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Lyr Add: Ice Damming (Barry Finn)

Barry Finn 17 Dec 99 - 10:24 PM
Barry Finn 17 Dec 99 - 10:56 PM
Jason LaPrade 17 Dec 99 - 10:57 PM
Murray on SS 18 Dec 99 - 01:38 AM
Shimbo Darktree 18 Dec 99 - 09:47 AM
Áine 18 Dec 99 - 10:07 AM
Jeri 18 Dec 99 - 10:40 AM
Peter T. 18 Dec 99 - 01:53 PM
Barry Finn 18 Dec 99 - 08:51 PM
Peter T. 19 Dec 99 - 11:35 AM
McGrath of Harlow 19 Dec 99 - 12:51 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 19 Dec 99 - 01:13 PM
Paul S 19 Dec 99 - 01:44 PM
Bert 20 Dec 99 - 10:25 AM
Willie-O 20 Dec 99 - 11:35 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: ICE DAMMING (Barry Finn)
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 10:24 PM

I wrote this a small while ago but just finished touching it up. It's awful to be objective about something you've written so where else to turn to but here. The only other way I know of is to try singing a new song at a singing session & see if anyone has a 2nd thought about it & even then I don't want to subject anyone to dribble. I can't do music so if you want it fits somewhat to Dylan's "Times They Are A-Changing".

Ice Damming by Barry Finn
It's winter in New England and throughout the land
The trucks start rolling with all available hands
It's a party, a tradition, a picnic, a plan
Over mountains of snow they attack the Ice Dams

chorus;
And you hear everywhere the cry Ice Dam
It's a flue, it's a fever that spreads through the land
Man your pickups, your axes, every woman and man
And answer the call and the cry Ice Dam

Blaze a path round a house in snow that's waist deep
Take a snow rake or shovel and clear up 3 feet
Crawl the edge of the dam on a roof that's to steep
And start pounding on ice and give nobody peace

chorus:
While on a 40 foot ladder that slides on the ice
Out comes the homeowner who tries to be nice
I like what you're doing but I don't like you're price
For a few dollars less would you still risk your life

chorus:
Some shingles may break and the ice will sure fall
If we land on your shrubs sure you'll give us a call
And the checks will bounce as we bounce off your walls
It must be illegal to have such a ball

chorus:
Like ants, like locus we're all over your roof
We cry Ice Dam and drink 100 proof
A windfall in winter is scarce that's the truth
When ice damming is done we're a winter recluse

chorus:
For any who are interested & don't know, an ice dam (in cold country) is formed on the eave or lower roof edge. The snow melts from the heat inside the house when the temp outside is above freezing. The runoff is happening under the snow or ice's surface & when the melt hits the roof overhang, where there is no more inside heat to keep it melted it freezes on the edge. This freeze builds up until the following runoff gets trapped on the underside of the growing dam until the melt starts running under the roofing & inside the house. These dams can grow to a couple feet thick & 3-4 feet wide backing up the roof & when broken through can resemble a waterfall. The work is very dangerous & is done while kneeling on the dam itself & working backwards until you run out of dam or just as dangerous, sometimes off ladders that slide from both the ice on the roof or the ice on the ground or while holding the ladder away from the roof to get the dam area where the ladder rests. I've seen a few fall at this work as well as myself.
Anywa, thanks to all in advance for any comments. Barry


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Barry Finn
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 10:56 PM

That should've read "when the temp outside is below (not above) freezing". Joe, maybe you can fix me up & get rid of this correction? Make me look good, well, that may be above the call. Thanks Barry


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Jason LaPrade
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 10:57 PM

I'm very tired and ready for bed so I'll be brief(only one comment, maybe I'll post again later). One thing I'd work on is the rhyme scheme. Others may disagree but rhyming 4 lines in each verse or chorus sounds too monotonous to me. The 1st verse and chorus have the same rhyme -- that's 8 lines the same. Try rhyming lines (1/2 and 3/4) or (1/3 and 2/4).

Goodnight. Jason LaPrade


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Murray on SS
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 01:38 AM

I don't know--the rhymes are mostly close rhymes, or near-rhymes, and not "true" rhymes, which is a bit Dylanesque, actually. And so while true rhymes might be monotonous, near-rhymes are not. Not so, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Shimbo Darktree
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 09:47 AM

I shouldn't comment really, because my song-writing skills are not
the best in the world. However, you asked, so here goes ...

Firstly, the rhyming. I tend to agree with Murray on SS ...
I don't see a problem with it.

Secondly, the meter (US spelling rules!). I do see a problem.
The words should flow evenly. As an example, try the following
for the first two lines:

New England winter and throughout the land,
The trucks start rolling, they're carting all hands,

No doubt improvements could be made, particularly to the second line,
but hopefully this will help. Keep writing ... someone has
to supply the songs I sing, as I rarely sing mine. I like other
people's songs more.
Regards,
Shimbo


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Áine
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 10:07 AM

Dear Barry,

Be secure in your art -- if you're not 'sure' about this song, then keep working on it or put it away for a while and then bring it out again for another look. You wrote it, so you're the one to say where it needs to be 'fixed'.

When you think it 'right', then it is. Even criticsm that's constructive can make one unsure if it's not the right time for it and harm the creative process. IMHO, art cannot be created by a committee process.

If you haven't had a chance yet, take a look at The Mudcat Songbook, where we've just begun collecting the original songs from folks here on the 'Cat. If you'd like to submit your song, send me an email -- doireanne@yahoo.com.

Keep on writing! -- Áine


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Jeri
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 10:40 AM

Just two things:

Last two lines in the last verse - this may not be noticable when you sing it, but the grammar's off -
A windfall in winter is scarce that's the truth
When ice damming is done we're a winter recluse
Maybe change to "I'm a winter recluse?" (otherwise, it would be "we're winter recluses," and that sounds funny.)

Again, maybe this doesn't matter when you sing it. Suggested additions in the first and last lines of the chorus are in italics.
And you hear everywhere the cry ofIce Dam
..
..
And answer the call and the cry ofIce Dam

I want to hear you sing this!


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Peter T.
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 01:53 PM

Barry, a couple of thoughts -- The first line is a little bland for a song like this, with lots of good punchy lines.
The third line of the 1st chorus should avoid using "Man your pickups" when you are using man in a different way later in the line. The listener will get distracted and stop for a second, before catching up again.
I think a last verse which deals with the whole idea, summarizes, or gives a moral, or makes the thing ironic might be interesting (Life is like a series of ice damns -- people who run hot and cold build up lots of trouble -- or something). It is also not clear (the listener has to infer it from the arrival of the homeowner late in the song) that this is not neighbourliness, but money-making. Or is it? Is it fake neighbourliness, but you are expected to pay for it? Did it start off as something like barn-raising, and turn into a for profit industry? The last chorus which makes the money-making gypsy lunacy explicit should maybe be the only chorus throughout, -- you would then have the sound of the workers drunkenly singing on the roof throughout.
yours, Peter Y.


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Barry Finn
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 08:51 PM

Thanks to you all, any more comments are more than welcome. Aine, even though english is my native lanagauge my schooling in it was next to nil (inner city school of hard knocks) what I know is self taught & I do know where my short comings lie. It's not so much the song or the way it's being expressed but is it correct, which I think isn't everything but it does count. Thanks Jeri, that makes sense, I'll see about tieing that up. Another reason for asking for feedback is that I'm sure many songwriters think what they're singing is great when they may be very far off the mark without knowing it, it's very hard to be objectional about one's own piece & if it's not understood it doesn't make sense. Thanks again all, Barry


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Peter T.
Date: 19 Dec 99 - 11:35 AM

Any room for: "Ice Dam, Hot Damn!"? yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 19 Dec 99 - 12:51 PM

I think the song would work better starting with the second verse. You get into showing people what is happening. Start with the first verse, and it's a bit baffling what it's about, unless you know about Ice Dams and all. The first verse might come in better as an end. Or replace it by a short spiel about what the song is about.

(Of course sung where you are this might not apply, since I imagine people are familiar with what's it's about.)

I agree with Peter that the last verse would work better as the chorus. But I'd change it a bit. Here's a suggestion:

Stomping like reindeer all over your roof Sky high on the shingles,where the drink's 100 proof Stand on the pitch and look over the town It's a windfall in winter, and so far from the ground.

I hate it when people tell me I should change a song. Even when I decide they are right eventually. But you did invite comments.


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 19 Dec 99 - 01:13 PM

Barry, first, there's lots of good strong imagery here--and potential for lots more. The sounds of the tools and of the falling ice, the voices--joyful or cursing--of the workers, shouts of onlookers, etc., the glare of sunlight on the ice and snow. A narrative image of the way the workers/partiers attack an ice dam: I assume you don't want it all to come down at once, so you work up from the edges? The more specific the action and sounds, the stronger the impression on the listeners.

Another comment--when you said the tune was like "The Times They Are A-changin'," I kind of expected the fourth line of each verse to be a foot* shorter than the other three (another of your songs reads like it uses much the same tune), and if you could shorten these lines, the verses would have a more emphatic feeling.

*(a poetic foot is usually two or three syllables, either the first or the last one accented: you are using a lot of anapests (da-da-DAH) as did Dylan in "The Times..."--a great pattern for narrative verse, particularly if alternated with iambic feet,)

A few line by line notes: I've suggested a few words to make the rhythms more regular--probably overdone on my part, as an occasional break in rhythm can be emphatic--but emphasis has to be controlled to have emphatic effect]

Ice Damming by Barry Finn

It's winter in New England and throughout the land ["cold" for "winter"?]
The trucks start rolling with all available hands ["ready" for "available"?]
It's a party, a tradition, a picnic, a plan [can you replace "tradition" with a two syllable synonym?]
Over mountains of snow they attack the Ice Dams [something shorter like "There're ice dams out there that need breaking."]

chorus;
And you hear everywhere the cry Ice Dam
It's a flue, it's a fever that spreads through the land ["flu" not "flue" if paralleled with "fever"]
Man your pickups, your axes, every woman and man ["each" for "every"]
And answer the call "Get the Ice Dam!"

Blaze a path round a house in snow that's waist deep
Take a snow rake or shovel and clear up 3 feet
Crawl the edge of the dam on a roof that's to steep ["too" for "to"]
And start pounding on ice and give nobody peace

chorus:
While on a 40 foot ladder that slides on the ice
Out comes the homeowner who tries to be nice
I like what you're doing but I don't like you're price ["your," not "you're"]
For a few dollars less would you still risk your life?

chorus:
Some shingles may break and the ice will sure fall
If we land on your shrubs sure you'll give us a call
And the checks will bounce as we bounce off your wall
s It must be illegal to have such a ball ["So much fun you know is illegal!"]

chorus:
Like ants, like locus[ts] we're all over your roof
We cry Ice Dam and drink 100 proof
A windfall in winter is scarce that's the truth
When ice damming is done we're a winter recluse ["when ice damming's done we are hermits"]


I don't want to get too carried away--it's your song. One more thing I would suggest is the verse to answer the homeowner's request for a lower price could be a description or narrative of an actual injury or death producing accident which occurred during an attack on a dam (the dams must also be dangerous during a thaw, no?)

I have probably given you far too much here, so disregard anything you like--all of it if you like: it's your singing that makes it, anyway.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Paul S
Date: 19 Dec 99 - 01:44 PM

Hey Barry:

At the risk of sounding like a big o' kiss-up: don't change a thing. I like the loose repetitive rhymes; if your style is somewhat Dylanesque, that should capture his occasional drone (in the good sense of the word) just nicely.

While I also found the metre (Sorry Shimbo, the US spelling may rule, but the Canadian is correct) a bit odd in places, it is impossible to tell, without actually hearing the way you sing it. Lyrics are a slightly different animal from poetry, giving the writer a little more freedom. Many times when I'm reading the lyrics in the liner notes of a new CD, I think that the metre is off. But then when I hear the song, I realize that it couldn't have been any other way.

I agree with Áine (of course, I'm also a little bit in love with her; don't tell my wife). You're the one who has to be happy with it. After you've had some experience writing and performing (which you may already have), you will be able to tell the difference between feeling shy about performing a new song, and feeling embarrassed about performing it. Trust your instincts; if the latter is true, it needs work.

Keep churning out the tunes.

Paul


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Bert
Date: 20 Dec 99 - 10:25 AM

Aha Barry, You know what I'm going to say doancha?

Drop the last verse. It doesn't have as much punch as the fourth verse which would make a better ending.

Rewrite the first verse so that it tells the story that you told us in the explanation at the end of your post.

It's a bloody good song though!

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Please, comments again on a song
From: Willie-O
Date: 20 Dec 99 - 11:35 AM

Good stuff Barry! I don't think it needs major help, but I was going to basically say what Bert said. I'd rewrite the first verse to include the essential info--that you're talking about roofs.

Roofers are a crazy breed, and they need something to do in the winter. They're sort of like tree trimmers. For some reason this puts me in mind of Bryan Bowers' song "Bad Boy", which captured the chutzpah of a ethics-free tree-trimmer, a trade that can be worked honestly or as any number of scams depending on the practitioner. (When I worked as a trimmer, the biggest day-to-day logistical problem the company faced was having enough workers whose licences weren't suspended to keep the trucks on the road.) You could probably punch up this angle to good effect.

Bill C


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