Looking for the beginning?

Looking for somewhere to start? Check out Song 1 here!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Song Number 19: A19 Revisited

Ridiculous hog-rocker, with a well timed title.

Before I explain what this nonsense is all about, just take a couple of seconds to sponsor me - either click the widget on the top right, or go to http://justgiving.com/songaweek.  Ta!

A few years ago, I was driving up north past ICI Wilton (the inspiration behind the opening shots of Blade Runner, as you can probably see from the link) and thought A19 Revisited would be a good title for a Northern answer to Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited.  I've harboured the thought for years, and when I came out with that bland blues/rock riff (totally wasting that lovely beat!) I figured it might just be time to get that driving song out of my head.

Average speed check in operation

Now, I quite like that drive up North from London to my home town of Hartlepool.  M1 -> M18 -> A1(M) -> A19 and home.  It's pretty straightforward (though I did sit for 2 hours in a jam at Junction 23, during which time Cars by Gary Numan came on - the irony wasn't lost on me), and the sight of Leake Church is always a pleasure.  There's something comforting about hitting the A19 near Thirsk, knowing that I'm near the end of my journey.  The song's about a guy heading back home (on his motorbike) to Station Town, a village just north of Hartlepool.  It's a pretty godforsaken place, to be honest, but it's a great name - really evocative. 

There are plenty of local references, and a few horrendously bland blues-rock clichés thrown in for good measure.

It was only when I finished the song that I remembered it was Bob Dylan's birthday the other day, and also that this would be Song 19!  Oh, the hilarity.

If you're wondering about the picture, it's dark so you can only see the biker's headlamp.  Nothing at all with me being incapable of drawing a man on a motorbike, you understand.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Song Number 18: Fairy Tales

Not so much the Mothership as the Great Aunt Ship...

The whole song started with that initial drum fill, which I stole from Michael Bland (Possibly my favourite of Prince's old drummers), and that dictated what groove it would have.

They installed Bland, then built the kit around him

The whole riff was improvised in one take on the clav (with a little tidying up later on).  I'd been listening to Bootsy Collins so had a little fun with the voice of the wolf.  Unfortunately, I can't play bass like Bootsy, but I did my best!

Bootsy's offer to play at the Royal Wedding
was quietly rejected
Not a massive fan of George Clinton style P-Funk.  It's great fun to play, and to jam with other musicians, but to listen to it can be awfully self-indulgent.  However, in small doses, there are some great tracks out there, and some superb musicians (when they weren't out of their trees).

The words... well, the "I don't like to live my life through fairy tales" line came into my head fully formed; it made sense to go with the theme.  There are several fairy tale references in there, but the main theme is Red Riding Hood, obviously.  It was a lot ruder when I first wrote it!

We're heading towards the half way point, and I want to make sure I'm ahead of target songwise and sponsorshipwise by the end of July.  You can help with this latter part by donating a few pennies to Parkinson's UK at http://justgiving.com/songaweek

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Song number 17: Tea Bags

Surely we've all been in this situation?

This song is a response to the classic Bill Withers track, Lean On Me.  In it, an unfortunate chap has found himself in a sticky situation, and has turned to Mr Withers for help.  However, this unfortunate chap is a massive pain in the arse, and is liable to hang around like a bad smell for quite some time, testing Bill Withers' generosity to its limit.

You can kip on the sofa,
but make your own damn breakfast
We're approaching the half way point of 2011, and it's here where, as my dad said this morning, "marathons are won or lost", so I'm having to get a real shift on so I can be ahead of the game by the time I head off on honeymoon in August.  No time to wait for my throat infection to clear up before doing the vocals on this one, therefore, but I think it suits the character... who may pop up again in a later song.

Song 18 on the way!  In the meantime, please sponsor me in this ridiculous endeavour, and tell everybody you know about the cause.  If any of you know any Radio DJs or newspaper bods, please help me get in touch with them - SAW2011 needs exposure if it's going to make the £1,000 target!

Bedford Gig highlights!

Blogger's finally working on my computer, so here's a link to the highlights of the Bedford gig.  Thanks to everybody who came down, and who watched on the internet - please leave your comments here or on the YouTube vid!

Next gig booked is on 22nd June at The Star Inn, Guildford.  Who knows how we'll mutilate Smoke On The Water this time!

Illness and gig preparation have been kicking at the feet of SAW2011, but I'll be back on track soon...

Friday, 6 May 2011

Song Number 16: Canapé Chat

Here we go:

Now please put your money where my mouth is!  I'm breaking my back here trying to keep up with the weeks as they fly past, so the least you can do is donate a few quid to Parkinson's UK! 

The words were written before the music, prompted by a phrase in a ridiculous "Royal Top Trumps" game in Grazia magazine (not an organ I habitually take, I might mention!). 

The lead vocal sound in the verse might interest the geeks amongst you - there's one track of conventionally treated vocal, and one track of the exact same vocal take shoved up an octave through a pitchshifter, and then back down to the original pitch with another.  The slight delay and loss of sound quality makes it sound interestingly doubletracked, I think.  So there you go!

Otherwise there are all sorts of bits and pieces going on, and I could have (should have) spent a lot more time building up arrangement in the choruses to make them a bit more interesting, but I need to move on to song 17 already!

Having a bit of a flap at the moment - I'm trying to catch up with the weekly target, but the last two weekends have been destroyed by public holidays (both of which were lovely, of course, but not conducive to SAW2011).  Plus, I'm getting the band ready for the gig on the 12th of May at The Bedford in Balham!

Doors at 7.30; we'll be on at 9. The set will feature a couple of tracks as yet unplayed by the new band, and at least one Song A Week 2011 track!

Also playing:

Emi Green (http://www.emigreenmusic.com/), formerly of Home & Away, now a respected songwriter


Nigel H Seymour (http://www.nigelhseymour.co.uk/), seasoned folk sort.

Check out the Facebook Event page and sign up as an attendee!
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