Monday, 14 May 2018

10:60 Can You Take Me Back/Cry Baby Cry (pt.4)


Can You Take Me Back is not, as it first appears, a coda for Lennon's Cry Baby Cry. It's a 'hidden' (or uncredited) Paul McCartney song fragment recorded during the 16 Sept I Will session. The Beatles often played snippets of other compositions during sessions (see the Piggies/Something session) and on this day Paul and percussionists John and Ringo busked their way through Step Inside Love, Los Paranoias and The Way You Look Tonight. Can You Take Me Back lasted 2:21 from which a 28-second edit was used. The fact that Paul cycles round the same short sequence suggests it was improvised on the spot.

Sharing no real connection with Cry Baby Cry (or Revolution 9 which follows), an accidental byproduct of the digital era is it has now permanently become part of disc 2 track 11, just as Lennon's 'aye-up' has migrated from the end of Bungalow Bill to the beginning of While My Guitar. The Beatles Complete Scores doesn't even bother to transcribing it.

So what can we say about it as an independent piece of music? Nothing that I haven't already said about the importance of tracks like this in my post on Wild Honey Pie.

The White Album is full of songs, long and short, well thought out and off the wall, straight ahead and avant garde. On an album already featuring Wild Honey Pie it's hard to see what purpose this serves to the songs that bookend it, much less the album as a whole.

Maybe it's waiting for someone to write a verse for it (or at least move to a second chord). Maybe that person is you!


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Monday, 19 March 2018

What Goes Online Mar 2018


What have I been up to this year? Well you can always check in on my 'now' page but here's the savedyouaclick version ...




RE:BEATLED

I've been composing/arranging the mother of all Beatles mashups for Inspire Youth Arts for the ReBeatled Project with a mixed ensemble of young singer/songwriters, multi-instrumentalists and members of the Able Orchestra. You can hear and see the results here



And here



And the massed jam on Come Together


NEW ALBUM

I've also been prepping my new album with producer Dan Wright (The Most Ugly Child) which I hope to start soon.


If you can't wait I also have Home Truths a free album of demos ranging from instrumentals, political songs, love songs, style parodies to a song about York, a love song for my wife, a song called Biscuit that’s not about biscuits and lots more. Silly & serious, light-hearted and heartfelt, There’s also chord sheet pdfs for most songs and even a few pages of guitar TAB. Download it here or here.

LINKS

Landr were kind enough to link to a BSA post in 10 Ridiculous Songwriting Tips That Actually Work.

Temporary Bad Boys Podcast featured a song I co-wrote with the late great Hoopshank here. (Head Temporary Bad Boy Balance Lost produced and co-wrote my rap single My Ride).


BEATLES LINKS

Sick of the sound of me and just want to get back to the Beatles? Check out these stellar episodes of the Something About The Beatles Podcast -

Something About Middle 8's
Something About Ringo
Something About Skiffle (with Billy Bragg)




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Friday, 1 December 2017

BSA PODCAST EPISODE 7: Shownotes




OUT NOW!: Episode 7 of the Beatles Songwriting Academy Podcast! The podcast is free to everyone who subscribes to the BSA mailing list and each episode will only be available for ONE MONTH. Sign up now to get the current episodeWhaddaya waiting for!

NEW FEATURE!Ep 7 Spotify Playlist (let me know what you think in the comments. Did you use it? Was it useful?)

0:00 Intro - (They Got The Monkees)

Quote: Dumb And Dumber

1:41 – Painting Something For No One (Help With Chords)

Wonderwall – Oasis
D'You Know What I Mean – Oasis
Something - The Templeton Twins With Teddy Turner And His Bunsen Burners
More on the chords from Something here and here
Junkie (1984) – Steve Vai
Wire And Wood (1985) – Alcatrazz
Answers (1990) – Steve Vai

11:32 – A Tribute To Hoopshank (In Three Movements)

February Album Writing Month www.fawm.org
Paul 'Hoopshank' Turrell

12:29 Yellow Submarine - Hoopshank
29:29 The Decisive Five - Hoopshank
56:15 Wild Honey Pie - Keith Skylark Band

11:53 – Real Modulations and False Teeth (Paul McCartney on Fresh Air)

Full Interview mp3
Full Interview Transcription
My Valentine (Paul McCartney)
Cheek To Cheek (Fred Astaire)
Teeth Like Stars Trailer (1980's BBC Radio 4)

24:34 – Another Lennon and McCartney Original (I Fancy Me Chances)

Fly On The Wall (Let Be Naked Bonus Disc)
Mark Lewisohn Website
Mark Lewisohn: A Beatlemaniac's Prayer


26:49 That No Good Dirty Robbing Songwriting Website - (Please Share This Link!)

My post on BSA Five Unusual Songwriting Tricks From The Beatles
Sharon Goldman

31:19 – The Chord (A Hard Day's Audio Spectrum Analysis)

Beatles Bible
More on the drummer on Dear Prudence
Another Hard Day's Night (From Help! OST) - Ken Thorpe or George Martin Orchestra?

50:29 – Fire In The Fireplace (What I Learned about Songwriting From A Crazy Guy In Liverpool)

Nicholas Tozier
Original Post (The Lyric Writer's Workroom)
The Beatles Story, Liverpool
With God On Our Side – Bob Dylan
Sableyalo Mi Agontze (The Bleating Lamb) - Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir from Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares Vol. 1
Lamentations (NIV Translation)
In My Life – Pageshu youtube

Idents by Poddingham Paul courtesy of LeftLion Thanks Paul! 
Closing theme - 'Piggies' performed by The Black Heartthrobs available here Thanks BH! 
Thanks also to Curtis Pea, Nancy Rost, Sharon Goldman and Nicholas Tozier.

About Beatles Songwriting Academy

70+ Songwriting Tips From The Beatles
The Be-Atletudes
About Beatles Songwriting Academy
Music by Matt Blick

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Line Cliche Lesson





Here's a nice chord tutorial from Joe Shadid (aka singer/songwriter Joe George) of reverb.com demonstrating George's use of Ticket 17: Incorporate a descending chromatic melody, starting from the root, into your chord progression in Something, a melodic device know as a 'line cliche'.

You can read a much more in depth post on that concept right here.



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Monday, 9 October 2017

Strawberry Flutes Forever - Introducing The Mellotron



If you've ever wondered just what a mellotron can do, apart from Strawberry Flutes Forever and Bungalow Bill Flamenco Guitar check out this charming demo from Pathe news



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Ticket 61: Introduce your song's most unusual arrangement ideas as early as possible
70+ Songwriting Tips From The Beatles

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

10:59 Cry Baby Cry (pt.3) Music




Having looked at the lyrics and the drama behind the song let's finish with the music. Cry Baby Cry has a beautiful natural sounding melody that sits easily on top of some pretty unconventional chords. That's something Lennon excelled at. Here his use of OoKCs (Ticket 28) is not as showy as I Am The Walrus, but just as effective.

Walrus Tears

To start with the chorus melody: Lennon uses the G major blues scale (G A Bb B D E) which means the overall tonality could be viewed as G major or G mixolydian (Ticket 51). The ambiguity comes from the lack of 4ths and 7th – there is no C or C#, F or F# in the melody (Ticket 40). There are lots of F naturals in the harmony which weights the overall tonality towards G mixolydian (G A B C D E F G) but whichever way you land there are out of key notes in both melody and harmony. The harmony favours C natural (in F major, Am and C7) but include C# as well (A7).

The verses makes a switch from G major to the relative minor (Em) and melodically the G major blues scale (G A Bb B D E) becomes the E minor blues scale (E G A Bb B D). Same notes, different starting point (or more accurately a different centre).

This switch to the RELATIVE key is common in songwriting - Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne) switches from a 'happy' A major chorus to a 'sad' F#m chorus. Arguably it's not even a real key change since you're only shuffling the notes around, rather than altering them.

But the Beatles much preferred changing between PARALLEL keys (like A major to A minor) which retains the same centre but alters three notes around it. While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1:07-1:28) is a prime example. (Lennon and McCartney's neglect of relative key changes probably explains why it's only now getting it's own ticket. Say hello to Ticket 75!).

Switching between B natural and Bb adds a piquant bluesy flavour (Ticket 22) which can be heard in the C7 chord*, the lead guitar fill (1:17) and the way melody 'sighs' and 'cries' (0:32 and (0:37) from Bb to A to G. This 'madrigalism' (Ticket 49) is also reflected in the “playing piano” line (at 0:20 – 0:28).

The final kicker in the discombobulation stakes is the way Lennon ends his lead vocal on a very unresolved A over an Em chord. Most songs end on the root note and tonic chord which here would mean a G over a G major chord. But Lennon unexpectedly substitutes an Em chord (giving us the legendary Aeolian Cadence - Ticket 10). And A is the 2nd in the key of G major and the 4th in relation to the Em chord. So whichever way you slice it, very unstable and unfinished. And cool.



Contrast

The key change isn't solely responsible for the contrast between verse and chorus. The verse harmony is built on the 'line cliché' of E Eb D Db C B within the chords

Em - Em maj7 - Em7 - Em6 - C7 - G

while the chorus uses simpler chords with much more root movement.

G Am F G Em A7 F G

The verse melody is constructed from a repeated motif with a narrow range (E-B) over moving chords (Ticket 48) whereas the chorus is more expansive and free.



Mama's Little Baby Loves Short'ning

One of the ways Lennon generates tremendous forward momentum throughout the song (apart from omitting any intro, outro or solo) is by cutting out extraneous bars and beats (Ticket 37 – The Lennon Edit). The chorus is four bars long but the first chorus omits the last two beats and the last line of lyrics.

Similarly the verse are truncated. Any other writer would have hung on to G major for a fourth bar just to 'square things up' (0:19). But Lennon's in too much of a rush – so three bars it is. And then he outdoes himself the second time (0:20) cutting the three bar pattern down to two and a half. After all, the verse ends on G major and the chorus starts on G major so why play it twice? Let's edit the edit!

Lennon does it again in the double chorus finale (2:07). The chorus starts and ends G major. So he removes the beginning of the final chorus. Or is it the end of the penultimate one? Who cares! Snip!

By the way, about that verse. Repeating a chord progression is the most normal thing in the world. But the Beatles hardly ever did it. Interesting that...

Arrangement Hall Of Fame

The recording abounds with subtle, yet brilliant, arrangement ideas. Little painterly flourishes like the few seconds of flashy harmonium soloing from George Martin (0:05) never to be heard again, the organ (0:41), Harrison's lead guitar fills in verse three (1:17, 1:26), the piano bassline that brings out the spookiness of the verse progression (1:40). Along with other sonic touches like the gnarly phasing on the acoustic guitar (0:01) and recordings of birds (1:13) all betray crafting. And Ringo is the master craftsman, taking a different approach on every single verse. Check out the great bass/drums groove on verse two (0:39).

So that's Cry Baby Cry completely wrapped up. But there's still one more thing to look at with the track. Can you guess what it is?


*C7 is the bVI7 chord in the key of E minor – a very bluesified choice.




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