I am the Son of Bob

punk bob

“Gary, you’re not the Son of Bob, your just a very naughty boy!”

Okay, there’s no avoiding it (“as the actress said to the bishop…” no, I don’t get it either, I think it’s an old music hall gag) it’s time for me to do some recording. Just gotta decide which of the 500 cover versions and 100 original songs will best represent my “new” direction.

Last week, I declared my gigs a Radiohead Free Zone. No more Radiohead covers in my set (which is a shame, as Fake Plastic Trees, Creep, and High and Dry are some of the handful of songs I can actually play off the top of my head). No more Keane. No more Coldplay. No more Travis.

Now I’m a big fan of early KeaneRadioPlay, but I’ve decided that I should refine/redefine my repertoire and focus on classic singer/songwriter material: after all, I regularly claim to be a singer/songwriter myself. Directly descended from Almighty Bob himself, no less (that’s Dylan, of course – not Holness).

Ah, Bob Dylan! Regular readers will  know that I often take the mickey out of Dylan, but I should really take inspiration from him instead: he shows us that you don’t have to be a great guitar player with the voice of an angel to be a great singer/songwriter. Which is fortunate. For me and Bob. And Neil Young of course. And Leonard CohenLou Reed. The list goes on.

Hey, we can’t all sing like the golden-throated Eagles singer Don Henley, can we? Right Glenn? Bernie? Randy? And wouldn’t the world be a dull place if we all did? And pretty damned weird too.

So with the words “singer/songwriter” in mind, I’ll think I’ll have a bash at recording the following:-

  • It ain’t me Bob babe – Bob Dylan (one of his shorter songs)
  • Fire and rain – James Taylor (a personal favourite of mine)
  • Harvest – Neil Young (coz I can play it without having to read it)
  • Alison – Elvis Costello (something a bit more up-to-date!)
  • Fall at your feet – Crowded House (a big influence on my own songwriting)
  • Mrs Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel (gotta do a Si and Garf, haven’t I?)

There! I’ve said it! That’s what I’m gonna do: record those half dozen songs, and half a dozen of my own. By the end of the week. You read it here first!

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2 thoughts on “I am the Son of Bob

  1. I would say, try and put your own slant on covers the way that Shawn Colvin covered ‘Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic’:

    No point in doing a forensic replication!

  2. A “slant”? I’ll see what I can do. I was thinking more “shallow gradient”.

    Seriously, I probably can’t do a carbon copy due to my unique-ish guitar-playing. I’m trying not to be too slavish these days, I’m sure none of the above artists play those songs as they were originally played on the studio album. What was committed to vinyl was just a snapshot in time. Tempo, rhythm, melody, even lyrics and chords are all subject to change.

    I’ve always substituted the odd chord when I couldn’t stretch to play it, and now I know that it’s okay to do that. Now I’m a better musician than I was, I modify chords to make playing the song more interesting, and change lyrics to make them scan better. I often sing the song how I remember it, which might be quite far from the reality.

    This is probably heresy in some peoples eyes, but I’ve also started writing extra verses to songs that I thought weren’t complete. But I’m sure Bob would approve, he used to take old folk songs and pretty much rewrite the whole thing and call it his own.

    Ask yourself “what would Bob have done?”

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