"Community" and "Brand New Cage", songs I originally wrote on keyboard


Mar 18, 2011
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Boston area
"Community" and "Brand New Cage", songs I originally wrote on keyboard

Hi, I just joined UU three days ago. I've been putting up videos on YouTube since October, all of one-take uke performances, either live or at home. If it's okay with everyone, over the next week I'm going to post on this board a few of them for which the uke playing may be of interest.

On this thread, I'm posting videos for two songs I originally wrote on keyboard. "Brand New Cage" was written about 30 years ago, and "Community" in the mid-90s. A couple of years ago, when I started playing out more, I learned how to play them on uke, and kept the arrangements as close as I could to the keyboard versions. As a result, they sound a lot different than anything I would have written on ukulele. To me, "Brand New Cage" sounds a lot better on uke.

"Community" was written in response to a couple of deaths in my family.


He saw it written in an old comic strip left in the shack where the hermit went
It said "Don't take life so serious, son, it ain't nohow permanent"
He said "I'll write that big and hang it on my wall
And you can use it for my epitaph if I should ever fall"

He said "I left my old life when I came here, but that don't mean it's left behind
All the moments of your past still haunt the pathways of your mind
My Sally’s been passed on now some fifteen years or more
Still I 'spect at any time to see her waltz right through that door

So add up all you've had, and all you've loved and lost
Do the sum, then tell me, weren't it worth the cost?
No matter how far out you go or how few folk you see
You’re still a member of a community"

He took that message to every farm and cabin all up and down the Northern wood
He said "You call this a mountainside, I call it my neighborhood
This year we've got some empty places at the table
All the reason more to gather up all those still able

And bring them to this glade for a jubilee
Let the music, laughter, and the wine flow free
Come on, my friends and neighbors, from both far and near
I may not know you, but I'm still glad you're here"

"I've savored every moment that I've drained from life's big cup
Even when it's spilling over, I keep shouting 'Fill 'er up!'
The barkeep'll cut you off long before you've had too much"

When I went round to gather him for the party, he'd already left the place
Sitting in a chair, face to the window, empty eyes staring into space
I planted him out back beyond the willer tree
And hung up his epitaph for everyone to see

Then prop the cabin door open with a stone
Wish the spirits well and walk away alone
Nail a marker to the signpost where the road takes a bend:
"This way leads to the house of a friend"


Someone's got a new cage
Just slipped it on around
It's security in old age
On a favorite spot of ground

The big room lets no light in
Not made to let in sound
The children outside playing wind up toys
They watch it spin around

We've got no shadows
New sofa
New vistas opening up every day

The old couple leaning back
Wave to the children outside
Who look in at them through the steel bars
And wonder "What would it be like to ride?"

There's enough space in between the bars
You could climb in there and sit
But it's not that easy to get out
It's so comfortable to submit
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