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Statistics (&c.)...


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Blog statistics, again. (Gotta check occasionally.) Of the slightly over 5,000 people that have read the blog on blogspot (five thousand?), less than half are from the United States. The second-largest number of readers is from Russia (534). 73 are from Latvia, 69 from Malaysia, and 61 from China. I do hope those folks are not intending to learn English by reading my stuff. One person—I’m not sure from where—apparently ran across the blog while looking for a photo of a naked hamster (T.A.N.A.F.T., I guess—There Ain’t No Accounting For Taste).

Sorry, no naked hamsters here. Even the hamster in the promotional photo for the “Naked Space Hamsters in Love†song was fully clothed (he had a fur coat). The name does come from the song, of course; the late Sharma Kay gave me a domain name for my birthday the year I wrote the song (nakedspacehamsters.com), and while I never did use it (I still haven’t built that Website I keep talking about needing), I ended up using the name for the blog. Of such things is history made.

(The other two places I post the blog—songstuff and Facebook—do not keep statistics that I can tell. I know some people read it—some people who speak English, in fact—but I don’t know how many.)

With all the traveling (Portland once a week, and north to Wheeler/Nehalem twice a week), I have had opportunity for another song to develop; this one is turning out to be classic Gospel music, of the kind that really could be played in church. I suppose it could be an outgrowth of all the end-of-the-world thinking—if things really do come to a halt this coming December, would a lot of people suddenly find religion at the last minute? And would I be one of them? Maybe. The song might shock both the religious and the non-religious types that know me, but I wasn’t about to suppress the sentiments, whatever they were (and no matter how out of character they are); whatever happens, happens. At this point, I have one verse and a chorus, and probably need at least two more verses.

“Spend the End of the World with Me†is done, I think; link is http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11351111. Jane Dunkin on fiddle, and me on guitar and “Miller bass†(the thing that sounds like a sick dobro). Everything, including the fiddle, was recorded in one take. The song seems to be popular everywhere; I was going to say I didn’t know why, but here’s a thought: People need, in these Troubled Times, to feel good about something, and there isn’t much around that one can feel good about. If, especially, one can show a “feel good†aspect to something bad, people may jump on it. The melody is happy—ragtime music is determinedly bouncy—and it’s difficult to get out of one’s head.

One complaint I heard about “Spend the End†was “But the chorus sounds the same as the verses.†Yes, it does. In my opinion, that’s okay. While the Nashville Rules do say choruses have to have different chord progressions than verses, thyere are an awful lot of popular songs, old and new, that don’t—it is, as Shakespeare said, a rule “more honored in th’ breach than in th’ observance.†I pay more attention to a suggestion I saw in some rules for writing congregational (i.e., to be sung in church) music: You want a chorus to sound different at the beginning IF you want the congregation to sing along. They also said you want your chorus as much as possible like the verses, so your congregation doesn’t have any trouble singing along. Now that makes sense. And I do try to do both those things. I didn’t figure most folks would be singing along with “Spend the End,†and thus far I’ve been right. That Gospel song, though? I think I should plan on congregations singing that one.

A “frabjous†moment: there is apparently one city I’ve applied to that is seriously checking me out. (First time in a long time.) I may know in a couple of days what (if anything) they want to do. In the meantime, I’ve got plenty to do to keep busy.

Joe

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