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Richard Bleksley
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A nice little earner?
« : 03.01.08 at 12:53 »
Quote

Not quite sure which board this should be on, but this seems as good a place as any.
 
Now, I'm not a committed fan of Katie Melua, but I take a little interest, seeing that between her well-publicised childhood in Belfast and her hitting the big-time she lived in my local area, in fact she went to the same school as my daughter.  Despite the undoubted fact that she was originally Svengali'd by Mike Batt, I believe that she does have a talent of her own, even if it doesn't excite me overmuch.  At least she's no Musik Biz puppet bimbo, and her charity work shows that her heart's in the right place.
 
So what is the point of all this? I hear you ask.  Well, it's that it suddenly occurred to me recently what a good job she would do on Early Days.  I tried out the idea on my wife, who owns Melua's first album, and she agrees with me.
 
Its laid-back late-evening jazz style is right up her musical street (listen to Crawling Up a Hill or My Aphrodisiac Is You from her first album (see below) if you want to know what I mean), and the witty insouciance of its lyrics sits well with her persona.  And it's a woman's song, anyway.
 
Those who determine what she should sing (herself, Mike Batt, or whoever) are obviously receptive to a wide range of sources, as witness her doing the afore-mentioned and previously devastatingly obscure Crawling Up a Hill, which was John Mayall's first ever release way back in 1963, and the royalties from which must be a comfort in his old age (though, at 74, he still hasn't retired).  So I can't help wondering if it wouldn't be worth suggesting to somebody (just who, I don't know) that she should consider doing Early Days.
 
Considering the oft-quoted fact that Val Doonican's cover of The Flowers and the Wine earned more than all six of Pete's original albums combined, this could be a nice little earner for Pete and Clive.  Katie Melua hasn't had a major hit single since her debut The Closest Thing To Crazy, but her albums continue to shift truckloads.
 
So, what do you reckon?
 
Brief musical samples:
 
Crawling Up a Hill  
http://wc09.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:0xfyxml5ldte
 
My Aphrodisiac Is You
http://wc09.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:wxfyxml5ldte  
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Ian Chippett
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Posts: 330
Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #1: 03.01.08 at 14:32 »
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I read this week that the disco hit "Born To be Alive" earns its creator 1500€ a DAY despite its being released in 1978 (I think.) The chap has never done anything else with even the slightest success but continues to rake in the lolly. It's the second best earner for the SACEM (the French Performing Rights operation) after Ravel's "Bolero" and "La Vie En Rose."  
 
I know another chap whose first-ever composition was picked up on years after by Whitney Houston and included on an album which means he doesn't have to worry where his next meal will come from for a few decades.  
 
Perhaps one of the American Voices could put Pete into contact with Britney Spears?
 
Ian C
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Nedd
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #2: 03.01.08 at 15:17 »
Quote

As in
 
 "What does [ song title]  mean?"
 "It means I never have to write another song."
 
or was that apocryphal?
 
Nedd
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Rob Spence
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Posts: 162
Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #3: 03.01.08 at 16:37 »
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The trouble with Ms Melua is that
a) she did a duet with a dead person
b) she rhymed "had a moustache" with "must have had much cash" in her song about Douglas Fairbanks, which was inflicted on me inadvertently the other day.
She shouldn't be allowed near a PA song.
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Ian Ashleigh
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #4: 03.01.08 at 20:04 »
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Whilst I love the voices of both Katie Melua and Eva Cassidy, the "duet" was a step too far and doesn't work on any level.  However, the thought of Ms Melua covering a PA/CJ song is appealing - maybe Pete could have a say in the arrangement.
 
Perhaps we could find a song and perfomer to do for Pete what "What's So Funny 'bout Peace Love and Understanding" did for Nick Lowe when used in the soundtrack  of the film "The Bodyguard"
 
Any ideas anyone??
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Richard Bleksley
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Posts: 164
Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #5: 03.01.08 at 22:46 »
Quote

on 03.01.08 at 16:37, Rob Spence wrote:
The trouble with Ms Melua is that
a) she did a duet with a dead person
b) she rhymed "had a moustache" with "must have had much cash" in her song about Douglas Fairbanks, which was inflicted on me inadvertently the other day.
She shouldn't be allowed near a PA song.

 
Well, Rob, I would be silly indeed if I expected everybody to agree with me, and an ill-mannered bigot if I didn't respect your opinion, but I must point out that the song you complain about was actually written by Mike Batt, so the blame for the rhyme should be laid at his door.
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Rob Spence
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #6: 04.01.08 at 08:08 »
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on 03.01.08 at 22:46, Richard Bleksley wrote:

 
Well, Rob, I would be silly indeed if I expected everybody to agree with me, and an ill-mannered bigot if I didn't respect your opinion, but I must point out that the song you complain about was actually written by Mike Batt, so the blame for the rhyme should be laid at his door.

 
Sorry Richard- and sorry if I was too cavalier in my dismissal of la Melua. Yes, I should have recognised the hand of the author of "Remember You're a Womble."
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Kevin Cryan
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #7: 04.01.08 at 08:22 »
Quote

on 03.01.08 at 22:46, Richard Bleksley wrote:

 
Well, Rob, I would be silly indeed if I expected everybody to agree with me, and an ill-mannered bigot if I didn't respect your opinion, but I must point out that the song you complain about was actually written by Mike Batt, so the blame for the rhyme should be laid at his door.

 
Mike has been lambasted all over the place forf rhyming these two words. I myself think it's a bit unfortunate, but not all that uncommon, especially among rappers, with whom the likes of "ass" "cash" & "moustache" are, I believe, acceptable rhymed words.
 
Just to be the Devils Advocate for a moment, I'll give you Mike Batt's own defence -such as it is - of this piece of rhyming.
 
Sunday, 21st October 2007 Mike Batt's Newsletter
 
We got a bit of flack from some critic in The Times about my lyric for the song “Mary Pickford”. In giving us a one star review for the album, he spent two thirds of his space saying what a crap rhyme “He wore a moustache, musta had much cash” is. (Actually it’s a near-perfect rhyme, - so long as the accent on “moustache” falls on the first syllable) but it’s funny how at least four or five reviewers have winced at that lyric. Can’t they see it’s meant to be a bit cheeky? It’s totally tongue in cheek. If that guy wanted to find fault with my lyric I could have shown him several genuinely vulnerable, attackable bits, like “Davy Griffith worked as an extra…until they let him be a director”. “Extra” does not rhyme with “director” but I let it go because I liked the meaning and it sort of felt right, - but the guy at The Times missed it. I’m a stickler when it comes to rhymes. I would only very reluctantly rhyme a singular with a plural, for example, or let an “imperfect rhyme” through. Anyone interested in lyric writing should buy Jimmy Webb’s book ( Tunesmith: Inside The Art of Songwriting]”). It’s a great read for an aspiring writer or even an established one. In fact, all established writers are still aspiring! Those who stop aspiring drop away and dry up.
 

 
Kevin Cryan
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Rob Spence
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #8: 04.01.08 at 08:45 »
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on 04.01.08 at 08:22, Kevin Cryan wrote:

 
Mike has been lambasted all over the place forf rhyming these two words. I myself think it's a bit unfortunate, but not all that uncommon, especially among rappers, with whom the likes of "ass" "cash" & "moustache" are, I believe, acceptable rhymed words.
 
Just to be the Devils Advocate for a moment, I'll give you Mike Batt's own defence -such as it is - of this piece of rhyming.
 
Sunday, 21st October 2007 Mike Batt's Newsletter
 
We got a bit of flack from some critic in The Times about my lyric for the song “Mary Pickford”. In giving us a one star review for the album, he spent two thirds of his space saying what a crap rhyme “He wore a moustache, musta had much cash” is. (Actually it’s a near-perfect rhyme, - so long as the accent on “moustache” falls on the first syllable) but it’s funny how at least four or five reviewers have winced at that lyric. Can’t they see it’s meant to be a bit cheeky? It’s totally tongue in cheek. If that guy wanted to find fault with my lyric I could have shown him several genuinely vulnerable, attackable bits, like “Davy Griffith worked as an extra…until they let him be a director”. “Extra” does not rhyme with “director” but I let it go because I liked the meaning and it sort of felt right, - but the guy at The Times missed it. I’m a stickler when it comes to rhymes. I would only very reluctantly rhyme a singular with a plural, for example, or let an “imperfect rhyme” through. Anyone interested in lyric writing should buy Jimmy Webb’s book ( Tunesmith: Inside The Art of Songwriting]”). It’s a great read for an aspiring writer or even an established one. In fact, all established writers are still aspiring! Those who stop aspiring drop away and dry up.
 

 
Kevin Cryan

For someone who's a stickler for rhymes, it's odd that he justifies "extra" and "director" on the basis that it "sort of felt right". The moustache thing is also special pleading- moustache is accented on the second syllable in English English, as any fule kno.  
Having been very negative about Richard's original proposition, perhaps it's incumbent on me to suggest an alternative. So - what about Stacey Kent? Her new album is sublime, and features, somewhat bizarrely, some new songs with lyrics by Kazuo Ishiguro, so she has some form in this area.
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David Morgan
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #9: 04.01.08 at 18:37 »
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Moustache debate fascinating, guys, but let's not lose sight of Richard's original idea. I'd say we should encourage anyone, even Val Doonican again(!), to cover PA/CJ songs if they can shift records and bring these gems to the world's attention. If the singer is at least semi-respectable, then so much the better. This is the most likely route to belated recognition, I think, though of course I hope the excellence of 'Midnight Voices' proves me wrong!
 
As to how to persuade Melua in this direction - perhaps your local connection is the best lever we have, Richard.
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Ian Chippett
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #10: 04.01.08 at 21:33 »
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Rob wrote:
 
<<For someone who's a stickler for rhymes, it's odd that he justifies "extra" and "director" on the basis that it "sort of felt right". The moustache thing is also special pleading- moustache is accented on the second syllable in English English, as any fule kno. >>
 
Yes, but at least he aspires to stickle. How many other songwriters even pretend to stickle apart from our Clive? I know a (very very ) few lyricists who have something interesting to express but almost none, no, be honest, none who stick to the rules. And when I say "rules" you can make your own: just stick to them.
 
Ian C
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naomi
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Re: A nice little earner ? - rhymes
« Reply #11: 05.01.08 at 02:32 »
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As for rhymes, chaps, here's the sublime Mr Sondheim in Can that Boy Foxtrot? :
 
... But who needs Albert Schweitzer
when the lights are
low?
...
 
N
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Ian Ashleigh
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #12: 05.01.08 at 18:24 »
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Was it Supertramp or Dire Straits who rhymed "water" with oughta" my ancient memory fails me.
 
In defence if Mike (Remember You're A Womble) Batt, he did write and produce an album in the 1980s called The Tarot Suite which featured Roger Chapman's fabulous voice.
 
As to raising the PA/CJ song profile, how could we get PA on Later with Jules Holland and then on this year's Hootenanny (to be recorded in mid-December).  
 
Controversially, maybe Amy Winehouse would make a good job of The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley.
 
What do others think??
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Though he had no great gifts of personality or mind, he was quite well respected.
Richard Bleksley
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My time has come to find a better way

   

Posts: 164
Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #13: 05.01.08 at 23:42 »
Quote

This thread seems to have split into two topics...
 
As for groan-worthy rhymes, I suspect that if the perpetrator is someone you don't approve of then it's dreadful, but if it's someone you like then it's cheeky and lovable.
 
As for PA / CJ covers, the one I'd really like to hear, as I believe I've said before, is A Hill of Little Shoes by June Tabor.  Wouldn't rake in the lolly like a Katie Melua cover would, though.
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Ian Ashleigh
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #14: 06.01.08 at 17:13 »
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Richard, you are so right, June Tabor's voice is pure honey and I'm sure she would approach A Hill of Little Shoes with due sensitivity.  I lost a lot of family in Treblinka.
 
Can no-one suggest a worthy male singer to cover, say, Canoe or even - and I hesitate to suggest - Fat Cat.
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #15: 07.01.08 at 14:21 »
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on 06.01.08 at 17:13, Ian Ashleigh wrote:
Richard, you are so right, June Tabor's voice is pure honey and I'm sure she would approach A Hill of Little Shoes with due sensitivity.  I lost a lot of family in Treblinka.
Can no-one suggest a worthy male singer to cover, say, Canoe or even - and I hesitate to suggest - Fat Cat.  

 
Ian,
I agree with the suggestion of June covering A Hill Of Little Shoes - perhaps unaccompanied.
I'd nominate Rolf Harris for Fat Cat, if he can do Stairway To Heaven,  
he can do anything. Sure to bring the royalties rolling in.
Canoe, however, is for me uniquely Pete's.  
I cannot imagine anyone being able to do it justice.
Regards,
Bob.
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Re: A nice little earner?
« Reply #16: 07.01.08 at 14:35 »
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I think I've offered this thought before, but my personal fantasy combination would be Robert Wyatt singing 'The Trophies of my Lovers Gone'.  Not that that would necessarily bring in many royalties, though Mr Wyatt does appear to be momentarily fashionable again.  I agree about 'Canoe'.  I think it needs an Atkinesque understatedness, and I'm struggling to think of anyone else who could perform it without over-emoting.  
 
Mike
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