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

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


Visual Songs

Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 02 - 02:37 AM
katlaughing 17 Sep 02 - 03:58 AM
greg stephens 17 Sep 02 - 04:41 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 02 - 07:59 AM
Ebbie 17 Sep 02 - 02:02 PM
Amos 17 Sep 02 - 02:27 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Sep 02 - 04:11 PM
GUEST,Les B. 18 Sep 02 - 12:19 PM
Mark Ross 18 Sep 02 - 12:22 PM
Uncle_DaveO 18 Sep 02 - 12:28 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Sep 02 - 12:33 PM
CraigS 18 Sep 02 - 05:49 PM
greg stephens 18 Sep 02 - 06:24 PM
Night Owl 18 Sep 02 - 11:18 PM
Mudlark 18 Sep 02 - 11:31 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Sep 02 - 11:34 PM
DonMeixner 19 Sep 02 - 12:01 AM
katlaughing 19 Sep 02 - 12:21 AM
BlueSage 19 Sep 02 - 01:06 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Sep 02 - 05:57 AM
Bert 19 Sep 02 - 03:58 PM
KathWestra 19 Sep 02 - 04:27 PM
Teresa 01 Feb 07 - 06:31 PM
Amos 01 Feb 07 - 06:52 PM
Georgiansilver 01 Feb 07 - 06:53 PM
folk1e 01 Feb 07 - 07:12 PM
SouthernCelt 01 Feb 07 - 10:07 PM
John MacKenzie 04 Nov 09 - 11:53 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Visual Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 02:37 AM

In thinking about interesting ideas for workshops the idea came to me of doing one called Visual Songs. One of the things that I've always been attracted to in folk music is the visual imagery that many songs evoke. The songs are soundtracks for a movie in my head. Some of my favorite folk songs that do this, as examples, are The Jam On Gerry's Rock and The 1913 Massacre. They have a powerful, "you are there" impact on me when I sing them. There are phrases that are very visual to me: "Where are the men who can find their contentment in a living room waltz or a walk by the sea." Songs are really an amazing creation. A novelist can take four hundred pages to paint a picture and tell a story. Even a short story allows plenty of room. A song often has only five or six verses. Sometimes only two or three.

So, think about it for a minute and if there's a song that comes to mind that you see as well as hear, I'd like to hear about it. I'm not looking for lists here, although just mentioning a title is o.k. But, if there are any particular images in the song that are created in your mind, tell me about them.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 03:58 AM

No words necessary on this one, Jerry: one power-packed tune, Justa Picker's own Nazareth Pilgrim Blues with him on a couple of Martin's and Rick Fielding on dobro and mandolin. I get a whole video going, complete and in colour, vivid colour! It's on his new CD.

kat


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: greg stephens
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 04:41 AM

Well I had a little think as instructed, Jerry, ad what popped into my head was a verse out of the Flying Cloud.

The plague it came and fever too
It killed them off like flies
We piled their bodies on the deck
And hove them o'er the side
For sure the dead were lucky then
They'd have to weep no more
Nor drag the chain or feel the lash
In Cuba for evermore.

Not sure what you're looking for, but that verse and image were what came to me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 07:59 AM

That does it for me, Greg. A very chilling image, with emotions thrown in, in case someone is vision-impaired.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Ebbie
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 02:02 PM

Waaaaahhhhh, kat. My JP CD hasn't come yet and unless it comes today I'll have to wait maybe a month. I'm heading south to Oregon in the morning for a few weeks. Ah, well, I'll be looking forward to having it when I come back...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Amos
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 02:27 PM

Nightrider's Lament comes immediately to mind:

As I was riding the graveyard shift, from midnight to dawn,

The moon was as bright as a reading light,
For a letter from an old friend back home...

Older songs also come to mind -- Rebel Soldier, High Barbary, Greenland Fisheries....The Jackets Green...RIsing of the Moon.

It's a piece of the art, innit?


A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Sep 02 - 04:11 PM

All good choices, Amos!

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: GUEST,Les B.
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 12:19 PM

From Billy Ed Wheeler's "Coal Tatoo" - "...and this blue tatoo on the side of my head, left by the number 9 coal.."


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Mark Ross
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 12:22 PM

Woody's TOM JOAD TENNESSEE STUD


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 12:28 PM

The classic Scottish ballads always seem very visual to me. Exhibit A is the one variously called "Long Lankin", "Long Lambkin" and other variants, where the vengeful Lankin, with the aid of the false nurse, murders the absent lord's wife and child.

Peggy Seeger, asked in a class why she so often sings with her eyes closed, said something like, "I want to watch the movie."

Dave Oesterreich


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 12:33 PM

Good quote from Peggy, Dave. Merle Haggard did an album titled Sing Me Back Home, and he did just that.

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: CraigS
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 05:49 PM

What about songs with actions ... Swing Low Sweet Chariot etc.?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 06:24 PM

yes, I can just see Jerry doing that with the old Gospel group. Go down a bomb at Sunday services.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Night Owl
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 11:18 PM

Most Bill Staines' lyrics create visual pictures for me....even when I have to look up a word he's using.

A line from a song he wrote called "Border Blues":

"Oh, Maria what you do to me, with your long obsidian hair."

"Obsidian".....a dark natural glass formed by the cooling of molten lava.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Mudlark
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 11:31 PM

Jerry...I love folk songs for their imagry, even from 2-300 years ago the images are clear and compelling. Mary Hamilton comes to mind:

Cast off, cast off, my gown she said but let my petticoat be
And tie a napkin round my head, the gallows I will not see.
And the Silkie:

And it will come to pass on a May morning
When the sun shines hot on every stone
That I shall take my little wee son
And teach him to swim in the foam

And Kate Wolff's "rolling, golden hills of Calfornia"


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Sep 02 - 11:34 PM

Good songs, all...

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: DonMeixner
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 12:01 AM

Jed Marum's "Prayer From Little Round Top"

Archie Fisher's "Witch of the West-Mer-Land"

Stan Roger's " The Wreck of The Athens Queen"

Andrew Barton Paterson's poems "Lost" and "In the Drovin' Days"

All bring movies to my eyes.

Don


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: katlaughing
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 12:21 AM

Just curious, does anyone else visual to instrumental?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: BlueSage
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 01:06 AM

Two songs about actual mining disasters come to mind:

Ballad of Springhill (Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger)

Twelve men lay two miles from the pit shaft Twelve men lay in the dark and sang Long, hot days in the miner's tomb It was three feet high and a hundred long....

-and-

The Schofield Mine Disaster (Bruce Phillips)

When we gathered at the site We thought that just a few had died Fought our way in past the mine head carried out two hundred dead

When we brought them to the light It was a black and awful sight In one family there were nine lost within that burning mine

Can't you see that funeral train Oh can't you see that funeral train Rolling down that lonesome valley It's the longest one I've seen...

I can't sing either song without the imagery getting me teary-eyed.... Mike


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 05:57 AM

Mike: Both great, moving songs. It's easy to understand why ballads are often so visual, because they often tell a story in vivid detail. I could come up with a long list of powerful ballads that I can see when I sing them, or hear them played. There are also many long ballads that are just long ballads for me... they may start someone else's projector going, but I'm just looking for a polite way to get out of the room.

Then, there are 0ther songs that have a vivid description in them... like John Johanna:

"I pulled in to the station, I chanced to meet a friend

Allan Catcher was his name, although they called him Cain

His Hair hung down in rat-tails below his under jaw

He said he run the best hotel in the State of Arkansas

and:

He stood seven feet six inches, as tall as any crane

It's early in the morning and it's been awhile since I sung that song, so I'm not sure how these lines fit into the song, but I guess that's the point. These are the lines in the song that create such a strong image of a character in my mind.

And Kat: I'm not sure that instrumentals generate visual images for me, although they certainly create emotions. I'll have to think about that... hmmmnnn.. maybe 40 Miles of Bad Road by Duane Eddy. :-)

Jerry


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Bert
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 03:58 PM

Gordon Lightfoot's A Song for a Winter's Night" does it for me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: KathWestra
Date: 19 Sep 02 - 04:27 PM

Most of Joan Sprung's songs -- the ones she writes -- are very visual, and their appeal for me lies in the pictures they unfailingly paint. Must be a reason for the title song of her first Folk-Legacy recording, "Pictures to My Mind," which has the wonderful refrain:

Sing it one more time,
It brings back pictures to my mind.
To hear the old songs once again,
Brings pictures to my mind.

I particularly love the images in Joan's poignant "Harbors of Home," which I don't sing, but others do (wonderfully). Also "Where Have the Dancers Gone," which is one of my very favorite songs to sing. I've been performing it for 15 years or so, and never, ever get tired of the imagery:

Lines like: "dresses the colors of sunsets and fall/everyone stepping out graceful and tall" and "sweethearts whose feet never quite touched the floor/an old man whose partner was just three or four" really conjure up a picture of the old-time community dances Joan is trying to evoke.

My other personal favorites in the visual songs category are songs written by the late Jan Harmon. Her song "Loni," about a hiking trip in Yosemite National Park,is a shimmering poetic picture of HalfDome, Bridal Veil Falls, El Capitan, Tuolumne Meadows and other park landmarks. Gordon Bok has recorded that one; I never tire of singing it. Ditto for Jan's "Wild Birds," which is full of evocative images of Wyoming. You can just see the clouds of birds rising up in a flock from beside the road when you sing the chorus:

And all by the roadside the wild birds fly,
Up out of the thistle, and into the sky,
Red birds, blackbirds, they sing as they fly,
Thank heaven for wild birds.
They're all dressed up in feathers with colors outrageous
They soar from this earthly-bound kingdom of cages
On delicate wings, so small and courageous
It's time to be going back home.

So, Jerry, if you ever put together that workshop at NOMAD, you know my number! What a great idea for a workshop topic. Kathy


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Teresa
Date: 01 Feb 07 - 06:31 PM

I had to refresh this, because it's such an interesting discussion, like so many others here.

I'm totally blind and always have been, yet I love visual lyrics. Two songs that come to mind for me are Henry Lawson's "Reedy river" which was set to music:

Now still down Reedy River
The grassy she-oaks sigh;
The water holes still mirror
The pictures in the sky;
The golden sand is drifting
Across the rocky bars;
And over all for ever
Go sun and moon and stars

and Stan Rogers' "White Squall":

I could feel her keeling over with the fury of the blow.
I watched the rail go under then, so terrible and slow.
Then, like some great dog she shook herself and roared upright again.
Far overside. I heard him call my name.


Too late for the original workshop, but I guess the virtual one continues. :) And all this because I was looking for the lyrics for "Wild Birds" and found them, too.

Teresa


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 07 - 06:52 PM

Teresa, how nice to see you posting again!! Welcome back.

A


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 01 Feb 07 - 06:53 PM

The song that most does it for me is The Little Pot Stove. I can almost feel the cold and imagine the huddling..also experience the feelings mentioned...great song.:-


Where the winter blizzards blow and the whaling fleet's at rest
Tacked in Leith harbour's sheltered bay, safely anchored ten abreast
There the whalemen at their stations, as ship to ship they rove
Carry bags of coal with them, and a little iron stove.

(Chorus)
In that little dark engine room, where the chill seeps in your soul
How we huddled round that little pot stove, that burned oily rags and coal.

Fireman Paddy worked with me, on the engine frozen cold
A stranger to the truth was he, there's not a lie he hasn't told
Well he boasted of his goldmines, and of hearts that he had won
And his bawdy sense of humour shone, just like a ray of sun.
(Chorus)

We lived it seven days a week, with cold hands and frozen feet
Bitter days and lonely nights, making grog and having fights
There's swordfish and whalemeat sausage, and fresh penguin egg's a treat
Then we struggled off to work each day, through the icy winds and sleet.
(Chorus)

Then one day we saw the sun, we saw the factory ship return
Met old friends and sang a song; hoped the journey wasn't long
Then it's homeward bound and it's over, as we left that icy hole
But I always will remember, that little iron stove.
(Chorus) Repeat.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: folk1e
Date: 01 Feb 07 - 07:12 PM

I am unsure whether this one counts but one of the strongest images I have is of Dave and Ged (Swinton folk club) doing the "actions" to Will you go lassie go?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 01 Feb 07 - 10:07 PM

Relatively recent songs that do a lot for me visually are Slaid Cleaves' singing of "Breakfast in Hell" and "Quick as Dreams."

SC


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Visual Songs
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 04 Nov 09 - 11:53 AM

Sandwood Down to Kyle


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: 22 June 11:54 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.