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No Good Way - Some Relationships You Don't Want!


Entry #3 - No Good Way - Some relationships you don't want!

No Good Way was my entry to the June 2013 Song Contest. It isn't a pretty song. It isn't about love, roses, romance or adventure. It's about revenge. Shotgun vengeance!

One of my favourite songs of all time is Viva Las Vegas. Yes, THE Viva Las Vegas, the title song of the movie of the same name, made famous by Elvis Presley back around 1965. Why is it one of my favourites? I love the interplay of the major and minor chords. I've always ben drawn to songs that progress from the Root to Sixth and this song is one of those, with a difference.

A lot of the "do wop" songs of the late Fifties and early Sixties used the I-VI-IV-V progression. It really lends itself to love songs I guess, a smooth blend of easy listening and tension all in one package. Viva Las Vegas isn't the only song to use a similar progression in a more lively setting. What I have always liked is the way the melody fooled my ears into thinking there are more chord changes than there really are. Maybe yours weren't so easily fooled, but mine were, and that is one of the main reasons I love the song.

I wanted to try an write in a similar style.

It didn't work! I ended up with No Good Way instead. But No Good Way didn't start out as a Viva Las Vegas wanabe clone. That came later. In the beginning...

I was sitting at my day job desk, bored out of brain as usual, and my mind started drifting back to something I had read the previous night. Detail. Listeners want detail. I started thinking about details and I ended up driving down the dirt road, past a lilly covered waterhole, by a rumbledown timber fence cows had pushed aside to get to the waterhole. Around a bend the road took to avoid a rather large willow tree whose leafy tendrills ripped at the windscreen wipers as I drove through them, I pulled up in a dirt clearing 50 paces south and dug up old tin chest that contained, among other things, a Remington shotgun. I have no idea why I chose a Remington other than in my day job I have occasionally handled firearms, and we are trained how to make safe a variety of firearms, and one of them happened to be a Remington shotgun.

The paragraph above describes merely the first of several verses that would take a patient listener down a dark road of bloody retribution being perpetrated by a make believe gangster who had been wronged. At least in his eyes! Lyrical content like this could not easily live within the cheerful sounds of major chords, so a darker tone was warranted. Minor chords would drive this song along its bloody path.

Then I thought of Viva Las Vegas!

I experimented with using the same chord progression that underlies VVL - mainly I-VI-IV with V thrown in at the end of the chorus. It didn't work. It didn't sound dark enough. VVL was talking about the aluring and exotic world of 24 hour gambling, No Good Way is a song about violence, bloodletting and yes murder! A more ominous tone was needed.

I started experimenting with writing in a minor key, and this seemed to work, but I didn't like the raised 7th note, so instead wrote in a major key, but only used the root sparingly, and only with a minor chord interchange. I was relatively happy. I played the song for the first time and went on for over six minutes. Way too long for my goal of a 3:30 limit. It was time to re-examine the lyrics.

Did I need a whole verse just to dig up the shotgun? Nope. Minus one verse. Did I really need a separate verse for each act of retribution? Nope, there went another three verses. I played the song again. This time it came up short, but short is better than long. I played it again. And again. It needs a riff! I created a riff. I played it again. And again.

How did I do?


No Good Way

Words & Music by Kel Abbott (APRA)


Good ol' boys got the jump on me

They got me from behind!

Beat so bad I was coughin' blood

I was, really in a bind.


Came the time to return in kind

What those boys did that day,

Hunt them down where they gone to ground

Yeah those wise guys had to pay!

First I had to spread the word

That I was hunting 'em down

If they had any sense at all,

They would've just left town!


[Found the first in a honky-tonk

The second in his car

Then the third, he was shootin' pool

Got the last one in a bar.

I caught up and when they threw down

They met an unfortunate end

No there's not any where to hide

no way to make amends!


No good way will it ever end,

No good way, not one.

No good way it can ever end

When I raise my Remington.


Dont you think you can cross me, boy

Better men found no joy!

You can't hide and you can't prepare

For when buck shot fills the air


No good way will it ever end,

No good way, not one.

No good way it can ever end

When I raise my Remington.

No good way will it ever end,

When the buck shot fills the air!

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I think the link not working is due to my computer at work. I'll post it again when I'm a home later tonight.


Edit: YAY! it works from home!

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Thanks Jan,


The song was performed and produced by Nigel Cuff of Nigel Cuff Music in UK. My only beef is that I didn't pick up that he used an early version of the recording I sent him and therefore the guitar is the same monotonous 4 beat chord throughout. He gets the riff right, though not the filler that follows "no good way, not one!" in the middle of the chorus. Still I was very happy with my $AUS78 investment. Yes $AUS78! (Ultra basic plan)


He mastered it for free too, though I think that was in the hope for more commissions, and he is line for that.


Thanks for your feedback.


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