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“Barsoom” (A Filk Song)

23 Feb

 

ab01

This is the edition of A Princess of Mars that I first read

 I’m posting a recording  of  “Barsoom,”  a filk song Gary Robe ran in his fanzine Tennessee Trash for the Southern Fandom Press Alliance (SFPA) a few years back. At the time, I commented on it in my zine, Dumbfounding Stories, and Gary’s next issue featured a revised version of the lyrics, which I also commented on. This process continued back and forth in our zines for almost a year. For trufans and Burroughs Bibliophiles the title will be a tipoff: the song concerns Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Martian novels. Many moons now, I been meaning to record Gary’s finished version of the lyrics. When I got ready to finally do it, I noticed that his finished product was one verse shorter than John Prine’s “Paradise,” to which the music of “Barsoom” is set. I came up with another verse for the recording (verse two), and I made two or three tweaks to Gary’s words–which I hope he’ll forgive me.

I hope you’ll click on the audio icon below and check out the lyrics beneath it. If you like filk, and especially if you like filk and Edgar Rice Burroughs, I think you’ll be glad you did.

 

                           Barsoom

 

A big box of books handed down generations

We found Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars

All summer we spent meeting adventure

With Captain John Carter and his green buddy Tars

REFRAIN:

And Edgar won’t you send me ‘neath the moons of Barsoom

In the red desolation with Dejah and Tars

I’m sorry, cadet, you’re too late to go there

The lander’s cold data has turned it to Mars!

We flew in airships, rode thoats cross the wastelands

Lived by our wits and our swords of cold steel

Faced foes and monsters and found our one true love

It was larger than life and realer than real

REFRAIN

So what can you do with a dusty dead planet?

Make it our second home with some water and air!

It’ll take some nerve and a few generations

But someday we’ll send John Carter up there!

REFRAIN

Grandpa will you see me to the Moons of New Barsoom?

The colony’s ready; I’m starting to pack!

Heads up, Grandson; just get up on that spaceship!

Cause the Terraform Project’s done brought it all back!

LAST REFRAIN:

And Edgar won’t you send me neath the moons of Barsoom

In the red desolation with Dejah and Tars?

No problem, my friend; it’s all there in the pages

Just remember it’s Barsoom; it never was Mars!

“Barsoom” was recorded in Garage Band. I’m doing all the parts except the bass, which my  wife, Dorothy, added.

dumbfounding stories 2 cover

Cover by Pablo Vitruvian

 

 

Over Yonder And Round The Bend

30 Jan
safe_image.php

I just like this pic

We just finished recording a new song for our next album. The tune’s called “Over Yonder & Round The Bend.” I feel great about how it came out, and hope you’ll give a listen. The audio’s below. Lyrics, too.

 

OVER YONDER & ROUND THE BEND

CHORUS:

OVER YONDER AND ROUND THE BEND

I ONCE WENT THERE; I CAN’T SAY WHEN

SOME BRIGHT MORNING I’MA GO AGAIN

OVER YONDER AND ROUND THE BEND

 

IT WAS ON BEYOND THE FIELDS I KNEW

THICK MEADOWS AND TALL OAKS GREW

BENEATH A GOLD SUN THAT CAST ITS LIGHT

AND MADE WAY THEN FOR SUMMER NIGHT

 

(CHORUS)

 

BENEATH A PALE MOON FOLKS DANCED TILL DAWN

THEY SANG AND LAUGHED AND CARRIED ON

AND MET THE DAYBREAK WITH A SMILING FACE

AND LOVED EACH OTHER IN THAT FAR PLACE

 

(CHORUS)

 

ALL THE PEOPLE THERE THEY WORKED TOGETHER

TO BUILD THEIR LAND AND LIFT EACH OTHER

EVERYONE WAS FREE, FREE AT LAST

GOOD WITH THE FUTURE GOOD WITH THE PAST

 

(CHORUS)

 

YOU CAN SAY IT WAS ALL A DREAM

OR JUST SOME TRICKSTER’S LOWDOWN SCHEME

BUT I DO KNOW WHAT I KNOW

AND I KNOW WHERE I WANNA GO

 

(CHORUS)

I wrote the song and am on guitar and vocals. Andrew MacCrimmon is on drums,  Gus Friedlander’s on banjo, and Dorothy McDaniel’s singing harmony. I recorded most of the tracks on Garage Band, and Robert Marshall mixed and mastered them at The Cave Recording in Evanston, Illinois.

To hear the other songs in the can for our next album click here: www.https://dumbfoundingstories.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/audio-playlist-of-about-time/

 

 

 

 

Audio Playlist of ABOUT TIME

1 Jan
ABOUT TIME, COVER

cover art, Alys McDaniel

Here’s a a play list of the songs on my album About Time, 12 of them, all originals. I recorded it a million years ago and just gave it a listen again the other day. I’m still happy with how it came out. Ah, maybe we got a little too exuberant with the instruments here and there, stepped on the vocals occasionally, but I like the album’s energy, and honestly, I think we were playing our butts off. I’m still proud of the songs, too; glad I got em all down on a recording. Check em out:

 

If any of the songs hit you where you live, the good news is they’re available about anywhere that sells music downloads. The CD of the album is available, too at http://www.cdbaby.com.

And check out the songs on my other album, Live at Custer Street here: https://dumbfoundingstories.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=456&action=edit

“Don’t Need No More Rahm” Revisited

2 Dec

10363719_10153110973214780_6162630724580670963_nI wrote the song below last March during Chicago’s mayoral runoff, but the title applies more than ever, far as I’m concerned. A week after Rahm’s election, Barbara Byrd Bennet, who he picked to run our schools, got indicted by the feds for corruption. Then a 14 month coverup of a policeman’s murder of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, comes to light. Oh, and remember when Rahm said to vote for him cause his opponent would raise taxes? How’s that working out?

 

 

 

Your Love Set Me Free

15 Aug
Dorothy at a show last spring.

Dorothy at a show last spring.

For some reason, I write few love songs, but “Your Love Set Me Free” is one. The best move I ever made was hooking up with Dorothy, my wife, and this one’s about her. You can click on the icon below to hear it. (It sounds way better through headphones) The lyrics are below, too.

 

Your Love Set Me Free

Chorus:

Your love set me Free. Your love set me free.

Up in the ozone, I was alone

Chorus

When you caught my eye, I felt my spirit fly

Chorus

You saw through my jive, made me be alive

Chorus

You made me a man and glad that I am

Chorus

Oh, my God, your lips, are worth all your trips

Chorus

Yeah, you knock me out. There’s not a shred of doubt.

Chorus

We  been together, always and forever

Chorus

You’re rain drifting down on a meadow,

and by now I think you know

Chorus

 

 

 

 

Big Jim

26 Jul

b.l.u.e.s.Posting “Big Jim” here, a song we just recorded. It’s blues. To give it a listen, click on the link below this paragraph.  The lyrics are under the recording, and there’s a paragraph below them about how I happened to write the song.

 

BIG JIM

FOLKS CALL HIM BIG JIM

HE’S GOOD TO ROCK ALL NIGHT

FOLKS CALL HIM BIG JIM

LORD, HE WAS BORN TO ROCK ALL NIGHT

ALL HE’S GOT IS THEM THERE BAD BLUES

HE SINGS ‘EM WITH ALL HIS MIGHT

HE GREW UP ON THE SOUTH SIDE

IT WAS TOO COLD TO HIM ROUND THERE

THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO

IT WAS TOO COLD TO HIM ROUND THERE

NOW HE LIVES IN JACKSON COUNTY

IT’S HIS HOME, HE DOES DECLARE

THEY GAVE JIM A GUN

AND SENT HIM OFF TO FIGHT

SENT HIM OFF TO NAM

TO BE PART OF THAT THERE FIGHT

THINGS THAT HE SAW THERE

STILL COME BACK TO HIM IN THE NIGHT

THE BLUES AND JACK DANIELS

ARE MUCH OK BY HIM

SINGIN’ THE BLUES AND OLE JACK DANIELS

ARE MUCH OK BY HIM

WHEN THE BAND’S IN THE ZONE

HE’S ALL DOWN WITH THE JAM

REPEAT FIRST VERSE

This New Years Eve my wife Dorothy and I went down to Cumberland State Park in Eastern Kentucky by the Tennessee border. They have a New Years Eve dance there every year and it’s a good one. New Years Day, we were riding back on Highway 61, which winds through miles and miles of farmland, woods, and little towns, and the lyrics to “Big Jim” came to me. We decided to stop in Indianapolis and spend the night; I wrote the lyrics down on some paper that was in our hotel room. When we got back to Chicago, I tossed the lyrics on my desk. Around March I decided to put them to music, and we recorded it this July. Don’t know why I move ahead on projects at the speed of glacier, I just do.

I’d like to dedicate this one to Tawl Pawl, Billy Desmond, and Big Larry. Long may they rock.  And to the memory of my brother Doug and the memory of Big Twist.

“Big Jim” copyright 2015 by Donald Kent McDaniel

A Super Reverb

Hash’s Faves (Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison”}

19 Jul

Hash’s Faves

Johnny_Cash-2This week’s fave is some old-school country music, from back before country music became rock with cowboy hats. It’s the Johnny Cash classic ”Folsom Prison Blues.”This is the original version, from Cash’s 1957 debut album ”Johnny Cash With His Hot And Blue Guitar”; a “live” version, actually recorded at Folsom,
is also accepted as an iconic and official version. The backstory there is that the cheers of the prisoners reacting to the line “But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” was added in post-production; the prisoners were careful not to cheer any lines referring to lawlessness lest they invite retaliation from the guards, who were probably a little nervous about the show anyway.

I assume that the players on the session are Cash’s long-standing band (they also played on the live version), guitarist Luther Perkins, bassist Marshall Grant and drummer W.S. Holland. The record was the first LP issued by Sun Records; the legendary Sam Phillips produced, and I assume it was recorded at the Sun Studios in Memphis, Tennessee.

Cash wrote the song while stationed with the U.S. Air Force in West Germany, in the 1950’s. He had seen a movie ”Inside The Walls Of Folsom Prison” (a dramatic film, not a documentary; he came up with “I shot a man in Reno” line and “borrowed” a melody and some of the lyrics from a song by Gordon Jenkins, “Crescent City Blues,” which in turn was based on a song by blues singer/pianist Little Brother Montgomery. The Jenkins song was on a “concept album” called ”Seven Dreams,” which was released in 1953. Jenkins is the author of one of the most beautiful jazz ballads, ”Goodbye,” which was Benny Goodman’s sign-off tune for his radio show, and also arranged Frank Sinatra’s “September Of My Years” album. The singer on Jenkins’ “Crescent City Blues” was Beverly Mahr. Jenkins sued Cash in the 70’s and was paid a settlement of $75,000; it’s unclear if Montgomery was ever paid any money (Montgomery spent a lot of time here in Chicago and I wonder if any of you mugs out there knows anything about this?).

The song became one of Cash’s signature tunes, and helped forge his image as an outlaw, although, unlike Merle Haggard, he was never in prison. He did spend a lot of his early years living a wild life on the margins of the law, along with room-mate Waylon Jennings. He was a notorious drug user, but finally cleaned himself up in the 1990’s.

Cash was an activist; he continued to do prison concerts throughout his career, and was an early fighter for Native American rights – he recorded the song ”The Ballad Of Ira Hayes” in 1964. Hayes was one of the U.S. Marines who raised the American flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima; he was a member of the Pima tribe, and on his return to the United States he descended into alcoholism and died of exposure in 1955. The Clint Eastwood film ”Flags Of Our Fathers” is a moving account of his story. Cash also shook up country music circles when he recorded ”Girl From The North Country” with Bob Dylan in 1969 (it became the leadoff track on Dylan’s album ”Nashville Skyline,” which also shook up the rock world), and his invitation to Dylan to appear on his television show arguably opened the gates to all subsequent country/rock/folk collaborations.

Cash died in 2003, after experiencing a career rejuvenation at the hands of producer Rick Rubin.

You can listen to it here:
http://www.tekstowo.pl/piosenka,johnny_cash,folsom_prison_blues.html

This post is reprinted from News From The Trenches, a weekly newsletter of commentary from the viewpoint of a working musician published by Chicago bassist Steve Hashimoto. If you’d like to start receiving it, just let him know by emailing him at steven.hashimoto@sbcglobal.net.