Archive for the 'my music' Category

Saperlipopette

Saperlipopette song

In these difficult times, Lawrence Vagner and I felt a solemn duty to heal the world with a hopeful message of love and cross-cultural unity to a disco beat. So here is our Eurovision entry: Saperlipopette!

Get your hotpants on & boogie for a better tomorrow.

Eh?

“Saperlipopette” is a very dated French “swear word” translating to “goodness me” or “fiddlesticks”, the kind of thing you’d say if a child were in earshot. My chum Lawrence Vagner taught it to me when they invited me to speak at ParisWeb. I got a daft tune in my head and “Saperlipopette” fitted the melody. (The rest of the lyrics practically wrote themselves, and make a damed sight more sense than the 1968 song with the same title. In fact, I had to discard a couple of verses.) I invited Lawrence to duet with me, which was fun as they’d never sung before, and we had to do it remotely due to lockdown.

It’s made with Reason Studio, using the Reason Disco and Norman Cook refills as well as built-in instruments, and a French accordion sample I found. My chum Shez twiddled the knobs, Lawrence made the website, which is hosted by Netlify.

Song: Bella in the Witch Elm

bruceclawson · Bella In The Witch Elm

Bella’s in the witch elm
Regal in a taffeta gown
Queen of her forest realm
Autumn leaves form her crown

Bella’s in the witch elm
She won’t say how she came there
She’s still as seasons turn
And winter winds wind her hair

Beneath the cries of the weeping willow
You can hear the sighs from the witch elm’s hollow

Bella’s in the witch elm
wearing her gold wedding ring
She’s silent at the coming of Spring
At the maypole, children dance and sing

Bella’s in the witch elm
Wearing just one summer shoe
She will never tell
Someone put here there – but who?

Who put Bella where she can’t see
Who put Bella in the Witch Elm Tree? Who?

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2020, all rights reserved.
Production, drums and bass guitar: Shez of @silverlakemusic.

Lockdown Cover 1: Lady Godiva’s Operation (Velvet Underground)

I’m trying to record a cover version each week of songs that have really influenced me. They’re not especially polished, but it gives me a chance to experiment with my recording studio outside my usual working practices.

This is the first Velvet Underground song I heard. I was at a student party, sitting next to the speaker that Lou Reed suddenly shouts his vocals out of. It made me jump and I dropped the communal spliff into my beer. But I forgave them and became a total VU anorak.

Aquamarine

Here’s a newly-recorded version of one of the favourite songs I wrote (crappy cassette 4-track demo previously posted). I was obsessed with TS Eliot’s poem Marina, a monologue inspired by Shakespeare’s Pericles. So I ripped that off, nicked a line or two from The Waste Land, pinched a bit of Shakespeare’s The Tempest and, while the literary store detective was looking the other way, ran off with a bit of Dylan Thomas too. The Shakespeare reading is by my friend Richard Crowest. Bass guitar and production is by Shez.

Aquamarine –
I’m a ship becalmed after stormy seas.
You’ve been silver and green;
I love you best now for your clarity.
You sing to me in sharpened keys.
You bring me emeralds and harmonies.

I will be here for you if you’ll be here for me
Sometimes, the tide turns
and everything is monochrome.

Aquamarine –
Your wet hair dries in the warm sea breeze.
Lie still and dream
Of the mountains – there you feel free.
Sail across still memories
Under sleep where all the waters meet.

I will be here for you if you’ll be here for me
Dry stones and white bones
and everything is monochrome.

Aquamarine –
This music crept upon the water to me
I’m a machine
Powered by your electricity.
You sail across still memories
You bring me emeralds and energy.

I will be here for you if you’ll be here for me
From the horizon
The world can turn monochrome.

What seas, what shores,
what great rocks?

Seize what’s yours;
What grey rocks?

What islands? What waters lap at the bow?

The sea’s daughter, you ebb and you flow;
The sea’s daughter, emerald green;
The sea’s daughter, Aquamarine.

Lie still, be calm, and dream.
Aquamarine.

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 1991, all rights reserved.

Number Stations

A new song. It’s inspired by numbers stations, “a shortwave radio station characterized by broadcasts of formatted numbers, which are believed to be addressed to intelligence officers operating in foreign countries. Most identified stations use speech synthesis to vocalize numbers”. This got me thinking about clandestine communication and betrayal.

I heard chatter on the network.
But I couldn’t crack your code.
I was waiting defenceless
for your bombshells to explode.

If you’re here, there is a reason.
Your ciphers are all known.
To everything there is a season.
Now you’re here, your cover’s blown.

I don’t recall why we are enemies.
I don’t understand what we are fighting for.
I forgot my ideology,
half way across the bridge
in this cold, cold war.

You walked down to the checkpoint.
I saw graffiti on the wall.
You presented your false papers,
and the wall began to fall.

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2020, all rights reserved.
Production and bass guitar: Shez of @silverlakemusic.

Candyfloss Moon (Yakamoz Moon)

Here’s another old song that my band The Lucies used to gig, mixed last Wednesday. I’ve no idea what it’s about—I was in a “special state of mind” when I wrote it. “Yakamoz” is a Turkish word which is used when the moonlight shines on the sea, ocean etc.

Candyfloss moon
there is only half an hour til daybreak
You leave me too soon
Stay a while and I’ll watch your heart break

Through all the tears and the rage
This is our golden age
Through the silver rain
I see you wax and wane

Candyfloss moon
I’ve been torn apart and reassembled
Here in this room
I can see the stars that you resemble

Turn off your mind
turn down your radio
I hear angels singing all the time
Shut down your shadow
slow down your heartbeat
Why do your eyes shine?

Yakamoz moon
I see you glow on tranquil seas
Your flowers are in bloom
lilies, fuchsia, rosemary

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2020, all rights reserved.
Production: Shez of @silverlakemusic.

She Just Loves To Be Loved

A very old song that I wrote when I was about 17, inspired by melodic pop-punk of Buzzcocks and The Undertones. Shez and I gigged it in a school band, then I forgot it. When Pete Shelley of Buzzcocks died, I remembered it, so recorded it. My old chum Shez played bass when we were in a school band, and mixed it yesterday, 37 years later!

She just loves to be loved.
She just needs to feel needed
And you know she will tear you in half in the end.

She just likes to feel liked
And it doesn’t really matter who by
And you know she will break your heart, my friend.

Don’t ask her does she love you?
You’ll get a vague reply.
So what, she said she needs you?
Would she look you in the eye?
And when she upsets you
Don’t let her see you cry.
She feeds on your emotions
She’s gonna bleed you dry.

You thought that you’d got her to keep.
She says the novelty wore off after a week.
And you know she just loves to be loved.

She’ll love you for ten days
and then she won’t remember your face
And you know she just loves to be loved.

And now that you are just her ex,
and you see she’s moved on to her next.
And you know she just loves to be loved.

Everyone knows she just loves to be loved.

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 1983, all rights reserved.

Sailing Ship

A Swing/ Big Band song! Many thanks to Chris Taylor – a Big Band scholar – for advice on what’s authentic and what was out of place. Produced by Shez

Leave these stupid people.
The time’s exactly right.
I have got a sailing ship,
let’s sail away tonight.

You can be the captain
I will be the crew.
I have got a sailing ship
so I can sail away with you.

Help me weigh the anchor
I’ll look out while you steer.
Come aboard my sailing ship
Let’s sail away from here.

We’ll sing along with mermaids
who will help us chart our course.
be guided by dolphins
from these weary, dreary shores.

The map says “here be dragons”
but perhaps it’s Shangri-La.
Let’s go and see what lies beyond
this half-life where we are.

Through the doldrums, ice and tempests
we’ll cross the oceans deep.
We’ll make all pirates walk the plank
and croon the Kraken back to sleep.

My ship is called “Clarita”,
her sails are big and bright.
The wind is up and the tide is high
let’s sail away tonight.

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2018, all rights reserved.

Lady Merchant

My Lady Merchant, although Fortune favours folly,
She won’t smile on me for the things I tell you now.
When you calculate all your losses and your profits,
you’ll know that I did everything that you would allow.

My Lady Merchant, although you fear Time is flying,
there’s no-one you can bribe to clip his chariot wings for you.
When you balance up all your selling and your buying
You’ll know that I did everything that you asked me to.
You’ll know that I did everything that you would let me do.

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2018, all rights reserved.

Song: “Who Are You?”

Here’s a song that I finally recorded, about 27 years after writing it. It was originally written for my music partner Alison to sing, so it’s in a very high key. However, when I recorded the guide vocals I was surprised to hear that I could actually reach the notes, so kept the first take.

It’s a bit of a power ballad, but hopefully the dirty guitar goes some way to de-Celine Dioning it.

Thanks to Shez of Silverlake for bass guitar, advice, mixing and mastering.

Now my facts melt into fiction
while I watch this leave-taking performed.
I have to hear your valediction –
you choose to go, and you forbid me to mourn.

If I could scream
I’d scream your name;
If I could dream
I’d dream you cancer and pain;
If I could hunt
I’d capture you – make you tame;
be captive again.

You wanted me to proclaim your brain and beauty;
wanted me to sustain your sense of worth.
It was my pleasure, my delight (not duty)
and now I see your self-esteem feeding off my hurt.

I don’t know
if you ever felt what I felt;
I don’t know
if you ever feel at all;
Now you go
to your room full of bird calls
All I know
is I am very sad and small

Who are you
to go leaving me?
Who are you
to stop needing me?
Who are you
to come, and go?
To empty me and fill my hollows
with your shadow?

You want me to play the role you’ve written;
You want me to applaud your exit bow.
You want my blessing and my permission.
You don’t want me – I doubt you ever did, now.

Without you, I will be random
Instead of you, I will love nothing at all.
What you create, you shape and then abandon –
To your Lear I played such a mediocre Fool.

Who are you
to go leaving me?
Who are you
to stop needing me?
Who are you
to come, and go?
To empty me and fill my hollows
with your shadow?

Your perfect shadow.
Now I’m full-to-burst with sorrow.
So why am I so fucking hollow?

Who are you?

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2018, all rights reserved.