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We Won The "doing Dylan" Contest!


BREAKING NEWS… An e-mail from England advised that “No Good Songs About the War” has WON FIRST PRIZE in their “Doing Dylan” contest we entered back this summer. (They wanted to know where to send the prize check for 100 pounds to.) “Deathgrass” (me, John, Dick and Chris) will split it four ways—that was our original arrangement.

Here’s what the judge, John Tams, said:

‘1st “No-one Writes Good Songs About The War.” Ramshackle recording measured against some of the high quality produced offerings. Whilst it holds within it the rough truth-telling of the Carter/Guthrie songbooks it has an economy, topicality and directness that makes this song rise above, most especially to make Katy the heroine. I particularly liked the cyclical ending which took us back to the beginning. I believe Dylan would like this song.’

Ah, that’s nice. Considering that the song was written to prove a point—to show how protest songs are supposed to be written—I guess it proved its point. Now, the Operative Question, as Richard Nixon would say, is how can I parlay this into more business? I’m in contact with a couple of writers in England; I guess the first step is to ask them. The “Doing Dylan” contest appeared pretty small-time, with just one judge (and he not anyone whose name I recognized) and both the entry fee and prize money denominated in British pounds; that’s why I wanted to enter—I like to enter contests I think I can win. (I was surprised to see how many entries they got, and had figured we never had a chance. I guess I was wrong.)

It is, however, fame of a sort—rather like having a song published in The Philippines was last year. If it can’t make any waves in England, it still may be useful for attention-getting in this country. I’ve made sure the radio station DJ who’s interviewing me this Friday about the Failed Economy Christmas Show knows about the award, and I suppose I should put it in the rest of the press releases I send out about the concert. “Deathgrass” may not be the biggest thing to ever hit these parts, but we can sure act like it.

“Song for Polly and Glyn” (subtitled “A Man for Christmas”) is done. Recorded twice, once with my vocal, once without (because Polly wants to sing it, and I’d really like her to), and sent lyrics and recordings to Polly. I can tell it’s an okay song, because I keep wanting to play the recording. I can’t wait to hear it with Polly’s vocals—but I will wait, of course: it’ll be about a week, I’m told, before she’ll be able to record it.

I think this will be the 2009 Christmas song—I try to have a new one every year, and I think last Christmas was the only year I missed.

It’s tempting to try this one out on a live audience—I bet the womenfolk that come to the Friday Night group’s sessions would like it—but I really shouldn’t be the one doing it. It’d be better if it was performed by Polly and her J.D. Jackson Band. And who knows? She might even find a mate with it.

ELSEWHERE: I am out (again) of slimline cases for my CDs, and there’s nowhere around here that sells them; I’ve augmented my supplies in the past when I’ve gone to the big city for job interviews, but I haven’t had one of those in a long time, either. There’s a new blues jam on Sunday afternoons in Newport, an hour and a half’s drive from here, and I could go shopping while I was at it—I don’t think the band will be practicing that day.

The Songbook I’m just putting in thick CD cases (I have some of those, and can get more locally), and printing fancy front and back cover plates. It does look nice. Tempting to craft fancy front and back plates for the “Santa’s Fallen” CD, too, but there’s probably no point—I’ve done without for four years now, and there’s no good reason to change.



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