Monday, April 20, 2015

Do It Again

When the guys from South Park were making a movie with stop-action puppets, I remember one of them remarking how difficult it was to get puppets to do even the littlest things, when a human actor could have simply been told what to do and he'd do it. I got the same feeling with this old nugget by Steely Dan. Playing every part all the way through a hypnotic 6-minute song is hard to do, especially when each verse is almost a minute long. If I only had a 4-piece band and we each could play at the same time . . .

         DO IT AGAIN

Modern music-makers would probably just do one verse and chorus, record it and then simply duplicate it six or seven times, but my mind doesn't work like that. When I learned guitar in the early 60s it was a rite of passage to be able to play a Chuck Berry song all the way through, without making too many mistakes.

What actually inspired me to do this song was my Fender G-Dec amp which plays the distinctive drumbeat so well I used 6 minutes of it as a click track. I also liked the understated guitar setting the G-Dec provided and used it for both guitars. I played the bass on my ES-335 using a bass-emulating setting on my Boss BR-600 effects device. A Casio WK-200 provided the keyboard sound and Gavin O'Keefe did an ethereal viola solo via the internet. The vocals were doubled and harmonized by the Vocalist Live 3 and I even turned on the Auto-Tune. I wish it had changed the voice even more.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

North to Alaska

I guess the Great White North has been on my mind lately and it reminded me of one of my favorite Johnny Horton songs. I was the marquee changer at the Allen Theater in Farmington NM when this song (and movie) came out. It may be the only John Wayne film I liked. I'm sorry, but I didn't like his acting. As for Johnny Horton, I liked everything he did.

 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Ma Belle from Quebec

There were still a few provinces of Canada left so I volunteered for Quebec. I did my usual "what rhymes with Quebec?" then went to Google Images and saw what the place looks like. Beautiful. So I dusted off my two years of French in high school and threw together the first chords that occurred to me. The song is based on a simple I - IV - I - I chord pattern and the melody is the obvious one to use for it. But it bounces along nicely and if the "avec" gag ever catches on, the song could be a hit. If you know anyone from Quebec ask them if there's any chance that they would say, "Do you wanna go avec?" or even "Voulez-vous allons avec?" without adding the "moi"?


And here is the video on Youtube.



MA BELLE FROM QUEBEC

Lemme tell you bout ma Belle from Quebec
She plays the blues like Mac Rebenneck
She ain’t as tall as Toulouse-Latrec
But when she goes out
I wanna go avec.
When Belle paints the town
We all wanna go avec.

I’m talking bout ma Belle from Quebec
She plays poker with Alex Trebek
In certain lights she looks like Max Shreck
But when she goes out
I wanna go avec.
When Belle paints the town
We all wanna go avec.

   Ma Belle from Quebec is a screamer
   You oughta hear her say “Voulez vous?”
   And when she lets me drive her Beemer
   We’re the biggest hippos in the zoo.

So if you’re thinking bout ma Belle from Quebec
She plays banjo like a drunk Bela Fleck
She might say Boo to Gregory Peck
But when she goes out
I wanna go avec.
When Belle paints the town
We all wanna go avec.


Saturday, February 28, 2015

Yellowknife

What do you know? Another original Knees Calhoon tune, written in 2015, when for most of the 90s and 00s Knees thought his creative days were long past. It appears he still has a few notes and words left in him and it's thanks to his Canadian friends in a group called The Cover Album Project Band that they have been pulled out. The song is amazingly simple but maybe that fits the stark, beautiful expanse that the Northwest Territories cover. With average temperatures in the summer barely reaching the freezing point, it's doubtful Knees will ever visit Yellowknife, but for about 2 and a half minutes we can dream.


Knees made a video for the Project Band and here it is on Youtube.

YELLOWKNIFE VIDEO 


You can count all the trees in Ontario
Weigh the ice in the Arctic Dome
But if you’re miles away from Yellowknife
You’re not home.

You can walk from Vancouver to Labrador
And freeze in the Atlantic foam,
When you're a long way from Yellowknife
You’re not home.

In the Northwest Territories
Is where I wanna be
A place to find fortune
A place to be free
By the banks of the Great Slave Lake I wanna lie
When the last bus leaves town let me be
In Yellowknife
In Yellowknife

You can climb all the mountains of Canada
Sail the waters from St. John’s to Nome
But when you ride the bus back to Yellowknife
You’ll be home.

There’s a territory mind
That makes a man roam
Lookin for his fortune
Lookin for his home
But the Northwest Territories is where I wanna die
When the last bus leaves town let me be
In Yellowknife
In Yellowknife

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Someday

It was early 1967 and I was killing time before going in the army. I was at a party on Vine Street in Farmington NM and I heard a song on the hi-fi that I'd never heard before. It sounded like Buddy Holly and it had some very nifty chords. I looked at the 45 and sure enough it was by The Crickets, and called "Someday".

Years later in the 90s I was given a complete set of Buddy Holly records, which had numerous early rockabilly songs I'd never heard, but when I looked for the song I couldn't find it. I remained mystified until recently when I googled it and found that the song was indeed recorded by The Crickets, but the singer was Bobby Vee. It's still a damn good song for 1962.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen, Skip Batchelor!

I realize this blog is to chronicle the recordings of Knees Calhoon but Knees was so much influenced in the 60s and 70s by his old guitar buddy, Skip Batchelor, that I think it's entirely appropriate to feature Skip on a trio of tunes. These were recorded at a recent gig in Albuquerque where he does a one-man show in return for enchiladas, beer and antacids. The engineer was Travis Hill and he did a great job of capturing the solid sound of Skip's guitar and vocals. Who'da thought that one of the 1965 Torques could sing and play like that?




Can you imagine anything better than sitting down to a meal of red cheese enchiladas, machaca tacos, refried beans, rice with guacamole, a chile relleno and sopapillas, and listening to a 70-year-old guy with unnaturally thick gray hair singing the various Proud Marys of the past half century? If you live anywhere near Albuquerque or Chama, you need to see Skip do his thing. 

You know all those songs that Knees Calhoon has glommed together in the annals of this blog? Songs I fumbled through multiple takes to get a decent blend of tracks? Well, Skip does his music LIVE and can do it almost anywhere. I am really proud of my fellow Torque for keeping the music real, just as he's always done since I met him in 1964.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Lawyers Guns and Money

I'm trying to stay away from anthems here at the Midnight Ramble because who wants to hear yet another version of a song you've heard a thousand times? I'd rather do a song that is completely new for you, or at least makes you happy to hear it again after all these decades. This song by Warren Zevon is almost an anthem but at least it's not on every Walmart muzak playlist. It was quite popular in the 80s at the bars in Las Cruces.


Never Make It Back

I needed a Christmas song for the holidays but of course my mind doesn't work that way. So I revived an old piano melody I made up decades back and added another verse to the dummy words I had used when playing the melody. I then changed the first line from "You came to me on a warm summer breeze" to "You came to me on a snowy Christmas eve." That's how Christmas songs are done at Ramble House. Then I asked Gavin O'Keefe to add some viola and I made a video of the song. But who could I get to sing this thing? I got it! Grogar!


If you dare, here is the video with Grogar singing in swaddling clothes. Some have called it "creepy".

http://youtu.be/AWnqt1pOJUo

You came to me on a warm summer breeze
Then I watched you blow away
But now I’m lost without your guiding light
To help me through the night to the day
You said love was all we had
And that’s not enough to make you stay
But what if love is all there is
And you never make it back
You never make it back
You never make it back this way.

We tell ourselves there’ll always come a day
When things will work out just as planned
And so we wait and sacrifice the time
While all our dreams are built on sand
You said love was all we had
And that’s not enough to make you stay
But what if love is all there is
And you never make it back
You never make it back
You never make it back this way.
 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunshine Superman

I haven't recorded anything lately but I hope to get back into it soon. In the meantime here is one of my favorite Donovan songs, done up as an acoustic number, just guitar and vocals. A couple of years back when I was playing more acoustic guitar than electric I recorded this. I didn't have the harmonizer at the time so I did the harmony the old-fashioned way: I sang it on another track.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Old Country Waltz

Randy Miller was known as Ballz Calhoon and was the hippest of the Brothers, even though he grew up on a farm and was a rodeo cowboy before becoming a drummer. Most of the cool songs played by the Calhoon Brothers at the Las Cruces Inn back in 1976 - 1980 were suggested and sung by Randy, and The Old Country Waltz was one I remember him singing once or twice. Too bad we didn't record it. 


It was a perfect song for a band like ours, since we often played "in this empty bar echoing off the walls." I have a feeling Neil Young wrote this very early in his career, since I don't see him playing to an empty house after 1965. The line that hits home even more is "out the window the moon shines on the roofs of the cars." If the damn bar is empty, how come the parking lot is full? It was a mystery back then and it remains so today.

Randy sang a lot of cool, sophisticated-in-their-own-way songs with us back in the day and I have recordings of dozens of them. I'm dedicating this song to Randy Miller.

Here's a song from April of 1977 at the LCI with Randy singing and playing drums, Mark Coker on bass and harmony and Knees on guitar.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

G Chug

I haven't recorded much lately but this song sounded pretty good in the car. I probably recorded this 5 or 6 years ago. "G Chug" is a setting on my Fender G-DEC amp and I like its crunchiness. The default rhythm that comes with it is relentless and it seems to dictate what the guitar is doing.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Boston Trilogy 2014

Jimmy Webb wrote a book about songwriting back in 1998 called TUNESMITH and thanks to Gavin O'Keefe's recommending it to me, I finally read it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had taught myself many of the tricks he advocated. In fact, it reminded me that one of my old songs from the early 70s was written on the piano with Glen Campbell in mind, and it was Jimmy Webb songs that made Campbell into one of the biggest cross-over stars of that time. So I redid "Boston Trilogy" and asked Gavin to add some viola and voila! A Knees Calhoon Jimmy Webblike song.


Back in the 90s when I recorded just about all of my original songs on a Yamaha 4-track cassette recorder, I did this song for the first time. Is the 2014 version better? That's the question I ask myself every time I redo a song.




Thursday, September 11, 2014

Maybe It's the Wind

In the future, which is now, when books are digitized and transmitted as a couple of million bytes of data, will there be any excuse for listing the words of a song in a book and NOT providing an mp3 (or whatever) so the reader can hear the song as he reads it?

Back in the mid-60s when Jim Thompson wrote SOUTH OF HEAVEN he may have had a melody and arrangement in mind for this song, but only the lyrics were included in the book. That was then. Here in 2014 when Knees Calhoon spied the lyrics, which conveniently rhymed and had rhythm, he decided to see how they sounded sung over the first chord pattern that occurred to him.


Knees' Disclaimer: I moved some of the lines around to get the song to fit a three-verse pattern. I have a feeling that the song, as imagined and maybe produced by Jim Thompson, was more sophisticated, and probably better, than my version. It's doubtful that Jim would have opted for two vocal lines, an octave apart, each run through a harmonizer that raised the bass one and lowered the high one. It's reminiscent of one of my favorite scenes from Get Smart. Max is getting some spy equipment from Carlson for an assignment where he'll be undercover as a reporter. He gets a camera (which Carlson explains is actually a tape recorder) and a tape recorder (which is a camera). Max asks Carlson why he didn't keep the camera a camera and the recorder a recorder and Carlson replies: "Because my mind doesn't work that way."

It's not easy to decipher my singing so here are the lyrics, copyright by Jim Thompson

A while ago as I sat there, counting the cracks in the floor,
Trying to blot out the future, to forget all that happened before,
I heard a baby crying, and I saw a face I’d known.
But the kid was dead and the face and head were crying there alone.
Wailing in infinite sorrow, sucking its finger tips
Till nothing was left but the marrow and the feebly gnawing lips,
But maybe it’s the wind, kid. Maybe it’s the wind.

The devil and a bearded saint peeked through the door at me.
The devil had a smoky taint, the saint a golden key.
The devil laughed, and he said to him, “I keep all whom I take.”
And he bound me there to that very chair with a ten-foot rattlesnake,
Then I heard the woman’s scream when the club came down on her back,
And the starving hounds on the grassy mounds where the dead fight off attack,
But maybe it’s the wind, kid. Maybe it’s the wind.

Maybe it’s the wind that aching hungry breeze
That blows all hell loose through the lid of one contagious sneeze?
Or the gasps for breath as the rope brings death while mob-fire turns bodies black,
Or the mad men, the bad men, and the sad and the glad men who rape and murder and sack,
Where the bombs explode and the shells erode where the sinned-against have sinned,
But maybe. Just Maybe. Maybe it’s the wind.
Maybe it's the wind.
Maybe it's the wind.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Cherokee Fiddle

I like doing songs I have an attachment to, for one reason or another. Cherokee Fiddle was written by Michael Martin Murphy in the early 80s and was a big hit by Johnny Lee in the Midnight Cowboy movie. It's about a guy who played fiddle for tips in Durango CO when the train came in filled with tourists. His name was Scooter. I saw him play many times and a few times he played a song or two with my band at the Palace Cabaret or Francisco's in the early 70s.


From the first time I heard this song I knew it was about Scooter, but to be sure I asked Michael Murphy and he assured me it was, although he mainly remembered seeing Scooter in Silverton. I asked him in Las Cruces NM in the mid 80s when he was in town for a concert and judging a songwriting contest. I saw the concert -- fantastic -- and the song I played electric piano on won the contest.

 

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Blackbird

In keeping with my tradition of doing songs I should not do, may I present a Paul McCartney song. I've always been fascinated by the chords he plays in this song and when I got the Beatle book with all of the scores written accurately, I finally had a chance to learn the song properly. Unfortunately, though I learned how to form the chords, I never have been able to play them rhythmically. Only three strings are played at a time -- the rest are muted -- and I never could get it right. So I used Band in a Box for the drums and bass, and played the rhythm using standard chords. Then I added the real chords as "stings". To make the stings more accurate, I actually recorded the drums, bass, rhythm and stings at about half speed, then sped the song up with Audacity's Tempo Change (which doesn't change the key of the song) to add the vocals.

 
As you may or may not know, I've been on a Beatle kick since reading Volume One of Mark Lewisohn's trilogy of Beatle history, TUNE IN. Then I got the huge book he wrote in the 90s listing technical data on all of the Abbey Road sessions. I'm still mired in it. Fascinating!

My fantasy: What if Paul were to spend an hour speed-listening to my 60 original songs and picking out the 18 that he thinks we could do the best. Then we spend a week at Abbey Road with him producing the album, playing drums, bass and whatever else he might want, and maybe adding some harmonies. At the end of the week we'd have a super album of originals that otherwise would never be heard outside of a few people I know. Surely it would be better than what's played on the airwaves now.

I imagine every state has several old songwriters like me who scribbled some sketchy songs in the past 50 years that have gone relatively unheard and unrecorded. Instead of hunting for the next perky video star, maybe it might be more fruitful for music moguls to find a trove of almost-forgotten masterpieces? I bet there are thousands of them out there.

Finally, everything about this song is shoddy compared to the McCartney version. I should be shot. Gavin O'Keefe added a viola solo to the instrumental verse and I outscreeched it with my ES-335 set at Blues House distortion. Here's an earlier take of the song without the ill-advised guitar and viola.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Long Black Veil

One of my favorite songs with a plot, Long Black Veil is a lot more modern than you might think. It was written in 1959 by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkins and it's so well done that it sounds like a classic 19th century hillbilly anthem. Thanks to Gavin O'Keefe's haunting viola chops this version seems to have banshees flying through the trees above the lonely graveyard.

 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Family Values Polka

I don't really know what to call this song. It might have been called "Hooray, My Father's Going to Be Hung". Back in the 70s when the Calhoon Brothers used to play it at the Las Cruces Inn we called it "The Perverse Polka". I found the song in a 25 cent paperback book back in the early 60s when I was just learning folk guitar and was always looking for chord books. I wish I still had the book, (something like "Fifty Famous Folk Songs") since it might have had more tunes with lyrics like these. It had simple piano notation and chords so I think the melody I'm using is close to what the actual folk song's was. 


I think there were four verses in the book but felt I needed to flesh out the family a bit and added the ones for the sister and family. Then I apparently abducted the Chipmunks and forced them to sing it for me.



Hooray! Hooray! My father’s gonna be hung
Hooray! Hooray! The dirty lyin bum.
He was oh so mean to me when I was very young.
Hooray! Hooray! They’re gonna hang my father.

Hooray! Hooray! My mother’s gonna be shot.
Hooray! Hooray! The filthy drunken sot.
She was oh so mean to me when I was just a tot.
Hooray! Hooray! They’re gonna shoot my mother.

Hooray! Hooray! My brother’s gonna be destroyed.
Hooray! Hooray! That nasty little boy.
He always used to try on me the things he read in Freud
Hooray! Hooray! They’re gonna wreck my brother.

Hooray! Hooray! My sister’s gonna be maimed.
Hooray! Hooray! That stuck-up vicious dame.
She would torture all our pets and make me take the blame.
Hooray! Hooray! They’re gonna maim my sister.

Hooray! Hooray! My uncle’s gonna be hurt.
Hooray! Hooray! That creepy sex pervert.
He was oh so free with me when I was just a squirt.
Hooray! Hooray! They’re gonna hurt my uncle.

Hooray! Hooray! My family’s gonna be wiped out
Hooray! Hooray! We deserve it all, no doubt
It’s a wonder we didn’t kill each other when I was just a sprout
Hooray! Hooray! They’re gonna wipe out my family.
 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Talking All-Knowing Dude

At the same time I made Pomp and Circumflex I did another tune like it, but this time in a C&W mood. I called it "The All-knowing Dude" and it contains the obligatory guitars in the background with dialog over it that was captured from Jim Weiler's trip to Utah or some other tedious state. The words made sense when Jim spoke them into a microphone as he drove, but by the time they had been transferred to a computer and analyzed and deciphered by software, they came out a little different. But maybe they still make sense to some of us?


 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Talking Pomp and Circumflex

I'm sorry to subject you to this but this song has been on my hard drive for a few years and it's time it made it up into the cloud. Here's the Pomp and Circumflex story.

Back in 1999 or so I wanted to play some over-the-top guitar on top of a slow, soulful background -- sort of like Roy Buchanan used to do -- so I laid down a dozen or more verses of the first "Hotel California"-like chord progression that occurred to me. Drums, bass and organ. Then I played over it twice with what I considered consenting guitars. To me it sounded like the perfect music for a porn film and I called the song "Pomp and Circumflex".

But I wasn't satisfied. I needed some lyrics -- 9 minutes' worth. Luckily, at that time my friend Jim Weiler just returned from a solo road trip out Utah way and while driving in his Toyota Tacoma he recorded his impressions. And he probably added some homespun philosophy. It's hard to tell because he played the mini-cassette recording of his trip, which had plenty of truck noise behind his voice, on cheap speakers and used the prevailing voice recognition software of the time to come up with a transcription for me. 

I believe there is some underlying truth to the lyrics, but perhaps not the truth that Jim meant. What do you say?


  

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Altar Boy Blues

For some reason I felt inspired last Saturday and wrote the lyrics of a song, then recorded the song today. As is my habit, I picked the first melody that occurred to me and since it's a blues song, it's probably the first melody that would occur to anyone. The lyrics were easy to write since I was writing about something I used to know something about: being an altar boy and having to get up at 6 a.m. to serve 6:30 mass. I never had any problems with the priests back in the 50s -- the nuns were the ones I had to watch out for -- but the current zeitgeist dictates that I suggest a bit of debauchery in the priest/altar boy relationship, so I did.


To provide a bit of 1950ish Catholic ambience I decided to add, as a roving chorus, a lone voice intoning the Latin responses that altar boys of the pre-1960s era had to say in response to the priest's ejaculations. After almost 60 years I still remember most of them by heart, sad to say. 

Okay, because of popular demand, here are two more versions of the song.



ALTAR BOY BLUES


Well you wake up inna mornin
Gotta serve that early mass
If you don’t make it by 5:30,
Father Damien will have yo ass,
You got the altar boys blues
Ain’t no joy for you today
Till dat priest done said his piece
You his prisoner and his slave.

Well you put on a grimy cassock
And a surplice with big sleeves
Then you light up all the candles
And get down upon your knees,
You got the altar boys blues
Ain’t no joy for you today
Till dat priest done had his fill
You his prisoner and his slave.

Well you answerin all his questions
In some crazy ancient tongue
When all you wanna say is
“Lemme outta here while I’m young,”
You got the altar boys blues
Ain’t no joy for you today
Till dat priest has done his deed
You his prisoner and his slave.

The time rolls by so slow
And you keep watchin yo behind,
The priest’s got Latin on his lips
But Greek is on his mind.
You got the altar boys blues
Ain’t no joy for you today
Till that priest done seen his god
You his prisoner and his slave.

Well de mass is finally over
You stop feeling like a fool
You just got one more year of this
Den you can go to public school
You got the altar boys blues
Ain’t no joy for you today
Till that priest done say Amen
You his partner and his slave.
Let em get you when you young
You’ll be servin to your grave
If you let em have their way with you
You gonna serve your life away.
  


The LATIN LOW MASS — Altar Boy’s Responses

Ad Deum qui laetificat, juventutem meam.
Quia tu es, Deus, fortitude mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?
Et introibo ad altare Dei: Ad Deam qui laetificat juventutem meam.
Spera in Deos quoniam adhuc confetibor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
Ad Deum qui laetificat, juventutem meam.
Qui fecit caelum et terram.
Misereatur tui omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam aeternam. Amen.
Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beate Mariae semper Virgini, beato Michaeli Archangelo, beato Joanni Baptistae, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, omnibus Sanctis, et tibi, Pater: quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, et opera mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michaelem Archangelum, beatum Joannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, omnes Sanctos et te, Pater, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.
Amen. Amen.
Et plebs tua laetabitur in te.
Et salutare tuum da nobis.
Et clamor meus ad te veniat.
Et cum spiritu tuo.
Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison. Christe, eleison. Kyrie, eleison.
Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostrum, totsiusque Ecclesiae suae sanctae.
Habemus ad Dominum.
Dignum et justum est.
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus, Deus Sabbaoth. Pleni sunt caeli et terra Gloria tua. Hosanna in excelsis. Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domine. Hosanna in excelsis.


Monday, May 26, 2014

Standing

I've been concentrating on books lately and neglecting my music but I managed to squeeze out a song over the weekend before my computer started giving me fits. So this is the final version of this song written by Joss Whedon and sung by Anthony Head in "Once More with Feeling", the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I need to do every track over, but with my computer injecting audible glitches at random times I'm pretty sure I'm retiring this song and probably looking into getting another computer.


As I approach my 70s I find that I have to lower every song a few keys because I can't sing as high as I used to. So even though I knew the song was in F (I have the chord book for the episode) I tried it in D and found that there are no high notes in the melody. The song sounded quite dull and lifeless with me singing so low. So I did it again in F and it has a bit more zest to it now. It made me feel young again, singing a song in its original key.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

And the Firm Soil Win of the Wat'ry Main

This is the third song I wrote for the April project for the Cover Album Project Band, giving me a trio of tunes with strange titles: The Advantage on the Kingdom of the Shore, That Time Will Come and Take My Love Away, and now, And the Firm Soil Win of the Wat'ry Main. For this third song, I let myself be inspired by a particular "style" in Band in a Box called "Dr. John". The program plays the piano, drums and bass so well I kept them all for the audio, and only added guitars, organ and vocals.

I can't wait until all 14 of the lines in Shakespeare's Sonnet #64 are turned into original songs by the members of the group so I can listen to them as an album on the stereo of my new 2010 Impala.


Words and music by Knees Calhoon


Inspired by line 7 of Sonnet #64 by William Shakespeare

Oh de tide roll in
And de tide roll out
Like a kitchen door
In a crabshack down sout'
Dere ain’t no lotion
Like de ocean, when yo dry.

Oh de land grow slow
And de water flow fas’
Dey each one race
Don’ wanna come in las’
And dere ain’t no motion
Like de ocean, Ah tell you why.

And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main
What de hell kind of language is dat?
But you ask anyone and dey’ll all say
Dat Shakespeare was some groovy cat.

Oh you got ebb and flow
All night and day
You got to and fro
Every which a way
And dere ain’t no potion
Like de ocean, when yo high.

And the firm soil win of the wat’ry main
Shakespeare musta been quite a sight
Throwin’ out words jus’ like a man insane
Took him 64 tries to get it right.

So let’s say hello
To our frien’ de moon
It’s a summer night
He’ll be rising soon
And dere ain’t no notion
Like de ocean, when you die.
  

And the firm soil win of the wat’ry, wat'ry main

Here's a link to the video I made for the group:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Carmelita

My daughter Naomi and her family are in Vancleave visiting and the great duo of Fender and Naomi once again got together for a song. (See "Sometimes You Just Cain't Win" from the December 2012 blog.) This time it's a classic stoner song written by Warren Zevon. It turned out so well Naomi and I are planning another vacation for her that will result in a dozen or so of our quaint duets.

 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

If the Satellite Went Down Tonight

This is a song done for the Cover Album Project Band's latest monthly challenge, Someone You Used to Know. I suggested the topic because I wanted to do a Knees Calhoon version of a song by Terry Törnblom called "If the Satellite Went Down Tonight". So I took Terry's clear, simple song and added tracks until it was properly overproduced, and voila!


 Here is a link to the video on YouTube:


 


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Willin'

I don't know why I did this song other than it is a great old tune and it fits in with some of my other covers. I used the keyboard for the bass and actually played some piano, something I've been away from for the past few years.


 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

That Time Will Come and Take My Love Away

I picked another line from Sonnet #64 to do, and this time it was actually a more normal line: "That time will come and take my love away." That's a fairly bleak sentiment and the words I wrote all pretty much echo it, blaming time for all that we lose in life. But, ironically, I seem to have come up with the happiest, bounciest music I've done in years to go with the dreary lyrics. I call it "artistic juxtaposition". But mainly I just strung together some 80s cliches and used my favorite guitar setting on the Fender G-Dec amp: Blues House. Fun times.


Baby I saw it comin
It came screamin out of the dawn

Time was just playin a game with me
It was movin me like a pawn
Just when I thought I had it all worked out
I was just about to make my play
Time come along and take my love away.

We wuz just two young fools in love
From the very first day we met
We thought we’d live forever
We were ridin out a sure bet
But now there ain’t no doubt about it
Sure as nighttime follow day
Time’s Gonna Come and Take My Love Away

I told you all about my plans
All the things I was gonna be
You tole me that you shared the dream
And you’d do it all with me
But we wuz just kids, foolin ourselves
And sure as nighttime follow day
Dat Time Gonna Come and Take Yo Love Away

Baby we saw it comin
It came screamin outa the dawn
Time was just playin a game with me
It was movin me like a pawn
Just when I thought I had it all worked out
I was just about to make my play
Time come along an take my love away
That Time Will Come And Take My Love Away.


And of course, if you prefer to see the video I made for the project, here it is.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Advantage on the Kingdom of the Shore

Here's the deal: we (an online music-making group called the Cover Album Project Band) picked a Shakespearean sonnet, #64, and each picked a line from it to inspire an original song. For an added frisson, the song was supposed to feature the ii - V - I chord progression prominently. My line was "The Advantage of the Kingdom of the Shore" and here is what resulted.


Gavin O'Keefe, the Ramble House artist, provided the soaring eagle and seagull calls on his viola.
 

Who wouldn’t want to live
Where the tide sets the pace
Who wouldn’t want to hear
The ocean’s vibrant roar
Who wouldn’t want to have the great advantage
The advantage on the kingdom of the shore.

Who wouldn’t want to lie
In a gentle valley
Who wouldn’t want to fly
Up where the eagles soar
Who wouldn’t want to have the great advantage
The advantage on the kingdom of the shore.

Mountains to the east
Ocean to the west
Livin on the edge of land
Is like ridin on the crest
Of a wave that never ends
And never asks for more
It’s the seacoast advantage
On the Kingdom of the Shore

Who wouldn’t want to fight
With the water at your back
Who wouldn’t want to know
About the times that went before
Who wouldn’t want to take the great advantage
The advantage on the kingdom of the shore.

Desert to the east
Water to the west
Livin on the coast
Is like flyin on the crest
Of a wave that never ends
And always knows the score
It’s the seacoast advantage
On the Kingdom of the Shore

 

 Here is a video I made for the CAPB: