Monday, July 11, 2011

Tempting Fate (Plenty of)

Wrote this imagining Robbie Robertson/Rick Danko/Garth Hudson/Levon Helm playing it in the style of The Band. Playing it on a guitar, that's how it seemed. A kind of ragged band of heartbroke guys with their Civil War era hearts on their sleeves feeling. . .
Here's the original. My friend Tom says the shadow obscuring the singers' face makes it look like he's (I'm) "in the songwriter-witness protection program."

But it took a much different turn in the "studio" (our converted garage, literally). In the world of synthesized virtual music reality, there are orchestral string sections, horn parts and such, and it became a major production that is much more R & B, if you can call anything with a string section from the Hollywood Bowl R & B. The lead singer is me, and the back up singer is--me. That kind of affects the authentic context for the song. It's the me-brothers, laying it all out on the line for you, baby.

I shouldn't tell this to any of you, but Randy Newman has this song "Marie" which features a string section and a really vulnerable and sincere lyric. I always loved that song. I'm gong to erase all this information soon, so I'm going to pretend I never said any of this if anyone asks me. It's bad form to box in the interpretation of a song, because then it always has to be linked to the facts that leak out about it, which are interesting but often less relevant and interesting than what gets evoked in people because of what they bring to it.

What's especially interesting to me is that as the song went from the backyard guitar to the orchestral production I kept changing the words and what the song was about. Just now, when I reviewed the video and the studio recording that are in this post, I made changes again. I didn't like my third verse because I didn't think people would know what the word "imprimatur" means. I am not sure I even know how to pronounce it correctly. At the time I made the video, I didn't actually have words for the third verse, so I just sang, "This is the third verse/and we're going to the home stretch" etc. It turns out, I decided to ditch the third verse on the studio version and actually go with a new verse based on that messing around, which I found a way to make fit. The latest and probably final version of the lyrics are printed below. To hear the studio version,

click the line above to listen to the song (at my site on bandcamp:):

Lyrics printed below. . .


Plenty of
Music and Lyrics by Michael Alan Silverstone
©2011 Mr. Silverstone Music Publishing/ASCAP

I’m probably tempting fate
I shouldn’t attempt to get so high up on a ladder
I can imagine you talking with me
Saying o.k. but right now
that just doesn’t matter

‘cause all we once had
may be gone to us now
and all we have is what we love
and what I never presumed before to know

Not good to deny ourselves
We just live once and may not get another chance here
Desire may call to you
Never knew how to choose the ones that really need an answer

But all we have now may be lost in the end
What we find is what we love
And what I never presumed,
in my life, to know

The only one
I ever knew
To care enough
So real and true
So beautiful
Though opposites
All I could do
was to delight in it

The way it is
The way we were
Before anything
Had yet occurred
I knew the place
I had to be
Where you are
Is where I want to be. . .

We’ll probably never know
Why we’re unsure
Maybe that’s just how we want it
Maybe didn’t take first last time
But I can feel in my bones
We’ve got no cause to act sardonic

All we have
May be gone anytime
And all we can give is our love
Which I know our life has always had
Plenty of
Which I know our life has always had
Plenty of

Plenty of
Plenty of
Plenty of

1 comment: