The Last Dance

“I’m so tired of being alone,
I’m so tired of on my own,
Won’t you help me, girl,
Just as soon as you can….

People say that I’ve found a way,
To make you say,
That you love me.

You didn’t go for that,
It’s a natural fact,
That I want to come back,
Show me where it’s at…”

© Al Green, 1968

This is one that has been on the back burner for quite a while – some time back in 2013 to be specific. I think the idea originally came either in Aylesbury in the old studio or quite possibly on the commute one day.

And, another odd one in that the music came first, although only part of it did. The melody, the underlying rhythm and the bassline are firmly seared into my mind. The bridges, the coda and the elements that are to hang the whole song together, are not quite there yet. The lyrics – well, part of them came pretty quick and the overall feel was pretty strong from the start but its only been in the last few days that I’ve managed to get the rest of them to the point where I’m happy with them to be the working copy ones.

I’m hoping the track will make the KOAS album cut and that it will also take more shape during the sessions in Long Island in June, with the input of some real musicians who I hope can bring the track to life.

The feel that I’m looking for is somewhere between the legendary Lou Rawls classic, You’ll Never Find and early Chic, with that bossa feel behind it. Privately, I’m quite optimistic about this one.

The story of the song is quite simple. The person in the song is dancing with someone who is not there – not dancing by himself, but with someone who he wishes was there and who he aches for, but cannot be there, because she is in another realm. And just for those few moments, when he hears their old song, she is there. And then, as the house lights come up, she disappears.

The Last Dance

V1/
Come take my hand when you hear our favourite song
The music begins and we sway and we sway
When I’m with you I’m on top of the world
In your arms my troubles are so far away,

CH/
Now starlight surrounds you all day and all night
And my promise is always you know I’ll be true
Each night the sun goes down and the moon shines so bright
Just save me the time, for one last dance with you.

V2/
Now its time for us to say our last goodbyes
Kiss your hand, hold you closer, as the song plays and we sway
Don’t let go now, no one else has ever loved you like I do
The end of the night is just moments away

CH

Bridge/
Don’t leave me alone on this empty dancefloor
Don’t wanna be on my own, without you there any more

Solo/

Bridge/
Hold me closer, come hold me tight
Stay with me now til the end of the night

V3
Now the house lights come up and like the music she fades
One more dance just for old times sake
Tell me it wont be long before I feel your hand again in mine
With all of my heart I never felt so alive

CODA/
So here I am left on this empty dance floor
Hearing our song, burning to love you just a little more
Come back, hold me, come back hold me tight
Promise you’ll stay to the end of the night…

© Words & Music Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2016

 

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Update

I dont normally write stream of consciousness blog updates, although it is something that I sometimes do with my lyrics.

But, today…. having not long got home from the day job and switched on my tablet and tuned into a satellite news channel to be smacked in the face by the banner of BREAKING NEWS: POP SUPERSTAR PRINCE DEAD AT 57. Its been about half an hour since I first saw that headline and I’m still not wanting to believe it.

I was never his greatest fan, but was lucky enough to see him live at the 02 in London nearly a decade ago and no one could ever deny that while being an enigmatic personality, that he was a phenomenally gifted and flamboyant multi-instrumentalist – alongside the likes of Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney – and a prolific writer and performer.

The industry has changed so much since he and the other artists that we’ve lost in this horrible year came to prominence. As it stands, maybe its the end of the era of the superstars in the industry. Certainly ones who can sustain a career over one decade, let alone three or more. Maybe we’ve just been lucky to have shared our time on this earth with these guys and to have had the opportunity to witness their artistry in full effect and to wonder at it and be inspired by it.

The one thing that came to my mind while I was trying to absorb the news is one thing that I would exhort to any other creative who may be reading this, whether emergent, latent, just starting out or whatever:

For Gods sake, if you’ve got “it” in you, something to say, no matter what it is – music, lyrics, art, photography, poetry, it doesnt matter what it is – I implore you, let it out and let it out now, while you still can, before time comes and lays its hand on your shoulder to usher you on to the next realm. There will be an eternity in the next realm to wonder whether it was good enough, but by then no one in this world will ever hear it, see it, marvel at it or be inspired by it. And everyone’s story is an inspiration to somebody.

I have made no secret that the loss of Glenn Frey, Colin Vearncombe and David Bowie earlier on this year had focused my mind on the KOAS project and that now was the time to find the courage to go out on a limb and create this thing, even if nothing else, for posterity, as a legacy of “no matter what else happens afterwards, this moment was mine”. If anything, the events of the last 24 hours have proved to me personally that the time is right to do it and the decision is the right one.

Many of us, particularly when we get to a certain age become conscious of our own mortality (heaven knows, I do, its pretty much all I write about!). It speaks to us in different ways as we go on and some of us I guess choose to ignore it and then have to deal with it when it comes to us unexpectedly and the rest… we’re aware that its there, carry on doing what we’re doing anyway, but occasionally take a look over our shoulder to make sure.

Time is of the essence and it is the most precious thing you will ever have. Use it while you can.

 

The Wishing Game

“Since you went away I’ve been hanging around
I’ve been wondering why I’m feeling down
You went away, it should make me feel better
But I don’t know
How I’m gonna get through?

©Tenant/Lowe/Willis, 1987 from the album “Actually”

Another one that has somehow come out of thin air and is still in its first iteration. I was starting to wonder, I must admit, whether the well had started to run dry or whether there was any more to come.

Strangely, until about 10 minutes ago, on a Sunday afternoon this had a working title of Dusty, having just watched a BBC4 documentary on the enigmatic singer. I guess it took just one line to fire off the imagination and unlock a whole lot of other lines that I’ve spent the last nine months collecting in my notebook from all my various sources, which I was beginning to think were going to end up being orphaned. Not so, apparently.

As such, there isnt a central theme or such yet. It has been a stream of consciousness kind of thing where it has come out in one go in about 15 minutes. I guess if anything binds it all together, it is that:

  • your memory isnt always quite as clear and as precise as maybe you think it is and
  • Regrets about what is gone (and should remain in the past) will gladly destroy you and all you remember if you give them half a chance.

Far better to do the right thing late, however late in the day than to never do it at all. Sometimes we need to hear things can make us quite uncomfortable. But we need to hear them, nonetheless because they are part of our path to finding our own personal wisdom.

It is a first draft though so it may yet continue to evolve. No idea where the music is going to come from. Not yet anyway. We shall see. The music will come when it is ready.

 

The Wishing Game

V1/
Don’t just cover your eyes
And think no one can see you
I love your love and affection
But I don’t know what to do with it
And what you think that you knew when
You’re brought face to face with the truth

V2/
The palest ink tells less lies
Than the clearest memory of you
I cant look anybody in the eye
When they ask me what happened to you
The words you speak are the house that I live in
Haunted by daylight and by stars and dreams of your truth

CH/
I thought that I knew you,
But I found in the end that I never knew you at all.
In the time that was left to slow it down
And give it a name to make it all go away down the long dark hall
I could have dreamed you so many other things
If I hadn’t always been oh so blind
To what we had for just a moment
And gave what kept us together a little more time

V3/
Time to stop this wishing game
If this life has taught me anything
Its to read between the lines
Between what you say and what you mean
Bad things don’t just happen to faceless names
In newspapers; they can happen to you and to me.

CH/

V4/
Just for one moment, I was with you again
Twenty one again, stars aligned
So many things never said so long ago
God, what took you so damned long,
Was it all just once upon a time,
Is that why I cant help but think I did you wrong?

M8/
What you give’s not always what you lose
What you see and say isn’t always what you do
The faith of a child is not a fire to be put out
Now how many more are you gonna treat like your own broken heart?

© Words & Music, Steve McCarthy-Hunt

The Fear Of Missing Out

“Light the candle
Put the lock upon the door
You have sent the maid home early
Like a thousand times before
Like the castle in its corner
In a medieval game
I foresee terrible trouble
And I stay here just the same”

(c) Becker/Fagan, from the album “Cant Buy A Thrill”, 1972

This post is slightly unusual as this song has only just been written, as I type. I dont really have any notion yet as to what it is going to sound like, although for some reason, Steely Dan is gnawing away at me. I have no idea why and more to the point, no idea how I’m going to realise that, given that Fagin and Becker were such musical virtuoso’s.

The title itself came pretty much out of thin air, having seen it once this afternoon on a website called The Good Men Project, but as a four letter acronym, FOMO. I wondered what the hell it was about and looked through it to see what it meant in this context and (despite ultimately it being yet another pretty meaningless and pointless acronym being attached to a neurosis that has been round for years) it stuck in my mind during my drive home.

And struck me as a potentially useful song title. And the more I thought about it, the more it seemed suitable as a closing track to one of the albums, if I could get the creative fires stirring again after nearly 9 months of hiatus following my most recent professional commitments.

I thought that considering the overall theme of the No Expectations album is abandonment, The Fear Of Missing Out would be appropriate title to close the album with. And that is all I started with. Half an hour later, this poured out.

A lot of it is simple, elementary wordplay, from lines that I have been collecting for nearly a year. In turn, some of those lines have come from films or from TV programmes ranging from two well known series on the Hallmark Channel (yes, really), a long running British medical drama; two lines come from films, one of which stars a Dame of the realm.

The “if I cant talk to you, what is the point of you?” and “serves me right for not changing the locks“lines comes from an Anne Hathaway film called One Day about a girl who ends up living with a man she doesnt love but who adores her, but her oldest and best friend is a TV presenting narcissist (who is in a self-consuming upward spiral on the verge of burning out) is the one that she’s always loved deep down but never been able to express it. The man who she doesnt love knows that the narcissist is the only one who makes her eyes light up and brings her to life in a way that he never could, but it isnt clear to either of these men until she loses her life later on in the film.

And who is Suzie Q? Its merely a passing phrase from a movie character who chides her friend as being “not the only lonely widow in Gotham City”  (which was another line I was praying I could use, but not in this song). She’s not a real person, not that I know of anyway. Certainly not a diminutive 1970’s era bass-playing chanteuse. That much is for sure.

But it might just have something to do with a very famous song from a long long time ago… [insert smiley here]

The Fear Of Missing Out

V1
Keep thinking you can drive away from that room you rent
In that house on the murder mile
If I cant talk to you, what is the point of you
And if I can make you smile?

It serves me right for not changing the locks
Trying to stay young has just made me old
Never turn your back on love, Suzie Q,
You should have done this a long long time ago.

CH
When did the change begin? (Did you listen?)
Does it mean your future belonged to the past?
Your sunshine don’t stream through my window no more
It don’t mean I didn’t want it to last.
All that tough love never did you much good
Gave you something to prove beyond any doubt
Now its all that’s left near and its all you hold dear
Its that fear of missing out.

V2
You can take it from a man who knows
A man who dropped the ball and knew what he broke
Who backed the wrong horse, lost the big fight
Left flat out on the canvas alone in the dead of night

You can walk past the old boat every day
And never once think of leaving the shore
And just one day, one day you might row away
Never to come back here any more, ever more

CH

Mid 8
Some say its hope that kills, not the diamonds and frills
That you wear round your neck and behind your smile
Don’t you just roll your eyes like I don’t know my own mind
Peace comes at a price you alone must find.

Solo

CH to fade

© Words & Music: Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2016

 

Talk To Me

“In all the time that I’ve known you
There has been something between us
I dont think its my imagination….”

“I felt like I couldnt touch you
But I had the feeling you’d love to tell me the truth if you could do
I made excuses and ran…”

You’re an island… but I cant leave you all out at sea”

© Steve Hogarth/Colin Woore, “Dry Land”, from the album “How We Live”, 1987

Now this is a track that I thought that I’d already added to this site, but it seems on checking through my previously published works that I have not. Given that the intention is that it should open the KOAS London Road album and that it is one of the most “up” songs I’ve written (although it does still, wear a scarf of darkness around its neck, like all of my works), it is one that should be on here.

It was written pretty much in about 30 minutes about two years ago pretty much to the day, on my return from a trip seeing old friends. One of whom, the last time we had seen each other 25 years previous, had a very profound effect on me. I had never expected to see her again and to cut a long story short, this one weekend which amounted to no more than two stolen hours in her company (I’ve used that line somewhere else, as some may recognise) brought it all back.

So, it is highly autobiographical and there is no point denying it. The opening line refers to the distance between us both and the silence that pervades; the “walking through the airport” line refers to me expecting, longing, aching to see her to say goodbye as I was leaving, only to feel crushed when she wasnt there, leading to the next line of “standing alone looking at your picture on my phone”. Thats exactly how it was. And when I got back to Gatwick I then had another two hour drive home to contemplate it all further.

The music has already been written  – not by me, incidentally, but by one of my closest collaborators – and much as it may raise a few eyebrows, it struck me that it would have been suitable for a boy band. Yes, really. Its quite upbeat and where the production values are concerned, it should make a strong opening track which has the potential to be licensed. Initially, the musical feel I was looking for was based on a track of  almost the same name written by Peter Gabriel (except that was Come Talk To Me) and covered acoustically by a Canadian artist called Jacob Moon. But, David Barnes’ chords were somewhat different to that, leading to the song taking on a different feel and direction.

Talk To Me

Verse 1/
Betweeen all the miles and the silence
There is a place that we can be
Im fighting for my words, maybe trying too hard to be heard
And I feel like I’m all lost at sea

Verse 2/
Now I’m walking through the airport (with my heart in my hands)
And its you I’d come to see (with your beautiful brown eyes)
But I’m left standing here alone, just looking your picture on my phone
And an aching deep inside of me
Of me…

Chorus/
Now I cant make you feel what I want you to feel
If you dont feel the same about me
All I want to do is give this heart and soul to you
Nothing else matters if you just please talk to me
Take my hand girl and please just talk to me…

Verse3/
Its half a lifetime since I saw you
Since your sun had shone down on me
We’ve both grown and we’ve learned and our hearts have been burned
And the scars we’ve carried we can heal
Can heal…

Chorus/

Bridge/
(After all these dreams) Well at least I got to hold you
(And after all these dreams) At least you know I love you
I never thought that could ever be
Everything thats mine and all of my time
Take my hand and just come talk to me.

Chorus ad lib/

CODA/

Take my hand and come talk to me
I whisper these words almost too quiet to be heard.
All I want is to love you
Please just talk to me.

© Words by Steve McCarthy-Hunt; Music by David J Barnes and Steve McCarthy-Hunt, 2014

Never Be Mine

“Its sometime since we said goodbye
And now we lead our separate lives
And where was I, where was I to go?”

“Driving alone to a movie show
So I tune to the sounds in my car…”

© Bryan Ferry, Oh Yeah, from the album Flesh & Blood, 1980

This one…. was written in or around this time nearly two years ago in 2014. It has sat in its first draft form in my notebook all that time, but is one that I was hoping to include on the KOAS London Road album project, so I decided to blow the dust off it and see if I could breathe new life into it.

In its original form, it told the story of the night of a Summer Ball at a military base that I was stationed at a long time ago as a young serviceman, in the late 1980s. Someone walked into my life that year who, to this day, is the only person to ever make me feel every single one of the emotions that a man can feel: heart pounding infatuation, love, sadness, a sense of longing and anticipation, a burning jealousy that I’ve never felt before or since (thank heaven) – a truly beautiful, gentle, innocent soul.

Probably even now, despite all that I have learned, she remains the only girl I know who can still have that effect, after all these years and despite all that has happened.

The reality is that such beauty and gentleness can often be overwhelmed by the intensity of what is projected on them by someone who is a binary all or nothing person like I am  – and the person beaming out all this intensity is easily blinded to how intimidating such feelings may be (even from afar) to the limerant recipient… especially if this was not actively sought in the first place.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, going back to the late 1980s and the original story: the fear of failure and lack of self confidence prevented me acting on my instincts and at the end of the evening, I watched her leave hand in hand with another guy and lets just dignify it by saying that my youthful pride did not take it well, but knew deep down that I only had myself to blame and, like a lot of others, found it to be something that I just buried or pushed away or block out… Faint heart never won fair lady and all that old stuff.

I thought no more about it for another 25  years, apart from the fact that I told myself that she was just another youthful infatuation, one that had got away – or conversely, had a lucky escape – depending on the eyes that you see it through.

Circumstances brought us together again in 2014 briefly. This particular weekend also inspired No Getting Over You, Talk To Me and Doesnt Matter Now, which tells its own story as to how that weekend went; initially promising, but the cold winds of reality were quick to blow in from the north to put that fire back out again.

While I did act on my instincts this time and at least had the courage to say it, as the other songs listed here are testimony, the signs proved not to be what I thought they were. Hence the title of this track as reality dawns and is accepted and then you learn to move on.

Never Be Mine was originally conceived to be a longer story, but on revisiting it today, I’ve decided to cut it down quite a bit and take some of the detail out of it. Otherwise, it would have been too long and, too personal.

Whereas here, in its present form, there isnt really anything specific – it is quite generic and could be about anyone, which from a writers viewpoint at least widens the potential base for it to be licensed or covered.

I am hoping this will find its way onto London Road as the closing track; it is shorter, but in two parts with a change of tempo and feel half way through where it goes from recalling the past to contemplation of the here and now. And the moral of the story is pretty self evident.

Musically, the intended feel is somewhere between late 70’s Roxy Music (along the lines of Oh Yeah/My Only Love) and Dire Straits’ Private Investigations. There is no chorus, but there is a bridge/pre-hook that repeats twice in the first part and could act as a turning point.

Never Be Mine

V1/
It was just another seaside town
Miles from anywhere
That late night in the summer
Just like any other night
There was something else in the air

V2/
I watched you walk through the door
So young and so beautiful
Never seen anyone quite like you at all
Captured me without a single look
As you moved across the floor

BRIDGE
Never thought that I would fall so hard for you
Never thought I’d end the night so blue

V4/
My memory tells me you left with another guy
Hand in hand if I recall it right
But my minds forgotten a whole lot more
That isn’t true besides,

BRIDGE

(Change in feel/rhythm)

V5/
Now I know I’ve always loved you and I know part of me always will
Even though all these years have gone by I know I feel it still
I cant help what is inside for you, the way I burn for you
I know deep down you don’t feel that way, but you made me believe you do

V6/
All well and good to say that’s what happened that day, why I fell for you
You can walk away any time you like and I’ll know better than to bother you
Maybe I should have told you, all those years ago.
But I was too scared you’d break my heart and leave me nowhere to go

V7/
I don’t know whats going to happen next
I just know I think about you all the time
Maybe I’ll see you again later this year
But I know you’ll never be mine.

© Words & Music, Steve McCarthy-Hunt, 2016

Hold Me Now

“Long ago I reached for you and there you stood
Holding you again could only do me good
Oh, how I wish I could
But you’re so far away”

“One more song about moving along the highway
Can’t say much of anything that’s new
If I could only work this life out my way
I’d rather spend it being close to you”

© Carol King, from the album “Tapestry“, 1971

This track was conceived about three years ago. It was inspired by a number of tracks and the one referred to above, Carol King‘s So Far Away was one of them, musically at least.

This one is slightly unusual in that it was written in more of a traditional format where the music and the lyrics came at pretty much at the same time, together where normally I get either one or the other first.

This is one of the tracks that is in demo format and I’m happy with the overall idea and structure of it, but it needs to be finished and the vocal needs to be added. The vision I have for it is for it to be musically and thematically like a cross between So Far Away and In A Lifetime, the old Bono/Clannad track, but obviously without Bono’s vocal gymnastics, which a) I’m not capable of in a month of Sundays and b) the track doesnt really need it, in all fairness.

Its also possible that some of the lyrics may change when it gets turned from demo to final. So, I guess this is a draft copy for now. I do hope to have it on the KOAS project No Expectations album when it is finished, but I guess time will tell whether it is one of the tracks that will make the cut.

Its a traditional love song in many respects, but with a slightly darker edge (now theres a line you didnt expect me to write, eh?) with the singer basically trying to hold on to someone through a memory, maybe through a dream sequence. Oh and it doesnt have a chorus either. What real writers might call an ABABAB type format except the B part doesnt have any lyrics. Which lyrically, I guess makes it a AAAA!

Hold Me Now

Verse1/
Hold Me Now
You never had to say just what was on your mind
I always knew somehow

Easy now,
Just take my hand, dont be afraid,
The time is now
The light of love is ours

Verse2/
All those years we had
Into sunsets we could sail
And life was easy then
Nothing was too hard

I would watch you smile
For hours at a time
And hold you in my arms
You’re all I want right now

Instrumental verse/ sax solo

Verse3/
And we had built a life
Together hand in hand
Nothing could dim our light
You are my lucky charm

Instrumental verse/guitar solo

Verse 4/
Then there came a time
When love was not enough
For you to still be mine
The past had caught you up

And there you lie
In a room so full of love
Trying so hard not to cry
I’m always by your side

Hold you now
The only thing I long for is to
Hold you now
I wish that I could hold you darling
Hold you now
I wish that I could hold you…

(to fade)

© Words & Music, Steve McCarthy-Hunt, 2012