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BLESSING OF THE COMBINES
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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 04:25 pm
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alytrain
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BLESSING OF THE COMBINES
© 2010 Amber Train

V1:
My hometown is righteous, 
we believe in god and farming
We’re good folk -  when you visit us
We all nod and say good morning
 
Nothing special happens
and we all get along just fine
once a year we gather
for the blessing of the combines
 
Comes a day each August
 when we line up and down Main Street
The firetrucks roll by and
the school marching band taps a beat
 

 
Chorus
Then throttle thrusts roar and the combines all begin movin
straight through town to the church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin

Well, I’m not sure why the combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me
 
V2:

Well I’m hoping this year
 is better than the one before
I’v been crying too long
I can’t survive one setback more
 
Now I’m at least four months
behind on our mortgage payment
Food stamps almost got us by
 til my husband upped and went
 
From looks on folks faces,
I know they’ve been talking `bout me
I wish instead they’d send
A  prayer up to my almighty
 
 
Chorus:
 
The throttle thrusts roar and then the combines all start movin
straight through town to the church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
Well, I’m not sure why the combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me 

V3:
 
I think I’m not alone
In needing some extra prayer
See  I’ve been hearin things
 that probably shouldn’t  be shared
 
They say when Ms. Ward shops,
She tends to have a sticky touch
And Mack loves his daughter
By just a grope or two too much
 
Sue’s husband don’t know it,
but that blonde middle child ain’t his
the high school coach gets by,
they say, selling coke to the kids
 
Chorus:
 
The throttle thrusts roar and then the combines all start movin
straight through town to the church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
Well, I’m not sure why the combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me
 
V4:
 
This town might do better
 if we kept them prayers for ourselves
Combines ain’t got no bills,
kids to feed, or problems with health
 
I’m sure if Jesus saw,
he’d name this thing hypocrisy
And from those hard combines
He’d grab a prayer to hand to me
 
 
Chorus:
 
But throttle thrusts roar and them combines all keep on movin
straight through the town  to church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
Well, I’m not sure why them combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me











If you want to read about the "real" blessing of the combines, visit my hometown's website: http://www.lowershore.net/towns/snowhill/snowhilltoday.htm

Attachment: combinespc.jpg (Downloaded 63 times)

Last edited on Thu Jul 1st, 2010 06:19 pm by alytrain



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 04:50 pm
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Roy Harris
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Love the story and it is very well written.  However, I think it will have to be cut back some to make into a song.  Me thinks it may be a tad too long.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 04:56 pm
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alytrain
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Thanks.  On a slow read through it clocked in just under 3 minutes.  Of course, adding some instruments around the edges of the lyrics would make it longer.  Or do you mean the lyrics are just too long to hold attention?  If so, the chopping block might have to be in order



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 05:34 pm
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Roy Harris
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I think you would find if this were put to music it would be much, much longer than three minutes.  Wait til others chime in, but here are my thoughts.  I think you are trying to cover too much ground with one story.  You have the blessing of the combines, how you wish the town would pary for you instead, and then you go into a lot of transgressions by other town members.  Verse three rings too much like Harper Valley PTA and for starters, I would eliminate that verse in its entirety.  Keep the blessing of the combines as your basic theme, but then relate how maybe they would bless you a little also. 

Now I’m at least four months
behind on our mortgage payment
Food stamps almost got us by
 til my husband upped and went


I'm not quite understanding this verse.  It would appear to me you were behind on the mortgage payment and getting by on food stamps AFTER the husband up and went, or am I just reading it wrong?

I am the worlds worst at critiquing lyrics, but these are just my thoughts and like I said, wait until others chime in before you go and make any drastic changes.  One thing to remember though in song lyrics, usually less is better than more.  Think of yourself as the singer and having to remember all those words. 

 

 



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 05:36 pm
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Missouripicker
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Yeah Aly. You are definitly a storyteller. Anything much over two minutes is likey too much for mainstream radio. They've got to get in commericials. Plus, people can't focus much longer than that on anything. Besides, they'd be too dumb to understand the importance of the words. You are a teller of tales. ........Yet, while time is certainly a constraint for mainstream radio, it didn't stop Gordon Lightfoot from writing The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgereld.

Just as a point of interest. Look-up some of Greg Brown's material (if you haven't done so before). I think you'd enjoy reading his words. Your writing style and technique reminds me of his. He also writes songs of similar topics. He's a folksinger. Like you are. Here's one of his songs.


 

Canned Goods
Let those December winds bellow 'n' blow
I'm as warm as a July tomato.

[chorus]
Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
You can taste a little of the summer
my grandma's put it all in jars.

Well, there's a root cellar, fruit cellar down below
Watch you head now, and down you go

And there's [repeat chorus]

Maybe you're weary an' you don't give a damn
I bet you never tasted her blackberry jam.

[repeat chorus]

Ah, she's got magic in her - you know what I mean
She puts the sun and rain in with her green beans.

[repeat chorus]

What with the snow and the economy and ev'ry'thing,
I think I'll jus' stay down here and eat until spring.

[repeat chorus]

When I go to see my grandma I gain a lot of weight
With her dear hands she gives me plate after plate.
She cans the pickles, sweet & dill
She cans the songs of the whippoorwill
And the morning dew and the evening moon
'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon
'Cause these canned goods I buy at the store
Ain't got the summer in them anymore.

You bet, grandma, as sure as you're born
I'll take some more potatoes and a thunderstorm.

Peaches on the shelf
Potatoes in the bin
Supper's ready, everybody come on in, now
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
Taste a little of the summer,
My grandma put it all in jars.

Let those December winds bellow and blow,
I'm as warm as a July tomato.

[repeat chorus]

Last edited on Fri Jun 25th, 2010 05:41 pm by Missouripicker



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 05:43 pm
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alytrain
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Ray, I'm liking your tough love, guy.  I have to admit I had to go look up Harper Valley PTA - my music education is inconsistent at best and sometimes I've overlooked even the classics!  I guess I'm not too worried about it being too long, as much as I'm worried about it sounding tired and/or trite, which it sounds like it may be the way its ringing in your mind's ear.  I'm going to mull over your comments, play around with them and see what comes out of it.  Anything to make the song better is worth the effort! 




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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 05:46 pm
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alytrain
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Missouri, that happens to be one of my favorite songs!  Man, you get me.  And I could care less about going mainstream.  I'd like it one day if some of my stuff got heard, but I plan to always have my day job to pay the bills.  I'd rather have good over popular any day.  However, as you'll see from my above posting, I'm going to mull over this some more and see if it needs to be tighter to avoid slipping into the cliche . . .



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 06:15 pm
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Roy Harris
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There's nothing wrong with being long, IF you're telling a story that hasn't been told.  A lot of folk songs go that way.  Just make yours unique and one that will hold the listeners interest.

Incidentally, I see you're from Santa Fe.  I have a lot of fond memories there but probably before your time.  I was stationed at Albuquerque in the early 50s when I was in the Navy.  Made many trips to Santa Fe especially during the festival time.  As a matter of fact I have a lot of fond memories of New Mexico back when I was single.  We sure had a lot of fun.  Love the good home Mexican cooking and the home grown Mexican senoritas.  lol.   

 



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 07:46 pm
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alytrain
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I'm in pit bull mode.   I can't set this song aside until I've worked it over properly and I think Roy raised some fine points.  So I did some editing, with the firm belief that though there are exceptions to the rule, Roy's concept is right more said in less words is better.  So here is an edited version to compare and contrast.  I would very very much be interested in hearing folks preferences between the two.  MOst of the chopping came out of the middle if you don't want to read through the beginning a second time.   More story or more refinement?  Or something else all together needed.

BLESSING OF THE COMBINES
© 2010 Amber Train
V1: (male vocal)
 
My hometown is righteous, 
we believe in god and farming
We’re good folk -  when you visit us
We all nod and say good morning
 
Nothing special happens
and we all get along just fine
once a year we gather
for the blessing of the combines
 
Comes a day each August
 when we line up and down Main Street
The firetrucks roll by and
the school marching band taps a beat
 
[pick up military cadence]
 
Chorus [need deep strong male vocals going for militant effect in first two lines of chorus]  


Then throttle thrusts roar and the combines all begin movin

straight through town to the church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
[female vocal]
Well, I’m not sure why the combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me
 
V2: (continue female vocal)
Well I’m hoping this year
 is better than the one before
I’v been crying too long
I can’t survive one setback more
 
Food stamps almost got us by
 til my husband upped and went
Now I’m at least four months
behind on our mortgage payment
 
From looks on folks faces,
I know they’ve been talking `bout me
I wish instead they’d send
A  prayer up to my almighty
 
 
Chorus:
 
The throttle thrusts roar and then the combines all start movin
straight through town to the church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
Well, I’m not sure why the combines need this especially

But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me  


V4 (continue female vocal)
 
I think I’m not alone
In needing some extra prayer
the little prayin we do
should go to our own, to be fair
 
cuz we might do fine
 if we kept them prayers for ourselves
and Combines ain’t got bills,
kids to feed, or problems with health
 
and if Jesus were here
he’d name this thing hypocrisy
And from those hard combines
He’d grab a prayer to hand to me
 
 
Chorus:
 
But throttle thrusts roar and them combines all keep on movin
straight through the town  to church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
Well, I’m not sure why them combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me


Last edited on Sat Jun 26th, 2010 03:01 pm by alytrain



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 08:04 pm
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Good choices. Dropping the Mrs. Ward and Sue's husband works. Detailed info about them is not relevant. The line "I think I’m not alone In needing some extra prayer" does a nice job of telling us that others are also in need.......One thing you might think about. And it's you're song...so this is just a suggestion------I'd take the last verse (where you bring Jesus in) and maybe give it a slightly different melody or chord progresson, or maybe sing it a little louder or with some frustration...then drop into your closing chorus......Whatever you do, i think this is an interesting song. I listen to songs that tell me something. I often listen to Johnny Cash's last three CDs late at night, in the dark. Cash knew he was dying when he did those songs. Very few, if any of them are songs to dance to, but they are songs to make you think about who you are and where you are in your life. I find that vastly more important than dancing or snapping my fingers to some trite line by Kenny Chesney, etc....Sorry, letting my bias show...lol...Comp_Trash2:



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 08:12 pm
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Roy Harris
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You're getting there.  I think this is much better.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 08:39 pm
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You know, Roy, if it wasn't for us men, women would never get anything done.......Think I'll go off-line for a while now. Get into my underdground bunker.:Really Ticked:



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 Posted: Fri Jun 25th, 2010 08:49 pm
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alytrain
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good call Missouri.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 07:31 am
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You know, is there any reason this has to be just one song, or could it become a set of songs?



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 02:43 pm
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alytrain
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Thats a really interesting thought.  Any ideas it would break out into a set?  I could probably come up with some ideas of my own, but I'm only half way through my first up of coffee this morning!



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 07:42 pm
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The way I see it, you've got the blessing of the combines, which is a story in itself and sets the stage, and perhaps introduces the character who hears everyone else's stories, then each of those people's stories could be expanded into a song in and of itself...

In the end, I would have a final song that tells the "protagonista"'s story as if it were a different person, but reveals at the end that she has her own problems, finally explaining why she wants everyone to pray for her...

This idea approaches having a short musical, haha - it could easily be a short song cycle or just an EP.

If you'd like I could paste some stuff around from your lyrics to show you what I mean if this isn't clear... I don't want to get all up in your business without your permission though. :)



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 09:17 pm
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alytrain
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No you go for it!  I think you've got a really cool perspective on things that I would never come up with on my own.  Thanks a lot for hanging around and thinking about it.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 09:51 pm
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kineticturtle
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Okay, here's my hasty paste-up of this song-cycle idea.
Tune #1: The Blessing of the Combines

V1:
My hometown is righteous, 
we believe in god and farming
We’re good folk -  when you visit us
We all nod and say good morning
 
Nothing special happens
and we all get along just fine
once a year we gather
for the blessing of the combines
 
Comes a day each August
 when we line up and down Main Street
The firetrucks roll by and
the school marching band taps a beat
 

[pick up military cadence]
 
Chorus [needs deep strong male vocals going for militant effect in first two lines of chorus] 

Then throttle thrusts roar and the combines all begin movin
straight through town to the church to receive Rev-rand Tom’s blessin
 
[Switch back to female vocal]
Well, I’m not sure why the combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me
 

V2:
This town might do better
 if we kept them prayers for ourselves
Combines ain’t got no bills,
kids to feed, or problems with health
 
I’m sure if Jesus saw,
he’d name this thing hypocrisy
And from those hard combines
He’d grab a prayer to hand to me



(Chorus)



V3:
Well I’m hoping this year
 is better than the one before
I’v been crying too long
I can’t survive one setback more
 
I think I’m not alone
In needing some extra prayer
See  I’ve been hearin things
 that probably shouldn’t  be shared


I put those lines last, since they could lead into songs about stories she's heard - maybe even a lyric saying "let me tell you some of them".
Then you have this group of little stories that could be expanded on - each is totally worthy of its own song! You could also maybe group them up, write a song about the people who are dragged down by money:
Tunes 2 and 3, or 2 through 5: Individual Stories

They say when Ms. Ward shops,
She tends to have a sticky touch

the high school coach gets by,
they say, selling coke to the kids

and a people who are dragged down by lust:
And Mack loves his daughter
By just a grope or two too much
 
Sue’s husband don’t know it,
but that blonde middle child ain’t his

Then you can draw a final piece from this material about the protagonista:

Tune 4 or 6 - The Storyteller's Song

Well I’m hoping this year
 is better than the one before
I’v been crying too long
I can’t survive one setback more
 
Food stamps almost got us by
 til my husband upped and went
Now I’m at least four months
behind on our mortgage payment
 
From looks on folks faces,
I know they’ve been talking `bout me
I wish instead they’d send
A  prayer up to my almighty
Well, I’m not sure why them combines need this especially
But, it sure’d be nice if instead the whole town prayed for me

So instead of dealing with 1 really long song (which can get repetative), you tell a deeper version of the story over the course of four to six shorter songs! This has the added advantage of breaking up the comlicated tale into more manageable chunks (both in terms of songwriting and listening!) and lets you treat each story individually; say in a different style, or with appropriate singers.



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 10:00 pm
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alytrain
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I love this idea.   It is completely doable and my mind is already off on its own internal tirade about where to go with it.  I'm going to put it to work and, if you're interested, will let you know how it develops. 



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 Posted: Sat Jun 26th, 2010 10:20 pm
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Great! Can't wait to see how it comes out! :)



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