I am a child of this earth, a son of God. I am the very image of my creator, the greater sum of all that came before and the unimaginable glory of all my dreams. You will hear my song.
My deepest gratitude to God, my parents Walt and Ruth, my brothers Karl and Paul, and my cousin Elizabeth. Love to Uncle Al and Aunt Marlene, as they walk with God. Big love to Kumi, my best half, and my reason for working so hard. Ms Redd, you make this all so easy. Big hugs to my kids, Lancelot and Kristin, inspiring me to keep pushing ahead, no matter what the odds!
All songs written, arranged and performed by Walter Runge.
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Through the magic of keyboards, I recorded all pianos, electric pianos, clavinets, guitars, synthesizers, keyboard bass, organs and special effects, string and horn arrangements,
And drums and percussion parts.
Additional performances feature the following artists!
Many thanks to Rod Hicks on drums and Doug Grisby on bass, the amazing rhythm section, friends and gentlemen. Thank you to Dave Renz, my voice from the wind section. You are a tremendous player and composer. Thanks to Joe Anderson, trumpet extraordinaire. Live hornz is da best. For your tremendous contributions on guitar, thank you Ross Bellenoit.
Thanks to Glenn Barratt, of Morning Star Studios, for engineering and additional arranging, my partner in creating this sound. I’ve told him and I’ll tell you ~ I can’t do it without him!. You all are truly inspirational.
Album cover art created by Hannah Fontanares.
This album is dedicated to Alfred Johannes Runge. Opa came from Germany at the age of seventeen to make his way in America. He was fleeing the tyrannical reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He had come to America, a young baker. It was years later that I discovered his secret that would set me on an undeniable, unquestionable, and unwavering passionate path creating music.
My favorite memories of him are waking up in a row home in Brooklyn to the smell of fresh breads, cakes and pastries he had baked the night before. As I made my way to the kitchen table, he would be seated, smiling and buttering some pumpernickel toast. Granny would put a tall glass of iced coffee in front of me and wait for me to decide what to try first!
The most important thing about Opa is that he answered the question of why music pours out of me like it does. He answered why I am overwhelmed by the sound of music on the speakers, why I cry at the sound of a woman singing, why the sound of a great live band makes the rest of the world fade away, why improvising a song is amazing, why the genius of Miles and Stevie Wonder will always drive me to play more, why the sound of Franz Liszt and Bill Evans will always be intimidating and inspirational at the same time, why the thought of a song sends me singing or searching for a recording, and why the loss of an artist, musician, writer or a poet breaks my heart.
Opa, too, played piano and violin. Little did he know he was to journey to America as a baker and build, instead, a legacy of music. Through him I realized inspiration, respect for creativity, the thrill of exploration, and the triumph of dedication to something that hurls you into the chaos only to return with something emotional, captivating, lovely, and mysterious. Something that everyone can understand and enjoy! Most people will give you an inch, some will give you a yard. Bakers will sell you a dozen, and if a dozen is 12, then Opa left me 13, a Bakers Dozen.
Back It Up - I often reminisce about the sound of a needle dropping on a record. Think about the first songs you ever loved; jazzy, funky, gospel-rocking classics! opener featuring Ross Bellenoit on guitar.
Why Dontcha Duit - Straight up funk fo ya! Rod Hicks on Drums, Doug Grisby on Bass, slammin’ stanky thang for Dave Renz to blow some fat sax ovah da top!
Brooklyn Bound M - Killer horn band takes us back to Brooklyn. Once again Dave Renz takes us for a ride from the lower east side to Bed-Stuy.
Effy n da Gambler - Slow funk inspired by Miles. Title song for the Hip Hop Opera.
Bring It Home - Just a fun sax jam full of smiles and cries. Wherever you call home, BRINGIT!
I’m Yurz Fer Good - A promise to my girl.
How Can You Stand It - Sometimes life is just that good! Glenn Barratt created a new world and dropped this tune right in the middle of it.
Tight Pants n Baggy Pockets - Kumi thought of this title. My wallet seems to wreck that back pocket on dem tight jeans.
A Matter Of Pride - Rock n Roll anthem for the proud, loud and joyful crowd.
Brok’n Roll - Industrial percussion sets the stage for the sweet sounds of the city.
Palladium - Wayne Shorter’s composition that has thrilled me over and over and over again.
10th & Pine - This sound reminded Kumi of her favorite bus stop in center city Philadelphia. This one features Joe Anderson on trumpet playing counterpoint to Dave’s sax.
No Doubt - Only love will get us through. Rod and Doug kick it out for the last tune in the box. Fear cannot reside where Faith abides! No Doubt.
What shall I wear?
Shall I dress in the fresh clean robes of a clergy, pressed and colorful, or perhaps white and pure. Maybe shiny black in a justice’s raiments. A uniform? Women love a guy in uniform. No, I demand no authority and it is not my place to judge. How about a century old kimono, pastels and gold thread, textured designs amid the subtle floral patterns in pink and teal? Nice, but not today. Lederhosen, something traditionally German. Not now. So I strip off the costumes to reveal a nice colorful suit. If I could only find a one button suit. That would be so cool! You pick out the greatest shirt and tie, then you cover it up with a jacket, two buttons, three buttons… No, I’m bringing back one button suits! Linen? Something I saw in Italy, maybe silk. No wait, the suit has to go. Quiet as it’s kept, I’m hiding a linen shirt and soft-worn, ripped-up jeans under this suit. It took me 30 years to get these jeans this soft. If the shirt doesn’t work, I could slip on a Chinese jacket, the ones with the tiny frogs for buttons. But then I would have to put on those baggy raw silk pants I wear to tai chi class. Perhaps a tee shirt, with the sweaty collar from an hour or two at the gym. Naw, the linen shirt works, a nice loose linen. No. So I lose the suit. I do feel more at ease. Though I love the feel of a suit, I’m thinking you can better see me for who I am. Maybe a tee shirt. Nope. We talked about that. But then, if I were to show you all that I am, I would strip myself naked. You could see the thin frame of generations of Scandawhovian ancestors ~ Walt and Ruth, Alfred and Helen, Alma and Henry, Nicholas, Gustav and Hugo…
and there, naked, you will see the torn wrists, marred by shackles I placed there myself.
Doubt, fear, and the unchecked, unkind opinions of others made bondage look appealing,
comfortable and familiar. You will see the smile drawn upward by the encouraging voices of friends, family, lovers, children, and the knowledge that my Creator made all good things possible and blessed me with gifts that, in spite of inflicting myself with torment and barriers, will someday emerge as unique creations, triumphant declarations that I am one of All Good Things!
You will see the stripes I wear. Smell the rotten, black dried blood in the moonlight and the dark crimson in the sun, years after the sun set on those injuries. You will see the fresh red marks of yesterday’s criticisms, because I open those wounds over and over again. You’ll see the bleeding strokes of the most recent misunderstandings. Sometimes I am whipped with nothing but knotted leather. There are times I have allowed them to tie thorns of steel to the lash and have done nothing to defend myself. You can’t see my memories, so you wonder what makes me bitter, cautious, callous, quiet, pensive, lonely. You may even wonder why I would feel this way at all because now you can see the muscle flexing beneath the scars! Mountains, valleys, hills, plains, glaciers, wetlands, desert dunes and fertile forests stretching the scars and pouring bloody rivers of forgettable ill-fortune down my back and off my hips. For now I fear no pain.
I crave the discomfort of growth as I build my body, shape my soul, and test my creativity. Above all, I do not cringe at the voice of my critics. Their clanging gongs direct me towards those who would welcome and encourage me over and over again.
I am no longer the sullen, sorrowful child. I am a child of this earth, a son of God and I am the very image of my creator, the greater sum of all that came before and the unimaginable glory of all my dreams. You will hear my song.
Peace to you and yours.