Monday, March 20, 2006

The love song

I'm coming back to the love song, as singers so often do, oh I shied away from the love song when I first started writing lyrics. It wasn't just that fringe punk showing, I knew there were good love songs - great love songs - but odder conflagrations seemed more the order of the day.

While I liked orginal imagery in the music I listened to, my motive was more one of play; fiddling until you can get the thing to work.
When there is no restriction on what you write about, patterns still emerge. I'm sure there's a commonality in my song about stages (the kind you perform on) as there is to my songs with a theme of leaving. I wouldn't say I was setting out to subvert the idea behind a song so much as explore it poetically. I showed an old almost-girlfriend "Going Away Tomorrow" and mentioned that you could read it as not being specifically about the typical leaving of a lover. She shook her head but look:

I'm sheltering beneath and I'm travelling beyond
All of the places I've been coming from

This song isn't speaking about leaving anyone in particular it's about, simply, going away.

You can take down the photos
You can empty the room
Scratch out the name
They will carve on my tomb

My personal interpration is that this could be a boarding house. Remove the signs I've been here; I'm no longer important, if I ever was.

With "The Morning That She Left Me" I was writing a country song that started at the quarter acre block.

And I set off up the country
And I was lucky I struck gold
Now I'm into property
Fortune's taken hold
But I still remember fondly
The morning that she left me

"Leaving Through The Crowd" is urban leaving, shopping mall leaving but I didn't get the idea from seeking a variation on a theme. This is that cursing when you've failed to make an appointment or you've turned up late; a berating of the narrator's own screw up :

I work out each moment lost
Withdraw once more
And count the cost
cos she's leaving through the crowd

But my muse is particular and perhaps promising in my personals profile 'I'll Write You a Song' (well, shit, it sounded better than some of the other options) was rash. I couldn't be the Poet Laureate writing to order - unless the order had something I could sink my teeth into. Now I've got a girl whose asking me when I'm going to write her that love song. Apart from What If She Really Loves Me most of my songs have a darkish tinge and that's not really what ya want here. Does anybody have Barry Manilow's email? Maybe he could help me out.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Until I met you

I believed in love in abstract and held to an ideal I was unsure and alone a possible appeal
Until I met you

I was leaning on my learning and dreaming of returning
Until I met you

I was becoming disillusioned with confession and confusion
Until I met you

Until I met you

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

House of the Blues

I love the blues. And I can remember the moment that I converted. The only thought I had of it before then was that it was repetitive; the whole thing was about somebody done messing with my happy home or another mule kicking in my stall. It was no better or worse than country or folk in this respect but it wasn't for a fringe punk like me.
When I woke to the blues it really was just like a bolt and that's the thrill for me - tending to intellectualise everything; here was something that I'd thought little of the day before. I hadn't mulled over the place of WC Handy or Son House in the pantheon. It's a feeling.
I've been fortunate, having seen Albert Collins, Brownie McGee, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Bo Diddley. I missed Johnny Johnson and it's not like I didn't have a few chances. But that's the way it goes. I prefer to dwell on the great performances I did see rather than the ones I missed.

The nice side effect of falling for the blues is that you get to hear along with your own idols the music that first pushed their buttons. Knowing that Willie Dixon wrote Back Door Man, Spoonful, Little Red Rooster, Seventh Son.. makes him inestimably great in my eyes as he is the backbone and influence for the Chicago blues scene, giving Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf some of their best songs. But these songs are equally well known among the blues rock fraternity. I can't imagine Eric Clapton without the generation before and the songs they wrote.