By Shepherd Hoodwin


In 1995, I recorded a demo of 26 songs I wrote. You can play them here by clicking the play button (you may need to click "Reload" to get them all to show up). To download them, click the link, then right-(or control-)click the underlined audio file link and choose "download linked file." Below is the song list, followed by 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, and then my lyrics, in the same order as the songs.

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. Enjoy!



I Could Easily Fall in Love with You
The Truth of Love
I've Never Written a Love Song Before**
You've Got Me
I Love My Bod'
You Are Much More**
My Friend
Ode to Washing Dishes
A Little Sinning
Dow Jones Blues
Snap Out
Today (A Children's Song)
Spirit of the Night
History of the World
Christmas Star*,**


Joseph's Dreams**
Dates and Honey
To Believe in Dreams
Do Not Count the Days
Joseph, the Shepherd's Son
The Tale of Abraham


Never Have I Seen Such a One
Come with Us*,**

The Garden of Your Soul

*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."



By Shepherd Hoodwin






I tell you that I like you a lot.

You sit there smiling,

Looking so beguiling

But you don't say a word,

Not a blessed word.


And now my head is feeling quite hot.

I'm getting thinner

Picking at my dinner

Like a little bird.


Love birds are in season

And I'm a sitting duck.

Without any reason

To hope for luck.


So may I give a penny for your thought?

Make that a twenty.

Here, I've got plenty,

But don't be noncommittal.

Please don't be noncommittal.


Since I met you, I'm so overwrought.

Please say that maybe

You'll want my baby

Or just encourage me a little.


Lover's Leap has danger,

And I won't jump alone.

I'm not the Lone Ranger

Who likes it on his own.


I'm on the cliff

Waiting to know if

You would like to fall in love with me.





I could easily fall in love,

Fall in love with you.

I could easily fall in love

If you wanted me to.


My heart is fluttering in my chest,

Jumping all around.

If you told me you like me best,

It would really start to pound.


These anti-gravity shoes

Are giving me the blues.

They're making me walk on the air,

So what are you doing down there?


I'd run the gamut from A to Z

In ten seconds flat.

Sadly here I am stuck at B,

Wondering where you're at.


I would gladly jump off my bed,

Flap my arms and fly,

Joining the tweety-birds 'round my head

If I had a reason why.


I could go nuts very soon.

Oh, God, there's a full moon!

I stay up nights counting sheep

So why are you able to sleep?


I could easily fall in love,

Fall in love with you.

I could easily fall in love,

Fall in love, fall in love.

I could easily fall in love,

Fall in love, fall in love.

If you wanted me,

If you wanted me,

If you wanted me








You say that love is hard and blind,

And it can never last.

You only know the jealous kind

That's hurt you in the past.


The truth of love is all around

Despite the dark of night.

And you will see it when you're crowned

In its golden light.




Shooting stars are love.

Falling leaves are love.

Flowers and bees and all that lives,

Earth itself is love.


Caring thoughts are love.

Gentle words are love.

God in heaven and God on earth,

You and I are love.


And when two people sense it between them, my! how splendid they feel.

But if it seems to fade like dreams, it wasn't ever real.


All that's true is love.

All that's free is love.

Ev-'rything that's meant to be is love.


And incidentally, I love you.







I always thought that it was hard to express the way I feel.

The feelings felt so real.

But words didn't come out right.


I always thought if I could sing I would sing the whole day long,

And writing my very own song

Would be my heart's delight.


Now something has changed and singing's a breeze,

And poetry flows whenever I please.

I soar through the skies way over the trees,

And I think I could even write a love song.




I've never written a love song before.

I never knew how.

I've never written a love song before.

But I can now.


Being with you makes it easy.

I know each word that I'll use.

I'll say I'm moonstruck and breezy,

And I'll say good-bye to the blues.


I always thought that the love songs you hear are foolish and fake,

That true love never lasts more than a year.

Well, my mistake.


Our love will last till forever.

Oh, how the future will sing!

Now I will never say never,

For we two can do anything.


I've never written a love song before,

Because I've never been in love with you.





Ain't got no fancy home computer

Or a shiny stereo.

But I've got something that is cuter

Than that Super Mario

And I've got something that sounds sweeter

Than a Sony CD.

I've got me, honey, I've got me.


Ain't got no microwave oven

To heat things up real fast.

But my home-style lov-in'

For warmth is unsurpassed.

And to entertain you nights

Ain't got no giant-screen TV.

But I've got me, honey, I've got me.


Ain't got no VCR.

Ain't got no brand-new foreign car

That'll talk to you when you leave in the key.

Bu-u-ut if you want the best

In conversation and the rest,

You've got me, honey, you've got me.





I love my skin.

I fit right in.

And if I cannot get a decent tan, well, hell, is that a sin?

It keeps my guts from falling out.

I'm wild about

my skin.


I love my feet.

I think they're neat.

And wearing twenty-twos in orthopedic shoes is quite elite.

They take me where I want to go.

I love them so,

My feet.


I love my mouth and jawbone, too.

They let me say, "I love you."


I love my bod'.

It ain't no clod.

Oh, yes, it's made with dust but just remember made with dust by God.

I love each nail and hair and pore.

I'm crazy for

My bod'.


I'm beautiful, it's true,

And so are you,

And everyone else, too.


I love my bod'.







When you opened up your heart

And let me glimpse a secret part

You tried to hide

Deep inside,


Then I knew I had to know

The rest of you you rarely show,

And now my dear,

It is clear




You are much more,

So much more than you've allowed the world to see.

As the ocean goes so far beyond the shore,

You are much more, and more and more you mean the world to me.


You are much more,

So much more than just a warm and friendly face.

You have strength like I have never seen before,

And yet a gentle grace.


You have love as great as heaven. You have feeling deep as earth.

You've had pain like you were dying, and the healing of rebirth.


You are fireworks in the summer. You are daydreams in the fall.

You are rainstorms in the springtime, and I want to know it all.


You are much more,

And together we will fill our days with life.

I can't wait for what the future has in store.

We'll be much more and more and more and more and more, forevermore.

Please be my wife.







I don't know how to describe it.

Is there a word

I haven't heard?

Or maybe it's simpler than I thought.

Maybe it's just




She's my friend. She's my dearest friend.

And as each day goes by I love her more.

She's my friend. She's my truest friend,

A friend who knows what being friends is for.


I can say anything at all and she understands.

No matter what, she never judges me.

I can be silent when I'm with her and there's no demands.

It's all okay. I'm free to be.


This is new, but it's also old.

It seems as if we've always been a pair.

This is old, but it's also new.

We still surprise and find new things to share.


Sometimes we talk about the things we really care about,

And sometimes we laugh until we almost cry.

Sometimes we run around like kids. We play and skip and shout.

And sometimes we stand and look at the sky.


This is good. Sure, there's problems, too,

But I know that I'll be with her all my life.

She's my friend, and much more than friend.

And now, aren't I lucky? she's my wife.







Some think that a wise man lives in caves,

Never shaves,

And solemnly behaves,

While over dusty tomes he slaves,

Not havin' earthly wishes.

But brother, they're wrong, as I can show.

You wanna know

The way to go

To feel the spirit and get in the flow?

The way is washin' dishes!




Washin' dishes!

Washin' dishes!

Oh, it's so much fun!

In the water of truth and the soap of life

With love you will be one.




You may ask what washin' dishes does

That gives you a buzz

And gets out the fuzz,

And changes things from the way they was

When it's worse than smellin' fishes.

But of all true gurus now alive,

Four out of five

Mainly derive

The Force that makes them grow and thrive

Just from washin' dishes!






Feelin' your hands in them soapy bubbles,

You lose your troubles

And your pleasure doubles.

Your soul comes clean as you rub-a-dub    dubbles

All them dirty dishes.

So bless this ritual, my son.

Do not shun

What must be done

Or of nirvana, you'll have none.

Remember, wash them dishes!









When you've been good,

Just as good as can be,

Done what you should,

Everything from A to Z,


(You've not touched pot or booze or sex or cards or any other nasty things.

In a day or two, you'd have sprouted wings.)


But then you feel

Like you're going to burst.

You must conceal

Your desire to do your worst.


If you just let it out a bit at a time you'll be so very awf'ly glad.

How good it is to be a little bit bad.




For we need a little sinning to chase the blues away.

Just a little sinning to brighten up each day.

It's amazing what some naughty words will do.

They can change your cloudy skies of gray to skies of blue, just one or two.


You need a little sinning to see you never frown.

Just a little sinning, so keep your sunny side down.

Yes, we need a little sinning to be carefree.

Just a little sinning, just a little sinning,

Just a little sinning for you and me.







If you're down in the dumps

'Cause the market slumps

And your partner jumps

Out the window,


Don't feel blue.

What's happened to you

Is like the flu

Or stubbing your toe.




When you've lost your money and most of Daddy's.

When the bull has gone and left you patties.

Don't despair lassies and laddies.

It's just the Dow Jones blues.

It's just the Dow Jones blues.


When there's runaway triple digit inflation.

When banks are failing across the nation,

And you are feeling desperation.

It's just the Dow Jones blues.

It's just the Dow Jones blues.


And if life gets to be beyond endurance,

Remember that is why you bought life insurance.


But when your lawyer takes you aside

And says the answer is suicide,

Don't forget you're just paying your dues

With the Dow Jones blues.

It's just the Dow Jones blues.







I'd been on the couch for days, slouching in a haze.

Informercials on the tube, Ben and Jerry's on the floor.

Then this guy comes waltzing through the door.


He said, "Let's get off our heinies.

I'll take you out for Chinese."


I said, "Who are you? Go away, boo!

I'll scream, I swear. Oh, what do I care?


"My brain is fried, my goldfish died,

I'm all alone, they turned off the phone.


"I've nothing to give, no reason to live,

Get me a knife! I hate my life."


"I know, I know. You're feeling low.

But it's all right. You'll see the light

If you let me give you the lowdown.

And, for effect, I'll sing it in Motown."




Snap out! Snap out! Snap out of that funk!

Snap out of that funk right now! (Twice)




So what's this you say that you're wasting your time,

You should give up 'cause you're not good enough?

That's just some old sludge from the primeval slime.

Kid, the truth is you've got all the right stuff.

And I say




Snap out! Snap out! Snap out of that funk!

Snap out of that funk right now!

You're smart! You're good! You don't need that bunk! Snap out of that funk right now!




I know that you're feeling that you ain't got love

But all your friends are crazy for you.

That's only a tape coming up to let go of.

Just love yourself and you will get through.

It's time to




Snap out! Snap out! Snap out of that funk!

Snap out of that funk right now!

You're cool! You're hot! You're really a hunk!

Snap out of that funk right now!




Kid, I'm your best friend and I'll always support you.

Whatever happens I will be here.

And when all the world seems to trouble and thwart you

All you gotta do is look in the mirror

And I'll say




Snap out! Snap out! Snap out of that funk!

Snap out of that funk right now! (five times)


(As fades out, spoken to mirror) Hey, baby, I love it when you smile. Yeah. You've got a beautiful smile. Did anyone ever tell you that?...






Every day a new one.

And I'd say you're due one.

Stand all alone

In your very own



When life feels so tragic,

It reveals the magic

And melts your care

Into thin air.


No revelation,

But there's a clearer view.

No grand sensation,

Yet life comes new.



With the flow of healing.

What a glowing feeling!

The dawn of you.



TODAY (A Children's Song)


In the morning when I rise

Sunlight dances in my eyes.

Beauty sings from ev-'rywhere.

There's a stillness in the air.


I hurry out the door

And through the wind I soar

So glad to be alive today.


Dewdrops glisten their good-bye

To the stars above the sky,

While the sun shines its hello

To all living things below.


I'm part of what I see,

And it's all part of me.

I'm glad to be alive today.







Darkness comes and stillness falls. The moon begins to rise.

Heaven's hand enshrouds the earth in gleaming starry skies.

In the softness of the wind, the branches stir above.

Deep within my secret place, I stir with love.




Oh, spirit of the night! Sky of black, moon of white.

Oh, spirit of the night! I feel your heart. I feel your heart.




Daytime embers cool and die as cities dim their lights.

Evening fires inflame and blaze as loving warmth ignites.

In the closeness of this hour, I hear an angel's song,

Silently my soul awakes and joins along.




Oh, spirit of the night! Sky of black, moon of white.

Oh, spirit of the night! I feel your heart. I feel your heart. I feel your heart.





Oh Star of Stars,

May the song of my heart

Ascend to you

On silvery wings,

Meeting your passionate glance with grace and resonance,

Blending with your music

And returning to touch the earth with pure joy.






Long ago,

Long ago,

Someone did something to someone else, who

Did something to someone else, who

Did something to someone else, who

Did something to someone else, who

Did something to someone else, who

Did something to someone else, who

Says revenge is sweet?







There is a time in December when hearts grow warm and bright.

If the season's cheer

Grew throughout each year

All the world would fill with light.




Whether you celebrate Hanukah or Christmas, or even nothing at all,

Whether you're black or white, Irish or Italian, four feet or seven feet tall,


It couldn't matter less.

We're all one family.

And if we just love and bless,

We'll live in harmony.


So this year, do your part bringing peace and beauty,

Starting wherever you are.

Watch it spread heart to heart, lighting up the earth

Like a Christmas star.





In the first dream, it was a day like you've never seen before:

Bright as summer, calm as winter, colorful as autumn, and fresh as spring.

Everything glowed with a tingling light

As if at once it was day and night.

The wheat shimmered gold. The sky glimmered blue.

A gleaming hummingbird flew.


We were all together in the field, binding sheaves of wheat, and singing.

All of a sudden, my sheaf arose,

And took off like a dancer on the end of her toes.

It circled around us and flew through the sky.

Then it alighted, standing high.

And your sheaves gathered around,

Bowing to the ground.


In the next dream, it was dusk.

The sun had not set, but the moon and eleven stars were already out.

As I walked slowly into the horizon, the sun and the moon and all of the stars

Fell from the sky and lay at my feet. Then I woke up.







I wonder what time it is.

It's so hard to tell.

Only a shaft of light coming through.

I wish I had something to eat.

Some dates, some dates, some dates and honey!




Dates and honey would be so nice.

Worth the money at any price.

Dates and honey to sweeten my lot.

Sweet and sunny when life is not.


Cheese and bread

Would instead

Be fine, of course.

Leg of lamb,

Even ham,

Or wine, of course.


But dates and honey would be so nice.

Dates and honey, dates and honey.

Isn't it funny

How nice dates and honey would be?





Maybe it is foolish to believe in dreams,

For what are dreams

But restless schemes?

Maybe all my visions are just make believe,

Just make believe,

And I'm naive.


But you have to have a vision

Or your time on earth

Between death and birth

Is merely dying.

And if you make the decision

That you'll live your heart,

You give your heart,

Or you're not trying.


So maybe it's not foolish to believe in dreams,

And your dreams just may come true.







At first it's hard. At times you feel

Your soul will crack, your mind will reel

But then your friends, the earth and rain

Receive your tears, absorb your pain.


To those you love, your missives fly.

At night, the moon brings their reply.

You learn to trust that there's a reason you're apart

And you do not lose heart.




Do not count the days.

At night you'll peacefully slumber.

Months are short and years are swift

When days are given no number.


Do not count the hours

When laboring in the garden.

Working hard and with a song,

Not holding back, and feeling strong,

Bring peace when day is done.


You are not a slave despite the way it seems.

May you learn soon, my friend,

This is not the end

Of dreams.


Live your precious days.

Don't drag yourself to your sunsets.

Stand up high and count the things that count.


Count the stars. Count the love.

Count the blessings from above.

Stand up high and count the things that count.







You purchased him for a garden slave a year or two ago.

At first he seemed like a waste of gold. His work was poor and slow.

Then suddenly he came to life and did the work of two.

So I made him lord of the garden, and a bumper crop he grew.




Joseph, the shepherd's son. That is what they call him.

I made him lord of garden, and a bumper crop he grew.




Then I gave him all the cattle, too, and how they multiplied!

So now I thought it was time to try him on a job inside.

The other slaves all love him and for him they do their best.

It must be some sort of magic, for each thing he does is blessed.




Joseph, the shepherd's son. That is what they call him.

It must be some sort of magic, for each thing he does is blessed.





I tell the tale of Abraham, the servant of God most high.

He sat one night beside a fire and gazed at the summer sky.

All the stars were like shimmering gems in a crown

And the wind was as soft as the finest down.

The night had never felt so warm.

And Abraham trusted God.


Then God said unto Abraham, "Take Isaac, whom you love,

And offer him upon a mount that I will tell you of."

"If God asks me to do it, then it must be done.

I will give Him my Isaac, my only son."

The night had never stung so cold.

And Abraham trusted God.


They journeyed for three days until they reached the appointed spot.

And Isaac said, "My father, is there something that you forgot?

We have rope and a fire, but I don't see a lamb."

"My son, God will provide it," said Abraham.

A fire never burned so hot.

And Abraham trusted God.


Then Abraham bound Isaac on the altar that he had made.

He put his knife to Isaac's throat. His son now he would have slayed

When the angel of God called out "Abraham

Do not offer your son. Give instead this ram."

A voice had never rung so sweet.

And Abraham trusted God.


"Since you did not withhold your son, great blessings will I bestow,

And through your seed all nations will be blessed in the overflow.

Never shall you again human offerings give

For it pleases God not that men die, but live."

A man had never been so blessed.

For Abraham trusted God.





Never have I seen such a one who glimmers like the dawn.

Never have I seen such a one as tender as a fawn.

Never have I seen such a one so like a waterfall.

Yet she is like none of these things, like nothing I recall.


She's not like silk. She's not like a bird.

She's not like rain. Oh, where is the word?

She's not like spring. She's not like the sky.

But if she's not, I know not why.


Her hair is gold. Oh, yes, it is gold.

Yet something more, a thousand fold.

Her eyes are green, like no other green.

Are they em-'rald stars, or merely Ondine?


Never have I seen such a one who gives me this warm glow.

Never have I seen such a one so unlike those I know.

Never have I seen such a one so like no one at all.

Yet somehow I know who she is, though why, I can't recall.





Come with us! Oh, Sabrina, come with us, dearest friend!

We shall be your new fam-'ly, sister and brother until the end.


In our grand, noble castle looking out on the sea,

All our days will be happy, safe from harm and adversity.


Our lives have been bound together from the start.

Let us join them together now so that nothing can pull them apart.


Come with us, dear Sabrina, home.







There's a place beautiful beyond compare.

Everything longed for is there.

It's not a spot you can reach by car,

Nor does it orbit a distant star.

It's not on a mountain that you'll reach soon,

Or over the rainbow, or on the moon.


But there's a place of shining grace,

Where rivers flow, and dreams can grow,

Where hearts can heal, and learn to feel,

A place made of pure truth and love.

Can you see it? Can you hear it?

Can you feel it, in the stillness where you are?




When you wake up from a dream

And know that everything's all right,

That things aren't what they seem,

And that the morning's not the night,

That the monsters on your wall

Were only shadows after all,

You're sitting in the garden of your soul.


When, on a sunny day,

You are gazing at the view,

And what's petty fades away,

And the flowers all look new,

When the mists of restless memories

Are lifted from the trees,

You're standing in the garden of your soul.


It's a place where you are free,

And you can soar,

Going anywhere you see

To explore.

The problems that need your care,

The feelings you need to air,

Are more clear

'Cause you are here

In the garden.


When you know things no one taught you,

And remember what you know,

When you feel that what life brought you

Just helped you learn and grow,

When understanding more

Brings you peace where there was war,

You're walking in the garden of your soul.


When a moment lasts forever,

And the hours disappear,

When you're working and you never

Want to stop creating here,

When you want to write a song

For everyone who comes along,

You're living in the garden of your soul.

You're living in the garden of your soul.