Monday, July 03, 2006

You Could Be Rich - One man’s adventure in the song-poem trade

Daniel Cooper has written a fascinating and in-depth article about Ramsey Kearney, the man behind the song-poem outfit Nashco Music Service:

"The antithesis of focus-group, play list-scrubbed music, song-poems land down a magic industry rabbit hole where anything—anything—gets written and recorded. Heartland wordsmiths send him lyrics, or song-poems, and for a fee Kearney puts their words to music and cuts a demo. “I’ve had some lulus,” he says.

Kearney would know. He co-wrote and sang the lulu of them all, John Trubee’s song-poem “Blind Man’s Penis.”

“It’s my worst song I ever have co-written,” Kearney says, “and it’s got more attention than some of my great songs.”

Often recorded in bulk sessions, one hurried take each, in every ersatz genre known to popular music, most song-poems are of no musical distinction whatsoever. Lyrically, they stick close to the classic themes: God, love, the flag, liquor, Elvis. Especially God. But some draw on delights or torments known only to the poets, images that flash on and off like a kitchen light in a faraway house you didn’t know was there. When colliding with the musicians’ porous production methods (where’d that organ come from?), song-poems can produce such low-fi genre favorites as the whimsical “Little Rug Bug” or the psychedelic knockoff “Human Breakdown of Absurdity.” "

Click on the link for the full story.
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