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Pete Atkin >> Words >> Pete and the Rocking Vicar
(Message started by: Mike Walters on Today at 19:15)

Title: Pete and the Rocking Vicar
Post by Mike Walters on Today at 19:15
Don't know how many others here subscribe to the excellent Rocking Vicar mailing list (if you don't, you should - guaranteed entertainment for those of us of a certain age with unfailingly shallow minds...see http://www.rockingvicar.com for details) but I was pleasantly surprised to see the following in the latest missive, as part of an ongoing discussion of unlikely words found in popular songs...

Parishioner Graham Johns: Pete
Atkin (a pre-punk Peel favourite, lest we  forget) had the
unenviable job of making songs from Clive James' lyrics. A
browse of these at http://www.peteatkin.com/pa.htm reveals
namechecks for  Milton, the Aenid, Scrapper Blackwell,
Buckminster Fuller, Charlie Parker,  Byron, Henry Ford,
Shelley, and more literary allusions, cinematic  references
and single-use songwords than you could shake a very large
stick at. As an earnest lad  I felt extremely clever to be
following all this stuff, but what the stout yeomanry of the
sessions (Herbie Flowers, Chris Spedding, et al)  made of
our favourite Antipodean polyglot's lyrical showboating I
can't imagine. Of course it now turns out that the simpler
songs are the best; I've just revisited I Have To Learn To
Live Alone Again' and Payday Evenings, and find I have
something in my eye. While I'm on, big ups to Atkin, who
produced the mighty This Sceptred Isle for Radio 4, which is
currently being repeated on BBC7. After putting tunes to
stuff like 'Driving Through Mythical America ('A
Rooney-Garland show was in the  barn/Fields was at the
Pussycat Cafe/No one had even heard of Herman Kahn/And
Jersey Joe was eager for the fray'), a 200-part radio series
covering the entire history of Britain probably seemed no
more daunting than a spot of light weeding.

Hope they'll forgive me quoting this, in return for the plug.  And we should thank Mr Johns for directing people to the website (not sure if he's here amongst us?).



Title: Re: Pete and the Rocking Vicar
Post by Murray McGlew on 04.04.05 at 14:04
It's hard to tell, when he describes Clive's lyrics as hard to write tunes to, whether the Rocking Vicar is being derogatory or otherwise. If I were Clive I would take it as a compliment.

I suppose it mainly shows that Clive had so much confidence in Pete that he wrote anything he wanted to and knew that Pete would do it justice. Either that or he thought, "Let's see you do something with that then."

Title: Re: Pete and the Rocking Vicar
Post by Ian Chippett on 04.04.05 at 18:17
Apart from his trick of adding extra lines to songs (like "I See The Joker" where each verse has one more line than the one before), Clive's lyrics are quite traditional and settable in their literary way. The problem comes when you use a non-tumpty-tumpty-tum rhythm. Hence some words have to be distorted as it were: the music fits the words OK in the first verse but not later. The word "memory" in SATW is pronounced "memo-REE" which is not really natural and again in "Femme Fatale". Must be other examples.

Ian C

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