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Friday, October 8, 2010

204. "(Here's One I Bet You Wouldn't Want to Meet) In the Wild" by Monkey Typing Pool

Requested by Jeff Norman.

The original version of this was also written and performed by Jeff Norman, who is Monkey Typing Pool and, you may recall, produced the bulk of the 39-40 version of "God Bless the Child" way back when. Why, at that time I thought a whole lot of people would jump at the chance to collaborate with me on one of these things, for exposure and fun and just to be part of it all. Ha. Ha ha ha. My, how we laughed. Ha ha ha.

Anyway, I wish I'd done this better. I took the somewhat obvious strategy of rocking it up, and added a twist: I've always liked it when songs start with an instrument beginning on an off beat, creating the illusion that the downbeat of the song is something other than what it is and the melody is slid over from where it should be until the drums etc. enter and your mind has to do a fast mental shift to put everything in place. They sound odd the first few times you hear them, and then they start to sound normal... except that every once in a while you somehow hear it the way you did the first time, and it puts you right back in that moment. The only example I can think of offhand is "Dktr Faustus" by The Fall, because it's late. Anyway, in addition to throwing that little trick in there, I added a repeat of the chorus, a solo section, a half of a completely new verse, a breakdown and an extended outro, even with all of which I barely cracked the three-minute mark.

But the worst part of it was how, upon final playback (and even now, to a greater or lesser extent after having gone nuts tying to fix it) some of the attacks on the 13-string part were clipping violently. And I couldn't figure out where. I ended up doing all kinds of manual volume adjustments on a microscopic level, but it was basically uncorrectable (while also appearing to all intents and purposes not to *need* fixing). Which sucks because I was pretty excited about how it was turning out, until I wasn't. So sorry to everyone and most especially Jeff. They can't all be "Cold July Rain", I guess.

The cover image for my version, by the way, was selected by the tried and almost always true method of googling the title of the song and grabbing the first image that's big enough to be used. A recipe for win if there ever was one.

Personnel: Rex


  1. Thanks! I like! I sorta miss my fancy-ass chord faux-Beatley ending - but given the way you extended the song, it was finely judged that adding that *too* would have been too much. (Either that or there were one or two bizarro chords in there that you felt were abominations...)

    I tell the story in full at my own bloggy-bloggy home, but the title phrase came from a dream from a mutual friend on the Robyn Hitchcock list: he dreamed a TV announcer had said something like, "And next up, Robyn Hitchcock with his new song '(Here's One I'll Bet You Wouldn't Want to Meet) In the Wild'!" The dreamer said he would try to write the song, but was stumped by how to phrase the rather wordy title. So I took that as a challenge, and ended up writing the song (which is why the vocal rhythm is kinda higgledy-piggledy). I didn't listen superclosely, but it sounds like Rex did a fine job with his verse keeping to the spirit of the thing...

    Also: amusingly (given the last two, monkey-themed selections, and today being Mr. Lennon's birthday), another track that starts offbeat like that is "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey" (speaking of wordy titles).

  2. One small detail Jeff leaves out: the dreamer of the dream was none other than James Dignan, who wrote and performed the original version of "Cold July Rain".

    I did plan on incorporating that ending bit, but I got sidetracked by making the breaks and endings last for oddball numbers of measures and stuff. That probably happened when I realized I was singing way more like Scott Miller than usual. It's a process that devours itself as it occurs...