ian (sparkle_debacle) wrote,

The Simplest Songs

 The What I Wanted To Dos recorded their 32nd album on the last Saturday of January 2011. Like the 31 previous ones, it was written and recorded in a single day with no overdubs. This was only my fourth time taking part  I believe, but incomparably more of my fingerprints are on this album than the other ones. This was by necessity- It was just me, Adam, Amyas and Louise this time. As Adam and Amyas were the only two dependable instrumentalists of the quartet, it fell to me and Louise to do most of the singing and lyric-writing. 

This was the first song on the album, and my favourite. I had wanted to write a really simple song for so long, and though the risk is that it's too soppy, I like it. I want to re-record it for the next Ian Cockburn and the Whole World album, unless someone talks me out of it, or discovers where the tune was unconsciously stolen from. If you have time, listen to it and let me know what you think of it.


From there you could, if you chose, listen to and download the rest of the album. I promised in my last (friends only) post a track-by-track commentary of the album when this was possible.2. Lachrymose Pete (or Lackyose Pete as it's listed here)- some sort of vague Mexican/American Western kind of theme here. My vocal and lyrics, music by Adam and Amyas. Lachrymose Pete is the unlikely name i chose for the narrator's liquor of choice. If it sound as though i'm stumbling over the lyrics, it's because I couldn't read my own writing.
3. Hudson Springs Immortal. Louise sings, I just play melodica and join in the big singalong chorus. One of the highlights.
4. Cuthbert Says Yes- you can skip this one with impunity.
5. Evidence of Formalisation of Aspects of Greek Life In The Archaic and Classical Periods- Louise is not reading from a randomly chosen book here but her own cloth-bound embossed dissertation. Of interest to scholars of Greek Mythology, particularly as regards Dionysis. And also the layman. Notice how it's tastefully reigned in at three minutes sixteen seconds.
6. Taggart's Mane- out of practice at writing lyrics, I asked the others to give me a character's viewpoint to write from, to get me started. "Victorian workhouse boy" I was given, and I decided to send the boy to the navy. The silly period-drama lyrics are unimportant, I love this tune so much. This song is too good to stop here, I am sure, it needs to be rewritten and rerecorded. Unless... well, like "The Simplest Songs", I'm sure this tune must have been used before. Let me know if you think it's a ripoff of something. The recording machine ran out of memory and we had to re-record this one, which I was glad of as it meant I could insist on a necessary big power-ballad key change. ( The title is one Adam had prepared beforehand, as with track 9. It has nothing to do with the song.)
7. Neville's Advocate- Adam's only lead vocal of the album. All I contributed was the title and backing vocals. I couldn't remember if this was any good, I'm pleasantly surprised. A classic TWIWTDs three-chord singalong.
8. The What I Didn't What To Blues I had asked Adam if The What I Wanted To Dos had ever recorded a song called "the what I wanted to blues". He said no and that we should have to record such a song for this album. But the lyrics, about some unwanted attention Louise has been receiving recently from someone at "The Beeb", necessitated a slight change of title. Louise is great at singing the rockier or bluesier songs. Contains my most sustained and disciplined instrumental part- the rhythm guitar line. I also shout "I have the blues pretty badly, as you can see from this graph behind of meeee", which is misquoted from a Great Pop Things comic strip by Colin B Morton and Chuck Death. To me this is a throwaway, but one Moz who showed up to hang out said it was the best song on the album.

9. This Song's Called Stratosphericalypso - Amyas's vocal spotlight spot. I think he pretty much wrote and played it singlehandedly, beautifully. Another very simple, straightforward and beautiful song.
10. Pork Um, this was supposed to be the big finale, and it had been decided it would be a Violent Femmes pastiche. It turned out to be  an utter ripoff. As you may imagine, the titles and lyrics of the whole album are full of in-jokes and insider references it would be tedious to explain E.G. they had a big lump of pork for their dinner.
11. Vitamin J -Frequent The What I Wanted To Dos member John Perry was not present on this occasion but he had nonetheless already presented us, as a fait accompli , with the album title and cover of art for this album. See, he has of late been creating "imaginary album covers" as a hobby, and had already prematurely exhibited (on facebook) the sleeve for "Album 32: The John Album" featuring a big picture of his own face. We went along with this self-fulfilling prophesy, and thus we felt we had to allude to our absent friend, but he didn't deserve any more than a last-minute novelty throwaway.
No-one is going to listen to it, of course. But I feel bound to not let these tracks vanish into the oblivion of the internet without comment.   
Tags: london, the what i wanted to dos
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