Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Jealous, As Well As



 "She will never make me jealous, gives me all her time as well as, loving, don't ask me why."

One of my very favorite lyrics, courtesy of Sir Paul. It was the first lyric that came to mind after talking with my friend, Alan. And today, he is guest blogging. Please welcome, a good man, a great friend, all around cool cat, Mr. Alan Brickman from New Orleans.

There are many things that mark a great song lyric: emotional honesty, universal truths revealed, the perfect put down...and great rhymes! But...how many fundamentally good songs are ruined by the too-obvious clunkers like "moon in June," "love from above." and "Rufus is a doofus." I'm kidding about the last one, but it allows me to segue to my point.

There are many great songs made great by a clever and unexpected rhyme that fits perfectly and seamlessly into the song. Steve Goodman has a boat load of'em, inclduing this gem from "Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request"--

"The law of averages says anything will happen that can/but the last time the Cubs won the National League pennant, was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan."

Bob Dylan probably broke his rhyming dictionary, producing some great ones and some groaners. Jackson Browne gets an honorable menton for stamina in "The Pretender."

"All his hopes and dreams begin and there...junkman pounds his fender...the ice cream vendor...only to surrender...legal tender...heart and soul of the spender."

When he wrote it, he was probably laughing to himself, "I could do this all day."

I propose the Calamine Lotion Awards for great lyric rhymes, named after, of course, the immortal line in The Coasters' masterpiece, courtesy of Leiber & Stoller, "Poison Ivy."

"You're gonna need an ocean...dum, de dum duh dum...of calamine lotion."

And the nominees are....

33 comments:

Bill said...

OK, here are two:

Elvis Costello--too many obvious ones, but here's one that always sticks
You never did anything that she couldn't do on her own
You're as good as your word and that's no good to her
You better leave that kitten alone

The Replacements
The magazine she flips through is the special double issue
Smells like perfume
She leaves it on the plane

Rick said...

Al Kooper for this gem in 'I Can't Quit Her': "She had a woman's touch
And a young girls eyes,
And in seconds flat I was pros'lytized"

And the entire song, 'Along Comes Mary' by Tandyn Almer (I had to google that) and performed of course by The Association. I think its internal rhyming scheme is just brilliant:
Every time I think that I'm the only one who's lonely
Someone calls on me
And every now and then I spend my time in rhyme and verse
And curse those faults in me
And then along comes Mary
And does she want to give me kicks , and be my steady chick
And give me pick of memories
Or maybe rather gather tales of all the fails and tribulations
No one ever sees
When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch.

When vague desire is the fire in the eyes of chicks
Whose sickness is the games they play
And when the masquerade is played and neighbor folks make jokes
As who is most to blame today
And then along comes Mary
And does she want to set them free, and let them see reality
From where she got her name
And will they struggle much when told that such a tender touch as hers
Will make them not the same
When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch

And when the morning of the warning's passed, the gassed
And flaccid kids are flung across the stars
The psychodramas and the traumas gone
The songs are left unsung and hung upon the scars
And then along comes Mary
And does she want to see the stains, the dead remains of all the pains
She left the night before
Or will their waking eyes reflect the lies, and make them
Realize their urgent cry for sight no more
When we met I was sure out to lunch
Now my empty cup tastes as sweet as the punch.


vanwoert said...

Every day a little sadder
A little madder
Someone get me a ladder

Bill said...

In the air there's after-shave lotion
In the wake of a snake-hipped Persian
On his arm there's a skin tight vision
Wonder why she ain't mine she's his'n

EasilyConfused said...

Take of the gloomy mask of tragedy, it's not your style
You'll look so good that you'll be glad ya' decided to smile

PUT ON A HAPPY FACE
(Lee Adams / Charles Strouse)

Mr. Baez said...

Can't beat The Rolling Stones'

"Fortune Teller"

Went to the fortune teller
Had my fortune read
I didn't know what to tell her
I had a dizzy feeling in my head

Then she took a look at my palm
She said, "Sonny, you feel kinda warm"
And she looked into her crystal ball
And said, "You're in love"

I said, "I couldn't be so
I'm not in passion with the girls I know"
She said, "When the next one arrives
You'll be looking into her eyes"

I left there in a hurry
Looking forward to my big surprise
The next day I discovered
That the fortune teller told me a lie

I hurried back down to that woman
As mad as I could be
I told her I didn't see nobody
Why'd she make a fool out of me

Then somethin' struck me
As if they came from up above
While lookin' at the fortune teller
I fell in love

Now I'm a happy fellow
Well, I'm married to the fortune teller
We're happy as we could be
Now I get my fortune told for free

Now I'm a happy fellow
Well, I'm married to the fortune teller
We're happy as we could be
And I get my fortune told for free

tinpot said...

John Hiatt's "Bring the Family" has one lyrically perfect gem after another. I'm pretty sure no-one else would have ever thought of the rhyme "Queen of Sheba / Ain't no amoebas" from "Thing Called Love"

And this is just brilliant...

But are you ready for this thing called love
Don't come from me and you, comes from up above
I ain't no porcupine, take off your kid gloves
Are you ready for this thing called love

Dr Wu said...

Almost the entirety of Elvis Costello's 'Imperial Bedroom' album is made of these, but after over 30 years this one still sticks with me:
"Beyond Belief"

History repeats the old conceits
The glib replies the same defeats
Keep your finger on important issues
With crocodile tears and a pocketful of tissues
I'm just the oily slick
On the windup world of the nervous tick
In a very fashionable hovel

I hang around dying to be tortured
You'll never be alone in the bone orchard
This battle with the bottle is nothing so novel

So in this almost empty gin palace
Through a two-way looking glass
You see your Alice

You know she has no sense
For all your jealousy
In a sense she still smiles very sweetly

Charged with insults and flattery
Her body moves with malice
Do you have to be so cruel to be callous

And now you find you fit this identikit completely
You say you have no secrets
And then leave discreetly

[Chorus:]
I might make it California's fault
Be locked in Geneva's deepest vault
Just like the canals of Mars and the great barrier reef
I come to you beyond belief

My hands were clammy and cunning
She's been suitably stunning
But I know there's not a hope in Hades
All the laddies cat call and wolf whistle
So-called gentlemen and ladies
Dog fight like rose and thistle

I've got a feeling
I'm going to get a lot of grief
Once this seemed so appealing
Now I am beyond belief

[Chorus]

Clea Simon said...

Yow, Fortune Teller is the great Allen Toussaint!

And I'd nominate Nick Lowe


Switchboard Susan, let me off the hook
I've been this way since you give me your look
Switchboard Susan, you're all the rage
Come on sugar, let's get engaged

I'm a long distance romancer
I keep on trying till I get an answer
Gimme gimme one more chance
She's a greater little operator

Said I'm a long distance romancer
I keep on trying till I get an answer
Gimme gimme one more chance
She's a greater little operator

When I'm near you girl, I get an extension
And I don't mean Alexander Graham Bell's invention
Switchboard Susan, can we be friends?
After six, at weekends



Read more: Nick Lowe - Switchboard Susan Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Sal Nunziato said...

Switchboard Susan is actually Mickey Jupp

Anonymous said...

I'd walk through hell for ya
I'd even walk through Philadelphia.

(from "Any Old Place With You," Rodgers & Hart's first song)

- Pete

Anonymous said...

What happened to your Bruce column?

Capt. Al

Anonymous said...

Well, your railroad gate
You know I just can’t jump it
Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet
With all these promises you left for me
But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I waited for you when I was half sick
Yes, I waited for you when you hated me
Well, I waited for you inside of the frozen traffic
When you knew I had some other place to be
Now, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, anybody can be just like me, obviously
But then, now again, not too many can be like you, fortunately

Well, six white horses that you did promise
Were fin’lly delivered down to the penitentiary
But to live outside the law, you must be honest
I know you always say that you agree
Alright so where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well, I don’t know how it happened, but the
Riverboat captain, he knows my fate
But ev’rybody else, even yourself
They’re just gonna have to wait

Well, I got the fever down in my pockets
The Persian drunkard, he follows me
Yes, I can take him to your house but I can’t unlock it
You see, you forgot to leave me with the key
Oh, where are you tonight, sweet Marie?

Well now, I been in jail when all my mail showed
That a man can’t give his address out to bad company
And now I stand here lookin’ at your yellow railroad
In the ruins of your balcony
Wond’ring where you are tonight, sweet Marie

Rodger Stroup said...

One of my favorites from Elvis Costello, courtesy of (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes:

I said I'm so happy I could die,
She said drop dead, and left with another guy.

Mr. Baez said...

I do stand corrected. No slight intended towards Mr. Toussaint. But I sure do love the Stones take on that song. Here's another fave-rave, The Kinks:

"Better Things"

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

Here's hoping all the days ahead
Won't be as bitter as the ones behind you
Be an optimist instead
And somehow happiness will find you
Forget what happened yesterday
I know that better things are on the way




It's really good to see you rocking out and having fun
Living like you just begun
Accept your life and what it brings
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things

Here's wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way

I know you've got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone, it's all been said
So here's to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things
I know tomorrow you'll find better things
I hope tomorrow you'll find better things

Sal Nunziato said...

Capt. Al.

I was unhappy with it.

Anonymous said...

Here in the bar, the boys like to have fun
There's a wager lost and an argument won
There's a stone-washed damsel on a junk food run

She could have kept her knees together
Should have kept her mouth shut
It's a kinder murder
It's a kinder murder

Jimmy took his best friend's keys from the pile on the table in a flash
He was dreaming of the pigskin seats and the walnut dash
The knickers in her hand-bag and the one false eyelash

Elvis

Ken D said...

For me, lyrics don't get any better than:

There's a hole in daddy's arm where all the money goes,
Jesus Christ died for nothin' I suppose.

and

Some say a heart is just like a wheel
When you bend it, you can't mend it.

mark mcgraham said...

I'll stick to one example each from two artists who've got a ton of 'em --- Stephin Merritt and Van Dyke Parks:

From Merritt's "Papa Was a Rodeo"

The light reflecting off the mirror ball
Looks like a thousand swirling eyes
They make me think I shouldn't be here at all
You know, every minute someone dies

Then--rhyming between two separate verses--the words "One two three four" with "wend to sea for(get)..." from Parks' "The All Golden"

He is not your run
Of the mill garden variety
Alabama country faire
Left on Silver Lake
He keeps a small apartment top
An Oriental food store there

He returned from Alabama
To see what he could see
Off the record he is hungry
Though he works hard in his
Alabama country fair
I should think he'd fade away
The way that Bohemians often bare
The frigid air

He returned from Alabama
To see what he could see
Constant commentary by the wayside
Nowadays them country boys
Don't cotton much to one two three four

Rest your team
Work out in the All Golden!
You will know why hayseeds
Go back to the country
Constant calm might still
Our stately union

Nowadays a Yankee dread
Not take his time to wend to sea
Forget to bear your arms
In the All Golden
You will know why hayseeds
Go back to the country
Might as well not 'low
For one more go round
That's all folks
Them hayseeds go back
To the country
Ja git it? Alright


Charlie Carr said...

Ouch!
New Orleans host and someone credits Fortune Teller to the Stones?!?
That's gotta hurt!
Here's mine: this song always gets me . . .
"Walk with me, Suzy Lee
through the park and by the tree
we will rest upon the ground
and look at all the bugs we found
safely walk to school without a sound
safely walk to school without a sound."

Anonymous said...

Hello all...no, please remain seated,

Two Bob nominees from the same album. One is sublime:

Sundown, yellow moon, I replay the past.
I know every scene by heart, they all went by so fast.
If she's passin' back this way, I'm not that hard to find.
Tell her she can look me up if she's got the time.

One is not:
Idiot wind
Blowing like a circle around my skull,
From the Grand Coulee Dam to the Capitol

And a vigorous head nod to Ken D for his Prine and McGarrigke quotes.

Regards,
RichD

Brian Campbell said...

So now she's sitting at one end of the kitchen table
And she is staring without an expression
And she is talking to me without moving her eyes
Because she's already made up her mind

Lyle Lovett

jeff said...

I recall an interview with the guys who wrote "Hair," and the song they were most proud of was "Frank Mills" because there isn't a rhyme in it.

buzzbabyjesus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
buzzbabyjesus said...

"Gone Like The River"

Freedy Johnston

A red suitcase she'll never miss
Leather coat he used to wear
Thinking tough, looking tired with momma's money and daddy's ring
He's gone like the water down to NYC
Sleeping on the 802 along this river running down
He's gone like the water down the deep
Cold drain, disappearing in the city
Twenty four and going pale
Growing out, cutting back
Drew a face on a ticket stub
With mamma's hands and daddy's pen
He's gone like the water down to NYC
Sleeping on the 802 along this river running down
He's gone like the water down the deep
Cold drain, disappearing in the city
Talk all night, cook all day
Looking for a new place to stay
Thinking hard, looking bad
With mamma's dollar and daddy's coat
He's gone like the water down to NYC
Sleeping on the 802 along this river running down
He's gone like the water down the deep
Cold drain, disappearing in the city

Gene Oberto said...

My submission.is any line in "Subterranean Homesick Blues." Mr.Dylan is the master blaster of rhyme that all others try to emulate.

Anonymous said...

So many, but these two popped up immediately, because I've put them on mix CDs for my kids.
I tried to call you before, but I lost my nerve
I tried my imagination, but I was disturbed
from "867-5309/Jenny" is great for the double entendre; was he interrupted while...um......or was he saying his mind is disturbed?
Little Egypt came out struttin' wearing nuttin' but a button and a bow
from "Little Egypt", also by the team responsible for the calamine lotion lyric what gave its name to this award.
And in a non-rhyming nod to the cruel send-off in Rodger Stroup's entry above, this by X:
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
So I never wanna see you again
C in California

Dave said...

For me, the ultimate is Gerry Goffin's lyric:

When this old world starts getting me down
And people are just too much for me to face
I climb way up to the top of the stairs
And all my cares just drift right into space

On the roof it's peaceful as can be
And there the world below can't bother me

Let me tell you now
When I come home feelin' tired and beat
I go up where the air is fresh and sweet
I get away from the hustling crowds
And all that rat race noise down in the street
Up on the roof

On the roof's the only place I know
Where you just have to wish to make it so
Oh, let's go up on the roof

At night the stars put on a show for free
And darling, you can share it all with me
I keep a-telling you
Right smack dab in the middle of town
I found a paradise that's trouble-proof
Up on the roof

So if this world starts getting you down
There's room enough for two, up on the roof
Up on the roof, everything is allright
Up on the roof, oh, come on, baby
Up on the roof
Up on the roof

snakeboy said...

And let's not forget another John Prine couplet:

Onomatopoeia, I don't wanna see ya
speaking in a foreign tongue.

Bill said...

Then there's this Richard Thompson beauty.

I was nineteen when I came to town, they called it the Summer of Love
They were burning babies, burning flags. The hawks against the doves
I took a job in the steamie down on Cauldrum Street
And I fell in love with a laundry girl who was working next to me

Oh she was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing
So fine a breath of wind might blow her away
She was a lost child, oh she was running wild
She said "As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay.
And you wouldn't want me any other way"

Brown hair zig-zag around her face and a look of half-surprise
Like a fox caught in the headlights, there was animal in her eyes
She said "Young man, oh can't you see I'm not the factory kind
If you don't take me out of here I'll surely lose my mind"

Oh she was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing
So fine that I might crush her where she lay
She was a lost child, she was running wild
She said "As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay.
And you wouldn't want me any other way"

We busked around the market towns and picked fruit down in Kent
And we could tinker lamps and pots and knives wherever we went
And I said that we might settle down, get a few acres dug
Fire burning in the hearth and babies on the rug
She said "Oh man, you foolish man, it surely sounds like hell.
You might be lord of half the world, you'll not own me as well"

Oh she was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing
So fine a breath of wind might blow her away
She was a lost child, oh she was running wild
She said "As long as there's no price on love, I'll stay.
And you wouldn't want me any other way"

We was camping down the Gower one time, the work was pretty good
She thought we shouldn't wait for the frost and I thought maybe we should
We was drinking more in those days and tempers reached a pitch
And like a fool I let her run with the rambling itch

Oh the last I heard she's sleeping rough back on the Derby beat
White Horse in her hip pocket and a wolfhound at her feet
And they say she even married once, a man named Romany Brown
But even a gypsy caravan was too much settling down
And they say her flower is faded now, hard weather and hard booze
But maybe that's just the price you pay for the chains you refuse

Oh she was a rare thing, fine as a bee's wing
And I miss her more than ever words could say
If I could just taste all of her wildness now
If I could hold her in my arms today
Well I wouldn't want her any other way

Dr Wu said...

A little Squeeze certainly fits the bill: https://youtu.be/RQciegmLPAo

M_Sharp said...

Ramones - "We're A Happy Family"
We ain't got no friends
Our troubles never end
No Christmas cards to send
Daddy likes men!

Ramones - "Pinhead"
I don't wanna be a pinhead no more. I just met a nurse that I could go for.
D-U-M-B Everyone's accusing me!

Now for something completely different...

Chuck Berry was an amazing writer, it’s hard to pick just a few verses when the entire songs are so beautifully descriptive.

“Maybelline”
Rain water blowing all under my hood
I knew that was doing my motor good.

“Nadine”
Moving through the traffic like a mounted cavalier
Leaning out the taxi window trying to make her hear.

“Promised Land”
We had motor trouble that turn into a struggle
Halfway across Alabam'
And that hound broke down and left us all stranded
In downtown Birmingham

“Roll Over Beethoven”
You know, my temperature's risin'
And the jukebox blows a fuse
My heart's beatin' rhythm
And my soul keeps on singin' the blues
Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news

“You Can’t Catch Me”
I bought a brand new air-mobile
It custom made, 'twas a Flight De Ville
With a powerful motor and some hideaway wings
Push in on the button and you can hear her sing

LaurieJeanneDesigns said...

Gosh, folks are listing ALL the lyrics. Alan, I'm going to a place close to your heart - that's where all the best lyrics are.

Just the pertnent lyrics:
I Need Lunch, Dead Boys

....I-I don't really wanna dance
Girl, I just wanna get in your pants

....
Your face is gonna getta punch
I said I don't need no c#@* girl
I need lunch
...
and the finale -

I-you go find yourself a factory man
Girl-you were born with dishpan hands
Well I, baby, I don't need romance
You know, girl, I just wanna get in your pants

I said-I need lunch


Hey Alan - let's do lunch!
Laurie