Beware of Darkness

from Lay It All Down by Mike Lawson & Friends

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about

One of my favorite George Harrison songs, from All Things Must Pass. I had in my head a little different take with the vocals more up front than the original, and again, Keaggy and I both being Beatles lovers, I thought this would be a good choice to cover.

I also wanted to leave some good advice lying around for some loved ones, because oddly-worded as it is to some, this song is full of deep meaning and wonderful advice about not getting caught up in the bullshit of the world. Lots of the things to watch out for.

I loved Leon Russell's version, but no way I could pull something like that off, so sticking fairly close to the original script with a key change, I set about getting Jeff and Joe to record together for me again. They not only did that on this song and Lay It All Down, but a couple of the Merl Saunders songs I covered on 3200 W 22nd Court, released the end of 2021. I knew they'd nail this. They sent the parts back, I added some guitar, gave it over to Phil who just made it magical. I sent it to Phil Madeira for organ work, and he gave me back to perfectly understated parts you hear.

Then it was vocal time. First, this is a helluva hard song to sing, but I think I got through it OK. I wanted to do some fun things with the backing vocals, and first up brought Lindsey Elam into the project. I met her when she performed with our annual Garcia birthday lineup at The Basement East in East Nashville, hosted by Future Birds and Los Colognes. She has a lovely folksy Kentucky girl voice and gave me just what I wanted to ground the parts.

I then sent it over to Gillian Desmarais, who added another layer of background vocals, and finally at the very end, I wanted several people to sing the last line "Beware of Darkness." It was probably the shorted recording session David Gans and Dianne Davidson every did for about three seconds each, but layered with my voice, Lindsey, Gillian, and them together, I got what I wanted there, too. I ended the song with improvised electric sitar.

lyrics

\Watch out now, take care
Beware of falling swingers
Dropping all around you
The pain that often mingles
In your fingertips
Beware of darkness

Watch out now, take care
Beware of the thoughts that linger
Winding up inside your head
The hopelessness around you
In the dead of night
Beware of sadness

It can hit you
It can hurt you
Make you sore and what is more
That is not what you are here for

Watch out now, take care
Beware of soft shoe shufflers
Dancing down the sidewalks
As each unconscious sufferer
Wanders aimlessly
Beware of Maya

Watch out now, take care
Beware of greedy leaders
They take you where you should not go
While Weeping Atlas Cedars
They just want to grow, grow and grow
Beware of darkness (beware of darkness)

Words and Music by George Harrison
Copyright Harrisongs Ltd
Used by Permission

credits

from Lay It All Down, released October 7, 2022
Mike Lawson - Vocals, Guitar, Electric Sitar
Phil Keaggy - Guitars
Jeff Marley - Bass
Phil Madeira - Hammond organ
Joe Montague - Drums/Percussion
Lindsey Elam - Backing Vocalsl
David Gans - Backing Vocals
Dianne Davidson - Backing Vocals
Gillian Demarias - Backing Vocals

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Mike Lawson & Friends Nashville, Tennessee

Mike Lawson has, over 30 years, recorded and/or performed together with Merl Saunders, Vince Welnick, Vassar Clements, Pete Sears, Gary Talley, John McEuen, Bob Welch, Dennis Robbins, Joe Louis Walker, Jorma Kaukonen, Phil Keaggy, Jack Casady, Scott Guberman, Dianne Davidson, Noah Wall, Tyra Juliette, Bill Vitt, Rob Wasserman, Michael Cleveland, Phil Madeira, and a host of other amazing friends. ... more

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