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Songwriter's Forum

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Barbara 05 Nov 98 - 03:49 PM
MMario 05 Nov 98 - 04:25 PM
Barbara 05 Nov 98 - 06:33 PM
MMario 05 Nov 98 - 10:01 PM
Barry Finn 06 Nov 98 - 12:01 AM
harpgirl 06 Nov 98 - 12:05 AM
Bert 06 Nov 98 - 08:29 AM
Peter T. 06 Nov 98 - 09:18 AM
MMario 06 Nov 98 - 09:49 AM
Peter T. 06 Nov 98 - 10:06 AM
KingBrilliant 06 Nov 98 - 11:12 AM
Bert 06 Nov 98 - 11:48 AM
Peter T. 06 Nov 98 - 01:17 PM
The Shambles 06 Nov 98 - 01:57 PM
The Shambles 06 Nov 98 - 01:59 PM
The Shambles 06 Nov 98 - 02:05 PM
The Shambles 06 Nov 98 - 02:10 PM
Barbara 06 Nov 98 - 02:33 PM
Barbara 06 Nov 98 - 02:43 PM
MMario 06 Nov 98 - 02:54 PM
BSeed 06 Nov 98 - 03:58 PM
MMario 06 Nov 98 - 04:28 PM
Dave T 07 Nov 98 - 02:05 AM
The Shambles 07 Nov 98 - 04:22 AM
Dave T 07 Nov 98 - 09:11 AM
Peter T. 07 Nov 98 - 09:27 AM
harpgirl 09 Nov 98 - 12:00 PM
harpgirl 09 Nov 98 - 12:02 PM
harpgirl 09 Nov 98 - 12:06 PM
harpgirl 09 Nov 98 - 12:08 PM
harpgirl 09 Nov 98 - 12:15 PM
harpgirl 09 Nov 98 - 12:17 PM
KingBrilliant 10 Nov 98 - 03:09 AM
Neillowe 12 Nov 98 - 09:29 AM
Bert 12 Nov 98 - 10:06 AM
Neillowe 13 Nov 98 - 10:18 AM
Bert 13 Nov 98 - 02:11 PM
Peter T. 13 Nov 98 - 02:35 PM
Peter T. 13 Nov 98 - 02:42 PM
The Shambles 13 Nov 98 - 06:13 PM
Peter T. 16 Nov 98 - 10:13 AM
Bert 16 Nov 98 - 10:48 AM
The Shambles 16 Nov 98 - 03:57 PM
The Shambles 16 Nov 98 - 04:03 PM
Peter T. 16 Nov 98 - 04:21 PM
Kris 17 Nov 98 - 06:46 AM
Steve Fairhead 17 Nov 98 - 09:26 PM
The Shambles 17 Nov 98 - 10:14 PM
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Subject: Songwriter's Forum
From: Barbara
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 03:49 PM

This is a continuation of the Songwriting thread. Let's leave that one to general discussion of writing tools and make this one for we brave souls that are willing to put our songs up for peer discussion.
To that end, I ask everyone to be gentle. Bear in mind how important it is to you to hear both truth and kindness about what you wrote and treat others the same. Let's see how positive we can make this.
It is important to me to know how my songs work, and what doesn't work; not just get them praised. It is also important to hear what others like.
Having said that, What's the difference between a puppy and a songwriter?
After six months the puppy stops whining.
Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: MMario
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 04:25 PM

This one I've sung at a couple of wedding receptions it seemed to be well received... (and before anyone asks - I can't give you chords or the tune - I don't play ANY instrument - and don't read music)

Whither thou Goeth, I'll go. And Whither thou stayeth, I'll stay. I''ll be Your Partner Forever, if only You'll say I may.

Put your Hand in my Hand, Dear. Walk by my Side, My Love! We were Meant for Each Other, just as the Hand fits the Glove. Would that I wake to your Beauty at the Dawn of each Day And I would praise God each Evening if I were Permitted to Say: Whither thou goeth I'll go And whither thou stayeth I'll stay I'll be your True Love forever, if only You'll say I may.

With this Ring I would Wed thee With your Ring make me thine But two Metal Bands, about Our hands are but the Outward Sign. The Flame of Love we have Kindled May it always Shine May we always See its Lightin each Others Eyes

Whither thou goeth I'll go And Whither thou stayeth I'll stay Side by Side, forever if only You'll say I May.

Let us grow Old together United through thick and through thin Two made One, forever Surrounded by Kindred and Kin! I will pledge You my Love, Dear If You will pledge yours Mine All I have, and All I am are Yours for All of Time!

Whither thou goeth I'll go And whither thou stayeth I'll stay I will be faithful forever if only You'll say I May.

Yes I will be Faithful Forever If Only You'll Say I May

MMario


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Barbara
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 06:33 PM

I think you meant to post that to the wedding songs thread MMario.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: MMario
Date: 05 Nov 98 - 10:01 PM

nope - it's an original that I would like comment on


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Barry Finn
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 12:01 AM

For myself I've found the best test of a song I've written is to sing it at a music party, session, song swap or the like where I have high reguard for the other singers. No one knows I wrote it & I don't say "this is one I wrote", I just sing it with no backround info & no lead in. If there's no interest it does't mean it's a dud, maybe just a bit of reworking but if people start asking where'd you get that gem or can I get the words for that & by the way who wrote it, then you can be pretty sure you've got one that's worth dragging out. This also puts no pressure on the others listening & the response is your truthfull critic, there's no embrassement to yourself & all goes on with no bruised elbows. Barry


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Subject: Lyr Add: LOUISIANA BOUND
From: harpgirl
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 12:05 AM

Barbar et al.,

Here's one I wrote about 1979 in Arkansas in frank imitation and inspired by my old friend Lucinda Williams...

LOUISIANA BOUND

I'm goin' down south where the Cajuns go
Gonna pole the pirogue on the ole bayou
Gonna find me a handsome delta boy
In old Lake Charles or Atchafalya Bayou

Gonna find me a handsome delta boy
I hear they like to laugh and dance all day
Dance a two-step or a Cajun stomp
I'm gonna do the Louisiana romp

These hillbilly boys in Arkansas
Can't play the fiddle or the ole squeeze box
They work all day and sleep all night
Saturday night they're out looking for a fight

What good is a hillbilly boy?
He jumps on a woman like a dog on a bone
He'll take you for a roll in the hay
Then he's up working the whole doggone day

He don't dance and he don't sing
I'm goin' to Monroe or maybe Pontchartrain
Gonna dance around that sparklin' lake
Eatin' Creole and dancin' with a Cajun rake

Watch out Opalousa boys
This hillbilly mama's gonna show you what
I can't teach the Arkansas boys
We'll make sweet music by a moonlit bayou
Laugh and dance and sing the whole day through

I'll roll on down through Hot Springs town
Tell Billy Clinton I'm Louisiana bound
Pack my dancin' shoes and my hillbilly tricks
Gonna show them Cajun boys some hillbilly licks

Goin' down south where the Cajuns go
Gonna pole the pirogue down the ole bayou
Find me a handsome delta boy
In old Lake Charles or Atchafalaya Bayou
In old Lake Charles or Atchafalaya Bayou

Not as profound as yours perhaps but then singing your song would be a busman's holiday for me...harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Bert
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 08:29 AM

Good one harpgirl, I'd love to hear you sing it.
It might be a tad too long, you could cut the hillbilly boys verse and the Clinton verse without hurting it much.

You might also want to see if you could get a rhyme for bayou, the identity in the first and last verses sounds a little forced.
Its a good song that really creates the fun that those people have down there.
I was married to a woman who was raised in Opelousas so it brought back happy memories. Thanks.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 09:18 AM

Dear harpgirl, great song, I like the Clinton line! the only dull line is the one about "roll in the hay" -- that is too ordinary. g iven that the rhyme is "ay" you ought to be able to give it a sexier thrust (ahem).

Question (irrelevant like most of mine): as a longtime singer of the "Lakes of Ponchartrain" (I know there is a thread on this), what are these lakes? Are they a bunch of finger lakes, or swamps, or pools, or what? Are there 2 or 12, big or small?

Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: MMario
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 09:49 AM

Peter - I found this... Lake Pontchartrain is part of a vast ecosystem called the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. Like all natural systems, the 4,700 square mile Lake Pontchartrain Basin consists of many interrelated components. While the central feature of the Basin is the 630 square mile Lake Ponchartrain, it also includes sister Lakes Maurepas and Borgne, numerous freshwater rivers and bayous, and part of the salt waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin forms the largest contiguous estuary in the Gulf Coast region. The Pontchartrain Basin estuary is known for its tranquil swamps, magnificent lakes and lush hardwood forests which provide homes for a tremendous variety of fish and wildlife. The Basin is also the center of Southeastern Louisiana's unique cultural heritage with more than 1.5 million residents in 16 Parishes-

MMario


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 10:06 AM

Dear MMario, Thanks. Does your source say whether it is all natural or is it manmade (that is, has dams and levees)? I will stop. I am not hijacking this thread, ignore that question -- let us turn our attention back to songwriting. As I said to Ira Gershwin....

Yours, Peter


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 11:12 AM

This song has no title, and sort of came out all in a rush one day. I think it has to do with the difference between the way we view ourselves and the way our children see us, and probably came about because of being a daughter and a mother. It sort of has a waltzing tune that goes up and down a lot. I'd appreciate an opinion (feeling brave today) - but I didn't write it very consciously, and I do realize bits of it are a bit odd.

Mother of all of us
Raising us good
And all of us fools and all
And father went further
Than fathers should go
He ain't coming home at all
The woman in you
Had been broken in two
It was only the mother we'd seen
Till the night of the ball
At the Temperance Hall
We saw the girl you must have been.

It's a shame
Such a shame
Its a beautiful dance and you're dancing it lame
All the same
You're to blame
There have always been chances
To learn the new dances
But you always declined when they came

Mother and all
We were stood by the wall
Us kids wide-eyed at it all
The music was swirling
The dancers were whirling
The length of the Temperance Hall
And more than a few
They were looking at you
And old Mrs. Brown she was green
On the night of the ball
At the Temperance Hall
We saw the girl you must have been

It's a shame
Such a shame
Its a beautiful dance and you're dancing it lame
All the same
You're to blame
There have always been chances
To learn the new dances
But you always declined when they came


Cheers

Kris


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Bert
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 11:48 AM

Great song Kris,
I love the chorus "There have always been chances To learn the new dances..." what a great line.
I think it could use a final verse though, to finish it off.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 01:17 PM

Dear Kris, This seems to me to be two different songs, both wonderfully evocative separately, but confusing together. It seems to me confusing to have her blamed in the chorus for doing something badly, and at the same time have everyone mesmerized by the glimpse of the girl she must have been in the verse. These are two very powerful emotions which conjure up very different scenes and tones. Is she dancing wonderfully even though out of date and not very well, or isn't she?

Yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 01:57 PM

Great stuff all! I am looking forward to more.

I thought it might be a good idea to steal this from Joe and put it here. (He must be asleep). It does make the songs easier to read and is quite simple really.

"let me once again reiterate that the most important code you can learn for use here is the line break code, which sets lyrics off in separate lines instead of all mushed together. It looks like this:


Type it in at the end (or beginning) of each line. Or, copy it once and paste it in every time you need it. Or, type your lyrics in a word processor, and search-and-replace. Search for paragreaph marks, and replace them with a paragraph mark and
As Ross Perot might say, "It's that simple......" -Joe Offer-"


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 01:59 PM

OOps....It should look like this (
) without the ( ).


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 02:05 PM

Ooooops! Try this instead


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 02:10 PM

It's quite simple really

http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=37333

the above should get you there but I will try just once more HERE


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Subject: Lyr Add: WHITHER THOU GOEST
From: Barbara
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 02:33 PM

Mmario, I couldn't read this the way you posted it. Are you German? (In the German language all the nouns are capitalized, but not in English.) So I changed it and put the line breaks in. As Shambles just tried to say, that's [br] only with angle brackets instead of square ones.

It's a very romantic song, and perhaps someone with more romantic inclinations than me would like to comment on that part of it. Basically I think this idea of love and marriage sounds very nice if you don't think about it too much, like Hallmark Cards.

I thought at first that it was the wedding song called WHITHER THOU GOEST Are you familiar with that one?

I was a little confused by your last line "Yes, I will be faithful forever if only you'll say I may." I presume you mean "If only you'll say you will marry me" but it sort of sounds like "I'll be faithful if you tell me to."

CHORUS: Whither thou goest, I'll go.
And whither thou stayest, I'll stay.
I'll be your partner forever,
If only you'll say I may.

Put your hand in my hand, dear.
Walk by my side, my love!
We were meant for each other,
Just as the hand fits the glove.
Would that I wake to your beauty
At the dawn of each day;
And I would praise God each evening
If I were permitted to say: CHORUS

With this ring, I would wed thee.
With your ring, make me thine.
But two metal bands about our hands
Are but the outward sign.
The flame of love we have kindled,
May it always shine.
May we always see its light
In each other's eyes. CHORUS

Let us grow old together
United through thick and through thin,
Two made one, forever,
Surrounded by kindred and kin!
I will pledge you my love, dear,
If you will pledge yours mine.
All I have, and all I am,
Are yours for all of time! CHORUS

Yes, I will be faithful forever
If only you'll say I may.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Barbara
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 02:43 PM

Harpgirl, what a fun, bouncy song, I'd love to hear it. In regards to what Peter said, what about "He'll take 10 minutes (5?) for a backseat lay" or is that too explicit? Blessings,
Barbara


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: MMario
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 02:54 PM

Barbara - Thank's for fixing up my post. I did a cut and paste - and sometimes that seems to work, and other times it doesn't - I can never tell until it comes up. The song came from a bit of street theatre at a Renaissance Faire - and the reason it keeps ending with "if only you'll say I may" is that the singer is proving his love by allowing the woman to make the decision about the marriage - in a social setting where she would (nominally) have no choice in the matter.

MMario


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: BSeed
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 03:58 PM

MMario, as Barbara formatted it it's quite beautiful. I wish you could post your melody. One thing, I think the correct form of the verb (it's been a long time since I've read the old King James Bible) is goest.

And Barbara, just a couple of places where I disagree on your formatting:

But two metal bands about our hands
Are but the outward sign.

fits the metric pattern of the verses, and

United through thick and through thin,
Two made one forever.

which I assume was just a failure to insert a break after thin.

--seed


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: MMario
Date: 06 Nov 98 - 04:28 PM

seed - believe me I wish I could post the melody too!

[If anyone wants to volunteer to transcribe it by ear I would be willing to send them a tape and much gratitude.] And yes, your comments on the format fit the way I sing it; but I was not about to complain when Barbara went to the trouble to reformat it in the first place. Thanks again, Barbara!

I thought that "goest" was correct and was very frustrated because it was harder to sing then "goeth" but my dialect coach told me either was correct; thoough evidently "goest" is more common - so I switched it.

Barbara - no, I've never heard or heard of "Whither thou goest" (as a song) and I apologize for the random capitalization - that resulted from having clipped the text from a document that was in multiple fonts and mixed caps and lower case because the person I was printing it for liked the looks of it.


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Subject: Lyr Add: TELL ME A STORY (D Tilston)
From: Dave T
Date: 07 Nov 98 - 02:05 AM

Barbara,
Thank you for starting this thread. I'm just getting back to the Mudcat and see I've missed quite a bit. Anyhow, since everyone else is being brave enough to post their songs, I thought I'd try. This one is not very typical of the songs I write, which is why I'm posting it. It's really just a simple love song. I wrote this when I was on vacation this summer at our sottage in Georgian Bay. I'd get up each morning about 6:00 am, take a pot of coffee and my guitar down to the water and watch the sunrise. This is one of the songs that came out.
  
Tell Me A story - D.Tilston (07-1998)
G C G
Tell me a story babe, if you're able
G C D
Tell me a story that will ease my fears
G C G
Tell me story babe, of different ages
G D G
A story to lift off the weight of these years

G Em D
Paint me picture babe, with your words
Paint me a picture that's full of your dreams
Paint me a picture of a different world
A world not as cruel as this one now seems

Take me to a place babe, in your mind
Take me to a place where you long to be
Take me to a place where I can rest for a time
A place where I can set myself free

(inst)

Give me your love babe, one more time
Give me your love, now don't you weep
Give me your love you know I give you mine
Your love is my anchor as I drift off to sleep
This might get "double posted"; I had to reconnect to the net half way through. At any rate, comments are welcome and encouraged.
Dave T


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 07 Nov 98 - 04:22 AM

Dave.

Early mornings would seem to be a good time to write.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Dave T
Date: 07 Nov 98 - 09:11 AM

Apologies to all. I messed up a coupl of lines in the first first of the song I posted. I should have checked with my browser first. The first verse is supposed to look like this:
  
G C G
Tell me a story babe, if you're able
G C D
Tell me a story that will ease my fears
G C G
Tell me story babe, of different ages
G D G
A story to lift off the weight of these years

G Em D


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 07 Nov 98 - 09:27 AM

Dear Dave, More proof that Georgian Bay is one of the best places in the world. The "anchor" line is a fine thing.

Yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 12:00 PM

Bert, Peter and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback. I will noodle it a bit and see what I come up with. I don't perform my own material very often except when someone insists so I haven't solicited any real feedback on any material. (Yes, for me the word "lay" would be too explicit!) It's meant to be an accordian song I think...maybe sung in french harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 12:02 PM

Bert, Peter and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback. I will noodle it a bit and see what I come up with. I don't perform my own material very often except when someone insists so I haven't solicited any real feedback on any material. (Yes, for me the word "lay" would be too explicit!) It's meant to be an accordian song I think...maybe sung in french harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 12:06 PM

Bert, Peter and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback. I will noodle it a bit and see what I come up with. I don't perform my own material very often except when someone insists so I haven't solicited any real feedback on any material. (Yes, for me the word "lay" would be too explicit!) It's meant to be an accordian song I think...maybe sung in french harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 12:08 PM

Bert, Peter and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback. I will noodle it a bit and see what I come up with. I don't perform my own material very often except when someone insists so I haven't solicited any real feedback on any material. (Yes, for me the word "lay" would be too explicit!) It's meant to be an accordian song I think...maybe sung in french harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 12:15 PM

Bert, Peter and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback. I will noodle it a bit and see what I come up with. I don't perform my own material very often except when someone insists so I haven't solicited any real feedback on any material. (Yes, for me the word "lay" would be too explicit!) It's meant to be an accordian song I think...maybe sung in french harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: harpgirl
Date: 09 Nov 98 - 12:17 PM

Bert, Peter and Barbara,
Thanks for the feedback. I will noodle it a bit and see what I come up with. I don't perform my own material very often except when someone insists so I haven't solicited any real feedback on any material. (Yes, for me the word "lay" would be too explicit!) It's meant to be an accordian song I think...maybe sung in french harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 10 Nov 98 - 03:09 AM

Bert & Peter T. Thanks v much for the comments. The dance she does badly is life in general, hence its only when she does the real dance that they see a glimse of how she should be dancing her life. I think. As regards a final verse - I tried!! But because it was a spontaneous song which doesn't make total coherent sense I couldn't write any more to fit it (as you say, it seems more like two unconnected things already). Anyway - its very useful to get an opinion to learn from for the future. Cheers

Kris


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Neillowe
Date: 12 Nov 98 - 09:29 AM

Kris,

I liked your lyrics. Kinda reminded me of the reflective, introverted stuff Tori Amos is famous for (and if you're not particularly a fan of her music no offense was implied).

And regarding your comment about the nature of the muse: my experience has been the songs that seem to write themselves are the ones that turn out the best. Makes me think that I'm just the medium, the tool of a force in nature what subjugates my will to its own, and I am awestruck and humbled by its presence (Insert some sort of mystical theme music here). The ones I hammer out word by word sound like they've been hammered out word by word, re: garbage.

May all the muse's visits to you be so pleasant.

Regards,

Neil


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Bert
Date: 12 Nov 98 - 10:06 AM

Neil,

Yes, the songs that come without effort do seem to have something special. I wrote Plastic Flower Seeds in a couple of hours and it's one of my favourites.
However, it's good to have some techniques to fall back on when a song doesn't seem to be coming easily.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Neillowe
Date: 13 Nov 98 - 10:18 AM

Bert,

I agree with you regarding techniques to fall back on. An unending flow of distilled spirits or a love affair gone sour seem to work well for me, but naturally I wouldn't recommend them to everyone.

I tried to access your link to read your lyrics, but I had problems. Could you recommend an alternative route? Or could you post them? Thanks.

Regards,

Neil


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Bert
Date: 13 Nov 98 - 02:11 PM

Neil,

That link was for an audio of Max singing. The lyrics can be found here along with most of my other stuff...
http://www.mudcat.org/bert/songs/index.html

The techniques I use to Persuade a recalcitrant song are listed under the songwriting thread here...
http://www.mudcat.org/Detail.CFM?messages__Message_ID=41690

I think the main thing is not to take things too seriously. This should be fun.

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 Nov 98 - 02:35 PM

Well, I thought


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Subject: Lyr Add: RECOVERY STREET
From: Peter T.
Date: 13 Nov 98 - 02:42 PM

Well, I thought I would plunge in with this song that has given me years of trouble (in various senses). It comes from the fact that one day while I was walking in South London, I suddenly found myself on a street called "Recovery Street" (for real).

RECOVERY STREET

I thought it was all one Perfect Promenade, Perfect Promenade, Perfect Promenade,
We'd dance our dreams down Delirious Drive, down Delirious Drive, down Delirious Drive,
And build a home in Perpetual Place, in Perpetual Place, in Perpetual Place.

Till I woke up asleep in Face Down Alley, Face Down Alley, Face Down Alley,
Pulled myself out onto Fall Apart Lane, onto Fall Apart Lane, onto Fall Apart Lane,
Screamed at the cars on Broken Boulevard, Broken Boulevard, Broken Boulevard.

Resolved and resolved on Progress Circle, Progress Circle, Progress Circle
Promised the moon on a Shining Path, on a Shining Path, on a Shining Path
Lost you again in some Trackless Waste, in some Trackless Waste, in some Trackless Waste,
Came to the end at the end of Endless End, of Endless End, of Endless End, of Endless End, of Endless End....

I'll make my way up Effort Avenue, Effort Avenue, Effort Avenue,
And spend my days down in Infant Step Park, down in Infant Step Park, down in Infant Step Park,
And build a home in Recovery Street, in Recovery Street, in Recovery Street

And you'll find me at the end of your road, at the end of your road, at the end of your road,

Again.

(copyright, 1993)

I have no idea if the line breaks will work. This song has, more or less, the same chord patterns as "Black is the Colour": Am in each first line with shifts into Dm7 and Em when it all gets too much. The last chord of all is a C.
The problem I have with it is that it is, well, relentless. When I sing it, it just drives from the start to the finish. I keep thinking it needs a break, a two-line chorus, or some kind of verse ending for each verse that repeats, but I can't find a starting point. It somehow feels as if it needs it, though someone I sang it to said that it would lose something if it moved off its structure. So I could be wrong -- it just doesn't feel finished to me. Anybody have any thoughts that might help (there, or anywhere in the song)?

Yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 13 Nov 98 - 06:13 PM

Well Peter.

It is difficult to say too much without hearing it but if as you say it is relentless and drives along maybe that's exactly what it should do, especially with all those streets! Interesting idea that all the street names, seems to work well.

I have been thinking some more and I think the impression may have been given in these threads that writing songs is about producing hundreds of songs in order to write one good one. While I'm sure there is some truth in that, I think that it is possible to produce a good song at the first attempt.

Its rather like the lottery, you would expect that the more attempts you make the more likely you are to win, when in fact you could buy just one ticket and win.

Again it is probably a little discouraging to read the guitar thread and feel that to produce good songs they have to be written on a vintage Martin or a Gibson. Of course that is not the case.

I think what I am trying to say is don't give up.

I liked your song Kris very much.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 Nov 98 - 10:13 AM

Thanks for the note, Shambles (I shall have to work shambles into a lyric sometime).

Yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Bert
Date: 16 Nov 98 - 10:48 AM

Peter T,

I'ts a good song it flows nicely from beginning to end.
If you want to cut down the 'drive' (but only you can decide that) you could cut out the repetition in the first two lines of each verse.
Also, a lot of the tension comes from having three lines in the verse. If you make it four lines it will seem more even. You could use some variation of your 'end of your road' coda as the last line of each verse
If it still needs a break or chorus, it could be about 'where you want to be'

Play around with it some, but if it just won't change, remember, sometimes you need a strong song.

Good one, wish I'd thought of that theme. Bert.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Nov 98 - 03:57 PM

The following was written to The Show Of Hands fans net, by Steve Fairchild and he has kindly agreed to let me reproduce it here.

We've talked about this before privately; I'm going public on the basis that this might be relevant or of interest to others.

Stuart, your "problem" is terribly common with adults. Most musicians I know, including professional musicians, have these same feelings most, if not all, of the time. Me too.

I could point you at any amount of literature to do with enhancing/unleashing creativity, but the bottom line is simple: you're an individual, you're not "mimicking" being an individual. You have your own take on life, your own sense of aesthetics: don't be afraid to use them. The main creativity-killer is a fear of what others will think of our feeble efforts, a fear of failure. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I occasionally give guitar lessons; many players wants to sound like Jimi or Stevie or Eric or [insert fave guitar hero]. It's great to have heroes to emulate, of course, it's the first part of the road; but I like to point out eventually that nobody makes their mark copying someone else. All my musical/artistic heroes tend to be individuals who have found their own voices; the more individual the better. It's the character that comes across, and only secondarily exactly how it's put across.

Similarly I've found a tendency to procrastinate: "I'll be more creative when I play better / when I buy that next indispensable piece of gear / a better guitar / when I've finished this rush job". Gollocks. Using one's imagination takes practice; start now even if you can't sing or play or paint or write at all.

One piece of literature I like to quote is a thesis by a friend of mine entitled "The Critic and the Creator". She points out that young children are primarily creative and non-critical, happy to splash paint over paper, the walls, the TV and the cat. Adults OTOH have necessarily become conditioned to be critical, to not make a mess, not to try things they don't know how to do - and have to re-learn how to "make things up".

Just before I shut up, some practical tips: - My own favourite trick is to fool myself into suspending all criticism until a later date. I like working under pressure; no time to get cerebral, just bang it out and see what sticks. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. It has at least served to demonstrate to me that I _can_ be creative, despite my expectations of failure. - Don't judge yourself; you're your own worst critic. Don't worry about criticism generally; I've said this before. Anybody can criticise. Only rarely is there anything to be learnt from the critics, no matter how well-qualified they are. Far better to create and tolerate the critics than not to create. In the extreme, far better to create garbage than not to create. - Carry a notebook and a pen (or a dictaphone) at all times. If you get a snippet of an idea, even just two words or a 3-note melody, write it down. Wherever you are, whatever you're doing. Do this again and again. After a couple of years you'll be surprised how creative you've been! Equally importantly, you'll see evidence that you can express your character. - Many songwriters (esp. Neil Finn) say that the best time to get ideas is just as you're falling asleep, or daydreaming. Keep that notebook by the bed (Neil gets up and grabs the guitar and manages not to lose the mood in the process - a neat trick in itself). - Some artists use spliff or alcohol to "get loose". I personally wouldn't condone a primarily pharmaceutical approach to anything, even creativity. But the point is that being creative _does_ require a different headstate, one which can sometimes be uncomfortable yet still useful (in my experience). Indeed there is compelling evidence that trauma and psychosis can help creativity enormously! (Again not recommended.) Do allow yourself the headspace to get emotionally involved, moved even, perhaps even driven - express yourself, get it off your chest, make a statement, weave a scene. If you feel passion, pleasure or pain, use it. - If you're stuck for a starting point, find one - read the papers, look out the window, go for a walk. Walking is good for songwriting - the walking pace provides a rhythm to start with. Try varying the pace. - If you're looking for a melody, stop listening to music. You might find after a while that the tunes in your head didn't come from the radio. - Remember: your main competitive edge as an artist is that there is only one you. - As an artist, you're one half of a relationship; the other half is the artee (the audience). You have control over the first, and none over the second. Don't try to control it - I firmly believe that any audience can smell the difference between a contrivance and an honest statement at 100 yards. Don't even try to analyse it; sometimes the audience seem to contribute more than the artist, they see things in there that the artist just threw in unconsciously and react to those. (Sometimes to a scary degree.) Just do what you do and see if anyone relates; I bet they do.

Anyway, enough verbiage. I hope some of this helps. We are all far more creative than we tend to get the chance to demonstrate to ourselves in the course of the daily "struggle for the legal tender".

Steve


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Nov 98 - 04:03 PM

What a 'Wally' I am! A thousand pardons Steve, it should have read Steve Fairhead of course.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 Nov 98 - 04:21 PM

Dear Shambles/Steve, Fine piece. To add to it, or modify it, I think it is important to find a role for the critical voice as well -- the problem with adults is not just that they are over-critical, it is that they don't know when to bring the critical voice in, and when not. If you pretend that you are going to be purely creative, it won't work, or not for very long. The guilt part will come in, or you will start mimicking infantile behaviour. What needs to be found is a rhythm and/or a ritual that acknowledges both. For instance, John Stuart Mill, who was repressed as hell, used to do two drafts of everything -- the first draft was purely creative, hell for leather, anything that came into his mind; and the second draft was the critical mind. One method used by a friend of mine (who is not yet completely schizo) is to turn himself into two people -- the left brain guy for an hour, and then the right brain guy for an hour, and so on. I am sure most of the people on this thread have some version of this (maybe unconscious) that they use.

Yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Kris
Date: 17 Nov 98 - 06:46 AM

I definitely agree with the idea that a rhythmic activity such as walking of cycling tends to help in songwriting. The rhythm helps the phrases to flow (its a bit like when you're on a train and the sound of the train seems to translate into a word or phrase), and the fact that you can let your mind run on idle for a while can liberate some random(ish) thoughts which can lead on to others etc etc. I also find that I tend to drift off into a sort of daydream and end up with songs which are totally dislocated from my own life and aspirations, but which are like a flavour of a story of an imagined situation. All very therapeutic probably. The advantage of this is that I don't feel the need to make the song conform to any truth or completeness, it can be whatever it becomes, and if I like it I'll fiddle with it til I'm really happy with it then write it down. Its certainly not the only way to do things - but it works for me (its very cheap entertainment!). Looking back at what I've just written, I realise that its pretty similar to what Peter T recommends (aha, you were right then), in that it has a freely creative element, then a filter and fiddling around element. So, to test the theory - what other versions does everyone use?

Kris


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: Steve Fairhead
Date: 17 Nov 98 - 09:26 PM

The Shambles said:

>> A thousand pardons Steve, it should have read Steve Fairhead of course. <<

No worries, matey!

Steve


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Subject: RE: Songwriter's Forum
From: The Shambles
Date: 17 Nov 98 - 10:14 PM

Hello Steve and welcome, nice to see you here.

You may like to check out the following Songwriting


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