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Behind The Song

While You Sleep The World Still Turns Without You

During the time you are unconscious planet Earth continues it’s rotational cycle independently of your will or observation. (So get over yourself).
M.C. Escher is my favourite MC.
Download     mp3 demo

Behind The Song

Written for FAWM 2011 as part of a challenge to write using the I-V-vi-IV chord progression, this was my second ever FAWM song. It cycles through all 12 keys (and then some) backwards through the circle of fifths. The progression is D – A/C# – Bm – G, then G – D/F# – Em – C etc.

The I-V-vi-IV and all variations thereof is the most overused chords sequence bar none, indeed shortly after writing this I banned my self from using it and have only used it 2 or 3 times in the last 6 years. But I had the idea to have the patterns overlap, with the last chord of the first progression become the first chord of the next progression. Or to put it another way, the IV chord of the first key becomes the I chord in the new key. Or to put it yet another way, to trick you into thinking you’re hearing a four chord pattern when it’s really a series of three chord pattern as follows

D A/C# Bm
G D/F# Em
C G/B Am
F C/E Dm
Bb F/A Gm
Eb Bb/D Cm
Ab Eb/G Fm
Db Ab/C Bbm
Gb Db/F Ebm
B F#/A# G#m
E B/D# C#m
A E/G# F#m

and back to

D A/C# Bm

For the lyrics I wanted something circular in nature. I started singing “life is like a wheel” but I came up with this and thought it was more meaningful

While You Sleep
The World
Still Turns
Without
You

(repeat till drowsy)

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Behind The Song

Wow, Look At That Creepy Guy With A Hook Over There​ .​.​. Let’s Split Up Or Go To The Basement Or Undress

What kind of meats you like?
“Barry White meets 50 Shades meets Wannabe Serial Killer. Creepy … and hilarious”
A collaboration with John Cooperider (aka ZeCoop)

During FAWM 2015 I noticed an instrumental by Michigan muso ZeCoop with a hilarious title. It was, as he puts it, “an instrumental ode to all the stupid things people do in horror movies” and immediately suggested a few different mental images. As FAWM is all about experimentation and getting out of your comfort zone I threw down a few semi-improvised vocal takes and sent em off. And whaddaya know Ze liked it!

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Behind The Song

New Song: John Lennon Blues


Pray for a man to put the ‘fist’ in ‘pacifist’
The good die young. Or they just die.
Download     mp3 demo

I’ve never really written a 12 bar blues I was happy with but John Lennon Blues is the closest I’ve got so far. At first it may seem like a pro-gun song but it’s anything but. I was trying to explore the paradox that those who promote peace are often the ones who die violent deaths and the resulting dilemma: if they hadn’t have been so committed to non-violence they’d have survived to preach peace another day, but then their message would have lost it’s potency. So would you rather the men (and women) survive at the cost of their message?

Verses 1 and 2 started with leftover lines from my song Guns. “The lone gunman is not alone” and “put the ‘fist’ in ‘pacifist'” came from my random lines folder and verse 4 borrowed a phrase from Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller“Hold our palms against the wound” (p.114).

“That coward Caulfield” is a reference to Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger‘s novel The Catcher In The Rye, a character that John Lennon’s killer Mark Chapman strongly identified with (in fact he read the book outside the Dakota Building whilst waiting for the police to arrest him after the murder). There are biblical references, Jesus refused to “call down fire from heaven” on those who didn’t welcome him (Luke 9:54), promised “all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52) and said “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone” (John 8:7). I also liked the ambiguity of juxtapositing the blues holler “whoa” with the biblical curse “woe”.

Musically it owes something (maybe an apology?) to The Beatles Yer Blues and Helter Skelter and Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe. When I wrote the track during FAWM I had a really heavy cold and knew my voice wouldn’t be up to multiple takes so I decided to record guitar and vocals at the same time. Sure enough by the end of the first take I started to cough uncontrollably (I managed to mute the mic but you can still hear it in places) and the coughing fit lasted another 10 minutes until I tore a muscle in my chest. And that’s why there’s no take 2.

Whoa If John Lennon had a gun
Whoa If John Lennon had a gun
He still be singing “all you need is love”

Oh if he’d given peace a chance
Oh and pulled a piece on each crazy fan
And shot that coward Caulfield in the back

Woe if Gandhi had a knife
Woe if Reverend King took a life
If Jesus Christ had enough and just rained down fire

If you live by the sword you’ll die by it – that’s gospel truth
But the sword of a sinner can pierce a righteous man too
And you’ll die holding innocent hands against the wound

Woe, the lone gunman is not alone
Woe, the lone gunman is not alone
And every man without sin has pockets full of stones

Woe that the world should come to this
Woe that the world should come to this
And pray for a man to put the ‘fist’ in ‘pacifist’

Whoa if John Lennon had a gun
Whoa if John Lennon had a gun
Those Dakota steps would have been stained with another man’s blood

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Behind The Song Song Vault

A Little Spillage

 

The Horse is fine, of course, although the van is far less certain!
Just your average Cockney-Kiwi, Bernard Cribbins-type jam.
A collaboration with Stephen Wordsmith.
Download     Chords (pdf)

One of the pleasure of FAWM is meeting incredibly creative people from all over the world. New Zealander Stephen Wordsmith writes incredible lyrics often comprising of fiendishly difficult puzzles or dazzling wordplay. During FAWM 2015 we collaborated on A Little Spillage which to my mind sounded like an old fashioned children’s song. I set the lyrics to a musical part I could barely play and moved on to other things. When Stephen approached me this year about including it on his new album ‘Tintinnitus’ I actually learned how to play it and did a proper recording.

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A Canterbury Lorry
Met a paint truck from Otago
A paint truck from Otago?
A paint truck from Otago!
And the paint truck from Otago’s
Gone and spilled its precious cargo

There’s ochre and orange and buckets of blue
And rivers of red in most every hue
Midst puddles of puce and great gushes of green
With flicks of sienna to finish the scene
Come quickly, and look at the rainbow that flowed
With colour and life along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A car from Alexandra
Met an ice-cream van from Lincoln
An ice-cream van from Lincoln?
An ice-cream van from Lincoln!
So you’d better get there quick
Because that ship’s already sinkin’!

There’s caramel, coffee and chocolate and cherry
And cookies and cream among boysen and berry
With pieces from Reece and vanilla from France
All mingling as one in their trickling dance
Come quickly, and look at the rainbow that flowed
With flavour and fun along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
There’s been a little spillage?
There’s been a little spillage!
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village

A Clydesdale from Ashburton
Met A Clyde van selling curtains
A Clyde van selling curtains?
A Clyde van selling curtains!
The Horse is fine of course
Although the van is far less certain!

There’s spartans and tartans and circles and – cripes!
There’s spots and there’s dots and diagonal stripes
With florals that flourish and ziggies that zag
All rotten with cotton (or so says the tag)
Come quickly, and watch all the patterns explode
Unfolding like sails along every road

Come quickly, mayor Prickley
For there’s been a little spillage
Yes, there’s been a little spillage
In the centre of the village!

Lyrics by Stephen Wordsmith
Music by Matt Blick

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Behind The Song Song Vault

Polishing A Turd (NSFW)

If they hang it in a gallery, it still don’t make it art
Three chords and the truth
Download     mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)

During FAWM 2015 I was writing a song based on additive structures and in the middle of trying to piece together a demanding and over elaborate demo came to the conclusion I was trying to ‘polish a turd’. Despite all efforts to resist I flipped over the lyric sheet and started writing a new song on the back. The three chord pattern came immediately and ‘Polishing A Turd’ was demoed and done in 2 hours. The “roll it in glitter line” came from Mark Nelson (you can hear him say it to me in the behind the scenes video for Let’s Build An Airport).

The Pop Mythology site was kind enough to say “[If it] doesn’t give you a genuine LOL moment, you might not have a soul”.

Polishing a turd, polishing a turd
You can get a Grammy for polishing a turd
You might impress a hundred million pre-pubescent girls
“OMG he’s polishing a turd!!!!” >:O

Autotune a fart, autotune a fart
It’s OK to be pitchy if it comes right from the heart
If they hang it in a gallery, it still don’t make it art
Fire up the Melodyne™ let’s autotune a fart

Photoshop your mom, photoshop your mom
Make her taller, thinner, browner, bluer-eyed and blonde
Take away her cellulite and put her in a thong
Vogue will hold the cover if you photoshop your mom

Polishing a turd, polishing a turd
That’s what you get for polishing a turd
Roll it in some glitter but it just gets more absurd
That’s what you get for polishing a turd

(Make the world a better place by polishing a turd)

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Song Vault

Not The End Of The World

Not many kiss the hurricane. Fewer live to tell the tale
None more black.
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)

Jesus save me from the ones
Who want to save me from myself
Who ask about my walk with God
But pray about my mental health
Cos I can’t pretend anymore

This is not the end of the world
This is not the end of the world

You used to be a metaphor
Now you’re like a simile
Can you tell me what this medal’s for?
It’s all my father left to me
And I can’t pretend anymore

This is not the end of the world
This is not the end of the world
But you can see it from here

Not many kiss the hurricane
Fewer live to tell the tale
Will she miss me when I’m gone?
Or go back to her maiden name?
I can’t pretend….I can’t pretend anymore…

That this is not the end of the world
I can’t pretend anymore…
I can’t pretend anymore…
That this is not the end of the world

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Song Vault

Unnecessarily Pimped-Out Horse Truck

A sea of blue sparkle paint and too much chrome
Like Cab Calloway telling a shaggy horse story
Download     mp3 demo     Chords (pdf)     Lyrics (pdf)

Drivin’ to my baby’s for a red hot date
The traffic wasn’t movin’ I was already late
I craned my neck to see the cause of the jam
Thinking that maybe I should lend a hand
A sea of blue sparkle paint and too much chrome
It was a mobile equine luxury home
To my deep consternation I found myself stuck
Behind an unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

It was an unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck
An unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck
It could not be overtaken, it could not be overtook
That unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

People was a-cussin’ an a-honkin’ their horns
As I walked over to the driver, she was looking forlorn
I said “Ma’am, you got a unique boutique horse abode
But you really outta’ saddle up ‘fore you get towed”
She commenced to cryin’ I said “Why the long face?”
She said “I think my prize stallion has gone an’ escaped,
Would you pull up to my bumper baby, please take a look
Inside my unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck?”

My unnecessarily pimped out horse truck
My unnecessarily pimped out horse truck
Examine every cranny and probe every nook
Inside my unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

Sure enough the back door was open wide
But to take a closer look I climbed up inside
I found a pair of busted handcuffs and some dudes pants
That was the moment that the back door slammed
I said, “don’t horse around ma’am I gots to skedaddle”
She said, “slow down stud, let me get back in the saddle”
She was some kind of pervert or some kind of crook
Drivin’ an unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

An unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck
An unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck
The whole van shimmied, the whole van shook
That unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

I was fighting for my honour but she wouldn’t back down
She was ridin’ me bareback like a rodeo clown
She had the bit between my teeth and her spurs in my ribs
I groped around and cried out for deliverance
That’s when a glittering trinket that was nailed high above
Fell down and crowned her with a terrible thud
A purple sparkle horseshoe sure brought me good luck
Inside that unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

That unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck
That unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck
Goodnight sweet Princess, no, don’t get up
From your unnecessarily pimped-out horse truck

© Matt Blick/Matt Wood 2014

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Song Vault

Shrove Tuesday

Let’s shrove till we’re all shroved out!
The true meaning of pancake day. Maybe not.
Download mp3 demo     Lyrics (pdf)

Today is pancake day
Perhaps more accurately named
‘Shrove Tuesday’
Cross the lonely miles I drove
To bring my love a shrove.
Just for you babe
On Shrove Tuesday

It’s the very thing you need
It has several diverse speeds
And a foam-grip handle
With just a hint of cinnamon
And a pouch to keep attachments in
And a matching set of candles

It will last you all your life
If you only treat it right
‘Twill be faithful as a spaniel
Always keep the hinges loose
Never let the skin get bruised
And if in doubt consult the manual

What a fine Tuesday for shroving!
Let’s shrove till we’re all shroved out!
There’s no harm disclosing
That we are pro-shroving
‘Tis naught to be ‘shamed about!
A shrove in the hand
Of each woman and man
What a beautiful sight to see!
Keep your stoves and your pancakes
I’ll shrove till my hand shakes
Shrove Tuesday along with me!

Inflate the tyres every day
And replace the cooling tray
And you”ll never need another
But please don’t get too attached
Cos we have to give it back
It belongs to my Grandmother
(uncomfortable flashback) Granny! Granny!
Grandmother you cantankerous old battleaxe!

What a fine Tuesday for shroving!…

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A Blog's Life

Catching Up

What have been up to? Working on a recording project with Nina Smith & New Communication which culminated in a gig at The Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. Here’s 2 songs from there, the first I which I co-wrote with Nina and a few of the NewCom guys…

Next Wed I’ll be at the RCH again performing Tree Of Life, a song I co-wrote with one of my pupils for FAWM 2013, with a choir of several hundred kids  –  (download the demo here).

On Friday I’ll be supporting the fabulous Agent Lala at Bunker’s Hill in Nottingham. Agents Laila & Mathew have been part of the Nottingham First Tuesday Songwriting Group from (tues)day one and constantly amaze me with their fun, yet deep and endlessly inventive writing. Come along and hear for yourself!

Blogging wise I’ve posted demos of new songs Everything In The World Is Fighting Everything In The Sky and Vengeance Is Mine and over at Beatles Songwriting Academy I’ve been taking apart Piggies and Happiness Is A Warm Gun

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FAWM

FAWM +4 I Forgot To Remember To Forget

Tough day, lots of teaching. Started numerous songs with kids at school. They constantly amaze me with their creativity. No two groups came up with ideas that were even remotely the same.

Struggling to write without the kids though. I’ve got several ideas percolating. A 3/4 gospel song based on a passage from a bible commentary. And a song based on dialogue from a bunch of films featuring people with amnesia. Neither are really taking off at the moment.

Feeling desperate cos I need to finish my artist bio too. But I’m off to do some commenting and listening to other FAWMers.