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Remnants – Part 12

Lawrence Hamilton

As a young man in my 20s and 30s I wrote hundreds of songs. I did my proverbial 10,000 hours over the course of those 20 years and have some good work (gold) to show for it and much dross. The dross was just part of the artistic process. I have notebooks full of that dross that I will, no doubt, destroy before I leave the planet. I’ve kept it all these years because it was the efforts of my work and something in me always said, “Well, maybe someday it will have a chance to live, to survive.”

Looking back, now, I’m glad I saved the dross. There were, in fact, a few ideas that survived and actually got perfected.

My closing song on the album is a song I wrote in my early 30s. It didn’t need fixing. It’s simply one of the 10 best songs I ever wrote. It poured through me one day while working on a musical called “Hot Chocolate” which was a simple story of the Black or African American experience back in the 70s.

The show had a couple of workshops and looked promising, but the book writer of the show died of AIDS and the show passed away with him.

But, the song lives on.

It was written as the prayer of a slave working in the cotton fields of Alabama and longing for a better life, but it became, over the years, my own prayer considering my own life and beyond. The song was given a triumphant performance later in another musical that ran Off-Broadway in NYC in the 90s in a musical of mine called, “The River.” That performance stopped the show night after night and was majestically delivered by Lawrence Hamilton, who, before his passing, had a wonderful career as a leading man in musicals on Broadway for a couple of decades.

Sadly, the show was never recorded except as a bootlegged “illegal” recording that lives on my Mind Fire album. Re-approaching the song now, especially considering Lawrence’s beautiful live recording, was a challenge that I almost shied away from, but it seemed only right to get down for posterity what I’ve always heard in the back of my mind.

As it turns out, I’m glad I did it.

This Is All I Ask

Music and Lyrics by Peter Link

I am a quiet man
A gentle man
Oh yes I’ve tried to live
By God’s own plan
Seeking the open sky
Giving me room to fly
On my own

And this is all I ask
For all I’ve known
Here on this tired earth
This rolling stone
Keeps me from rising up
From filling my rightful cup
On my own

So in my solitaire
My dark despair
I long for Thee
To take me there
Into the quiet sky
The open air
My liberty
This is all I ask of Thee
Yes this is all I ask

And when the time has come
When man shall stand
Each one and every one
As God’s own man
Then will my soul have flown
Then will I roll the stone
On my own

And when the sky rolls back
And opens wide
And I can touch the other side
And when the soul of man
Is one again
Forever free
This is where I long to be
This is all I ask
Forever free
Yes this is all I ask

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