In 1992 and 1995, I recorded a demo of 26 songs I wrote. You can play them below. (If they don’t show up, please refresh your screen. To download them, click on the title, then choose Download Options/VBR MP3. (If you want all of them, email me and I’ll put them in my Dropbox for you. Sheet music and lead sheets are also available.) After the songs are summaries of two abandoned musical theater projects that eight of them come from, in case you’re interested in their context. After that is a recording of my mother.
I’m very proud of the songs themselves. I lost my voice partway through recording, so my singing could be better. My gifted friend Shirley Lemmon beautifully sang two of them. Two very talented New York City pros arranged and accompanied: Matthew Ward and Michael Leonard.
The lyrics are in the same order as the songs.
ORIGINAL SONGS BY SHEPHERD HOODWIN
The Truth of Love
I’ve Never Written a Love Song Before **
You’ve Got Me
I Love My Bod’
You Are Much More **
Ode to Washing Dishes
A Little Sinning
Dow Jones Blues
Today (A Children’s Song)
Spirit of the Night
History of the World
Christmas Star *,**
*Sung by Shirley Lemmon
**Arranged and accompanied by Michael Leonard. (All others arranged and accompanied by Matthew Ward.)
Joseph is based on the moving Old Testament story. Joseph sings “Joseph’s Dreams” to his family as a seventeen-year-old boy, demonstrating both his prophetic gifts and his naivete. His older brothers resent that he is his father’s favorite, and throw him into a pit. There for three days without food and water, he sings “Dates and Honey.” He does some soul-searching in “To Believe in Dreams.” His brothers sell him to an Egypt-bound merchant. As a slave, he loses heart and marks the passing of each long day by scratching a piece of leather with a stick. Another slave inspires him with “Do Not Count the Days.” An overseer notices him and describes him to Potiphar, his powerful owner, in “Joseph, the Shepherd’s Son.” He is invited to entertain at a banquet, and sings of his great-grandfather, “The Tale of Abraham.”
Ondine has its roots in the same legend as The Little Mermaid. An 1811 German novelette was adapted by Giraudoux into a French play in the 1950’s, which was done in translation on Broadway with Audrey Hepburn. Ondine is a wild water sprite who assumes human form and is adopted by a poor fisherman and his wife, whose own daughter has disappeared. When she is sixteen, she meets a knight, who is mesmerized by her. In the song, “Never Have I Seen Such a One,” he sings of his first impressions. He breaks off his engagement to the princess Sabrina to marry Ondine, giving up his chance to become a prince. Later, Ondine wins over Sabrina as her friend. Another sprite then reveals to Ondine that Sabrina, who had also been adopted, is actually the fisherman’s daughter. Ondine naively believes that Sabrina will be delighted to discover her true parents, and shares the news during a large celebration. Instead, Sabrina is furious, and publicly insults Ondine, the fisherman and his wife. Afterward, the King and Queen send Sabrina away, and the fisherman and his wife also want nothing to do with her. In “Come With Us,” Ondine generously invites Sabrina to go away with her and the knight, innocently setting a tragedy in motion.
I abandoned Joseph after Dreamworks made an animated musical of the same story. Ondine was largely a friend’s project, and she didn’t wish to continue on it.
This is a recording of my mother, Ruth Keller Hoodwin, singing “Hush-a-Bye” around 1961, from the 1953 movie, “The Jazz Singer.”