Something I Saw or Thought I Saw

New Album

Bill Morrissey's first album of original songs in five years, Something I Saw or Thought I Saw is now available at record stores and through on-line music sites, including Rounder Records.

Bill produced and arranged the album himself. Musicians include Kent Allyn (keyboards and guitar), Johnny Cunningham (violin), Marc Elbaum (clarinet and tenor sax), David Henderson (bass), and Cormac McCarthy (harmonica). The songs are:

  1. Twenty-Third Street
  2. Harry's Last Call
  3. Just Before We Lost the War
  4. Winter Song
  5. Moving Day
  6. Buddy Bolden's Blues
  7. St. Valentine's Day
  8. Traveling by Cab
  9. Fix Your Hair the Way You Used To
  10. Judgment Day
  11. Mobile
  12. Will You Be My Rose?
[Bill in the studio]
Bill in the studio recording Something I Saw or Though I Saw (photo by Annie Provenzano)

The Title

The title comes from the first line of a Robert Frost poem (circa 1937), "On the Heart's Beginning to Cloud the Mind":

    Something I saw or thought I saw 
    In the desert at midnight in Utah, 
    Looking out of my lower berth 
    At moonlit sky and moonlit earth. 
    The sky had here and there a star; 
    The earth had a single light afar, 
    A flickering, human pathetic light, 
    That was maintained against the night, 
    It seemed to me, by the people there, 
    With a God-forsaken brute despair. 
    It would flutter and fall in half an hour 
    Like the last petal off a flower....
    This I saw when waking late, 
    Going by at a railroad rate, 
    Looking through wreaths of engine smoke 
    Far into the lives of other folk. 

Twenty-third Street

The first song, "Twenty-third Street," is set in New York City's Chelsea Hotel. The hotel has a long history of famous literary residents and guests, including Mark Twain, Thomas Wolfe, Dylan Thomas, and Arthur Miller. Andy Warhol's Chelsea Girls was shot at the hotel. Among the musicians who have stayed there are Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Sid Vicious. Cohen and Dylan have referenced the hotel in song.

Rounder's page has a 40-second soundclip from the song.

Photos of the Chelsea Hotel

Buddy Bolden's Blues

Buddy Bolden (1877-1931) was a bandleader who played the improvised form that came to be known as jazz.

Bill Morrissey's new song references an old song with the same title, credited to Jelly Roll Morton, which itself is based on Bolden's "Funky Butt." (Bill covered Mississippi John Hurt's version of "Funky But" on his last album, Songs of Misssissippi John Hurt.)


[Kent Allyn] Kent Allyn (photo by Annie Provenzano)

Commentary and Reviews

Soundclips in mp3 Format

    Song      Length     File Size
23rd Street 0:52 1,031 KB
Judgment Day 1:31 1,799 KB
Just before We Lost the War 0:45 897 KB
Mobile 0:49 971 KB
Will You Be My Rose? 0:52 1,029 KB