Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafesj

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Add: Henry and the True Machine

Levana Taylor 24 Sep 21 - 07:51 PM
GerryM 25 Sep 21 - 01:34 AM
Levana Taylor 25 Sep 21 - 07:14 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Lyr Add: Henry and the True Machine
From: Levana Taylor
Date: 24 Sep 21 - 07:51 PM

One of a very small number of old-time/country songs about robotics! This is Jody Stecher's composition, which he recorded on Our Town in 1992. In the liner notes, he writes, "Why do the older traditional singers and players sometimes seem so unapproachable in the quality of their music, their attention to detail and sheer presence? Perhaps because they used their human capacities, musical and otherwise, to the fullest, not relying on machines. I wrote 'Henry and the True Machine' after a conversation with Mark Simos. It seemed to Mark that ever since musicians have heard music coming out of the little box, they've tended to shape their music to sound like the boxes, as if it was a recording played through speakers. The situation became dense and elliptical, I noted, when records were made of these musicians whose sound had been altered by hearing records..." He says that the premise of the song is from a short story Mark Simos was working on at the time, a fable about a medieval organ builder.

I transcribed the lyrics from the recording; it was extremely difficult in places, but I think I am correct.

HENRY AND THE TRUE MACHINE
Composed and performed by Jody Stecher

Now there was a man named Henry and he lived in the west,
And he spent all his money for air and tubes and tools and all the rest;
He spent every evening in the deep hours of dark
In pursuit of true perfection: a machine that could talk.

Now this was no contraption, no Victrola or DAT,
No contrivance, no connivance, Henry would have none of that.
Henry's deep and one ambition was to build a true machine,
And it had to sound like Henry, just like Henry, a human being.

        CHORUS:
        "Does it sound like my voice yet? Does it sound like me tonight?
        Am I getting any closer? Will it ever get it right?
        Does it sound nearly human? Does it sound like me, you say?
        Every night I'll keep a-working till I get it right some day."

He would tinker, toil, and bother every night when he came home,
And his wife was understanding, yet she also was alone.
Every night she came and called him, saying "Henry, come to bed,"
But Henry kept a-working, and this is what he said:

        CHORUS:
        "Does it sound like my voice yet? Does it sound like me tonight?
        Am I getting any closer? Will it ever get it right?
        Does it sound nearly human? Does it sound like me, you say?"
        "No, it doesn't; come to bed, dear," was all that she would ever say.

And it started getting closer, the two voices nearly fit;
But poor Henry didn't know it: he was sounding more like it.
When he thought he had it, he asked her was it right.
"Just a little; come to bed, dear -- Heaven help you, good night."

        BRIDGE:
        He forgot to eat his dinner, he forgot how to laugh,
        And he visited professors, and he never took a bath,
        And he never changed his trousers, and he worked until dawn,
        And his voice was getting harsher, and Henry worked on...

Now his wife was getting desperate, and Henry was weird,
As he fervently tampered with the sounds that he heard.
And when he got it perfect, he asked her was it right;
She said, "You both sound nearly human," and she left him that night.

        CHORUS:
        "Does it sound like my voice yet? Does it sound like me tonight?
        Am I getting any closer? Will it ever get it right?
        Does it sound nearly human? Does it sound like me, you say?"
        "Yes, it does," she said, and left him forever that day.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Henry and the True Machine
From: GerryM
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 01:34 AM

There's a recording here. I can't quite make out the 2nd line of the 1st stanza, but "air" doesn't make much sense to me. I think it might be

And he spent all his money for the rarest tubes and tools and all the rest


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Henry and the True Machine
From: Levana Taylor
Date: 25 Sep 21 - 07:14 AM

You might well use compressed air in a talking machine. And it's hard to imagine a rare tube.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 27 October 12:11 AM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.