Once a year they let me run a ‘sing us a song of your own’ night and this was the fourth edition. I also get to pick 3-videos from You Tube to go with my report.
I bang on about song writing and wonder why everyone doesn’t do it - for me, it’s so much better than recycling the same old songs (even if they’re great). Open mic person puts their heart on the line singing ‘Summertime’, well, I’d still pick the Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong version, or the Janis Joplin interpretation. But, when open mic person performs their own song, they don’t have to compete with Ella, or Janis and it’s real and tells us something about them.
Song writing: You have the melody, musical arrangement and the lyric. I could write a hundred blogs on lyric writing, but will spare you that for another day! But, one thing I’d say is, ‘what do you want to say’ and always use a ‘cliché alert check’ when editing your own lyric - be tough.
I’m currently working on my 99th song and am excited about reaching the big ton. I don’t wish to repeat myself musically, or lyrically, so it’s a challenge to find new ideas. I’m happy with my new material and the more I do it, the more I enjoy the search for the next song.
We have our influences and people we admire and the music that we grew up with. I don’t sound like any of my music heroes and have often wondered where my songs and my sound come from - the 3 YT videos give a clue. As a youngster I studied classical guitar, which was a lot of J S Bach arpeggio type stuff. My picking style has evolved over the years, but I still lean on this basic technique and love my arpeggios, and I rely on my fingernails to give me my sound. I’ve had a lot of chats with other bearded (and some clean shaven) old chaps about nails, quite a few have brilliant white false nails on their picking hand. I stick with my own, but they do break and sods law dictates, just before you need them for something important.
My second video is that Boston song, which I find quite annoying these days, but the opening D thing clearly influenced me, as I still use variations of it today. The David Gates number: back in the 70’s I had (I’ve still got it) a book of Bread songs and I just loved those songs. So, it’s Bach, Boston, Bread and the rest is just me.
Ok, that’s enough about me and my songs - sorry, having done a lot of blogs, I just wanted to do something different this time which relates to the subject of the evening.
We had a fab night with 16 performers, most of all whom did their own stuff. We also had some listeners which really helps fill the room and lift the evenings. Here’s a song list with brief notes.
I opened with ‘Insomniac’s Dream’ & ‘On paper wings’ - both feature on my album, ‘The Last Song’.
Paula: ‘Lifeline’ & ‘Empty chair’ - two of her own songs that have real meaning to her.
Glyn: ’Magnolia wind’ & ‘All she wants’ - both by Guy Clarke. Glyn borrows his songs from great dead songwriters.
George and Mary: ‘Misty morning blue’ & ‘The day I struck gold’ - George said he’d only written about eight songs and played one which he’d composed about 25 years ago. And to finish, a song written by our good friend, Chris Liddiard.
Natasha: ‘This living nightmare’ & ‘Bees wing’ (by Richard Thompson) - the opening number was written 30-years ago by Natasha and this was its world premiere - a fascinating insight into the young writer’s life at the time and a great example of why you should write your own songs.
Manus: ‘Under a glass ceiling’ & ‘Red blues’ - about a cult of desire and a red car.
Jane: ‘Homesick blues’ (a poem by Langston Hughes with music by Jane) & ‘Hysterectomy blues’ - now what can I say about that!
Silvie: started with a mic but then put it on the bar - one day I’ll get her to use the PA. Two a cappella numbers about Mary Queen of Scots and other stuff from circa 1542.
Simon: ‘Bernard the fireman’ & ‘The furniture song’ & ‘Summertime’ - classic Simon songs with subtle humour and then he demanded a third song - well, what can I say (see above)!
Heather: ‘Double Entendre’ & ‘Weald and Sea’ - first song with guitar and second a cappella. It was Heather’s first outing at the Bells for 25-years (see photo).
Clive: ‘All the love will remain’ & ‘Padstow’ - a sad, but pretty song of his own and a cover for May Day of a Steeleye Span song.
Keith: ‘Dusty’ (a song about his old typewriter) and a poem, ‘The double bass seeks love’.
Kevin: ‘Winter long’ & ‘Contradictions’ - I loved the first song. I’m currently recording my next album in Kevin’s studio (see photo below).
Lisa: ‘May the wind be forever in your sales’ (wins the award for longest song title of the evening) & ‘Bluebell knoll’.
Jason: ‘Sunday afternoon’ & ‘Strange sailings’ - Great stuff from Lisa & Jason, both playing their own songs.
And that was it - kick off 8:45 - final whistle 11:15 - thanks to Simon for setting up the PA, Clive for doing the sound - PA packed away, a bit of a natter and out the door at 11:45.
Next up it’s Tuesday 15/05/18 and your MC will be Jason Loughran
C J Martin x www.cjmartin.info
The person that runs the evening writes the blog
Note - You can leave a comment - by click ing on the blue "comments" link at the top and bottom of the blog.