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Original Song - Rain Blues

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This is a song I wrote near the end of Hurricane Florence as the counties to the South and East of us got flooded, which only got worse within the week. A couple spots got 30 inches of rain of the storm. Poor folks.

 

OK, so musically, this is a double-drop D tuned el-cheapo beater guitar I got as a Stupid Deal of the Day like 6-8-ish years ago. Stereo-miked with the Myrtle and a Shure 87A Beta. It is musically inspired by Neil Young's D-Modal version of "Old Laughing Lady" and Caitlin Canty's acoustic version of her song, "Wore Your Ring". I guess the Killing Floor Blues style is ultimately what I started out doing, but I found banging on it for a little instrumental bit was therapuetic. You try living with multiple Migraines per day.

 

I digress. [biggrin]

 

Here's the song. Rain Blues

 

Oh - all apologies for the outro line. I couldn't resist the opportunity to resolve a vocal to a Low-D. (Probably explains why I can't sing nuttin else.) Oh yeah, while I'm at it, all apologies for singing - period. [rolleyes]

 

And in good form of Lars68 and dhanners623, the lyrics.

 

[VERSE 1]

I hear the winds blow

I hear the winds blow

Here we go again.

Here we go again.

 

[VERSE 2]

Then the rain come down.

Then the rain come down.

 

[VERSE 3]

The finger of God touched down.

The finger of God touched down.

Blew the town away.

(Blew it all down)

 

[VERSE 4]

River's on the rise.

River's on the rise.

Comin' for us again.

 

[short Bridge]

Lord we need a friend

Lord we need a friend

Lord we need a friend

 

[VERSE 5]

Creek took all we had to-day.

Creek took all we had to-day.

Took everything we had

 

[OUTRO]

We need us a friend.

We need us a friend.

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Angst to the nth degree. Double drop D is made for this. Keep playing it, the song will morph a bit and find its path.

Thanks for listening, duluthdan. I like that - "Angst to the nth degree." Sounds like you understood the song, at least. [thumbup] Thanks again for your time.

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I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down. Good job. And yeah, angst out the wazoo.

 

If you can allow some observations from a hack songwriter (meant constructively) I'd offer the following:

 

1) It needs a title telling me where it takes place. Songs need a sense of place, and this is an easy way to give it one. "Rain Blues" only tells me you're sad about rain. "Florence Blues" tells me more, but that's just an off-the-cuff example.

 

2) I offer this as someone whose own attempts to play slide have crashed and burned, but I'm hearing slide on this. Slide launches this song into the stratosphere, in my opinion. Turns it into a blues monster.

 

3) Let's talk words. Yeah, wind blows, but did Florence howl? Scream? Shriek? In fact, if your first line is, "I hear Florence howl" then you've immediately grabbed my attention because a woman is screaming. Then I learn it is Hurricane Florence and you've put me in the center of it.

 

4) Similarly, when I hear the phrase "finger of God," my question is, "Why not hand of God?" which is the more common term. This may be a conscious choice on your part, but I'm just saying what I as a listener think when I hear "finger of God."

 

5) In Verse 4 you refer to "river" and in Verse 5 you say "creek." Maybe it's just a rural Illinois thing (where I grew up) but a river is different from a creek. (Or, as we would've said in rural Illinois, "crick.") You may indeed be talking about two different waterways, but again, it struck me as a listener.

 

6) Speaking of rivers and creeks, why not name them? Again, that gives the song a sense of place.

 

7) The "We need us a friend" line at the end is genius. The song's protagonist has lost everything, but he's saying that what gets us through hard times are friends, and he sure as heck needs some now.

 

Good tune. It is VERY atmospheric, and that is a quality that can't be faked. And again, I mean all this constructively. You're welcome to ignore every word and I won't be offended in the least.

Edited by dhanners623

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I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down. Good job. And yeah, angst out the wazoo.

 

If you can allow some observations from a hack songwriter (meant constructively) I'd offer the following:

 

1) It needs a title telling me where it takes place. Songs need a sense of place, and this is an easy way to give it one. "Rain Blues" only tells me you're sad about rain. "Florence Blues" tells me more, but that's just an off-the-cuff example.

 

2) I offer this as someone whose own attempts to play slide have crashed and burned, but I'm hearing slide on this. Slide launches this song into the stratosphere, in my opinion. Turns it into a blues monster.

 

3) Let's talk words. Yeah, wind blows, but did Florence howl? Scream? Shriek? In fact, if your first line is, "I hear Florence howl" then you've immediately grabbed my attention because a woman is screaming. Then I learn it is Hurricane Florence and you've put me in the center of it.

 

4) Similarly, when I hear the phrase "finger of God," my question is, "Why not hand of God?" which is the more common term. This may be a conscious choice on your part, but I'm just saying what I as a listener think when I hear "finger of God."

 

5) In Verse 4 you refer to "river" and in Verse 5 you say "creek." Maybe it's just a rural Illinois thing (where I grew up) but a river is different from a creek. (Or, as we would've said in rural Illinois, "crick.") You may indeed be talking about two different waterways, but again, it struck me as a listener.

 

6) Speaking of rivers and creeks, why not name them? Again, that gives the song a sense of place.

 

7) The "We need us a friend" line at the end is genius. The song's protagonist has lost everything, but he's saying that what gets us through hard times are friends, and he sure as heck needs some now.

 

Good tune. It is VERY atmospheric, and that is a quality that can't be faked. And again, I mean all this constructively. You're welcome to ignore every word and I won't be offended in the least.

Thanks for the thoughtful observations. You touched on some things I've wrestled with, with some I still do. You had a lot of good thoughts.

 

Using your #'s for structure:

1: Good observation. I wanted the name to be generic, in a way, as to not make our neighbor's down-east seem self-centered. Then again, this is about their plights. Maybe I worried too much about offending or leaving out others. Simplicity hit me this morning - "Hurricane Blues". But then again, 4 day hurricanes moving at the speed of snot are not ordinary. Still some thought needed on this one. This had "Flo's Blues" as a title, briefly.

 

#2: I can play some slide, but doubt I can carry the song with one. I liked where the dble drop D brought me as it evolved in the song, but not the intro and first verse, I was planning on revisiting with slide with some prominence early. Then having it compliment from the 3rd verse on to the end. Maybe a lead role in the instrumental bit.

 

#3: In my mind, my song's story teller is describing the scene at the beach as the pending Hurricane's outer bands are just now getting there. Suffice to say I missed. Perhaps if it's clear from the title? I had "storm-winds blow" for a while. Anyhow, good call. There is better to be had.

 

#4: This one bums me out. Noone's gotten this one yet. I omitted a more powerful verse for this one. The term, "the Finger of God" is a term I've heard to describe a badass tornado. Was even in the movie "Twister". We didn't have that, but that hateful bi**h of a storm left us with a parting gift of a few that morning as it left our state. One was close by. But back to words, it morphed from "....come down.." to "....touched down...". I was trying to avoid "...twist down....". I might have to omit entirely.

 

#5 and #6: Multiple rivers in play. "Creek" was a word I used because I thought it sounded more "Americana". "River's on the rise" might have been "Rivers' on the rise " on paper. Doesn't matter when listening. I also toyed with starting the ocean storm surge and ending with creek taking it all, as they are often tied in a linear fashion. (surge hits, rivers back up, no place for creek to go....."

 

Thanks again for all the thoughts on this. No doubt they help me a great deal. Also gives me a chance to expound on some thoughts. Talking out loud about it, such as it is, helps too. Adjustments down the pike. They have a way of sorting themselves out while working on the next song. [biggrin]

Edited by PatriotsBiker

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It's been awhile since I've seen "Twister," and although I lived in Tornado Alley for years, "finger of God" was not a term I remember. But your explanation makes sense, so go with it.

 

Like I said, you've got a winner here and when a couple of things are ironed out, it'll make a strong son even more powerful.

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I have never been able to write songs. I did try writing tunes once. Came up with lines like "Your like a cat on a line. You got good balance but there ain't no mice to find" and probably a dozen that stated off with "Stayed up all night in a hotel room." So my hat is off to you.

 

That is one droll song - almost a dirge. I have to say though, I did keep waiting for it to go somewhere. But I think you got across what you wanted to which is really the key. Keep playing, singing and writing.

 

By the way I actually lived through a natural disaster - a tornado in MS. I was smack in the middle of downtown bumming a lunch from a lawyer friend of mine. Took the building right next door to us but we emerged OK. First thought I had was "my dog." And before your start in on me, no I was not married at the time. Second was "my car" which I needed it to get to the dog.

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It's been awhile since I've seen "Twister," and although I lived in Tornado Alley for years, "finger of God" was not a term I remember. But your explanation makes sense, so go with it.

 

Like I said, you've got a winner here and when a couple of things are ironed out, it'll make a strong son even more powerful.

It was in the scene when they invited themselves to eat at Helen Hunt's character's Aunt's house.

 

Thanks again for the tips and thoughts.

 

I have never been able to write songs. I did try writing tunes once. Came up with lines like "Your like a cat on a line. You got good balance but there ain't no mice to find" and probably a dozen that stated off with "Stayed up all night in a hotel room." So my hat is off to you.

 

That is one droll song - almost a dirge. I have to say though, I did keep waiting for it to go somewhere. But I think you got across what you wanted to which is really the key. Keep playing, singing and writing.

 

By the way I actually lived through a natural disaster - a tornado in MS. I was smack in the middle of downtown bumming a lunch from a lawyer friend of mine. Took the building right next door to us but we emerged OK. First thought I had was "my dog." And before your start in on me, no I was not married at the time. Second was "my car" which I needed it to get to the dog.

First thoughts are involuntary.

 

re "droll" and "dirge" - Yeah, that whole Killing Floor Blues style is challenging for a listener at times. I expanded from that style quite a bit, but it was still that style at heart. My first effort at the style was a Rocked out version, similar to "Bridge of Sighs". It did not go over well after about 2 minutes, and it was over 6 minutes long. doh!

 

I was never in a big tornado. One Hurricane and a bunch of close calls with little tornadoes, a couple of water-spouts and a down-burst wind thing. Saw 2 tornadoes that I was not close to. I still dream about them every few months. I've been trying to write a song about the one I was "in" more than the others, but have gotten nowhere.

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I really enjoy reading these kind of song discussions. I'm learning a lot from them.

 

After reading the comments so far, it really struck me that it would be a great ending (at least in my mind) if the song ended with a reference to missing kids, wife (and or dog!) It would add to the drama and emotional content of the song. Maybe something like "Mary's phone is nothing but dead" could be enough...just an idea from another hack... [biggrin]

 

Great stuff in the works!

 

Lars

Edited by Lars68

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I really enjoy reading these kind of song discussions. I'm learning a lot from them.

 

After reading the comments so far, it really struck me that it would be a great ending (at least in my mind) if the song ended with a reference to missing kids, wife (and or dog!) It would add to the drama and emotional content of the song. Maybe something like "Mary's phone is nothing but dead" could be enough...just an idea from another hack... [biggrin]

 

Great stuff in the works!

 

Lars

That was where I was heading with the "What is it Pa wont say?" verse we discussed off-line. Except not for the ending. The ending I wanted the sense of the community being alone kind of thing. Despair en-mass? I am beginning to think that line might work better than the finger of God line for the middle of the song.

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There was a time when folks kept harping on me to write songs about all the crap I went through particularly in the later 1960s and early 1970s. Problem was I just saw it all as normal. There was one time though I figured I might have a candidate. I was going to call it "Where is My Phone Call." I had been in jail. Back then, particularly if you were locked up in a smaller town (which I was being in Arizona while hitching back east from California), they often held you a couple of days because they wanted to check with the Feds or your draft board to see if you had been called up. Anyway, I never got my one phone call. Not that I had anybody to call but it really pissed me off.

Edited by zombywoof

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That was where I was heading with the "What is it Pa wont say?" verse we discussed off-line. Except not for the ending. The ending I wanted the sense of the community being alone kind of thing. Despair en-mass? I am beginning to think that line might work better than the finger of God line for the middle of the song.

 

Hey, I really, really like that ”what is it Pa won't say?” line. That's very good! Perfect. You really ought to use it (apologize if I missed it backchannel, but I can't find a mention of it...).

 

Lars

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There was a time when folks kept harping on me to write songs about all the crap I went through particularly in the later 1960s and early 1970s. Problem was I just saw it all as normal. There was one time though I figured I might have a candidate. I was going to call it "Where is My Phone Call." I had been in jail. Back then, particularly if you were locked up in a smaller town (which I was being in Arizona while hitching back east from California), they often held you a couple of days because they wanted to check with the Feds or your draft board to see if you had been called up. Anyway, I never got my one phone call. Not that I had anybody to call but it really pissed me off.

It's quite a thing to find out the normal is not normal. It's like an opposite of that line in "Sugar Mountain" by Neil Young.

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Hey, I really, really like that ”what is it Pa won't say?” line. That's very good! Perfect. You really ought to use it (apologize if I missed it backchannel, but I can't find a mention of it...).

 

Lars

It was on that rough take I did. I couldn't find a way to close it out. Not a good one, anyhow.

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11 months later.......

This one has kicked my butt. I still think it's too long. About the only thing I knew was that I wanted a slide tons of dirt in the slide, not an acoustic. I can't carry the mood for this song verbally, meaning the general pace and woe of the old Bluesman, Blind Willie Johnson. I also decided on a sort of rolling bass-like pad in the style of that "Don't Let the Old Man In" song by Toby Keith. That led me to the thought to do a slow half-time thing with the drum software. It might need a bit more space/air around it. I did continue with the Neil Young dble drop-D thought from the original version last year, though everything was re-played a few weeks' back.

If I had an arrangement done prior to this version, I would have done an acoustic slide (resonator) version first. Alas, I do things backwards sometimes.

Without further ramblings and renamed to Hurricane Blues  .

 

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Quite enjoyable to me PB...Thanks for sharing it with us...I agree with Lars as well  I learn from the discussions like this.  Good job PB Keep it up.

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I like it! I think sound quality and production are outstanding. I also like the drone like feel of the music, but since there is no change in tempo, it feels a little too long perhaps.

So maybe shorten it a bit, or throw in some kind of variation?

Lars

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Thanks for listening and commenting again, Kelly (and everyone). 

Lars, I agree. I'm of good fortune that this can fester without ever mattering to anyone. No deadlines can be a wonderful thing. Maybe? It'd be easiest to lop off the front, but I remain convinced(stubborn) that I can come up with something that is not now a cliche to help that first minute. One thought I had, but failed on, was to do a second drum kit thing ala some Pink Floyd live efforts. That thought worked best later in the song, though I ended up integrating it into the one kit.

BBG - Nice timing. I just heard him in the credits of the Natural Born Killers a few nights ago. I made a mental note to explore and forgot. "Dirgy" is a nice word for what I was hoping to achieve.

DD, that's gotta be some huge sub-conscience thing. I hear it now.

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