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Unemployment Blues
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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 04:47 am
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cmaja
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Unemployment Blues
AABA
A 1 (quickly):   
I had a job in Chattanooga throwin’ sacks of food onto a train
They cut my hours to twenty-two, so we headed down to Memphis on a hope
With two small kids and a cat, my wife and I try hard to stay in shoes
With two hard months of dead-end jobs and being at each other’s throat
We’re sufferin’ with these unemployment blues
 
A 2 (quickly):
Took fifty-five to New Orleans on a hunch to work upon a boat
My Ford broke down by eighty-two, so I got a job in Jackson washin’ pans
At a truck job down in Dallas she’s askin’ if I worked upon a crew
She’s lookin’ for some references... so I say I’m just a workin’ man, lookin’ for a paycheck
Try’na loose these unemployment blues
 
Bridge 1 (slowly):  
And the folks in their Bentleys smile as they drive by my Ford
“If we give you employment, it‘ll be for our pleasure
Your service should be your reward.”
 
A 3 (quickly):
We headed back to Tennessee to see if I could win my old job back
They say they laid-off thirty-two, so I hit the unemployment lines again
From my sweat stained hat, calloused hands, worn jeans down to my tattered shoes
You can see that I’ve been strugglin’, linin’ bills up end-to-end
Try’na loose these unemployment blues
 
Bridge 2 (slowly):
But the folks up in D.C. say they will turn things around
“If we give you employment, it’ll be at our leisure
We know there is work to be found.”
 
A 4 (quickly):
Well... this... Woody Guthrie land of ours cost too much to grow a loaf of bread
With starvin’ mass and well-to-do we’d better learn to live in plentitude
Now my wife makes money sellin’ songs, an hour I make fourteen forty-two
With my young-uns try’na smile again... and one more week of ramen, and livin’ in a trailer
We’re sure to cure these unemployment blues
 
Coda (quickly):
Yeah, one more month, if all goes smooth
We’re gonna loose these... unemployment blues

© 2003 Charles M Anderson

Last edited on Wed Jul 31st, 2019 07:14 am by cmaja



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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 01:24 pm
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Kel
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Hey Charles,

Its rough on that roundabout, been there too! Never worked as hard as when I was unemployed!

The lyric seems a little wordy, but you'll probably trim that a bit when you come round to putting it to music. (I know I do!)

I like the two bridges too. I have only tried my hand at one Blues song, and I repeated the bridge too.

Cheers,
Kel



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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 01:31 pm
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RainyDayMan
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Unemployment can be cruel and uncaring, and you've captured the struggle well with this lyric!

I feel like there's too many numbers in that first verse.
Perhaps you could lose one of them:
Hard months of dead-end jobs and being at each other’s throat

And the same for the second. Maybe:
Drove to New Orleans on a hunch to work upon a boat

But I like it overall.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 06:58 pm
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cmaja
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Hey, Kel
I had a guitarist sing it slowly in 2:49. If it’s sung quickly, as annotated, it could be done in 2:30. The dude in the song is a hustler, so it needs to be sung quickly.

RD Man,
Two off-rhymes with blues. Unemployment is about numbers.

Charles



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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 11:02 pm
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RainyDayMan
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cmaja wrote:
RD Man,
Two off-rhymes with blues. Unemployment is about numbers.
Charles


Well, I think it's about bitterness and struggle so we'll agree to disagree on that one! :)



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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 11:44 pm
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Kel
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cmaja wrote:
Hey, Kel
I had a guitarist sing it slowly in 2:49. If it’s sung quickly, as annotated, it could be done in 2:30. The dude in the song is a hustler, so it needs to be sung quickly.

Charles


Hi Charles, I wasn't thinking overall time... as a Blues song it would be fleshed out with Blues licks etc... it was more about lines seeming rushed in places, but the melody will fix that, is what I meant. If the melody incorporates all without "rushing" that's great.

Cheers,
Kel



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 Posted: Mon Apr 8th, 2019 11:57 pm
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cmaja
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Yes, definitely about struggle and problems, but numbers are what are going through his mind, more so than when employed. Money and time is what I thought about a lot. It’s a job!

Charles



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 Posted: Tue Apr 9th, 2019 12:04 am
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RainyDayMan
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Fair enough! :)



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 Posted: Tue Apr 9th, 2019 01:05 am
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cmaja
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Kel,
Although the format, AABA, is typically blues; I wrote this to be a country song. The guitarist that put music to it was a country guy and it came out country. But it needs to be redone to better fit the character in the lyric. Blues wouldn’t work due to the quick tempo it should be sung at, save for the bridges. I can sing it, pretty much, like it should be sung. When I get a composer to add the music, I’ll definitely sing it to him/her.

Charles



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 Posted: Mon Jul 8th, 2019 06:26 pm
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cmaja
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Kel wrote:
Hey Charles,

I like the two bridges too. I have only tried my hand at one Blues song, and I repeated the bridge too.

Cheers,
Kel


Hi Kel,
I didn’t respond to this. If you’re use to verse/chorus writing, writing AABA lyrics can be tricky. The key is to make the verse sound like a chorus and then change it on the following A stanzas whereas it’s a chorus that changes like a follow on verse. When I start writing a lyric, I sometimes don’t know if it’s going to be verse/chorus or AABA until I finish a verse or two. Usually with blues I write AABA. When it’s put to music, a common practice is to repeat the bridge musically and repeat one of the A stanzas —usually the last one.

There is also a tendency to write two bridges, which, I think, should be done on an exceptional bases. I’ve had a composer who wanted to make the bridge a chorus but that’s a no, no; because the title is already incorporated in the A stanzas.

Does this help?

Charles



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 Posted: Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 12:58 am
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Peko
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And the folks in their Bentleys smile as they drive by my Ford



cmaja: The above was my favorite line!

And I liked all the numbers. They seemed to fit, somehow.[

Last edited on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 01:03 am by Peko



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 Posted: Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 02:06 am
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Bridge 1 (slowly):
And the folks in theirBentleys smile as they drive by my Ford


I've seen one of those one time.... I think it was in a museum! :Angel:

I think you've got a good start here. I can hear this either as a country song or a blues based one. Did you have a particular style of music in mind when you were working this up? You have a lot of possibilities available to you in either direction.

Thanks for sharing.

Last edited on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 02:08 am by moptop



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 Posted: Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 07:19 am
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cmaja
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Hey Moptop,
The new Bentley is automotive enthusiast’s dream! Check ‘em out. But you’d better have a couple hundred grand. They’re swanky.

It’s definitely country. I had an old boy from TN put it to music with a solid country feel to it. But he sang the A stanzas too slowly. So I annotated each stanza to get it sung right the second time around with a new composer —yet to be found.

Charles

Last edited on Tue Jul 23rd, 2019 07:27 am by cmaja



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 Posted: Sun Oct 6th, 2019 09:06 am
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cmaja
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Peko wrote:
And the folks in their Bentleys smile as they drive by my Ford

cmaja: The above was my favorite line!

And I liked all the numbers. They seemed to fit, somehow.[


Hey Peko,
I was reviewing this and realized I didn’t respond to your comments. That line originally read: And the folk in their Lexus smile as they drive by my Ford. But I had to change it because the Lexus brand became too common.

The numbers: I used ‘two’ a lot for rhyming purposes —near rhymes with blues. Also, I’m a numbers kinda guy. Especially when I was unemployed.

Charles

Last edited on Wed Oct 23rd, 2019 11:05 pm by cmaja



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