I am often intrigued at how different artists can interpret the same song. As I write, Jane is currently upstairs working and listening to a Bob Dylan tribute album (actually a four-CD set). It’s quite good… and it’s interesting to hear how different artists interpret his work. Some sound very much like Mr. Zimmerman (Bobby) while others take an approach quite different than the Dylan arrangement. Speaking of Dylan, an aside…
we had the good fortune to see our Mr. Dylan in concert at Alumni Hall in London a number of years ago. I still remember listening to one particular song and, after about two minutes, recognizing it as one I knew quite well. While some credit for that can certainly go to the songwriter’s careful enunciation (?) and melodic vocal (?), it was also a considerably different arrangement of the song itself. In other words, a particular arrangement can depend on one’s disposition at the time, even if it is the same artist. And that brings me to…
In this performance (as the B-side of Hey Jude)The Beatles give the song an edge which I quite enjoy and which entirely suits the lyrics.
In another recorded performance, this time from the White Album (below), the band opted to slow it down and make the song a more laidback experience.
You may prefer the first… you may prefer the second… depending on your mood at the time. I also remember seeing The Association live for the first time in 1970 (by co-incidence also at Alumni Hall). They had recently recorded an album (The Association) in which could be heard a folkish, rather etherial Dubuque Blues. When they performed it in concert about a year later Jules Alexander’s lead vocal had been replaced with Brian Cole’s more gravelly voice and a grittier arrangement (which can now be heard on their Live album).
So, you say, this is all very interesting… but, where is it leading?
About three months ago I sat down and played two snippets of chord progressions. That progressed (through repetition) to the typical three-minute song duration. In my previous post I dressed up the arrangement a bit. By working at it in this order now I had certain aspects of the song So Long (a working title) and the chordal vibe (which struck me as somewhat upbeat and optimistic). To some extent I had boxed myself in by the time I began to consider lyrics. Fortunately, Jane’s birthday being this month and spring in the air, I settled on lyrics which (I hope) reflected the month and the mood of the song. I found, when I added lyrics, that I needed to slow the tempo a tad and that I needed to rerecord the piano track to better reflect the lyric I’d written. So that’s what you now have below… a further revision of the music with a melody line fitted to the lyrics (also below)…
(Note that I changed the actual song title to something a bit less obvious…)
Writing Our Lives
It was so long
The time before I met you
The journey just to get you
Imagining you here next to me
The nights spent without you
The days passed until you
This work of fiction suddenly came true
And may I say that it
keeps getting better
Day after day- and
letter by letter
We’ll write our lives- in
the words of hope and love.
The day when first I met you
But I could not forget you
Stuck with me and I stuck with you
Sometimes good things happen
Stars align and dreams come true
Serendipity is now what
Brings the subject to you
Now it’s so long
So long to that sorrow
For a brighter tomorrow
As long as you’re here next to me
And… that would be the end of it… except that I sat down at the piano a day or two ago and decided to play the song again. When I did, I was inclined to take it more slowly and perhaps a bit more reflectively. In any case, I went upstairs and rerecorded the song as a simple piano-only arrangement. And this was how it sounded…
You may, of course, dislike both versions but, assuming a certain level of tolerance, one or the other may better suit your mood as you listen right now… at least my own preference has changed from time to time during the creation process. The good news? Well, I’ve finished with this experiment (barring a future revisitation) and I’ll move on to another in an upcoming post.
Meanwhile… it is almost Easter so it’s a good occasion to wish you and yours a happy and hopeful one.