Following the unpleasant comeuppance I got at the playback of 'I Started a Fire' at Mr Watson's, I couldn't face revisiting it straight away, although I am fairly clear about what I'm going to do when I do get back to it.
But as so often happens with my music, the past tapped me on the shoulder. I came across the words of an old song 'The Portobello Slam' from about 2001 that, if it was ever performed, was only performed once. I'd never really settled on a tune – if I did sing it at OOTB one night as I faintly imagine I did, I must have been improvising the chords and melody. On a drive home from dropping off Daughter at Linlithgow station yesterday, a feasible chord structure and melody became apparent to me, and they stuck until today, when I asked myself 'Could this song fit on this CD?' (I'm a child of the 70s, still wedded to the notion of the album!). The answer was 'Maybe. Maybe it needs a lift.' Having an hour of an empty house I tried it on guitar and quickly loaded up Cubase and knocked out a guide track. (When I say 'quickly loaded up Cubase' that's not exactly true but you've heard enough of my woes in that direction and I won't try your patience any more.)
It's not going to replace 'Started a Fire' which is one of my better songs, but it may replace something else. It's probably the closest relative to 'Ballad of Bob Dylan' that I have, so it might be fun to sing live once I've memorised the endless stream of verses. Of which a sample:
Liam looked across the field
The referees were gone
He aimed a ball at Jessie’s head
But missed and killed a swan
Thirteen points deducted
And a lifetime’s cocaine ban
He put a contract on the judge
Of the Portobello Slam
I remember playing it to my friend Gil, a nature lover, when I wrote it and he said he liked it well enough but why kill the swan? I replied honestly that the bird had the misfortune to rhyme with 'gone'.