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Bebop Spoken There

Danny Gatton: "I was tired of playing in beer joints. I wanted to do something tangible like building cars. But once you do music it gets into your blood. You can get away from it for awhile but sooner or later it comes back to you." - (Down Beat April 1991).

Tal Farlow: "There were times when I would stop [playing guitar] and do sign painting." - (Downbeat December 5, 1963)

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Today Wednesday August 23

Afternoon
Vieux Carre Jazzmen - Crescent Club, 1 Hudleston, Cullercoats NE30 3OS. 1pm. Free.
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Evening.
New Orleans Jazz at the Village Hall - Springwell Village Community Venue, Fell Rd., Gateshead NE9 7RP. 8:15pm. £3.
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Take it to the Bridge - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. £1. 8pm.
Billy's Acoustic Blues - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free (weekly).
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Song Lyrics - Why do we like them?

(By Ann Alex)
If Lance, Blogmaster, allows, this will be the first in an occasional series of appreciation of song lyrics, a subject which I’m particularly interested in.  
Here goes! It seems to me that the song No Moon At All is especially clever, both lyrically and musically.  I first heard this sung delightfully by Claire Kelly (pictured) a few weeks ago at the Globe, and was intrigued by the idea that it is the opposite of the standard ‘moon in June’ songs.  Then a piece of luck - the song turned up in our repertoire on the Blue Jazz Voices jazz singing course.
It’s written by Redd Evans and Dave Mann:
No Moon at All
What a Night
Even lightnin’ bugs have dimmed their light
Stars have disappeared from sight
And there’s no moon at all

Don’t make a sound
It’s so dark
Even Fido is afraid to bark
What a perfect chance to park
And there’s no moon at all

Should we want atmosphere
For inspiration, dear
One kiss will make it clear
That tonight is right and bright moonlight might interfere

No moon at all
Up above
This is nothing like they told us of
Just to think we fell in love
And there’s no moon at all

As soon as you hear the words no moon at all the song gets your attention because it denies what you expect from a love song and you wonder if it will be a sad tale of lost love.  But the jaunty tune leads you to realise that this is highly flirtatious stuff with a lovely light touch and added humour even Fido is afraid to bark. (When we first tackled this song at Blue Jazz, Lindsay’s dog Chaplin was present as an illustration.  And don’t reverse the words as I did, by swopping round ‘bark’ and ‘park’.  Not what the writers intended!)
You’re not allowed to forget the couple’s intentions with the constant repetition of no moon at all.
I consider that the cleverest line in the whole song is This is nothing like they told us of, which has two meanings, referring to both what people traditionally say about falling in love by moonlight, and also what other song writers have written.  The line is a gentle criticism of all the other lyricists, from Cole Porter to Lorenz Hart to goodness knows who else.
Another favourite line for me is tonight is right and bright moonlight might interfere. These words are sung mostly on one note until we come to interfere, which jumps up to higher notes and so literally interferes with the musical sound.  And of course the internal rhymes within the line add to this effect, then interfere has completely different vowel sounds, so both words and music add to the effect.
I could go on more about the many rhymes and repetitions which are obvious, but I’d become a total bore.  Suffice to say that the last two statements are quite defiant, suggesting that they didn’t need the moon to get them to fall in love, so let’s just leave them to it!
Ann Alex.

10 comments :

  1. Brilliant Ann! Keep them coming. The line, "Tonight is right and bright moonlight might interfere." A quintuple rhyme! Now there's a challenge! Anyone know any other quintuplets?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can't think of a quintuplet at the mo. But noticed this unlikely quad "Cold Cape Cod clams" in a rather famous song. Any ideas ? :) Ken

      Delete
  2. is this one?
    Beans could get no keener reception in a Beanery

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Clever, as all of Hart's were, but Beanery and Greenery are just a rhyme not a quintuple one (five!)

      Delete
    2. oh so ,
      Eat and you'll grow fatter girl. 'smatter girl 'ata girl
      is a trituple? is there such a word?

      Delete
  3. Trying to get people to include the verse is like drawing teeth! Yet the verse is often a little gem and puts the chorus in context. From the age of 78 s "with vocal refrain" the verse might be found as an instrumental, the lyrics being found in the songsheet or original show.

    However, many bands take the easy way out and only bother with the chorus - for example the potboilers played to the point of boredom : S'wonderful, Bill Bailey, Doctor Jazz, Stardust , even The Sheik.
    I have collected many verses the hard way over 40 years using pen and paper but it is much easier now on the net. So "Please" ( another one) put the verse back where it belongs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I seem to recall, John,some years ago, a well known singer recording the verse of Stardust and dispensing with the chorus completely. Can't remember who though!

    ReplyDelete
  5. it has a lovely verse, I had it played at Denys's funeral if you remember Lance

    ReplyDelete
  6. I see now that my 4 words were just alliteration !!! Simples compared to triples or quintuplets.
    BTW the line "Cold Cape Cod clams" is from 'Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)' (Porter). Ken

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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