My Very Favorite One from Hell’s Kitchen!

(If you’re viewing this on your phone, you gotta turn it sideways to see this!)

Today marks the 38th anniversary of my first wedding day!

Yes, on April 9th, 1981, in the late morning, I took the RR subway train (now just called the ‘R’ train) to City Hall in downtown Manhattan and married Chong Foun Kee. I was 20, he was 25. It was a cool but very sunny day. Spirits were high! We had lunch at Dolly’s Diner afterward with our two witnesses — a gal who was studying at Vidal Sassoon’s to become a hairdresser. She was originally from Pennsylvania. And just some guy we knew from Australia, whose name I do not recall, but I think it was something like Keith.

After lunch, my husband accompanied me back to our apartment. For him, it was move-in day. He was very old-fashioned and did not move in with me until we were legally married, although several weeks prior to the wedding day, he had picked out our apartment in The Camelot Building, on the corner of W. 45th Street and 8th Avenue, in the heart of the theater district, just off Times Square.  This area was also known as Hell’s Kitchen, but it was at the edge of it; much nicer than where I had been living prior to that — on W. 50th and 10th Avenue, which, back then, really was “Hell’s kitchen”. It was poor, violent, wretched, bleak. I had moved into our new apartment almost immediately and was already calling it home on our wedding day. (The Camelot Building is still there, btw.)

We stayed married for 9 years, although for a good chunk of that time, I lived by myself down in the East Village (called Alphabet City back then) and went positively haywire. But in a good way, overall, I think. However, during that marriage, I wrote my absolute best songs.

This one here, She Ain’t No Virgin At All, was hands-down my favorite song of all the songs I ever wrote. I wrote it in 1982, when I was 22 years old and had been playing the folk clubs in Greenwich Village (more commonly known now as the West Village) for several months by then.  Maybe close to a year.

This demo was made in my drummer’s bedroom, on his 8-track. He played a synthesizer and some sort of percussion – maybe a drum machine, but when I played it live, it was some sort of acoustic percussion instrument. I played the acoustic guitar on this demo. It’s just me singing. Lots of reverb, though. Anyway. I just love this song. It’s about guilt and infidelity and the question of redemption. The demo is analogue and obviously really old. You need to turn up your volume.

Enjoy, gang. This was a period of my life that really was truly magical.

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