings and performances, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for You’ve Stolen My Heart, a collaboration of the Kronos Quartet and East Indian pop superstar Asha Bhosle, which he co-produced. 

Musicians: My heartfelt thanks to all of the superb players who participated in recording this CD, including avant-garde guitar hero Nels Cline (who plays with his own ensembles, as well as with the band Wilco), jazz upright bass legend John B. Williams (Nancy Wilson, Manhattan Transfer, Arsenio Hall Show Band, Tonight Show Big Band) and his red hot R & B vocalist wife Jessica Williams, who forms the gospel choir along with her daughter Vetia Richardson, and her friend Irene Cathaway (with whom she sings backup for Connie Stevens), gospel keyboardist Reverend Harold Pittman (Minister of Music at the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in South Central Los Angeles), woodwind wizard Doug Webb (who totally smokes on a different instrument on each of four songs), three fabulous top flight drummers: David Anderson, Kendall Kay, and Enzo Tedesco, fluid and cool jazz pianist Rick Olson, two rock-solid, multi-talented bassists: Kevin O’Neal and Chris Conner, versatile actor/vocalist Jody Ashworth, and soulful Liberian gospel singer Francis Nyaforh.


Nudging, kibbitzing, hand-holding and divine guidance:  Ron Grant, Scott Fraser and Rick Asher Keefer (see above), improvisational music legend Joe Gallivan, jazz pianist Theo Saunders and his actress/artist wife Susan Heldfond Saunders, music producer Stan Goldstein (the first Woodstock began as a synapse firing in his brain), jazz vocalist Ruthie Ristich (who coached me), vocalist/ songwriter/ actress/ dancer/ novelist Sierra Faith (who coached me), speech therapist and singing teacher (and godmother) Godeane Eagle (who coached me), artist Tracy Dove (who never stops nudging me to do more art), singer/songwriter Joe Dolce (a shining example), electronic music pioneer and enlightenment wonk Ramon Sender (for funny faces and wise words), guitarist Joe Marquand (who wanted me to record these songs so much he volunteered to play on my sketch sessions for free), journalist Koki Aso (who, while interviewing me for Be Pal magazine, wished mightily for a CD of my jazz and blues songs), record producer Koki Emura (who released my first two CDs in Japan in September 2005 on his label, EM Records), and vocalist/ songwriter/ bassist Sachiho Kudomi, who says now that I have three CDs released in Japan, I should come on the road with her.  Big love and big thanks to you each and all!   

The friends who sheltered me the year I got this CD together: Composer Ron Grant and artist Benida Solow, vocalist and community organizer Lyndia Lowy, architect Walt Bell and artist Norma Bell, surgeon and community leader Barry Blum and playwright and educator Gloria Blum, Professor of Sociology and activist Noelie Rodriguez and Hawaii County Planning Director Chris Yuen, artist Tracy Dove and mechanical genius Ralph Coppen.  How can you tell if hippies have been staying at your house?  They’re still there.  Thank you for your generous hospitality and over-the-top friendship!

Other friends I’d like to thank: Internet promotion mavens Kim Cooper (editrix of Scram Magazine, Lost in the Grooves, The 1947 Project and Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth) and computer wizard Richard Schave, television sound engineer Bill Daly and event organizer Lihau Daly, attorneys Mark and Marissa Batt (who was nominated for an Edgar Award for her first true crime book Ready for the People in 2005), luthier Dennis Lake (for blessing my guitars with his care), luthier David Santo (I’m playing a guitar he built for me in 1976 on this CD), and, of course, my mom, artist Verna Lebow Norman.  Thank you all for your help. I am blessed you are in my life!

The Songs:

Floozy Tune

Beloved by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, my grandmother Anna Lebow (1894-1990), and 20-year-old actress Ali Grant, Floozy Tune should have been written in 1920, when women got the vote and got rid of their corsets.  However, I didn’t get around to it until 1982.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Vocal: Alicia Bay Laurel, Piano: Rick Olson, Clarinet: Doug Webb, Bass: Chris Conner, Drums: Kendall Kay

Mr. Nightlife, Mr. Cool, how could you make me such a goddamn fool?

I was made to sing church songs, but what did I know

‘Til I went out to your nightclub show?

Girls like me never laugh ‘til dawn;

We know too well where the lines are drawn.

So, why do I want to do what I do not do?

I want to sit on your piano and sing you a floozy tune.

Mr. Jazzfingers, Mr. Blues, how could you offer what I can’t refuse?

I was made to be married to some Mr. Right,

‘Til I got enlightened last Saturday night.

I danced and sang and I laughed ‘til dawn;

Fell in your arms when the shades were drawn,

And found I could do with you what I do not do,

So I’ll sit your piano and sing you a floozy tune.

They’re gonna lose their Sunday school teacher, their volunteer librarian.

My mama’s gonna have conniption fits, but it’s time that I had some fun.

Mr. Jazzfingers, Mr. Blues, the Sunday soprano is a sweet chanteuse

Touring the country with a reprobate band,

Reputation lost to a piano man.

Rise at sunset and sleep at dawn,

Deep in your arms when the shades are drawn.

I knew I could do with you what I do not do.

So, I’ll sit on your piano and sing you a floozy tune.

America The Blues

This is a song about speaking truth to power–not only to despots, but to our own collective power.  The operative lyric here is VOTE.  If everyone who could vote actually did vote, we could elect representatives who would work with us to reverse the vast environmental, public health, diplomatic, and human rights problems we earth-dwellers face, and make this a sustainable, joyful world for all who live in it, now and in the future.  To vote well, we need truthful media (for example Truthout.org or Commondreams.org.)  Also, we vote daily with our money; we need to support businesses that further sustainability and social justice, and boycott the rest. We need elections with state-financed candidates and hand-countable paper audits.  Thank you.

Katharine Lee Bates wrote the lyrics to American the Beautiful on July 4, 1893; the melody comes from the hymn Materna, composed by Samuel A. Ward in 1882.  Ms. Bates, a professor of English literature at Wellesley College, prolific poet and author, and ardent feminist, lived openly as a lesbian with her lifelong partner, Katharine Coman, Dean and professor of economics at Wellesley.  Curiously, the lyrics to America the Blues also revealed themselves on July 4th, while I was registering voters for the 2004 presidential election.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Singing and Speaking Vocal, Rhythm Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Speaking Vocals: Jody Ashworth and Jessica Williams, Vocal Harmonies: Alicia Bay Laurel, Ron Grant and Jody Ashworth, Electric Guitar: Nels Cline, Electronic Symphony Orchestra: Ron Grant, Upright Bass: John B. Williams, Drums: Enzo Tedesco

America, the beautiful,

You’re thorny as a rose:

Radiation, global warming

Poisoned food from GMOs.

Your poor die sick and hungry,

And your wealthy live tax-free,

While they murder ancient forests

The soil and the sea.

America, America,

Greed sheds disgrace on thee.

Vote corporations out of power;

Revive democracy

For future generations

And human decency.

America, don’t blow it

All to smithereens.

You don’t need nukes; you don’t need slaves,

And you don’t need gasoline.

What you do need is compassion,

And respect for human rights,

Permaculture, sustainable systems,

Mediation instead of fights.

America, don’t wave that flag

To con us with your jive.

If the multi-nationals have their way

Even rich folks won’t survive.

We’re all family here on this planet,

So lay down that smoking gun,

And start sharing with your neighbors;

There’s enough for everyone.

I pledge allegiance to the earth

In the myriad stars of the universe

And to all the beings who upon her stand

One family, indivisible,

With liberty and justice for all.

America, America,

Greed sheds disgrace on thee.

Vote corporations out of power,

Revive democracy

For future generations

And human decency.

Don’t wave that flag at me;

Try human decency.

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues   

I still can’t believe how much fun I had in the ’60’s, even if the guys wouldn’t commit.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Vocal and rhythm guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Lap steel and acoustic lead guitar: Nels Cline, Bass: John B. Williams, Drums: Enzo Tedesco

Sprouts in a jar, stash in a can, a twenty-pound backpack, and a Volkswagen van,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

Bee pollen candy, honey shampoo, seaweed for breakfast is good for you,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

Uncle Sam is my sugar daddy, but you can be one of my valentines, honey.

Just don’t come around when the moon is full, I’m on cosmic birth control.

Easy to come, easy to go, a free school dropout in free box clothes,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

Natural hair, natural mind, the fashions can fool you but the eye don’t lie

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

A Guatemalan huipil and natty dread, belly dancing lessons to loosen my head;

I’ve been rebirthed and I’ve been Rolfed and given a mantra, or two,

An astrology chart, polarity rub, astral projection, community tub,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

Beaches by day, boogie by night, always groovin’, never uptight,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

I’m asking the Tao when I meditate to send me the name of my cosmic soul mate,

But before I surrender my ruby nose ring, I’m gonna throw the I Ching,

Cause believe me, Ms. Eve, since Adam split,

The nuclear family’s become a relic,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman,

Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues.

Zero Gravity

Inspired by the view of Los Angeles from the crest of the Hollywood Hills, Zero Gravity reflects upon the shimmering, pulsating coldness of the star machine at night. Ron Grant created the amazing arrangement on the spot in the studio.  He said to pianist Rick Olson, “Think halfway between Tori Amos and Debussy…”

Vocal: Alicia Bay Laurel, Piano: Rick Olson, Alto Saxophone: Doug Webb, Bass: Chris Conner, Drums: Kendall Kay

You’re never alone in the city,

And seldom you see the moon.

A star’s eye view of the galaxy

Is the usual nighttime view.

Lovers are yearning; fossils are burning;

Virgins are learning, every single night.

A saxophone man in the city

Swings with a chic chanteuse,

And she casts her corsage in the museum fountain

And sings to a limousine muse.

There are deals in the making; there are girls for the taking.

In the discos, they’re shaking, every single night.

Is this a movie we live as we see?

Or is this an exercise for life at zero gravity?

You’re never alone in the city,

And seldom you see the moon.

A star’s eye view of the galaxy

Is the usual nighttime view.

Lovers are yearning; fossils are burning;

Virgins are learning, every single night.

In the late, late twentieth century.

Doctor Sun and Nurse Water

I know. It sounds like a bat mitzvah at a Baptist church, with readings from Dr. Masaru Emoto’s Message from Water. Actually, I wrote this song when I first moved to Hawaii (in 1974) and was healed. Hallelujah!

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Lead Vocal and Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Choir: Jessica Williams (soloist), Irene Cathaway, Vetia Richardson, Organ: Rev. Harold Pittman, Bass: Kevin O’Neal, Drums: David Anderson

Doctor Sun and Nurse Water, Doctor Sun and Nurse Water,

You give me rhythm and take away my blues.

Oh Nurse Water, I see you flowing through my veins.

You’re the sunset clouds; you’re the springtime rains.

And you carry away my sorrows, and you leave me purified;

May we run together, side by side.

Doctor Sun and Nurse Water

Oh Doctor Sun, you fade away my city grays,

With the healing magic of your golden rays.

And you dry up all my tears, leave me glowing rosy as the dawn;

You’re the earth’s sole provider of energy for us all.

Doctor Sun and Nurse Water, Doctor Sun and Nurse Water,

You give me rhythm and take away my blues.

Everywhere the people pray for a miracle today

Ain’t they got the sense to go outside when the sun shines?

Go down to the sea and cleanse all your worries and your sins

From your soul whenever the holy solar one shines.

Doctor Sun and Nurse Water, Doctor Sun and Nurse Water,

You give me rhythm and take away my blues.

You give me rhythm and take away my blues.

What Living’s All About

A song about sex, which I first heard about in 1958 when Miss Peggy Lee sang “Fever.”

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Vocal: Alicia Bay Laurel, Piano: Rick Olson, Tenor Saxophone: Doug Webb, Bass: Chris Conner, Drums: Kendall Kay

No bought love was ever a bargain; no bought lover was ever a prophet.

No good reason could be without feelin’; no good feelin’ hasn’t a season.

That’s why I’m not in business, I’m in pleasure.

I give and take what I get, I don’t measure.

But unless you treat me as kind as I treat myself alone

Better stop the lights and the action, ‘cause I’m goin’ home.

Yes, I feel a spark of attraction, gravitational polarization,

A vibrational magnetic current, an electrical-chemical reaction.

Oo, it bowls me over like a torrent.

Oh, hear my body heave a sigh.

Ain’t gonna try to reach for the source of emanation,

But I might surrender if you try.

Hips will roll the rhythm of mountains;

Tongues will savor the flavor of human.

Lungs express increased locomotion;

Souls ignite in fiery fusion.

Oh, I’m in orbit; I’m in ecstasy.

This is what living’s all about.

Oh, dear God, won’t you keep those channels open?

Until you gather me home, over and out.

Sometimes It Takes A Long Time

If you are reading this, you’re still alive, and therefore the story’s not over.  Something else could happen.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Vocal and Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Choir: Jessica Williams (soloist) and Irene Cathaway, Piano: Rev. Harold Pittman, Bass: Kevin O’Neal, Drums: David Anderson

Sometimes it takes a long time to find the one you love.

Sometimes it takes a long time to share the world you’re of.

The waiting is hard, but aren’t you glad now?

Sometimes it takes a long time to find yourself a home.

Sometimes it takes a long time to know where you belong.

The waiting is hard, but aren’t you glad now?

Sometimes it takes a long time to find your work to do.

Sometimes it takes a long time to see your dream come through.

The waiting is hard, but aren’t you glad now?

Sometimes it takes a long time to free yourself from things.

Sometimes it takes a long time to learn to use your wings.

The waiting is hard, but aren’t you glad now?

This time it took a long time to find the one I love.

This time it took a long time to share the world I’m of.

The waiting was hard, but I’m so glad now.

Whoa, love you so.

Whoa, love you so.

We’re so glad now.

Love you so. Whoa.

Nature Boy

In the first half of the twentieth century, long before the term “hippie” was coined, longhaired vegans in natural-fiber robes roamed Southern California.  Eden Ahbez, one of the two most famous of these (the other being Gypsy Boots), probably wrote this song in reverence for Bill Pester, who brought the back-to-nature lifestyle to California from Germany before World War I. Based on a Yiddish waltz, “Schwieg Mein Hertz” (“Hush, My Heart”), “Nature Boy” became a ubiquitous jazz standard after Nat King Cole’s original version hit big.  For great pix and 411 on the freaks of yore, pick up a copy of Children of the Sun by Gordon Kennedy on Amazon.com.

Improvised by John B. Williams, Alicia Bay Laurel and Enzo Tedesco (upright bass, vocal and percussion, respectively), with special effects by Scott Fraser.

There was a boy, a very strange, enchanted boy;

They say he wandered very far, very far, over land and sea.

A little shy, and sad of eye

But wise, very wise, was he.

And then one day, one magic day, he passed my way,

And as we spoke of many things, fools and kings, this he said to me,

“The greatest thing that you will ever learn 
Is just to love and be loved in return.”

Best of the Rest of You

I hate seeing a friend get used.  But would I tell him? Only in a song.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Vocal and Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Electrified Lap Steel Guitar: Nels Cline, Upright Bass: John B. Williams, Drums: Enzo Tedesco

Tell me why did that woman have to do what she did to you?

She could have left your extra sweat pants, your credit card and your cool.

She could have kept her lacquered fingers out of some of your pies;

She could have left at least a couple stars in your eyes.

Tell me why did you let her get the best of the rest of you?

She fed you ginseng, peyote and vitamin E,

Made you crawl across the room to her on your knees.

Put you on the tantra seminar mailing list,

So she could go there with you, and her psychologist.

Don’t get attached, baby, you might be considered gauche.

Tell me why did that woman have to do what she did to you?

She could have picked some narcissistic, bullet-headed bodybuilding fool.

But that ball-busting lady don’t like macho boys,

She’d rather try to leave behind a trail of broken toys,

And there she goes, baby, with a brand new Erector Set

She has a way with circuits and she rewired you

So you would run from other women when she got through.

She’ll be back when you recover from your deep sea bends,

Just to see if you’ll go down to her dive again.

Better take your bathysphere this time; you might be down for a while.

Tell me why did that woman have to do what she did to you?

She had the spiritual rap, the kitten eyes, and the moves.

She didn’t care about your marriage, your ego or your art,

Just a juicy specimen for her collection of hearts.

Tell me why did you let her get the best of the rest of you?

I Could Write A Book

So you could, could you?  Better hear what renowned literary agent Michael Larsen has to say about the book biz.  All of the spoken words sandwiched in this 1940 Rodgers and Hart show tune-turned-jazz standard are from Larsen’s How To Write A Book Proposal, Third Edition (Writer’s Digest Books, 2003).

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Sung and Spoken Vocals: Alicia Bay Laurel, Piano: Rick Olson, Soprano Saxophone: Doug Webb, Bass: Chris Conner, Drums: Kendall Kay

If they asked me, I could write a book

About the way you walk and whisper and look.

I could write a preface on how we met

So the world would never forget.

And the simple secret of the plot

Is just to tell them that I love you a lot.

Then the world discovers as my book ends

How to make two lovers of friends.

It’s Not Fair       

I asked Nels if he would help me scream at my ex, and he said, “Sure, glad to.”

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Vocal and Electric Rhythm Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel, Electric Lead Guitar: Nels Cline, Upright Bass: John B. Williams, Drums: Enzo Tedesco

It’s not fair that you love her more than me

When she doesn’t even sing.

She’s not a musician like you are, like I am,

What about all the times we used to jam?

We had rhythm and harmony

Now we don’t even meet,

Unless she is with you, and then it’s all small talk.

How boring. It’s just not fair.

Well, it’s chemistry, and it’s poetry,

But it’s not me and it’s not fair.

How did you decide to give her first choice of your time,

And all of your lovemaking, too?

She’s not a joker like you are, like I am,

What about all the laughs that we been through?

We used to get so crazy;

Now you don’t even call,

Because she is with you, making all of that small talk.

How wasteful; it’s just not fair.

Her topography, choreography,

Made a fool of me and it’s not fair.

It’s no fun getting over you now,

With all those ideas we had.

She’s not an artist like you are, like I am

What about the masterpiece we planned? (Yeah, loser!)

You were once my inspiration;

Now I’m cookin’ alone.

And she’s still in your studio, bending your ear,

And you love it.  Yeah, you just love it.

You love it so much.

It’s just not fair.

Love, Understanding and Peace

How succinctly Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 13 explains love and spirituality! Everyone can dig it.

Arranged by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ron Grant, Lead Singing Vocal: Alicia Bay Laurel, Spoken Vocal: Jody Ashworth, Second Singing Vocal on last verse: Francis Nyaforh, Choir: Jessica Williams and Irene Cathaway, Piano: Rev. Harold Pittman, Bass: Kevin O’Neal, Drums: David Anderson

Every love has its season; maybe ours has come and gone.

You are far from the doorstep that my beaux must stand on,

But I feel you in the morning when I rise to say my prayers,

All your goodness, all the childish things we shared and did not share.

We had our scenes of pain and pleasure, heaven knows, we felt it all,

But the curtains on those first acts quickly fall,

And the sets are quickly changing, as the night becomes the day.

Will we be childish in the next town that we play?

Sometimes I wonder what the tenth year of our friendship will be like.

Will we have outgrown those early childhood fears?

Will there be trust and resolution, will our vision then be clear?

We did not know each other well in this first year.

Simple passion is so deceiving; we moved in so fast we could not back out right.

So it was fight or take flight to scene one, act two;

See you in paradise when we rendezvous; I know you will not show surprise.

Love is patient and kind.

It is not jealous, boastful, envious or rude.

Love does not insist on its own way.

It keeps no record of wrongs.

Love recoils from injustice,

But rejoices when the truth prevails.

It always protects, always hopes, always endures.

Love never ends.

We are practicing forgiveness (I forgive you);

We are speaking higher truths (God is love);

We are praying for deliverance from our weakness (we shall be free).

And we both have come a little bit further along

Toward our love and understanding, toward our peace,

Toward our love and understand, toward our peace (let there be peace).

Living in Hawaii Style: Production Notes, Liner Notes and Lyrics

Alicia’s cover for her CD, Living in Hawaii Style, expresses the dazzling colors, sounds, fragrances and tastes of the Hawaiian islands, and the feelings of peace and well-being they engender.

After an eight-month self-coordinated national USA road tour in 2000, promoting the Villard/Random House 30th anniversary edition of Living on the Earth, and Alicia’s first (self-produced) CD, Music from Living on the Earth, with 75 performances of Alicia’s original one-woman two-act comedy/storytelling/original music show, Living on the Earth: The Musical, Alicia returned to Rick Asher Keefer’s Sea-West Studios in Pahoa, Hawaii, and began recording her second CD, Living in Hawaii Style.

For these tracks, a combination of historic Hawaiian songs and Alicia’s original Hawaiian-style songs, Alicia called upon two great Hawaiian musicians:

Lei’ohu Ryder: A spiritualist, composer, performer, recording artist and educator, with deep roots in Hawai’ian culture, Lei’ohu raises her superb voice in song and Hawai’ian chants, which she can compose on the spot (there’s one on this CD.) Her psychic abilities yielded the discovery of the Kukuipuka heiau (temple ruins), which she and others are restoring. She had recently performed with Alicia’s partner, avant-garde jazz musician Joe Gallivan’s ensemble at the 2000 Bell-Atlantic Jazz Festival in New York City when Alicia invited her to collaborate on this album. 

Sam Ahia: Widely respected throughout the state of Hawai’i (and elsewhere) as a great jazz guitarist/vocalist, Sam has appeared on dozens of recordings, including his own, including the all-original Ukumehame, and Sam Ahia, a collection of Hawai’ian favorites. Alicia studied guitar with Sam Ahia for two years.

The album opens with Alicia’s Hawaiian happy birthday song, Hau’oli La Hanau, the only existing recording on which Alicia plays an ukulele.  Rick Asher Keefer joined her on ukulele and Hawaiian percussion, and invited some of the children in the neighborhood to join her in singing the second verse.  This, the least sophisticated song on the album, or maybe on all of her albums, became, far and away, Alicia’s most downloaded song. 

The cover of the album began as an ink line drawing on an invitation to a beach party Alicia held on her 35th birthday, in 1984.  While working on the album, in 2001, Alicia had just begun learning Adobe PhotoShop, and used it to color the drawing for the cover art of the album.

Alicia also scanned a letter she received in 1986 from the legendary slack key guitarist, Auntie Alice Namakelua, a musician who had serenaded Hawaii’s last monarch, Queen Liliuokalani, and for whom Alicia had written a song of praise after hearing her in concert on Maui in the early 1970s.  In 1986, Alicia managed to send a cassette tape of her song to the great lady, and Auntie Alice responded graciously with a handwritten note of thanks.  This letter appears inside the front cover of the CD.

Here is a Christmas card I received from her caregiver, after Auntie Alice sent me the letter displayed in the album liner.  The deep warmth of Hawaiian family is palpable in this short missive.

For the many who only buy downloads instead of CDs, here are the complete liner notes and lyrics:

About the songs

Apologia: To those of you already rich in Hawai’ian language and lore, please excuse the vocabulary, geology, sociology and history in these notes, which I gathered for those not as fortunate as you are.

All songs are copyright (c) 2001 by Alicia Bay Laurel and published by Bay Tree Music (ASCAP), except where otherwise noted. Total running time of CD:  53:38

1.  Hau’oli La Hanau (Happy Birthday)

Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key D) Time: 01:36

Lead vocal, finger-picked ukulele and rhythm guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel

Three strummed koa ukuleles, ipu (gourd drum), pu’ili (bamboo rattles): Rick Keefer

Chorus of celebrants:  Rick Keefer, Smitty Smith, Camille Thomas, Sarah Runnells, Rainbow, Moonstar

A birthday song I created for one friend and now sing for many of them.  “Hau’oli” means happy, “la” means day, and “hanau” means birth.  “Aloha nui loa”: “Nui” means big, “aloha” means love and spiritual presence, “loa” means long or forever.  “Auntie Liliko’i” is just a name with the right set of syllables to fit the song—you can put in anyone’s name you want.  Many Hawai’ians call people they love “auntie” and “uncle”, or “tita” (sister) and “brada” (brother) regardless of actual blood relationship.   A liliko’i is a passionfruit or granadilla.

Hau’oli la hanau, aloha nui loa.

Hau’oli la hanau, Auntie Liliko’i!

Lucky live Hawai’i, Hawai’i lucky, too.

Seashore to da mountain, plenny love for you!

2.  Kanikau O Hawai’i

Music and lyrics by Ginni Clemmons (self-published) (Key D) Time: 03:28

Lead vocal: Lei’ohu Ryder

Harmony vocal: Alicia Bay Laurel

Steel string and nylon string guitars: Sam Ahia

An environmental anthem written by Maui singer/songwriter Ginni Clemmons in 1988.  The first ten times I listened to it on Lei’ohu Ryder’s wonderful CD, Waiha, I wept profusely.  Profound thanks to Lei’ohu and to Ginni for sharing this song with me. “Kanikau” means “a mournful cry.”

Oh Hawai’i, you’ve lost your innocence

How can we get it back?

Have we claimed you?  Have we shamed you?

Have we spoiled the prize we’ve won?

By taking you against your will, as all greedy lovers do.

Oh Hawai’i…oh Hawai’i, we’re sorry

Those who care are crying tears of shame

But with your gentle kindness you wash our tears away

With your never-ending streams

Come reach us; come teach us your gentle simple ways

Teach us the ways of nature, so that peace can end this war

Oh Hawai’i…oh Hawai’i, we’re sorry

Those who care are crying tears of shame

But with your gentle kindness you wash our tears away

With your never-ending streams

Come reach us; come teach us your gentle simple ways

Teach us the ways of nature, so that peace can end this war

Oh Hawai’i…oh Hawai’i, we love you

Hawai’i, aloha nou, Hawai’i

3.  From Hawai’i To You

Music and lyrics by Lani Sang, Criterion Music (Key C) Time: 03:51

Vocals: Alicia Bay Laurel and Sam Ahia

Steel string and nylon string guitars: Sam Ahia

A classic from the mid-‘fifties, this graceful ballad was written by Lani Sang, of the famed Waikiki Serenaders.  I learned it from Sam Ahia when I studied guitar with him in the mid-‘eighties.  “Aloha wau ia ‘oe” means “I love you.”

I’ll weave a lei, a beautiful lei, of stars,

To greet you the Hawai’ian way,

Straight from Hawai’i to you.

I’ll take a kiss and blend it into a lei

Of fragrance so sweet and so rare,

Straight from Hawai’i to you.

Just vision, lazy days beside the sea

Underneath the coco tree;

This my love conveys to you.

So take a kiss and blend it into a lei

Of fragrance so sweet and so rare.

Aloha wau ia oe;

Straight from Hawai’i to you.

4.  Nanakuli Blues/Nanakuli/Vale of Feathers

Nanakuli Blues: Music and lyrics by Liko Martin and Thor E. Wold (American Pride Music/BMI) (Key G) Time: 04:11 (total of medley)

Nanakuli: Traditional, from the 1890’s

Vale of Feathers: Music by Liko Martin and Thor E. Wold (American Pride Music/BMI), lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Bay Tree Music/ASCAP)

Lead and harmony vocals, lead and harmony guitars:  Alicia Bay Laurel

The a capella opening verse is from a hit protest song from the early 1970’s, recorded as Waimanalo Blues by the band Country Comfort. It galvanized a feeling that took shape as the Hawai’ian sovereignty movement by the centennial of the 1893 overthrow of the Hawai’ian monarchy.  The second song is an nineteenth century Hawai’ian song about Nanakuli, a seacoast town west of Honolulu. The third song consists of lyrics that I wrote soon after hearing the first two. In 1981, Liko Martin showed up at a recording session I was doing in California. I sang my lyrics for him; he insisted that I should record them, and, Liko, twenty years later, you got your wish.

Nanakuli Blues  (verse 2)

Tired and worn, I woke up this morn’,

Found that I was confused.

Spun right around and found I had lost

The things that I could not lose

The beaches they sell to build their hotels,

The old Hawai’ian families knew.

The birds all along the sunlight at dawn

Singing Nanakuli Blues.


O ka leo o ka manu

E ho’i mai e pili

Keiki o ka aina i ka pono a o Nanakuli e a

E ho’i mai e pili

The voice of the bird,
Come close.
The children of the land Nanakuli are righteous;
Come close.

Vale of Feathers 

In the vale of feathers, morning dawns

Like a lovely woman coming on.

Oh, pool of tears, wash over me;

Take my sorrows down to the sea.

‘Cause when I look back at what I lacked,

I miss the high times when they come by.

Treat the people and the islands kind;

You know it’s not about the bottom line.

In the gardens of the bountiful,

We  will wander through a meadow to a pool.

Oh, mother island, plenteous,

You feed us from your flowing breast.

‘Cause when we look back at all we lacked,

We  miss the high times when they come by.

Treat the people and the islands kind;

You know it’s not about the bottom line.

In the vale of feathers, land of song.

The cardinal, the mynah, and the dove.

Oh kona wind, please carry this song

To the ears of the ones that I love.

When you look back at what you lacked

You’ll miss the high times when they come by.

Treat the people and the islands kind;

You know it’s not about the bottom line.

5.  Waikaloa

Music and Lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key A) Time: 04:25

Vocal and slack key guitars: Alicia Bay Laurel

My first Hawai’ian music teacher, Clara Tolentino, and her husband, Joe, raised their children in a house without electricity or telephone at the end of the road in Waikaloa, and I would visit them there in the 1970’s.  Vocabulary: “Pele” is the volcano goddess. “A’a” is sharp, jagged lava.  “Laupaho’eho’e” is smooth, ropy lava. “Heiau” is an ancient Hawaiian temple, or the ruins of it.  “Ki ho’alu” is slack key, or open-tuned guitar picking. “Koa” is a tropical hardwood used for making furniture—and the best ukuleles. Bamboo is used to make pu’ili rattles. “Pahu” is a wooden drum played with hula kahiko (ancient style hula) and chanting.  “Ipu” is a gourd drum. “Pu” is a large conch shell used as a wind instrument.  “Waikaloa” literally means “fresh water that is endless.”

Waikaloa, beautiful newborn land,

From the mountains you came,

From the smoke and the flame,

From a wave of Pele’s hand.

Waikaloa, rainforest by the sea,

With your lava rock walls,

And your trees green and tall,

Here the ancient ones live on in dreams.

I’m walking slow in Waikaloa

Come play some music with my friends,

Over a’a and laupaho’eho’e,

An old steel string guitar held in my hands.

Waikaloa, north shore of Hana Bay,

Where the heiau once stood,

Where the fishing’s still good,

Where the old ki ho’alu still plays.

We sang all night in Waikaloa;

The sun rose from the sea when we were through.

Our sounds of bamboo and of koa,

The pahu, the ipu and the pu.

Waikaloa, mystery is your song.

You’re the wrinkle in time

Where the past and present rhyme;

You’re the waters that flow ever long.

6.  Ukulele Hula

Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key G)  Time: 04:15

Lead and harmony vocals, slack key guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel

Ukuleles: Rick Keefer

On my first night in Hana, in the spring of 1974, I was camping in the jungle behind a friend’s house, and, next door, a wedding reception was in full swing.  In true Hana style, the celebrants took turns making music, performing hula and telling funny stories until dawn, while I was falling asleep and awakening, absorbing it all.  In the morning, this song rolled out of my head.

I’m dreaming to the sound of ukuleles

Playing all night long for a wedding of our family.

In paradise, everybody is lover,

And the more you let go, the more that comes back to you.

So, surrender to the beautiful island,

And she’ll give you everything that you need.

Feasting on a sun-ripened papaya,

Playing all day in the waves along the sand,

Breezy afternoon and a sunset on the ocean,

Sailing away on a song of Bali Hai.

Let me make you feel good; that’s what we’re here for:

For ecstasy, delight and bliss.

It’s so balmy, such a balmy evening,

To melt in love in a tropical paradise.

Let’s swing and sway to the sound of ukuleles

Like the gentle green fronds of the lovely coconut tree.

Surrender to the beautiful island

And she’ll give you everything that you need.

I’m dreaming to the sound of ukuleles

Playing all night long for a wedding of our family.

In paradise everybody is a lover,

And the more you let go, the more that comes back to you.

7.   Holua, Kapalaoa and Paliku

Music and lyrics by Matthew Kalalau (self-published) (Key F) Time: 03:22

Opening chant composed and performed by Lei’ohu Ryder (she accompanies herself with ti leaf rattles)

Lead and harmony vocals, melody slack key guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel

Harmony guitar: Sam Ahia

Written by Clara Kalalau Tolentino’s brother, Matthew Kalalau, about the three camping sites in the volcanic valley surrounded by the summit of Haleakala (“house of the sun”).   Clara taught me the song in 1976, when we spent three days hiking in Haleakala.  She choreographed this song, and sang it in her heavenly voice with ukulele, soon after our trek, at a fundraiser for the Hui Aloha Church, with five of her young female relatives dancing, each wearing a maile lei made from maile we had picked on our way down the Kaupo Gap from the mountain, and each in a holoku (Victorian gown) of a different color, one of which I sewed.  

Lei’ohu’s Opening Chant:

Eia la wahipana la
E ola e ola e ola la
Eia papa hele mu
E ala e ola e ola Haleakala

Lei’ohu’s translation of her chant:

Here it is sacred–
Life, life, life…
Moving forward with the people
To awaken life, Haleakala.

Uncle Matthew’s song:

I ke ia makou ka nani a o Holua

Amena pali ki’e ki’e a o Hale Mau’u

I ke ia makou a o Kapalaoa

Amena pu’u kaulana a o Pu’u Maile

I ke ia makou ka nani a o Paliku

Amena pali ha uli uli; he nani po ina ‘ole

E o nei makou mele ka nani a o Holua

Kapalaoa amena Paliku


We came and saw the beauty of Holua (“wooden sled”– used on cinder hills)

With its misty cliffs of Hale Mau’u (name of the trail, literally: “grass house”)

We came and saw Kapalaoa (“the whale tooth”)

With its famous cinder cone, Pu’u Maile

(“Pu’u” means hill, “maile” is a fragrant vine used to make an open-ended leaf lei)

We came and saw the beauty of Paliku (“vertical cliff”)

With its verdant cliffs, its beauty can never be forgotten

This, now, is our song about the beauty of Holua,

Kapalaoa and Paliku.

8.  Sassy/Manuela Boy/Livin’ On Easy

Slack key guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel (Key G) Time: 03:15

Three drinking songs, each about one hundred years old.   Sassy was written by Kokolia, circa 1890, and describes the “saucy” girls (hookers) sashaying about Honolulu.  Manuela Boy was a hit for the singer Hilo Hattie in the 1930’s.  Livin’ On Easy inspired hundreds of humorous verses over its long history as the quintessential party song.  Even Clara Tolentino sang me a verse she made up.

9.  Moonlight and Shadows/Blue Lei

Music and Lyrics: Moonlight and Shadows by Leo Robin and Friedrich Hollaender, Paramount Music/ASCAP; Blue Lei by R. Alex Anderson and Milton Beamer, Universal Polygram/ASCAP. (Keys Bb and C) total time: 04:04

Vocals: Alicia Bay Laurel and Sam Ahia

Steel string and nylon string guitars: Sam Ahia

This medley is another of my favorites from Sam’s repertoire which I learned in the course of studying guitar with him. This genre of swing tunes with tropical lyrics is known in the islands as “hapa ha’ole”, meaning half-foreign.

 Moonlight and shadows and you in my arms,

And a melody in a bamboo tree, my sweet.

Even in shadows, I feel no alarm

As you held me tight in the pale moonlight, my sweet.

Close to my heart you always will be,

Never, never to part from me.

Moonlight and shadows and you in my arms,

I belong to you; you belong to me, my sweet.

You were wearing a blue lei

The day that I first met you,

As we walked along the sand

By the blue, blue sea.

Without a cloud in the sky to caress us,

Not a tear have you or I to suppress us.

I will always remember

The moment when I kissed you,

And the smile upon your lips was so heavenly sweet.

When your blue eyes looked in to mine,

It was then the sun began to shine,

That day in May you wore a blue, blue lei.

10.  Kawailehua‘a‘alakahonua

Music and lyrics by Frank K. Hewett, Mountain Apple Music (Key G) Time: 03:04

Slack key guitars, lead and higher harmony vocal: Alicia Bay Laurel

Lower harmony vocal: Lei’ohu Ryder

Composed by the great kumu hula (teacher, choreographer) and Hawai’ian cultural healer, Frank Kawaikapuokalani (“the sacred waters of heaven”) K. Hewett.  The title means “the lehua waters that give fragrance to the earth”, and it is the name he gave to his niece, in whose honor the song was composed. Below is his own translation of the lyrics:

Ke iho la ka ua

Halihali na lehua o luna

Helele‘i pua i ke kai

Hula le‘a na lehua i ka moana

He kupa la ka ua i ke kai

Ke ho’i hou e aloha mai

He mele nou e ku‘u lani


The rains are falling

Like red lehua blossoms falling from the sky.

Strewn over the surface of the sea,

They dance playfully amid the waters.

The waters of the sky are well acquainted to the waters of the ocean.

It returns from the sky once more and their relationship is imbued with love.

A song for you, my heavenly one,


11.  Auntie Clara

Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key G) Time: 03:36

Lead and harmony vocals, melody slack key guitar:  Alicia Bay Laurel

Harmony guitar: Sam Ahia

 I wrote this song in 1975, when I was living in Hana, Maui, to honor Clara Keanu Kalalau Tolentino, the town kumu hula (choreographer and teacher of the local hula halau [dance troupe], plus fountain of Hawai’ian arts and culture to the community) and matriarch of a musical dynasty that includes recording artists G-girl Keli’iho’omalu (her oldest daughter, Philomena) and Princess Keli’iho’omalu (G-girl’s daughter).  “Clara won every hula contest she entered,” remembered her sister-in-law, Mary Kalalau, “The famous kumu hula Emma Sharpe said that Clara’s choreography was divinely inspired.”   Clara taught me to sing in Hawai’ian, and introduced me to her son-in-law, Jerome Smith, who taught me to play ki ho’alu (open-tuned guitar, Hawai’ian style).  This song was an instant hit, winning me first place at the talent show of the 1975 Ho’olaulea o Hana (the annual community festival, also known as Aloha Week), a spirited event held at Hana Bay Beach Park after sunset. 

On Aloha Week in old Hana town,

I saw her ride by in a satin gown:

A goddess of flowers, a Hawai’ian queen

That everyone calls Auntie Clara.

Descended from a line of ancient kings,

She plays ukulele and dances and sings,

And what makes her happy is to hear people laugh,

Which is easy around Auntie Clara.

She lives by the sea with the man that she loves,

And they raised eleven sisters and brothers.

And now their grandchildren number forty-two;

And soon, I bet, there will be others.

And she’s taught them all to sing and to dance,

To work real hard and to love romance,

Just by the way that she spends her days,

Being happy being Auntie Clara.

She’s delivered babies and planted trees,

And walked through volcanoes; she smiles with ease.

To me, she’s the essence of old Hana town,

Besides being dear Auntie Clara.

God bless you, my dear Auntie Clara!

12.  Living In Hawai’i Style

Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key A) Time: 02:43

Lead and harmony vocals, slack key guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel

“Awapuhi” means fragrant ginger (the w is pronounced v). “Ulu” means breadfruit, in this case, the great breadfruit trees of the rainforest, although it can also mean “growth”. “Kukui” is the silvery-leafed candlenut tree. “O’o” is an indigenous and endangered species of songbird. “Hula ‘auwana” (literally hula that meanders, like a stream) is the more modern form of hula, performed to melodic songs. It is the only ethnic dance in which the dancers must smile.  “’Olapa” is the ancient form of hula, serious, sacred and vigorous, performed with chanting, drums and other percussion instruments.  “Aloha” is usually translated as “love”, “hello” or “goodbye”, but literally means “the Presence (of the holy spirit) (alo) is the breath (ha).”  “Wahine” (vah-hee-nay) means “woman”, and “kanaka” means “man.”

Moving slow, laughing long, smiling the aloha smile,

Everybody loves living in Hawai’i style la la.

Down to the sea as the day is dawning,

Lavender and golden is the morning.

Snorkeling along the coral reef

Is beautiful beyond belief, oh la la.

Fragrance of the roadside awapuhi

Underneath the ulu and kukui,

Mountain apple booms; the o’o calls;

I’m swimming under waterfalls, oh la la.

The spirit of the land is the ancient chants,

The taro growing farms and the fishing camps,

Sweet hula ‘auwana, bold ‘olapa,

Aloha of wahine and kanaka.

Moving slow, laughing long, smiling the aloha smile,

Everybody loves living in Hawai’i style la la.

13.  Maui Chimes

Slack key guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel (Key G) Time: 01:57

Written by Sam Kapu in 1899, this was the first slack key piece taught to me by Clara Tolentino’s son-in-law, Jerome Smith.

14.  Kaupo

Music, lyrics and poetry by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key F) Time: 03:37

Sung and spoken vocal, slack key guitars: Alicia Bay Laurel

Kaupo literally means “arrive by night”, perhaps alluding to its remote location on the coast of the fierce Alenuihaha Channel.  “Alelelele” is the name of a stream that descends from the mountain in a series of waterfall pools, each in a box canyon.  Maunawainui: “Mauna” means mountain, “wai” means fresh water, “nui” means great.  “Nuu” means height, perhaps referring to the steep ascent to Haleakala’s summit from this coastline. “Hui” means union or gathering.

Kaupo, Kaupo, where the wild winds blow,

The shadow of your evening thrills me now.

Kaupo, the moon upon your brow

Rides high upon the desert mountain skies.

The spirits of the warrior kings

Alight upon the seashores of Kaupo.

Arrive by night, awaken to the sight

Of light caressing hillsides of Kaupo.

Oh lonely Lualailua Hills

Knowing only the sea, the sky and the mountain!

Oh mighty Maunawainui Canyon

Gathering the storm waters and flooding deeply!

Oh majestic cliffs of the Kaupo Valley

Ascending to sacred Mount Haleakala!

Oh ruthless Alenuihaha Channel!

Oh sea of engulfing waves!

Oh growling black stones of Nuu

Ever turning in the tide!

Oh waterfall upon waterfall

Singing Alelelele!

Oh Hui Aloha Church alone beside the sea

Where, in the wild winds, we gather in love!

Oh millions of stars by night!

Oh snow-capped Mauna Kea by day!

Kaupo, Kaupo, where the wild winds blow,

The shadow of your evening thrills me now.

Kaupo, the moon upon your brow

Rides high upon the desert mountain skies.

15.   Auntie Alice

Music and Lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key G) Time: 02:24

Vocal and slack key guitars: Alicia Bay Laurel

 In 1975, I attended a slack key festival in Lahaina, Maui, where Alice Namakelua, court musician to Queen Lili’uokalani during her years of house arrest at Iolani Palace after the 1893 overthrow of the monarchy, performed in her own tuning.  I was totally enchanted. That night I learned her tuning and composed this piece, what Hawai’ians call a mele inoa, a song honoring a person’s name. 

In 1986, I had a job playing music on one of two horse-drawn wagons at an agricultural theme park on Maui.  The musician on the other wagon was a young Hawai’ian named Kawika who played wonderful slack key guitar. I asked him to teach me something new.  He began by demonstrating wahine tuning, and I said, “Oh, that’s Auntie Alice Namakelua’s tuning!”  He told me that his girlfriend’s aunt was Auntie Alice’s nurse.  I asked if he would send a cassette to his girlfriend’s aunt, and he agreed.  I rushed home, recorded this song, and, sure enough, received a note of appreciation from the great lady herself, only months before she passed into the spirit realm. Her letter is reproduced in these liner notes.

Vocabulary: “Wahine (vah-hee-nay) tuning” means a woman’s tuning, in this case, Auntie Alice’s tuning.  “Holoku” (literally “walk straight”) is a Victorian style gown.  “Colors of the isle” refers to the traditional colors associated with each island.  On this night, she wore a pink holuku to honor the island of Maui.  “Iolani (ee-oh-lah-nee) Palace” was the seat of the Hawai’ian monarchy, which still stands in Honolulu.  “Aloha ke akua” means “God is love.”

I heard Auntie Alice play

Slack key guitar tuned this way

(It’s called wahine tuning)

To her gentle crooning.

Her holoku was glistening;

Everyone was listening.

She wore the colors of the isle,

Made the people smile.

She was only seventeen

Playing guitar for the Queen.

Pretty Auntie Alice

At Iolani Palace.

She hears the songs the spirits sing,

Sees the light in everything,

Alice Namakelua;

Aloha ke akua.

16.  Kipahulu  

Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel (Key F) Time: 03:10

Vocal and slack key guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel

Harmony guitar: Sam Ahia

The Kipahulu valley lies southeast of Hana town, on Maui.  I lived there and composed this song in 1976. 

Haleakala (“House of the Sun”) is the 10,000-foot volcano that comprises eastern Maui.  Mauna Kea (“White Mountain”) is the 14,000-foot volcano that comprises most of northern Hawaii island.  Kaupo Gap is the amphitheater-headed valley that comprises the eastern half of Haleakala’s “crater”, opening southward to the seacoast at Kaupo.  The original caldera and summit of the volcano eroded away long ago, but two enormous amphitheater-headed valleys—the other is the Ko’olau Gap, opening to the north side of the island—were united by volcanic eruptions that decimated the wall between them, creating cinder cones and other formations within the summit walls, and the illusion of a caldera.

If you want to call on me, this is where I stay:

In a meadow, by a mango, Mau’ulili Bay.

Life is simple in the shadow of Haleakala;

Moon and raindrops for my crystal candelabra.

Let your feet dance down the boulders to the rushing stream,

Floating chilly, willy-nilly, to ancestral dreams.

Hear the spirits of the valley sing in soft guitars;

Mark the passage through the heavens: wind and cloud and stars.

Hear the cattle call as the evening falls.

Bamboo canyon walls, silver waterfalls,

Birds of ancient lineage, brilliant in their plumage,

Hidden by the foliage down from Paliku.

If you come to call on me, this is how I live:

Contemplating God’s creation, learning how to give.

Kipahulu Valley people work the livelong day;

Then you’ll see us in the evening, coming out to play.

Sudden rain may slice the sunlight, disappearing down.

Floating on the sea’s horizon, Mauna Kea’s crown.

Kaupo Gap, oh gate of heaven, clouds advance, retreat.

Verdant pasture, sleepy rapture, sky and mountain meet.

Hear the cattle call as the evening falls.

Bamboo canyon walls, silver waterfalls,

Birds of ancient lineage, brilliant in their plumage,

Hidden by the foliage down from Paliku.

Reviews of What Living’s All About


TOP 12 DIY PICKS by Mare Wakefield, Indie Music Editor

What Living’s All About—a title that’s appropriate for a woman who has lived her life with such gusto. A Bohemian artist, Alicia Bay Laurel lived on a houseboat off Sausalito and a commune in Sonoma before spending 25 years on Maui. In addition to her music, she’s worked as a cook, collage artist, yoga instructor, wedding planner, underwater photographer and she’s the author of a New York Times bestseller, the whimsical Living on the Earth, first published in 1971.

The rich tapestry of her life translates to her music. In the Billie Holiday-esque “Floozy Tune,” Laurel plays the role of the Sunday School teacher turned barfly. In “America the Blues” she dishes out scathing political commentary to the tune of “America the Beautiful” (“America, America, greed sheds disgrace on thee / You don’t need nukes, you don’t need slaves, you don’t need gasoline”). She has fun with the smart “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues” (“Seaweed for breakfast is good for you”) and the gospel-imbued “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water.” Laurel’s jazzy Earth-mother sound will seduce and inspire.

Review by John Stevenson of Ejazz News in London, June 2006

Dear Alicia,

Just a quick note from London. I have reviewed your last CD at ejazznews.com. It is excellent. As I wrote in the review, by far one of the best for 2006.

I get close to 200 CDs a week sent to me, but yours stood out because of its transparently high level of musicianship and sincerity – qualities which are very rarely found combined these days.

Kind Regards,

John Stevenson

Alicia Bay Laurel: What Living’s All About, Jazz Blues & Other Moist Situations (IWS)

With a provocative title like this one, Ms. Laurel will certainly catch the attention of any reviewer! This is most certainly one of the most audacious, heartfelt and honest discs I’ve put in my CD player for the year. Alicia (who sounds like the artistic love child of Joan Baez and Tom Waits) brings a folk-singer’s sensibility to bear on jazz and pulls no punches: On America The Blues, she declaims: America, the beautiful/you’re thorny as a rose:/Radiation, global warming/Poisoned food from GMOs./ She also sings a delightful version of Eden Ahbez’s Nature Boy. The accompaniment from guitarist Nels Cline, bass player John B. Williams and pianist Rick Olson is divine.

*                    *                        *                      * 

Tom Hyslop
Blues Bites: Reviews in Brief

Alicia Bay Laurel conveys life’s sudden shifts and jarring juxtapositions on What Living’s All About (Indigo With Stars 003). Sandwiched between the opener, “Floozy Tune,” and “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues,” two formally classic blues that could have come from Ma Rainey if not for the namechecks (belly dancing, astral projection, The I. Ching, bee pollen candy and natty dread), comes “America the Blues,” with strident references to economic inequality, environmental rapine, corporate greed, and political corruption. Laurel moves from girlish singing on the Twenties-style songs to this doomy incantation, the arrangement taking full advantage of the jaw-dropping talent of avant-guitarist Nels Cline (best known as Wilco’s secret weapon). With cuts such as “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water” (a gospel-drenched number with oddly matched lyrics), and the Fever tribute of the title track, Living will strike some as too California in its outlook. But lovely touches abound, such as the stately, quietly anthemic “Love, Understanding and Peace,” and Doug Webb’s beautiful alto work on “Zero Gravity.”

FEMINIST REVIEW, Friday, June 1, 2007
Alicia Bay Laurel – What Living’s All About

All would-be writers who have studied how to write know the rule: “show me don’t tell me.” Visual artists find this advice easy to do and musicians are, perhaps, the same way. When the creative instrument does not rely solely on words, showing is not too difficult.

Alicia Bay Laurel wrote Living on the Earth, a cult classic and the first paperback on the New York Times Bestseller List (spring 1971), which has sold over 350,000 copies. She has also written five other books. Laurel is a talented, trained musician. She grew up playing classical piano, switched to guitar in her teens and learned open tunings from legendary guitarist John Fahey, a family member. On this latest album, What Living’s All About, she works with some of the best musicians in the field, including avant garde guitar hero Nels Cline.

Alicia Bay Laurel tries to show and tell by weaving feelings, melody and an occasional diatribe word. She celebrates the Earth (nature) and embraces her sensuality. She also loudly laments the destruction of the environment, as in her song “America the Blues,” where the listing of our environmental sins drags a bit. At the same time, the song is strangely effective. The entwining hypnotic music ended with a smashing guitar rift, followed by a spine tingling sound of whale songs and a Native American Chant. This is an excellent protest song. Alicia Bay Laurel and Al Gore should be friends.

“Zero Gravity” is a haunting song about a city at night, reminiscent of Ground Zero in New York City where the Twin Towers used to be. Laurel talks about sex in this CD and does it with class, sometimes with gentle humor, like “Floozy Tune.” However, you won’t know what she’s talking about unless you listen closely. This blend of jazz, blues and gospel is a powerful feminist statement. It’s fantastic!

Review by Patricia Ethelwyn Lang

“Floozy Tune” Wins Song Contest

7/9/2007 4:38:10 PM
“Floozy Tune”
Status: Selected
Congratulations, you have been selected as a Top 20 Finalist in the Jazz Category of the 11th Annual Unisong International Song contest. Results are at http://www.unisong.com/Winners11.aspx.

This year featured the highest overall quality of songs, lyrics, and writers ever submitted by far, with the most diverse and varied entries from a multitude of countries representing every continent on Earth except Antarctica (and songwriting penguins out there).

The judging therefore was extremely competitive and to be singled out anywhere in the top 15% of all songs submitted was no easy feat.


Review of What Living’s All About by psychedelic folk radio DJ, Gerald Van Waes. His show, Psyche Van Het Folk, is on Radio Centraal, Antwerp, Belgium.

Like one of my favourite heartfelt singer-songwriter singers (Heather McLeod with ‘Funny Thing’, 1997), also Alicia went to more towards (slightly standard) jazz territories, but as a former hippie, it is clear this is not done as a compromise to please/tease a public. Her interpretations (-most songs are self penned-) are with great feelings, and a certain light happiness beyond each other idea or emotion. She describes the style mix well on the cover as “jazz, blues and other moist situations”. With additionally a a bit of New Orleans influence on “Floozy Tune”, and a bit of gospel on “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water” (about what the environment of Hawaii did to her), she wrote inspired something between jazz and jazz-blues and something else soulful. I like the idea on “America the blues” saying “America, don’t wave that flag to con us with your jive…”..”we’re all family on this planet”.. (Just imagine how America is built upon so many nationalities and bought talents from everywhere, unfortunately mostly still chosen from what are seen as the trustworthy countries and areas (so practically still excluding preferably the French, Spanish, and several Arab-speaking countries and native Indians for economic concurrence, racist, nowadays partly religious, and a few other reasons)… Potentially, I realize America still has all opportunities and a certain openness to experiment for those who succeed to start to participate in the system. This track, like a few tunes elsewhere has some, for me, rather amusing freaky electric avant-garde guitar by Nels Cline (Wilco,..). Alicia, for having experienced a certain earthbound process, matured, she still has the happiest aspects of the hippie; this sum must having benefited the soul and music of the singer, who on her recent photograph on the back cover still looks 25 or so, so I guess the message of this lies somewhere as a benefit hidden in the music. Rather brilliant as an interpretation I think is “Nature Boy” (originally by Nat King Cole, but also covered by Grace Slick), in an emotionally calm contrapoint-driven moody jazz style, with the help of John B. Williams on upright bass and Enzo Tedesco on other instruments. A really fine and enjoyable album.

Review by legendary guitarist Nels Cline on his website:

Alicia is a self-proclaimed “hippie chick” who I met through (drummer) Joe Gallivan. She had a hit book back in the 60s called [stay tuned for title – forgot it], which she says “was in practically every hippie commune outhouse in the west” (no doubt right next to “Be Here Now”!). This is, I believe, self-released, and is quite an odd but strangely entertaining, original, and disarming recording. It has some amazing L.A.-based session/jazz players like (saxophonist) Doug Webb, who reaches beyond his Coltrane-esque tenor to turn in some beautiful post-Desmond alto, brilliant drummer Kendall Kay, and bassist John B. Williams, whom many may remember as the Fender player on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson for many years. There is a choir on here! The songs are sort of 1920s-30s era swing, acoustic swing blues, and… Well anyway, when someone like Alicia asks me to do tons of Hendrix-inspired shrieking and psych looping (“America The Blues”) or fuzzed out adversarial commentary (“It’s Not Fair”), I figure that when the disc comes out that the stuff will, as it usually is, be buried or cut out altogether. I was amazed when I heard this that Alicia REALLY WANTED these sounds and that THEY ARE REALLY LOUD! I don’t know what people who know my music will think of this, but there is something so wry and self-deprecatingly amusing about Alicia’s hippie anthems, protest songs, and tales of failed romance that I find myself grinning. Hmmmm…Oh yes, I also play slide, lap steel, and acoustic guitar on this. I’m on 4 or 5 tracks.


Review by Platinum-selling singer/songwriter Joe Dolce

I think this is a very creative record with a lot of wonderful ideas and performances and some pretty extraordinary playing, and endearing vocals all over the place. I like it a lot!! I liked all the songs much better on the second listen. A keeper. Good work.

The album is eclectic, diverse musical styles. Therefore, I can relate to it! What holds it altogether is Alicia’s musical ‘personae’ – the complex character she is creating, through her voice and ideas. As you get to know this character more and more, as the songs and ideas progress, you trust her more and it allows you to enter more easily into whatever type of musical style is coming next. (Also this trust is a reason to want to go back and listen again.) Also the IDEAS are clear. The lead vocals are strong with a lot of presence. The musicians are all brilliant and the soloing is tasteful and creative – no cliches or stumbling around musically anywhere to be found.

Re: “Nature Boy.” I believe that if you can take the listener to a unique Hilltop, and give them a view that they will never forget, even ONCE in a recording or performance, that is enough. One brilliant moment builds a bridge of trust between you and them that will allow them to be more open to whatever you do from then on, even if they don’t relate or understand it. (You may never be able to take them to that High Point again but it doesn’t matter – it’s like great sex or great playing- you may not be able to LIVE with that person, but you will NEVER forget that encounter.) This track took me to that Hill. I feel different now about the whole recording.

Re: “I Could Write a Book.” This track is the track where I first gasped: genius! What an amazing idea. A track like this makes me have to listen to the whole CD over again to see if I missed anything the first time around on those opening tracks. A totally inspired idea that works. No one else has ever done something like this with a standard. Perfect. I played this one for Lin. She liked it a lot, too. (She didn’t think her publisher would like it though! ha ha!)
Joe Dolce
Melbourne, Australia

Alicia Bay Laurel 2018 Japan Tour

This year I am having a multi-decade solo art exhibition from September 1 through 20 at fashion designer Aya Noguchi’s Sison Gallery in Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo.  The opening event will be recorded as part of a documentary about my work by Setsuko Miura’s environmentalist television show, Kotonaha No Midori.

Sison Gallery show brochure-color-web size

My concerts are also CD release parties for my newest recording, “Alicia Bay Laurel: Live in Japan,” which you can buy here.

ABL LIVE IN JAPAN 3000X3000 for CD Baby

Here is the tour schedule in Japanese and then in English:







2018年9月1日(土)アリシア・ベイ・ローレル個展“ダンシング・ウィズ・ネイチャー”オープニング・パーティー&コンサート。場所:代官山SISON GALLERY。15:00~20:00。ミニライブ&小倉美保さんのフラダンス19:00~。住所:〒150-0033東京都渋谷区猿楽町3-18 電話:03-6886-8048

2018年9月2日(日)~9月20日(木)個展“ダンシング・ウィズ・ネイチャー”。場所:SISON GALLERY。12:00~19:00。※月曜休館。


2018年9月6日(木)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:横浜ライブバー&レストラン サムズアップ。オープン18:30、スタート19:30。共演:井上オハナ、小倉美保(フラダンス)通訳:キンバリー・ヒューズ。お問合せ:045-314-8705。前売り:2,800円、当日:3,300円。住所:〒220-0005神奈川県横浜市西区南幸2-1-22相鉄Movil 3F


2018年9月7日(金)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:ピープルツリー自由が丘店(フェアトレード・ファッションブランドの東京フラッグシップ店)。オープン18:00、スタート18:30。共演:Rie Nobuso(創作舞)。住所:〒152-0035東京都目黒区自由が丘3-7-2



2018年9月9日(日)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:横浜cafe ゆっくり堂。オープン17:45、平和の祈り18:25、スタート18:30。共演:馬場尚子(司会)、Rie Nobuso(創作舞)。1,500円+1オーダー。住所:〒244-0002神奈川県横浜市戸塚区矢部町125。JR戸塚駅東口より徒歩7分。電話:090-1795-0341。




2018年9月15日(土)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:神戸Modern Ark Pharm Cafe。19:30~21:30。住所:〒650-0012兵庫県神戸市中央区北長狭通3-11-15。お問合せ:078-391-3060。


2018年9月16日(日)大阪アート&エコロジー・センター“THE BRANCH”を応援する小さなコンサート。場所:大阪THE BRANCH。オープン15:30、スタート16:00。住所:〒559-0011大阪府大阪市住之江区北加賀屋2-8-20


2018年9月17日(月・祝)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:大阪茶屋町URBAN RESEARCH DOORS(エコ・ファッション・ストア&カフェ)。カフェでのライブ:19:30~20:15。住所:〒530-0013大阪府大阪市北区茶屋町15-31。電話:06-6485-0178(コーディネーター:Ryoko)





2018年9月28日(金)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:照明寺。18:00スタート。出店 ワークショップあり。住所:〒899-6404鹿児島県霧島市溝辺町麓溝辺町2563。


2018年9月30日(日)コンサート&新作CDリリース・パーティ。場所:喫茶 風の丘。

13:00スタート。住所:〒899-2431 鹿児島県日置市東市来町美山 東市来町美山2591

Here is the English language version of tour schedule:

08/11/2018 New Moon concert and CD release party and vegetarian dinner. 18:00 start. SHIRAHAMA TOFU FACTORY. 1500 yen. Address: 1477 Shirahacho Takiguchi, Minami Boso-shi, Chiba

08/18/2018 Concert and CD release party and macrobiotic dinner at Lungta Yokone. 18:00 start. 1500 yen. Address: 217 Kyonan-machi, Awa-gun, Chiba-ken



09/01/2018 Art Gallery Opening Party for Alicia Bay Laurel’s solo exhibition, “Dancing with Nature,” and her concert, at Sison Gallery, Daikanyama, Shibuya, Tokyo. 15:00 to 20:00.  Live at 19:00, with hula by Miho Ogura.  Address: 150-0033, 3-18 Sarugakucho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-6886-8048

09/02 to 20/2018 Sison Gallery “Dancing with Nature” exhibition open from 12:00 to 19:00, daily except Mondays. http://sison.tokyo/info/2175262

09/06/2018 Concert and CD release party at Thumbs Up Live House, Yokohama.  Open 18:30, start 19:30. With the Inoue Ohana Band, hula by Miho Ogura, and translation by Kimberly Hughes. For more information, call 045-314-8705. Advance 2800 yen, Door 3300 yen. 3F Movil, 2-1-22, Minamisaiwai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 220-0005. http://www.stovesyokohama.com/

09/07/2018 Concert and CD release party at People Tree Jiyugaoka [fair trade fashion shop] (flagship store in Tokyo) 3-7-2 Jiyugaoka, Meguro-ku, Tokyo.  18:00 open, 18:30 start. With interpretive dance by Rie Nobuso.


09/09/2018 Concert and CD release party at Cafe Yukkurido, 125, Yabe-cho, Totsuka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 244-0002. Open 17:45, peace prayer 18:25, start 18:30. Hosted by Naoko Baba. With interpretive dance by Rie Nobuso.

Access from JR Totsuka station, east exit, 7minute walk. https://www.yukkurido.com/access Charge: 1500 yen +1 order. Booking information: info@sloth.gr.jp. Café Tel: 090ー1795ー0341

09/15/2018 Concert and CD release party at Modern Ark Pharm Café in Kobe. 19:30 to 21:30
中央区北長狭通3-11-15 Kobe-shi, Hyogo, Japan 650-0012.
For more information, please call 078-391-3060.

09/16/2018 Intimate Concert to benefit The Branch Arts and Ecology Center in Osaka. Open 15:30. Start 16:00. 2-8-20 Kitakagaya, Osaka 559-0011 http://branch.sociecity.org


09/17/2018 Concert and CD release party at Urban Research Doors Chaya-machi (Eco fashion store and café.)  Live in the café 19:30 to 20:15. 15-31, Chaya-machi, Kita-ku, Osaka 530-0013. Tel: 06-6485-0178 (Ryoko is the coordinator)

09/22/2018 Concert and CD release event Saikouji Zen Buddhist Temple, in the mountains west of Hiroshima, near the town of Miyoshi.  Event organized by Souken Danjo, the head monk. Start time 14:00.  Includes a vegetarian curry dinner. 729-4207 Hiroshima-ken, Miyoshi-shi, Kisa-cho, 610 Saikouji. For more information, please call: 080 5338 6274. https://www.facebook.com/SAIKOUJI

09/23/2018 Autumn Equinox Party, Concert, CD release party, and country market, at Italia Kaikan Fukuoka / Centro Italiano di Fukuoka. Address: Tokirikyu – Nakarikyu 2F, 1-18-25 Imaizumi, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, 810-0021, tel: 092 761 8570.  Start time: 16:00. Please contact Ayako at ayamomo821@gmail.com for more information.

09/28/2018 Concert and CD release party at Shoumyouji Buddhist temple. Start time: 18:00. Address: 〒899-6404 鹿児島県霧島市溝辺町麓 溝辺町2563 Kagoshima-ken Kirishima-shi Mizobechofumoto Mizobecho 2563
出演者 アリシア ベイローレル 他 出店 ワークショップあり

09/29/2018 Concert and CD release party with shrine-building workshop in Nichinan, Kagoshima.

09/30/2018 Concert and CD release party at Kaze No Oka, outdoor restaurant and music venue. 〒899-2431 鹿児島県日置市東市来町美山 東市来町美山2591 風の丘 Kagoshima-ken Hioki-shi Higashiichiki-cho Miyama 2591 Kazenooka 出演者 アリシア ベイローレル Start time is 13:00.


Kota drums and Alicia sings at Kaze No Oka in Miyama, Kagoshima. A typhoon had passed through the area during the early morning of the same day, but the café was full of happy people that evening.

Alicia Bay Laurel – Live in Japan: Listener Response, Production Notes and Lyrics

ABL LIVE IN JAPAN 3000X3000 for CD Baby

Buy the “Alicia Bay Laurel – Live in Japan” CD here.

July 23, 2018. Just coming off the press today is my 8th album, a collection of recordings by audio engineer Yasushi Yamaguchi from my concerts in Japan.  Three of the recordings were made on August 8th, 2015, at a peace concert in at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, during the week of the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The album also includes a duet with legendary Japanese traditional singer, Ikue Asazaki, and a live rendition of my song Ukulele Hula with the Inoue Ohana Band, during kumu hula Miho Ogura‘s debut performance of her original choreography created for this song.

Also, I recorded a medley that evolved onstage over three years of concerts in Japan, often with interpretive dancers, blending the four chants of the solstices and equinoxes from the book Being of the Sun, both the book and the songs a collaboration with composer/author Ramón Sender Barayón.

My cover drawing, Amaterasu Seen From Mori Tower depicts the Shinto sun goddess Amaterasu appearing over Tokyo as a cloud lifting the sun from the eastern horizon across the bay. The orange and white Eiffel-Tower-like Tokyo Tower, a television tower, stands directly between Mori Tower, a residential sky scraper in the Roppongi area, and Tokyo harbor.  The art gallery that sold this drawing is in the building next to Mori Tower.  However, I sell greeting cards with this image in my online store.

Listener feedback for Alicia Bay Laurel: Live in Japan

Charming! A wonderful CD, light and lyrical and still timely and deep.   I especially liked the crowd singing along parts.  Such cosmic threads run through your life and music and art.  Wow!

Sophia Songhealer
Singer/songwriter and recording artist/producer
Clearlake, California


Thank you very much for sending us your new CD: Live in Japan.

Your voice, so pure and warm, makes me feel at home.

With so many people suffering from cruelty of wars, and new totally devastating nuclear war still looming, your message reminding people of the beauty of life, and the warmth of peace is more meaningful than ever.

Ikue Asazaki’s voice is so soulful!

Kenichi Iyanaga
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
Tokyo University

Wow, the CD looks and sounds great Alicia.

Nice balance, guitar solo works, and you sound great.

Paul Metzke
Jazz/blues guitarist
New York City, NY

Alicia Bay Laurel is back in Japan and Okinawa. In this [track “Imagine”], she sounds like an angel in a church at ground zero in Hiroshima. Can’t stop listening, so beautiful, and a special time, place convergence for peace. Thank you!

Jean Downey
Attorney, Professor, Journalist and Activist
Winter Park, Florida

Thank you for sending me your new CD.
I am really enjoying listening to it right now!
I was surprised to hear how good your Japanese pronunciation is.
You sound so Japanese!
I love your voice on “Imagine”.
And I love the sweet face of Amaterasu on the jacket!
Great CD!

Mayu Jensen
Translator, graphic artist, and singer/songwriter
Nagano Prefecture, Japan

Six small but powerful tracks — as relevant today as when the songs were first written — speak to the depths of our souls and the heights of our spirits. Alicia Bay Laurel’s soulful renditions are the perfect balm for our troubled times, making Live in Japan another timeless gem in our collective treasure box.

今だからききたい Ima dakara kikitai

大地の音色 Daichi no neiro

今だからききたい Ima dakara kikitai

心の響き Kokoro no hibiki

今だからききたい Ima dakara kikitai

アリシアの唄 Alicia no uta

(it’s hard to translate the Japanese into English… Literally, it would mean, “Because it’s IMA (now), we want to listen to the tones of Mother Earth/Because it’s IMA, we want to listen to the vibrations of the heart/Because it’s IMA, we want to listen to Alicia’s songs” But it sounds much better in Japanese!)

Carole Hisasue
Former Radio and TV Personality in Tokyo
Now Organic Farmer and Activist in California

Your voice is heavenly! Your music too. As a die hard Beatlemaniac, I am not easily moved by new versions of Beatles/Lennon songs…but you moved me to tears. 

I grew up in Israel listening to the Beatles…it’s how I learned English! Of course, the most important thing I learned from their music was to imagine a world renewed by hope and faith and youth. I remember when they broke up and the acrimony that followed. My ideal was shattered…but, of course, we all have to grow up. Now I’m a grandma and I worry about the future for my grand kids. Hearing you sing these classics with the same spirit as the originals restores my faith in the dream. Thank you and, of course, you may post my comments.

Peace and love,

Sigalit Avigdory
Jerusalem, Israel


♪ If it’s a dream, please don’t wake me up.
where is that ? Costa Rica ? Andorra ? No ! That is Japan !
We vowed never to go to war again.

Tetsuya Hikida
Musician, singer/songwriter
Niiza, Japan

The back cover of the CD, with Kensuke Ishii’s photograph of Ikue Asazaki and Alicia Bay Laurel after the show, both costumed by Kaoriko Ago Wada, the designer/owner of the Little Eagle organic fiber, fair trade fashion company.

Production Notes and Lyrics:

Produced by Alicia Bay Laurel for Indigo With Stars, Inc. © 2018
All tracks recorded, mixed and mastered by Yasushi Yamaguchi, for Monk Beat Studios.
except for track 3, which was recorded by Mark Hewins of Musart

Drawing Amaterasu Seen From Mori Tower and graphic design by Alicia Bay Laurel
Photos of Alicia Bay Laurel and Ikue Asazaki by Kensuke Ishii
Costumes worn by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ikue Asazaki created by Kaoriko Ago Wada, owner/designer of organic fiber/fair trade fashion company, Little Eagle
Digital layout by Hoshi Hana

1. Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
Music and lyrics by Ed McCurdy © 1950, Folkways Music Publisher, Inc.

Recorded at an all-day peace concert produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada, designer and owner of the organic fiber/fair trade fashion company Little Eagle, at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church, located at ground zero in Hiroshima, on August 8, 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was the final song of the concert, and everyone was swaying together in a circle, a garland of 1000 paper cranes draped around all of our shoulders, folded in prayer and remembrance for those that died in and after the bombings.

Lead vocal and melody guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Harmony vocal and harmony guitar: Takuji
Lead (electric) guitar: Paul Metzke
Plus the entire cast (including the Lily Choir and the Inoue Ohana Band) and the audience at the event, all of whom joined us in singing the second time through the song.

Last night I had the strangest dream

I never had before

I dreamed the world had all agreed

To put an end to war

I dreamed I saw a mighty room

The room was full of men (and women!)

And the paper they were signing said

They’d never fight again.

And when the paper was all signed

And a million copies made

They all joined hands and bowed their heads

And grateful prayers were prayed.

And the people in the streets below

Were dancing ‘round and ‘round

And swords and guns and uniforms

Were scattered on the ground.

2. Yurikago No Uta/ Lullaby
Yurikago No Uta (Cradle Song): Words by Kitahara Hakushu, Music by Kusakawa Shin

Lullaby: Music and lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel © 2000, Bay Tree Music, as part of the album Music From Living on the Earth

Recorded at a June 6, 2015 concert and fashion exhibition produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada, at Café Slow. This restaurant and performance venue in a straw bale and cob building in Kokubunji, Tokyo, was created by and for the people of the Slow Life movement, which values creating things by hand and growing one’s own food, both to help preserve nature and to nourish one’s spirit.  Yurikago No Uta/Lullaby was the final song of the show, at the end of (my idol!) the legendary singer Ikue Asazaki’s set. I thought she was going to sing Yurikago No Uta both at the beginning and at end of the piece, but, to my surprise, when I paused for her to begin singing it the second time, she motioned that she wanted me to sing it instead!  So, I jumped in on the second line and sang it to the end.

Lead vocal: Ikue Asazaki
Lead vocal and melody guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Lead guitar: Atsushi Tanaka

Yurikago No Uta

1)  Yurikago no uta wo Canary ga utauyo          The canary is singing a cradle song.

 Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo  Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.

2) Yurikago no ueni Biwa no m yureruyo Biwa (loquat) is swaying above the cradle.

Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo    Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.

3)  Yurikago no thuna wo o Kinazumiga ga yusuruyo   The squirrel shakes the rope of the cradle

Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo    Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.

4) Yurikago no yume ni kiiro no tuki ga kakaruyo.    Yellow moonlight shines on your dreams in the cradle.

Nen neko Nen neko Nen nekoyo    Sleep well, child, sleep well, child, sleep well, child.


Verse 1

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

Until you’re ready

To start off on your own

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

Verse 2

I won’t leave you at night

I won’t leave you at night       

Until the morning       

Fills your window with its light

I won’t leave you at night

I won’t leave you at night       

Verse 3

I won’t stop you when you go

I won’t stop you when you go

But I’ll be ready

To smile and say hello

I won’t stop you when you go

I won’t stop you when you go

Verse 4

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

Until you’re ready

To start off on your own

I won’t leave you alone

I won’t leave you alone

3. Chants of the Four Seasons from Being of the Sun
Music composed by Ramón Sender Barayon
Lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel and Ramón Sender Barayon
Summer Solstice Chant, Autumn Equinox Chant, Winter Solstice Chant, and Spring Equinox Chant, © 2013 Bay Tree Music, as part of the album Songs from Being of the Sun and © 1973 as part of the book Being of the Sun (Harper & Row, New York)

This is the only track in this album that was not recorded at a live event. Instead, it documents a medley that evolved onstage, often with an interpretive dancer, during my performances in Japan in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Lead Vocal and Zither (Evo Bluestein Sparrowharp): Alicia Bay Laurel

Summer Solstice Chant:

You have reached the highest in our heavens

And the widest span of our horizon

As we traverse the summer side of the sun

We are in the joy of your attendance

Upon this half of our mother’s breast

Autumn Equinox Chant:

Once again the night is equal to the light

On the autumn side of the sun

We have gathered to make light

For the darkness approaches

Thank you for the bounty of the summer

Thank you for the fullness of the harvest

Winter Solstice Chant:

Our half of the earth has tipped away from you

And we are on the winter side of the sun

When we are in cold and darkness

We see you in candle flames and fires

We have stored your energy to feed us

Until the day you warm us through our skin

Spring Equinox Chant:

Today the darkness gives way to daylight

Wakening from winter on the spring side of the sun

How the narrow path of sunlight has widened

As our hemisphere returns to the light

Plant we now our gardens

Blossom now the love in our souls

4. Down by the Riverside
African-American Spiritual from the early 1800’s, in public domain

Lead Vocal and Melody Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Additional Vocals: The Lily Choir

Also recorded at the peace concert produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church on August 8, 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Singing “Down by the Riverside” raised our spirits at many an anti-war protest rally during the US invasion of Vietnam in the 1960s and ‘70s.  As is customary when singing this lively song, I made up a few verses of my own.  The audience joined in with me and the Lily Choir as well.

Verse 1

Gonna lay down my sword and shield

Down by the river side

Down by the river side

Down by the river side

Gonna lay down my sword and shield

Down by the river side

And study war no more


I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

I ain’t gonna study war no more

Verse 2

Gonna walk with the people of peace

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Gonna walk with the Queen of Peace

Down by the river side

And study war no more

Chorus (same)

Verse 3

Gonna hold hands around the world

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Gonna hold hands around the world

Down by the river side

And study war no more

Chorus (same)

Verse 4

Gonna lay down that atom bomb

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

(spoken) “Gonna disassemble that atom bomb!”

Down by the river side

And study war no more (spoken) “we don’t need those things anymore!”

Chorus (same)

Verse 5
Gonna lay down my attitude (“my attitude” means “my anger” or “my cynicism”)

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Down by the river side,

Gonna lay down my attitude

Down by the river side,

And study war no more (spoken) “I don’t want to fight anybody!

Chorus (same)

5. Ukulele Hula
Music and Lyrics by Alicia Bay Laurel © 2001, Bay Tree Music, as part of the album Living in Hawaii Style

Lead Vocal and Melody Guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Harmony Vocal and Ukulele: Kathie Inoue
Lead (electric) Guitar: Keni Inoue

Recorded July 25, 2015 at Surfers, a restaurant, bar and performance venue on a cliff overlooking the ocean, just outside the town of Zushi, Kanagawa. At this event, kumu hula Miho Ogura premiered her original choreography for my song “Ukulele Hula,” in performance with five of her students. I wrote “Ukulele Hula” soon after beginning to study slack key guitar in the Hawaiian village of Hana, Maui, in 1974.

Verse 1

I’m dreaming to the sound of ukuleles

Playing all night long for a wedding of our family.

In paradise, everybody is lover,

And the more you let go the more that comes back to you.

Refrain 1

So, surrender to the beautiful island,

And she’ll give you everything that you need.

Verse 2

Feasting on a sun-ripened papaya,

Playing all day in the waves along the sand,

Breezy afternoon and a sunset on the ocean,

Sailing away on a song of Bali Hai.

Refrain 2

Let me make you feel good; that’s what we’re here for:

For ecstasy, delight and bliss.

Verse 3

It’s so balmy, such a balmy evening,

To melt in love in a tropical paradise.

Let’s swing and sway to the sound of ukuleles

Like the gentle green fronds of the lovely coconut tree.

Refrain 1, again

Surrender to the beautiful island

And she’ll give you everything that you need.

Verse 1, again

I’m dreaming to the sound of ukuleles

Playing all night long for a wedding of our family.

In paradise everybody is a lover,

And the more you let go the more that comes back to you.

6. Imagine and Give Peace a Chance
Imagine: Music and Lyrics by John Lennon, © 1971, Lenono Music
Give Peace a Chance: Music and Lyrics by John Lennon, © 1969, Sony ATV Tunes

Lead vocal and melody guitar: Alicia Bay Laurel
Harmony vocal and lead guitar: Takuji

The opening song of my set (and the closing song of Takuji’s set) at the peace concert produced by Kaoriko Ago Wada at Hiroshima Nakaregawa Church on August 8, 2015, during the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Thank you, John Lennon, for this anthem to the new paradigm of reunion with nature, loving, sharing, and peace, arising as the old paradigm of dominion over nature, hate, greed and war falls out of favor.

Imagine there’s no heaven

It’s easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people living for today ahaa haa

Imagine there’s no countries

It isn’t hard to do

Nothing to kill or die for

And no religion too

Imagine all the people living life in peace yoohoo ooh

You may say I’m a dreamer,

but I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will be as one

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can

No need for greed or hunger

A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people sharing all the world yoohoo ooh

You may say I’m a dreamer,

but I’m not the only one

I hope someday you’ll join us

And the world will live as one

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance

All we are saying

Is give peace a chance

Sophia Rose’s video collage of Alicia’s books and art, with Alicia’s song 1966

Sophia Rose, very creative herbalist, writer, photographer, designer, life artist, and my good friend, assembled this video collage of art from my books and photographs of me and my communal friends in the early 1970s in Northern California, to a fragment of my autobiographical jazz waltz, “1966.”  You can savor Sophia Rose’s divine herbal and artistic offerings at La Abeja Herbs.

Alicia’s first vinyl LP – Music From Living on the Earth – released in May 2015

05-05-15-AZ-home-back cover of my first vinyl LP

“Music From Living on the Earth,” my first ever vinyl LP arrived today – 5 copies. EM Records, in Osaka, made the LP from my first CD, the one I released in 2000 for my self-made eight-month national tour promoting the 30th anniverary Villard/Random House edition of Living on the Earth. On the back cover is a photo that was taken in 1971 during a New York City book tour for the Vintage/Random House second edition of Living on the Earth. EM Records licensed it from the Associated Press.

05-05-15-AZ-home-cover of my first vinyl LP

I somehow never imagined my music would be recorded on vinyl. During the years that 33 1/3 albums were the standard presentation of singer/songwriters, I was writing lots of songs, but I was not at a professional level as a musician. By the time I felt ready to record, at age 50, the technology had blessedly changed. I could produce my own CDs, instead of hoping to be discovered by a record company. So, I did. I’ve made eight of them, so far.

05-05-15-AZ-home-side A of my first vinyl LP

However, I actually WAS discovered by a record company. Koki Emura, the owner/producer of EM Records, saw my first two CDs when I posted them at the CD Baby online indie record store, where he was browsing for new releases. He knew my book, and he knew it was popular in Japan. He bought copies of the two CDs, listened and liked them, and offered license them both for distribution in Japan with Japanese language covers and liner notes. They were released in Japan in 2005.  The following year I began doing concert tours in Japan, and I sold plenty of them for him.

05-05-15-AZ-home-postcard ad for my first vinyl LP

In 2014, Koki Emura proposed that “Music From Living on the Earth” be released as a vinyl LP.  Of course, I agreed. So here it is. A thousand thanks to you, Emura-san!

Review of the LP, Music from Living on the Earth, on soundohm.com:

“Alicia Bay Laurel is well known as the writer and illustrator of one of the classic books of the back-to-the-earth movement, the 1970 hand-written guide to living the good life, Living On the Earth. She is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, and guitarist, the latter skill honed by studying with John Fahey. The songs on Music from Living On the Earth were composed concurrently with the writing of the book, permeated by the sun and soil of the commune life. Bright and earthy paeans to the natural world, featuring ABL’s pure, strong, and uplifting voice atop her fluid, confident, and deft steel-string acoustic guitar fingerpicking, her style showing that she learned well from Fahey. She also collaborated with San Francisco Tape Music Center co-founder Ramón Sender Barayón, who contributes the 40-voice choral arrangement for the closing track. Although these songs were written as the ’60s became the ’70s, Music from Living On the Earth was actually recorded in 2000, first issued as a self-produced CD, and reissued on CD by EM Records in 2006 (EM 1047CD). This 2015 15th anniversary edition is its first appearance on vinyl, and includes liner notes by the artist as well as English and Japanese lyrics, allowing listeners to again hear ABL’s blues, jazz, and Indian music influences meld with folk roots to glorious effect.”

buy Music from Living on the Earth as a CD

Learn to Sing “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” in English and in Japanese

The entire cast and the audience of the all-day peace concert at Nagaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, during the 70th anniversaries of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 8, 2015, stood in a circle around the circumference of the church , surrounded by a garland of 1,000 folded cranes (in memory of those that perished in these attacks), singing together “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” in both Japanese and English.

This performance is the opening track of my album Alicia Bay Laurel – Live in Japan.

“Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream” is a visionary peace song written by the late folksinger and peace activist Ed McCurdy in response to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and copyrighted in 1950. I first heard it as a child on Pacifica Radio, the pacifist radio network created by the US peace movement during WWII, and which is still broadcasting from many cities around the United States.

I sang it at Nagaregawa Church, at ground zero in Hiroshima, two days after the 70th memorial of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, on August 8, 2015. I would like as many people as possible, all over the world to sing it, in many languages.  I read that it has been recorded in 76 languages, so I can safely assume that world peace is a very much beloved idea.  At Hiroshima, I sang it in English and Japanese, so I am offering the words here in both languages.

Here are the lyrics in English:

Last night I had the strangest dream
I never dreamed before
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.

I dreamed I saw a mighty room
The room was full of men
And the paper they were signing said
They’d never fight again.

And when the paper all was signed
And a million copies made
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed.

And the people in the streets below
Were dancing ‘round and ‘round
And swords and guns and uniforms
Were scattered on the ground.

Here is a translation of the lyrics into Japanese created by the wonderful singer/songwriter Maiko Kodama in 2013.

Last Night I had the Strangest Dream in Japanse

Here is a guitar chart in the key of G, the key in which I sing this song.

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream-chart

If you are an English-speaking person, and want to learn Maiko’s Japanese lyrics phonetically, here is how they go:

Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah

Last night I had the strangest dream

Yoo mei woo oh mee tah

I ev – er dreamed be fore

Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh

I dreamed the world had all agreed

Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei

To put an end to war

Oh oh kee nah heh yah deh

I dreamed I saw a mighty room

Oo oh zei gah

The room was filled with men

Nee doh toh tah tah kah wah nai

And the paper they were signing said

Toh sah ee nee ee shee tah

They’d never fight again

Nah nn woh koo noh sah ee nn

And when the papers all were signed

Gah koh pee ee ee sah rei

And a million copies made

Tei woh tzu neh gee ah tah mah woh sah geh

They all joined hands and bowed their heads

Ee noh ree sah sah geh tah

And grateful prayers were prayed

Too oh ree noh hee toh bee toh

And the people in the streets below

Wah oh doh ree dah shee

Were dancing round and round

Jyoo toh ken toh goon poo koo

And guns and swords and uniforms

Wah soo tei rah rei tah

Were scattered on the ground

Kee noh yoh roo kee myo oh nah

Last night I had the strangest dream

Yoo mei woo oh mee tah

I ev – er dreamed be fore

Sei kah ee gah seh nn soh oh

I dreamed the world had all agreed

Woh yah mei roo oo yoo mei

To put an end to war

Here is the concert poster for the peace concert at Nagaregawa Church in Hiroshima, a combination of the cover illustration from Living on the Earth, and a graphic layout by Kaoriko Ago Wada, the fashion designer and owner of the Little Eagle organic fiber, fair trade clothing company, who coordinated the event.

Listener Response to More Songs From Living on the Earth

MSFLOTE Cover for ABL website

buy More Songs from Living on the Earth

This record quickly reminded of the glory folk days of Joan Baez and Judy Collins. This was even before I read that although Alicia Bay Laurel recorded this album within the last year, she wrote these songs in the 1960s and 1970s when she lived on various communes in the US. She has that same beautiful voice with occasionally barbed lyrics. The arrangements are classic folk, but there is also some lounge jazz in a few of them, which plays well. While this is not a Linda Perhacs style discovery, Alicia Bay Laurel is a nice find, taking us back to a great time in folk music.

© David Hintz

Folk World Europe

[The opening track, “Surviving in Style,” is] one of my favorite songs by any singer/songwriter… and as Alicia mentioned, this is the kind of song we need for this moment in history.

Patrick Lydon
Ecological artist, writer, and filmmaker.
Director at City as Nature

Osaka, Japan


I received your CD!
It’s so beautiful.
Your songs make me calm, and I am able to go back to my golden childhood.

Love, Banana 🙂

Yoshimoto Banana
Tokyo, Japan


I am loving this album!!! It is so nice, calming, simple and beautiful!!!
I can totally see myself relaxing and enjoying this music at a cozy cafe! Tim loves it, too!
We are keeping your CD in our CD player, and listening to it again and again.
Thank you for your creativity and love for music!

Mayu Uotani Jensen
Translator of Yogananda’s books
Wife of songwriter Tim Jensen, who creates songs for animé films


Dear, Dear Alicia,

I have just heard it once so far, but I am delighted by your music. Wonderful!! So many nice touches, like the flute – really, really delightful. And your voice is GREAT. Joan Baez-like. I love it. So proud of you!

Big Hug and Love,

Noelie Rodriguez PhD
Professor of Sociology
Hawaii Community College, at the University of Hawaii, Hilo


Listened to your CD for the first time this morning  – the first time with any new music for me is freely experiencing it, feeling it as the music dances around the room. Subsequent listenings are for hearing what comprises the layers, but first time, just like first time sex, is all about the experience.


Takes you back to the Sixties.

Love your voice. You sound like a young girl, a young hippie girl singing about the joy we had back then. In a few of the songs your voice is reminiscent of a young Norah Jones.

I especially love the way the language itself brings back the times  – words that are not in common use now (at least in the terms we used them back then) come to life in your songs. Part of keeping the times alive.

And with all that said, the songs are also timeless in that the music still matters. It is so unfortunate that Dallas is barren of folk (other than one venue). The East Coast would eat this up – you would shine at the folk festival I attend yearly (other than this year.)

Hippie Hill and Have a Good Time especially made me smile. What it was all about. And the wistfulness in Paisley Days as you talk about the way it was. How did war and failing economies and faltering ecologies allow society to forget what we were trying to teach people – eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are sleepy. And the simplicity of moving from one moment to the next  – sing me a song and I’ll sing you a song and we’ll listen to each other’s music all night long.

Barbara Light Lacy
Author and musician
Dallas TX


Ah yes…can’t help but plug my dear sister’s new CD…New to me that is… these songs (so Alicia tells me) are from back in the days of Wheeler Ranch…and more…Alicia, recovered from her old tapes the music from back then, and re-recorded the lot… If you like John Fahey, Maria Muldaur and a spice of jazz… you’ll love this…If you want to know more…just ask me…or better yet… ask the lady herself…but, do yourself a favor and pick up your copy now!

“Butterfly Farewell” is my current favorite. It surprisingly feels to me very melancholy (in a peaceful way).

Alicia’s voice rings of daybreak. I think the production is marvelous, and her ability to warm a heart is still intact.

Ricky Moore
Brooklyn, Iowa


Very much enjoyed listening to your new CD today.
Well-produced, with welcome messages of hope and beauty!

Ramón Sender Barayón
Post-theist Visionary, Author and Composer
San Francisco, California

Simply WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL. And so much more.

From the moment I tore open the envelope, I’ve been inside out, smiling. I soaked in that familiar face, now radiant, etched gently from your joy living on this Earth, then your artwork – then discovered your dear words to us…. Thank You.

Then your MUSIC. Oh does it resonate. Your lyrics, intonation, instrumentation, sequencing, back-up singers, gleeful sarcasm…. Your voice retains a sweet, magical ability to lovingly communicate with my spirit, my nature, the joys and responsibilities of living on this Earth. And it reminds me, regardless and because of life’s challenges, never to remove the “rose-colored glasses” my mother unwittingly implored me to “take off” and “grow up.”

Your voice/music/gift/you are miraculously facilitating a kaleidoscopic shift in my world view and confusing moods. My heart is grateful and delighted for you.

Your latest CD helped crystallized something so special: that one of the precious gifts of aging is increasing and embracing our joy and other’s if we take responsibility for and reappraise who we are, how and why we got here, and how we choose to go forward.

Your beautiful, beautiful CD has become my most welcome companion; I carry it from house to car and back again routinely.  Without fail, like natural aspirin for the soul, it elevates my threshold for pain, reduces my anxiety, and brings me mindful equilibrium.  Thank you for such a magnificently generous gift.

I wish you peace, joy, strength, really great connections and laundry facilities, laughter, and fun on your physically demanding tour. I’m sure the audiences will be captivated.

Robin Adler
Washington DC

Alicia dear: The gorgeous sounds of your voice are floating through the house right now. One copy is going in the camper van. So we drive along listening to your beautiful voice and songs. I had a wonderful time recording with you. It’s a special memory for me.

Awesome job, you! Have a Beautiful, beautiful weekend!

Mark Hewins
Margate, UK


I am listening first song “Surviving in Style” now and I can’t stop my tears. This song is so beautiful and touches my heart.

Kensuke Ishii
Business and Marketing Manager
Tateyama, Chiba, Japan


What strikes me over and over about this music is a kind of purity and a sweetness.

I was surprised when I popped the CD into my car’s CD player at how soothing it was. Some of the vocals are really stylish, such as on “Serenade” and “Hippie Hill” and others fun and humorous such as on “Have a Good Time”. I love the liquid and haunting quality of the vocals on “Onward, Onward Ever Flow”. A few “romantic” songs such as “Piper of the Woods” and “Yabyum” add to the diversity of the collection. And there are a number of purely original folk songs. My favorite song may be the “Devotional for a Spiritual Guide” because of its many-layered richness.

This seems like a new sound. The sweetness is deeper, riper and more relaxed.

There’s a strangely familiar freshness and simplicity to the whole collection and an innocence that is impossible to find anywhere in the music world.

Alicia’s guitar playing and arrangements are as beautiful as ever and the performances of the accompanying musicians are wonderful. The production and quality are the highest, as usual.

I still have a lot of listening to do. There’s a lot on this album.

Wyldflower Revolution
Artist, Permaculturist and Environmental Activist
Sebastopol, California


Sometimes, someone’s life and essence lives and flourishes during a certain period of one’s life, in it’s first encounter, and this was in its most naive and direct sense of experience, while the rest of that persons life could be be used to work this essence out more economically and in different parts and sections. Alicia’s highlight came with her book “Living On Earth”, a practical guide of how to live your life as a hippie. She still is guided by those forces/inspirations, being stimulated by an inspiring optimism, which tried to see the positive side in all things and above all in humans.

In the end, it eventually led her further to meetings to such wonderlands in people more often and continuously, while being able to be guided by choices to look for them and attract them more often. While the optimism brings forward the hippie folk style, realistic confrontations add more like a slight touch of country/Americana flavour (while still being guided by a now this time more gospel-folk way of optimism), the practical workouts side is able to show by nicely worked out acoustic and blues-jazzy electric pickings (with Tom McNalley), with the addition of some flute, organ,…. I still can perceive Hawaii underneath, a place, which for many people must have stimulated that positive heart-attitude towards life.

Alicia continues to spread her message of possibilities, which is nice to notice. She definitely deserves a box set of LP’s with the inclusion of a book with some of her artworks and that of her students. Anyone?

Gerald Van Waes
Psychedelic folk radio host, collector and critic


I met Alicia Bay Laurel at a peace demonstration. She was making peace that day, and her music at night. She is still at it.

Her new CD of music, More Songs From Living on the Earth, is just that. It’s a Sunday morning spring day kinda sweetness Alicia takes you to.

All the while, underlying these sweet melodies, Alicia is a multi-talented visionary, and sage of our times. She creates a place with sounds and poetry, where you just know this day is going to be a mighty fine one. I like that.

This album is a sleeper, that must be listened to several times before you can BEGIN to get a handle on its complexities…it grows on you, and is very sweet.

It has taken me awhile to hear it all.

Alicia’s new CD is subtly addicting. I find myself waking up humming little snippets of melodies she made. It is a gentle knowing smile she brings with this music. The more I hear it, the more I see the different layers she put into it.

It’s a YAYY. My favorite song is track #2, Piper of the Woods.

Stephen Frank Gary
Artist and Activist
Oceanside, California


Hi Alicia, this is Gonzalo.

I don’t know if you remember me. I hope you do – I recorded the mandolin tracks on your record that you recently released, and I was listening to it, and I think it sounds fantastic, so I was just calling you to say “Thank you for recording this beautiful music.” Thank you very much for having me play on it, and, of course, thank you for sending me a copy. I think that, not only are your compositions beautiful, but, also, Ron Grant did a great job with the engineering.

Your record sounds beautiful, really. It reminded me to the feeling of the first time I listened to “Come away with me” by Norah Jones. Your record is a beautiful acoustic trip! Please let me know when you play live and also if the album comes out in vinyl.

Gonzalo Palacios
Guitarist and Mandolinist
Los Angeles, California


Songs are beautiful – pure and lovely! They remind me of the first time we met in our small room in Otsuka. The days in 1960’s and 70’s, memory of hard fights against the war in Vietnam, against everything of authority, lost dream of utopia, and new vision coming from the teachings of Black Elk, all came back as I listened to your songs.

Yes, so many years have passed since then…Still, as you sing, we praise those old days and their dreams.

Your songs are beautiful and real. In a troubled times like these, we need your songs and art more than ever!

Kenichi Iyanaga
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Tokyo University
Former President of Japan’s chapter of Students for a Democratic Society
Still an activist!


Oh Alicia  – your new CD!
It makes me so happy!
I put it on every day  – really LOUD.
I played it for some guests today.
They loved it, too!
Thank you SO much for making this music.

Geri Woolls
Huntington Beach, California


The CD is very diverse – a wide variety of musical styles and sounds: country, celtic, folk, jazz, blues. The production is amazing, and Alicia’s voice is just tremendous. I really like this album a lot!

Thomas Schultz
Photographer and Earthship Builder
Arizona and Colorado


While driving the back roads to Esparto I listened to Alicia Bay Laurel’s new cd, “More Songs From Living on the Earth.” There are no front roads to Esparto, and similarly the songs approach the listeners through back channels old and new, and timeless. Fluid motion, jazzy riffs, heartfelt lyrics, joyous celebrations, ecstatic visions, transcendent melodies, osmotic orchestration, happy hippy harmonies, and authentic phrasing grace the tracks, condensed and accessible, expanding, unfurling, spirit intonation of John Fahey and kupuna invocation of Auntie Clara, steeped in poetic Wheeler Ranch revelations, and all through the tunes, Alicia, chanteuse in tie dye. River Road meets Loomis Lane. Country funkin’ and commune groovin’, a world that just couldn’t be, but was for awhile, a stretch of infinity for us time beings, jikan ikimono. This album is creative and entertaining. Listen and remember, sing along and be here now.

Erik Frye
Organic farmer, radio host and environmentalist
Mendocino County, California


As a flower child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I really liked all the songs on this newly-released album: “More Songs from Living on the Earth.” Just as Alicia Bay Laurel’s unique style of hand-drawing her books made them so special for my generation, there’s something wonderful about the unique way she uses her gentle humor and sweet soft voice to express so many truths. My own faves from this album are: “Devotional for a Spiritual Guide”, “Beautiful, Beautiful”, “Hippie Hill” and “Paisley Days” – the last two evoke memories of hanging out on Hippie Hill on lazy Sundays, listening to the cool pro jazz players who would come together to jam for free every Sunday. These are memories unique to the boomer generation.

Linda Joy Lewis
Author and Chef
Earth Angel Kitchen:
Vegan Alternatives to Meat, Dairy, Eggs and Sugar


I received your CD and love it, because the songs are all very gentle and filled with love.
I believe in Love.
That is what you gave me.
I really thank you.

Setsuko Miura
Television Producer and Environmental Activist
Kyoto, Japan


We are enchanted by your CDs… Heaven has come to earth… Mahalo for the gift of your artistry in all its many forms.

I have played this wonderful CD over and over on my computer while I spend the countless hours a day that I must be “in office”. Thank you for this great gift of yours.

It is wonderful that you resurrected these precious songs from days gone by as they are all special. I love them all, but my favorite has to be “Piper of the Woods.” Long may you live to continue to share your unique talents and beautiful Spirit with us!

The whole of the recording is a joy…to try and sing along with!

Kolleen and Bruce Wheeler
All Ways Maui’d Weddings
7th Wave Photography
Maui, Hawaii


More Songs from Living On The Earth proves again that the flowers are still in full bloom and I haven’t changed much in the several decades since they were first written & sung. What a great soundtrack to play in my car amidst the raging chaos on the highways. I’m on my way to Hippie Hill and I’m NEVER coming back. Thank You!

Gordon Kennedy
Children of the Sun
The White Indians of Nivaria


I had an amazing experience leading my Introduction To The Inner Clown workshop this weekend. I played Alicia’s music from her album, More Songs from Living On The Earth as my sonic environment while we were on breaks. It was so beautiful. What a weekend. I feel inspired for the first time in awhile.

Alan Springwind-Smith
Sacramento, California


I don’t listen to many albums these days. Back in my 20s, that’s all I did, when I played in bands for a living, but now, writing mostly poetry or essays, I tend to put them on as background music while I’m ironing. (Hey, don’t knock it! Ironing is a form of Zen mediation. The Way of the Straight Crease.)

It’s especially difficult to comment on music created by your friends – or family – mainly, because you love them and want to empower and encourage them on, not expose them to the harsh wind of critical thinking or ‘too much head in bed’ as some freaked out flowerchild once put it. Artists get enough useless opinions, whether amateur or professional, from the uncaring. But you also want to be honest and help with intelligent commentary, not just sugarcoat everything so as not to hurt feelings.

As a professional songwriter and poet, I listen quite differently to music than people who are not in these professions. Music for me has never been simply entertainment. (It took me many years and many wasteful arguments to finally grasp this.) I listen to music perhaps more like an anthropologist – (if any single analogy is adequate) – looking through a desert of sand for single bone fragments that can reconfigure everything I have learned to date and make it vitally present again. A key to unlock something. I prefer watching films for entertainment. The great songs of the late 60s, from The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, so many others, all derailed me from whatever track I was on, whipped me around the cosmos and then rerouted me back onto the same track, but as though experiencing it for the first time.

So today, I piled up my wrinkled clothes, set up my ironing board, switched on my Always-Expecting-A-Miracle work light, and put on Alicia Bay Laurel’s, More Songs from Living On the Earth.

The soft tones and clarity of Alicia’s vocals, which are her trademarks, were immediately there. Alicia is Alicia and no one else. No jarring pseudo-melismas (ie.vocal runs with too many notes), so infesting vocal stylists (and especially, lead guitarists!) in the music marketplace these days. A simple tone and respect for a good melody and the clarity of the lyric. You do not need to read a lyric sheet with songwriter-singer sings like this. The words are vulnerable and ring out and you can take them, or leave them, depending on your taste, but it’s clear that Alicia stands by what she sings. She lives it and has lived it for over forty years. Daniel Berrigan, 60s Civil Rights activist once said, ‘Know where you stand – and stand there.’ This assuredness is reassuring in a world where everything is about conforming and being popular.

I long to be led back to lost, forgotten and unfamiliar pioneers of music, by the present generation, much like Bob Dylan led us to Woody Guthrie, the Rolling Stones led us to Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton led us to Robert Johnson and The Beatles forced us back to not only The Everly Brothers, but Little Richard, and even the Tin Pan Alley songwriting teams of the 30s and 40s. Country music has always had this sense of history and connection with ‘elders’ but pop music only nods back to the closest reference point. For a singer-songwriter, it is certain death.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I am ironing my way through my t-shirts (fewer difficult bits to iron, always a good place to start) and about to hit the more resilient jeans and pajamas. The tracks on Alicia’s album play one after another. I’m half-listening; half-thinking about the spaghetti sauce I am about to make for lunch.

In the music, I hear Alicia’s precise fingerpicking, often echoing the melody line of the songs. I’m waiting for her to hit a bum note (like I sometimes do when I finger-pick) but there are none. I think she rehearses her guitar playing as much as she does her vocals – which is every single day.

In a few of the songs, I hear the memorable and transporting traces of a mutual friend of ours, Sunny Supplee, effortlessly woven into her vocal style. Sunny lived with both Alicia and I, at different times, never together, on various back-to-the-land communes in the mid-70s. Sunny was accidentally killed in a car crash in the 70s, in Maui. I once asked Alicia whether she had been influenced by Sunny’s style. She said something to the effect of, ‘Oh yes, of course – but as she is no longer using this voice, I thought I would pass it on.’ I loved that. This is what I meant about an artist in the present leading us back to an artist who is gone or forgotten.

Ironing finally finished, I go into the kitchen to start the pasta sauce. I can still hear the music coming through the walls but I’m not really concentrating now. I feel guilty. Like I should be sitting down and doing a serious ‘review’ of this album. After all, Alicia is my friend. But, as I said, that would not be honest, because that is not the way I experience music. I am waiting for a little miracle. The REAL thing. Not lip service.

I go back into my music room to check my email. I have forgotten that the album has been playing all along in the background. I have also forgotten that I am ‘supposed’ to be listening. My critical mind is completely turned off and I am just Being. (I attribute this state, in part, to this album, which works on your Be-Here-Now chakras even when you are not noticing.)

Suddenly, I HEAR “The Last Song of the Night,” second to last song on the album. This one stops me in my tracks. This song resonates with everything that I like in music. No BS. I can hear myself singing it in performance. I can hear others singing it. Several artists come to mind. It is a simple, practical and well-written song that actually is quite useful. (A good closing song is rare and handy to have in your repertoire. I remember once hearing a similar themed song that Lou Gottlieb wrote for The Limeliters that closed one of their shows. Perhaps the spirit of Lucky Lou visited Alicia disguised as a Muse?) Alicia sings it with a light dirge-like quality, echoed by a supporting vocal, sung an octave apart from hers. I love it.

It’s the Last Song of the Night
It’s the Last Song of the Night
We’re going to sleep
but in our hearts we’ll keep
the Last Song of the Night.

OK. I found a key. An old bone. Now lets have a closer look.

There are many experiences of late 60s culture. It would make a varied and psychedelic pie chart. There was the aggressive Jimi Hendrix, drop-acid, set-your-guitar-on-fire slice. There was the Richie Havens-social-protest-solo singer slice. There was the Bob Dylan surreal-angry-who-cares-what-the-audience-thinks (as long as they buy your records) slice.

The last album of Alicia’s that I listened to in depth was ‘What Livings All About’. The tracks that stood out for me on that album were the jazz influenced songs like her great and original interpretation of ‘Nature Boy.’

While there is definitely some jazz-influence, the music on More Songs from Living On the Earth suggests another neglected area of the great musical pie. The easy-listening music of groups like The Lovin’ Spoonful (reflected in songs like ‘Have a Good Time’, ‘Beautiful, Beautiful,’ and ‘Hang Around and Boogie’), the husband-wife folk love duo of Maria and Geoff Muldaur, and even the laid-back jug band music of Jim Kweskin.
One of high points on ‘More Songs from Living On the Earth,’ for me, is ‘Green, Green Rain,’ surprisingly laced with lovely Appalachian and Irish flavours, and an inspired guitar harmonic counter-theme.

Alicia remarks, about several of the songs, in her liner notes: ‘It’s a sentimental review of the ’60s and ’70s, and also a decision to continue with the best of what I learned and lived then.”

This is clearest in songs like ‘Hippie Hill’, and ‘Paisley Days.’ And I know this state of mind well. It was the driving force behind my own album, Freelovedays. Having lived and loved through the flower-power generation and seen most of our idealistic dreams, and ‘ideal’ relationships, crash to earth, how does one continue on in today’s very different culture? Free love was a rebellion against the ‘nuclear couple’ monogamy that most of us ran away from. But, after having children and grandchildren, the joy, comfort and security of a stable relationship with one person, who is also your best friend, is very appealing.

The poet Rilke once said the job of the poet is to experience life, absorb it, making the visible, invisible. Then later, often decades later, through ones’ work, reverse the process. Make what is invisible, visible. Pass it on to others – the best – and the worst – of what you have seen and done, for anyone else desiring to go down similar paths. So that others, who will also be consumed by passion and also lost in Ideals, can possibly learn sometimes from our generation’s mistakes – and our triumphs.

Or in other words, as a sanyasan of The Way of the Straight Crease might put it:

Cows are beautiful, but no need to step in the same cow patty twice.

Follow Alicia. She knows the way through the field.

Joe Dolce
Immortal for his multi-platinum song Shaddap You Face


I put on headphones and laid in bed and laughed and cried revisiting innocence with your pure tones. Immediately replayed twice and gave to Diana to do same.

James Cook Loomis
Author, Environmentalist, Joyous Being
Haiku, Maui

Alicia – really enjoying the CDs.
Great tunes, as always, and very good acoustic vibe and production.
Thanks again!

Steve Grimes
Grimes Guitars
Maui, Hawaii


Hi Alicia,

I remember seeing you on TV as a guest on the Mike Douglas show in or around 1969 with Carol Channing talking about communal life. You sang a folk-style song (as far as I can recall), “Green, green, green is the color of the spring,” and “You and I say goodbye at last to the cold, cold winds of the winter.” Is this the same song as Green, green rain which is on one of your CDs?

If not, do you have the lyrics to this which must have made quite an impression on me as I still remember it today just as if it were yesterday. I play and sing with dulcimer and would love the words. It just had a nice California, bohemian feel to it, like something you would play for people who are just relaxing and baking in the sun.

If it is the same song, then I would love to buy the CD.


Marcia Clark

Hello Marcia Clark!

I am very flattered that you remember my song 45 years after hearing it on television! Thank you so much for sharing this!

Yes, the song “Green Green Rains” which I wrote around 1969 and recorded in 2014 for my CD “More Songs from Living on the Earth,” is the same one I sang on the David Frost Show on June 10, 1971. Here’s a web page about that show: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1691270/

I was also on Mike Douglas’ TV show a week after that, but I did not sing on that show. Both of these shows were part of the publicity tour that Random House arranged for the publication of my book Living on the Earth in its second edition.

You can hear “Green Green Rains” here, on the video I made for the 50th anniversary edition of Living on the Earth.  I’m playing it in a Double Drop D tuning (DADGBD) on a steel string guitar, and the bass drone is a bowed upright bass played by Dwight Killian. We are joined by Mark Hewins on a guitar synthesizer set up to sound like a banjo.

You can buy “More Songs from Living on the Earth” as a download or as a physical CD from the online store connected to this website.

All blessings, peace and love,

Alicia Bay Laurel

Hello Alicia,

I went ahead and purchased “More Songs from Living on the Earth” and have enjoyed the CD very much. I have to say that “Green, Green Rain” is my favorite. It was interesting to hear it again after all those years.

It seems that I have been singing and playing dulcimer to some version that I thought I “recalled” and ended up with a totally different melody! Different words too! None the less, all credit is due to your lovely song which ignited the spark! Now I can learn the original version & lyrics. It is so nice to see the alternate ideals of our generation artistically expressed and still remaining solidly intact to this day.

Marcia Scott Clark
(from the green, green mountains of western North Carolina)

Dear Marcia,

I’m so pleased that your memory of my song inspired you to write a new song! And I am glad you are enjoying “More Songs from Living on the Earth.” Thank you for writing back to let me know.

All blessings,


I just finished listening to your new album. …. I said to myself, THIS one is my favorite, then I would say, “BUT” I like that one too AND that one…. I love your music is the bottom line. This new one is fantastic too!

Christopher Carnrick
Author, chef, teacher
Naples, Florida


Dear Alicia,

I just found a spot of un-distracted time to sit down and listen to your sweet album.

How wonderful!

Clearly a product of its times, there are so many really fine tracks. Full of hope and love and idealism.

Your voice is so strong and true, and there is some really interesting guitar playing as well!

It brought me back to when I first found “Living on Earth,” fell in love, and was inspired to live more like that! Your influence on me was SO formative, and I thank you for that as well.

And now we are friends! What could be better?

Terri Van Orman
Executive director at Folklore Village
Dodgeville, Wisconsin