SONGS FROM THE JAMES POWER VAULT
THE EARLY & THE BIZARRE
For those unaware, the James Power catalog is quite extensive. This page takes a look at tracks recorded from the mid 1980's through the 1990's.  
I recorded somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 songs during this period. I'll try to keep this page interesting and just post some of the more
memorable performances.
ALONE & FORSAKEN (HANK WILLIAMS).
One of my earliest vocal recordings, this Hank Williams cover is from 1985.
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CARNIVAL IN JUNE
This is an early favorite of mine. I had recently purchased a delay/chorus box to enhance my
keyboards, and quickly found that I could use it for interesting recording techniques. This song is about
a kid who gets killed at a carnival. Y'all sing along! From 1988.
 CLICK HERE
CELLULAR PHONE, GODDAMN
This was recorded at the same time as 'Carnival in June'. It was just a joke-song about the proliferation
of cell phones in the eighties when they were a new phenomenon. The song title was a play on Nina
Simone's '
Mississippi, Goddamn'. From 1988.  CLICK HERE
WALK ON BY (BACHARACH/DAVID)
I always liked Aretha Franklin's version of this Dionne Warwick hit, so that's probably what lead me to
cover it. I like the raw rock n roll sound on this. From 1991.
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JEFFREY DAHMER
Another oddball track, done very tongue-in-cheek, about Jeffrey Dahmer's early years. What possessed
me to write this is anyone's guess. One of my most bizarre tracks recorded at the height of
Dahmermania. From 1991.
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LOVE ME (LEIBER/STOLLER)
An early Elvis tune written by the great songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. This is me
trying to do something "soulful" with my confounded voice. From 1991.
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RADIANT GIRL
Somewhere in here is a really good song. I just gave up too quickly. The "mm-mm-mm" part has a lot
of potential, and the melody is catchy. I honestly have no idea what I'm talking about in this song, which
may be why I gave up on it. From 1997.
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ALL WITHIN MY HEART
Writing things down when you're young affords you the opportunity to see how much you've changed. I
don't even recognize the writer of this one, but he seems like a nice fellow. Written in high school study
hall. For no particular reason, I love the line "Cupid shot me but he just missed you". Recorded in
1997.   
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DOWN ON THE ISLAND
In 1991 I was working on Petty's Island in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Petty's Island is a little tit of an
island in the Delaware River situated between New Jersey and Philadelphia. There actually was a guy
that was killed when I was there, which gave me the idea for this. The chorus is what makes this song
work for me. From 1991.
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THE BEAUTY OF LIFE
I wrote this song after my nephew Nicholas was born. It's a fictional father & son song, since I never
had a child of my own. I never played this for anyone. From 1997.
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SHOCKS
I rarely write a piano/vocal tune, and I have no memory of writing this, but I like the haunting,
eerieness of it. A very young, very troubled lad. From 1987.
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RELIEF BY HEAVEN
I love how this song explodes after the spoken intro. It's about a guy I worked with on Petty's Island
who was a zany madcap until one day when he became born again (or was he labotimized?) From 1991.

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DON'T YOU MAKE ME A STAR
I like this one mainly because of the keyboards. This was written about the media frenzy when Princess
Diana was killed. From 1997.
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YOU MADE ME LOSE ALL I HAD
There's nothing like a catchy chorus to build a song around. Just a fun little acoustic rocker. From 1997.
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MONKEY ON A TV SHOW
A half-baked idea about a monkey on a kiddie show. Did you ever notice how on old kiddie shows there
was always a demented carnival atmosphere just beneath the surface with blood-thirsty clowns and
unsavory adults? That's what I was thinking about here. From 1997.
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I KEEP WORKIN'
Working man blues with a funky, rock-slappy guitar.
"Don't let nobody sell me short, I got 2 pairs of pants and a song in my heart".
Take that, Cole Porter!  From 1991.
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YOU DON'T ANSWER ANY MORE
I usually don't write songs around guitar riffs. This is a rare exception. From 1991. CLICK HERE
THE LAST BOAT     
A gospel sea chanty! Don't hear too many of these. I wrote this after going to a childhood friend's
mother's funeral. From 1991.
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IT IS NOT RIGHT (WITH MIKE)
A very early duet with my brother Michael. I think I wrote this, but I could be wrong. The lyrics are
completely foreign to me, but as sloppy as this is, I love the feeling on it! From 1986.
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UP ON THE ROOF
(An original tune, not the Drifter's classic). It's a fine line you walk when writing a "feel good" song
about suicide. This seems to walk it just right. From 1986.
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HEAVEN CAN YOU SPARE ME AN ANGEL
A sing-along in the tradition of Burl Ives and Charles Manson. From 1991. CLICK HERE
TAKING YOU OUT
This is a song about someone being pushed around - but in a good way. Like a baby in a carriage, a
cripple in a wheelchair, or a stuffed animal on roller skates. In case you can't tell, this was completely
ad-libbed. From 1997.
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FALLIN' ALL OVER AGAIN
A sentimental song about the end of a summer romance... Some songs just write themselves. From
1991.
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TILL WE MEET AGAIN
As close to a standard as I've ever written. I wrote this after returning from a camping trip with friends.
From 1992.
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MARIA
I've tried to record this a few times, but I've never improved on  this first take. A religious tune for
agnostics. From 1992.
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TAG ALONG JACK
A strange descending chord progression that moves along quite nicely. All it needs are hand claps and
children screaming. I never realized how many songs I've written about kids getting killed. From 1991.

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DIG HER UP
In the same twisted vein as 'Carnival in June' and 'Jeffrey Dahmer'. About young love and
necrophilia. There's some nice keyboards happening here. From 1990.
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DARK CLOUD HANGIN' OVER ME (WITH MIKE)
I never got a good quality recording of this, but it's one of my better tunes. Cindy Walker (writer of
'You Don't Know Me' and 'Dream Baby') once said that if you have a good title that's half the battle -
this was a good title to work with. My brother Michael also does some exceptional backing vocals on
this. From 1993.
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FAR AWAY
The best thing about this song is the excessive echo I put on it. That usually doesn't work, but it did
something very interesting for this track. From 1990.
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WICKED WORLD
A simple little song that probably took less then 10 minutes to write yet all these years later I still find
myself playing it. A three-chord wonder with a strong verbal hook. I still believe this song will be a hit
someday for somebody. From 1987.
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TURN THE WATER ON
An odd little stream of consciousness number that rolled out of my head. One of my best early lyrics.
From 1987.
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PRAISE
Give me a C ! A Bouncy C ! One of my angry-at-god songs. If you agree with the sentiments in this
song, I can guarantee you're going straight to hell. But don’t worry. That's where the best music is.
From 1991.
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THE DRIVING WHEEL (WITH MIKE)
I think this song cooks! You can almost picture the car flying down the road. There’s a direct Kinks
influence on this. From 1990.
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SWEET ANNE
I remember when I recorded this on a 4-track I really wanted a heavy driving bass sound, but all I had
was my acoustic guitar. The heavy distortion was intentional. I also like the snottiness of some of the
words. This could be a great rock n’ roll number in the right hands. From 1991.
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TO MAKE YOUR WAY
In the early 80’s I loved a lot of the ska/pop music coming out of the UK like Madness, The Specials,
The Beat, Bad Manners, etc. There is a true Madness influence on this one. A bit more jazzy than my
usual fare. From 1989.
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I'M GONNA MAKE YOU MINE
Buddy Holly, Buddy Holly, Buddy Holly. Try as I might his influence comes through time and time
again. I wrote this when I was 21 with an unabashed Holly influence. I never got over the purity and
directness of what he left this world. Buddy Holly is like cold water in a hundred degree heat.
From 1995.
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NO INTEREST
Very early and very out of tune. I remember writing this after learning how to play an F# chord.
Something I picked up from a Percy Sledge song. The chorus has a nicely haunting melody and a fairly
clever lyric. It also has a strangely bi-sexual verse that creates more questions than it answers (I was
probably trying to be shocking, as if anyone cared what the hell I wrote). From 1986.
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DON'T YOU REMEMBER
A standard you-don't-love-me song with a nice country feel. The thing I like best about this is the
percussion. I had gone to the shore to record a batch of songs (such as '
Maria') but I didn't have my
effects box to create a beat. I took a tin pot from the cupboard and made it work for me. From 1992.
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PROSPERITY ROW
1991 was a particularly prolific year. Listening to this song all I can think of is that summer, and hanging
out with a guy I worked with named Doug Scott. Every night after work we’d go to Lenas Bar in
Cherry Hill, NJ, or The Jockey Club in the now-demolished Cherry Hill Inn, and we'd get hammered. I
think this song is about trying to find happiness in a world full of conniving scumbags (or some deep
philosophical concept like that). From 1991.
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YOU MAKE A MAN LONELY
If there is one person I most emulate as a singer it's John Lennon. Hands-down. Not because I think
he’s the greatest singer (although he did have one of the best rock 'n roll voices), but I always felt a
kinship to how he used his voice to put across a lyric. Like the actor James Cagney, Lennon could
convey great vulnerability and never lose an ounce of his coolness. He could convey enormous certainty
without ever sounding like a jerk. He could be sarcastic & cheeky while simultaneously sounding very
serious with a message of great importance (
Polythene Pam is a great example of that). This is a clearly
Lennon-inspired tune circa 1965. From 1992.
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OYSTER BAY
It's interesting how mental pain can manifest itself. I wrote this in 1996 during one of the worst periods
of my life. I was very much in love with a girl who made it clear she had no interest in me, I was in a
job where I was in way over my head, and only a few months earlier I imagined much, much greater
things were ahead. Just a few months after writing and recording this I physically imploded due to stress
and was hospitalized for over a week. (To paraphrase Grandpa Simpson, "They can say it was because
of a busted left ventricle, but I know it was because of a broken heart"). To this day I have never been
to Oyster Bay, Long Island, and have no idea why I used that location for this song. I guess my
imagination was still reeling from the dreams that had so quickly been smashed into a million pieces.
The rapid-fire delivery of the lyrics speaks volumes, to me, for how tormented I was...
From 1996.
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IT'S OVER
Sometimes a simple recording captures a lot. I always liked this recording from 1986. I've written many
goodbye songs. This was one of the first.
Note: Listen at the very end for Charlie the cat.
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