It is very easy to pigeon hole people and things….but we have to be careful, not to! My songs tend towards the philosophical, the humanitarian and they are always very based around the lyrical and poetic imagery. However, as a song writer it is important to reach out and explore different aspects of human experience, so recently I decided to write a very different kind of song…..(for me!)
Songs about love and desire have been done a million times over but there is an endless attraction for songs on this subject. It is because it is what we all yearn for. To begin with I didn’t write about this because I thought that as so many other people had done this, that really there was not anything unique to add. But, after some time, I felt it important that I explore this, myself, as a songwriter, and to take an angle that is slightly different.
One of the things Mick – the producer- who mentors me- has encouraged me to do is to listen more widely to music. My slightly quirky upbringing meant that I have been steeped in early music and not much else (music was all live in our house and we did not have Tv’s etc). As a young adult I was just too busy looking after my children to listen to music…..So, when I have time, I am listening to different more contemporary artists than John Dowland or Monteverdi(!!!!). Two songs on the subject of love sparked a response in me. “The first time ever I saw your face” by Roberta Fleck and the one that starts “A taste of honey ….” Sung by the Beatles.
I decided I wanted to write a “response “ to these, and hence began thinking what angle I would take. I wanted the song to have the sensuality that is in Laurie Lee’s writing (Cider with Rosie) and the very sensual writing of the French authoress, Colette ( La Ble en herbe). These two books have always struck me with the exquisite use of sensual imagery and metaphor. I decided I wanted my song to be about the beauty and tenderness of what it feels like to be physically loved and to capture that qualitative experience in song- through lyrics and sound. Also, to explore the wish to be unconditionally loved in a romantic way- something I believe is a yearning that is fundamental to most of our journeys through life. I also wanted the song to be relevant to people of all sexual orientation….so it could be relevant for everyman and every woman. Here are the lyrics…
TOUCH ME LIKE TREASURE
Your lips are sweeter
Than cherry wine
Your touch is black velvet
On a sultry summers night
And your kiss, kiss, kiss is the star
That lights my sky.
Touch, touch, touch, touch me
So, hold me darling, hold me right
Touch me like treasure
All through the night.
Let us dance, dance, dance
Till the morning
A dance of tender black velvet
On a sultry summers night.
Your arms are my circle
That I will always call home
And your gaze is my anchor
That keeps me warm and safe
And your kiss, kiss, kiss
Is the star that lights my sky.
Repeat Chorus and then a short instrumental break
Our lives are so fleeting
Days held by the moon and the sun
But love is an endless
Lapping sweet ocean
Where we kiss, kiss, kiss.
You’re the star that lights my sky
Your’e the star that lights my sky.
The song is in E minor, because it has a warm earthy quality to it. And, although the song is not a sad song I felt a minor key captured the yearning that is central to this song. For a singer it explores both the chest voice and the upper voice as there is an octave jump between low b and the B above (Kiss jumps right up an octave as I wanted it to have a bright sunshine through diamonds quality to it). There is also a slightly slinky , low, downward chromatic moment of four notes that reappears as a musical motif and a separate motif, of a repeating continued rise of one semi tone to the next on “Touch, touch, touch, touch me”, which is supposed to feel like a stroke! All these are sensual word painting in sound and therefore hopefully add to that qualitative experience of sensual sound and storytelling. The chorus is the cornerstone of the stone and encapsulates the sensual quality of the song.
I currently have no one one to collaborate with so I don’t yet have any live instrumentation to this song. However, I imagine a chocolatey, black velvety cello playing as accompaniment and the pulse being created- I think by a high hat with a brush on it…doing a lazy um cha, cha…gently, to add to the soft sensual element. (I think this the right instrument for the sound I am hearing in my head…I am not too great at knowing more contemporary instruments!!) I could also imagine the bowed psaltry being used sparingly to create a feeling of a frisson of pleasure and also some electronic synth sounds being woven in, particularly on the instrumental break….Not sure what these would be as I don’t know about synth things- but a producer would in the same way that a good cellist could respond to the melody and lyrics of this song and create a rich yearning softness and sometimes a touch of sensual tingliness as an accompaniment.
I have sung this song live as an accapella version. At first, I was a bit shy about singing such a song in public. But, as a singer, it is important to put ego to one side and allow the song to sing you and allow oneself to just be a vehicle for the delivery of the song- in a way that is right for that song to be sung. So, I needed to get over myself! I started by singing it at a sitting room party with people I know well. These were their responses :“ That song feels me with so much yearning , as does your voice and hits me in the heart“ and “ How wonderful it would be if we could all be loved like that”. Then, feeling a bit braver I took it to my accapella singing in the pub which is part of a traditional instrumental folk session. The other players made some cheeky, funny comments and another said it was a cracker of a song! So, it has meant with good responses despite it’s current lack of instrumentation.
I haven’t home recorded it as me and technology really are like oil and water! I just seem to muddle everything up and make it go wrong. I tried with another song with garage band and it was a funny and slightly sigh making experience. I thought the icon of scissors was for getting rid of something- like the dog huffing in the background…but somehow it seemed to make the bit I took out repeat randomly. I have no idea what I did…but such mistakes are rather a common occurrence when it comes to me trying to manipulate technology. I think I should stick to being a singer and songwriter and not try adding sound technician to my list of accomplishments….well, it would not be an accomplishment-quite the reverse!
I hope you enjoy the song lyrics and you will just have to imagine, for now……what it sounds like! Perhaps, one day I will have the right causes and conditions to make it become real in an audio/recorded sense….in the same way that an architects drawing springs from 2D to 3D when it is built in concrete reality. I dream that into being….