The Music of
Thomas E. Peterson
The Story Behind a Song

The song "Canoeing on the L" is a song created purely impromptu with a portion of the musical group known as "The South Lake Tahoe Bicentennial Tree Frog Band." Had this session not been preserved through use of the cassette recorder, this song would have in all likelihood become one of those that were lost to our known universe. A brief description of this group is in the "Transition to a Private Life" section of the musical history found here.

It is likely that this session took place on May, 1977, although there is no record pointing to the date. As was typical of all the the recordings done by this group, it is very amateurish both musically and in the audio capture technique. Having fun and living in the moment was the true purpose. When the record button was pushed on that old GE cassette tape recorder, what followed was purely spontaneous. There was an entire lack of plan as to any of the content there after. Tom took the lead creating a guitar rhythm and chord structure that became a progression repeatable. After a few moments, with the settling of structure, Tom began singing, forming a ballad like story that was sort of plausible, based the behavioral patterns established in one of the bands members.

The songs story is centered in a fictitious trip on LSD, where the character of concern, had taken a hit of acid, then undertook an adventure in a canoe out on a wind prone lake. As the story unfolds, the calm lake of this story's morning, later becomes a threatening wind swept situation with towering waves that eventually capsize the canoe, altering the pleasant condition of this adventure, to one of threat, combined with the drug's hallucinogenic influence. The story concludes with the individual clinging to the canoe out in these conditions.

Here is the original recording that captured this song, (from the original cassette tape recording).

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The Lyric

Got up this morning,
Struggled out of bed,
I fell down the stares,
landed on my head.
Well that knocked a little sense in me,
I decided to go out for a canoe ride.
Go out for a canoe ride.
So I looked in my stash box,
And there was a little pill.
It was just a little green dot,
Some folks call it L.
Some folks call it L.
So I, I took a pill, then I laid down,
'cause ya know I wanted a thrill,
I think i'll get my fill.

So I, I went on down to the lake.
Dipped the canoe in the water.
And there, with my radio, my flashlight,
that wasn't all,
I set out for the deep water.

And it was a really calm day today,
As I paddled out back in the canoe.
Yes it was a really sunshiny day,
and the ripples on the water,
Made me feel like I was trippin' on the water,
It made me feel like the ripples on the water,
The ripples on the water,
But the ripples on the water,
But the ripples on the water,
And they bounced, back into my eyes.
My eyes. My eyes. My eyes, My eyes, My eyes.
So I dipped the paddle,
And I pulled it back,
And I watched the drops fall off the end,
Dancing into the water.
I watched the drops and the trails they fell,
And the paddle just kept on goin',
On and on and on and on and on.
On and on and on and on and on,
The trails kept going on.

Then the wind began to blow,
Yes the wind began to blow.
And pretty soon the swells, started rollin in my canoe.
What do you think I did do.
I started to freak out.
And the wind kept blowing,
And the waves got bigger.
An I was I was I was
Oh no I was I was I was
oh no I was I was I was
oh no I was I was I was I was I was
I was gettin gettin gettin gettin trails,
Off of them there them there big waves
And they was rollin it was rollin
Just fallin splashin all over me
I was just just I was just I was just
Gettin ready,
Boosh, and the wave hit me in the face,
And the water kept comin' in,
And I just couldn't paddle fast enough
And I saw the color of the sun,
and I saw the color in the moon.
And I saw the deep blue water.
and I saw my canoe,
And it was gettin full of water.
It was gettin full of water.
And I was gettin a little scared.
I was a little scared
and I was paddling a little harder
and I was paddling harder.
and the wind kept blowing
and the waves kept flying.
Right in on me.

Blub blub blub blub.
Blub blub blub blub blub.
Blub blub blub blub blub.
and I started swimmin through the patterns in the water
and I watched my flashlight, and my radio, and my paddles,
they were all above me and I was sinking,
So I started swimmin up, I started swimmin up
And I got back to the surface of the water.
and them waves were flyin at me.
And I saw a big green shark.
and a big purple octopus with giant legs, eight of 'em,
Then he just disappeared.
I got up and got a big breath,
I grabbed my canoe and I climbed on top of it.
So I could decide what to do,
I decided what I would do.
I decided what I would do.
So I laid on that there canoe,
thinking about what I should do.
And the sun was in my eyes,
and the moon was in my eyes,
And I was looking at the water.

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