Occasional diary and ramblings of an amateur musician

Audio links follow for the reference of friends, co-writers, those kind proper musicians who’ve offered to arrange/perform my stuff, and anyone else who has half an hour to kill and doesn’t know how to turn the radio on or access YouTube. Don’t blame me if you’d have had more enjoyment listening to your CDs – I’m a lyricist, not Mariah bloody Carey.

I’ll be moving everything to SoundCloud in due course – cuz that’s what people who are all modern do with their audio these days. I can’t keep up.

Institutionalised, September 2012

This needs editing. You need to fast forward to 7 mins 55 into this audio to hear Denny Terrell singing Institutionalised. I wrote the lyrics, he wrote the music. It’s about someone who’s feeling trapped in a relationship they can’t get out of.

It’s followed at 12 mins 35 by Armpit Blues, a comic song I wrote and performed. It’s about personal hygiene issues among commuters.

The Big Machine, February 2012

The latest collaboration from the London Songwriters. Written by me, Kate, who’s one of the organisers, and the Modern Folk Poet. The theme was “collaboration”, which we took to relate to an online relationship that fell apart when the happy couple actually met each other. The genre, as suggested by Kate, much to my approval, was “Screaming Harridan”. Kate and I did most of the verses, the Poet came up with the chorus. The “big machine” of the title and chorus refers to the fact that marriage is part of the “big machine” of society and its expectations.

This, like previous results from the Songwriters sessions, was written and performed in an hour and a half, so it’s pretty raw – it could do with some tweaking and perhaps being sung in a lower key (we were restricted by the Poet being able to play the mando only in D), but you get the idea.

Down the Merch Again, January 2012

The next few audio links are to recordings of a hilarious night in the Merchant’s Arms, a smashing little pub in Bristol.  The lunatics took over the asylum to an extent at the weekend, turning the historic little hostelry into a cross between a school disco and an middle-aged women’s karaoke night.

Among those present were me and my schoolfriends Kim, Catherine and Cathy plus (in the form of my stepmother, her bf and my brother respectively), a retired French teacher, a trainer of guide dogs for the blind and a trainee stonemason.

Also there, in his capacity as bf to one of my friends, a musician known in Bristol music circles as the Rock Lord; a bloke from Darlington; the bloke from Darlington’s mate, who claimed to be Lithuanian; and, representing the management, the barman, The Lovely Miles, who otherwise makes his living doing acting and modelling. He was Mister Bristol in the Mister Supernational contest, has had bit parts in Merlin, Casualty and Skins, and apparently earns money from dressing up as Spiderman. Check out this promotional video of him to see him emoting and for some gratuitous but rather nice crotch-shots http://www.starnow.co.uk/milesley/

So, an eccentrically diverse bunch. I’d brought my guitar, so I could play a daft little song I’d written in praise of the Merch, and once the Rock Lord got hold of it (I’ve noticed guitarists always like to check out others’ guitars, rather like car aficionados enjoy looking over other drivers’ cars), we were away, with a singalone evening of rock, blues and pop. I’d include a link to the tireless Rock Lord (whose playing simply got stronger throughout the evening in inverse proportion to everyone else’s articulateness) only he doesn’t have a website, being apparently rather a technophobe. Instead, I’ve been asked to include a link to another musician, who wasn’t there, but who qualifies on the grounds of being Cathy’s son. Richard Morelli is a Junior Rock Lord, being 16 and having just won a Battle of the Bands contest. www.richardmorelli.co.uk

OK, so onto the audio files.

We Like Boys

This next one is me performing a silly ditty called We Like Boys (to the tune of the folk song Oh No John), which is based on record cards my friends and I used to keep as teenagers, listing personal and not very complimentary details about the boys we knew.

Office Meeting

Next up is Office Meeting, a comic song written by me, about…er, an office meeting.

Shouldn’t But I Do

Here’s the link to the YouTube video of Shouldn’t but I Do. It’s a pretty crap video, to be fair. I’m accompanied by Tony Crawford, the Modern Folk Poet, on mandolin. I’m the one without the beard, hiding in the dark behind the music stand.

I co-wrote Shouldn’t But I Do with my friend Kim Roseblade. We invented it while on the way to Cornwall in the car. It started out as a comic song about a middle-aged woman lusting after a young bloke, but turned into a proper love song about a lovely young barman who is infatuated with an older woman who drinks in his pub!

Hence it should really be sung by a man but for its first public performance I had to do. Two audio versions below too.

This is the alternative, sad, ending to Shouldn’t But I Do.

Your Chest is Best

This is me singing Your Chest is Best, a lyric I wrote about, er, bosoms. Sung to the tune of Those Were the Days by Mary Hopkin. Andy the Rock Lord is accompanying on the guitar.

Whaddya Wanna Make Those Eyes at Me For (the drunk version)

Here (starting at 2 mins 30 seconds in) are the girls recreating an old favourite song of our youth. We once performed this in public with a pub pianist called Honky-Tonk Joe and I don’t think anyone will be offended by my saying we haven’t improved with age.

The remaining audio files are of the Rock Lord performing a variety of numbers, to the backing accompaniment of a load of screeching, laughing, drunkenly singing women. Some of the background conversation is quite comical if you have the time to sit through it. If I knew how to edit audio, I would, but I don’t. Perhaps it’s better that way – more entertaining.

This is the Rock Lord performing Sanctuary, All Over Now and then Ring of Fire.

This next one includes Brown-Eyed Girl, Hi Ho Silver Lining, Dirty Old Town, Whisky in the Jar, Poker Face, Copacabana, Careless Whisper, and I Will Survive, feat. Bloke from Lithuania repeatedly and futilely requesting a Britney Spears number.

This next one is the longest of the lot, since I just turned the machine on and forgot about it. It opens with the classic remark “Stop touching my tits and throwing beer mats at me” – not sure if this was me or Catherine – and continues with the Lithuanian performing Britney Spears’ Hit Me Baby One More Time (with a truly shocking vocal accompaniment), then Sunny.

There’s a bit of a screeching hiatus as everyone piles on top of The Lovely Miles as he unwittingly leaves the safety of behind the bar and joins us on the bench.

The musical action – and the truly shocking vocal accompaniment – resumes with a rendition of Jolene. I think there was further Miles-groping going on due to the hilarious screeching. At one point Catherine asks for a glass of water, which shows how bad things had got, and the rest of us discuss what alcohol can be purchased for the fiver that we can summon up, the kitty having long been spent.

The Rock Lord puts a stop to all this by starting House of the Rising Sun, feat. me (at 22 mins) and continues to Help. The Rock Lord and Cathy then enter into an argument about a song he threatens to play which she maintains “makes me want to throw up” – it’s not quite clear whether it’s Stand by Your Man or Lady in Red, but either way she disappears to the toilet with the right hump. The RL plays Wild Thing instead but the girls drown him out with their rendition of 1980s reggae song Legalise Collie Herb, so the RL gives up and resumes later with Ace of Spades and Smells Like Teen Spirit (at about 27 mins).

Then there’s Come as you Are, Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger, Johnny B Goode, Hotel California (at about 40 mins), Wonderful Tonight, Born to be Wild (at 49 mins), Tainted Love, Satisfaction (56 mins), Purple Haze, Light My Fire, Roadhouse Blues and C’mon Everybody (1 hr 05 mins).

Message in a Bottle (1hr 07 mins) provoked the demand “Roxanne, and then we’ll go home”, so the Rl did Yellow instead. The audio concludes with me, with my practical head on, asking Miles who’s going to clean up in the morning (he said it would be him though I later learned it was John the Landlord, who opened up in the morning to discover all kinds of debris strewn over the floor and a giant cock chalked on the blackboard) and one of the other girls telling him drunkenly “Miiiiiles, I luuuuvvvv you!”. Hours of fun.

More songs and stuff

Shake You Off

This was written in a collaboration at the London Songwriters meet-up in January 2012. We spent so long on the words we had only 15 minutes to devise a melody, so it’s quite a simple tune in the key of C, but sounds quite a jolly little number.

See my blog post for more on this particular composition. https://fwords.co.uk/2012/01/17/another-musical-collaboration-produces-a-song-about-regrets-relationships-and-cocaine-addiction/

shake you off

By Tony Crawford, Susan Fenton, Keiran Henderson, Shola

Never the Festive Season

This song is the lovechild of a rather unexpected liaison in a London pub in December 2011. See my blog post for info. https://fwords.co.uk/2011/12/16/in-which-i-co-write-a-song-rather-to-my-surprise-and-perform-it-in-public/

Below is the performance from that event, played/performed by my musically more adept colleagues, featuring lots of fancy stuff like F# minor 7 diminished chords. In defence of my own more simple version that follows later, the guitarist, John, used to be a music teacher. Music teachers like that kind of thing.

And below is my own, more chord-challenged version at my local pub later the same week. Personally, I don’t think you can argue with a nice basic three-chord trick, like wot I do. (OK, I’m lying.) I incorporated a further verse that we had dropped from the original because at the time it didn’t scan – later on, I made it my business to make sure it did. 

Due to my inability to edit audio files, there’s a lot of faffing about during the first couple of minutes of the recording as I try to tune up – listeners could mow the lawn or make a nice cup of tea while they wait for the action to start.

By John Clarke, Melissa Dawson-Bowling, Susan Fenton, Jennifer Lee Ridley

Let it Go

This song was a response to hearing various people moaning about how life had dealt them a rough hand, to which my reaction was pretty much “get over it”.

by Susan Fenton

Stranger on a Plane

I was quite pleased with the rhyme scheme of this. It needs a chorus, I know. I’ve thrown the lyrics at one of my new chums from the London Songwriters’ Club to see what can be done about that.

by Susan Fenton

Emily’s Song

Inspired by a poem by Emily Bronte. I’d always been rather taken by a particular line from the poem, and wondered how Emily would have written had she been a modern woman with modern attitudes. Bronte fans will be able to spot the original line from the poem.  I can’t do the umlaut. If anyone can tell me how to, that would be lovely.

by Susan Fenton

Middle-Aged Woman

Inspired by reading about footballers’ wives and others who attempt to hold back the years with cosmetic treatments, overpriced consumer products and what-have-you.

by Susan Fenton

Copyright notice

Nothing wot I wrote or co-wrote can be reproduced or performed without my/our agreement. All songs have been copyright-protected. So there. Nah.

Other random stuff

Here’s a very useful site for transposing chords. I daresay no-one will ever link to it from here but at least I know where to find it when I need it.


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