Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Mystery Deepens

This is a tune I wrote during a jam session at The Harlem Flophouse. At inception it was a silly song with the opening lyric "I don't like your mother." There is a recorded version of it in the music section of my website. We were laughing like crazy when I penned it. But the tune stuck with me and in the following days and weeks I added lyric after lyric. Eventually I had to accept that it wanted to be something more than what I had originally intended. I had so much material by that point it was easy to cut out the jokes.

When Kosi joined the band I asked her which tunes she wanted to sing. The Mystery was her first request. She was curious about where some of the lyrics came from. Usually I like to be oblique in my answers about the origins of tunes. I like to leave them open to a multitude of interpretations. But the truth is that I have very well defined methods. One of them I call "the snapshot". A snapshot is a series of descriptions of what I am actually seeing and feeling at the moment. They often contain specific images which may appear to be unrelated to the content.

I told Kosi that "the picture" mentioned in the song actually exists. I dug it out of a drawer and showed it to her. I thought it would be nice for her to have a real image to go along with her performance.

Another method I use is stream of consciousness. This lyric came about that way.

I don't like the mystery
Or when it falls at night.
And just because it's history.
Well it doesn't make it right.

You have to be in the zone for ones like that. I thought it was beautiful when I first heard it. I didn't change a word, even though I have no idea of what it means. What I do know is that it conveys something I was feeling in such a powerful way that words cannot describe it. They can only define the parameters.

When things like that happen I stand aside and let them be.

1 comment:

  1. Actually, I've met your mother, and she's a nice lady.


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