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That seemed the only thing to call it.
This album has no other theme but glad magic--the kind you find in real, down-to-earth music. We chose these songs, of all the hundreds we've done, because they're just so much fun to sing. Songs from the heartland like Jesse Colin Young's Greenhill Mountain Home and D. Frishberg's Rocky Mountain Water, and that irreverent twenties number, Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me. It's vaudeville with a Jim Kweskin Jug Band/Spanky & Our Gang flavor. When brother Bill dragged out that one, it was like we were all kids again, jamming around the kitchen table, all of us filled with the joy of it, with the sheer joy of our voices and guitars all chiming in together.
Tiny Grimes wrote I'm Singin' for the Cats & the Fiddle, a jazz group from Chicago's South Side that cut some immortal tracks back in the years following the Big Crash. When the world goes crazy, there's nothing left to do but sing. Sometimes singin' is the only thing that makes much sense.
Joe heard Love Song one summer in Hull, Yorkshire. It had been composed by Edward Baird for an English group called Amazing Blondel. They were amazing, too--steeped in musical influences as varied as medieval folk music and modern rock. " It's about, you know, wanting to hear someone say she loves you." And the band has always been one of the Dooleys' favorites, so it was only fitting that Glad Magic should end with another one of Edward Baird's songs, Young Man's Fancy, a farewell, well wishing toast that has been the Dooley brothers' signature tune at concerts ( previously recorded on their first LP, A Place in My Heart).
There's original stuff here, too. Maria Rose is a true story, says Jim. "She worked at the Vie de France Café. I walked in, just like in the song. And we eventually did go on a cruise together. It really happened."
And being brothers, the band went along. Which led to some fantastic sessions with a steel drum band on board. And some wild nights in the port towns of the Caribbean where we were surrounded by the Latin rhythms we'd instinctively been drawn to for years. The coast of Jamaica was receding in the setting sun, when suddenly that wonderful old Harry Belafonte tune, Jamaica Farewell, came into our minds at once. We had sung it as kids. Now, for the first time, we understood it.
Soon we were dusting off some old songs of our own that Jim and Joe had written in their college days--like Watching the Waves Roll By. Originally it was called "Girl of the Stormy Night" (by Jim) or the "Lighthouse Song" (by Joe). Autoharp and five-string banjo were added taking this theme into a brand new instrumental dimension. Then there was Harvest Light, an anthem to Autumn, written on one long-ago, laid back October day--the kind when the sky is so blue it makes you laugh out loud and crinkling yellow, red and orange leaves sail by your window. "I came walking up the front sidewalk whistling a melody and I spotted Jim in an upstairs bedroom playing his guitar and singing. Magically, the melodies blended together," recalls Joe.
Jim was sitting on a beach in Michigan when he happened to turn on the radio and heard the rush-hour traffic report from Chicago somewhere just over the horizon. He turned it off, smelled the warm breeze wafting down from the pines, and wrote Postcard.
When the Stars Left Your Eyes wrote itself, says Joe, in 15 minutes. "It just poured out of me: 'Sweet were those days, but they're gone/Weep no more for me, and we'll go on/Me with a song.' I had in mind a little stream in Ireland where at night the reflection of a thousand stars danced."
5 a.m., a joint effort by Bill and Joe, is about, "coming home in the wee small hours," says Mike. "We work 9 to 5 like everybody else, except in our case it's 9 p.m. to 5 in the morning. There's something strange and exhilarating about coming home with the dawn just breaking and the birds all going crazy…coming home from work with the whole world asleep that almost surprises you with beauty. It's magic. The earth is really such a simple, lovely place, that you think suddenly, what more does anybody really need? Except maybe somebody waiting for you."