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 Post subject: Leo Sayer - brilliant
PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:49 pm 
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Tenderfoot
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Caught Leo Sayer in concert last night. Sure I was about 20 rows back, but he still looks very boyish for someone in their 60s. The voice? - still sounds like it did on the original tracks.

What an entertainer - really got the audience on side early. He had a bit of a jibe up front about the state of the music industry, lip syncing, sequencing during live shows, and in-ear monitoring (timing and prompting aspects I presume) - making the point that what you will see tonight is all 100% live. Pure professionalism - especially the backing musicians. They were all spot on and so polished. Maybe because they were all pros in their 40s. Didn't hear one mistake and what a joy to watch them cover the many styles of his songs - the guitarist was brilliant. I think I watched him more than Leo.

Just like Don McClean, about whom I made similar comments last year, his experience from years of performing really shows. I hope there is a new crop of similar elder statesmen coming up. This is music as it should be enjoyed - live.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:25 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Hey Guitarman,

I bet you had a blast with Leo Sayer. He had a lot of hits here in Belgium too. Many songs became standards.

I like Don MCLean too. His song 'Vincent' is one of my all time favourites. It has some of the best lyrics ever written imo.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:55 pm 
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Leo moved to Australia many years ago after being dropped by the record company as a spent force. Believe it or not, he bought an 8 track and set about teaching himself home recording. Wouldn't be surprised if he even visits the forum sometimes. If you do Leo, then give us a sign.

Don McClean's "Vincent" was a revelation for me in an era of "I love you, You love me too". Still my all time favourite for best lyrics - what a craftsman. You can tell that each phrase and the whole lyric have been polished until they gleam. When I saw Don last year, he closed with this, purely him and an acoustic. It brought the house down.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:09 pm 
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HamelnStock Survivor and Midi Guru
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Vincent will remain one of my favourites forever. You are right. Unless he just tripped over the right lyrics he must have worked on them. He obviously knew a lot about Van Gogh. I have had an earlier crack at covering it and i plan on giving it the attention it deserves in a couple of weeks.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 10:54 pm 
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Yes. As a wannabe songwriter, I have looked at the question of lyrics in depth. My term for refining them is polishing - I don't know what the technical term is.

I normally write out the story in short sentences and then reword them. A simple example of the type of changes I try to make. Start with "And even though you are far away" and, looking for an extra rhyme to reduce the "clunkiness", it becomes "And though you may (pause) be far away". Or repetition of consonants - "Life is lived not learned". OK - this is not up there with the master but you can see where I draw the ideas from in the following passage from Vincent.

Shadows on the hills
Sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills
In colours on the snowy linen land

None of these words is there by accident and I would suggest they have been reworked and honed numerous times.

Notice the two Ss for the first two lines, shadows and sketch (he could have said draw or paint). Sketch is followed by the similar sounding Catch ( he could have said Feel/Hear/See the breeze).

Trees and breeze are mid-sentence rhymes - nice embellishment if they don't sound too forced.

Catch/chills/colours and linen/land - how nicely the repeating consonants flow in sound and the imagery develops with breeze>winter>chills>snowy. And notice how many times the word "the" appears is this short passage as a kind of repetitive "glue" and subliminal rhyme holding the fragments together. Wonderful.

Even without the music, it is pleasing to read.

Enough. I hope this gives some food for thought on the difficult topic of effective lyrics - it is something you simply can't learn from a book.

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