Poet Song, our second Vanguard album, was written for Tina as a showcase for her intimate and warm voice. Sam suggested that I read some of my poems and double-track guitar behind them. We recorded it at Sierra Sound in Berkeley where Serpent Power was recorded. Some string players from the Oakland Philharmonic -- including violist Tom Heimberg, an old Fairfax High School buddy-- were assembled at the studio by arranger Ed Bogas. I wanted to write songs almost exclusively for Tina, since I'd dominated our first album. The songs and orchestration were to sound more like art song, the antithesis of what Serpent Power was doing in the clubs.
Vanguard seemed pleased and held an option for us to do a third album. A mutual friend Chris Brooks introduced us to Vic Briggs who had been the lead guitarist with The Animals. Vic was now producing records for Capitol and liked Poet Song tremendously but thought he could produce a better album. He asked us to make a demo-tape for him to pitch to his bosses at Capitol.
I wrote some more songs and Tina and I put together a tape using a clunky Sony tape recorder. (We managed to double-track vocal harmonies and guitar textures but, being technologically challenged, didn't realize they had to be mixed, which was moot since we didn't have the equipment.) Nevertheless, Capitol liked what their new British producer played and they gave the green light. We left Vanguard amicably and signed with Capitol.
The instrumental tracks were cut at the Capitol Recording Studios in Hollywood. Our studio was down corridor from a big studio where Sinatra was in the process of cutting an album. Vic selected most of the musicians for the date including John Guerin on drums, Lyle Ritz on bass, David Lindley played violin, Michael Rubini, piano. I hired bluegrass mandolinist Scott Hambly.
The string section was added at another time. (During a session break, some of the A-List Hollywood studio musicians talked about their various investments, airplanes, real estate holdings, while Scott and I reminisced about his bluegrass band, The Ridge Runners, featuring Greg Lasser on the 5-string, who was part of my band, The Snopes County Camp Followers, with Tina, Joe Edmiston on gutbucket bass.)
Our vocal tracks were recorded in Wally Heider's San Francisco studio which, at the time, was state-of-the-art and was like entering onto a set in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Our engineer had just finished a long haul working on a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album. We felt like we were in the big time; super-stardom was just around the corner, glimmering like Las Vegas at night.
Cover photos were taken and liner notes were written by poet Kenneth Rexroth, a founding father of the San Francisco Renaissance and Beat movement. In a couple of weeks we received a tape of the mixed-down album and played it for anybody who stumbled into our home. Then there was an odd silence. Then there was a long-distance call from Vic who broke the news. He and four or five other producers who Capitol management had hired had been let go. Why? A corporate turn-over: a new management team was brought in and canceled all of the previous management's projects. Vic was out of a job; David and Tina would not become mega-stars but they did have a very expensive home tape. The songs you're about to listen to.
by David Meltzer
Tina & David Meltzer - Poet Song
01 I'm The Early Morning Racer (Poem) 1:39
02 I'll Forget You 3:44
03 The Bath (Poem) 0:33
04 I'm A Lover 2:51
05 Ravel Blues 4:38
06 The Blackest Rose (Poem) 0:55
07 It Is For You 1:50
08 Lullaby 2:54
09 I'm So Willing 4:15
10 Lamentation For Hank Williams (Poem) 1:09
11 Hymn To Love 3:18
12 Confessin' (Poem) 2:27
13 Pure White Place 4:34
14 Poem For My Wife (Poem) 1:01
15 For Tina 2:28
Tina & David Meltzer Green Morning
2. Let The Door Stay Open - 3:30
3. Hungry - 4:38
4. Luna Tune #1 - 0:43
5. Green Morning - 3:38
6. Shara - 1:40
7. Keep On Lovin' - 3:16
8. The Garden - 4:37
9. Child Ballad - 4:01
10.Luna Tune #2 - 0:53
11.The Angel - 2:45
12.Let The Light In - 1:45
13.Do You Think Your God - 5:17
14.It's Simple - 0:47
Words and Music by David Meltzer
*Tina Meltzer - Vocals
*David Meltzer - Guitar Vocals, Harmonica
*John Guerin - Drums
*Lyle Ritz - Bass
*David Lindley - Violin
*Michael Rubini - Piano
*Scott Hambly - Mandolin