The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Drummer Joe Lastie

July 8, 2006. The legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band from New Orleans played a set at Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and I was in the front row, laughing, dancing, clapping my hands and taking pictures.

Trombonist Frank Demond, clarinetist Ralph Johnson, with trumpeter John Brunious singing, and alto saxophonist Darrel Adams

Hundreds of Hollywood hipsters jammed the aisles of the record store, loving the music.

Each player solo’d beautifully, the shout choruses at the end of each song thrilled us, and three of the players sang as only old jazz musicians can sing.

Bass player Walter Payton sings

During the last song of the set, (“Saints,” of course) the store staff distributed Mardi Gras beads, horns and bells, and the four horn players lead us in a second line, dancing around the store.

Clarinetist Ralph Johnson

After the set, the store held a charity auction to raise money for the New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, which was originally founded by the Preservation Hall Jazz Society.

Carl Le Blanc plays banjo

I bought one of the band’s CDs. I asked trumpet player/vocalist John Brunious, which was their most recent recording. He said, “This is what you want (pointing to Shake That Thing), but THIS is what you need.” THIS turned out to be Sweet Emma and her Preservation Hall Jazz Band, a two-CD set of a remastered 1964 recording with an earlier line-up of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, featuring a 66 year old woman pianist/vocalist named Sweet Emma Barrett. Sweet, indeed!

Alicia having fun at Amoeba Music

I gave John a copy of What Living’s All About, and hoped he’d enjoy Floozy Tune, my trad jazz original that opens the CD. He was kind enough to write down the names of the players so I could share them with you on this post.

Front entrance. The store occupies an entire city block.

Amoeba Music’s wild success as an independent record store stems from the party atmosphere, the great concerts, the vast, yet well organized, array of new CDs and DVDs as well as cheap used CDs and videos, their purchasing department, which buys lots of used items, as well as new, but relatively unknown, indie CDs like mine, the amazing decor, and the knowledgable staff. They have only three stores (Berkeley, Haight Ashbury, and Hollywood), all in locations with very large creative communities. They are not shy about their politics, either. On the outside of the Hollywood store hangs a huge yellow banner reading, “Give Peace a Chance.”

Amoeba Music’s mural on Ivar Street.

Reviews of What Living’s All About

Cover painted, lettered and designed by Alicia Bay Laurel


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 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.

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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

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).. Potentionally 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 a 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 inspir
ed 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


Music Industry Critiques What Living’s All About

Listener comments about What Living’s All About

Buy the CD from Alicia’s online store

Why I Sing

Singing is a combination of playing an instrument (the voice) and acting, two of my other favorite activities.

Singing focuses the mind in a manner similar to archery. If your mind wanders, you miss the mark and go off key or out of rhythm.

Singing conjures deep feelings and can release negative emotions (like singing the blues).

Singing helps me manifest courage when I feel fear, or kindle passion when I feel apathy.

Singing comes in handy to entertain children and sometimes adults.

People who sing together can enjoy both musical and social harmony.

Singing improves my health.

I can practice my instrument while driving my car or checking my email.

I don’t have to check my instrument with baggage or stow it in the overhead.

I have a very good reason not to smoke or eat stuff that gives me sore throats.

I love a whole bunch of songs, some of which I wrote.

There is no end to the possibilities for development of the voice, and if I forget that, I only have to listen to Bobby McFerrin.

Raves for What Living’s All About

I love you !!!!!!!
You are a wonderful ray of light in my life.
Your music, messages, visuals & CD are extraordinary.
Bravo – really a fabulous job on the disc.
I had something like a religious experience upon hearing it for the first time.
A most expertly guided journey.
I later played America The Blues on my program,
on a show w/ ‘The Dark Blues’ as the theme …I think it is on its way to being a timeless classic…. (unfortunately ?!!)… killer though — love so many things about it… fave maybe the background vocals.

Yours on all planets,

Charles Blass
Audio Gumbo
89.9 FM WKCR
New York City

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I’m a blues/roots programmer and dj for WPFW, 89.3 FM, a 50,000-watt
non-commercial station in Washington, D.C. and I report to the Living
Blues Radio Chart.

I read a good review of What’s Living All About in Blues Revue magazine
a while back; can you send a promo copy for possible airplay?

Thanks and let me know if you need anything else,

Elliott Gross
The Don’t Forget the Blues Hour

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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
Platinum-selling Singer-Songwriter
Melbourne, Australia

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Dear Alicia:
Thanks so much for your lovely message. I listened to “America the Blues” with great enjoyment. But I must say I was really taken with your rendition of  “Floozy Tune.”
I’m sorry to say I never read your book, but one of these days maybe I will.
Best wishes,

Howard Zinn
Historian, activist, social critic
Newton, Massachusetts

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It’s a charming CD.  It doesn’t sound like anything else that’s out there.  It says important things in an unassuming way.  It’s also very personal.  I really like it.
Nels Cline
Avant Garde/Jazz/Rock Guitarist of reknown
Los Angeles, California

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I wanted to touch base with you on what we’re playing from your new CD.
We have been playing the following tracks on a regular basis in our new music rotation:
Floozy Tune
America The Blues
Best Of The Rest Of You
Dr. Sun & Nurse Water
It’s a great disc and we are getting a nice response to it.

Andy Olson
Radio Host
Radio Free Phoenix

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I love your CD.  There are several songs we will soon add to the rotation.  But I had to start playing Floozy Tune right way.  It is SO funny!

Brad Freeman
Radio Host
KHBC Radio
Hilo, Hawaii

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I wanted to drop you a line to say I loved  “What Living’s All About.” My favorite tunes: “Aquarian Age Liberated Woman Blues,” “Doctor Sun & Nurse Water,” and I really resonated with “Sometimes it Takes a Long Time.”

Shana Ting Lipton
Travel and Culture Writer
Los Angeles, California

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Hi Alicia,

I don’t listen to KBHC that much, so I was tickled when heard
something from your CD on KBHC:  Floozy Tune.  This was last Saturday,
10:30 a.m.  Brad was substituting for Mynah Bird, the regular morning
DJ.  It was a trip and a treat!

Linda Kane
Honomu, Hawaii

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I found it last night, Alicia! And was able to listen to several cuts. Really enjoyed it! And so thank you for sending that!

Listened to (and read the lyrics of) America the Blues and really
liked that one as well. I love the song and, of course, everything about it is dead on; obviously it has a *very* strong political statement.

It would, of course, be perfect for The BRAD SHOW and I look forward to playing it at the next available opportunity!

Brad Friedman
The Brad Blog

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Feedback from Jackie Ryan, one of the greatest living jazz vocalists, IMHO:

I heard your CD!! WOW!!! FANTASTIC JOB, ALICIA!! GREAT TUNES!! WOWOWOWOWOW!!!  I can tell you put a lot into it. You did an EXCELLENT and very professional job. You should try selling some tunes to some big names!!!

Jackie recently sang in New York City:

Monday, August 28, 2006, 2 Sets: 7:30 & 9:30pm
Jazz At Lincoln Center: Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola
With Cyrus Chestnut: piano, Ray Drummond: bass, Carl Allen: drums, Eric Alexander: Sax, Jeremy Pelt: Trumpet, Romero Lubambo: guitar
Doors open at 6pm for the 7:30pm set

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I’ve been enjoying it and am always amazed when listening to it at how well done the whole CD is! Felicitations! The musical journey goes through some solid jazz (some fabulous players!), blues, swing, gospel, and folk – that’s a lot to cover in one CD! How on earth (or otherwise) did you categorize the album for online sales? Your voice sounds great – sultry at times, silky at times, and gutsy at times! The lyrics are very creative, inventive and out-of-the-box – a far cry from the usual bill of fare for songs you hear these days. It’s an art to make thoughtful, intelligent, clever and funny songs, and I would say all of these tunes are just that type of art. I hope you’re continuing to write songs like these!

Steve Grimes
Grimes Guitars
Maui, Hawaii

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Love your CD!  Thank you for being you!

Ruthie Ristich
Jazz Vocalist and Professor at Berklee School of Music
Boston, Massachusetts

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Sassy, sexy, sophisticated and smart!

Sophia Songhealer
New Age Singing Goddess
Carmel Valley, California

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Howdy Alicia!  I hope this finds you happy, healthy and happy!
-L-O-V-E your NEW CD, “What Living’s All About”!!!
“Floozy Tune” is one of my favorites!  I can’t wait to share your tunes on the air.

Take Care- – – Miss Holley King
Radio Host
KBSZ-AM Saturdays 8 AM to 12 Noon
Radio Free Phoenix Sundays at 2 PM

Show No.21 – Sunday, June 25th, 2006 – “Bad To The Bone” – includes:
(the funny) – Alicia Bay Laurel – Floozy Tune

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Playlist for radioshow in 3 weeks from now :

Radioshow Psyche Van Het Folk
1st week of August : 2006-8-05  (8PM-10 PM),
on Radio Centraal, Antwerp Belgium 106,7 FM :

New acoustic releases, often with serious minimalist ideas..

Alicia Bay Laurel : What’s Living’s All About  Track 8, “Nature Boy”

My favourite track of this new album of former hippie living in Hawaii. Jazz is a new inspiration. This interpretation is really well done.

from Gerald Van Waes, Radio Host

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They are playing Dr. Sun and Nurse Water right NOW!
on Radio Free Phoenix.
I think it is Liz Boyle DJ-ing right now…
Cool huh!
Hope you are having a good day!

Miss Holley King
DJ Radio Free Phoenix

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It’s a terrific piece of artistry, and deserves to shine at its brightest! We’ve been enjoying Alicia’s new CD a whole lot. [re: Nels Cline] Wotta guitarist! Whoo-ee!

Ramon Sender Barayon
Electronic Music Pioneer and Author
San Francisco, California

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Soul sister beautiful Alicia


I got your wonderful new CD. Also CD cover art.

It is so great!! You reach higher place in mountain of music!

The message is so straight.  It came into my heart.

Music are so sophisticated. Your vocal is growing up.

So wonderful!!

We are enjoy it.

Always I can feel connected your spirit.

Goddess blessing you!

Sachiho Kojima
Naha City

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Got Alicia’s new CD & really do think it’s the best ever. I dearly love jazz & blues anyway & Alicia’s voice is perfect for “Floozy Tune” – the first old timey song. Another of my favorites is “Best of the Rest of You”. I’m tempted to quote lyrics, which are all excellent. Anyway, far as I know, Alicia wrote all the songs except the classic “I Could Write a Book” in which she gives a little talk about the vicissitudes of the publishing business – a subject wherein she knows whereof she speaks. Youse guys are missing out if you don’t check this out. Alicia’s one of our own & she’s done us proud IMO.
Pam Hanna
Freelance writer, editor and critic
(writing on to our commune alumni Yahoo group Mostpost)
Thoreau, New Mexico

[Alicia notes: there are TWO jazz standards on WLAA, “I Could Write a Book” and “Nature Boy.”  The spoken words on “I Could Write a Book” are from literary agent Michael Larsen’s book How To Write a Book Proposal, Third Edition (Writers Digest Books, 2003) and used with permission.] 

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i just got my sample of your disc….i must say, it looks AND sounds
very good! congrats on an excellent release! we do so many titles,
that it’s rare that i actually LIKE one. but, yours is certainly an
exception….totally going to get it on my iPod.

please don’t hesitate to contact me, if/when you have another need for CD or DVD manufacturing. same with your friends: send them directly to me and have them drop your name. i’ll certainly take care of them!
Joe Vent
AtoZ Media-Midwest
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

[Alicia notes: A to Z Media did a wonderful job manufacturing my CD and both Joe Vent (sales) and Sandra Gray (production) were a pleasure to do business with.  Very reasonable prices, too.]

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Dear Alicia:

The CD certainly arrived.  I waited until family left, as I like to listen to a new album with undivided attention (NOT as background music!).  I sat with the liner notes, read your commentaries and the lyrics.  I LOVE the album.  You are the most incredibly creative woman!

Floozy Tune is great fun.  I like traditional jazz and blues a lot, but tend to get lost in the current stuff.  Your sensibility pleases my ears! 
I’m recommending your web site to like-minded colleagues and friends.
Barbara Neighbors Deal, Ph.D.,
Literary Associates
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Dear Alicia:

It seems new CD is different arrange from ever work.
I enjoy many sound, may be your friends.
I love illustration of jacket too !

Koki Aso
Freelance Journalist
Kamakura, Japan

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The Hippie Museuem’s most cherished Fairy Godmother Alicia Bay Laurel, artist, musician, and author of “Living on the Earth”, the more-than-famous hippie “bible” of back-to-the-land living, has just released a new cd, “What Living’s All About”. The description on the cover reads “Jazz, blues and other moist situations”… Read what Alicia has to say about it, and follow links to purchase it on her site.

Sudeaux at

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I’m sorry to late to mail. I went to Tokyo and Kanazawa. The day I back from Kanazawa, your CD came to my home. Thank you!!

When I listen your CD, [my teenaged daughter] Seina came home and she said,
“It’s cool! I love this CD!”

We are surprised that this CD has very different world from your 1st and 2nd CD.

I’d like to sell this CD also. Please ask GATS production to inform me when he releases your CD in Japan.

Thank you!!

with love,
Yoko Nema
Owner, Tata Bazaar
Naha City

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You are so friggin’ talented it makes me weep…
Thanks so much for sending me your new CD. I am enjoying it thoroughly!
Aloha nui loa, Barb
Barbara J. Fahs, M.A.
Hi`iaka’s Healing Herb Garden, LLC
Author of Super Simple Guide for Creating Hawaiian Gardens
Kea’au, Hawaii

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I listened this morning to all of the tracks and it’s great music.  I enjoyed Alicia’s voice and the arrangements—it was well worth the listen!
Connie Higginson-Murry
Midnight Blues Radio Show

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I was struck by the uniqueness of the sound and some of the melodies and voiceplay grabbed my attention!
Don Strachan
Author, Watsu Therapist and Tantra Teacher
Middletown, California

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I have listened to you music and I am stunned and delighted!!! I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT! YES!!!!!! Man….. the jazzy bo ho beat sultry powerful oh yes.
Thank you , Alicia, for Being You!

…….Love, Char ~*
Webmistress of Hippie Museum
Santa Cruz, California

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Dear Alicia,

I just listened to your CD: “What Living’s All About”. Oh, every one of the
songs was really good. I especially liked the “doctor sun and nurse water”
which is, like the song you recited to me, a poem and a prayer at the same
time. I love the “nature boy” also. “it’s not fair” is funny and sad…
“america the blues”, so strong. The music, voice, the content of the songs
are all so good.

Through these 32 years, both of us have seen pleasure and pain, beauty and
sadness of life which, I think, made us closer.  I had such a deep feeling
of solace being with you.

Good night for now.

Kenichi Iyanaga
Saitama, Japan

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You did good, mama.
What a beautiful baby. I listened and bought it right away. Hilarious and absolutely GORGEOUS.
A Hearty Congratulations To You.
Thanks for sharing.
Emily Capehart
Permaculture Teacher
Pilot Point, Texas

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Vintage Alicia. Alicia at her best.
Milo Clark
Pahoa, Hawaii

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Lily Bastug performing Floozy Tune with her boyfriend Richard 2018

New Year card from Lily Bastug, of Santa Barbara, California

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The CD is eclectically superb! On to the 3rd listening…
Joel Goldfarb
Jazz Pianist
Makawao, Hawaii

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This is a fabulous album that has kept me company through hard times, entertained me and made me laugh. Alicia is a true artist. You can’t go wrong with any of her albums; they are all completely UNIQUE, impeccably produced, and she wrote the book on liner notes!

Karin Lease
Artist and Environmental activist
Sebastopol, California

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Your CD is a delight. I know good things will come of it.
Delia Moon
Santa Barbara, California

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I listened to all of the songs… GREAT, GREAT, GREAT!  You must be so proud because it really is awesome.

Thank you so much for bringing your spirit to the music world.  I will cherish this CD.

You never cease to amaze me. 🙂

Hope you have a beautiful day… you are a beautiful and blessed woman.

Peace, Love & Understanding 🙂


Redneck Riviera, Florida

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Aloha fairy godmother. I heard your latest album the other day with my mom. High props to you for creating a jazzy piece with a political message. Keep rockin!

My man and I are off the end of this week to Northern Cali for High Sierra Music festival to vend LalaSun. It should be fun.

Kisses to you.



Clothing designer/manufacturer
Honokaa, Hawaii

Live free & enjoy! Its the way to be.

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I listened to all of the songs and really enjoyed them.  I’m going to continue listening to your CD many more times.  Your songs show sensitivity, depth, and breadth of life experience.
Jerome Franklin MD
Los Angeles, California

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We got the CD…

Its so cool…
i love the cover design…
it sounds great!
you sound great!
you must be so proud and happy…
what a great accomplishment…
a completion af a trilogy…
WOW!!!  You go girl!!!

Lihau Daly
Hollywood, California

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Hi Alicia

I received What Livings All About last week (what a fast delivery!).  I love it!  And you signed the cover – thank you.  Your voice is so expressive.  It sounds better than ever.  The other musicians are great too.  Alan and I are enjoying it.

Lani Harriman
Cupertino, California

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Dear Alicia,
Congratulations on your new CD! My favorites are Floozy Tune, The Best of the Rest of You, and Dr. Sun And Nurse Water. I play them over and over. Your songs are a great de-stresser for me and and I love having my lifelong friend singing to me. It doesn’t get any better! Congratulations on your musical legacy to the world. Your hard work, planning, and determination has come to fruition! I AM SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Huntington Beach, California

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Hi Dear Alicia,

Wonderful album! We listened as we drove to and from Tahoe this week.
There is such a great range of music and the styling is perfect.
Thank you!!
The protest song is great.
The literary statment at the end is a hoot and will be appreciated by every writer I know.

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Dearest Alicia,

Yes!  I got your wonderful CD.  It’s great to hear you with such an amazing back-up.  I especially loved the sax player.

Good luck with all your adventures.


Leslie Doolin
Topanga Art Tile

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I love your CD. You have such a pure voice and a great selection of tunes. Good for you.

Much love,
Stella Resnick, Ph.D
Los Angeles, California

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A few of the highlights that spoke to me were the fun, jazzy feel of What Livings All About. I love your voice, it’s so versatile and pleasing to listen to. Your creative arrangements were not lost on me, either. “Sometimes It Takes a Long Time” really spoke to me so much, and I have always loved Nat King Cole’s recording of “Nature Boy,” and you totally did it justice.

I really got all that you put into it, your creative heart and soul really shined through.

Joy Massey
Author and musician

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Recording my vocal parts for the CD What Living’s All About,
at Scott Fraser’s studio in Mount Washington, Los Angeles.

As I was preparing to record my third CD, What Living’s All About, I thought about how, when I was recording my first two, I always got a fever and a sore throat on the day I was to sing the vocal tracks, so that they never sounded quite as good as the way I sound in live performance.

I decided that this time, I would take the opportunity to change that pattern of subconscious self-sabotage. Fortunately, my sister is a psychotherapist and current with the latest healing techniques. She had used something called EMDR to prepare herself for a much needed, much dreaded surgery, and not only did she go through the surgery without her expected panic, but she healed so quickly that her surgeon was amazed.

EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) moves the attention of the traumatized person from the right to left to right to left sides of the body, seemingly from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems, so that the mind can rapidly process stressful memories and information that may have been “stuck” or undigested, sometimes for decades. Successfully healing combat veterans and rape survivors of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in only a few sessions (rather than years of talking therapy), EMDR works equally well with less intense problems, including my musical performance issues.

Developed by Francine Shapiro, PhD, a clinical psychologist, EMDR holds up to rigorous double blind testing. No one is exactly sure WHY it works, only that, when it is administered correctly by a therapist trained in the technique, it rocks.

I went to the EMDR International Association website, looked for therapists in my geographical area, and found one that specialized in arts issues, Paulette Rochelle-Levy. I had four appointments with her before recording. The first was “intake,” that is, she asked me questions and gathered information about my life and my issue at hand.

On the second appointment, Paulette helped me find the life moments where my fears around singing were catalyzed, and then, as I pictured them, patted first my right hand, then my left, then my right, and so on. My homework was to write a letter to the 12 year old girl I once was, and tell her what is ahead of her in her life, from the perspective of what I have lived to this date.

On the third appointment, Paulette, instead of doing EMDR, lead me in an exercise that I thought, at first, was sort of silly, but it turned out to be just as profound as the EMDR. She asked me to walk, eyes closed, in her living room and say “I am Alicia’s Higher Self” three times, and then to describe myself.

I said, “I am a vortex of swirling energies: elemental nature energies rising from below, inspirational and angelic energies descending from above, genetic, societal, cultural, familial, and past life energies swirling together from all sides. I am the sum of all of these currents of energy coming together.”

Paulette said, “That’s the answer to the question, ‘Who are YOU to be making a CD of your own music.’”

On the fourth appointment we did more EMDR. Two days later I went into the studio, did not have a sore throat, and sang well.

Was I 100% cured? No. On the day I recorded the vocal for Nature Boy, I had a throat issue again, and, as it was an improvised piece (couldn’t re-record it later) with a legendary player who had made some sacrifices to be at the studio for me that day, I had to just do it anyway. To my delight, improvising that song with John B. Williams and Enzo Tedesco turned out to be a peak experience. I like listening to it, too.

Post EMDR, the studio experience was, for me, on the whole, very much more exciting than it was stressful. Good stuff! And my sister will be taking a professional training in EMDR this fall.  Meanwhile, she lent me the EMDR book, and I highly recommend it.


In January 2001, singer/songwriter/bassist Sachiho Kudomi was vacationing on the Big Island of Hawaii with her rock star husband, Donto, and their two young sons. While they were watching a performance of a hula dedicated to the goddess Pele at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Donto suddenly fell over, and was rushed by ambulence to the Hilo Medical Center. The next day he was pronounced dead from a brain anurism at 38 years of age. Sachiho decided that Pele wanted to keep him as her own.

Sachiho returned to Hawaii Island a year later for a memorial service at the largest Buddhist temple in Hilo. Several dozen of Donto’s fans flew over from Japan for the service, which featured a musical performance by Sachiho’s all woman trance music band, Amana.

In between the times I recorded Music from Living on the Earth (January 2000) and Living in Hawaii Style (spring 2001) at Sea-West Studios in Pahoa, Hawaii, Sachiho recorded the CD “Rainbow Island” there with world beat band Umi No Sachi, and noticed owner/engineer Rick Keefer’s copy of Music from Living on the Earth.  She immediately recognized the cover of Living on the Earth. “Oh!” she exclaimed, “Very famous book!” Rick put us in touch by email, and the next thing I knew, I was organizing a Hawaii Island concert tour for Amana to follow the memorial service for Donto in Hilo. I had worked hard on the publicity, and we had large, enthusiastic crowds at every show.

Hiromi, the percussionist, also invited Toshi and Masaha, the members of her other band, Dinkadunk, to play between Amana’s sets. Hiromi learned to drum in Africa (and her daughter Tapiwa is half Zimbabwean).

Yoko Nema sings and plays instruments from India, where she goes often to study Indian music and buy merchandise for Tata Bazaar, her gift store in Naha, Okinawa.

About a dozen of Donto’s fans followed us from venue to venue, attending every concert. A couple of them brought their copies of Living on the Earth (Japanese edition) for me to sign. One night I performed one of my autobiographical story shows, and Toshi, whose interpreting skills are excellent, translated my entire show into Japanese for Donto’s fans as I was telling it.

The three band members all brought along their beautiful, happy, elementary school age children, who never squabbled, screamed, made demands, complained they were bored, or refused to eat what they were served. For an entire week I observed these amazing children, harmoniously playing together or quietly playing alone, utterly unlike almost every single child I’d ever met in the USA.

The band and their families stayed in a big rental home near the oceanfront volcanic warm ponds in lower Puna. When we traveled to the other side of the island, we camped out with friends of mine who have a botanical garden in Captain Cook. We had as much fun as friends can have together in a week’s time, making music together, laughing, sharing stories and meals.

I am looking forward to traveling with Sachiho and her band again in Japan some day!  (Note from 20 years later: I did twelve concert tours in Japan, from 2006 to 2019, and almost all of them included collaborations and family reunions with Sachiho, Hiromi and Yoko.)

The Gospel Truth of What Living’s All About

On November 20, 2005, at Architecture, the recording studio of Scott Fraser, in the Mount Washington district of Los Angeles, an amazing collection of musical minds collaborated in recording of my three original gospel style songs, “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water,” “Sometimes It Takes a Long Time” and “Love, Understanding and Peace,” for my CD, What Living’s All About, released in May 2006. Artist/photographer Hoshi Hana took all of these photos, except the ones of Scott and of Mari, which I took.

First, meet Jessica Williams, powerful rhythm and blues singer and leader of one of the choirs at the Greater Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church. She hired the other singers, participated in creating the arrangements, and hired the pianist, Reverend Harold Pittman, minister of music at the same church. Her fabulous improvised vocal solos grace both “Doctor Sun and Nurse Water” and “Sometimes It Takes a Long Time,” and she delivered a fierce and tender oration on “America the Blues.”

Jessica’s choir on my CD includes her daughter, Vetia Richardson, and her friend Irene Cathaway, with whom she sings backup for Connie Stevens. We recorded the singers five times on each song to create the sound of a full choir.

Jessica’s gospel keyboard specialist, Reverend Harold Pittman.

Our bass player, Kevin O’Neal.

Our drummer, David Anderson.

Here I am, wailing with the band.

Ron Grant, my co-producer, works as a film composer. He made all of the music charts for the songs, collaborated on the arrangements and instrumentation, and sometimes conducted the choir.  He’s got an Oscar and an Emmy on his shelf.

Scott Fraser, recording engineer and live audio engineer for the Kronos Quartet, worked with all of us from a viewpoint both technical and compassionate. Scott was nominated for a Grammy in 2006 for a recording he co-produced.

Our intrepid photographer, Hoshi Hana, creator of spiritually inspired photocollages and other amazing artworks.

Mixing and Mastering What Living’s All About

This week Scott Fraser and I finished mixing and mastering my jazz and blues CD, What Living’s All About. This is my third CD, but the first one I’ve participated in mixing. I found it not at all tedious (as I’d often heard), but, rather, really quite fascinating, probably because it’s typical of the intensely focussed, slow, painstaking, detail-oriented actions that are part of creating all kinds of art, even forms that appear spontaneous.

We listened to each instrument and voice separately and in combination, looking for “clams” to fix (not so difficult with today’s Photoshop-like digital recording programs). We adjusted volume between the instruments so that each was easy to hear in its moment to shine and each blended with the others without being hidden when someone else was in the spotlight.

In Scott’s studio, the trap drums get five microphones creating five sound tracks that have to be balanced with each other first, before the drums as a group can be balanced with the other instruments. Bass is next, balancing a track from the pickup on the instrument and a microphone on a stand nearby. The piano gets two microphones, both inside the piano, one pointed somewhat toward the bass end of the keyboard and the other pointed more toward the treble. And so forth, with the lead vocal worked on last.

The mastering process balances the volume levels of the songs, so that none are suddenly much louder or much softer than the rest of the collection. Also we listened for just the right amount of silence between the songs.