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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Ever Wrote a Song?

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farmerjones - Posted - 07/21/2022:  20:35:47

Or songs? I penned a precious few. And not for awhile. I like listening to interviews of good writers. They talk about some or most songs just mysteriously appear. Some go as far as not really taking credit. It got me thinking (dangerous, I know) so, learning someone else's tune is very close to learning a song of your own. Maybe? I sometimes think it's already been said. I have a bunch of ways to phsyc myself out.
You don't have to share your song(s) but I'd like to hear someone else's perspective.

carlb - Posted - 07/22/2022:  05:52:37

As someone who was born in Brooklyn and who sang folk songs and played music all my life and who had a career as a biological scientist, I've only written two songs (i.e. in Gutheresque fashion; new words to an already existing melody).
Are You From Brooklyn? (to the tune, you guessed it, "Are You from Dixie?")
The Interferon Gene (to tune of the calypso number, "The Guardian Beauty Contest"; about who profits from a scientific finding)

Other than these two, I occasionally make up new lines to songs with floating verses.

Flat_the_3rd_n7th - Posted - 07/22/2022:  09:06:51

A couple. With the simple country music I play, the whole challenge is in the lyrics cause the chord progressions can be a little boring. In an effort to add some "texture" and something for the listener to chew on, I try to throw in a relative minor and maybe a bVII (flat seven chord, modal-sounding). Not much on diminished this and augmented that. Also, I try throwing in a crooked chorus or something so that it's not just 12-bar. A good example of what I'm referring to is something like Ebo Walker (the Dillards) or Fox on the Run.

Other than that, the story is what's most important to me. I write about stuff that either me or my forebears have experienced, so most of them probably sound kinda nonsensical to a listener. My most recent song was a 3/4 time titled, "6-dollar Diesel and 80-cent Calves."

Edited by - Flat_the_3rd_n7th on 07/22/2022 09:07:35

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/22/2022:  10:55:37

I kinda agree that just playing a tune is sort of writing a sense, re-writing what was already writ ...I just now erased a whole big buncha stuff that came after I'm sure it woulda been just fascinating thoughts for everybody here to fate took the words away as an act of mercy on FHO

But anyway I was saying something to the effect of (that expression sounds very familiar these days) how I don't have much appreciation for most current musical thoughts, except that I do love Ashokan Farewell and some Hank Williams and a few other modern inventive ideas like those, but really not much.

And since, like it or not, or just the way it has to be...I'm a product of our times, our day and age and our culture as it is now...that means most music that would come straight from me would have that angle to it...otherwise, would it be genuine? Can one imitate a culture long gone away and still be genuine...which brings me back to re-writing the old songs...i.e., just playing them in my own way...hmmm...I fear I am starting a big argument with myself...which I'm not emotionally up for so I'll stop that thought right now.

Still...I enjoy tinkering with old tunes from long ago. Back when I knew people who did what we called "jams," i.e., stop in the store to buy a Coke and sit down and play with whoever is in there, or have cookouts with a lot of families and play a buncha stuff together...a lot of times we would make up silly or sad songs right on the spot...but they were forgotten as fast as they came into being. I've done that many times alone noodling with an instrument...or at times pulling weeds from the garden patches...just start making up a song..."Move along little Rollie-Pollie fat bellied pig, for I gotta grab a lambs quarters singing a jig..." lol...or whatever. They come and go, forgotten in a flash. I used to sing those to my daughter and then grandson when they were little...I'd be like..." Hurry in the car for the sun's goin' down...hurry little one so we can go to town," and just sing some silly little thing like that and it'd be gone right away. I made up a march for grandson because I'd be over there a lot when he was tiny...2 or 3...he didn't wanna take a bath and go to bed so I made up a march...his mommy and I would parade him down the hall marching and swinging our arms and singing..."Beeeeeeeedddd, bath and beyooooooonnnnnd, bed bath and's Beeeeeeedddd bath and beyooooonnnnnddd..." etc. He'd end up singing and marching with us to get his bath and go to

Yet...they come and go what is involved in intentional vs spontaneous or accidental song writing? I remember once asking my mom what opera was...she said it was when people sang words back and forth in conversation rather than speak...that wasn't exactly a thorough explanation, but I loved the idea. I remember thinking...why don't we all just sing back and forth instead of boring ol' talking?

Well but anyway...what is the difference between transit, unintentional tune writing/song writing, and pre meditated (bad choice of words...need coffee) song writing?

ChickenMan - Posted - 07/22/2022:  11:02:58

Many. Some I've recorded, some I haven't. A few I've forgotten some of the words to and can't find the paper I've written them on. Not sure what genre they fall into, rock, country, pop, progressive, funk, blues... whatever trips my trigger. Haven't written in a while other than an R&B styled song I've been kicking around for a while.

For me, words are the hardest part. I agonize over the getting them to say exactly what I want while still leaving them open to individual interpretation.

Edited by - ChickenMan on 07/22/2022 11:03:42

BanjoBrad - Posted - 07/22/2022:  14:39:12

I've got a bunch that I did waaaaay back when ezFolk was a forum of sorts. There was a monthly challenge with a given category. I wrote either for banjo or guitar as my fiddling was not even close to being fiddling.

The first song I wrote before that was a talking blues about the dining hall at UCSB (University of California Santa Barbara) in 19 and 63. That one I have posted on my Prickly Pear music site ( on the "My Recordings" page.

Oh, here's a link to the audio for another talkin' blues I wrote and used banjo for bu -  The theme was determined by another member's suggestion.

Edited by - BanjoBrad on 07/22/2022 14:44:18

farmerjones - Posted - 07/22/2022:  20:26:02

10 or 15 years ago I hung at a song writing forum. Some was very supportive. Some too supportive. Some critical types. What I really learned there was lurk or participate for awhile, but move on. I.e. it had an echo chamber element to it.

Arguably, there's a finite number of melodies. While lyrics placed upon, within said melody still seem infinite.

Floating lyrics, usually placed upon a 12 bar blues: "don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree," " I got a gal, etc. etc." To actually write lyrics so simple, it makes one slap their forehead. "On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again. . . " It would make it easy to remember for everyone. I want to be that guy.

nickmc - Posted - 07/22/2022:  21:41:25

I enjoy writing with other people. It is so fun to birth a song with a friend, record it and listen back! I had always been in original bands up until finding oldtime music. When I am in between bands or projects, it seems I have always been learning, or woodshedding some type of skill. Then I meet someone and I am that much better!

Astrang - Posted - 07/23/2022:  10:03:24

I’ve tried a few times. I need at least a small piece of melody to start out with and then maybe build on it with lyrics and A parts and B parts. It can be a lengthy process. Lyrics are harder, I seem to always have a line or two that ends up a little lame or corny and usually struggle unsuccessfully to work them out. I just put em in the pile and hope for inspiration someday. But it was fun!

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/23/2022:  14:40:56

There is a stone in a hollow by the side of the A60 in Nottingnhamshire, covered in brambles and weeds, marking the place where a young Woman " Elizabeth Sheppard" was murdered by a "Charles Rotherham" in the early 19th century. If i remember i say " Good night Bessy" as i pass. So i wrote a little song. A bit gory and sad but that is what murder is...

Astrang - Posted - 07/23/2022:  18:17:29

That’s fairly awesome Pete, good lyrics and a nice melody. You should be very proud of that song. Have you played it out anywhere yet?
(My oldest known to me ancestors' home was in Nottinghamshire in the sixteen hundreds. His son or grandson sailed to America and here I am.)

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/23/2022:  22:54:39


Originally posted by Astrang

That’s fairly awesome Pete, good lyrics and a nice melody. You should be very proud of that song. Have you played it out anywhere yet?

(My oldest known to me ancestors' home was in Nottinghamshire in the sixteen hundreds. His son or grandson sailed to America and here I am.)

Thanks Randy.  i just use it to practice playing in Eb. i imagine a female vocal on that one, we have some great female singers around here. Maybe one day...;)

nickmc - Posted - 07/25/2022:  11:41:50

Cool Tune! Here is a fiddle tune my wife and I wrote!

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/25/2022:  12:45:58

Beautiful, Nick!

bsed55 - Posted - 07/25/2022:  18:24:37

Inspiring. And nice meeting you at Battle Ground BTW.

NCnotes - Posted - 07/25/2022:  20:29:17

Pete & Nick, you guys are so good!

Yep it will be great to hear yours with the words, Pete. :-)

pete_fiddle - Posted - 07/26/2022:  11:59:26

I have met these sisters at parties and in pub sessions BC (Before covid). They can quiet a session in a pub, or take a party to another magical dimension.

I wrote the "Bessy Sheppard" song after hearing them (and tentatively(drunkenly) playing along), at a friends party. To me they are Magic. i would love hear them play and sing it. But as the saying goes "i don't get around much anymore".

The Russel Sisters, "Polly Vaughn"


bsed55 - Posted - 07/26/2022:  15:33:43

A song I wrote for my parents 50th ann.

nickmc - Posted - 07/27/2022:  20:00:17

Thank you guys! Cool tune, Bruce! Love the kazoo in there! I was surprised. It was great to meet you as well!

NCnotes - Posted - 07/28/2022:  06:18:19

What a happy light-hearted song for your parents!

excellent kazoo playing...and I envy your rhyming! laugh

( Hmm now I'm thinking ... if we make it to our 50th, will my kids compose something!?! )

Edited by - NCnotes on 07/28/2022 06:20:34

TuneWeaver - Posted - 07/28/2022:  07:00:50

I've composed Many tunes but only ONE song.. It was about a raccoon in an attic.

carlb - Posted - 07/28/2022:  09:29:10

 Seeing that some of us are uploading the songs they wrote, here’s one of mine. Back in 1980, I was a biochemist between research jobs. However, I kept up my subscription to Science magazine. In September of that year, an article appeared entitled

“University and Drug Firm Battle Over Billion-Dollar Gene: A lawsuit over interferon may change the informal ways by which researchers exchange materials” by Nicholas Wade


Being a bit upset by the secrecy and aim for making money by some scientists, I wrote the following song based on information in the article. I guess it’s kind of an editorial.


Interferon Gene - Carl Baron (Sept. 1980)

(see references at end)


I read the other day in a magazine

About a battle over interferon's gene

It's Hoffmann-LaRoche against UCLA

Who will vie for the profits from this foray?

Now a miracle of nature interferon is

Made in our bodies; helps fight viruses

But now since man cam make it in the laboratory

It's a race to see who'll profit from this biology



Interferon is a protein that's might grand

And may help fight cancer throughout the land

But the scramble for the right to profit from this event

Has left many scientists with discontent.


In the year nineteen hundred and seventy seven

A person in Los Angeles had one foot in heaven

But before leaving this earthly shore

Gave some cancerous bone cells to the school next door

Koeffler and Golde kept the cells alive

Feeding them and watching them divide

Searching all the time for some new insight

Leukemia, the disease they were trying to fight.


Scientist usually think it's OK

To give friends cells for them to survey

So first to Gallo some cells were sent

Who conducted some routine experiment

Among the things that he did see

Was that the cells made interferon beautifully

He told Golde about this attribute

And also Sidney Pestka of the Roche Institute


Now Pestka had tested Gallo's cells before

But these were really Golde's and therefore

Pestka had to ask for Golde's permission

To examin them for interferon production

At this point the story is in dispute

Among Golde, Gallo and the Roche Institute

But Pestka went on with his experiment

An interferon super producer was his intent.


Now the story of these cells has just begun

Named by Koeffler and Golde KG-1

Passed to Gallo, to Pestka and on this trek

Finally made it to a company called Genentech

Who on the stock market made a killing

Many people find this rather thrilling

Who owns the interferon gene is in dispute

Is it the donor, UCLA or the Roche Institute.?




Science, 209: 1492-1494 (Sept 26, 1980) entitled “Univerisity and Drug Firm Battle over Billion-Dollar Gene”

Tune: “Guardian Beauty Contest” by Atilla the Hun from Trinidad. Sing Out, 6(#3): 3 (1956)


NCnotes - Posted - 07/28/2022:  11:08:43

A unique topic for a song!

Old Scratch - Posted - 07/28/2022:  12:14:01

I've written many songs over the years, but at some point I stopped - I looked (figuratively speaking) at this pile of songs that I'd put all kinds of time and effort into, and realized that there hadn't been a lot of point to it; i.e., no one had any interest in hearing them and no one ever would, so .... Kind of like when I stopped going to yard sales, after I looked around the basement one day and saw that it was full of other people's junk.

I had a few humorous songs that went over well enough to be part of my bar-room repertoire for short periods, but, truth be told, they really weren't all that funny. And the other songs weren't all that inspired; there'd always be some turn of phrase or some little hook that I found appealing, but compared to the songs of the song-writers I admire, there wasn't much there .....

NCnotes - Posted - 07/28/2022:  13:58:27

Well, I like making up music but I hate figuring out words and my songs all have these lyrics: "doo doo doo" or "la la la".smiley

Gotta admire people who have ideas about life, and can write creative lyrics to express it. 

Astrang - Posted - 07/28/2022:  17:12:41

These are the lyrics I wrote for my little Where It’s Shady All the Time tune that I posted sometime back. Some of you may remember it’s about Mohawks gravesite. I can’t sing anymore so this little song has never been sung before. I’ll repost the tune of it and maybe you can follow the melody line and read the lyrics into it. (The recording is three times through, but the second time through was intended for guitar or banjo.)

Verse 1 Where it’s Shady All the Time Randy Astrang

There’s this quiet place I know
It’s cool and shady there – a place I search my soul
And I think about a friend who’s gone before
How the days have passed since we said goodbye
Oh so many times I’ve wept and questioned why
I still often hear the echoes of our times
Another day – without you by my side
It won’t be long - I’m not very far behind
Where it’s shady all the time
A lonesome breeze is always blowing through the pines
I just listen to the memories of my mind

Verse 2
On one sad and mournful day
I saw the angles come and carry you away
And as I looked up I thought I heard Him say
A Job well done please won’t you come inside and stay
All your friends back home will be along this way
How I long to see you on that peaceful day
Another day – without you by my side
It won’t be long - I’m not very far behind
Where it’s shady all the time
A lonesome breeze is always blowing through the pines
I just listen to the memories of my mind

NCnotes - Posted - 07/29/2022:  09:41:53

Such lovely lyrics, Astrang...made a lump in my throat. If you've ever lost a friend...

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 07/29/2022:  14:14:04

Old Scratch...I had the same experience with drawing, sketching, painting, etc. I grew up loving to do that but finally realized I was working hard, spending all my money and time on a sketch or one thing or another only to have to squoosh it away in some drawer and throw it out several years later when it was crumpled up and ruined from bad storage. Same with writing...I used to enjoy writing, but same thing...spend a lot of time and work and then after it's been in the way sitting in isolation for years, you have to throw it out. don't enjoy trying to write it except maybe making up something quick and letting it dissolve into the universe after it's not interesting to anybody much that I can see...there's so much good old stuff out there to mess around with...still...almost seems like at this point I spend a lot of energy and effort recording them, then...kinda drifts down into the bottomless abysses of youtube...sometimes it seems pointless to keep working so hard at nothing.

I do though enjoy making picture blankets...pixelated simple images on a blanket...lots of work and time but then I give them to someone who usually uses them, enjoys them, stays warm with them, etc. Practical and pragmatic...the only thing I've found to be practical and pragmatic and effort with some sense of reward to it.

Astrang - Posted - 07/29/2022:  17:04:02

Thank you NCnotes for the kind words.
I think it's fun to spaz out over words.

farmerjones - Posted - 08/06/2022:  14:25:06

Y'know, I was listening to a podcast that was talking about Billy Joe Shaver.
It reminded me of something I had forgotten. It really has to do with most any endeavor. But let's stay on song writing. People sitting in song writing class, ask what the Golden Feather is? Long and short of it is, a songwriter, many of the gifted, have no choice. It's busting to get out. Many years ago there was a thread on practicing fiddle. I think my reply was something like, try to stop me from practicing. It's true today. I'm happiest when playing music. But I don't stress and strain to think of original songs. I keep my antennas up, just in case. Life is good.

Old Scratch - Posted - 08/06/2022:  15:44:09

groundhogpeggy "after it's been in the way sitting in isolation for years, you have to throw it out" - I've been facing the reality of that lately ... have reached the stage where I worry about leaving a huge pile of junk and mountains of paper behind for my heirs and assigns to deal with ... but at the same time, I'm too vain, apparently, to easily accept that it is all ... worthless. "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity." That's one Biblical quotation I should have hanging on my wall - you don't happen to have it in needlepoint in a neat little frame, do you?  Don't throw it out - I could use it!

Edited by - Old Scratch on 08/06/2022 15:46:58

Lonesome Fiddler - Posted - 08/06/2022:  17:07:09

I wrote my share of songs back in the late 1960's - mid 1970's. The band mates in my rock group uniformly hated them and instead always went for the songs of the other guitarist (though his weren't very great, either). I'd sometimes audition the songs at hoot nights at bars. They didn't get much of a response. In any case, yeah, I freely confess that my songwriting career was a tad less than stellar.

groundhogpeggy - Posted - 08/06/2022:  17:45:46

I hear ya Old Scratch. We work on stuff and put in everything we've got. Then, one day we what? lol...I guess enjoying the process is the thing to hang onto.

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