graphics, editing, voice-over, music...

The Songwriters’ Collective’s third 2015 offering (for voting in April) is ‘Partnership’ month. You were all given a songwriting partner and one wrote lyrics for other and vice versa. It should make for interesting/uncomfortable listening for some! Voting link is HERE


1. Our Love Burns Bright
Colin Parish (Lyrics by Colin Parish and Rob Warner)
Rob gave me carte blanche to change his lyrics so I fiddled with them a bit. His original idea was about a man coming to terms with a terminal illness imagining what it would be like to be reincarnated and to look down on his loved ones. I've changed it so it's now a song from beyond the grave - cheery huh? I originally sent Rob a version using the first take of the vocal - it was terrible! I hope this version is a bit better... I wanted the music to be sad but somehow triumphant. It was very interesting to write a tune to and perform someone else's words - much more difficult than just doing my own stuff. It's all done in the iPad GarageBand app as usual.
1 Colin P Rob W Our Love Burns Bright v2

2. If Onlys
Rob Warner (Lyrics by Colin Parish)
I would have thought this month’s theme would have been a gift to someone like me who pays very little attention to lyrics and struggles to write anything vaguely meaningful. I always trust what other people write and have little faith in my own choice of words. Colin’s words were definitely challenging as they were quite conversational in style. His story was a sad and wistful tale of the end of a relationship, regrets etc. It was definitely intended to be a ballad and that was how I constructed the chords. However, I was boring myself with the melody and plodding arrangement so, having listened to Patrick’s pastiche of Donald Fagan from January and having myself just re-downloaded ‘Kamakiriad’, I decided that a ‘groove’ would be my starting point and so I didn’t rely on the pre-installed drummers but programmed all the drums and percussion from scratch. I also wanted a ‘kicking’ bass line (I started well but reverted to tried and tested ‘licks’ after 30 seconds) and for the first time, I played guitar (Yes, those chords are all played on the bottom three strings, Andy Summers-style - no sniggering at the back!) I don’t think it’s a hit but having said that, I think it’s pure ‘Heart/Magic/Radio 2’ fodder. I also think it’s a triumph of Production!
2 Rob W Colin P If Onlys v2

3. How Tall the Grass Will Grow
Stephen Clarke (Lyrics by Mike Gosling)
Mike's notes: 
The lyrics were written in a stream of consciousness fashion. I had a rhythm in my head and I just let the words come out - automatic writing-style. The title was the the last line that I wrote - I don't normally do that.. It was quite liberating to write the lyrics in this way and let Stephen worry about fitting them to music!

Stephen's notes: 
I don't know how Elton and Bernie do it but writing music to lyrics is bloody hard. I always do it the other way round. What's more, I'm a verse-chorus-verse merchant, so stream of consciousness is like a dodecahedron peg in a round hole to me. So apologies to Mike but I had to cut and paste to make the words fit - the song would have been 10 mins long if I'd used them all. And I cobbled together a chorus about the central idea of being bombarded by news horror stories/wondering what life's all about. Fun exercise, though - I actually started playing the riff while I was first reading the lyrics.
3 Stephen C Mike G HowTallTheGrassWillGrow v2

4. Good to be a Bad Boy
Mike Gosling (Lyrics by Stephen Clarke)
Stephen - lyrics:
My girlfriend invited a friend to stay who's just broken up with her umpteenth loser boyfriend, and my g/f was saying get yourself a decent bloke, you never give the nice ones a chance. 
This is the result, life as seen by the decent blokes she ignores...

Mike - music:
I thought I would give this lyric a full-on rock treatment. Karl once again provided the backbone of the track with some excellent drumming.
I was going to add keyboards as well, but there didn't seem be any sonic space left after the guitars! My thanks to Karl for his mixing 
suggestions (and sorry I wasn't able to include some of Karl's earlier arrangement ideas once the guitars had kicked in!)

4. Mike G and Stephen C Good To Be A Bad Boy

5. Men Who Must Be Light
Tim & Julie (Lyrics by Eddie Custard)
The lyrics from Eddie were a great place to start. Not only are the interesting but they guided me on how I should structure the song. I just kept thinking what a great song Eddie would have done from them (if you did your own song I’d love to hear it).

As it was collaboration month, I added more collaborators. Joe, my son, is playing bass. I got Colin S to play the Clavichord (and provide me with a midi link to do it). Then I got Rob (little brother) to do some screaming vocals, which instantly make my vocals should terrible, so I got Rob Good to do some more vocals. So rich was this mix I did a bit more of it at the end than I originally intended.

I also added a sound effect which was free if I tell everyone that I got it from, so that’s that done then.
5. Tim & Eddie Men who must be light

6. Naughty Step
Eddie Custard & The Insolubles (Lyrics by Tim & Julie Warner)
Thanks to Tim for supplying his latest batch of funny but poignant lyrics, this time focussing on his mischievous childhood. It was good to work with him.
6. Eddie & Tim Naught Step

7. Take it Back
Patrick Duffin (Lyrics by Colin Steward)
Colin Steward wrote the words, and I did the music. I wanted it to sound like a cross between My Sharona and Is she really going out with him. Thanks to Colin for the words, it was fun to just do the music, and strangely much easier than having to write the words too.
7. Patrick & Colin S take it back

8. (You Never Pick Up) The Phone
Colin Steward (Lyrics by Patrick Duffin)
Well, the biggest (but not earth shattering) news is – I decided to sing this myself!  Yes, it’s been nearly 52 years in the making and now I’m rolling it out especially for you.  Okay, so that’s a slight overstatement.  Like any instrument, practice makes perfect and my singing has never been practised apart from hymns at school, the occasional “la, la, la” in piano exams and being persuaded to join in with backing vocals in the band.  This offering is my way of saying why I should only ever be backing vocals and never lead.  The real truth is really I didn’t always want to have to rely on others to help me get a song done and I also didn’t want to let Patrick down and not submit something.  Patrick gave me permission to alter the lyrics but I haven’t.  The only direction was it was written with a Joe Jackson style in mind.  I didn’t stick too rigidly to that but hopefully it’s got some elements somewhere in there!!  All that is left to say is, thank you Patrick and sorry. 
I will gladly accept any constructive criticism regarding vocals.  (“Have your voice box surgically removed” will not be considered constructive.)
8. Colin S & Patrick (You Never Pick Up) The Phone

9. If
Tim & Glyn (Lyrics by Phil Sanderson)
If you came by any other way
If for once you chose a different path
If you made that change in your routine
            If you left the main road,
            Or put your life on hold
If you once chose to drive on and change your daily plans
Would it  (really) change your life and would they understand?

If, when,  your alarm clock rang
You turned it off and dozed the day away
If you made that change in your routine 
               If you laid your head down
               In any other land
If you chose to break away and change your daily plans
Would it (really ) change your life and would others understand?

If you chose to face the other way
Or lay down your weary head in shame
If you made that change in your routine
            If you took a different turn
            Or even left the road

If you made a stand and just took a different train
Could it really change a life and would people understand?

We really enjoyed recording this one and would like to collaborate again - perhaps musically as well. 

This is probably a shameless plug but the band we're in - Apricot Jam - is playing at The Bell Inn Castle Hedingham on Friday 24th April 8.30pm onwards. Love to see anyone who can make it... 
9. Tim Glyn & Phil If

10. What Does Your Heart Tell You Now?
Phil Sanderson (Lyrics by Glyn Hughes)
As soon as I read through Glyn's wonderful lyrics and sat down with my guitar, a melody and chords seemed to naturally flow.   I have to offer massive thankyous to Glyn and Tim, as Glyn added some wonderful backing vocals and together they mixed in the vocal perfectly to the mix due to 'syncing' trials and tribulations between our softwares ( or quite possibly a 1990 drum machine not being perfectly in time on the click track!) . 
10. Phil & Tim and Glyn What does your heart tell you now