There’s a young man that I know……
Well THAT’S bad grammar for a start! It should read…….There’s a young man whom I know……..no…that sounds heavy and requires too much lip puckering. It also sounds like the plural of hummus.
I know why the songwriter chose to forfeit the English Prize – some words are really hard to sing in certain combinations, and it sounds different again when you listen back to it through a fancy recording thingummyjig.
We were writing songs, me and two professionals from Wild Biscuit, in a lovely farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. There was a beautiful dog called Blossom, a bonkers horse with wild eyes that dashed by every now and then in a tartan blanket, ignoring any wheedles to come in for the night, and a loudly colourful pheasant from a hot country who (or is it whom?) appeared outside the kitchen door one morning and who now resides in the yard, fed on porage oats and leftovers. Swallows busied themselves with nest building and chattered me awake in the early mornings. I watched a dipper on the pond and heard the Bark Chorus from the kennels across the valley.
Everyone knew this place already, but I didn’t. My bed had soft white cotton coverings, and there were daffs from the garden in a little vase. I sat down with my writings and John said Pick a line, so I did. ‘Hey did I get here early? I see you’re packing up the car.’ and we were off, me with my pencil and he with his guitar and recording thingummyjig. When Mags came in to see if we wanted coffee, we already had the bones of a song in shape and my sore throat had quite forgotten itself in the excitement.
It was the same the next morning. Only this line was ‘Sometimes I feel beautiful, easy in my skin,’ because I do sometimes, and I did that day looking out this time on sunshine and promise and that bonkers horse shooting by to interrupt my reverie. By mid-afternoon we had two songs down, and harmonies and different instruments that rose into place with the push of a button. I loved losing myself in the music, singing into a microphone for the first time in years, hearing the reverb and the feedback and remembering to free one ear so I could hear my voice in real time as well as the enhanced one, that sang me like a boy in a cathedral, with those high ceilings and big echoes and time standing still. There was even Photographer Bill to capture the magic of all this creativity. I gave him a copy of Island Wife and he said he would write his own story one day. Shame, I said, you can’t photograph sound as I scrambled through another verse sounding like a donkey. The next day I would be horse.
It’s a beginning, which is why we call it the ‘Imagine Sessions’. I am already writing a third song in my head and listening back to the cd I brought home of the first two, to think more on rhythm, beat, musicality, harmonies and lyrics; to practise, to lift a word clean away, or shift it, or lay down a new one altogether. And the cough has nearly gone, for on mental tiptoe I can reach the high notes again.
A new door opens and I am stepping through.