See You In Another Life day 4: things go wrong

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You Made Me Do It (MP3 7MB)
You Made Me Do It (WAV 39MB)

Damn Grey (MP3 10MB)
Damn Grey (WAV 54MB)

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Buddhism is often quoted as beginning with the axiom 'Life is suffering'.  It's actually more prosaic and less melodramatic than that. It just says 'things in life tend to go wrong'.  One teacher I knew called it 'the bugger-mindedness of the universe'.  Here we have a couple of songs where the protagonist deals with life going wrong. In You Made Me Do It he lashes out, blaming someone else, consumed with righteous anger. In doing so, (I hope) he makes himself funny.  In Damn Grey, a more serious song, he deals with the dismal weight of depression.

You Made Me Do It started, as you can probably guess, from You Really Got A Hold On Me, that classic by Smokey Robinson covered by The Beatles and many others. The middle section probably owes a bit to David Byrne. I can just about hear his panicked voice bleating 'A reasonable man'!

Looking over my catalogue I have quite a lot of 'Mr Nasty' songs. Since I'm such a nice guy (you can take my word for that, by the way), I guess I let my shadow come out when writing: in this case, with memories of a bad bout of jealousy in my early 20s!

Damn Grey is the oldest song on the album. I recorded the first version on my Portastudio 144 in Manchester in the 1980s!  It became part of the repetoire of the band Hungry Ghosts, but I always wanted a good recording of it. I think I have it now. A key moment in the recording at Gerry's was when I'd played the guitar solo and asked Suzy for some extra percussion behind it, thinking of a shaker or tambourine. When she pulled out a triangle I was a bit perplexed, but it was perfect. Gerry captured the moment perfectly in the video at the bottom of the page.

Here's Hungry Ghosts on BBC Radio Scotland some time in the late 1990s I think. Unfortunately it's a copy from a warbly cassette.

 

You Made Me Do It

I slashed our pictures, I trashed our flat
(you made me do it)
It’s not like me to do shit like that
(you made me do it)

Anything, under the sun
I will do whatever needs to be done
Just to keep you one more day
You made me this way

I walk the streets every night
(you made me do it)
It isn’t pretty, it isn’t right
(you made me do it)

What can I do, to make you wake up?
I’ve got too much poison in my cup
I'm a dog, a dog at bay
You made me this way

A reasonable  man would just turn and walk away
But there's no reason in how it feels to crawl through
One more day without you

I told your friends, your sister too
(you made me do it)
Told them I was coming, coming for you
(you made me do it)

Anything under the sun
I’ll do whatever needs to be done
I’m a dog, a dog  at bay
You made me this way
In my defence
All I can say
Is you made me this way.


Norman: acoustic guitar
Fi: electric guitar
James: bass
John: keyboards
Suzy: drums
Phil Ramsay: trumpet

Want to play it?  It's pretty much all A and F#m, with the occasional D to E7.  The 'reasonable man' bit is C#m and G#m.

Just for fun ...

Damn Grey

Damn this grey, damn this grey
Too much thinking, nothing to say

Damn this grey and damn the way
It takes all you have to push it away

I wanna fight another day

Wires are down, lights are out
The music goes round but nothing comes out

Damn this grey and damn the way
It takes all you have to push it away

I wanna fight another day

Norman: acoustic guitar, bass, lead guitar
James: backing vocal
Fi: electric guitar
John: electric piano
Suzy: djembe, triangle

Most of the song is Am7 and D7 with a C bass. 'I wanna fight' is Em to Bm followed by Am, Gm, Bm, Am, Gm, Fsus  2

For me this was the most memorable moment in the whole two years of making the album. I was looking for some percussion during the guitar solo. Suzy suggested triangle. I said 'What?'