(Don't Leave Me In) Mystery

October 22, 2010 2:48 PM

An admittedly inconsequential but strangely catchy (to my ears) little ditty and, in the fantasy world of 7" coloured vinyl singles, one of the b-sides to the forthcoming I've Got A Feeling That I'm Everything I Never Wanted To Be. Which, belying its Smiths-esque title, is shaping up as pure late '70's power-pop.

This has been kicking around for quite a while - to the extent that I robbed a bit of the melody and used it in the Chilean miners track. But, hey, recycling is the way to go. Features, unusually, a solo on my Telecaster. A really sweet and unpretentious little guitar that I must use more.

posted by MajorDundee (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite


Don't leave me in mystery
Don't leave me in misery
You owe me more than just "so long"
Tell me where it went wrong

You can spin a tale
Like Dream Angus
Selling stories for me to buy
Oh, spin me a tale
With those eyes
Tell me stories
Tell me lies (but...)

Don't leave me etc

Where the heart beats
Is empty space
There's no belief
In an empty face (just..)

Don't leave me in mystery
Don't leave me in misery
You owe me more than just "so long"
It's been so long....
posted by MajorDundee at 3:04 PM on October 22, 2010

sweet. a lovely, lovely solo too.
posted by peterkins at 5:37 PM on October 22, 2010

Yeah, this has a really nice feel, Dundee.

I hear harmonies on these lines:

Where the heart beats
Is empty space
There's no belief
In an empty face (just..)

or, maybe on the choruses.

That's a really sweet little guitar solo toward the end, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:28 AM on October 23, 2010

Yup, this is awesome, dare I say more awesome even than exepected. Agreed with TWF about the harmonics/percussive bits. This rocks.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:16 AM on October 23, 2010

Many thanks to all. I'm genuinely surprised at the warm reaction to this - I thought it was a bit vin ordinaire except that I did like the solo and the throaty sound of the Tele, and the chorus has something catchy. The rest of it is so-so. I've been tinkering with it now and again for months and I probably would have left it on the shelf if it wasn't for that solo - one of those ones where the basic idea came from nowhere when listening to a playback. So I very quickly fired the amp up, stuck a mic in front of it, grabbed a guitar and got it down. And then thought I may as well finish this one off.

When I first had the idea for the chorus, I got a 1950's sound in my head - almost a kind of doo-wop type of thing - Frankie Valli?? some of Billy Joel's stuff?? - or, and this is probably stretching things, the sort of sound that some black singers had in the '50's and '60's. It's (obviously from my inarticulacy) not a genre I'm very familiar with, but in the fantasy world of Dundee this would be re-recorded with that kind of vibe/sound in mind.

I did try, flapjax, to work up some harmony vocals but I just couldn't find anything that worked well. I thought too about double tracking the lead vocal under the choruses, but I don't really like tracked vocals - they tend to sound like....uhh.....tracked vocals.
posted by MajorDundee at 7:34 AM on October 23, 2010

To warm up the vocal I sometimes double track but mix the double really low and compress it hard. The ideal level is where you can't really hear it, but when you mute it you miss it.
posted by unSane at 3:38 PM on October 23, 2010

Hey, this is great Major. It's very smooth, as usual for you, kind of elegant and the solo wraps it up perfectly.
posted by snsranch at 5:22 PM on October 23, 2010

Thanks guys. I have used that technique once or twice unS. I think this track is actually quite a delicate balance (it may not sound like that, but it is) and anything too "thick" will upset that. And even if you do pull back the tracked vocal to a virtually inaudible level and EQ all the bottom end out of it, it still does thicken up the sound (which is, as you point out, why one would use the technique in the first place!). Just half-heartedly trying to find harmonies I knew that even if I found something I wouldn't use it because.....too much, doesn't need it. What this song really needs is a good soul singer and no fucking about engineering-wise.
posted by MajorDundee at 2:02 PM on October 24, 2010

This is great. The rhythm of the guitars and percussion makes this easy to settle into. Very catchy. And it's mixed so damn well. Very smooth without being overproduced. Good stuff, MD!
posted by tunewell at 9:55 AM on October 25, 2010

I love the percussion on this, the whole feel, and the guitar solo. Sometimes I think that you are such an accomplished musician, Major, that you write complex songs when in fact your musicianship shines through with more emotional oomph when you execute something simple and pristine so perfectly.

"Extraordinary how potent cheap music is." - O. Wilde, words to live by!

I downloaded this and threw it into Logic to see if I could come up with a backing but it's quite hard because the obvious harmony is a sixth above your vocal line, which is very high. It kind of works a third below instead, but I'm always dubious about harmonies which are lower than the vocal line.

The other obvious thing is an echo of the same vocal melody which goes 'don't leave me... don't leave me... you owe me...' but I'm struggling to get that to work too.
posted by unSane at 1:34 PM on October 25, 2010

My wife has made the same comment unS - she's not a musician but she often says my stuff is "too complicated". It's something I'm aware of, but it's difficult to control. In the end I'm not really a songwriter. I'm a sideman who can write melodies and parts. I find it difficult to write simple stuff because it bores me musically. That sounds really arrogant - not meant to be. So because I try to do stuff that interests me if often leaves everyone else going "huh??". I can't win!

Funnily enough though - this track is a lot more sophisticated than it sounds. The guitar riff is actually quite a difficult stretch and incorporates some unusual notes if you listen carefully. SO although it's structurally simple there are some points of interest to me - kind of subtle, transient stuff going on in the back of the mix - I love things that are almost ghost notes because they can change the whole flavour of something for a split-second and then they're gone.

Anyway - enough of my ramblings. I'm very chuffed that you'd even bother to try to find those harmonies mate. I really appreciate it a lot - thanks. I see you've uploaded a new version of San Fran - I'll have a listen tonight after work.
posted by MajorDundee at 5:49 AM on October 26, 2010

The track does sound very sophisticated in its execution, Major, but the underlying idea is simple, which is what I like. It makes it very easy to respond to emotionally.
posted by unSane at 6:19 AM on October 26, 2010

(Also, you shouldn't undersell yourself as a songwriter. You've posted some great stuff recently).
posted by unSane at 6:20 AM on October 26, 2010

I'd define a songwriter as someone who's equally interested in both words and music. Although I'm more attentive than I used to be, I still see words as a poor second to melody. I tend to just throw lyrics together very quickly and with not a great deal of care for rhyme or aliteration or nuanced meaning etc. Which is strange because I'm quite a lover of poetry - so one would have thought I'd be more picky than I am. But then, when I think about it, I tend to write melodies very quickly and so my approach to writing words is consistent with that - except that I'm much more scrupulous and ruthless with tunes.

Anyway......I'm not a songwriter by my own definition of the term. Maybe a melodicist who's edging slowly towards being a songwriter would be how I'd describe myself.
posted by MajorDundee at 11:44 AM on October 26, 2010

Some of your words have really stuck with me, Major. I love that 'killer on the stair' line, for example, in your Street Sixteen opus.
posted by unSane at 2:06 PM on October 26, 2010

« Older Killing Two Birds   |   That's the Way it Wiggles Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments