Max Reif | The Wake-up Man

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The Wake-up Man

by Max Reif

Avatar Meher Baba gave me 13 songs I felt were "keepers" in 45 years, and now I've given them back to Him, adding one more favorite by another songwriter, as probably the only CD I'll put out in this lifetime!
Genre: Spiritual: Praise & Worship
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Wake-up Man
2:42 album only
2. Stars in Your Eyes
3:02 album only
3. Lord of the Dance (Baba)
3:23 album only
4. 20th Century Boy
3:36 album only
5. Sweet Intoxication
2:12 album only
6. Love's River
3:14 album only
7. Tread Lightly
2:04 album only
8. Song of the New Humanity
2:14 album only
9. Bombay, Indiana
3:22 album only
10. Baba, My Love
2:50 album only
11. Meher Baba Blues
4:06 album only
12. My Impressions Have Fallen in Love with Yours
1:48 album only
13. Don't Lead Me Out, It Won't Be Long
3:11 album only
14. All My Chips on One Horse
1:24 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Even the stones are moved to song by the Love of the Wake-Up Man, if we could but hear them! And so, it is little wonder that this rock of a heart, once opened by that Love we call Meher Baba, became capable of things that the "I" inhabiting this body previous to that 1971 experience would never even have dreamed of!

The first song I wrote to Baba is the title song. It came one day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, near the Meher Spiritual Center. I was staying with my friend Edward Luck, and he had to leave his place to go on an errand. Alone, I started strumming chords on my guitar, and all I know is that half an hour later, when Ed returned, I played "The Wake-Up Man" for him, and he replied, "Who Wrote That?" with amazement in his eyes.

All of Meher Baba's artists and musicians and poets know that the real answer to such questions is, "He did!" Our egos' only creative faculty lies in its potential for self-forgetfulness and being eclipsed in the love of the Real Self.,

And so there is always a kind of mystery to Art. One plans, one works on a piece, when not so fortunate as to have it arrive fully written and orchestrated, like several of the songs on this CD. But one knows that That which is the real heart of a piece of music created for the sake of Love--any kind of Love, for that matter--involves the mystery of what, for lack of any adequate words, some call "the Muse", others call "Higher Forces", and Meher Baba's lovers generally call "the Beloved."

As Baba said in His great book The Everything and the Nothing, “God is Love. And Love must love. And to love there must be a Beloved. But since God is Existence infinite and eternal there is no one for Him to love but Himself. And in order to love Himself He must imagine himself as the Beloved whom He as the Lover imagines He loves."

To know Meher Baba is to be in love with Beauty. All of the songs on this CD partake of that Divine Romance. As Kabir, the 15th century Indian poet and Perfect Master, wrote: "If all the oceans in the world were made into ink, and all the trees in the world into pens, they still could not express the Beauty of the Beloved."

But we do what His Love inspires us to do, gratefully squeezing every last drop out of the sponge of the heart, in His praise; and to amuse Him, as well, sometimes.

These songs arise out of my 45-year Romance with Meher Baba. If you Google that phrase and my name, you should be able to find an article, published in a journal called The Mindful Word, about how, in my case, this Romance began. Each of Meher Baba's lovers has such a story. And if you don't know much about Meher Baba, you can learn the details of His Life by Googling His Name, as well.

One more note about the only song on "The Wake-Up Man" that did not come out of "me". The thirteenth track, "Don't Lead Me Out/It Won't Be Long" is by a songwriter I met in 1976, whose name was Jerry Wazney. I happened to hear him perform this song of his, then new, for a spiritually-inspired audience of several hundred, who went wild over it! I liked it so much that a week or two later, back in my home town a thousand or so miles away, I phoned him and painstakingly wrote down the chords.

Over the years I made the song my own, playing it frequently, alone and in various public performances. When the Internet became widespread, I made attempts to contact Jerry, but they failed completely. He seemed to have vanished off the face of the Earth!

I tried for all the succeeding years to be a worthy steward of this treasure, believing that I might be the only one singing the song. Only in the last couple of years did someone succeed, by checking names with similar spellings, in turning up a Jaroslav Waznee, who indeed did turn out to be the songwriter! I'm thankful that he gave me permission to record his song for my CD!

I hope you will enjoy it, as well as the thirteen songs contributed by the person we call "Max Reif" in our futile effort to accurately name his heart, when it is intoxicated.



to write a review

Jim Meyer in GLOW INTERNATIONAL magazine

Raw Devotion
"And I'm happy to be
One of the little toys
In Your whimsical Game"
Max Reif
from "Journey from here to Here"

I have known Max Reif for a long time and have always appreciated his determination and honest grit in following
Meher Baba. What I especially respect are his unique expressions of devotion - whether painting, poetry or prose - expressions which I am certain put a big smile on our Beloved's Cosmic Face.
Which brings us to Max's CD, "THE WAKE-UP MAN" - 14 songs, 45 years in the making - Max is singing to his Beloved Meher Baba, using images that are original to the Max. His voice and guitar are life worn and a little out of tune- perfect for these offerings.
This is not a CD of top 40 hits or virtuosic music making - if you are looking for sophisticated musical arrangements and performance - go elsewhere. This CD is an earnest soul's heartfelt outpouring to his Lord - there is never enough of this kind of effort in the world. Baba is always pleased by the heart's efforts, especially when in breaks out into song.
This CD made me realize just how brave Max Reif is to share these songs with us - and, listening, you might just break out into a big smile like I did.

Kathy Roberts

A Paean to Meher Baba, in the Manner of Ramblin' Jack
I have to admit that I’m a sucker for singers like Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Tom Russell. They are storytellers
and their voices are part of the story they are telling. You can hear the miles they have walked and the troubles they have experienced in their songs. Max Reif’s new CD, The Wake-Up Man, is, at its root, a paean to Meher Baba. And in the fine tradition of Ramblin’ Jack, it is also one man’s story told with a guitar and a voice.

The title track is one of my favorites. It sounds a bit like a lullaby with the ironic twist of being a wake-up song. Mr. Reif’s voice sounds like Harry McClintock’s, best known for the folk classic, Big Rock Candy Mountain. The refrain, “Sleep, Children, Sleep, All quiet in the nursery, Dream, Children, Dream, The Wake-up man is on his way,” is reminiscent of early Americana songs passed down from generation to generation. It feels like you’ve known this song your whole life.

The Lord of the Dance track is another song that reminds me of the classic folk tradition. I can hear old English ballads coming through Reif’s strong vocals. I can also hear his love for Baba and the joy that love brings. Love’s River is a beautiful song, well-crafted and poetic, flowing from one note to the next, leaving you feeling a bit nostalgic but with more sweetness than bitterness.

The short, very funny song, “My Impressions Have Fallen in Love with Yours,” will make Baba lovers laugh in recognition. Max’s voice is playful here and he clips his words for humorous affect. On the spiritual path Max is laying out for us in this CD, there is plenty of time to stop and laugh at ourselves.

My favorite track on the entire CD is “Don’t Lead Me Out, It Won’t Be Long.” This has the timbre of some of the music from my youth. I think of Donovan or Simon and Garfunkel when I hear Mr. Reif’s vocals and lyrics. This is high praise from a music lover.

I suspect this CD will appeal mainly to Baba lovers because of the subject matter. I wish it would get a much wider listen. These songs are well-crafted and sung in the rich Americana tradition. It is apparent that Max loves the work he has been given and that love is transmitted in his songs. The Wake-Up Man is like sitting on the front porch with your feet up on the railing, wearing your favorite pair of jeans, strumming a guitar with bullfrogs and cicadas creating the exact right percussion. It just feels like home.

Peter Piazza

It Grows on You (from a Facebook post)
"The Wake-Up Man" is somewhat like a fine wine. It's growing on me. Frankly, upon first listening I thought to myself, "It's too raw." No doubt, it is raw. But the timbre of your voice is perfect for these tunes. With each new listening I grow fonder and more appreciative of each selection. The passion you've placed into each piece on the CD is commendable. The CD has something in it for everyone. It isn't hum-drum. The eclectic musical styles employed in varying selections of the CD keep the listener intrigued and entertained. I'm having fun with it. I really appreciate you took the time to write and record it. If your goal was to get people to dance around with Beloved Baba for 40 minutes instead of always worrying, you succeeded.

Ken Richstad

Straight to the heart
These songs go straight to the heart. The list of titles alone creates a bubbly, light feeling that is characteristic of the whole project. What life! What humor! What love!

Mickey Karger

THE WAKE-UP MAN: Very Special, Very Sweet, and Wholeheartedly Sincere
Anyone who knows Max, personally or by email, will have an even greater appreciation of the word-and-songsmithed expressions of His Love for Meher Baba on his new CD, "The Wake-Up Man." That Max's journey to Beloved Baba's feet has been an arduous one, with many a life-obstacle to bravely face and overcome, will be familiar to anyone who's had the pleasure or reading Max's poetry and stories, here on Facebook, or on Baba-Talk.

There's a childlike innocence and sweetness to these songs that belies this struggle. The title song alone could easily become a classic nursery rhyme, with its calming, heart-reassuring refrain, "Sleep, children sleep...the Wake-Man is on His way." Max's heart soars Godward in songs like "Stars in Your Eyes" ("a saga of healing and possibility") and in "Lord of the Dance" ("rewritten for Meher Baba's Advent"). Max then gets down to the nitty gritty business of loving Baba as He should be loved in "Meher Baba Blues" and "Tread Lightly," a song Max sums up as "a folk-rock ballad celebrating gifts bestowed by pain." One of my favorite songs is the really funny "My Impressions Have Fallen In Love With Yours," which may be the very first love song ever to define just what it is that makes one person fall in love with another: our uniquely idiosyncratic sanskaric impressions! But Max's songs not only look back on a forty-five year journey with (and toward) his Beloved, but look forward to that golden, God-promised future in "Song of the New Humanity," which Max says was inspired by that "commitment seen in recovery groups."

That Max has transformed and then transcended his life's struggles is beautifully and clearly apparent in these fourteen memorable songs. Even the album's front and back cover art by Max adds to the total enjoyment of this very special, very sweet, and wholeheartedly sincere album. Let "The Wake-Up Man" both wake up your heart and just as gently quiet and calm it, all in Meher Baba's Name.

Jai Baba! Mickey Karger, January 31st, 2017.

Simon Imagin, Melbourne, Australia

I have just listened to THE WAKE-UP MAN and have a big smile on my face. What a wonderful collection of songs! My favorites are 4 and 13, “20th Century Boy” and “Don’t Lead Me Out/It Won’t Be Long”. I felt I was sitting by a campfire and enjoying them. The album really brightened my day. I love the whole album. It's from the heart and the message is there. I'll keep it handy when I need to hear something good.
Simon Imagin, Melbourne, Australia