Sunday, October 5, 2008

Beresford Greene Speaks (fifth fit)....

Dear Regnum Revellers,

I thought I might start a new strand to the Folk music discussion for this submission. It happened that this very week one of my lovely songs was described as "pathetic." Usually when people use this word in my hearing they are speaking about me. This time, however, it was about my material. I feel OK about that just because I didn't write a single word of it.

It set me thinking though. I suppose it could be levelled at us all that this hobby where we "express" & "deliver," straining every sinew to become entwined, if only for a while, with the sentiments of the stuff we are singing about, might render the persona unto the "pathetic" category. Yet how many times have I heard it said that one can't expect to render an authentic rendition if one has not had personal experience of a situation?

So in order to extend my art, I have, over my lifetime, submitted myself to the distress of the things that I sing about. That woe you hear from me is genuine. I have suffered dreadful rejection in all its forms. Being so damned naturally attractive, this hasn't always been easy. I have had to contrive of methods that would make me repugnant. Why even as we speak, I am amputating several fingers so that I may play a truly authentic version of the "One Finger Boogie." I have, from time to time, even enlisted the help of one Ken Hobbs. How is that for dedication? Working in a latrine helps. It is mucking out on the human scale. Mixing it up, living with it. Feeling it. Dare I say it... tasting it! Are you prepared to suffer such indignity for your art?

There is just one of my secretes. Another is my ability to reach a top note. I put all my notes on the highest shelf and then dispense with the step-stool. This is one way of extending one's range - so to speak. Normally I would charge money for these tips but to you, dear club members, they come absolutely free at the point of delivery.

To return to my main theme. I would agree with the label "pathetic" for a song such as a blues for David in the key of E with a repetitive verse such as: -

"I woke up this morning & found I was in bed
"I woke up this morning & found I was in bed
"I woke up this morning & found I was in bed
"I woke up this morning & found I was in bed"

The music for this would remain in a single key throughout with a foot-thumping back beat. If we dissect the structure of the lyric first , we will find absolute meter, assonance, & good scansion in abundance. The alliteration is perfection. My what a rolling, sonorous, thunderous language English is when it comes to poetry & verse. It even works out well for riddles where the "blood of the earth" is oil. {Or more correctly motor spirit (petrol)}:-

I drink the blood of the Earth,
and the trees fear my roar,
yet a man may hold me in his hands.

The answer: A chainsaw

Now let's embellish the music. We might employ the haunting tones of a harmonica. We would deliberately pick a completely enharmonic key for this. Then we would get the player to "express" the sound by whatever method he could muster. There would be much hand-curling, facial excruciation, sucking & blowing. In fact stagecraft. The result must be no less than the sound of several strangled ducks.

My songs aren't nearly as bad as that example. I am singing about my swinging unfair life experiences where nobody loves me. I am also recalling those few & far between times when the earth moved. I am passing on to you for your consideration, and your commiseration, the hurts & passions of my particular existence. If you can't and haven't yet seen that, I will sing to you no more. Only the believers need remain.

I will pass on these wise words of advice for Paul Damper:- One cannot hope to sing & do justice to a song like "From a Jack to a King" without one had first visited Monte Carlo or Las Vegas. Then at least one would learn to get a move on if not to run.

It all started with cruel parenting & my name:- Beresford

1 comment:

Ken Hobbs said...

I would like to make it quite clear, having had my name unwittingly dragged into and embroiled in Berry's diatribe the Fifth, that Berry has never mixed it up, lived with, felt, and especially not tasted me; I wish to state that quite categorically. Whether this is a matter for individual or mutual regret is something I leave to the reader's imagination. Also, if Berry's had a hard life, why must he take it out on us?