One I'm working on

Dave Hicks

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I don't write many songs, and I haven't finished many recently. But here's one that I think might get over the finish line. The backing track is a folk rock thing, kind of along the lines of Maggie May.

Most of the first verse literally came to me in a dream, but it was a comedy song then, since Max was run down by hillbillies in a welfare Cadillac. 🤪

I have two questions for the assembly:

1. Is what I have too maudlin?
2. I want to write one more verse. Should it be another vignette, or a broader picture?

(And if you know what the title should be, please tell me!)

Thanks for checking it out.

D.H.



G6 Em
I was talking to my friend Annie
D C
I asked about her old dog Max
G6 Em
She said “Now, there’s another sad story
D C G CG
He was run down a couple months back
Am D
I keep him close I know I’ll always mourn
Am D
I remember the day he was born
Am D G CG
But now he’s buried right around back

Big Jim he walks with a hitch
He always goes a crooked mile
Trouble found him in sixty six
Brought him down in pain and toil
He soldiers on never complains
I know he always feels some pain
But you’d never guess to see him smile

Some days the ceiling falls in
Four a.m.’s just part of the day
You’re filling in forms as next of kin
And being asked who will pay
But a new home waits down the street
You can stand on your own two feet
The sky looks a little less dark today
 

Wyzsard

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I like it. I'm thinking a bridge on how things aren't so bad after events pass. Or as the memory of them fade. Or similar.

Then end with, as a tag...
"The sky's a little less dark today,
The clouds always drift away"
Or similar.

ETA: Or...
""The sky's a little less dark today,
Trouble's, like the clouds, always drift away"
 

Dave Hicks

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I like it. I'm thinking a bridge on how things aren't so bad after events pass. Or as the memory of them fade. Or similar.

Then end with, as a tag...
"The sky's a little less dark today,
The clouds always drift away"
Or similar.

ETA: Or...
""The sky's a little less dark today,
Trouble's, like the clouds, always drift away"

Thanks, that's a good idea. But I've kind of painted myself into a corner - I spent enough time on the track that I'm reluctant to structure a bridge in. (I.e. lazy - my work ethic only goes so far, I suppose). At the moment, I'm thinking of doing the last verse along the lines of what you suggest. I'll be away from the instruments and computer for a few days, so I might change my mind and include that idea as a bridge.

Anyway, here's a current version, with scratch vocal and an intro solo that's not too well spliced together. You can see why it needs a title.

 

Wyzsard

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Thanks, that's a good idea. But I've kind of painted myself into a corner - I spent enough time on the track that I'm reluctant to structure a bridge in. (I.e. lazy - my work ethic only goes so far, I suppose). At the moment, I'm thinking of doing the last verse along the lines of what you suggest. I'll be away from the instruments and computer for a few days, so I might change my mind and include that idea as a bridge.

Anyway, here's a current version, with scratch vocal and an intro solo that's not too well spliced together. You can see why it needs a title.


I'll give it a listen after work.
 

kbold

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Maudlin is a good description. No sun shining through here .... a glimpse of a silver lining in the last few lines.
I thought perhaps the silver lining could be more descriptive or concrete .... I mean, perhaps Annie's got a new puppy?
So ... perhaps an uplifting last verse.

Title: Maudlin Memories
 

kbold

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Last verse:
Perhaps Big Jim finds a woman to ease his pains. She's a hillbilly on welfare.
They buy Annie a puppy, because ..... well, you know.

In the end, everyone's happy - happy. Not a Rob Zombie ending, but that may be a good thing for this song.
 

Charlie Bernstein

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. . .
I have two questions for the assembly:

1. Is what I have too maudlin?
How maudlin is too maudlin? Let the song be what it is.
2. I want to write one more verse. Should it be another vignette, or a broader picture? . . .
Yes.

For this kind of song, good lyric structure role models (because they're successful) include "The Weight," "Paradise," "Ode the Billy Joe," and "Wild Horses": A beginning, a middle, and an end, in that order.

I call 'em the launch, the arc, and the bang, like gravity's rainbow. A song shouldn't just taxi all the way from hangar to hangar.
 
Last edited:

Charlie Bernstein

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When I can't think of a title, I just grab a word or a phrase from the song. (Which is what most song titles are, anyway.) Pick a phrase the captures the spirit or mood.

And are you sure it wants another verse? Is there something you haven't said?
 

Dave Hicks

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Thanks to all for listening and commenting. I've been at the Great Lakes Music Camp the past few days so I didn't get back to this for a while.

I have some ideas for the last verse, but haven't had the chance to develop them. I don't think I want to tie it all up too tightly. (I'm not thinking of this as a story song, I guess is what I'm saying.)

Another possibility is to cop out and do an instrumental fade instead of a fourth verse.

I'll give you a link to the final version.

D.H.
 
Last edited:

Dave Hicks

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Well, here's what this turned into (lyrics below). I wrote a new verse, but I decided it was the first one, not the last. I don't know that there is an arc here, and certainly not a story line, but it focuses from the impersonal to the personal. Thanks for your comments on the earlier version. A phrase from the first verses seemed to sum it up well enough as a title. (Old link is dead now.)



The old house stands at the edge of the woods

Long it endured tall and clean

A century and more proudly it stood

Now the roof’s coming down and the rains are coming in

Today people came across the green

New voices speak of things unseen

Soon the old home will rise again



I was talking to my friend Annie

I asked about her old dog Max

She said “Now, there’s another sad story

He was run down out here a couple months back

I hold him close I know I’ll always mourn

I recall the day he was born

But now he’s buried right around back



Big Jim he walks with a hitch

He always goes a crooked mile

Trouble found him in sixty six

Brought him down with pain and trial

He soldiers on and never complains

I know he must feel some pain

But you’d never guess that to see him smile



Some days the ceiling falls in

Four a.m.’s just a part of your day

You’re filling in forms as next of kin

And being asked who will pay

But a new home waits right down the street

You can stand on your own two feet

The sky looks a little less dark today
 




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