(Brother Dave's Ragweed Rag)
[Note: When I awoke this morning, April 16, 2011, my sinuses were all stuffy and my throat was scratchy from perennial exposure to springtime pollen pollution. Oy! I felt compelled to arise from my bed and create this new webpage from an e-mail that I had written last May about a new song I'd written the month before, now just a few days shy of a year ago. Recently, I had intended to finally get around to recording an actual demo recording of the song sometime this month but, ironically, I am too congested to bother with that. So, although my "plant rant" may be over-the-top and its better realization now further delayed, the song is, nonetheless, still sincere and oh-so timely. So there! —BD]
Whoa! Why, it's been years, even decades, since I last wrote both the words and music for a brand new song. ...Well, decades up until now, that is. And although this new song of mine is rather rough-hewn and still very much a Work In Progress, my excitement about having written it at all is such that I want to share it with you now.
About a month ago, on April 21st, I found myself off-handedly composing a quatrain of doggerel while driving to work. So, after I got to the studio, I posted that doggerel as a single tweet on my Twitter page and as a short entry on Facebook. About two hours later as I labored at my general workday duties, I discovered that another quatrain had formed in my mind. It explored the same subject matter as the first. And then only about 10 minutes later still, I found that a third quatrain had crystallized in my head. And it, too, continued in the same vein as the first two quatrains. Cool. But I didn't really think about the three separate clusters of theme-related rhymes as being the potential components of a new song. And, too, I didn't give them much more conscious thought after also posting the second and third nuggets of doggerel to Twitter and Facebook.
Apparently, however, I must have given them some subconscious thought.
Last Saturday morning while sleeping-in, and during one of those instances of "waking dream," I was casually working on even more theme-related rhymes while slowly surfacing from my slumber. Cool. As soon as I was conscious enough, I got up from the bed, turned on the computer, and started to transcribe the semi-dreamt quatrains. And then, having enough lines to reach the point of critical mass, I continued in my work and composed even a few more quatrains, ones that were formed more consciously and deliberately. So there!
Including the original three, I had a total of ten related stanzas by midday. I arranged and rearranged the order of eight of the quatrains so as to find the best flow. And I set aside the couple that were seemingly extraneous.
Taking last Monday off because I was scheduled to work long days Tuesday-through-Thursday, I began that day by trying to find a suitable musical setting for the new would-be lyrics. My working title for the song would be — and still is — Sneezin' Season. But because the subtitle that occurred to me was — and still is — Brother Dave's Ragweed Rag, I thought I ought to at least first explore some Ragtime musical themes for possible use. So, I loaded some different Ragtime sample songs into my arrangement software, but I stripped out all melodies so that I wouldn't be influenced by them. I was just looking for a style, rhythm, tempo, and chord structure that might be compatible with my lyrics. After rejecting a few candidates, I discovered that part of an old Scott Joplin piece seemed suitable. I discarded the melody without once listening to it and I threw away half of the chords. I rearranged some of the bars and then copied-'n'-pasted, copied-'n'-pasted, copied-'n'-pasted, assembling a three-and-a-half-minute musical bed that would accommodate eight of my quatrains. (Eight quatrains, but more like four verses in their practical application, I guess.)
I had fun generating the various instrumental tracks that I would consider including in a mix for a basic temporary music bed. Because I was having fun, I made a lot more tracks than I actually needed. But I made a Q&D mix and, then, recorded myself trying to improvise singing my way through the lyrics four times through. Finally, I cut a single vocal/melody track together out of various phrases from the four different takes. Ta-da!
The current recording doesn't even rate "demo" status. It's more like another preliminary stage in the whole "Work In Progress" sequence with, hopefully, the other parts of the process soon to be realized. But with this current recording, I think I should be able to transcribe and edit and better define the melody line and, in turn, further edit the lyrics accordingly. Later, after I can make a mix that includes the instrumentation of a more-clearly-defined melody, then, perhaps, I can actually learn to sing the song for a demo recording. Oy!
And blah, de-blah, blah, blah....
Following are the lyrics. You may want to read along while you listen to the MP3 pre-demo recording, in case my at-times mush-mouthed improv interpretation leaves you unsure as to what the hell I was trying to say. So, FYI:
(Brother Dave's Ragweed Rag)
Words and Music by David R. Lister
You'd best beware: Plant Life love is in the air,
With all of its attendant pluses and minuses.
Although it leads to seeds and little plants,
Why must their lust also inflame my sinuses?
Oh, to procreate, plants much pollinate.
That I then breathe it in is eventual.
So when their pollen goes up into my nose,
It’s a sex act that’s far from consensual.
Trans-species sex is very perverse.
Consider a shepherd and sheep he’s dated.
But how those horny plants violate me is worse.
I’m a victim who's been cross-pollinated.
I'm an unwitting bit player in this Ragweed game show.
So, someone, kindly contest this contestant.
Give me antihistamines as my parting gifts
And some real pseudoephedrine-based decongestant.
Yo, you sex-crazed plants, go and drop your pants
In some no-tell motel that's cheap 'n' sleazy,
Where you can hump away until The Judgment Day.
Just leave me, and leave me less bleary-eyed and sneezy.
Why, if the wife spent hours growing flowers,
Hey, I would, no doubt, have to up 'n' leave her.
And, of course, I would file for divorce
On the grounds of irreconcilable hay fever.
Pornographic Plant Life sex life sickens me.
It fills my mind with so much consternation.
It fills my head full of snot from the money shot
Of their obscene green orgy of mutual masturbation.
So I suffer through Spring, Summer, and Fall,
Long past the point when it's all grown so old,
Till Winter's cold snap ends this pollen crap.
Then it's "Adios, Allergies." and "Hello, Head Cold."
Although not yet included in the current recording, the following are some lines that I figured could be spoken, as fillers between the singing and the lead instrumentals. I don't imagine using them all, of course, just some of 'em. Maybe. So, FYI:
Hey, Governor, if you really think I'd boil my original-formula
Sudafed® down to make meth, why, you must be smokin' crack!
Yes, it's "So long, to Pollen and Ms. Miley Cyrus."
And it's "Hello, Walls ...and Ol' Rhinovirus."
Then, it's Amen to abstinence, cold and clean as ice crystal
...Not for each penis and vagina, but for each stamen and pistil
Hey, Plants, I don't have sex in your flower bed,
So you should stop trying to have sex in my head.
Go and have your kinky three-ways with the bird and the bees.
Just count me out of your perversions, if you please.
...Hey, you plants, I think I'll go eat a big green Garden salad now.
So there! Payback's a bitch, ain't it!?
Yep. Payback's a bitch ...with croutons and Ranch dressing.
Following are two quatrains that just didn't make the cut. Had they shown more promise, each line would probably be a few syllables longer than they are now, edited so they would more closely match the rhythm and meter of the other quatrains. They just didn't seem to be worth any further effort. But, hey, FYI:
Sure, I'd like to breathe easy.
But there's no real relaxin'
...Unless I mask like a Muslim woman
Or the now-late Michael Jackson.
If I was a true believer,
If there was really a God,
I would pray both night and day
For a Golden Rule for Golden Rod.
And blah, de-blah, blah, blah. Again.
Well, as I said, I just wanted to share my new song with you, even though it's still in its early stages of development. (Example: Although "simultaneous masturbation" would be more technically accurate within the context painted by the lyrics, should I sacrifice the more pleasing alliterative phrase "mutual masturbation" in this instance? I just don't know. Why, it could well be One Of The Great Mysteries Of Our Time! But time will tell, I imagine.)
And that's pretty much all I've got t' say 'bout all of that ...fer now, at least.
Be well, be happy ...and, oh yeah, be sure to keep all those leafy-green perverts from skull-frakking you whenever and however you can manage to do so. I'm just sayin'....
Love 'n' sticky stuff, Brother "With A New Song In My Heart, And A Perpetual Snotwad In My Nasal Cavity" Dave
PS: For the music video, I see this song being presented as a production number in a Vaudeville stage sketch. The singer would be wearing (circa 1910, perhaps) a white shirt, white pants, a red-'n'-white striped jacket (2-inch wide, vertical stripes), with a big red bow-tie, a straw hat, a crook-handled bamboo cane, and white shoes with, perhaps, red spats. The big backdrop would be a garishly-painted orgy of Springtime color, representing a heavily-floral park-like setting. Large flowers and other large leafy-green plants on the stage would soon reveal themselves to actually be costumed performers, who sway and dance to the music and otherwise support the singer as he softshoe-shuffles his way through the number. Yep, I envision either a Vaudeville stage production, or else an animated film short in the style of one of those nearly-psychotic Max Fleischer cartoons, wherein all the characters (the singer, flowers, the sun, birds, bees, bunny rabbits, et al) sway and bob to the same rhythm. I'm just sayin'....