11/01/2006

A Little Autumn Number For You Lonely Hearts From Bobby Lightfoot


Dear Jane;

I hope this letter finds you well
In your home in New Rochelle
With your wicked heart
That played me like a bell

I hope the autumn paints you in her hues;
Yours in reds, mine in blues
And that love is yours if love is what you choose

And may it never end;
I hope it never ends for you

Dear Jane;

Sometimes it's very hard to see
What is right in front of me
But you never were one much for make-believe

And may it never end;
I hope it never ends for you.

10 Comments:

Blogger fgfdsg said...

Damn... that's *so* wonderfully mellow. It's like lying in the grass watching autumn leaves drift down above your head.

I like the quiet insistency of the metronome ticking away.

2:28 AM  
Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

So, that explains the backwards chimes post a couple days back. I was wondering what that sounded like.

I didn't hear the metronome at first (mainly because I have to listen quietly, as I'm at work). I'll have to tune in again later at home. It's a neat effect, though -- always calls Blackbird to mind for me.

A bittersweet tune, BL. Filled with a certain longing ... the persona gets his heart ripped out yet still wishes her well.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

yeeeesssss...not particularly driving, this one. There's enough Driving Ketchup on th' shelves of the Great Music Supermarket in my estimation.

Yeah, them chimes. I recorded two sets, forwards and backwards, so the backwards can morph into the forwards. Subtle but effective.

Th' metronome is actually the time-honored "thigh-slapping" track. Ever since I listened to "I'll Follow The Sun" in headphones a couple of weeks back I've wanted to take a run at the ol' thigh-slapping track.

This song grew out of a keyboard soloing cliche I've been falling back on on stage- the arpeggiating of a major chord as fifth-root-second-third-fourth. That's the melodic scheme of "Dear Jane I hope this..."

I learned a while ago to not get bent about relationships ending. Why? Because I'm so evolved? Nah- it pisses the woman off and affronts her far more than giving them that ego-stroking groveling they expect. Fuck 'em.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved it! Want to hear it again. And again. Is it OK to dance around the desk?

Your perpetual secret admirer

6:40 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

BSUWG - listen to Bobby's 'Madrid' if you can find it. The theme of the lyrics is similiar, and it's absolutely beautiful. I frequently sing it to myself around the house when i'm feeling reflective. If it had been released a few decades ago i'm convinced it would have become a standard.

Bobby -

To be honest, i think writing th' driving stuff just takes energy, i think writing th' mellow takes much more craft and skill.

Dammit, I was listening to 'I'll Follow The Sun' the other day, and I should have picked up on the similarity. Still sounds like a metronome to me.

I've been obsessed with the simple beauty of that track since I was about 8, and how I wish my 15 year old compositions had been that easy-going and melodic.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Simon -

I agree with you %100 about Madrid - that's a killer song. But Jesus, so's this one. Man.

As for "I'll Follow The Sun," that's a great song, but I would have done the chords different. Is that presumptuous of me to say? Probably.

Speaking of presumptuous, Bobby, I got a tiny suggestion for "Dear Jane" - at the line "Mine in blues" where it goes to an E the rhodes adds a D, making it a dom-7, which is harmonically interesting, but doesn't work, because it muddies the descending phrase, though I'm not sure why. Just my proverbial two cents. Dos centavos proverbialos.

Damn, I've got a good word verification word, so good, in fact, that I don't know what to do with it:

nutwx

11:01 AM  
Blogger Bobby Lightfoot said...

Yeah, you're totally right. You know what it is? I got hit with th' Conceptual bug and wanted to introduce a "blue" note i.e. dom 7 under the word "blues". It's really great, though, aside from the whole not-working-at-all thing.

Maybe it's only in that four-part harmony. It really does need to be dealt with, as unassailable as it may be conceptually.

I'd be curious from an academic point of view what the man who came up with "...you can do-do-doodly-do whatever you want to..." (that's fuckin' so great) would do harmonically with "I'll Follow The Sun".

Simon, one day when I have the resources I dream of doing a whole acoustic piano/string quartet album and "Madrid" is the list topper. It would be all great live takes of solo stuff like "For One Another" and "Paul McCartney" and quartet-arranged songs in the vein of "Song For The Weary". I have a few songs arranged for it and I've kept them unrecorded because I want them to be fresh for when I get 5 grand and can actually record this.

And it would be all live. When I recorded "Weary" with the live string quartet it was so moving I thought I would yip like a little chihuahua. It would be a sin to involve overdubbing.

3:28 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

Ben - Oh, I wasn't saying 'Jane' isn't as good as 'Madrid', but 'Jane' is still too new to me to know it backwards the way I know 'Madrid', so while I can l listen to 'Jane' and say it *sounds* like a great song, I've put in the hours with 'Madrid' to *know* it's a great song.

Plus it was a sneaky one, surrounded by shinier, busier songs that would more easily grab someone's attention. It's the quiet, shy person a party standing in the corner who you strike up a polite conversation with only to find they're truly fascinating.

I consider Bobby one of the greats for his arrangement skills as well. When a band really nails one, the arrangement blends into the melody of the song, and it's what makes a good song a great song.

Here's a test. Start singing 'Sugar, Sugar' by the Archies.

I'd be really surprised if you didn't mentally 'sing' the organ figure between sugar sugar and honey honey.

Try the chorus of 'Da Do Ron Ron'. Did you put in the 'Ba dap boom' of the arrangment at the end of each line?

Abba were masters of holding the listener's ear by making their arrangments part of the 'mental melody line', for taking over in the gaps between the vocals. Sing the start of 'Mamma Mia' and see if you sing the string part in the verse.

The Beatles did this. Start singing 'Eleanor Rigby' and see if you put in the little string figure after 'lonely people'.

Jellyfish were one of the few bands of the time to really understand this concept.

Bobby does this. In 'Paul McCartney', after 'isn't mine', there's a great little piano line that's now part of the melody for me.

In 'Brattleboro...', after 'that's all right with me' there's a great descending piano hook that's so strong the melody sounds incomplete without it.

I'm amazed at all the dead air in modern records, of bands just strumming away as they turn around back into a verse. All that dead air they could be using to further hook their listeners. But that would be trying to *entertain* the audience, and they think that's *beneath them*.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Wow, great list, Simon. I think you just made me understand precisely what bores me in a lot of contemporary music - that between the melodic lines is just dead air, which I hadn't really noticed before.

5:18 PM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

I'm not saying everything has to be a non-stop rush of melody, but it's definitely a good trick to hold a listener's interest - try and imagine 'I'm A Believer' by the Monkee's without the organ.

It can be subtle. Listen to McCartney's bass taking the 'melody baton' at the end of the first line of 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'.

5:48 PM  

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