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#695965 - 01/03/22 06:54 PM [User Showcase] The Pilot, A 1970's story
Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Planobilly Offline
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Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
https://soundcloud.com/planobillydfw/the-pilot-v7?si=4726260c485649bb882eb893ff384239&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing

This is sort of a strange song about a strange place in a strange time and part of history.

The Bahamas has been a haven for smugglers from back in the rum runner days. Drug smuggling was a natural progression. It was more or less socially acceptable back in the 1970s. Any reference to actual events are purely coincidental.

Gorda key was an infamous place for smuggling and Sandy Point Abaco Bahamas, a few miles south, was a place I spent a large amount of time. Listened to lots of stories, saw lots of stuff. I have been told that Pilots came there to escape to Marsh Harbor.

FARC=Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
VOR=A navigation device used on airplanes
The mountain of Pic la Selle is by far the tallest mountain in Haiti, standing 8,793 feet
The only place you would get "green avgas" was Colombia and that's is how the DEA would know your plane had been there.

Gorda Key now is owned by Disney and is a cruise ship port for them.

Two tracks from BIAB, the rest is all my fault...lol

Lyrics
The Pilot

The judge gave him ten long years
But he managed to make it out in five
No other thing that he could do
If he wanted to stay alive

FARC army loads the plane at night
In the hidden jungle strip
Green fuel in five gallon cans
Nothing extra for the trip

Eight thousand feet is all the plane will climb
There is a mountain you got to go around
It’s always on your mind

The VOR in Haiti’s out
The mountain is approaching fast
No way to tell if the flight will be your last

Man you got no other way got to make it to Gorda key
If you don’t men with guns will be looking for you and me
If I don’t crash the plane or get shot on the ground
We will take the skiff to Sandy Point, uncle’s truck to Marsh harbor town
If you get away this time, this won’t be the last flight
But you know in the end all this will just not turn out right
Your either gona go to jail, crash and burn or be shot dead
Better drink another bottle of gin to
put this right on out of your head

Uncle said he never knew
What happen in the end
Just on day the pilot
Never showed up again

Who knows if it’s the end of the story
Or if the pilot made it out
You can wish for good luck
But I got my doubts

Billy
_________________________
Sears, Roebuck and Co guitar, Black Diamond Strings, RCA Victor Radio ASCAP Writer/Publisher IPI Number: 1117481473 Songwriters Guild Of America And All My EX'S actually do LIVE IN Texas

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

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#695989 - 01/03/22 09:28 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 1706
Loc: Maryland
TuneMonger Offline
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Registered: 02/20/10
Posts: 1706
Loc: Maryland
Wow, what a story! Kinda makes "A Pirate Look at 40" seem like a children's tale by comparison. Not to mention my squeaky clean retired life. Great stuff for a song or a story, either one.

There were prosody issues throughout, though it was sung well enough.

The production seemed very lo-fi, was that intentional? This sounds like a scratch demo to me, not really a mixed product.

Very interesting!


Edited by TuneMonger (01/03/22 09:32 PM)
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#696011 - 01/04/22 04:52 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Planobilly Offline
Expert

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Hi TuneMonger,

There was not much of anything "intentional" about the musical structure. Just picked up my guitar and started playing. My main concern was to tell an accurate story.

The lyrics were super difficult to write. I wanted everything to accurately represent actual events and feelings that repeatedly took place in the 1970's/1980's in Miami/Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas. If you owned an airplane, a boat, and a TV in those days you would have been well aware of what was going on around you. Don Johnson and Miami Vice were pretty hard to miss. It was very normal if you owned certain brands of boats to be stopped and searched almost every time you left or returned to port everglades.

Shoot-outs at Dadeland Mall, the Broward county sheriff telling everyone to buy a gun because he could not protect them, Cocaine cowboys shooting it out in the streets. The President of the United States created a special drug enforcement task force just to address the issue in Miami. It is a history Miami would most likely like to forget.

Being a commercial pilot and owning my own airplane at the time put me in the environment to have exposure to the realities of the time. You don't have to be a drug smuggler to understand the fear involved in flying in remote areas of the Bahamas and the Caribbean when the sparse navigational devices stop working.

Many of the pilots who decided to become smugglers were Vietnam vets looking for a flying job that reminded them of the experiences from the war. Many felt disconnected and looked down upon because of their involvement in the war. Outcast from society...so why not?

I am not trying to justify anyone's involvement in this abhorrent business. Just to provide a little clarity on what went on and why it happened and how different segments of society felt about it.

Billy
_________________________
Sears, Roebuck and Co guitar, Black Diamond Strings, RCA Victor Radio ASCAP Writer/Publisher IPI Number: 1117481473 Songwriters Guild Of America And All My EX'S actually do LIVE IN Texas

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

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#696012 - 01/04/22 04:56 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 05/27/19
Posts: 1829
Loc: Dallas, PA, USA
BabuMusic Offline
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Registered: 05/27/19
Posts: 1829
Loc: Dallas, PA, USA
Quite a story, Billy. Well told, too. You seem to be well-schooled in the Bahamian smuggling business. The song demands a sequel.
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Enjoy whatever happens!
marty

Babu Music on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLDrsXTXfShgnGalQZ0ElQw
Me on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/marty-straub

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using Band in a Box, Reaper, Cakewalk, Ozone 9

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#696021 - 01/04/22 05:30 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Planobilly Offline
Expert

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Hi Marty,

Thanks, man. The sequel would not be very exciting...lol The Bahamian smuggling business is much more a thing of the past I think. The DEA still has aircraft there and the US coast guard is ever-present but I assume the Mexican border is where most of the action is nowadays. I sold one of my boats to a DEA helicopter pilot who lives and works in Nassau. So I guess there must be some activity still going on. Drugs still wash up on the beach here in Miami on occasion. I don't fly any longer so I am pretty much out of contact with that world.

Nowadays when I take my boat to Bimini and have conversations with the old-timers who live there, they tell me all the drug smugglers have moved on to other parts of the world. It is a lot safer there now. Nassau on the other hand has become a pretty dangerous place.

There have been other changes that are not so good for me at least. The ten or fifteen dollars it use to cost to clear customs is now $300 bucks. Six fifty a gallon for gas the last time I went.

Billy
_________________________
Sears, Roebuck and Co guitar, Black Diamond Strings, RCA Victor Radio ASCAP Writer/Publisher IPI Number: 1117481473 Songwriters Guild Of America And All My EX'S actually do LIVE IN Texas

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

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#696026 - 01/04/22 06:24 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Mark Hayes Offline
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Registered: 06/21/21
Posts: 1497
Enjoying your story and your singing this morning.

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#696036 - 01/04/22 07:48 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 11/01/09
Posts: 1131
Loc: Southeast USA
bloc-head Offline
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Registered: 11/01/09
Posts: 1131
Loc: Southeast USA
Your words and music tell an intriguing story of dangerous times & places. I heard similar tales while living/working aboard an Aircraft Carrier in the Gulf Of Mexico, most of the '70s... Well done Billy.
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#696165 - 01/05/22 02:08 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 10/21/21
Posts: 530
Loc: Versmold - GERMANY
PROJECT M Online   content
Journeyman

Registered: 10/21/21
Posts: 530
Loc: Versmold - GERMANY
Hello Billy
Cool background track
Your vocals fit well and give the whole thing a great sound
I like it very much
Many greetings
Andi ;-)

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#696264 - 01/05/22 12:10 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4749
Loc: Sydney Australia
PeterF Offline
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Registered: 12/06/03
Posts: 4749
Loc: Sydney Australia
Billy

Nice piece of story telling.

Kept my attention throughout.

Peter

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#696271 - 01/05/22 12:27 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Planobilly Offline
Expert

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Thank you Mark for your comments.

Hey Block Head, thanks, I think a Navy guy would be well aware of a lot of this.

Andi, thanks. I did not give a lot of consideration as to what this would be like for someone living in Europe. We have lots of smuggling off the Spanish coast going to Germany. These issues are worldwide.

Peter thank you also for listening. I don't get much real news from down under. Video Track keeps me up to date on the Pandemic but I have no idea what the smuggling thing looks like in your part of the world.

Thanks again to everyone for making me feel welcome here.

Cheers,

Billy
_________________________
Sears, Roebuck and Co guitar, Black Diamond Strings, RCA Victor Radio ASCAP Writer/Publisher IPI Number: 1117481473 Songwriters Guild Of America And All My EX'S actually do LIVE IN Texas

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

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#696317 - 01/05/22 04:24 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 12/08/11
Posts: 6567
Loc: Edmonton, Ab, Canada
Scott C Offline
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Registered: 12/08/11
Posts: 6567
Loc: Edmonton, Ab, Canada
Loved this tune. Very cool back story on the song. Super vocal and lyric. Well done

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#696325 - 01/05/22 04:57 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Planobilly Offline
Expert

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Thanks Scott, I am still struggling with speech issues from the throat surgery. There are certain phrases in this that are not very singable, to begin with.

Billy
_________________________
Sears, Roebuck and Co guitar, Black Diamond Strings, RCA Victor Radio ASCAP Writer/Publisher IPI Number: 1117481473 Songwriters Guild Of America And All My EX'S actually do LIVE IN Texas

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

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#697235 - 01/09/22 03:52 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 6571
Loc: Davis, CA
Greg Johnson Offline
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Registered: 12/21/13
Posts: 6571
Loc: Davis, CA
Cool song!!

Any reference to actual events are purely coincidental.......sounds like you are trying to make sure nobody thinks you are in witness protection or working for the heat!

Good arrangement and vocal Billy!! Well done!! Take care. Greg

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#697308 - 01/10/22 02:05 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 4335
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
rayc Offline
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Registered: 04/13/16
Posts: 4335
Loc: Cooran Queensland Australia
Everything works for me...a good performance and cool writing too.
The vocal seems, to me, to be a little left of centre but no biggie unless you want to remix.
I enjoyed the whole package.
Your vocal performance added extra authenticity.
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#697800 - 01/12/22 08:37 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 11626
Loc: GA USA
Janice & Bud Offline
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Registered: 12/05/11
Posts: 11626
Loc: GA USA
Wow, what a story and so well told -- and performed.

The ultra rich imagery begs a video.

Well done in all the production aspects!

J&B
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#697806 - 01/12/22 09:24 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Planobilly Offline
Expert

Registered: 07/10/15
Posts: 1923
Loc: Miami, Florida
Thanks Rayc for your kind comments.

Janice and Bud, thank you also. I think it could be possible to find enough aircraft footage to make a video. There are a few photos of Gorda key with a wrecked Beach 18 setting in the bushes. I will go look to see if this is possible.

Thanks again for all the kind comments.

Billy
_________________________
Sears, Roebuck and Co guitar, Black Diamond Strings, RCA Victor Radio ASCAP Writer/Publisher IPI Number: 1117481473 Songwriters Guild Of America And All My EX'S actually do LIVE IN Texas

"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game."

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#699329 - 01/18/22 04:13 PM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 01/07/20
Posts: 1475
justanoldmuso Offline
Expert

Registered: 01/07/20
Posts: 1475
Billy.
liked that plane pic.
very interesting song and lyrics.
best
om
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#700535 - 01/24/22 07:53 AM [User Showcase] Re: The Pilot, A 1970's story [Re: Planobilly]
Registered: 01/06/20
Posts: 1748
Loc: Illinois
CaptainMoto Offline
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Registered: 01/06/20
Posts: 1748
Loc: Illinois
Love a song with a story behind it!
Nice write!

moto
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