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  1. #51

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    Back on the farm, a trough was the thing we put food in for the hogs.
    In Westerns, it was what horses drank from.

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  3. #52

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    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot
    Love the idea, but not sure about the prosody.

    EDIT It's just the last line that I find tricky; I can't make 'wouldn't want anything' work with 'if I could sing'.
    It struck me one day that 'to have it all' means there is nothing left for one to want. So one need not have every single thing, just want no more than what one has and then one has it all because one longer wants (for) anything.

    Wittgenstein was important to me then and he made clear some simple yet important distinctions, such as the difference between 'not having' something and 'lacking' something. A rose, for example, does not have teeth but does not lack them. A man without teeth lacks them.

    Related to this is the notion of evil as a "privation", which is important in Catholic theology. (I wasn't Catholic when young but I had read arguments about "the problem of evil" and was familiar with the notion of privation---the absence of something that should be there.)

  4. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Sometimes one is in a ditch with few choices. What else rhymes with awful? Lawful and waffle come to mind but they don't seem to be of much help. Given the circumstance, I think "troughful" was a good choice, not a bad one, if only because this is a song about drinking and a trough is something to drink from. One can only expect so much elegance in a dive....
    That can be one of the problems with perfect rhymes, they limit your choices.

    Imo, perfect rhymes can be stable, or in musical terms consonant. If overused they can sound simple, plain, childlike, sing songy, ... like Dr. Suez. Still done right and/or in the right situation they can work great.

    If you break away from perfect rhymes there are tons of words you can use with awful.

    Obvious ones like: forgetful, sorrowful, unlawful

    Less obvious: so cool, you fool, apple, snowball, rain fall,

    Even further out like: hobo

    Given 10 minutes and a rhyming dictionary I'm sure I could find 50 words to rhyme with awful. The nice thing about doing that kind of exercise is it can open new pathways for ones lyrics. This is one way to create 'inspiration'.

  5. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I am open to the suggestion that someone working outside that tradition might be a great lyricist; are you suggesting that no one working in that tradition was???
    Definitely not. Simply that I have never heard a song from the The Great American Songbook whose lyrics have gripped me as much as, say, Townes Van Zandt or John Darnielle.

  6. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Given 10 minutes and a rhyming dictionary I'm sure I could find 50 words to rhyme with awful. The nice thing about doing that kind of exercise is it can open new pathways for ones lyrics. This is one way to create 'inspiration'.
    You could find an endless number of words that don't rhyme with awful, but you can't find 50 that do. There aren't 50 to find.

    I get that off-rhymes (assonance) can be used to great effect, though "troth full" would not be a good example of that because it cannot be pictured or conceived, so it is a non-image that doesn't rhyme: what does it add to the lyric? What is the selling point of "troth full"?

  7. #56

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    We can talk about "Lush Life" for as long as anyone likes but I think it apt to look at other lyrics too. Here is the lyric (complete with verse) of Cole Porter's "Night And Day". It's a song many singers have sung (and many jazz musicians have performed without a vocalist). I think it's a well-wrought lyric

    Like the beat, beat, beat of the tom tom
    When the jungle shadows fall
    Like the tick, tick, tock of the stately clock
    As it stands against the wall
    Like the drip, drip drip of the rain drops
    When the summer showers through
    A voice within me keeps repeating
    You, you, you

    Night and day you are the one
    Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
    Whether near to me or far it's no matter darling
    Where you are
    I think of you
    Day and night, night and day
    Why is it so that this longing for you
    Follows where ever I go
    In the roaring traffic's boom, in the silence of my lonely room
    I think of you
    Night and day, day and night
    Under the hide of me, there's an oh such a hungry yearning
    Inside of me
    And this torment wont be through
    Till you let me spend my life making love to you
    Day and night, night and day

  8. #57

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    "Night And Day" doesn't do it for me.

    I'll take "Like Someone In Love" with Bjork singing.

    Whenever I learn a song, even with the intention of doing it instrumentally, if it has lyrics I always read the them and find a good vocal example to inform my approach.

    Another one is "You Go To My Head" with Diana Krall singing.

    For "Night And Day" I'll take Oscar Peterson's piano version over any vocal.

    From Cole Porter's lyrics, I like "Anything Goes".

  9. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    We can talk about "Lush Life" for as long as anyone likes but I think it apt to look at other lyrics too. Here is the lyric (complete with verse) of Cole Porter's "Night And Day". It's a song many singers have sung (and many jazz musicians have performed without a vocalist). I think it's a well-wrought lyric

    Like the beat, beat, beat of the tom tom
    When the jungle shadows fall
    Like the tick, tick, tock of the stately clock
    As it stands against the wall
    Like the drip, drip drip of the rain drops
    When the summer showers through
    A voice within me keeps repeating
    You, you, you

    Night and day you are the one
    Only you beneath the moon or under the sun
    Whether near to me or far it's no matter darling
    Where you are
    I think of you
    Day and night, night and day
    Why is it so that this longing for you
    Follows where ever I go
    In the roaring traffic's boom, in the silence of my lonely room
    I think of you
    Night and day, day and night
    Under the hide of me, there's an oh such a hungry yearning
    Inside of me
    And this torment wont be through
    Till you let me spend my life making love to you
    Day and night, night and day
    The verse is as good as the rest of it IMO. I love the way "day and night" leads straight into "night and day". Guess that's word painting or some such. I'm not a poet...

  10. #59
    Love the way he lengthens the 2nd and 4th rhyming phrases in each pair of the following:

    Night and day, under the hide of me,
    there's an oh such a hungry yearning burning inside of me
    And this torment won't be through
    Till you let me spend my life making love to you
    Day and night, night and day

    the second one really teases out the line lyrically and musically . really great stuff. this was one of my "songs while driving" songs for about a year and a half.
    Last edited by matt.guitarteacher; 08-11-2015 at 07:01 AM.

  11. #60
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    It struck me one day that 'to have it all' means there is nothing left for one to want. So one need not have every single thing, just want no more than what one has and then one has it all because one longer wants (for) anything.

    Wittgenstein was important to me then and he made clear some simple yet important distinctions, such as the difference between 'not having' something and 'lacking' something. A rose, for example, does not have teeth but does not lack them. A man without teeth lacks them.

    Related to this is the notion of evil as a "privation", which is important in Catholic theology. (I wasn't Catholic when young but I had read arguments about "the problem of evil" and was familiar with the notion of privation---the absence of something that should be there.)
    I can't quite get the syllable stress/prominence working in rhythm, but that can be remedied. And I prefer 'want for' - although I like the subtle ambiguity of 'want'.

    But the message is right up my street.

    'Want' always reminds me of the boy and girl whom Ebenezer Scrooge meets when shown Christmas Present in Dickens's A Christmas Carol*, and whose names are Ignorance and Want. I no longer believe the greed and poverty they symbolise to be any less of an issue in cities today.

    I also find it significant that a single verb is commonly used for both 'love' and 'want' in Spanish.

    Speaking of the 'object of my affection', the music is what grabs my attention about songs - lyrics are what stay with me. However, one notable exception is Marvin Gaye's I Want You; the music (fantastic groove and vocal) certainly grabs my attention, but what stays with me are not the lyrics themselves but the total (and, provided it wasn't induced by 'artificial' means, heroic) absence of inhibition.

    I most admire lyrics I can interpret as metaphor - including, if not especially - love songs. Metaphor for major, elevated themes. Regarding 'want', I'm concerned that people are too ready to not just die but kill because of it. One of my favourite love songs is Emily, with words by Johnny Mercer and music by Johnny Mandel, written for the movie The Americanization of Emily (1964), which goes beyond the theme of romantic love when the character played by James Garner speaks out against honouring the institution of war.

    Although the lyrics I like singing are usually love songs, I doubt whether I'll ever write any - because there are more than enough beautiful standards. I think the trick is being able to adapt standards to one's own tastes - and not the other way round. The word 'interpreting' means nothing without having a well-developed palette - a reasonably wide range of options - for making meaningful choices. (Personally, I seem to learn by looking at what doesn't work, then doing it differently.)

    For my liking, there are too may instances where songs dealing with noble themes are diluted - perhaps deliberately, if not tastelessly (because it operates to stifle voices) - when lyrics are translated across languages and across styles. (Least said, soonest mended.)

    One of the things I respect and admire about Gene Lees is how, in his English versions of bossa nova classics, he's able to alter the message ever so slightly but without altering the thrust of the message - for example, his Someone to Light Up My Life, which Sinatra sang so marvellously (posted below).

    My favourite Gene Lees lyrics are these - among the most beautiful songs I've ever heard - for the animated movie of Russell Hoban's The Mouse and his Child:

    *EDIT I remember the Cratchits - a name to conjure with - all year round: happy and poor.

    Last edited by destinytot; 08-11-2015 at 09:30 AM. Reason: spelling, clarity and addition

  12. #61

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    You could find an endless number of words that don't rhyme with awful, but you can't find 50 that do. There aren't 50 to find.

    I get that off-rhymes (assonance) can be used to great effect, though "troth full" would not be a good example of that because it cannot be pictured or conceived, so it is a non-image that doesn't rhyme: what does it add to the lyric? What is the selling point of "troth full"?
    If you're saying that the words I listed don't rhyme, then are you saying that only perfect rhymes are rhymes?

    Awful and thoughtful would not be a rhyme?

    Rhyme types from Pat Pattison's online songwriting class from Berkley School of Music:

    Perfect Rhyme
    Family Rhyme
    Additive and subtractive rhyme
    Assonance Rhyme
    Consonance Rhyme
    Last edited by fep; 08-11-2015 at 09:01 AM.

  13. #62

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    [QUOTE=kenbennett;557260
    From Cole Porter's lyrics, I like "Anything Goes".[/QUOTE]

    I love "Anything Goes" too. And "Brush Up Your Shakespeare" and "I've Got You Under My Skin" and.... Cole wrote his share of standards.

    Here's Frank's version from 1962. (I prefer the late '50s version but this one contains the verse.)



  14. #63

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Awful and thoughtful would not be a rhyme?
    Only if "aw" and "thought" are considered a rhyme.

    Normally, when one says "rhyme" one means what you call "perfect rhyme" (or "actual rhyme").

    Other sorts of rhyme have their uses but they need to be specified. For example, some online rhyming dictionaries will allow searches for near-rhymes, so that 'awful' will return (among others) wobble, gospel, gobble, bobble, hostile, soften, and, yes, thoughtful. (None of these words appear when the search is for 'rhymes').

    One may also search for 'match consonants only': afoul, eyeful, offal...

    These words have their uses and may influence the choice of words within a line, and also with phrases that do not rhyme but seem fitting. A favorite example of assonance: "the crumbling thunder of seas." (Robert Louis Stevenson)

    I just ordered Pat Pattison's book on lyric writing ("Writing Better Lyrics").
    Last edited by MarkRhodes; 08-11-2015 at 11:53 AM.

  15. #64

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    Ken mentioned Cole Porter's "Anything Goes", so here's that lyric. (Some standards have altered lyrics, perhaps due to being removed from the stage and sung for an audience that would not be assumed to get certain references.)

    Anything Goes

    By Cole Porter

    Times have changed
    And we've often rewound the clock
    Since the Puritans got a shock
    When they landed on Plymouth Rock.
    If today
    Any shock they should try to stem
    'Stead of landing on Plymouth Rock,
    Plymouth Rock would land on them.
    In olden days, a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking.
    But now, God knows,
    Anything goes.
    Good authors too who once knew better words
    Now only use four-letter words
    Writing prose.
    Anything goes.
    If driving fast cars you like,
    If low bars you like,
    If old hymns you like,
    If bare limbs you like,
    If Mae West you like,
    Or me undressed you like,
    Why, nobody will oppose.
    When ev'ry night the set that's smart is in-
    Truding in nudist parties in
    Studios.
    Anything goes.
    When Missus Ned McLean (God bless her)
    Can get Russian reds to "yes" her,
    Then I suppose
    Anything goes.
    When Rockefeller still can hoard en-
    Ough money to let Max Gordon
    Produce his shows,
    Anything goes.
    The world has gone mad today
    And good's bad today,
    And black's white today,
    And day's night today,
    And that gent today
    You gave a cent today
    Once had several chateaux.
    When folks who still can ride in jitneys
    Find out Vanderbilts and Whitneys
    Lack baby clo'es,
    Anything goes.
    If Sam Goldwyn can with great conviction
    Instruct Anna Sten in diction,
    Then Anna shows
    Anything goes.
    When you hear that Lady Mendl standing up
    Now turns a handspring landing up-
    On her toes,
    Anything goes.
    Just think of those shocks you've got
    And those knocks you've got
    And those blues you've got
    From that news you've got
    And those pains you've got
    (If any brains you've got)
    From those little radios.
    So Missus R., with all her trimmin's,
    Can broadcast a bed from Simmons
    'Cause Franklin knows
    Anything goes.

    Here is Ella singing it.

  16. #65

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    If you're saying that the words I listed don't rhyme, then are you saying that only perfect rhymes are rhymes?

    Awful and thoughtful would not be a rhyme?

    Rhyme types from Pat Pattison's online songwriting class from Berkley School of Music:

    Perfect Rhyme
    Family Rhyme
    Additive and subtractive rhyme
    Assonance Rhyme
    Consonance Rhyme
    Loretta Lynn rhymed 'tired' with 'hard' in Coal Miner's Daughter. Pronounced it 'tarred' as in 'tarred and feathered'.

  17. #66

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    Night and day is definitely a work that comes to mind when I think of outstanding lyrics.

    Here's one my Great-Uncle and I were discussing once.


    When your lover has gone

    When you're alone, who cares for starlit skies?
    When you're alone, the magic moonlight dies
    At break of dawn there is no sunrise
    When your lover has gone
    What lonely hours the evening shadows bring
    What lonely hours with memories lingering
    Like faded flowers life can't mean anything
    When your lover has gone
    When you're alone, who cares for starlit skies?
    When you're alone, the magic moonlight dies
    At break of dawn there is no sunrise
    When your lover has gone
    What lonely hours the evening shadows bring
    What lonely hours with memories lingering
    Like faded flowers life can't mean anything
    When your lover, when your lover has gone



  18. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    Loretta Lynn rhymed 'tired' with 'hard' in Coal Miner's Daughter. Pronounced it 'tarred' as in 'tarred and feathered'.
    Hey, I'm from the South and that (among a large group of people, including me when I'm tired or feeling folksy) DOES rhyme. ;o)

    Irving Berlin would use accented pronounciation to rhyme things most others would not, such as "call" and "natural" in "Alexander's Ragtime Band".

    >>>They can play a bugle call
    Like you never heard before
    So natural that you want to go to war<<<<

    (This is how the lyric appears online, but when sung, it is clear that 'natural' answers the bugle's 'call'.)

    Songwriters who sing their own songs have the advantage of their own dialect. They don't have to worry that, say, "tired" and "hard" might not rhyme if Celine Dion sang it...

  19. #68

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thecytochromec
    Night and day is definitely a work that comes to mind when I think of outstanding lyrics.

    Here's one my Great-Uncle and I were discussing once.


    When your lover has gone
    Sinatra did a great job on that one.



  20. #69
    destinytot Guest
    My fave versions are those by Nat, Chet, and Maxine Sullivan


  21. #70

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    I've heard "natural" pronounced 'nat-chel' and rhymes with "satchel'.

  22. #71

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    Hey, I'm from the South and that (among a large group of people, including me when I'm tired or feeling folksy) DOES rhyme. ;o)

    Irving Berlin would use accented pronounciation to rhyme things most others would not, such as "call" and "natural" in "Alexander's Ragtime Band".

    >>>They can play a bugle call
    Like you never heard before
    So natural that you want to go to war<<<<

    (This is how the lyric appears online, but when sung, it is clear that 'natural' answers the bugle's 'call'.)

    Songwriters who sing their own songs have the advantage of their own dialect. They don't have to worry that, say, "tired" and "hard" might not rhyme if Celine Dion sang it...
    That may be one reason why so many of the best singers come from the South. They have pronunciation options.
    When George Jones sang The Window Up Above he pronounced window in the conventionally accepted American manner because it worked better in the song instead of "winda" which would be the way he would have normally said it. IMO there's no such thing as a correct accent. It's like a finger print. Everyone's got one. People who say they have no accent are wrong. Californians are guilty of this. I've personally got a hybrid accent having lived for years in Calif., Texas and NYC. And some years in the Caribbean. And these days I have to speak Spanish a lot. People who first meet me often ask, quizzically, where I'm from. Or if they know me better say they can't tell where I'm from. People up north say I have southern accent.(it's not). People down south say it's midwestern. (they're right). I can sing both Country and Caribbean music convincingly.

  23. #72

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    I struggle to come up with my favorite lyrics for a jazz type of tune. For me, jazz is about improvisation, rhythm, interesting melody, and interesting harmonies. The lyrics get lost in the mix. Jazz for me is not the best music for enjoying lyrics.

    I think simple and more repetitive music provides a better canvas to really highlight and draw ones focus to the lyrics.

    Here is an example of Lyrics that I really like. The lyrics aren't completely obvious, they're thought provoking, ambiguous, mysterious, ... and there are probably more elements that I like that I'm not consciously aware of. I really should analyze lyrics that I like as part of the process of improving as a songwriter.

    Many think this is a religious song. Rather, " “Hallelujah” is a robust canticle to lust, a wry ode to the glory of sex and a sad hymn to the eventual end of relationships."

    “Hallelujah” – written by Leonard Cohen

    I’ve heard there was a secret chord
    That David played and it pleased the Lord
    But you don’t really care for music, do you?
    It goes like this; the fourth, the fifth
    The minor fall, the major lift
    The baffled king composing Hallelujah

    Hallelujah

    Your faith was strong but you needed proof
    You saw her bathing on the roof
    Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
    She tied you to a kitchen chair
    She broke your throne, she cut your hair
    And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

    Hallelujah

    You say I took the name in vain
    I don’t even know the name
    But if I did, well, really…what’s it to ya?
    There’s a blaze of light in every word
    It doesn’t matter which you heard
    The holy or the broken Hallelujah

    Hallelujah

    I did my best, it wasn’t much
    I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
    I told the truth, I didn’t come to fool ya.
    And even though it all went wrong,
    I’ll stand before the lord of song
    With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

    Hallelujah

    (Below are alternate lyrics written by Cohen and used variously in live concerts,
    also used in Cale, Buckley and lang studio versions, whereas the previous two verses are not)

    Baby, I’ve been here before
    I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
    I used to live alone before I knew you
    I’ve seen your flag on the Marble Arch
    Love is not a victory march
    It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

    Hallelujah

    (This fourth verse not used in k.d. lang’s cover)

    There was a time you let me know
    What’s really going on below
    But now you never show it to me, do you?
    I remember when I moved in you
    And the holy dove was moving too
    And every breath we drew was Hallelujah

    Hallelujah

    Maybe there’s a God above
    All I ever learned from love
    Was how to shoot at someone who out drew you
    And it’s not a cry you can hear at night
    It’s not somebody who’s seen the light
    It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

    Hallelujah
    Hallelujah

  24. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcee
    That may be one reason why so many of the best singers come from the South. They have pronunciation options.
    When George Jones sang The Window Up Above he pronounced window in the conventionally accepted American manner because it worked better in the song instead of "winda" which would be the way he would have normally said it. IMO there's no such thing as a correct accent. It's like a finger print. Everyone's got one. People who say they have no accent are wrong. Californians are guilty of this. I've personally got a hybrid accent having lived for years in Calif., Texas and NYC. And some years in the Caribbean. And these days I have to speak Spanish a lot. People who first meet me often ask, quizzically, where I'm from. Or if they know me better say they can't tell where I'm from. People up north say I have southern accent.(it's not). People down south say it's midwestern. (they're right). I can sing both Country and Caribbean music convincingly.
    Along with 'winda' (for 'window') there is also wind-er (-not to be confused with the actual word winder, as it 'that speech was a real stemwinder.')

    Love George! "He Stopped Loving Her Today" belongs here and I shall add it.



    He Stopped Loving Her Today

    By George Jones


    He said "I'll love you till I die",
    She told him "You'll forget in time"
    As the years went slowly by,
    She still preyed upon his mind

    He kept her picture on his wall,
    Went half-crazy now and then
    He still loved her through it all,
    Hoping she'd come back again

    Kept some letters by his bed
    Dated nineteen sixty-two
    He had underlined in red
    Every single "I love you"

    I went to see him just today,
    Oh but I didn't see no tears
    All dressed up to go away,
    First time I'd seen him smile in years

    He stopped loving her today
    They placed a wreath upon his door
    And soon they'll carry him away
    He stopped loving her today

    You know, she came to see him one last time
    Aww, and we all wondered if she would
    And it kept runnin' through my mind
    "This time he's over her for good"

    He stopped loving her today
    They placed a wreath upon his door
    And soon they'll carry him away
    He stopped loving her today

  25. #74

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    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    I struggle to come up with my favorite lyrics for a jazz type of tune. For me, jazz is about improvisation, rhythm, interesting melody, and interesting harmonies. The lyrics get lost in the mix. Jazz for me is not the best music for enjoying lyrics.

    I think simple and more repetitive music provides a better canvas to really highlight and draw ones focus to the lyrics.

    Here is an example of Lyrics that I really like. The lyrics aren't completely obvious, they're thought provoking, ambiguous, mysterious, ... and there are probably more elements that I like that I'm not consciously aware of. I really should analyze lyrics that I like as part of the process of improving as a songwriter.

    Many think this is a religious song. Rather, " “Hallelujah” is a robust canticle to lust, a wry ode to the glory of sex and a sad hymn to the eventual end of relationships."
    I love that song! (Love many a Leonard Cohen song. My email signature is a line of his: "If I knew where the good songs came from, I'd go there more often."

    Here's one of his songs about writing songs, "Tower Of Song." Monumental!


  26. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes

    Love George! "He Stopped Loving Her Today" belongs here and I shall add it.
    He Stopped Loving Her Today

    By George Jones
    Not only did George Jones not write "He Stopped Loving Her Today," he hated the song, refused to learn it, and sang it the melody of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night." It took almost 18 months to get a complete recording done, as this was one of the worst points in Jones' abuse of alcohol and drugs.

    The real authors of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" are Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam, two veteran country songwriters. The team also wrote "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," while Putnam wrote "The Green, Green Grass of Home," a number one hit for Tom Jones in 1966.

    I've noticed that lyrics site frequently incorrectly name the singer of a song as the author. I wouldn't trust any of their attributions without checking a more reliable source.

  27. #76

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Elliott
    Not only did George Jones not write "He Stopped Loving Her Today," he hated the song, refused to learn it, and sang it the melody of Kris Kristofferson's "Help Me Make It Through the Night." It took almost 18 months to get a complete recording done, as this was one of the worst points in Jones' abuse of alcohol and drugs.

    The real authors of "He Stopped Loving Her Today" are Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam, two veteran country songwriters. The team also wrote "D-I-V-O-R-C-E," while Putnam wrote "The Green, Green Grass of Home," a number one hit for Tom Jones in 1966.

    I've noticed that lyrics site frequently incorrectly name the singer of a song as the author. I wouldn't trust any of their attributions without checking a more reliable source.

    I think you're right about lyrics (online) often being attributed to the singer. (This attribution may be of the 'as sung by' type rather than the 'written by' type, as most people don't care who wrote the song.) I hadn't noticed that the lyrics I copied were credited to George. Never thought he actually wrote them, though I never looked into who did.
    Whatever he thought of the song, it's a great one.
    Patsy Cline didn't want to sing "Crazy" (by Willie Nelson) at first. But she did a fantastic version of it. Really, the definitive one.
    Buck Owens didn't want to record "Act Naturally" for the longest but finally gave in to the relentless pestering of guitarist Don Rich. It was a huge hit for him. (The writer of that, Johnny Russell, was in England at a bar when Mick Jagger came in to pick up something. Jagger saw Russell's cap--which mentioned Nashville--and asked if he was from there. Russell told him he worked there, wrote songs. Mick asked if there were any he might know. Johnny said "Act Naturally" and Mick sang it through on the spot. For a songwriter, it may not get any better than that.)

  28. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I
    Buck Owens didn't want to record "Act Naturally" for the longest but finally gave in to the relentless pestering of guitarist Don Rich. It was a huge hit for him. (The writer of that, Johnny Russell, was in England at a bar when Mick Jagger came in to pick up something. Jagger saw Russell's cap--which mentioned Nashville--and asked if he was from there. Russell told him he worked there, wrote songs. Mick asked if there were any he might know. Johnny said "Act Naturally" and Mick sang it through on the spot. For a songwriter, it may not get any better than that.)

    Was this before or after the Beatles recorded it?!

  29. #78

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    OK. So much for great lyrics. What about trying to write them yourself. Here's one that I think we were getting close on, but never really finished. Greg sent me this idea which I rewrote about 40%. Then I made this little trio track and sent it to Michelle to sing, and she rewrote a few lines that made a big improvement.

    Listen to the worktape... (play loud, the level is kind of low)

    FIRST NIGHT LAST NIGHT
    © 2008 (Greg Swartzentruber/Ken Bennett/Michelle Young)

    Purple ribbons run through an orange sky
    As dawn breaks over you and I
    It was hard to risk the days when we were friends, nothing more
    But we never kissed like the one before...

    Our First Night Last Night
    Loving you feels so right
    And I'll never see sunrise in the same old light
    Since our First Night Last Night

    Embers light the fire in your dark eyes
    As love takes on a new disguise
    We whispered gently in the night as our new passion burned
    So glad after all this time ‘cause we know we earned...

    Our First Night Last Night
    Loving you feels so right
    And I'll never see your eyes in the same old light
    Since our First Night Last Night



    When I think of all the precious things that we could have lost
    I’m glad that we took the chance when it finally was...

    Our First Night Last Night
    Loving you feels so right
    And I'll never be lonely for my heart's delight
    Since our First Night Last Night
    Last edited by kenbennett; 08-11-2015 at 08:50 PM.

  30. #79

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    Quote Originally Posted by goldenwave77
    Was this before or after the Beatles recorded it?!
    Buck recorded the song in 1963. I'm not sure when The Beatles recorded it. The encounter with Mick was much later, the '70s I think.

  31. #80

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    The Beatles recorded and released "Act Naturally" in 1965. It was the "B" side to "Yesterday." In the US, it appeared on the Yesterday and Today album in 1966.

  32. #81

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    So.. other than Ken do you guys actually write lyrics?

    Lyric writing suggestions:

    • Enjoy that we can have rhyming dictionaries on our phones
    • Write down everything all the time. You can sort it later.
    • Don't suck
      • Choose good influences (my influences: Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Sting.. yours will certainly be different)
      • Get input from people you trust (if you hear 'corny, trite, maudlin, overwrought, dumb, et al.. believe and move on to the next major revision)

    • On the other hand, don't make it so hard. Sometimes leaving a few less than perfect lines is OK if it means you can finish the danged thing and perform it.
    • Rewrite. Don't get too attached to your creative genius.
    • Use convenient tools. I like to use Powerpoint. Many use Word. Still, try buying a good pen, not just some POS from Office Max, and get some high quality writing paper. Go sit in a coffee shop and see what happens.
    Last edited by Spook410; 08-12-2015 at 03:12 AM.

  33. #82
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    So.. other than Ken do you guys actually write lyrics?
    I do. This one's about someone who, despite appearances, is an s.o.b.


    PS Here's another (plus a poor video of a duo performance):

    SINCERITY
    ©Mike McKoy


    I’d take a different tack
    Change vessel in midstream
    I’d search the stars with all my heart to find my fondest dream
    I’d conquer every mountain if I could conquer me
    Perhaps I’ll give sincerity a try


    I’d capture every rainbow
    And lasso down the moon
    No longer tilt at windmills on wistful afternoons
    I’d gladly pay the piper if I could call the tune
    Perhaps I’ll give sincerity a try


    It seems I sit in vain upon the shelf
    Could it be I’m waiting for myself?


    I’d farm this fallow field
    And harvest more than weeds
    Rekindle flat-lined passion with revived intensity
    A thriving bloom from perfect seed, whose blossom would be me
    Perhaps I’ll give sincerity
    Yes, I’ll try sincerity
    I’m gonna give sincerity a try
    Last edited by destinytot; 08-12-2015 at 03:47 AM. Reason: addition

  34. #83

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    Mike, I enjoyed your "poor" video. That song works and the performance is fine.

  35. #84
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    Mike, I enjoyed your "poor" video. That song works and the performance is fine.
    Very kind of you to say so - thanks!

    I haven't performed any for an English-speaking audience, and I'm in the process of expanding the whole work into a play for translation into at least three languages - taking my time and enjoying the challenge of writing dialogue (while getting my guitar chops together.)

  36. #85

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    So.. other than Ken do you guys actually write lyrics?

    Lyric writing suggestions:

    • Enjoy that we can have rhyming dictionaries on our phones
    • Write down everything all the time. You can sort it later.
    • Don't suck
      • Choose good influences (my influences: Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Sting.. yours will certainly be different)
      • Get input from people you trust (if you hear 'corny, trite, maudlin, overwrought, dumb, et al.. believe and move on to the next major revision)

    • On the other hand, don't make it so hard. Sometimes leaving a few less than perfect lines is OK if it means you can finish the danged thing and perform it.
    • Rewrite. Don't get too attached to your creative genius.
    • Use convenient tools. I like to use Powerpoint. Many use Word. Still, try buying a good pen, not just some POS from Office Max, and get some high quality writing paper. Go sit in a coffee shop and see what happens.
    One problem we had writing "First Night Last Night" was attachment to rules.

    The setting is the morning after their first night together, so the time frame is that one moment. This couple is consumed with their immediate experience. They're not thinking about the future, and the only past they're thinking about is the last few hours. Still we argued over whether verbs should be in past tense or present tense. Of course the singer is in the present, but every thought leads to what happened last night. So I tried to start each verse in present tense and let the 2nd half fall back to past tense to lead up to the title.

    Greg, who wrote the first draft, intentionally broke the 'you and me' vs. 'you and I' rule because it sounded good and he couldn't think of anything better. At first I objected, but he convinced me. Then when Michelle got the song, she being the perfectionist, had to change it.

    So it took a lot of rewriting to get this song as good as it is.

    Other times people send me lyrics that are perfect in the sense that I can set them to music with only a couple of minor changes to make the melody consistent from verse to verse. Those changes are so minor that the lyricist usually doesn't even notice.
    Last edited by kenbennett; 08-12-2015 at 07:51 AM.

  37. #86

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    i'm very glad cole porter has been discussed in this thread

    if you can write:


    The world has gone mad today
    And good's bad today,
    And black's white today,
    And day's night today,
    And that gent today
    You gave a cent today
    Once had several chateaux.

    which is deep and important but in such a way that its depth and importance is almost entirely obscured by its charm and lightness

    if you can write lines like that (with the confidence to just miss out the grammatically necessary 'to whom') and only use them once in the whole song - you have got it going on.

    and for me its totally crucial that i'm improvising on tunes with words. this is so because the words set the melodic rhythm of the piece (without which you don't know how to phrase) - but also because they give the pieces we play their feel. try playing 'you don't know what love is' with the feel of 'i got you under my skin' (both love songs). the feel determines which tempos work well. but i also think that there's some deep magic that goes on when you know the words - you should have them floating through your mind as you play (if not actually singing them to yourself). i know my two pre-school boys pick up the tunes they know through the words.

  38. #87

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    So.. other than Ken do you guys actually write lyrics?
    I do. Here's a low-fi video of me singing my song "Screenplay" in my room. (My friend Vicky, whom I hadn't seen in a long time, said she missed my voice and wanted to hear me talk and warble, and as is often the case, that charm worked on me. ;o)

    Guitar's not plugged in.



  39. #88

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    Dylan..the young folksinger Dylan..the folk/electric Dylan--and beyond..not at all the same person-glad about that..

    cole porter .. trip to the moon on gossamer wings...yes it was just one of those things...using one of the most creative lyrics against a standard time tested cliché ..

    its not paint by numbers..(don't tell sting) its from experience-personal inner or outside --"..I read the news today..oh boy"

    I wrote songs that were performed on stage by a small group..some were performed for a stage production..others lived in some living rooms with wine and friends..

    where do the words/ideas come from..for me--a mixture of my life and the people places and things in it and what other people told me about theirs..they came while I rode a bus to work..walked in a park..woke up in the early morning hours..discovering the reality of love..sex..truth..loyalty..loneliness..being selfless and having no regrets..and the realization that nothing is free..the mystery of life..the real size of the universe..the abstract god..the evil that no devil could imagine...but "man" can..something that can make you laugh or cry and you cant explain why..

  40. #89

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    I do. Here's a low-fi video of me singing my song "Screenplay" in my room. (My friend Vicky, whom I hadn't seen in a long time, said she missed my voice and wanted to hear me talk and warble, and as is often the case, that charm worked on me. ;o)

    Guitar's not plugged in.


    Where's the words? Writers like reading as much or more than listening.

  41. #90

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by kenbennett
    Where's the words? Writers like reading as much or more than listening.
    Thanks for asking.
    I'll have to rustle 'em up. (They're not on the hard drive of this laptop.) They were included in an e-book of my lyrics ("These Days My Momma Is A Damn Good-Lookin' Man" but I pulled that over a disagreement with the publisher. I'll get around to putting it back out myself, which is what I should have done in the first place.)

  42. #91

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    Here's a Johnny Mercer lyric I like, "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive". I like the verse, included this recording by Mercer himself.



    Gather 'round me, everybody
    Gather 'round me while I'm preachin'
    Feel a sermon comin' on me
    The topic will be sin and that's what I'm ag'in'
    If you wanna hear my story
    The settle back and just sit tight
    While I start reviewin'
    The attitude of doin' right



    You've got to accentuate the positive
    Eliminate the negative
    And latch on to the affirmative
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between

    You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
    Bring gloom down to the minimum
    Have faith or pandemonium's
    Liable to walk upon the scene

    To illustrate my last remark
    Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
    What did they do just when everything looked so dark?

    (Man, they said "We'd better accentuate the positive")
    ("Eliminate the negative")
    ("And latch on to the affirmative")
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between (No!)
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between

    (Ya got to spread joy up to the maximum)
    (Bring gloom down to the minimum)
    (Have faith or pandemonium's)
    (Liable to walk upon the scene)

    You got to ac (yes, yes) -cent-tchu-ate the positive
    Eliminate (yes, yes) the negative
    And latch (yes, yes) on to the affirmative
    Don't mess with Mister In-Between
    No, don't mess with Mister In-Between
    Last edited by MarkRhodes; 08-13-2015 at 09:29 AM. Reason: spelling

  43. #92

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    Okay, here's the lyric for "Screenplay," typed hastily from memory. This was originally called "Strange Familiar."(I thought that a great term for an anonymous sexual partner: you don't know them in particular but the situation is familiar to you both)
    Screenplay
    By Mark Rhodes




    Got down my bit for “The TonightShow”
    Honed my shtick for David Letttermantoo
    At this stage in my new career,
    Just that one detail to attend to.


    “Hey,
    When you gonna let me read yourscreenplay?
    Now you been talkin' about it sinceVinnie asked for that foot massage.”


    Memorizing Tarantino,
    Poring over Preston Sturges too
    'Cooler than Ike snappin' “Rocket88”'
    That's what they'll say when I debut


    “Hey,
    When you gonna let me read yourscreenplay?
    Now you been talkin' about it since thefive-dollar shake.”


    There are three dozen dramaticsituations.
    I got three-act scrutures down onthree-by-fives
    And a cardboard viewfinder--
    I'm trippin' over my lives.


    “Hey,
    when you gonna let me read yourscreenplay?
    Now you been talkin' about it sinceMarvin lost his head.”

  44. #93

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    Here's an unfinished something of mine, at this point just ideas...

    Black Coffee
    @ Frank Pratte

    (Verse)
    I feel the warmth, a sweet caress
    Her eyes a misty steam
    I sip, a warm wet kiss
    That awakes my morning

    (Chorus)
    Black Coffee...
    Give me dark, rich black coffee
    Just a sip is what I seek
    Her warm lips is what I need
    She's my dark, rich black coffee

    (alternative chorus)
    Black Coffee...
    From dreams of her I awake
    To feel the heat on my fingertips
    The forbidden fruit of my desire
    A rich dark taste to light my day
    Last edited by fep; 08-13-2015 at 02:16 PM.

  45. #94

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by destinytot
    Very kind of you to say so - thanks!

    I haven't performed any for an English-speaking audience, and I'm in the process of expanding the whole work into a play for translation into at least three languages - taking my time and enjoying the challenge of writing dialogue (while getting my guitar chops together.)
    Me too, I really enjoyed your tunes. Great command of language.

    What is your first language? Being bilingual, how do you like writing in English?

  46. #95
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    "These Days My Momma Is A Damn Good-Lookin' Man"
    Love it - I hear Herb Ellis in that.

  47. #96
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Here's an unfinished something of mine, at this point just ideas...

    Black Coffee
    @ Frank Pratte

    (Verse)
    I feel the warmth, a sweet caress
    Her eyes a misty steam
    I sip, a warm wet kiss
    That awakes my morning

    (Chorus)
    Black Coffee...
    Give me dark, rich black coffee
    Just a sip is what I seek
    Her warm lips is what I need
    She's my dark, rich black coffee

    (alternative chorus)
    Black Coffee...
    From dreams of her I awake
    To feel the heat on my fingertips
    The forbidden fruit of my desire
    A rich dark taste to light my day
    Nice - I hear a bolero...

  48. #97
    destinytot Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    What is your first language?
    I think of English as my first language (because I have better speed and control in my responses).

  49. #98

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    On a lark, I sent an email to Pat Pattison (-the songwriter / lyricist / professor that fep mentioned above.) I asked Pat about 'awful' and 'troughful' in "Lush Life." Not that his response would be Gospel but I should like to hear it in any case. If I hear from him, I'll pass it along here.

  50. #99

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    The site was down for 30 hours due to copyright infringement. For more details, see the following thread.

    https://www.jazzguitar.be/forum/annou...tml#post558140

    My first thought when I heard this was, "O, God, was it because of the song lyrics we posted?"

    Matt said that was not it and that it was unlikely lyrics would get 'dinged' because so many sites post them. Yay!

  51. #100

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    O
    When you gonna let me read your screenplay?
    The lyric, rhythm, and melody work well together on that line. That's a great hook.