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Old man
From "Keep the light in your eyes" (2001)
 

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About  my dad
 

My dad (born in 1926) grew up on the danish island of Als together with a big sister and a smaller brother. His parents – especially his mother – didn't waste many occassions telling him he was a useless idiot.

That attitude towards children was probably more common back then, but that doesn't make it less painful and traumatizing.


Shortly before he passed away, I visited him in Flensburg, Germany where he lived at an old peoples home. Even then – at 78 – it tormented him never to have received the accept and love from his parents, and staring with empty eyes he said: ”I never understood why my mother always criticized me”. The word ”love” what not in his vocabulary, but that was what he meant.


And it wasn't because he was neither stupid, in lack of initiative or didn't achieve what he set out for. Eg. he probably was the first person to carry out sabotage against the germans during WWII.

April 9th 1940 -  the very day the german army occupied Denmark - he found an unmanned german tank on a road not far from his home. Immediately he ran home, got a hammer, and smashed everything he could down in the cockpit.

It was probably neither due to moral or political rage that made him act so resolutely. It was rather an opportunity to unpunished (he thought) smash some inventory, and maybe at last get some credit from his parents. But what he got was scolding and a slap in his face.
 

Later both he and his parents joined the resistance. He, among other things, carried out reconnaissance tasks and smuggled weapons. His parents home was a secret communication centre and a hideout for people on the run from the germans.
All three were revealed by a danish snitch. My granddad was sent to concentrationcamp Neuengamme and returned with the “white busses” (red cross) weighing about 50 kilo (110 pounds). My grandmother was released because a doctor-friend of hers told the germans that she had a deadly and highly contagious disease (which made the germans lose interest in having her around). My dad was warned in time and went underground until the liberation in 1945, 18 years old.


My grandparents basically communicated by shouting at each other (and many others). One of them would say eg.: “it's raining”, to which the other would angrily reply “no it's not” !. Thus the platform for the entertainment of the afternoon was established. Going outside to check outside, was seen as cheating, and would destroy the good ambience.

Shouting at others, in other words, was “the normal” for my dad. That was what he knew and what he was used to daily, and at the same time you avoided, in any substational way, to reflect on other people, not mentioning – yourself.

My dad also had a habbit of throwing a mental handgrenade by shouting out loud if things got “too cozy” - it was highly effective.

At the same time he had a very good sense of humor and could be very funny and lively among old friends, neighbours or total strangers. But at home he often retreated to his “safe zone” of conflict.
He didn't have good experiences showing what he felt. It was seen as “weak” – probably also a sign of the time.
 

But there were also nice and positive things about him, and in different ways he tried to change the way we kids were affected by his own upbringing, so we shouldn't pass it on to his grandchildren.
He succeeded in telling us that we DID matter, that we WERE got at things, and he was actually able to hug us now and then – stiff as a tree, but still - which is pretty amazing, seen in relation to his own experiences.

One day he told me ”don't follow my path”. He didn't specify it further, but it was an apparent ”letter of freedom”, advising me to follow my own path. In that way he gave me a platform from where I could break the ”family curse”.

That was  important - and loving.

Credits

As 99% of all recorded music is streamed, credits about the musicians, technicians, photographers etc. are gone.

 

So here is a list of the guilty ones, responsible for what you are hearing and seeing (and I am honored to work with them all)

MUSICIANS ON "KEEP THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES"


Jens Lysdal Vocal, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, slideguitar, mandolin, bozouki & darbuka

Hugo Rasmussen  Double bass (Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Cornelis Vreeswijk)

Jesper Nordenstrøm - Keys (Bo kaspers orkester, Mike Stern, Lisa Nilsson, CV Jørgensen)

Radiounderholdningsorkesteret RUO
(Danish Chamber Orchestra)

TECHNICAL CREDITS AND MORE


Orchestral arrangements: Bo Sylvén

Conductor:Frans Rasmussen

Recorded by Jørgen Knub  in Village Pond Studios
"The water is wide" recorded by Flemming Rasmussen in Sweet Silence" studios
Dubs recorded by Jens Lysdal in Village Pond Studios.
Radiounderholdningsorkesteret (Danish Chamber Orchestra), recorded at Denmark Radio , Studio 1 by Jan Oldrup and Niels-Erik Lund

Mixed by Jørgen Knub at  Dandisc, Cph,

Tracks 1,5,8,10 & 12 mixed by Jørgen Knub at Denmark Radio, Studio 1, assisting engineer Jan Oldrup
Mastered by Lehnert Kjeldsen at Dandisc

PRODUCED BY JENS LYSDAL

Photo by Thomas Ellestad
Cover design:Typefaze


 

Old man
(Musik & tekst Lysdal)

He's an old man in his mind

He's an old man and he can't find

All the things he's longing for

He's been longing for, for a long time

 

He's an old man with no appeal

He's an old man and he can't feel

The things that he wants the most

He's just a ghost in the living land

 

And the living land hurts him so

He doesn't wanna know why

 

He's so far away from his heart

So far away, so far away from his heart

 

But I know he's been dreaming

I know he's still dreaming

Of touching the angels of love

And he feels that time's running

But he can't feel he's coming

Closer to what he's been trying to find all his life

 

He's an old man and he's drying out

He's an old man he's not trying out

The opportunities he's got right here

Because of fear he stays inside

 

He's an old man and he's missing - life

The album "Keep the light in your eyes" (2001)

Hugo Rasmussen and I had met a few years before we made the album ”Keep the light in your eyes”.
We clicked immediately both personally and musically, and shortly after we began playing and touring together.


 

In the beginning it was a mix of my own songs and other peoples works, mainly in the jazzy genre and some Cornelis Vreeswijk tunes. In exactly those two genres, Hugo probably was the best choice in the country having played a lot with Cornelis and with people like Dexter Gordon, Ben Webster, Svend Asmussen and Harry "Sweets" Edison


Later we played more  of my songs got into the reoertoire, and on the album we ended up with seven homegrown songs, two Cornelis, one Bo Kaspers Orkester and two american traditionals.


The album was recorded as a pure duo-album at my own ”Village Pond Studio” in three days in 2000 with Jørgen Knub as a recording engineer. ”The water is wide” was recorded at Sweet Silence with Flemming Rasmussen as engineer and Jesper Nordenstrøm on the grand piano.

​At the time I was working for Denmark Radio as both guitarist, arranger and producer, and they generously let us borrow some nice stuff like Neuman mics and Tubetec preamps and comps.


 

At the same time I was producing and arranging an album with Denmark Radio Sinfonietta and a rhythgroup consisting of Klaus Menzer, Jon Bruland, Rune Harder Olesen, Jesper Nordenstrøm og myself. Solo artists were Poul Dissing, Alberte, Kaya Brüel and me.
Talking with the leader of the orchestra Kim Bohr, we found out that the orchestra had two days off later that month, and as they were paid monthly and the studio was free, we thought I t would be a nice idea to try to put some strings on my duo-album.

I was myself too busy with the other album to make arrangements, so we started looking for someone skilled with good taste and who had a good sense of both the singersongwriter style and the more jazzy stuff.
We found Bo Sylvén who had been playing gutar in the Denmark Radio Big Band and who had arranged stuff for the swedish star Monica Zetterlund (who had made some great recordings with Bill Evans).
That turned out to be at very good choice. I had been a little nervous that the arrangements should become too ”big” and drowm the delicacy of a a voice a guitar and a double bass. But everybody wree very happy with his work. In opinion he succeeded in creating a larger space for the duo and expanded the listening experience without taking over the scene – but listen for your self.

My conductor was Frans Rasmussen who I also worked with on the other album with the orchestra, and he was equally great:competent, dedicated and with a very good sense of when to relax the musicians (in the breaks) and when to focus.
Engineers at these recordings at Radiohuset (which is now the conservatory) were Jan Oldrup and Niels-Erik Lund.