Blues and gospel from the African American experience also greatly influenced me; it’s a great part of the fabric of my creativity. I have great interest in my own culture and respect for many other cultures. All of my life I have been a universal guy that’s why you hear all of those influences when you hear me sing. It’s not forced, this is just me. I’m a universal guy.

“Foxy Girls in Oakland” starts off with a country lick that I had Joe Crane play. Some people think Joe Crane wrote “Foxy Girls in Oakland” alone. He and I wrote it together. When he first brought it to me it was piecemeal and in a rough form. I shaped it and rewrote it; and although I was part writer of “Foxy Girls in Oakland,” I gave Joe full songwriter credit, as a gift, without taking any songwriter credit myself.

I also had a specific feel I wanted on the arrangement of the piece starting with the country lick in the beginning and the slide guitar solo, played by the great John Rewind, who also played bass on the song. There had to be a certain beat too; and the fantastic Gaylord Birch on drums, delivered what I was looking for and finally I had Joe put that peppy rhythm on top. Then I added my vocal and made it dance all over the place. My falsetto and the fact that it is about Oakland and East 14th Street really communicates that street vibe that makes it timeless. Actually, Joe Crane came up with the E. 14th street idea.