Lyrics, Songwriting, Writing, Writing Process

Ten Years After

Anniversaries are a natural time of reflection. So I am commemorating ten years of my new life in jazz. Ten years since I was told that I could sing in the jazz style – that I did not sound horrible and that I could confidently go forward with my studies. Yes, ten years since I learned about the Jazz Foundation of America and I met a group of musicians there that became a new family to me. Ten years since I met a certain pianist at the 802 Musician’s Union Hall, a man that I now consider one of my dearest friends. Last month, we counted how many countries we have performed together–Six including the USA. (That is amazing to me since I have only been to seven countries in my entire life.)

It has been ten years since I started studying with Dr. Barry Harris, and through him, was introduced to so many new friends around the world. (I feel so lucky!) And, next month, it will be ten years since I was last able to embrace my friend and teacher, the late Ulysses Slaughter. I miss him so much.

Sometimes song ideas come to me while I am sleeping, fragments, or snippets, motifs and melodic shards, but ten years ago, shortly after Ulysses passed away, he sang this song to me in a dream. I felt like he was telling me that he had done everything he had wanted to do in life, that he had no regrets, that he had other things he needed to do now, but that he would continue to be there to guide me. I woke up, still hearing the song playing, almost like it was on the radio. I quickly wrote down all the lyrics I could remember. One day I will record it.

It is not really in a jazz style; it is a slower, more theatrical kind of a song. But, he was a very theatrical man, lots of drama. These words did so much to soothe my raw emotions at that time and as you read them, I hope you can hear his voice in the statements. I still do.

I’ve Taken My Bow
(It’s Time to Move Along Now)
©2008 Laurie Early

I’ve heard that life’s a stage
and we are but players
Well, my life’s been a musical
each act conquered in layers
but I’ve taken my bow, I’ve taken my bow
It’s time to move along now.

I’ve said all my lines
I’ve hit all my marks
I’ve heard every whispered cue
and seen the footlight sparks
but I’ve taken my bow, I’ve taken my bow
It’s time to move along now.

I’ll miss the company,
the hands, the crew, the show,
the final curtain call
has come for me, yet I know,
it’s all part of the blocking
as I exit to stage right
and now I’m in the audience
watching over you each night

Man! The applause was loud!
I still hear it from the wings
They loved my heartfelt songs
and my soul still sings
but I’ve taken my bow, I’ve taken my bow
It’s time to move along now

Yes, I’ve taken my bow
I’ve taken my final bow
It’s time, to move along now.

Ulysses’ Shoes – September 2008


  1. Happy anniversary, and may the next ten or twenty years be even better. May God continue to bless and keep you, helping you be all that He created you to be when he gifted your voice to us all.

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