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"bad Sock, Good Sock"


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Today we pack for the trip to southern Oregon. (Do laundry, too—we’re going to show up with clean clothes on.) Place to stay, people to see, music to play—hopefully, above and beyond the “Star of Stars” fundraiser Darrin Wayne and I will both be in Saturday night.

I did an initial recording of “Bad Sock, Good Sock,” Beth Williams’ pun-laden ditty about love and loss among the footwear. I did end up tweaking the lyrics again, ostensibly to make them easier to sing (I did that with her “Syllables for Sale,” too); in this case, I added a whole half-verse, to make everything match up, and a chorus.

(Songs do not always need a chorus—I have written a few myself without choruses—but you do need a place to park the hook, as it were, and a chorus is usually a good place. I did work hard at not repeating any puns, but it wasn’t difficult—there’s an amazing number of tongue-in-cheek things one can say about footwear, and Beth and I e-mailed and PM’d a lot of them back and forth.)

The rhyme scheme is limerick style—A, B, CC, B, with the B’s and C’s rhyming, of course—which lends itself really well to waltz music (and love songs, especially tongue-in-cheek love songs, should be waltzes, to rub it in). But it also works well in 4/4 time. The Dodson Drifters did that, with “The Lightning Express,” an old bluegrass waltz about a dying mother; played in 4/4 time, it cooked, and we had a hit on our hands. (And it is one of the happiest-sounding songs about death I have ever heard). So I did that here, robbing a trick John Prine used in some of his songs: it starts off as a waltz, but at the “lift” (Beth had a “lift”), it jumps into 4/4 time.

And the music is kind of a cross between “The Lightning Express” and a bouncy French waltz from the 1920s (also playable as a two-step) I ran across about the dangers of premarital sex. (I found the sheet music for that one in a thrift store. I have no idea how it made it past the censors of the time—but maybe nobody ever bothered to translate the French.) And of course, there’s enough differences thrown in to make sure my music is original, and not recognizably either of those other tunes.

The initial recording is a tad long—5-1/2 minutes—but there are some easy places to shorten it up. I’ll just have to re-record it. Re-recording is probably a Good Thing—I need to work on my guitar playing, which atrophies quickly if I don’t keep at it. Need to be at the top of my game for the “Star of Stars” show—a lot of the competition are other Southern Oregon Songwriters, and they’re all very good.

Beth and I have also scripted out a music video for the song, with a cast of (what else?) sock puppets. I think it would be hilarious—and it’s something that could be done easily and well with limited technology. I have got to get the video camera working, and practice using it.

STILL TO DO: The music for Beth’s other song, “Foul Play”; the lead for Vonee Rose’s “Texas Two-Step Rock” (that may have to wait until I come back—I have to unpack the CD burner to play her base track); a base recording of “Paradise: The Columbia Gorge Song” to take to southern Oregon; and a base track (again) of “Twenty Chickens for Ixticihuatl” to send to Gem Watson to do magic to, to make it sound like a rock ‘n’ roll tune. (That one, too, may wait until I come back.)

Still no job offers (but there may be a song in it—I keep hearing the line “You want fries with that?”). I think I have managed to make myself kinda busy—and I’m re-registering for college, too, if they’ll take me. Ain’t having fun yet (I still want to do awful and satisfying things to squirrels), but I’m working at it.

Joe

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