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Verse 1:
Here comes the river,
taking a new way,
way she never took before.
Old mother river
looks in my window.
Old mother pounding at my door.

 

Chorus:
There's a reason
(there is a reason)
put that cemetery on a hill.
This river
(old mother river)
she will never have her fill.

 

Verse 2:
Here comes the next town,
tumbling down river,
one lost shoe at a time.
One empty beer can,
one bent umbrella,
then the whole whirling five-and-dime.

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Good job with blues writing. Easy to imagine these words set to music of this genre.  I keep hearing or seeing ol' gushin' or ol' flowin' river instead of old mother river, but perhaps that's just me.  Also, the title (to me) didn't seem to be centered on the five & dime or any junk or cheap material or goods that came flowing down or washed away as a result of the river.  "The River" is simple and might be better suited as a title. In verse 2, (not that this matters but to some it does) in order to not repeat "Here comes" at the opening line the same as verse 1 how about "There goes the next town".   Kind of left wanting a little bit more in the way of something said too and that's because I like it.  Hey! You're getting me into and hooked on blues writes I can envision sung in a blues style. Thanks.  

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This has a haunting quality that works for me. And told so consisely, I like it. Brings to mind John Lee Hooker's blues song about the great flood of Tupelo, Mississippi.

 

I've thought the historic flood of Johnstown, PA would make for an epic song. A truly nightmarish event, trapped berween a raging debris filled river and a sprawling oil fire, but I digress.

 

Nice job.

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Another nice blues lyric.  I agree that @spanishbuddha that Five and Dime doesn't seem like the best title give it's minor placement in the song, but that's not a biggee.

 

I'm not sure I understand where you are going with the parentheses.  Does it denote background vocals (call and response)? 

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Does it denote background vocals (call and response)? 

 

Yes. Shared vocals of some sort.

 

And the whole whirling five-and-dime is literally a general store floating down the river, but it's also a synecdoche, where I have chosen the general store full of everyday stuff to stand for the entire town. I never write a song where the words mean just one thing. 

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Well I just learned a new vocabulary word and I thank you for that.  I understood the meaning of your use of five and dime to an extent, but, for what it's worth, I think you may want to re-emphasize the phrase by including it somewhere else, perhaps in a chorus.  Just my opinion.

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I see 2 possible issues with your "Five & Dime" reference.

  1. To the best of my knowledge, the expression fell by the wayside more than a 1/2 century ago. I'm in my mid-60's & I recall hearing it as a small child, but not since.
  2. I question whether the phrase effectively represents what you intend to convey - "the whole town". Even IF it were still in common use, I'm not sure people would make the connection. Perhaps something along the lines of "buildings by the score" would be more easily relatable? Obviously that would disturb your rhyme scheme, but that shouldn't be an insurmountable issue.

Good luck with it!

 

Tom

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The five and dime has been replaced by the dollar store. But including the five and dime as a reference places this back in time, which may be your intent. I like this too Malcolm. You could repeat the chorus or otherwise lengthen this some without wearing out your welcome.  Very stripped down country blues, or as we say, playing close to the bone. I can easily hear Mississippi Fred McDowell playing this back in his day. Fred is one of my all time favorites so consider that a high compliment! 

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Very nice, Malcolm. Has a poignant quality about it. (I’m a sucker for ‘poignant’. ;) ) I have a sense of life (in the form of the river) flowing past, to be replaced by old age/death (also in river form).  

 

Interesting portrayal of the river as ‘Old Mother’ as opposed to the famous ‘Old Man River’. 

 

Love the five-and-dime reference in the second verse, and – my personal interpretation - the whole notion of our lives, in the end, having not been really much more than a five-and-dime store (or, more currently) a dollar-store. We’re bargaining all the time, whether we know it or not, trying to find ourselves the best deal. In the end, some people might even try to bargain with death.  Sorry. Just rambling here. :)

 

Good concise statement. Concrete details to snag and keep us to a storyline, but enough mystery to let us wander where we will. 

 

My only nit is that the piece seems to want a bridge to add something to the perspective in the verses & chorus. Some kind of resolution. But that’s your personal choice. (And I guess if you're going to sing this in a more customary blues style, a bridge wouldn't be necessary.)

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Thanks for the nice feedback, everyone. Yeah, it's definitely on the short side. I just said as much as I could say at the time. But anyone who says it's too short is probably right. I'll keep a lookout in my head for something else -- maybe DonnaMarilyn's bridge over the flood.

 

I do have a longer flood song, but it's written from the point of view of the flood personified ("I am come down from the mountains / Mountains, rumble in my blood..."), so it might not go over too well.

 

Maybe I'll write a bunch of flood songs? There should be a song about every town that was ever swallowed up by a reservoir or hydroelectric project. Here are just the American ones. A small sample of the names: "The communities of Old Neversink and Bittersweet were lost to form the Neversink Reservoir, while Eureka, Montela, and Lackawack were lost to form the Rondout Reservoir."

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20 minutes ago, malcolm said:

I do have a longer flood song, but it's written from the point of view of the flood personified ("I am come down from the mountains / Mountains, rumble in my blood..."), so it might not go over too well.

 

You might be surprised. The winner of the March Lyric contest was written from the point of view of the rain. ;)

 

 

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