The Random Griffith

So I finished my FAWM songs

Posted in Uncategorized by Jackson Griffith on 28/02/2010

Done. I’d holler “yahoo” or “woohoo,” but those exclamations seem to have been appropriated by corporations, so I’ll just do a quick guido fistpump and shout a simple “yay!” And while last year I was able to knock them out every day, this year the process moved a bit slower. But now I have 14 new songs, and now I’m going to start recording them, or doing cheesy home demos, and then I will post the MP3s here.

I’m not sure I like to carry myself around like an “I’m a serious songwriter” kinda guy, but if you pin me down, I am. It’s what I love doing most of all, and what really makes me happy. Love the process, love shaping them, love practicing them, love performing them and love hearing your reactions. And I love other people’s music, too. Going into this February challenge, I had two favorite songs, both of them evergreens, or chestnuts, or whatever they call classic old tunes that everybody knows. The first one is “That Lucky Old Sun,” written in 1949 by Beasley Smith and Haven Gillespie, and originally popularized by Frankie Laine. Here’s a Johnny Cash performance from his 1976 Christmas special:


I kinda love the cheesiness of the presentation here, although his later, more rugged version really works, too. And love the Ray Charles version, and, well, a lot of different versions. It’s a beautiful secular gospel song, with allusions to crossing the river Jordan, or Styx, or just plain old shuffling off this mortal coil, along with wonderful pictures of the pains of everyday life juxtaposed with the hope for something better. Most of all, it makes me happy and sad at the same time, which is to say it reaches me emotionally. In my book, that’s a good thing.

My other favorite song is just as classic, “What a Wonderful World.” I used to think this was hardcore cheese, until one day the lyrics hit me like a sledgehammer. It was written sometime in the 1960s by George David Weiss and George Douglas, the latter a pseudonym for Bob Thiele. If you love jazz, you probably know Thiele ran ABC Paramount Records’ Impulse label in the 1960s, and he produced a bunch of great John Coltrane albums, not to mention such other stellar acts as Pharoah Sanders, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Charles Mingus and much more; he also was married to singer Teresa Brewer. The Louis Armstrong version was recorded in 1968. The song exists out of time and space; it’s just cosmic.


Of course, I would love to write something one-tenth as cool and sweet and cosmically transcendent as either of these two songs. I haven’t done it yet, but I keep trying. I think this year’s batch of tunes is pretty good, so check back here and judge for yourself. And if you’re free on March 19, I hope to play the whole thing, or at least most of them, at Luna’s Cafe. Here’s the lyrics to the final song, “If I Could Turn Back the Clock.” It’s another waltz, this time with kind of a Burt Bacharach meets Philly soul vibe. I love waltzes. And I am looking forward to cooler tomorrows, but the song seemed to call for these lyrics, so I revisited the past a bit.

I can dream
But it doesn’t seem to do me any good
Now that you’re gone from my world
From my todays and tomorrows
And you always said “Baby don’t look back
Everything you have is in front of you
Don’t live in the past”

Now I see
How you were setting me up for sorrow
You’d soon be gone from my world
And though I’m here in the present
Pictures from the past feelings deep inside
Thoughts of you and me pull me back in time
Still they haunt me now

If I could turn back the clock to that first night we kissed
I would walk through the agony of losing you again
Just for one shot of the sweet love we shared
If I could turn back the clock I’d still go there

Set me free
No, you’re gone forever and you don’t care
I know it’s all up to me
Time that I let go and moved on
Yes I know it’s true there will come a time
When all you will be is a memory
But I’m still not there now

If I could turn back the clock to that first night we kissed
I would walk through the agony of losing you again
Just for one shot of the sweet love we shared
If I could turn back the clock I’d still go there

If I could turn back the clock to that first night we kissed
I would walk through the agony of losing you again
Just for one shot of the sweet love we shared
If I could turn back the clock I’d still go there

I can dream

And now, um, yeah. Better start recording already. —Jackson Griffith

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: