Travis Edward Pike | Reconstructed Coffeehouse Blues

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Reconstructed Coffeehouse Blues

by Travis Edward Pike

Reconstructed Coffeehouse Blues is an impressive collection of first time releases of original songs from Travis Edward Pike’s repertoire of New England coffeehouse crowd favorites from his live performances in the mid-sixties.
Genre: Blues: Folk-Blues
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sing a Song of Blues
3:38 $0.99
2. Don't Let Me Change Your Mind
2:54 $0.99
3. Grey Day Lady
3:49 $0.99
4. Mesmerizing, Tantalizing, Hazel-Eyed Jane
3:18 $0.99
5. She's Gonna Be a Woman Some Day
2:47 $0.99
6. You and I Together
2:39 $0.99
7. Tommy Tew Run Run
2:50 $0.99
8. Midnight Waltz
3:13 $0.99
9. Shaggy, Shaggy Blues
4:17 $0.99
10. Don't You Care At All
3:29 $0.99
11. A Red-backed, Scaly, Black-bellied, Tusked Bat-winged Dragon
2:58 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This is a collection of songs from Travis Pike’s original repertoire, composed and performed for Vietnam era GIs in military hospitals, and fine-tuned in live performances for the college crowds frequenting New England coffeehouses in the mid-sixties. Never before available to the public, these recordings are significantly enhanced by the participation of his talented younger brother, multi-instrumentalist, co-arranger, recording engineer and mixer, Adam Pike. Travis’ lyrics, picking, strumming and lead vocals echo his original style, but in the more than fifty years since they were first performed, Travis has further refined these songs, adding new instruments and vocal harmonies to some.

When all is said and done, it’s the listening experience that makes “Reconstructed Coffeehouse Blues” another triumph in the Pike brothers’ on-going effort to reclaim the best of Travis’ songs and music from his mid-sixties to early seventies catalog. On the cover of his book, “Odd Tales and Wonders 1964-1974 A Decade of Performance,” Travis asks to be considered a time capsule, full of exciting songs composed at the height of that socially turbulent decade, and his current recordings as an effort to preserve the material before the time capsule further deteriorates, making his works beyond salvage. This much is certain. In the eleven audience favorites featured on this CD, the brothers have captured the essence of his early performances and the spirit of that musically exciting era.

SING A SONG OF BLUES (Runtime 3:38)

Travis dedicates this cut to veterans experiencing repatriation after overseas tours. Changed by their experiences abroad, they sometimes return to homes where the politics and social atmosphere have also changed, and the adjustments they must endure can be both bitter and disheartening.


Giving someone permission to walk away may not make that person reconsider, but even if it fails, the grantor may want to believe, that by doing so, they are alone by choice, rather than abandoned. Perhaps that’s why both servicemen and the college crowd liked it so much. Neither wants to be abandoned, and both rather desperately hopes someone would care.

GREY DAY LADY (Runtime 3:49)

Every now and again, an apparently abused young lady would come into the coffeehouse, sometimes with a child or two in tow. There’s little one can do from the stage, but the right song might make some listener consider intervening to help the lady out.


“Mesmerizing, Tantalizing, Hazel-eyed Jane” another product of the 1965-67 New England coffeehouse scene, was composed about the waitress at Mark Edward’s “Sword in the Stone” coffeehouse in Boston’s Back Bay. Tall and lovely, her undulating walk was probably a by-product of carrying heavy trays of coffee while she wended her way around the crowded tables. Always and only Mark’s lady, Jane was a joy to behold for patrons and performers alike.


“She’s Gonna Be a Woman Someday” sprang from a visit with a friend to a girl’s house where the younger sister tried in vain to get the suitor’s attention. A “third wheel,” Travis listened to the little one, entertained her with a few of his stories, which not only made the afternoon fun, but resulted in advances from her older sister! The wonderful pianist is Travis’ friend, David Pinto, founder of the Academy of Music for the Blind, co-arranger, musician and recordist on “The Morningstone Music” CD.

YOU AND I TOGETHER (Runtime 2:39)

“You and I Together” emerged during weekend liberties Travis spent lakeside, with only a transistor radio and his beloved English Setter. Travis was still on crutches and at home, everyone was caught up in their own activities, so mostly Travis and the dog would go to the lake where he’d watch her fish for bluegills. Sometimes, it seemed she was the only friend he had in the world, so he wrote a song about their time together. Today, Travis thinks of the song as being about himself and his brother, Adam, who sings the harmony part and whose unselfish and expert assistance made all these recordings possible.

TOMMY TEW RUN RUN (Runtime 2:50

Tommy Tew, known as the Rhode Island pirate, was both infamous and briefly extraordinarily successful. In 1692, he sailed out of Bermuda a privateer, and arrived in the Red Sea in 1693, a pirate. The three ladies are metaphors for ships Tommy Tew attacked. His first pirate voyage made him so wealthy and notorious that King William III of England commissioned Captain Kidd (before he turned pirate), to hunt Tew down. He needn’t have bothered. On his second pirate voyage in 1695, the “fresh launched” lady Tew and his crew attempted to loot, did not surrender so readily as the first two. Tommy Tew was slain in that action, disemboweled by cannon fire. The song benefits from a bosun’s whistle, harmonium and other period instruments, styles and sounds, a tavern full of seafarers to sing the chorus and, of course, the final blast from a ship’s cannon.

MIDNIGHT WALTZ (Runtime 3:13)

“Midnight Waltz” memorializes a night when Travis, a patient at Chelsea Naval Hospital, attended a party on Joy Street on Boston’s Beacon Hill. His ride left before the party broke up, so Travis hobbled down to an all-night diner on Cambridge Street, where the song ends. (From there, he was given a ride to Charlestown, from whence he traversed the swaying, Mystic River Bridge back to Chelsea.)


Probably the most genuinely authentic blues on this CD, “Shaggy, Shaggy Blues” goes back to Travis’s early repertoire for the hospital wards and coffeehouses. He hasn’t changed the way he played or sang it in 1965, but with Adam’s added bass, piano and lead guitar parts, it is now delightfully evolved.

DON’T YOU CARE AT ALL (Runtime 3:29)

Dedicated to all the Vietnam era vets, Travis wrote “Don’t You Care At All” for his friend, Chuck Monda, who received his draft notice a few days after New Year’s Day, 1968. Chuck was in basic training during the Tet Offensive that resulted in Walter Cronkite’s call for an end to America’s role in the Vietnam conflict. Feelings about the war were already divided, but Cronkite’s opposition to a war he did not believe we could win, was the last straw. America’s withdrawal was still years off, but continuing military operations and mounting U.S. casualties were unacceptable. Against that background, Travis wrote “Don’t You Care At All.” Never before recorded, it was not a protest hit of the times, but those who have recently heard it agree that it reflects perfectly that devisive period in American history. The vocalists singing parts in the growing chorus of protesters were Travis and Adam Pike, Barbara Jordan, Kris Snyder, Lauran Doverspike, Constanza Bade, Joanne Rowan, and Mildred Lewis.


Travis, still in high school, composed this song in 1961 as the title song for an animated feature he hoped to make. First performed in Chelsea Naval Hospital and later in coffeehouses as a tongue-twisting “sing-along,” it was always an audience favorite. Recorded in 1984 with David Carr at the keyboard, this English Music Hall version of “A Red-backed, Scaly, Black-bellied, Tusked, Bat-winged Dragon,’ was remixed and re-mastered for last year’s Odd Tales And Wonders Stories in Song CD. This “bonus” version is a remix of that one, shortened to the length it was when Travis Pike's Tea Party first began playing it for audiences in Boston, Massachusetts. The addition of an accordion part, played by David Pinto, gives this version an rollicking amusement park feel. Vocalists wer Travis Pike, David Carr, Lonnie Snyder, Michael Moores, Mary Moyers and Julie Long.



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