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Ten Tall Men is wonderfully strange, I just listened to it and read the lyrics. it is really marvelous and completely unique.
Ten Tall Men is by John du Feu.
Cheers, Birthe. Hope you're well and cheerful. I'll send you the play it came from if you like. It's definitely as weird as the song. We're fine down here in summery Salento. It's lovely and warm and not stressful at all which is the best thing. Daphne's sister comes on Wednesday so we're looking forward to that. My friend in Holland is dying of pancreatic cancer but he's amazingly cheerful in spite of that. We are communicating daily and a couple of weeks ago I went up to see him there. He's one of the people mentioned in the theatre book I sent you. Did I send you it - or did I dream that? His name is Matthijs.
On Saturday a couple of friends of ours are having a little ceremony to celebrate their relationship. There'll be about 100 people from several countries so I'm doing the ceremony for them as a kind of unofficial celebrant. I've written it all in three languages. It will be fun - I hope. In the end I'm going to join them together forever with a magic wand that I've had to make myself. Would you believe the party shop here didn't have a single magic wand in stock. It's a scandal! My friend in Holland says I should complain to the government but I don't think I will. He also said I should write a book about lunching ones way around Salento. Brilliant idea but I don't think I can muster the energy. Life's too short, as he has found out and is now teaching me!
Stay in touch, Birthe, and let me know if you want to read the play. It's called Markinch - for reasons I can't actually remember anymore - and it has two acts. Love from us John and Daphne xx
Thank you, John, yes you sent me the book, and I would love to read the play. I just sent you an email, so I have answered you note before I got it! Your party sounds wonderful - like the parties my family in Denmark put on. It is almost impossible to get people here to participate in seriously fun parties. All the best from Birthe
What a wonderful poem, fantastic lyric. I enjoy reading your lyrics before eI listen to the song, you are a really good poet, and I know more about words than about music. This is wonderful.
Best from Birthe
Geraldine is a beautiful poem, a lovely song, very lovely. When you sing it you make it sound like a French lei, a roundelay, repeating Geraldine. I is so full of love and feeling, You could submit it as a poem to lit. reviews. Just wonderful.
Best from Birthe
Dear Birthe. You're very kind. Sorry I haven't been communicating recently. We've had an exhibition of Daphne's paintings then a trip to Rome then a visit from a friend. Now I'm about to translate a very sensitive letter from a Dutch friend who wants me to send it to a mutual friend in England. The Dutch friend is dying and I only found that out today so I must work on it. I will be in touch again soon and thanks hugely for listening to the song and being so much better than me at staying in touch. Let me know what you are up to now. Best wishes John xx
I am very sorry your friend is dying, and I think your help will help both your friends and you. We, not you yet - are at the age when beloved friends die. It is good to live long, but there are so many losses. We are going to Rome next week, at artichoke season - very greedy, we rent an apartment close to the center, and stay for ten days. I love Rome. We will go to Ostia again, and to Tivoli again. Any possibility of seeing you and Daphne there for a day or so?
Again - your lyrics are really wonderful
best from Birthe
Sorry it has taken me this long to reply - you are probably in Rome by now. It's a pity but I'm afraid we can't come to Rome while you're there. We have just been in Rome and we're due back there next month but, for now, we have to be here. We hope you have a wonderful time. Rome is so much fun. It would have been nice to meet you - instead we will be eating artichokes here! And fresh peas and broad beans straight out of the field. It's great living in Italy - even just for the vegetables. Lots of love John and Daphne xx
Ak ak - on the eve of our departure we have been stopped by the Schrenger Agreement. My passport runs out on the 20th of May, and Italy requires that passports of tourists do not expire until at least three months after a visit. We did not know this, I found out when we could not check in on line. All these years we have traveled to everywhere in Europe, and have never heard of the Agreement. I guess we have been lucky to have newish passports - but this time I really flubbed it. United gives a partial refund, but the apartment we rented will stand empty, and we will not get any Roman artichokes....AAAAAGHHH. I feel enormously, stupendously stupid - but we are not devastated.
It is awful, but not terrible.
your silly friend Birthe
Birthe, what a terrible shame. You must feel really let down. I didn't know that either but then we are European citizens and now also residents of Italy so I suppose it wouldn't apply. Well, we'll eat some Roman-style artichokes in your honour. The ones we get here are from the farmer down the road but its the thought that counts. Do something special this week, so special that you end up thinking 'thank heaven we didn't go to Rome - we would have missed this!' Love and greetings (and commiserations) John and Daphne xx
Kadia - just occurred to me that you probably don't know which of all the songs you've reviewed I'm talking about . It was 'Slow to Go'.
Kadia, many thanks. That was an excellent and such a thorough and useful review. You are very sensitive to the way the guitar is being played. Perceptive too because in fact I'm not really a musician at all. My voice is trained for acting and my guitar-playing is something I've only ever used when I needed it on stage so at all not virtuoso. Recently I have started to work with songs most of which I wrote many years ago. It's exciting to be exploring a new artform and it's great to get some useful feedback. Hope you get to review a few more of my songs
Thanks for your review of Morton, Diana. Odd about the hum at the start. Might be the gain but on the other hand might be my girlfriend's computer. It makes a noise, is near where I record and I regularly forget to switch it off. I'll check it up. Thanks and best wishes John
Many thanks for the gorgeous review of The lovely Miss Smith, Birthe. Very encouraging and very positive. I've now got someone here in Italy who has just started helping me with the technicals so that's good. Don't worry though, he understands that it needs to be kept simple. He doesn't even want reverb on it - excellent. Best wishes John
You are very welcome, John. Please keep the songs coming, it is exciting to anticipate new songs - good new songs like yours. Best from Birthe
Amazing! One more of my songs reviewed by you, John. And what a wonderful review, many thanks for all the kind words you have for it. I am so glad that it made you laugh - that is certainly the intention, but not everyone's humor works in the same way as mine. I am very happy that you have heard it and liked it. Best from Birthe
You reviewed my song 'slow to go' last week sometime - you've probably forgotten by now. Anyway thanks for that interesting review. I enjoyed reading your perspective on it and will take on board what you say. Best wishes John
Thanks for your very positive review. I have to say that is the first time my guitar-playing has been compared to Bert Jansch! You're being very kind - and, yes, I will tune the guitar! I suppose one has to do that once every few years. Best wishes John
LOL but I was comparing your voice to Bert, and the guitar to Paco!!!
Haha - whatever. I'm sure I couldn't even make coffee as well as Bert Jansch!
Hallo gain, John,
Three reviews in a row, that has not happened before. I am grateful for the chance to have my songs reviewed by you, your opinions and suggestions are very helpful and 'spot on', and you see the humor. Matilda would, of course, have bought herself a new and even finer dog and thought Amberforth good riddance. So nice of you to tell me that the lyrics are most important - I agree, but I would, of course, agree. And now I am going to listen to your songs.
Best from Birthe
Oh, hasty fingers make mistakes - Hallo AGAIN.
Nice to read you've been to Denmark.
Of course, you must be Danish - I hadn't stopped to think about that. I was with a theatre group that operated from the island of Mon for a few months and then we toured to Odense, Aalborg and Aarhus and then for a couple of months in Copenhagen. We even played Eugenio Barba's theatre in Holsterbro and now I live three kilometres from where he was born here in Salento, Southern Italy.
On Mon we were part of Decenter which was Elsa Gress' project. Perhaps you have heard of her - she was well-known as a critic and commentator and a writer. Decenter was an arts centre based at Marienborg, a farm owned by a member of the royal family. He was a count but I'm not sure of his full title. We just called him Peter. That was back in the early 70's.
Yes, to me the lyrics are most of what matters about a song. You will hear from my recordings that I'm not great at playng the guitar or singing and I know nothing whatever about production. They're really poems that have tunes - very simple. I think, listening to the songs on BJ that people produce too much and don't seem to trust text and voices anymore which is a shame. I grew up with early Dylan and Cohen - never got past that, I suppose. Wish I had their talent!
Anyway, let me know what you think if you have time to listen. I'll be putting more songs on as the days go by. Best wishes John
Well - that is exciting, what fun that you have been in Holstebro at the early Odin Theater, and that you have worked in theaters on Møn and in København. I don't know the the Count named Peter, and I ought to know of Elsa Gress but I don't. There is a hole in my connection to home from '62 to '74 - lack of money and a wicked stepmother kept us away, but we made up for it by buying a summer home on the island of Mors close to Holstebro, Struer and Skive. And from then on we spent every summer in Danmark, and enjoyed aunts and nieces and old friends and I reacquainted myself with Denmark's literature and culture. One niece is a painter, My husband makes glass, I made pots, we are mostly in visual arts but our children are academics.
My songs started as poems, but I began to see that they were really songs, so I had them set to music. I also belong to a poetry web forum, Eratosphere, where fellow poets critique and give advice. It is tough but very helpful and interesting. You might enjoy it - I like your lyrics/poetry a lot.
Your music is very gentle and I really enjoy your voice. I have only heard one song, "Slowly" - the other two do not play when I try to play them, I will try again and hope it works. Dylan is unique, but to me The Beatles played the music that means the most to me beyond classical music.
About the US - I did not become a citizen until I felt the need to vote AGAINST seven years ago, and I was very happy to vote FOR the present Pres. It is still a thrill that he won. His wife was right, we could be proud again.
All the best from Birthe
Enjoyed reading about your history. We have Danish friends too - a mother and daughter who live in London. The mother, Eva, is a very fine actress with whom I worked decades ago. She had her daughter, Cassandra, with the director of the company we worked with, Jean-Pierre. He died a few years ago but he was my mentor and friend for nearly forty years. Cass is a film producer who has just finished her first feature and is now working on her second. We always stay with them when we in London and Cass' house is full of Daphne's and my paintings which is nice.
You are a visual artist too! Excellent. Daphne paints a lot. I paint sometimes but, since we moved here to Italy, I have been largely writing and now making music. Slightly worrying that you couldn't get the other two songs to work. I'll check on that in case it's a fault in the site - thanks for letting me know that.
On the subject of Barak Obama - it is a relief to hear you on that. He was mentioned in an email by one of the other artists on BJ and I wrote and told him we very much admired Obama and felt he had done an extraordinary job in a difficult situation in the face of an unfair amount of opposition and obstruction. What we got back was a rather horrid diatribe against Obama, against muslims etc. Very tea party. We didn't reply. I now recognise his singing voice and am avoiding commenting on his songs. One is entitled to ones opinons but to me expressing them like that was over the top and rather ugly.
Lovely thought about the poetry group but I am not a great social networker and BJ is probably about as much as I can deal with. Nice to talk to you though. I'm better at normal correspondence than social networking. My email, by the way, is email@example.com Daphne and I also share a website which is at www.schemes-art.com in case you have an idle moment. I sure you don't have many of those! Best wishes John and Daphne
I have been in contact with the BJ tech people and they seem to have fixed the problem with the other two songs. Just thought I'd let you know that. It has rather delayed my plan to put more songs on but now I will over the coming days. Hope all well with you. Best wishes John
Yes, now they all three work and I have heard them and I like them very much. I am ok but tired. Your voice has a great lilt - and your humor is really fine. More when I am less tired.
Best from Birthe
Sam, this is very funny. I have just reviewed your song on the confident assumption that you were a female vocalist. Who was actually singing on this?
Thanks, John, for reviewing and commenting on JUST A WORD. I'm not a female vocalist, but I did co-write, co-produce and play all the instruments in my modest little home studio for this one. Actually, the singer on this version is a rather renown singer/songwriter/producer herself, Essra Mohawk. She also lives in Nashville near me and is very Google-able. Essra generously sang this demo as a favor to me and my co-writer, Michael Laidley. Essra and I have co-produced and written a couple of songs together, too. One of them is at my Broadjam site--SPITTIN' IN THE WIND. Her background, originally from Philadelphia, includes signing her first major label deal in the 60's at the age of 16, being a member of The Mothers Of Invention (Frank Zappa's band) and writing cuts for numerous relatively big artists. She maintains a great command of her voice and a very musical sense.
Good grief - a member of the Mother's of Invention! The woman's obviously a legend. You never know who you're talking to when you review these anonymous tracks on BJ. Anyway, she's magnificent and you provided an excellent vehicle for her. I gave that the highest scores I've given anything so far - and the only 5/5 overall rating. I'll listen to Spittin' in the Wind. Best wishes John
Thanks John. All the best!
Many thanks, Nathan. I appreciated your comments on my song 'Slow to Go'.
It is true that the song is of an older style and less sophisticated than anything I am hearing since I started reviewing work on Broadjam. I've been a bit shocked to find that contemporary folk has changed so much. I never usually listen to music at all but I like lyrics and the music I make is really just meant to carry those. I like the simple sound of guitar and voice, though I've started putting a little flute into some of the songs.
I've only put two songs on to Broadjam so far. I'll put more soon but they will all be very simple and therefore, as you say, probably unsaleable which is a shame. I am very glad though that you enjoy this style of music - perhaps a few other people will too. With best wishes and thanks John
So nice to meet you! Thank you for the FABULOUS review of my song, "The Love I Want To Show". It is a poem and a song. It did win the "Best Philosophical Song Contest" at Broadjam...when they used to have a MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more interesting "Best Song..." contest approach. But, those are the old days at Broadjam...which is still a great community.
Southern Italy....man, I am jealous. Life is good, eh? I know Europe well.... well, DID know it back in the 70's when I toured there extensively..as well as the US. Now, I'm an "old fart". Don't know if you are an ex-USA guy...but the US since the latest PREZ took the reins....this is NOT The country I have known since I was a kid.
Anyway, I digress..... best of luck and welcome to Broadjam...lots of good people here. LOTS!
If you want to listen to any of my 23 CDs.....stop by my site.
"Hanno un grande giorno, il mio nuovo amico!"
Dear Chet. Nice to hear from you. What a huge amount of work you have out there. 23 CDs. I've been in theatre all my life so music is a new business for me.
In the 70's, I was touring in Europe too - France, Holland, Germany, Belgium, Denmark etc. We came to New York too at one time but this was all theatre. After that, Daphne and I were in Australia for 27 years before we decided to come back to Europe. We got used to the warmth though so we came to live down here. Too cold up north. Beautiful life down here though - we are right in the 'heel' of the Italian 'boot'.
Of course, things do change, don't they - but I have to say we like your current president and we think he's done a brilliant job. I think history will judge him a lot more kindly than people do over there now. He took on a huge task and has had an unreasonable share of opposition and obstruction but the US is flourishing now by comparison to its situation when he took over. I know - an ignorant outsider's view but we like him.
I'm not ex-US, by the way - I was born in the original Jersey which, as you may know, is a little island, owned by Britain and situated off the coast of France. Good luck with everything. Thanks for the welcome and best wishes. John
I have also done a TON of acting....theater everywhere, TV, Films, Commericals....on top of my music career.....script writing, novel writing....and of course, composing and songwriting and producing.
I have a VERY full slate ahead of me for the next two years.
I appreciate your feelings about Obama and I agree, history WILL very him differently....mainly, as the most deceiving, dis-honest, manipulating and self-absorbed person to ever sit in the Oval Office. Whatever you might be reading is misleading. This country is about to collapse. It has a totally false economy and people are truly struggling. With 320 million people, Obama's policies has 96 million who are out of work or have stopped working and/or looking for work. THAT is not healthy. The economy here is NOT flourishing, even though the media may portray it that way. The ONLY place to make money is in the stock market....and that is a rigged game. You can't buy a CD and get 4-5% interest and be safe. Real estate is really bad here. My wife is a longtime RE appraiser and she has NEVER seen the under-lying fundamentals are extremely cooked and dangerous. It is about to implode. Gang violence is out of control....just look at the nonsense that happen in Ferguson, MO.....pure thuggery....and Obama and his administration condoned it. John, it goes on and on and on. So, be very careful with the "Obama Love Fest"..... it is pure deception. Just be open to exploring and digging thru his lies and deception.....it never stops flowing from them.
I can tell you this....the main-stream Americans despise the man...and a grassroots movement is afoot that will change everything and a truly inspiring presidential candidate is on the radar who will win and correct Obama's radical-liberal-Pro-Muslim-Marxist agendas and influences. You heard it here first.....
That said, we can still maintain good relations as long-distance "artist buddies".....sounds like a plan?
Thank you for your kind and thorough review of The Crow. I don't write the music, but I did ask for the violin. And I do preach. I don't think we should be told that with hard work we can do anything we wish. It is a recipe for disappointment. I'm a preachy old woman, and the crow is my most preachy song. I started writing lyrics late in life, it is a joyful thing to do. I was a potter before the lyrics took over.
Good luck, lucky you who lives in Italy.
Hallo again. Two reviews in a row. Thank you for the helpful critique of Today My Feet Don't Touch The Ground. I agree with your opinion on the length of the song and the risk of its being repetitive - monotonous. This song makes all the grandchildren dance. And it is not preachy!
Wonderful to be prepared to switch artforms. One learns much through any artform that is useful in other artforms so change is good. Anyway, life experience is the strongest source of good art so the older you are the more you know so theoretically the better your work becomes - or that's the hope. Do you perform in public as well? Cheers John
I only write the lyrics - I neither sing not make music, I wish I did. The musicians, composers and singers on my CDs are talented and very sweet young people living here in Lancaster PA.
If you look at my songs you can see who composed, plays and sings each melody. All the lyrics are written by me. I would love to sing, but I am like the crow, I just can't sing.
best from Birthe
Congratulations, Birthe. The lyrics are by far the most important bit - for me, at least.
I notice you have been giving my songs 5 star ratings. That is very kind. I've put another song on this evening but please don't feel you have to keep giving them all 5 stars! Maybe you'll hate this one.
I ought to be sending you a request to make an official connection but I have no idea how to do that. Never mind. I have a feeling I'll never be brilliant at this sort of a site but anyway we are managing to communicate perfectly so far. Best wishes John
Hello John, nice to meet you on BJ. Thanks for your review of the Old Sew and Sew. I sure love to sew, so it's my folksong! I am not sure what you meant about electronic sound...it's just me and my guitar. Anyway, I am Italian. You might like my Mangia song, so here's the link if you want to take a listen: http://www.broadjam.com/artists/songs.php?artistID=24409&mediaID=572503 1
I will have a listen to Mangia. I think, with regard to the 'electronic' sound, it must be into the things one does to the sound in the mixing. I'm not used to that. The effects do thing to the sound that confuse simple souls like me. Sorry - I really thought you had something electronic behind it. Loved the song though - I played it to my partner, Daphne. We often go to visit the women of the Federcasalinghe (housewives association - quite a powerful institution in a regional Italian town) and they spend most of their meetings sewing or doing similar, incredibly clever things. Recame (lace-making) is big here. They would love your song but none of them speak English. Best wishes John
interesting....thx for sharing that. IT's a vintage song I recorded w/ my first producer....when you hear mangia you will see how far we've come. Have a blessed day!
Greetings again, Kate. Life got a little busy and it took a while to get to 'Mangia'. What a very cheerful piece and very recognizable too. We frequently have people over to lunch - lots of nationalities but mostly Italians. The conversation is always for 50% about the food. A lot of fun and we buy it from the farmer who brings it from his field and sells it on the piazza outside our front door so it couldn't be fresher. What a huge amount of work you have on the site. Stunning. Best wishes John
Gee thanks for taking the time to listen! I've never been to Italy but it's in my blood for sure. Maybe some day I'll get there and experience what you are talking about.
Thanks for your friendly and useful review of The Quirk. And above all, thanks for the "middle-aged". I didn't know I sounded that young.
Dear Ian. What I didn't say in the review was that it was also nice to hear an English voice singing - every other song I've reviewed has been sung by an American which is fine but, you know ... nice to hear an English voice now and then. Cheers