Here, Jim shares a few thoughts about his first album... 

"Recording and releasing a first album is a little like have your first child. So much effort and anticipation goes into it that it's hard to view it uncritically and dispassionately, even years after it was first conceived/released. I remember thinking, This may be my one and only shot at recording and releasing an album, so I have to choose the songs I really, really want to be on it.

I went through my entire back catalogue of songs, and came up with a 'short list' of around 30 songs! I eventually whittled these down to 15 songs. Of these, only eleven made it onto the final CD. Like many first albums, these songs are very personal in nature. They say a lot about me and my outlook on life; my world view, if you will."

About The Songs 

Jim's debut album, Sometimes I Wake Up Naked was release in July 2002. We asked him to take time out from his busy schedule to say something about the story behind each song. 

Sometimes I Wake up Naked (Click to Hear the Song)
During April/May 1999 a play called ‘Often I Find That I’m Naked’ ran at the Bakehouse Theatre in Adelaide. The play was written by Fiona Sprott and directed by Eva Hamburg. Although I did not go and see the play, and therefore have no idea what the play was about, I was intrigued by the title. This title, like several other phrases I have come across, seemed to act as a secret key into my subconscious. The title quickly rewrote itself as ‘Sometimes I Wake Up Naked’. By ‘naked’, I don’t mean physically naked; I use the word as a metaphor for being exposed to the world for all to see.

I Just Want to be With You (Click to Hear the Song)
This is one of many 'dream' songs I have written, so called, because they come to me in dreams, generally with the melody and some of the words already partly 'written'. I decided to put this song on the album because I thought it needed something light to help offset the serious songs. In the end, it turned out to be one of my favourite songs on the album.

Is This The Promise? (Click to Hear the Song)
On July 18, 1998, I wrote in my notes to this song: "I have been reflecting on the broken promises of politicians, and other people in authority. I have also been thinking about faithfulness or lack of it; love or broken love; and the abuse, especially physical abuse, that men visit upon their partners. I have been thinking about power, and the abuse of power in all its manifestations ..."  
Whew! There was a lot I wanted to get off my chest that day, and this song gave me on opportunity to express some of it.

The Crying Ground (Click to Hear the Song)
One of many 'road songs' I have composed; so called because they were started while I was driving across country on extended vacations. The Ballad Of Billy Winter (see below), and The Liberty Cafe (off my American Dream CD) are other road songs. 

Feel The Fear (and Make it Run) (Click to Hear the Song)
Feel The Fear is a song about facing our personal insecurities and doubts, and taking them on without fear or favour. From memory, the title is adapted from a self-help book called, 'Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway', by Susan Jeffers.

The Ballad of Billy Winter (Click to Hear the Song)
In March, 2000, I had a gig in Swan Hill (about 500kms from Adelaide). A couple of hours into the trip, as I began to relax and enjoy the drive, the idea for this song began to form in my head. Instinctively, I knew it was going to be a long song, and I began to sketch it out like a short story. Initially, the song had 14 verses! I spent a week or so writing the story before I even tried to put a tune to it. Thankfully, the melody I came up with allowed me to combine the verses into pairs, thereby reducing the song to seven verses.

Tuesday Night in The Jungle (Click to Hear the Song)
Tuesday Night in the Jungle was written following a Tuesday evening spent at the movies. As I left the cinema and started back to my car, I was approached by a young male looking for handouts. I gave him $2 and said, “Take care of yourself, mate.” Not that I expected him to take care of himself on $2. I remember a light rain was falling, and there weren’t many people out. There was no loud music booming out of the pubs and bars along the street like there is later on in the week. A few young kids were just hanging around and the whole atmosphere seemed downbeat, lonely, and depressing. 
The phrase, “It’s Tuesday night in the jungle,” just popped into my head, and another song was born. There’s no point in giving a verse by verse explanation of the song. The jungle is a very obvious metaphor for the city at night. The people who frequent the city at night, young and old, lonely and desperate are not meant to be regarded as ‘dogs’ in any real sense of the word. Again the word is a metaphor for the hunger, loneliness, and desperation I imagined they might feel night after night.

I Want to be Eight Again (Click to Hear the Song)
First begun on September 4th, 2000. The song was inspired by an email I received on August 31, 2000. You can read the full email here. This song remains an audience (and personal) favourite.

Madeleine & The Devil (Click to Hear the Song)
This is one of those ‘come out of nowhere’ songs. I was flipping through a magazine and my attention was caught by the name Madeleine. I have no idea why the name should have caught my eye like it did, or why it led to this song. The name did have a certain resonance and rolled off the tongue quite easily. It occurs to me now that the name has the added advantage of not being all that common, which hopefully won’t cause problems to the real Madeleine’s out there. 
At the time, I had not been thinking about writing a song about child abuse, and yet the issue of child abuse certainly had a subconscious relevance to me. When I wrote the song I had been working in a local primary school with 5-10 year olds, and I was acutely aware of the risk that some child or adult might misinterpret an action or word on my part. The risk was constantly in the back of my mind, and it may be this that led to the song.

Night Falls Over Manhattan (Click to Hear the Song)
The terrorist destruction of the World Trade Centre on the morning of September 11, 2001, was the catalyst behind this song. 
There are many possible ways of trying to capture in song, the horror and enormity of this act: From the victims point of view; From the point of view of the terrorists; From the 'casual' observers point of view - that is, mine, all the way from Australia, and many others. In the end, as always, the song chose its own point of view, and wrote itself. 

Some Mother's Son (Click to Hear the Song)
I started this song several years ago, but unfortunately I didn’t make a note of the date. From memory the song simply arose around the hook – the title of the song. It was triggered by the knowledge that every down-and-out, every drug addict, every prostitute and prisoner, etc, was some mothers son (or daughter). That for every ‘lost soul’ there was a mother waiting for her child to come home. To me it was then, and still remains, a very poignant image.



JIM LESSES: Sometimes I Wake Up Naked

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