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Bob Gibson's amazing skill with lyrics


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Jason Xion Wang 30 Nov 14 - 12:17 PM
Jason Xion Wang 30 Nov 14 - 10:07 PM
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Subject: Bob Gibson's amazing skill with lyrics
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 12:17 PM

Rick Neely once wrote an article remembering Bob's skill of putting lyrics off the cuff in Bob Gibson: I Come for to Sing":

...Bob and Tom performed Here Comes Another "I Love Texas" Song, one of the songs they wrote together. Bob Gibson and Steve Goodman are the persons who come to mind first when I think of someone who could put out words off the cuff. You see people lose words, and I'm certainly one of them, and my mind, not being a prolific writer, does not run fast enough to put in words that'll fit. But on that song, it showed that Gibson lost a verse, and you would never have known it until the end when he was telling you as he was singing, not missing a stroke, that he screwed up. The audience didn't know. Only Paxton knew, because I didn't know the song that well, and he didn't miss a stroke and the people went wild. That is a testimony to his skill with words. Everyone cannot do that. You have a lot of good writers out there who can do some stuff, but getting them to forget a lyric... We'll vamp while we think of it or I don't know what extremes people will go to. I know with me one time I just jumped right into another song that was in the same key and laughed, and after it was all over, I just said, "You just experienced the occupational hazard." But again, with Ginson and with Steve Goodman they had that ability to put it together so fast and so well. Gibson not only kept the beat, he kept the rhyme too.

The acual lyrics to the verse in question are:
Texas has its twisters,
Texas has its droughts,
But when hard times come to Texas,
There's folks who'll help you out.
Seldom is heard a discouraging word
From a true-born Texan's mouth,
And everyone who's a loyal son
Lift up his head and shout.
Then it goes into the chorus of:
Here comes another "I love Texas" song.

When the first line out of Bob's mouth, he knew he'd blown it completely, because he changed the order of the elements involved requiring him to have a different rhyme scheme. What he sang was:

Texas has its droughts,
Texas has its twisters.
I blew that line quickly;
I should have written about my sister.
We could start this tape all over again,
But we're almost through the verse.
Anyway I might make another mistake
And it could be much worse!

The audience erupted!

Amazed at this impressive story, I've been searching for this recording since I read about it the first time. And I;m lucky enough to finally find it today: Bob Gibson & Tom Paxton - Here Comes Another "I Love Texas" Song.

I think making up a new verse directly after messing up a line is even much more difficult than making up a new verse off the cuff if you have decided to make one beforehand. The time for thinking is just a few seconds; you have to think about the next line while singing the last line; more importantly, it's hard to calm down - most people would get flustered if they mess up a line. But Bob Gibson could. What a genius!

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Subject: RE: Bob Gibson's amazing skill with lyrics
From: Jason Xion Wang
Date: 30 Nov 14 - 10:07 PM

Sorry, I mean "making up a new verse directly after messing up a line" is even much more difficult than "making up a new verse off the cuff if you have decided to make one beforehand". Some problem with the pause here.

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