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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wading in the Muck of His Anxieties

Hear the buzzing flies
Feel the solar heat
     squint from the harsh brightness of its gaze
Smell the rich, wet, fertile mud
Hear it squishing beneath the soles of boots
Feel the suction as each foot lifts
     for another step
     Resistant impedance to speed

See dragonflies inspecting this
     Intrepid explorer
Frogs leaping sideways
     as he prepares to pass

See swaying reeds
     cattails & sawgrass
An egret taking flight

Yes, there is worry here
     but here also is beauty.

The sometimes breeze ripples
across the tops
of the standing stalks
who sway in response—
     dance in time with the music's pulse
     in a laconic trance
from a firmly rooted stance—

See his wonder dawn:
He envies their home
     in this place as he,
     a supposed mere traveler,
     wanders through

He has had to enter
despite his terror
resisting his fear
to behold these glories

Wondering if
what he thinks is true
is what he now knows:

Must he leave them?
Can he leave them

when this marsh beholds him?

5.17.17 ©Steven B. Eulberg

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Co-writing with Charlie King

What Do They Make On Wall Street?

Words by Charlie King, Tune by Steve Eulberg

One of my Local 1000 colleagues (and songwriting heroes) and I agreed to collaborate on a creative project while in the networking sessions of our annual retreat at the Ashokan Center in May 2016.

I offered that I love to set poetry and lyrics to music and Charlie said he was looking for collaboration on a new song.  He sent me his lyrics and I took them with me on tour, mulling over melodic ideas.

This particular set of lyrics posed a challenge:  The chorus suggested a very upbeat sing-a-long style, but the lyrics change each time through.  This can make singing along for an audience difficult.

The verses felt like they were in a different, more reflective tone.

While I was driving in Ohio and West Virginia and Kentucky, the chorus was quite quickly settled, but the verses required some tweaking....  During one off-day, motel stay, in a non-smoking room that had clearly been recently flooded--(so much so that I didn't take my shoes off while walking on parts of the carpet!), AND which reeked of cats!!, I was strumming the chords that became the ultimate framework for the song.

I got home, recorded a demo for Charlie and sent it off to him.  Working with the amazing production skills of our colleague Reggie Harris, the tune acquired a klezmer-like clarinet and feel as the 2nd tune on Charlie's 2017 recording, Life & Love, Tears & Laughter.

Here are the lyrics and chords for the demo (click on the title above or here)

What Do They Make On Wall St
Lyrics©2016 Charlie King/Pied Asp Music 
Tune©2016 Steve Eulberg/Owl Mountain Music, Inc.

(lick) c-b-a-g#-a-f-e-d-c-b-a Am 
           Am                          E7
I was reading the Wall St. Journal
Studying the secret of wealth
            Dm                        Am
How a corporation issues capital stock
                 B7                      E
And then sells it back to itself
                  F                    C
How they buy up other companies
               Dm                        Am
And then run them into the ground
                        F                                D7/F#
So what's the hitch? How do they get rich
                 G                          G7
On this financial merry-go-round

(c b)                C                  F            C
       Tell me what do they make on Wall St.
        F                         G           C
To make the world a little bit better?
         F                   G              C
Vermont makes sweet maple syrup
       Am           D7              G
Wisconsin the very best cheddar
           F                         G
They grow those big potatoes
            C               Am
In the fields of Idaho
           F                 G           Am
But what do they make on Wall St.
    F            G            Am (lick up: c- d-e-g-c)
What is it that they grow?

Am                                          E7
Brockton, Mass, where I was born
A shoe town, tough and gritty
 Dm                                      Am
Gary and Pittsburgh were steel towns then, 
       B7                          E
Detroit was the Motor City
         F                                         C
The beer that made Milwaukee famous
          Dm                  Am
Ain't made there any more
       F                                   D7/F#
Wall St. bought 'em for the bottom line
           G                           G7
And moved them all off shore.

(c b)                 C                 F              C
        Tell me what do they make on Wall St.
        F                         G           C
To make the world a little bit better?
            F           G           C
While Rosie is riveting airplanes 
         Am           D7           G
Mailcarriers deliver de letter 
           F                          G
The people who knead dough
                         C                       Am
Use Kansas wheat beneath the snow
          F                  G            Am
But what do they make on Wall St.
    F            G           Am (lick up: c- d-e-g-c)
What is it that they grow?

           Am                                  E7
Henry Ford invented the Model T
And put Uncle Sam at the wheel
 Dm                                   Am
Carnegie built the rolling mills
                 B7                         E
Because Henry needed the steel
          F                               C
Mr. Peabody hauled the mountain away
           Dm                 Am
Sold Carnegie all the coal
            F                  D7/F#
Now Wall St. Strip-mines it away
            G                      G7
And leaves us this big hole

(c b) C                               F             C
      Tell me what do they make on Wall St.
      F                           G           C
To make the world a little bit better?
F                     G                     C
Teachers can make the kids smarter 
Am                  D7              G
Grandma can knit you a sweater 
           F                          G
They grow those big tomatoes
            C               Am
In the fields of Ohio
          F                  G           Am
But what do they make on Wall St.
F                G            Am
What is it that they grow?
F G C (lick down: c-b-a-g-e-d-c) C