Sunday, December 27, 2009

Song 26: My Mama Said

A little pop song based on some outdated dating advice that was passed around some feminist blogs not too long ago. This will probably go through some more editing before it hits the stage.

My Mama Said

A: |A6 | A6 | Bm7 | Bm7 | Bm7 | E9 |A6 | E7(b9) |
|A6 | A6 | Bm7 | Bm7 | Bm7 | E9 |A6 | (A7) |

B: | D6 | D6 | A6 | F#7 | Bm7 | Bm7 | Bm7 Am7(b5) | E7 |
| D6 | D6 | A6 | F#7 | Bm7 | Bm7 | E7 | E7(b9) |

My mama said (Her mama said!)
Don’t be conspicuous (Oh no!)
You can tell by my poise that I listen to what my mama said
Be polite but not too serious
Don’t bore him with the thoughts inside your pretty head

My mama said (Her mama said!)
Don’t be ridiculous (Oh no!)
Don’t smoke or drink or dance like the loose girls do
Keep your makeup and hair meticulous
Don’t order more than water and a little bread

But my mama never said that I would meet a boy like you
So distant and collected, so breezy and so cool
Now I make a spectacle to break this silent tension
Breaking rules so I’ll have your attention

My mama said (What’d she say?)
Don’t be caligulous (Oh no!)
Now I believe, now I fear, that my mama might have been mislead
Life’s a blast when you’re delirious
And I’ll be damned if I ever listen to what my mama said

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Demos again

Some new demos. Keys have been changed in some cases for the benefit of Lyndsy, the End Times vocalist. So forgive me for going out of my range here and there.

Still Leaving the Porchlight On
Our Secret Society
My Dear So and So

We've already started practicing "My Dear So and So" as a band.

Also, with one month left and just about half the songs done, it's clear I won't make the goal of 52. I will probably offer up some thoughts on what I've learned and how it all went down before the year is out. Not giving up hope of posting more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Song 25: Still Leaving the Porch Light On

Still Leaving the Porch Light On

| Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 G7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 G7 | Ab6 |
| Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 G7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 | Ab+ |
| Dbmaj7 | Dbm7 | Fm7 | Fdim | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 G7 | Ab6 |
| Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 G7 | Cm7 F7 | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab6 G7 | Ab6 |

The pitter patter of the rain on a window
Like footsteps on a walk
Reminds me that you are far
As I wait for your knock

The rhythmic brushing of the apple tree branches
Outside the bedroom wall
Sounds just like your breath
Coming down the hall

I'm still leaving the porch light on
From nightfall until dawn
Gazing out on the morning dew
For any sign of you

The quiet moaning of the floor as I'm pacing
Echoes my heart's cry
How could you leave me here
Without saying goodbye

Friday, October 9, 2009

Song 24: Secret Society Stomp

Secret Society Stomp

| C6 | A7 | Dm7 | Dm7 | G7 | G7 | C6 C#dim7 | G7 |
| C6 | A7 | Dm7 | Dm7 | F6 B7 | C6 A7 | Dm7 G7 | C6 |
| B7 | B7 | Bb7 | Bb7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | G7 |
| C6 | A7 | Dm7 | Dm7 | G7 | G7 | C6 G7| C6 |

Why don't we start a secret society
Me and you, smokey room
Just for two
Making notoriety

Bring our your old candles and fancy robe
We began holding hands
Making plans and demands
For to sneakily subvert the globe

Don't want to share my love with all the proles
We'll raise degrees behind lock and key
And no one will ever know

If you want to join a new order for the times
Covertly, you and me
Doing dirty little crimes

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Song 23: Cell Phone Blues

Another quickie that could use some editing for added puns and possible a third verse (about, well, quickies).

Cell Phone Blues

Intro (3/4): | Dm | Dm | A7 | A7 | Bb7 | A7 | Dm | Dm |
| Gm | Gm | Dm | Dm | Bb7 | Bb7 | A7 | A7 |

Verse: | D | D | D | D7 | G | G#dim | D | B7 | E7 | A7 | D | D |
| B7 | B7 | E7 | E7 | A7 | A7 | D D#dim | E7 A7 |
| B7 | B7 | E7 | E7 | G G#dim | D B7 | E7 A7 | D | D |

This is a song of broken hearts
'Twixt lovers too lonely to part
So take from your pockets your cotton tissues
As we bring you sad tales of intimate issues

I was standing
On the fire escape
Trying to hide
Behind a herringbone drape
While my baby rambled with someone else inside
He wasn't mean, wasn't fresh
Never even got undressed
But as they talked my heart kept beating harder, harder, harder
When she showed him to the door
This realization made me soar:
He might call her cell phone more, but I use her cell phone charger

I was waiting
Under my lady's bed
Listening to
Everything my lady said
To the fellow standing right next to my shoe
Never shouted, always cool
Always playing by the rules
That might be why all his advances came off as nonstarters
When he went off on his way
I jumped out and had to say:
He might call her cell phone more, but I use her cell phone charger

Friday, September 18, 2009

Song 22: Summer Song

This one was long in the making. A fourth verse might come in the future, as the third has no closure to it.

Summer Song

| F | G7 | C7 | F | F | G7 | C7 | F |
| Bbmaj7 | Bbm6 | F | D7 | G7 | C7 | F | Gm7 Gb7 |

It's a blistering, bubbling day
No degree of relief from the shade
As you stagger and sweat to the store
Just to loiter by the freezer door
But you can't stay too long
So you're singing your summer song
And feeling very red and blue today

Frieman Square is our own swimming hole
It's just the way that we roll
Splishing and sploshing along
Until we crave coney dogs
The sun beats down Main Street
A steady pulse of city heat
That robs your motivation and control

Riding bikes til the hour is ten
And off to the Rail once again
Inside is a packed sweating stew
Out back a hipster petting zoo
Feeling that urge to roam
To any old where but home
Or any of the places that you've been

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Song 21: My Dear So-And-So

Nothing to say.

My Dear So-And-So

A: | A | A | A | A7 | D | D#dim | A | F#7 | B7 | E7 | A E7 | A E7 |

B: | F#m | C#7 | F#m | F#7 | B7 | B7 | E7 | E7 |
| A | A | A | F#7 | B7 | E7 | A E7 | A E7 |

My dear so-and-so
I thought I saw you yesterday
Pushing about the riverside drinking
Watery lemonade
With her
Oh yes, with her

My dear could've-been
I'm glad it went down your damn way
Sneaking around your old haunts cheatin'
Til I found out that day
It was her
It always was her

But I'll tell you why
I'll tell you why
When I saw that baby carriage
I knew our love just had to die

My dear nobody
You know it was never meant to be
Cause you never would've had that ugly baby with me

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Three videos of some of the 52 songs. The night lighting setting on the camera turned my suit, Lyndsy's dress, and Zach and Eric's ties to a "Wedding Singer" powdery blue, as Tom kindly pointed out. It was our first time playing these on stage, but it gives you an idea of the full band arrangement.

"When Autumn Blooms" - I'm pretty happy with how this came out overall. There are some flubs and we need to work on making the banjo solo pop out more, but for a song that fast and that complicated... I think we did alright.

"Neptune and Pluto" - Some intonation issues and an early transition, but we're getting there.

"Wake Up Bix" - Lots of lyrics means the first time is an adventure. But the melody is there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Song 20: Beelzebub

A very basic swing tune. I wrote it prety quickly. I'm not overwhelmed by it, but hey, it's one more song down.


A: | Bb6 | F7 | Bb6 | F7 | Bb6 Bb7 | Eb6 Eb7 | Bb6 F7 | Bb6 (F7)|

B; | Bb7 | Bb7 | Eb6 | Eb7 | C7 | C7 | F7 | F7 |

You work that fancy language
Like Beelzebub at my ear
The words you speak
Ain't the same as the message
That I'm gettin loud and clear

You pass that loco reefer
Like the ice cream man on my street
And all the while
You think you're clever
As if I couldn't keep my feet

You scheme and plot and run the numbers
Until they come out right
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,
Friday, Saturday night

But with Sunday comes the paper
With a headline loud and true:
If you think
You'll win me over
Then you better get a clue.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Demos (At Last)

I did some recording over the last few weeks. Some are these are fleshed out with solos, intros, outros, and midtros. Some are rough and contain just enough to convey the song to the End Times Spasm Band folks so that we can work on the rest together.

Some of the songs have gone through key changes to better facilitate Lyndsy's vocal range. (Making it awkward for me on a few occasions. Not that I'm not already awkward.)

Links are to mp3 versions. Download or stream as you choose.

4. Wake Up Bix
5. When Autumn Blooms
9. Medea
10. Neptune and Pluto
13. I Never Knew
14. That Sophisticated Thing
15. Bertrand Hustle
16. Frustrating Baby
19. Even a Red Hot Mama Gets the Blues

The lyrics to the last verse on "Red Hot Mama" are by Lyndsy Rae Patterson.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Song 19: Even a Red Hot Mama Gets the Blues

A simple blues in the classic female style. I'm probably going to add a verse, maybe to set the action in a juke to explain the red hot part.

Even a Red Hot Mama Gets the Blues

| D | D | G | G D | D | D | A7 | A7 |
| D | D | G | G | D | A7 | A7 | D |

Kick off your shoes
Sit you down with my home brew
Listen in while I relate the news
I been done wrong
Now I’ll sing my done-wronged song
Even a red hot mama gets the blues

Done all I can
Runnin’ round with a no-good man
He ain’t worth being treated cruel
Some things won’t change
Til your life is rearranged
Even a red hot mama plays the fool

Folks it’s a fact
Can’t teach a man how to act
If you excuse his cold abuse
Send him away
If you heard a word I say
Even a red hot mama gets the blues

Verse added by Lyndsy:
His ghost lingers
The whiskey washes him down
Tried to hide in the saloons in town
The morning wakes and reminds me that
Even a red hot mama plays the fool

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Song 18: Bellona

Sci-fi metal time. Maybe I should just start picking Roman/Greek gods as titles and writing songs around them. This is number two after all.


4/4| E5 | C5 | A5 | G5 Bb5 G5 D5 | E5 | C5 | A5 | D5 |

6/8 | Em | Em | Em | D5 |

6/8 | E5 G5 | E5 D5 | E5 Bb5 | G5 |

6/8 | E5 | Bb5 | G5 | G5 F#5 G5 A5 |

From the black rock hills to the red dust plain
We march despite our thirst
Across ten leagues of desert stone
Our fathers navigated first
Toward bastion of green and glass-sealed skies
Where dine the Martian powers.
We will die tonight with good air in our lungs,
Or we’ll take what’s rightly ours.

With iron and steel, the tools of our trade
To cut, and slit, and kill.
Such a pyre we’ll have in their city tonight
A blaze all Earth will feel.

The bride of war we have become
To judge and sentence favored son,
The broken oath’d, and honest man
Laid dead alike in blood red sand.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Listening: Les Négresses Vertes

(My top five most-listened-to artists this week: Bauhaus, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Les Négresses Vertes, Dead Can Dance, and Tommy Johnson.)

͑Back in the year 2000, typing a search like "the pogues" would take you immediately to a host of fan pages of varying quality rather than one (The Wake of the Medusa, still easily the best) and a host of ad-filled lyrics archives and commercial websites. It was during this time that such a search led me toward a description of Les Négresses Vertes, who were frequently compared to The Pogues during the high point of their career (88-93). In terms of spirit and approach, the comparison makes a certain sense even if it was overused for energetic young folk acts of the time.

(lyrics and translation)

Both bands pulled members out of punk and new wave scenes and tried to apply that rebellious DIY attitude to the folk music of their region. Both bands also revealed familiarity and fondness for their source material while adding something of modern lyric style over it. From the start, LNV's music wasn't an update of French drinking songs (or at least not solely this) but a blend of Mediterranean styles. They selected instrumentation to support this: hand percussion, the mingling rhythms of two or more classical guitars, a scattering of horns, and an ever-present accordion. On their debut album Mlah, LNV slip in a drum set on only a few songs toward the end (Marcelle Ratafia, La Danse de Négresses Vertes, La Pére Magloire).

LNV weren't lyrical or musical geniuses. They were still learning to use their instrumentation and voices when lead singer Helno passed away, and their later career found them tempted by eletronic dance genres. They were "the French Pogues," afterall, not "the French Pentangle." But still, their first two albums display a lot of promise and a creative touch of something different than had come before.

Right away, then, they pass my test for any folk rock/punk act: do they do more than tack one or two traditional instruments onto an otherwise ordinary rock/punk band (with othewise ordinary rock/punk songs)? Back in 2000, I still would have found that appealing (Real McKenzies, Flogging Molly, and Dropkick Murphies were all high on my playlist at the time), but I've grown to find that disrespectful and, worse, boring. Folk music, in my opinion, should be about resisting monoculture.

But therein lies the problem. Mainstream or underground, we understand monoculture. Unlike The Pogues (who enjoy near-unanimous love among my close friends), not one Anglophone whom I've introduced to LNV have liked them. I know a number of people who flat-out refuse to listen to anything in another language. As much as Once Upon a Time in Mexico led to guitarists playing rhythmic snatches of "Malagueña Salerosa," few ended up listening to Jose Feliciano or Lydia Mendoza as a result.


I don't believe there's some list of bands that everyone should like/admire/worship nor do I think LNV would necessarily be on it if there were. Everyone's entitled to their tastes and opinions. Maybe it's the former literature student in me talking, but whenever I see top 10 lists, I'm always amazed at how Anglocentric our collective preferences are. Michael Jackson and The Beatles top lists all over the world. Why can't the reverse happen here?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Song 17: The Thessalians

What's that? A song about ancient conflict between paganism and Christianity? With environmental overtones? How original...

...yeah. Not to happy with this one, but it's done.

The Thessalians

Verse: | F#m | F#m | F#m | B E |

Chorus: | C#m | C#m | F#m | F#m | C#m | C#m | A | B E |

Bridge: | G#m | B | C#m | C#m | G#m | B | C#m | C#m |
| G#m | B | C#m | C#m | G#m | B | A | B E |

As I was walking by the shore,
I heard a lark a-grieving.
"My song I won't be singing more.
I may as well be leaving.

The people have a new faith
And new gods of three
Who need not bird, nor mountain,
Nor sweetly flow'ring tree.”

As rock withstands a thousand floods
Across the ragged plain,
The twelve upon the mount know
It's only men that change.

The lark was still as never was
And loosed not cry nor quaver.
The sea itself drew to a pause
And ceased it's churning labor.

All around me silence set,
Except from down the road.
Fishermen hauled giant nets
Of plunder to be sold.

"Sure," said I unto the lark
"You're right to speak with caution.
But stone will live a thousand lives,
A wooden cross goes rotten.”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Merlin Mann @ MaxFunCon

Merlin Mann (whom I'd never heard of) did a nice talk on doing creative work at the Maximum Fun Convention recently. He gives examples about writing, but as he says, it can apply to any sort of creative work.

Song 16: Frustrating baby

Wooo. One song in under an hour. Simple and to the point. Based partly on the chords to "Are You in the Mood."

Frustrating Baby

A: | Am7 D7 | Am7 D7 | G Am7 | Bm7 E7 | Am7 D7 | Am7 D7 | G | G |

B: | G7 | G7 | C | C | E7 | E7 | A7 | D7 |

You want to stay in
You want to go out
And catch a movie
You want to call friends
Or keep it just you and me

Don't like it too hot
Don't like it too cold
Or inbetween
Don't like too much fat
Or worse when it's much too lean

Oh frustrating oscillating baby of mine
Ain't gonna be no loving till you make up your mind

How can I understand
What you want from me
When you play games
This indecision
Is gonna drive me away

Friday Listening: Comus

I've quite obviously fallen behind. I have a few sketches of songs that will probably get posted all at once, but I feel I need to start tricking myself into thinking and writing about music more. So, as my last blog featured an almost-weekly Sunday Music post, I'm going to try to start a similar project, tentatively labeled Friday Listening.

And to make it easier on me, I'm going to use my profile to help me pick one artist whom I listened to in that week. (I'm not going to always pick the top, because this might lead to repeats.) So this week my choices are Howard Shore (I put all three LotR albums on one evening), Comus, Stereolab, The Skillet Lickers, and Dead Can Dance. All tempting, but one earns me significantly more scene points.

Comus. "Diana."

I'm not sure how it's happened, but Comus has been added to the list of bands you're supposed to like but no one else is supposed to know. Their influence seems to have been sporadic, and I can really only trace this new interest to Current 93's decision to cover the above track.

In my one sentence review of Comus's First Utterance on RYM, I wrote "Like a raw Jethro Tull demo that accomplished everything it aimed for with much less stumbling to get there." I somewhat regret so limited/specific a comparison now, but I think this shows the sort of context most newcomers place them inside. Like Tull's forays into prog folk, Comus's 1971 debut stands outside the British folk rock scene, and although Roger Wootton's vocals invite some comparison to Ian Anderson at his most aggressive (not to mention Rob Young's flute), the Comus soundscape seems to owe much more to the experimentation of the Incredible String Band than to the British blues rock that formed the cornerstone of Tull (thanks in large part to Martin Barre).

When First Utterance appeared, British folk rock was well underway. It seemed that everyone was looking to Fairport Convention and their influences (Dylan, The Band, The Byrds) for their reference, though a few acts stood apart (most of these only "folk rock" in a very wide sense, like Amazing Blondel). Though I like late Fairport and Steeleye Span, there's no denying that their electrified folk was formulaic.

Coming together while the genre was still new, Comus created something entirely different. Their shifting rhythms, multi-part songs, and pseudo-Arabesque harmony are reminiscent of metal. Yet like most early metal, they are clearly a product of their generation. Witness the overwhelming late 60s feel of "The Bite," despite brutal lyrics about Christian martyrdom any black metal band would kill to have written.

Lyrically, Comus explores enough pagan themes to make Robert Plant blush. The two songs above concern dark subjects (rape and murder, respectively) and nature at its cruelest, most sexual, or most mysterious. Yet there's a lighter side to that mystery, and this takes center stage in "The Herald" (in three parts on the Tubes), where a flute-playing herald ushers in the dawn.

"The Herald" is the sort of song that frequently earns itself the adjective indulgent, but at least Comus fills the twelve minutes with a variety textures by using their multiple instruments and voices and a beautiful transition to the major key melody of the B section. Besides, unlike most real folk traditions, this isn't music for dancing or even singing along. This is art music and unapologetically so.

How do I feel about Comus? I always find it inspiring to hear a group uncover a sound that works using a unique and seemingly heterogeneous bag of tricks. I'm not a fan of psychedelia, so the moments where such influences are on display lose points with me (e.g., the verses to "Song to Comus", with their obvious nod to "Green Tamborine"). So overall, I enjoy them, and I'm glad I stumbled upon them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

JoCo on Sound of Young America

At least one of you will appreciate this. Jonathan Coulton talks about his career, how he tricks himself into songwriting by creating puzzles, and how songs about giant squids can be sincere and personal.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Song 15: Betrand Hustle

The idea for this one has been siting quietly in my brain a few weeks, but a melody came to me while walking this afternoon. It's sort of a play on Russell's paradox. Originally, I wanted to write a song about the cardinal numbers and set theory, but it was too hard. Maybe another time.

The Betrand Hustle

| C | D7 | G7 G+7 | A7 | D7 | G7 | C | G7 |
| C | D7 | G7 G+7 | A7 | D7 | G7 | C | C |
| E7 | E7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | G7 |
| C | D7 | G7 G+7 | A7 | D7 | G7 | C | G7 |

If your socks don’t fit so tight
When you shake your feet each night
Then step up, listen, ‘cause I’ve got the dance for you
Suppose you’re dancing any style
One-step, two-step, sweet or wild,
Except for the dance that’s the dance you’re gonna do
That is how you Betrand Hustle
A paradox of Mr. Russell
It takes brains more than it takes muscle
So knock that bee right out your bustle
If you want to impress your date
And you’ve heard what I relate
Then do the dance that’s the dance no one can do

Other dances all exist
But logic never gets you kissed
So forget everything that’s a thing you thought you knew
Think of any dance you like
With a partner, with a bike
And do anything but the dance you’re gonna do
That is how you Betrand Hustle
A paradox of Mr. Russell
It takes brains more than it takes muscle
So knock that bee right out your bustle
When your proofs are yielding doubt
And you find your cheeks a-pout
Just do the dance that’s the dance no one can do

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Song 14: That Sophisticated Thing

Inspired last night from playing around with substitutions in "Anthropology" for the usual Rhythm changes. This one's pretty much what it looks like: a smooth little tune for dancing.

That Sophisticated Thing

| Bb6 | Bb6 | D7 | D7 Ab7 | G7 | G7 | C7 | F#7 F7 |
| Bb6 | Bb6 | D7 | G7 | C7 | F7 | Bb6 | C7 F7 |
| Fm7 | Bb7 | Eb7 | Ab7 | D7 | G7 | C7 | F#7 F7 |
| Bb6 | Bb6 | D7 | G7 | C7 | F7 | Bb6 | F#7 F7 |

That sophisticated thing you do
With a glamor that wraps you up in the nines
From your head to your shoe

That articulated bounce in your heel
That springs you out and back home again
In a manner unreal

No glass slippers
To drop for all of these takers
Arrayed like this, you're quite the dish
For the gossiping melody makers

That solipticated, understated - oh, so complicated!
That sophisticated number you're doing on me

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Finals & CSS

My time has been consumed by the above. The final papers on racist anthropology and Charles Babbage. The CSS is for this, the End Times Spasm Band website which is still being tweaked and given content.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Song 13: I Never Knew

At long last, a perfectly normal love song!

I Never Knew

| C6 | C6 | D7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | C6 | D7 G7 |
| C6 | C6 | D7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | C6 | C6 |
| E7 | E7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | G7 |
| C6 | C6 | D7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | C6 | (D7 G7) |

A life so sweet I never knew
Until truth be told I fell in love with you
Crickets sing to stars above
And now I know just what they're singing of
This night, this kiss, this everything
Nothing will ever ever be the same
Oh yes my love! I never knew!
And I'll never never find another you!

The winds caress the willow leaves
And softly softly lull the tree to sleep
And gentle stirs the stream below
A peacefulness few ever ever know
But what tenderness there is to find
When you softly press your lips to mine
Oh yes my love! I never knew!
And I'll never never find another you!

I really mean never!
I'll never never find another you!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Song 12: Curvature

Did I intend to write a song referencing both non-Euclidean geometry and the Black Eyed Peas when I woke up this morning?

No, I did not.

Did I do it anyway? Yes, yes I did.


| C | B7 Bb7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | G7 | C | C |
| C | B7 Bb7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | G7 |
| E7 | E7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | D7 | G7 | G7 |
| C | E7 | A7 | A7 | D7 | G7 | C | C |

My baby's got some curves
Just the loveliest ones on earth
So sweet, so kind, so round
Yeah, the prettiest girl I've found
Her nickname isn't Black Hole no matter what you've heard
But it's true that when she's walkin' all eyes fall into her
Bending space and time
And always on my mind
My baby's got some lovely curvature

My baby's got some back
Just callin' for a little smack
So smooth, her bubble bump
Yeah, her lovely lady lumps
My baby she's so good to me, I can't believe she's mine
But I'll be her regular daddy for the rest of my time
Filling up the void
In the old heart of this boy
My baby, she's just one of a kind

EDIT 1: Took out the 6's. They weren't sounding too good on second listen

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Song 11: Bluebeard

This one is in progress. Wrote it on the walk to campus just now. I'll work out the chords when I get back home. If you didn't know, that's how I tend to work. I hear a song in my head, and when I realize it's not someone else's, I write it down as if I was learning it. Usually the lyrics take some conscious effort, but that's the gist of where the work happens.

I haven't written a good creepy song in a while. This is based on a psychoanalytic look at an old fairy tale. I'd meant to use the characters for a fantasy comic years ago, so it's been knocking around my brain ever since.

(And yes, I will rhyme scared/scurred/skerred with beard if I want to. What are you going to do about it?)


A: | Cm | Fm | G7 | Cm |

B: | Fm | Cm | Fm | Cm | Fm | Cm | Ab7 | G7 |

Put down that ouiji board when I'm talking to you
From the part of your brain you're afraid to use
It's alright to cower, natural to feel scurred
I'm the voice of your id and they call me Bluebeard

You can try to lock up me with that little pill
But I'll whisper in the full moon when it's time to kill
It's alright to listen to me once in a while
Who can blame you if you shiver when I start to howl

Treading cautiously
When you find the key
Sneak down the stair
Unlock the door to my lair
Learn of horrors you will never unsee

If you tell your analyst of the things I design
You will end up in a jacket for the rest of your time
It's alright to bury me deep down inside
I like to dwell in darkness where my plans I can hide

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Song 10: Neptune and Pluto

And for all the geology fans out there...

Neptune and Pluto

Intro: B+ .... |Em B7 | Em |

| Em | Am | F | B7 |
| Em | Am | A7 | D7 |
| D7 | G6 | D7 | G6 G7 |
| C C#dim7 | G E7 | A7 D7 | G (B7) |

Fast Ending:
| B7 | B7 | Em | Em | B7 | F#dim7 | G6 | G7 |
| C | C#dim7 | G | E7 | A7 | D7 | G | G |

Listen to the clash of titans
In the spray upon the cliffs
Hear the alabaster crashing
Watch the porcelain set adrift
Oh, the order of tranquilities
Beyond the realm of possibilities
You know that the opposing thumbs
Of the Earth might be dumb
But they'll argue
'Til arguing's through

One and one is two undeniably
But you wouldn't disagree
When two is split most violently
One may never get to three
Oh, the order of sequentiality
Not among our specialities
You know that the opposite tides
Of debate can't subside
So they'll protest
'Til all are at rest

Song 9: Medea

Extinction events and Greek myths. What more could you want in a song?


| Am | Am | Am | E7 | E7 | E7 | E7 | Am |
| Am | Am | Am | E7 | E7 | E7 | E7 | Am |
| Dm | Dm | Am | Am | Cdim7 | Cdim7 | G7 | G7 |
| C | E7 | A | A7 | D7 | G7 | C | E7 |

A long long time before you were even here
Before your ancestors landed on these shores
The whole world suffocated on something in the air
But it overtook them so slowly they kept on making more
There were green things and brown things growing endlessly
Spilling out their toxins into air and into sea
Every word I'm telling you is true
So please believe me when I say that all of this created you

You can't divide everything without leaving a remainder
You can't boil cabbage without splitting a few heads
There's just so much that you can wrap around your brain, dear
So few hours we aren't asleep inside our beds
If you're not part of the solution, you're the precipitate
Even if you swear to change, the hour's growing late
Every word I'm telling you is true
So please believe me when I say that this applies you

In ancient Greece they told a tale of a man with a golden fleece
He had a wife and kids but decided to trade them in
The first wife she wept and wailed and couldn't find no peace
For revenge she took her kids aside and did them in
The people speak in horror of this woman going mad
But deep inside each one of us is a Medea who's been had
Every word I'm telling you is true
So believe me when I say that this could happen to you

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Song 8: A Man with a Uke-Ukulele

And now a fun little novelty song with not nearly enough double entendres. I'll probably add another verse and maybe squeeze some word play into the two verses already written, but I figured I'd delayed posting it long enough.

A Man with a Uke-Ukulele

| F | F | G7 | G7 | C7 | C7 | F D7 | G7 C7 |
| F | F | G7 | G7 | G7 | G7 | C7 | C7 |
| A7 | A7 | Dm | Dm | G7 | G7 | C7 | C7 |
| F | F | G7 | G7 | G7 | G7 | C7 | C7 |

| F | F | G7 | G7 | C7 | C7 | F D7 | G7 C7 |
| F | F | G7 | G7 | C7 | C7 | F | F |

As I sat down to lunch at noon
A tiny girl across the room
Was talking to her girlfriend mighty free
The night before, she had a date
And shamelessly she did relate
The details and the horrors of her eve
The man was from Aruba
And by night he played the tuba
When he went to kiss her she could feel that this was it
But when last call had closed the bar
And she took him back to her car
They found out that the tuba wouldn't fit

She said “Oh! I want a man with a uke-ukulele
I've had my fill of every other man
I'm looking for a man with a uke-ukulele
Or I'll swear off dating members of the band"

As I went out for gin at five
The same old girl just happened by
Talking to the same friend from before
About a man she had pursued
So passionate in his adieus
While kissing outside her apartment door
The man held her so tightly
Like he held his bass nightly
When playing in the opera house band pit
But when at last she let him in
The doorway seemed a hair too thin
And they found out that the bass would never fit

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seymour: live!

The Shit House Boys - live at Deerpark Sunday March 22.

Filmed and uploaded by the Odles. (Thanks for all the support once again!)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Documentary time

Been enjoying my break by playing music and watching too much TV. I'm nearly done with my third watching of Arrested Development, and I was in the process of doing that when I discovered three music related documentaries up on Hulu.

Before the Music Dies: I watched this yesterday. Not particularly good nor new for anyone paying attention to the music industry. But you may as well watch if you're going to watch something.

Buena Vista Social Club: An all-round better documentary. I actually prefer the Afro Cuban All Stars to the Social Club (though they share so many members), but the film and music are pure magic.

DIG!: A documentary on the Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre which I have not watched yet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Zombies on the radio

Shaun and Abigail Bengson aka The Bengsons aka Zombie Nationalists (East Coast) were on Musical World, episode 38. They talk about their experiences doing musical theater and songwriting.

Because you didn't ask for it

Neko Case followup.

And a free read on AutoTune from the New Yorker.

Two songs are being worked on. No promises. I have a sleeping gig booked.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

T. S. Eliot on "In Our Time"

A recent episode of Melvyn Bragg's Radio 4 series In Our Time discussed T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land, and modernity. It's probably one of the works of literature that has had the most influence on me. The sort of thing I have a deep and ongoing love/hate relationship with. It's indirectly responsible for at least two songs and the "End Times" in The End Times Spasm Band.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

On song meanings and giving it all away

I was listening to a recent episode of Sound Opinions with Neko Case, and I was struck by the following exchange. The hosts brought up Case's vow to not write love songs anymore, and her response included a statement on why a songwriter shouldn't share too much of him/herself:
A) because I'm pretty boring and B) because you don't want the people to know how boring you are. 'What did she do? She went on last night for eight hours? Wow. What a voice of our generation. Then she made a salad. Then she put wonton noodles on it. Whoa.'
'Cause you don't want the listener to... you don't want to give the ending away for them, because if somebody is connecting with a song and can make it about themselves, I think that's kind of a nice feeling. I remember reading - and don't to do this, I'm not saying to do this - I remember reading an article about how the song "Strange Fruit" came about. Totally ruined it for me. So don't ever do any research about music or read about it. Because it'll ruin it. And you know, you want the song to give you that nostalgic feeling. Cause it's like this unbiased voice of compassion in the dark.

I half-agree and half-disagree. In the case of "Strange Fruit," I definitely disagree.

Written in response to a widely distributed newspaper image of a lynching that occurred not too far from where I'm writing, Meeropol's song is both a searing political statement and a touching human reaction to real horror. It doesn't take much imagination to get at the meaning, given the lyrics, but in this case, the story of the song's composition, its performance history, and its recording history all tease out a revealing story of early 20th century race relations that only underscores the meaning.

On the other hand, when writing songs about more personal subjects there's a real tension when it comes to how direct or how personal one should be. I remember very distinctly having the same reaction of horror when I learned that the narrator of Paul Simon's "I am a Rock" was meant to be autobiographical and taken seriously. It hasn't exactly ruined the song for me, but I've certainly avoided reading too much on Simon since then.

As I wrote in my old blog, I think John Linnel hit the nail on the head when he said (in Gigantic)
As far as I'm concerned, for what we do, it's not interesting to just publicly cry, you know? It doesn't even have the effect of making me sad if somebody else is doing that. I think the thing that's really sad is when somebody represents some kind of inner sadness in some other way.
That's very much true of their song "They'll Need a Crane", which achieves such a wonderfully obtuse view of heartache through lines like "call off the wedding bells / no one wants to hear that one again / play it again."

I can't imagine that learning the particulars of what the songwriter (or his parents) were experiencing would help anyone understand it. On the other side, there are songwriters like Ani Difranco who could do with trimming away some details. I can't help but be bored with some of her songs no matter how personally meaningful they might be to her (like "Serpentine" from Evolve). Like Case states, not every song should read like Twitter updates. "The worst poetry is sincere" and all that.

(Side ramble: I remember a bit from Tom Waits's Storytellers appearance for which I can find no video. Waits, apologizing for not remembering the real stories behind the songs, asks whether finding out that a bad film is based on a true story really makes the film any better.)

Case herself is walking the walk. Her lyrics and music remind me at times of one of my favorite poets, Wallace Stevens, who was often deliberately "irrational" (as he called it). Take Case's "I Wish I Was the Moon." Very different from the TMBG song, but it still creatively skirts around its subject even when ostensibly direct (as in the third verse):

When the writing is a cascade of images like this, half the craft is leaving it to the audience to work out a meaning. The moon of the refrain is a bit like the blackbirds of Stevens's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird": anyone who walks away thinking there's only one interpretation has missed the point (or so I say).

A professor during my undergraduate years made the observation that we tend to assume poetry (and, by extension I suppose, song lyrics) are written from the perspective of the author but we do not do this for novels or short stories written in the first person. The assumption is usually a mistake, at least when dealing with better poets than the coffeehouse crew. I myself tend to steer clear of writing anything personal. In a way, since all my lyrics are about my little obsessions, most songs are more-or-less pale reflections of what goes on in my head, but I rarely use myself as a narrator anymore, even when the song is pulled from real events (e..g., "Gut Rot"). That adds it's own tension in trying to avoid creating a character for the sake of making a point or compliance with genre, as I might be accused for "Seymour".

Still, no one derides Homer for not having sacked Troy. The Illiad isn't an instruction manual for soldiers.

Old time radio shows on the internet? Can do!

Monday, February 23, 2009

All Night All Day (bass solo!)

Zach might hate me for posting a video with sloppy intonation, but then, he also likes attention.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Song 7: Song for Galileo

Not so happy with this one musically. It works as either cheesy faux-bossa-nova vocal jazz or a minor Tom Waits ballad, but little in between. Which isn't bad per se, but not something I can work with in any band I'm in at present. In terms of writing for the End Times Spasm band, I think the lesson learned is to avoid vi-ii-V-I progressions on principle.

Song for Galileo

| Fm | Fm | Bbm7 | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Eb7 | Ab6 C7 | Fm |
| Fm | Fm | Bbm7 | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Eb7 | Ab6 | Ab6 |
| Bbm7 | Bbm7 | Ab6 | Ab7 | Db6 | Db6 | C7 | C7 |
| Fm | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab | Bbm7 | Eb7 | Ab C7 | Fm |

We never heard the spheres
Like distant tower chimes
We mapped them to our fears
And tied them to our lines

The genius of the stars
Sang order from the pitch
Drew moons down from afar
Set the whole Earth unhitched

When you find it hard to feel uncertain
Remember that quantities can conspire to desert you

If heaven's above, hell is even more afar
Because you are made of fallen star

Friday, February 20, 2009

Two classics

After recording last night, I sat down for disc three of Ken Burns' Jazz, the part which features Louis Armstrong's newfound independence, the rise of Bix Beiderbecke, some classic female blues singers, and Ellington's beginnings. Thusly, I ended up listening to these two songs over and over before going to bed. Both insanely beautiful ways to spend three minutes.

"Singin the Blues" by Frankie Trumbauer and his Orchestra (I believe).

I think I'm going to sit down some day and transcribe Eddie Lang's single-note parts. (I'm not sure it's clear enough to catch the chorded parts.)

And "West End Blues" by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five. All copies of the original 78 seem to have been removed from YouTube, so here's a live version from the 50s. (But with a transcription!)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Demos (round two)

More demos. Same setup as last night. All of these are "freebies" because they needed to be recorded. "Wake Up Bix" and "When Autumn Blooms" will need to wait until I have a guitar that doesn't lose notes above the ninth fret. There's very little chance that "Gut Rot" and "Before You Go" are going to be performed in the next few weeks, so they're lower on the priority scale.

All Night All Day

Down in Memphis

She Don't Want Me Around

Crocodile Smile

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Demos at last!

They are rough, and they heavily feature a guitar whose tone is fading fast, but here's two out of the 52 songs and one freebie.


(Featuring my patented fake-a-five-string flat picking on tenor banjo.)

North Country Boogie

(Featuring an inexplicable amount of silence at the beginning.)

I Don't Roll Like That

(Your freebie.)

All songs recorded quick-like with one MXL 960 in my apartment using Cubase and a MIDI driven bass. Solos more or less made up on the spot. I know there's some clipping and the mixes are rough, but it was getting late. Better versions may come along when I get the new guitar (which might be Monday if UPS isn't slow), or when either the Shit House Boys or the End Times Spasm Band make it to a studio.

Audio hosted by 7161 for now. Odeo player code here.

Song 6: Gut Rot

Bit of cheating here, but I need to get caught up. The first verse was sketched out a few months ago. Some fleshing out of that and the rest were done today.

Based on true stories.

Gut Rot

| Em | B7 | B7 | Em | Em | B7 | B7 | Em |
| Am | G | B7 | Em | Am | G | Am B7 | Em | Am B7 | Em |

| Am | Em | B7 | Em |

Blood, blood splatter on the floor
Stares at me cold and guilty.
I had too much cheap ass wine
And now the box is empty.
All of my worst friends are sleeping,
And all my best friends have been drunk.
Toward the WC I am creeping,
Hoping that I make it before I blow chunks.
Christ I wish that I was still drunk.

I'll regret for most the day,
To only crave more in the evening
When I down a gallon of that swill.
The next morning will find me a-heaving
All of my change I'll be scraping
For the cheapest they have in the store.
The contents I'll hardly be tasting
Until I am reaching for the bathroom door.
Christ I wish that I had some more.

Come drink of my wine.
The pleasure is yours not mine
At least 'till the morning light
When we're feeling not so right.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Song 5: When Autumn Blooms

A simple love song for the universe. I couldn't decide if I was contradicting D. H. Lawrence, paying tribute to Wallace Stevens, or ripping off Ezra Pound. Or none of the above successfully. I'll let you decide.

When Autumn Blooms

| Gm | D7 | Bb | C7 | F7 | F7 | Bb6 | D7 |
| Gm | D7 | Bb | C7 | F7 | F7 | Bb | Bb |
| D7 | D7 | Gm | G7 | C7 | C7 | F7 | F+ |
| Bb6 | D7 | G | G7 | C7 | F7 | Bb6 | D7 |

When autumn blooms
Fragile light hangs in midair,
And crisp, sweet smells beckon you
For an afternoon long and rare.
Bathed in red and gold,
Our breath lays bare our desire.
Hands warm hands, socks warm feet,
While the pale sky retires.
How dear to spend the green night
Looking out and above.
How strange to feel unguarded
As the stars stare back at us.
Only sallow leaves
Against a black wet ground
Caught in draft and gentle gyre
As the world spins round.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Behind the Sounds

Via the TapeOp boards, a channel on Youtube has videos documenting the recording process of Pet Sounds, one of albums usually mentioned as the best in rock/pop arranging and production. The videos include audio of Brian Wilson directing the studio musicians and individual tracks played separately, which is a boon for anyone wanting to analyze the vocal harmonies.

Here's A1, "Wouldn't It Be Nice."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A word on demos

I was planning to sit down yesterday and record demos of the songs written. With a gig coming up, the musicians I'm playing with need recordings and that was the push that was finally going to get it done.

But the weather didn't cooperate. There was a wind advisory all day, and my mic would have picked up as much howling and rain patter as music.

This weekend though. Guaranteed.

EDIT. Ok. Maybe Tuesday. I'm doing three completely different presentations Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday this week.

The Guitar Update (Part 1)

O the thrills and frustrations of finding a new instrument!

A local guitar shop has a 1960s acoustic archtop by Airline (or at least that's what the headstock says - Harmony, Kay, and Airline swapped parts and guitars more than your parents swap partners). They're asking $400 for it, which isn't bad for the condition, but the setup on the guitar was so terrible I couldn't work out what issues were due to the low action and thin strings and what were due to the construction.

I eventually decided that if there's a strong probability that I'll be doing this music thing for a living, I need a guitar that represents that decision and can hold up. If I'm going to use the guitar for years to come, there's no reason to settle. Unfortunately, not too many folks stock acoustic archtops in the store for me to try them out.

Why an archtop? Although I don't really want to get into an authenticity debate, the archtop was the guitar of choice for early the jazz musicians I want to emulate. While playing with the Shit House Boys on my old Harmony, I rediscovered the projection and tonal properties that set these instruments apart from flattops. Played with thick strings and picks, they punch right through a flat top's chimey strumming just like a twelve string (or Nashville tuning) cuts through piano. Too many two guitar bands settle on using the same tone for both instruments that the mix becomes muddy. Using a flattop/archtop combo is one way to establish different tonal ranges for different purposes.

When you listen to amateur musicians, that's one thing that sticks out: inadequate use of the tone and pitch palettes. Musicians step over each others toes and ranges. If you search for people doing acoustic versions of their favorite rock/pop songs on YouTube, you'll find a lot of guitarists who just don't seem to understand how to back down and end up burying the vocals or whoever else is playing. (I may get into this more in the future, but this misunderstanding of what makes a "wall of sound" work seems to be pretty rampant in rock/indie these days.) Since quite a few normal flatpick techniques don't work so well on an archtop, playing one - and critically listening to what I was playing - helped me develop a better ear.

I think I'll end up getting The Loar, specifically the LH-600-VS. I was tempted to get one of the old models years ago, and I'm glad I held out. It sounds like the materials and methods are constantly improving. I feel bad purchasing a Chinese guitar (made by imported Koreans apparently), but the specs are too good to pass up. I don't really have the funds to get an Eastman or the like in time for some upcoming gigs. The demand for the Loar is also so high and the supply so low that I'll likely be able to sell mine if it came to that.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Potential legitimate delays

So I was on my way to play with some Zombie Nationalists I know, when I slipped on an icy patch outside my apartment building. Normally, I would just weeble and wooble and possibly fall down with no injuries sustained except to my pride, but this time I was carrying an accordion in one hand, a glockenspiel in another, and had a guitar strapped to my back.

The guitar sustained a crack to the top on the opposite side of where it lost one of its two parallel bracings. I fear it's days have gone from numbered to ended.

The guitar was a Frankenstein'd 1948 Harmony 954. The previous owner had made some adjustments to the neck, including adding an old Les Paul's fretboard to it. The top, back, and sides were already settling in bad ways, so I knew sooner or later I would have to buy a new one. Unfortunately this happened at the same time as a tire going flat. So I may be deciding between a tire, rent, or a guitar by the end of the month.

Though I write my songs in my head, the guitar is usually my instrument of choice for translating that into real notes. I still have an electric with me, but if I'm put off from playing music for a day or two, you can understand me I hope.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Song 4: Wake Up, Bix

Another obvious song title that I may have stolen first. For some reason, today was an anti-suicide song sort of day. Or it's maybe more anti-stubbornness.

I tried a dozen different B sections and none worked, so it's just a simple straightforward tune. Well, simple aside from the backwards rhyme scheme. I ended up adding more rhyming couplets because there was a lack of finality with the short line lengths and the ABACDC scheme I started with.

Wake Up Bix

| D | Dmaj9 | D9 | G6 | G7 | D B7 | E7 | A7 |
| D | Dmaj9 | D9 | G6 | G7 | D B7 | E7 A7 | D |

Wake up, Bix
If you don't
Want to miss another minute of this
Open up your eyes
Shake away that sleep
And pull yourself in from the deep
Second fiddle's
Not such a drag
You know most of us live in the middle
Confess your fear
To the open sea
And realize it ain't better to leave

Some will settle
Some will bend
Some will let the very road take the pedal
But not you
You're head is strong
Even though you might be wrong
But one hair
Can always break
The back of the mule unprepared
So please let
A friend take some weight
After all you might find they relate

Wake up, Bix
So you won't
Ever miss another minute of this
Don't be afraid
Don't be scared
Don't worry 'bout how you compare
You can't always
Be the best
But you still have to live one more day
Keep your feet dry
And when you're okay
You'll realize that you want to stay

Thursday, January 29, 2009

About the songwriter

Well, I figure I may as well say a little bit about me now.

Like many people, I took band classes in middle and high school and I sang in the church choir. Through school I played tenor and alto saxophones in concert band, jazz bands and combos, and a church praise band. I arranged and even wrote a little for the jazz combos and praise band. I learned to read music and even basic theory, but I wouldn't really consider these a full formal musical education. In terms of what I know now, most has been learned from analysis, conversation, and reading.

Over Christmas break in 8th grade I bought my first electric guitar and soon set out learning all the Weezer and Green Day I could. Hey, it was the mid-90s. Within a few years I would become more attracted to acoustic music (folk and world), and under influence of R.E.M. and my new fascination with celtic music, I would buy a mandolin by my sophomore year. I would go on to pick up (and sometimes drop) fiddle, harmonica, tin whistle, piano accordion, banjo, and oddly tuned guitar variants.

These days I listen to a little of everything. There is over 100GB of music on my computer, spanning several centuries and the globe. You can get a taste by following the Last.FM and RYM links to the side. My favorite music is probably American music from the 1920s and 30s, particularly Chicago style jazz and jug and string bands. I have soft spots for western swing, Scottish and Maritime fiddling traditions, 77 punk, West African guitar music, and jazzy or soulful hip hop.

I've never been particularly proud of my singing, and I've usually avoided being made the lead singer of groups I've been a part of. This hasn't been working too well lately though.

Here are a few of the bands I've played with who have an online presence.

  • The Staggerers: Celtic rock. I mostly show up to play accordion, but I've written a few songs for them that the band still has yet to learn.

  • The Vidalia String Band, Betram Profane, etc: An excuse to play at open-mics or go busking that receives a new name each outing. I usually sing and play guitar. The core is made up of three out of four Shit House Boys.

  • The Shit House Boys: Straight up country, old-timey and folk. We had a regular gig at a local pub in the summer of 07 and also played some local festivals. I played lead guitar and sang back-up.

  • Zombie Nationalists: I'll be playing with them in a week. Shaun was a Sod and also a member of...

  • The Daisy Pushers: Folk-rock or twee. I played banjo and mandolin. Many members graduated and went their separate ways in spring 06, but the band played one last show in 07. They played a version of my song "Lady in Orange".

  • The Sods: My pet project between 1999 and 2005. I played everything but bass and drums over the years and wrote the music to all songs that weren't traditional or covers. I quit in 05, with the second album still unfinished, and the band split a few months after. We did some reunion shows in 07.

  • Them Ashtray Lickers: rough and fun Americana. I played guitar and sang back-up, initially because I didn't want much responsibility, being the de facto leader of The Sods at the time.

  • Chumpty Dumptys: Rock that never found its place. We only recorded the one song, on which I played keys and the funky guitar.

This is in addition to many failed attempts to start punk, psychobilly, funk, world, and jazz groups that never reached a recording stage.

Song 3: North Country Boogie

Apropos of the snow outside my window, a little western swing tune. I was actually surprised to find no hits for the title. It was so obvious I was sure somebody else must have used it.

"The Rail" is a bar in Fort Wayne. I have played there many times in the past and will play there again the first two Sundays in March.

Powers is a White Castle-like hamburger shop.

North Country Boogie

| G | G | G | D7 G |
| G | G | G | D7 G |
| C | C | G | G | D | D | D7 | D7 |

Headed up north to the land of the snow
Where the cornfields shiver when the cold winds blow
When all your best dudes are out of jail
A pocket of change 'll get you by at The Rail

Zip up your favorite hoodie (your black patched hoodie)
For the north country boogie (north country boogie)
Buy enough beer for a couple of hours
But save a little cash for some burgers at Powers

Been snowed in for a couple of weeks
Electric goes out again, we'll probably freeze
A space heater might keep away the ice
But a space bag will get you feelin' mighty nice

Walked into a bar and threw myself down
Waited for the barman to come on 'round
Said “Give me a whiskey but I don't need no rocks,
Got plenty of ice right here in my socks.”

Common drinking people got plenty of cares
From paying the rent to losing their hairs
When it comes down to the bottom line
If you still got a PBR then you're doing fine

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Song 2: Seymour

I should have known better than to start without any sort of buffer. Here's song two. Not sure when three will be up or if four will be on time. I think I may choose not to stick with the Monday update schedule, if this keeps happening.

Just a simple blues this week. I was thinking about the traveling salesman problem when I decided to write it, but that don't figure into the song itself too much.


12-bar blues in A

I been to Seymour, I ain’t going back
I been to Seymour, I ain’t going back
I gotta keep moving, so moving’s what I’m gonna do

I stopped in Seymour, I knew I had to leave
I stopped in Seymour, knew I had to leave
There’s six big husbands looking for sign of me

I been to Danville, I ain’t going back
I been to Danville, I ain’t going back
I gotta keep moving, so moving’s what I’m gonna do

Five ripe tomatoes hanging on a stranger’s vine
Five ripe tomatoes hanging on a stranger’s vine
I won’t get caught if I’m move down the Danville line

I been to Franklin, I ain’t going back
I been to Franklin, I ain’t going back
I gotta keep moving, so moving’s what I’m gonna

Sheriff on the corner, looking mighty odd at me
Sheriff on the corner, looking mighty odd at me
I just remembered, there’s somewhere else I gotta be

I been to Elkhart, I ain’t going back
I been to Elkhart, I ain’t going back
I gotta keep moving, so moving’s what I’m gonna do

Some say the shortest distance ‘tween two points is a line
Some say the shortest distance ‘tween two points is a line
But you don’t want the shortest if the distance don’t suit the crime

Monday, January 5, 2009

Song 1: Before You Go

Here it is, song number one! I was in transit yesterday, so no chords or mp3 just yet. I'll get those posted once I sit down and figure them out. (They're only in my head as a sort of "mind's ear" Nashville notation at the moment.) Edit: Chords are up!

The original goal was to write something like one of those harmonically wandering jazz standards. The final song didn't quite live up to that. I've written an unusually high number of break-up songs recently, Hopefully this is the last and I can get back on track writing about semiotics and ufology. It's much easier to avoid clichés that way.

Over the last week, my CD player mostly spun a compilation of Cab Calloway's big band from the 30s. In my head, I could hear a Walter Thomas arrangement complete with sweet saxophone harmonies and piercing brass stabs. Unfortunately, I have none of those at my disposal.

Before You Go

| G6 Em7 | Eb7 Am7 D7 |
| G6 Em7 | Eb7 Am7 D7 |
| G G7 | C C#dim7 | A7 | D7 |

| G | G | G7 | G7 |
| C | C | C7 | C7 |
| G | F#dim7 | C | C#dim7 |
| G | D7 | G | G |

Suitcase by the door and your toothbrush in your hand,
No final repartee, no litany of last demands,
No ambiguity in the message you send.
Yes, I really think this might be the end.

Before you go, let me tell you what I'll be doing
While you're away: I''ll be out celebrating.
I might go for a walk or go for a drink,
Have a whiskey or two and sleep in the clink
All night. Just so you know.

I hope that what I'm singing doesn't sound too bitter
I only want to tell you that I'm not the quitter
So close the evil eye and call off the attack,
'Cause nothing's gonna hold me back.

Before you go, let me tell you what you'll be missing
While you and your lame friends are commiserating.
There'll be no more foot rubs when you're feeling distraught.
No one will be there to mmhmm at your thoughts
All night. Just so you know.

No taste-tester for your awful recipes.
There'll be no one to cuddle while you're watching TV
All night after you go.