Wednesday, August 10, 2022

"... about four and a half minutes"

Another lovely Doghearsal last night – and they’re not all lovely by any means, but this one was – as we hone our set for a forthcoming theatre show in the heart of swinging downtown Colchester. I’d reverted to Takamine type and was feeling much more comfortable with the weight of guitar on my hip, Mr. Wendell had retrieved his capo from his wife’s handbag, Turny Winn had remembered to bring the right harmonica, and remembered not to sit on the banjo just in time. After each of the first four songs in the set Mr. Wendell reverently intoned “…and that should be the single”.

Upon my return to Kirk Towers I considered that in order to maintain our online presence*  in light of our forthcoming engagement  I should probably post something to try and whip up our small but enthusiastic fanbase and any of their friends with convenient disposable income into buying some tickets, and so I fired up “What’s a Rainbow” (or alternately “What’s the Moonlight For?”) from our ‘Back of the Big’ EP and posted it into the ether. 

Upon relistening I was struck by a couple of things – firstly, that’s a really good recording and, courtesy of Fiddly, beautifully mixed and mastered** and secondly, how clever the wordplay constructed by Mr. Winn is – something you don’t always get to appreciate when you’re trying to remember if it’s this verse the key change comes in or not. He rhymes ‘Jealous’, ‘Fellas’ and ‘Cinderellas’ in one verse and although ‘…told me’, ‘…rosy’, ‘…know me’ and …cosy’ is straying into Chris Difford-like artistic license, there are many lesser*** writers also ploughing the same furrow, and it’s a fine club to be in. Mind you, he (Tony) also wrote a song where (deliberately) none of the lines rhymed, so he’s either better at this than he’s have us believe, or has far too much time on his hands. Or both.

Last week there was a temporary reunion of Songs from The Blue House. One of our better-loved songs among the rural community was always ‘Breaking These Rocks’, a cautionary tale of burglar-killing amongst the farming community – imagine Peter Gabriel’s ‘Intruder’ only where he gets blasted with a twelve-bore half way through – which is loosely based upon true life events and which once again received a resounding roar of approval when aired in the rural heartlands of mid-Suffolk. It’s not – strictly speaking – a celebration of the event, but has been streamed to buggery in the area for the last week or so, so we’re not really ones to complain about our art being misrepresented. Folk make up their own rules about what a song’s about once it’s out there.

Also performing at Shed Fest were The Neighbourhood Dogs. We have a song called ‘Nelson’, which usually gets a lengthy introduction on stage regarding its exegesis, and indeed for those parties interested in pursuing the matter further, there are blogs passim regarding the whole writing and recording malarkey. Shortly after it being performed at the festival I was taken aside by a frankly taken aback member of the audience. Bearing in mind that La Mulley came up with the words based on a couple of shared ideas we’d discussed about a lighthouse keeper I was surprised to be asked the question. “Oh my god – you wrote that about Dad, didn’t you?” 

I quietly considered the verse, bridge and outro. 

“I have now”.                

*“We’re on all the usual platforms – Ceefax, MySpace, Friends Reunited…” 

** Don’t take my word for it.