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S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 855
New: 130 new original lyric sheets
« : 31.12.23 at 06:56 »

Greetings All,
I've just completed a major revision of the Discography section of the website. Don't be misled by the term "Discography": the page of that name -- for historical compatibility its address is "/disworks.htm" -- isn't simply a list of records; rather it's virtually a setting-out of every component of the musical works of Atkin and James.

It began in 1996 as, yes, a list of records, with song titles and lyrics. There were six LPs. But with the help of Midnight Voices it rapidly inflated to include singles, private pressings, reissues, guest appearances, cover versions, a songbook and a stage play. And gradually each song was filled out horizontally with guitar chord charts, lead sheets or full scores, annotations to explain references in the lyrics, and even a few comic parody lyrics submitted by MV members.
The last (and greatest) improvement was the addition of streaming audio: two MP3 players were implemented, one on a song-by-song basis and one arranged by albums, both featuring relevant images. (Don't forget you need to be logged in here on the same device, to stream the full range of tracks in the per-song player, including those 'beyond the menu!')  
Most of the lyric pages were last revised in 2008, when just two or three songs were equipped with a high resolution scanned image of the original lyric manuscript or typescript, downloadable in PDF format.
But now I'm pleased to announce that, thanks to Pete's effort and generosity, we have acquired scans of the lyric sheets, originally written or typed by Clive, for most of the songs. Not only that, but among them are the lyrics for over 30 new (to us) songs that have never previously seen the light of day. I've processed all of the new images and linked them to the Discography page, replacing the pages from 2008.
Most of the new images are of Pete's working copies from the late '60s and early '70s, as written or typed by Clive and passed to Pete for setting to music. They show Clive's own notes and alterations, plus Pete's further amendments to render them singable, with some re-ordering of verses and in a few cases the deletion of a line or even a complete verse. Pete's pencilled notes on rhythm, stress, melody and chord structure are also visible.
There's some fascinating context here: in many cases Clive included footnotes recording the date and location of each lyric's creation. What we don't have are Clive's working -- the notes he made as part of the creative process; in general these will be in his surviving notebooks, archived with the rest of his papers at Sydney University.
Alongside each lyric sheet image, in the box with blue background, is what I consider to be the canonical version of each song. This is generally the first commercially recorded version, or (for songs performed but commercially unreleased) the first available performance. For incomplete, unreleased or unrecorded songs I have transcribed the words from the image.
To make the new images easier to spot in the listings I have changed the styling of the 'lyric' button icon against each song with new content.
Unchanged (2008-era) lyric pages are linked via the old pale cyan button :
Pages with the new images have a pinkish-violet, lilac, mauve even, button : [Fans may call it 'pale purple']
The linked pages are set up for a minimum browser window width of 1024 pixels; if yours is smaller you may need to scroll left and right. Clicking on the image will enlarge it for easier viewing; try clicking again if you need to see the brushstrokes.
To browse the new material I suggest you start at the top of the Discography page and work downwards through the titles. Or if you're looking for a specific song, use the 'song finder' table at left (I've suppressed the leading article in the titles there) to jump to the relevant album's entry or Discography section:
Discography Page

Or skip straight to the "unreleased" section to view the thirty-odd 'new' old songs, though all 65 titles here might be new to many of you:
'Unreleased' section

But please be patient: the Discography is quite data-heavy and the page may be slowish to load unless you have a particularly fast connection.
Every shade of Clive's song lyricism is represented. There are show songs, mostly comic, many frivolous -- perhaps rushed together at a revue or smoker rehearsal for an ensemble introductory number. There are songs of love and loss, many of them intensely personal, embarrassingly so, even, which may have led to their exclusion from the published canon. There are some literary show-offs, bearing perhaps an excess of the classic classical references. And there are one or two duffers, at least in the absence of music: remember these are not poems. But there are some war songs and some truly sad songs in there, many of which could, with appropriate music, have held their own against our well-loved favourites.
Here are a few that appeal to me (click 'em) :
  A Fashion Of Forsaking
  Daylight For The Lovers
  Here We Stay
  I've Been In This Business Too Long
  Nothing But A Room
  Roman Candles In The Rain
  She's Over There
  So There You Are
  Stave Off The Evil Day
  The Gardener In White
  Who Said The Age Of Chivalry Was Dead?
A good album's-worth, perhaps, had things been otherwise. I'd love to hear what MV members think of the songs that didn't make it to the recording studio -- please reply to this message with your thoughts.
Meanwhile, here's wishing a Happy New Year to all !
Steve Birkill
Administrator, Midnight Voices - https://www.peteatkin.com/forum
Webmaster, 'Smash Flops' - https://www.peteatkin.com/pa.htm
Curator/Editor, The Clive James Website Archive - https://archive.clivejames.com
[ Edit 31.12.23 to add absolute path for embedded images ]
« Last Edit: 31.12.23 at 20:14 by S J Birkill »     https://peteatkin.com/forum?board=Words&action=display&num=1704005771&start=0#0   copy 

Stephen J Birkill
S J Birkill
MV Administrator

just a sensible reserve

Posts: 855
Re: New: 130 new original lyric sheets
« Reply #1: 01.01.24 at 01:54 »

I realise now that I should have included this in my 'lyric sheets' post (the previous one in this thread). Pete gave us a more authoritative introductory note in his most recent Newsletter (December 12th) which might render my description (above) redundant. For those who don't receive the Newsletter, here's what he said:
Elsewhere, I have been doing some tidying up and sorting out in my Bristol workspace, the result of which has been the rediscovery of quite a few working drafts of quite a few of the songs. These are mostly the copies which Clive originally gave to me - sometimes handwritten, sometimes typed (often on the typewriter whose ribbon should have been changed months and months ago) - some of which include bits that were changed or left out or moved around, several with handwritten amendments and notes, either by Clive or by me. Sometimes there are musical or rhythmic jottings, and sometimes Clive added precise dates and locations for the writing. All in all, I set about scanning them - about 150 single sheets - and sent them to that nice Mr Birkill, who has made a great start on incorporating them into the discographical pages of www.peteatkin.com. He has revised the icons which accompany the titles, so I think you'll find them pretty easily. He has started with the earliest albums and he is working his way through, so please be patient.    
This stash also includes several drafts of lyrics that never did turn into finished songs, and these will be appearing in the Unreleased section of the discography. I'd perhaps better say straight away that I don't think there are any lost masterpieces here. There's a variety of reasons why they didn't quite work, and in each of these cases Clive's reaction to my difficulty was simply "Bin it!", so he may not have been grateful for my keeping them rather than chucking them away. Sometimes the idea cropped up again later but better in a song that you will probably recognise.
I should perhaps also add that although these are working drafts, and although I think there are interesting details amongst them, they are not Clive's original worksheets; with only one or two rare exceptions, his original workings are, as always, in his workbooks, which are now at the University of Sydney along with almost all of the rest of his archive.
All in all, though, I think it's worth a bit of clicking around.

If you haven't yet subscribed to Pete's occasional e-mail newsletter and would like to, you can sign up using the form on our Newsletter Archive page, where you can also read the latest and all previous editions.
    https://peteatkin.com/forum?board=Words&action=display&num=1704005771&start=1#1   copy 

Stephen J Birkill
MV Friend

Be certain of who you are...

Posts: 18
Re: New: 130 new original lyric sheets
« Reply #2: 02.01.24 at 15:06 »

Huge thank for all your hard work, time and efforts doing this Steve. It will be a splendid 'go to' opportunity when I am in the mood for a bit more in depth Pete and Clive wallowing.
Here's wishing you, Pete and fellow MVers best things for the coming year.
    https://peteatkin.com/forum?board=Words&action=display&num=1704005771&start=2#2   copy 
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