Monday, August 17, 2009

Singer Songwriters

I don't know if it is true of anyone else, but I find that sometimes songwriters manage to write a wonderful story, all in the confines of a three or four minute song. It's a remarkable ability, and one I admire. Pair the song with a memorable tune, and you've got a winner that will remain in the common memory long after the artist is gone.

I was reminded of that this last weekend since I was posting on my own blog about the fortieth anniversary of Woodstock (no, I was not there, my mommy would not have let me go even if I was aware of such a thing... LOL) and posted Matthews Southern Comfort Band's rendition of Joni Mitchell's classic 'Woodstock'.

The last verse goes:

By the time we got to Woodstock/We were half a million strong/And everywhere there was song and celebration

And I dreamed I saw the bombers/Riding shotgun in the sky/And they were turning into butterflies/Above our nation

We are stardust/Billion year old carbon/We are golden/Caught in the devil's bargain/And we've got to get ourselves/Back to the garden

Given what the US was going through then, the Vietnam War, the symbolry of bombers turning into butterflies is powerful. I only wish I could write like that, so pithy and yet so meaningful.

James Taylor is another of my favorite songwriters. In Carolina In My Mind, he talks about going home in a powerful way:

Dark and silent last night
I think I might have heard the highway calling
Geese in flight and dogs that bite
Signs that might be omens say I'm going, going
I'm goin to Carolina in my mind

Who hasn't heard the highway calling at some time in our lives?
So... I'd like to hear from all of you a snatch of lyrics that affect you, a song that feels like a story, anything you like about the music that calls out to you because of the words.


  1. Hmm, the song that's stuck in my mind is Wooly Bully's Lil Red Riding Hood..."Even bad wolves can be good."~~Sam the Sham..."Owoooh!"

  2. Love that, Terry!! I should have known you'd come up with something.

    Re: that song... who can resist howling in the chorus?? Awoooo!!!

  3. LOL, Donna, well my coworkers at the library want me to put it on my cell phone as the ring tone. Can you imagine howling in the library? Hmm, sounds like a story idea to me. LOL :)

  4. Oh, I love James Taylor's Fire and Rain. I listen to all genres of music and have always been amazed at the stories they weave.

  5. "I'm a standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,
    And such a fine sight to see.
    It's a girl, my lord, in a flat-bed Ford
    slowin' down to take a look at me."

    Which is my all-time favorite lyric from, the Eagles "Take it Easy."

    ...guess I always wanted to be that girl in the Ford.....

  6. Ah, the memories associated with some songs! I was a twirler in high school, something I absolutely loved, and there are our "show" songs that bring back great memories!

    Funny, I wrote about music on the WickedlyRomantic blog today, too!

  7. I love CSNY's version of Woodstock and the opening lyrics to their song Wooden Ships--If you smile at me, I will understand, because that's something everybody everywhere does in the same language.

    Funny story about JT--a couple of years ago a younger coworker who I was close to asked me what I was doing and I said, working and listening to JT in iTunes. She says, "YOU like Justin Timberlake?" LOL! Um, no dear, the ORIGINAL JT (who I have seen a couple of times in concert and absolutely loved)

  8. The first thing that came to mind was the words my RG always sang to me when we're dating from the Turtles:
    Me and you and you and me
    No matter how they toss the dice, it has to be
    The only one for me is you, and you for me
    So happy together
    I can't see me lovin' nobody but you
    For all my life
    When you're with me, baby the skies'll be blue
    For all my life

  9. Terry... that ringtone would be a howl!

    Renee... looove Fire and Rain.

    Cheryl... can't beat the Eagles! "It's another tequila sunrise, starin' slowly across the sky... said goodbye... he was just a hired hand..." The power of lyrics!

    Marie... I prefer the Matthews Southern Comfort Band version of Woodstock... isn't it funny that neither of us like Joni's best? I envy you having seen James Taylor in concert. It amazes me that his voice is still almost as good as it ever was. That's not true of many artists.

    Judi... music must be in the air today!

    diva donna... love that song!

  10. Ah...Donna, songs don't get any better than Don McClean's Vincent: Starry, starry night...flaming flowers that brightly blaze, swirling clouds in violet haze reflected in Vincent's eyes of China blue. Morning fields of amber grain, weathered faces lined in pain are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.

  11. Amelia... oooh, Don Maclean... another wonderful singer-songwriter with a way with words! I so agree!!!

  12. What can I say? Witchy Woman. Echoed voices in the night
    she's a restless spirit on an endless flight wooo hooo witchy woman, see how high she flies
    woo hoo witchy woman she got
    the moon in her eye She held me spellbound in the night
    dancing shadows and firelight
    crazy laughter in another
    room and she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon

    Also Black Magic Woman.

    I was a big Steppenwolf fan too.


  13. Funny, I've been thinking of song lyrics all day.

    The lyrics of some rappers are being listened to as serious poetry--not the impentrably precious darlings of the literatti--the real stuff that you remember and you have to repeat because the words taste just right and they make you hear all the spaces between them.

    And then you ned to hear it again.

  14. mine has to Enya on your shore,
    It takes me back to my home of my heart in my minds eye, Since I cant travel to Scotland as much as I want to.
    Strange how
    my heart beats
    to find myself upon your shore.
    Strange how
    I still feel
    My loss of comfort gone before.

    Cool waves wash over
    and drift away with dreams of youth
    so time is stolen
    I cannot hold you long enough.

    And so
    this is where I should be now
    Days and nights falling by

    Days and nights falling by me.
    I know
    of a dream I should be holding
    days and nights falling by
    Days and nights falling by me.

    Soft blue horizons
    reach far into my childhood days
    as you are rising
    to bring me my forgotten ways.

    Strange how I falter
    to find I'm standing in deep water
    strange how my heart beats
    to find I'm standing on your shore
    If you dont own her music you should my all time favorite is The Celts

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