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  1. #1

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    This is a classic example of a truly clever song that doesn't parade its cleverness. I'll let you all enjoy and discuss (if you want) what makes this a truly unusual tune. I'll just say it has to do with the form, note choice, slick return---and that lyrical knockout punch.

    And having Carmen serve it don't hurt too much, either.

    Viva Carmen and Tommy Wolf!


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  3. #2

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    Thank you, Joel, lovely stuff.

  4. #3

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    Hi, J,
    Carmen and a big band . . . does it get any better? Where have all the flowers gone . . . Nancy Wilson, Billie Holiday, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Ella, Sarah, Dakota Stanton, Shirley Horn, Abbey Lincoln, Betty Carter, Nina Simone? What we're left with is a cadre of hipster, mechanical, shallow-soul songbirds with the emotional sensitivity of an aardvark . . . not that there's anything wrong with aardvarks! Well, I might give Diana Krall a pass but she's hardly a youngster anymore.
    And, Carmen's feeling about San Francisco . . . I still feel that way about Chicago and Miami. Good playing . . . Marinero

  5. #4
    OK: The form: 1. A B C D---because the 'bridge' doesn't repeat exactly, and there's a long extension at D, so it never goes back to that A section. 2. It doesn't repeat A, unusual in itself.

    Note choice: Wolf does the delicious: sets up a bluesy, mixolydian melody of F A C Eb D C Bb ('I'm always drunk in San Fran...') then sucker punches when he transposes the figure, starting on Bb, by sneaking in E rather than the expected Eb. The E continues in the next measure, necessitating downward chromatic changes (the way I harmonized it, anyway, and close to Wolf's). Now we, of course, don't have a blues, but a blues ballad---the feeling of the blues is the underpinning, but anything goes harmonically. And blues ballads usually have bridges.

    At D, 3th measure---at the end w/a pick up to measure 4 ('That acts like alcohol') we have what old Prof. Persky at CCNY would call a 'significant accidental'---a strongly 'pulling' note that will either foreshadow a real modulation, or signal that the tune's is going somewhere different harmonically. (Everyone hated Persky, but he was a hell of a theorist). That E right after a II V in Ab---making us think it'll stay in Ab, like B did, is what leads us back to the mother key of F. Wolf prepares our ears with a II V back to F. (Previously, Wolf laid that opening figure on us with an imagined G Min---there's stop time in the chart, IIRC---coming right out of Ab with no 'warning' or preparation. Works like a MF, and slick as hell). I love tunes that modulate in the middle of a verse, especially when it's so smoothly executed you hardly notice, your ear goes with it. (A classic example is what Legrand did with the 3rd verse of You Must Believe in Spring---1/2 step modulation up, right smack in the middle, and the pivot chord goes down, fooling our ears into thinking the tune will modulate down?).

    The lyrical 'payoff': After all the talk about being 'drunk; out of my mind; stoned---comes the punchline 'And I don't drink at all!'

    Wolf was as clever a lyricist as melodist. like I said---clever, w/o ramming it down our throats. And was this tune ever made to order for Carmen!...
    Last edited by joelf; 07-11-2020 at 02:35 PM.

  6. #5

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    Hi, J,
    Heretofore, we must designate you as JGF's resident analyst. Good job! Good playing . . . Marinero

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, J,
    Heretofore, we must designate you as JGF's resident analyst. Good job! Good playing . . . Marinero
    Do I get paid like a shrink?

    And are you gonna be 1st to lie on the couch?

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by joelf
    OK: The form: 1. A B C D---because the 'bridge' doesn't repeat exactly, and there's a long extension at D, so it never goes back to that A section. 2. It doesn't repeat A, unusual in itself.

    Note choice: Wolf does the delicious: sets up a bluesy, mixolydian melody of F A C Eb D D Bb ('I'm always drunk in San Fran...') then sucker punches when he transposes the figure, starting on Bb, by sneaking in E rather than the expected Eb. The E continues in the next measure, necessitating downward chromatic changes (the way I harmonized it, anyway, and close to Wolf's). Now we, of course, don't have a blues, but a blues ballad---the feeling of the blues is the underpinning, but anything goes harmonically. And blues ballads usually have bridges.

    At D, 3th measure---at the end w/a pick up to measure 4 ('That acts like alcohol') we have what old Prof. Persky at CCNY would call a 'significant accidental'---a strongly 'pulling' note that will either foreshadow a real modulation, or signal that the tune's is going somewhere different harmonically. (Everyone hated Persky, but he was a hell of a theorist). That E right after a II V in Ab---making us think it'll stay in Ab, like B did, is what leads us back to the mother key of F. Wolf prepares our ears with a II V back to F. (Previously, Wolf laid that opening figure on us with an imagined G Min---there's stop time in the chart, IIRC---coming right out of Ab with no 'warning' or preparation. Works like a MF, and slick as hell). I love tunes that modulate in the middle of a verse, especially when it's so smoothly executed you hardly notice, your ear goes with it. (A classic example is what Legrand did with the 3rd verse of You Must Believe in Spring---1/2 step modulation up, right smack in the middle, and the pivot chord goes down, fooling our ears into thinking the tune will modulate down?).

    The lyrical 'payoff': After all the talk about being 'drunk; out of my mind; stoned---comes the punchline 'And I don't drink at all!'

    Wolf was as clever a lyricist as melodist. like I said---clever, w/o ramming it down our throats. And was this tune ever made to order for Carmen!...
    This is one of my favorite tunes - any chance you could translate the above analysis into a chord chart for those of us with very limited transcription skills? Many thanks!

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanZ
    This is one of my favorite tunes - any chance you could translate the above analysis into a chord chart for those of us with very limited transcription skills? Many thanks!
    I don't have software for that, sorry.

    How's about my handwritten lead sheet? Only show in town:

    (The intro is a sort of steal from a Benny Carter chart on the same LP. I tried to write the melody close to Carmen's singing---ergo triplets inside triplets. The 1st page is the only one gone over in pen).

    Let's hope for the best...
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by joelf; 07-08-2020 at 06:48 PM.

  10. #9
    Actually doesn't look too bad.

    I'm planning to join the 20th Century shortly.

    What? It's the 21st? I hate when that happens...

  11. #10
    Rather than me fix and repost (a bit of a pain---gotta move my heavy laptop to the printer and connect, and the Canon menu takes forever to open): no DS; ignore the 1st ending bracket---not the music, bottom of p. 2, and play straight through to the coda, p. 3. So it'll be once through, total---like Carmen sang it. All the info's there.

    Will do a StaffPad chart when I buy the software...

  12. #11

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    thank you so much - really appreciate it.
    regards, Sean

  13. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by SeanZ
    thank you so much - really appreciate it.
    regards, Sean
    NP.

    It's late, but tomorrow I'll put up a more readable 2 pg sheet. S&&t canned the coda, once through, nice 'n' easy...

  14. #13
    This is much better---and final...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Marinero
    Hi, J,
    Heretofore, we must designate you as JGF's resident analyst. Good job! Good playing . . . Marinero
    Analyst? Dunno about THAT---but the smart money says I oughtta SEE one...

  16. #15
    FWIW since I'm forever writing songs (and HARDLY ever practicing guitar) this great tune has served a personal purpose as recently as this very week:

    I had a cute, hooky title I wanted to make a song about homesickness for NYC out of: (You Can Take Me Out of New York, But) You Can't Take New York Out of Me.

    I knew even before drafting the lyric, let alone the melody, what a trap it'd be to use Billy Joel's New York State of Mind as a template---though I think it's a great tune. I just didn't want my own take on feeling homesick to end up another list song/travelogue.

    So instead, somewhere in the recesses of my alleged mind was THIS song as a template: the clever use of 'blue' notes; the lighthearted lyric all were somewhere in my noggin---and soul.

    I ended up with a strong song, maybe one of my best---AND, to demonstrate the very soul of subliminal influence, if I didn't say something like the above NO ONE would have a clue that it was modeled at least a little after Wolf's song.

    This makes me probe a little deeper into the nature of influence. The writer (or player) SECURE in their voice and creativity leaves the door open and lets everything good, everything usable, in. It's a complete waste of time worrying over the 4th bar of melody or a groove idea was done by someone earlier. What are you gonna do, reject a good idea out of hand b/c it's not YOURS? That's real egotism, IMO. Better to compliment yourself on your good taste!

    I remember a radio interview where I discussed a tune I wrote in tribute to the civil rights pioneer and friend for a few years, Florynce 'Flo' Kennedy (The River Flo). I opined that the opening figure that sets the groove bore an awfully strong similarity to Stevie Wonder's Creepin'. Looked at it again and performed it many times since that '04 show, and it's not really not that total a steal. Different voicings, very similar rhythm. Shoot me! Wouldn't change a note---b/c it WORKS.

    Dizzy Gillespie wisely and unaccusingly once said 'musicians are all thieves'. Maybe not the most diplomatic way of putting it---LOL---however I think his real point was that once out in the world anything and everything's fair game (and I would add: especially if a 'borrower' has the class and moral fiber to give due credit). It CAN get dicey when it's SO similar that it can lead to plagiarism accusations, even lawsuits (My Sweet Lord/He's So Fine---George Harrison lost). But that's only when big bucks and pissed-off smaller names are involved.

    Writers: let it ALL wash over you. Figure it out and assign attributions AFTER the tune---including rewrites up to a final draft---is done, finito, this is the end, no more and without Reuniti. Give yourselves a break---it's all in the ether and again when you're truly secure you won't give a rat's ass what anyone whispers about your tune. When it WORKS...