Back in February of 2006, Jefferson Pitcher, J. Matthew Gerken, and I set about writing and recording the original demos for these Presidents songs as part of the February Album Writing Month challenge (www.fawm.org). We wrote and did demo recordings of 42 songs (all but G.W. Bush) in Februrary–28 days and 42 songs. Sheesh.
In any case, as part of that, we wrote little texts to accompany each new song as we got them up on the FAWM website. I like looking through them now as they seem part of a crazy, crazy time.
Burr Settles, a fine songwriter in his own right and the FAWM-lord, was kind enough to get me an html backup of all the original texts we wrote, and it includes the comments other songwriters wrote on the demos as we got them up. I’m including those as well.
37 Nixon (2 Under Par Off the Coast of Africa)
I’ve been thinking that Nixon is America’s Napoleon: a figure who had enormous power (in the context of the U.S.) and who was essentially exiled. Napoleon’s exile (his second exile, that is) was on St. Helena island off the coast of Africa. I picture Napoleon and Dick sitting together on the beach in their big bermuda shorts, wondering what went wrong.
Again, this song needs a band. It also needs a different melody line on during the too-long bridge. I like that it changes keys there but it the current melody line doesn’t add much to the song over all and it doesn’t resolve back into the main harmony chords to my satisfaction. So there’s something to work out on this one still.
But, Reagan awaits. Cowboys, Star Wars, alzheimer’s–the possibilities are ripe.
- j matthew gerken | 2006-02-26 @ 02:42am (EST)
Wow very 60s garage band sounding or something. This is totally to be played by three or four part harmony Pele meets the Beach Boys type band with cross rhythms galore on the chorus. Oh my god I can hear it now just like I am there in Whittier with his spirit. Nixon, believe or not, was 100 times better on humans than the Republican presidents that followed him. Wow that is saying something. Actually, you know, with the opened relationship with China under Nixon, the Headstart program, etc., it seemed like he actually cared about things, unlike Reagan, Bush, or Bush. Those people surely enjoy seeing people poor and killed. Otherwise, they wouldn’t do what they DO!! No point sugar coating it anymore.