Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tommy Thompson's Unpublished and Unrecorded Lyrics


I just loaded this eBook - well, really an article - onto Amazon.Com via their Kindle Direct Publishing platform:

Tommy Thompson’s Lyric Writing:  Unpublished, Unrecorded Songs and Lyric Fragments.  Bealeton, Virginia: Little Bear Banjo Publishing House, a subsidiary of Little Bear Banjo Enterprises, August 2019. 

eBook version: 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W6HJPC8

Here's the abstract:

In the 22 years Tommy Thompson spent with the Red Clay Ramblers - a band born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, in 1972 - he thrived on the friendship, music, and creative options that a musician’s life brought to him.  Tommy wrote inventive lyrics, collaborated productively and energetically with band members on songs and scripts for plays, worked tirelessly to develop a band niche and threw himself into the task of booking a continuously challenging schedule of gigs for the Ramblers. Tommy and musical colleagues – notably Mike Craver and Bland Simpson - composed the music and lyrics for several plays including Earrings, based on Lee Smith’s novel, Oral History.  The Red Clay Ramblers performed off Broadway, again, in Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind; and undertook guest band cuts on a variety of albums, including Michelle Shocked’s 1991 LP, Arkansas Traveler, among other diverse musical activities.  This paper is about some of the rough lyric work by Tommy Thompson, lyrics that never quite evolved into performable tunes, such as one of the last songs he wrote - something called “The Walls of Time.”  Some of those lyrics survived in personal files.  Some lyrics and music, as Mike Craver speculated, might have been consigned to the vaults of recording labels that put out the music of the Red Clay Ramblers.


The piece of one of those things that just wouldn't fit in the context of the book Tommy Thompson: New Timey String Band Musician, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2019.

It's probably the first time I attempted an exegetical work since A.P. English - Morty Fuhr's class in Lafayette High School, Brooklyn, New York.  I just gave into the urge to look closely at some compelling, intriguing, teasing word loops that Tommy put to paper. 

I priced the thing at two bucks.  A one dollar price point seemed too dismissive of the entire exercise. 

If you do shell out for the eBook version of this thin volume, you will probably be the only one who does so, and thus I'll take that commitment of hard, cold cash as a vote of confidence in my attempt to honor Tommy's playful ways of celebrating the elasticity of words. 

Take care.  Play hard.

Lew

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