Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Harvey Ray

This is a bit experimental. The idea was to write a song consisting entirely of TLAs -- Three-Letter Abbreviations -- with one exception.


I'm debating whether to explain who Harvey Ray is. Yes... No... Yes...

Harvey Ray* was a fellow who stood on the corner of Beltline Blvd and Two-Notch Road in Columbia, SC over 30 years ago in our youth. He sold peanuts and trinkets. Many people knew him only as "the Peanut Man". Rain or shine, without regard to current events, Harvey Ray was there, selling those peanuts. This is for him.

WMD is really hard to say in the meter. Pronounce it “DubyemDee”. I originally thought of this as “Shatnerized” with the Grand Moff Tarkin voice, but the more I think about it, the better it would sound performed by Roger Moore. Update: Shatnerized it is. I did a recording for Shatner's birthday, so I replaced my draft with that version. Also, you'll find some mention of a subliminal chorus in the comments below... it's in here.

HARVEY RAY
wmh - 12 December 2006

Triple A, DMV
GPS, SUV
PMS, SOB
DUI, IUD

ICU, EKG
MRI, EMT
PCP, STD
HIV –––– RIP

NHL, PGA
RBI, NBA
MLB, STP,
PGA, MVP

GDP, GMT
HGH, THC
IRS, CPA
FBI –––– DOJ

NBC, ABC
CBS, BBC
CNN, PBS
MTV, F-O-X

FDR, LBJ
LHO, JFK
ATF, MLK
APB –––– Harvey Ray

GOP, RNC
DOD, MRE
DOA, RPG
DMZ, WMD

PDQ, A-OK
I just spotted
Harvey Ray




P.S. I don't know why, but it's bugging me extraordinarily that I could, after quite an exhaustive search, find only this one reference on the web to Harvey Ray, and it's an anecdote in the comments section of a post about a different business on that same street corner. The more I think about it, the more glad I am that we have a song for Harvey Ray. He deserves one.
.

4 comments:

Rusty said...

I really like it. It's disjointed in that "We Didn't Start the Fire" kind of way, but the juxtapositions make sense briefly, then explode into nonsense again in a fun way.

I think there should be a stronger connection to Harvey Ray in the song. This may be ripping off another nonsense song a bit, but what if during the instrumental riff (the one where you run your fingers up the keyboard), you just shout out, "Peanuts! Salt Peanuts! Salt Peanuts!" Or just, "Peanuts! Getcher Peanuts!"

Yes, it's a non-sequitur, but it would also tie in Harvey Ray just a little closer. And now there are TWO references to Harvey Ray on the Internet. With your YouTube page, it's THREE!

Dave Leigh said...

I love it when you comment, Russ, because it's always constructive (even when I don't take your advice). In this case we're thinking along the same lines. When recording this "for real" I plan to have some kind of vocal chorus during those instrumental bits. I don't know exactly what it will be yet. In my head it's almost subliminal, and actually sung.

I noticed the "We Didn't Start the Fire" influence when I got the lyrics. I'm trying to be careful not to rip it off too badly. At the same time I'm trying not to parody Shatner. Though this spoken-word stuff is really his schtick, I've sort of adopted the style for this and for my cover of Inverse Clown's "Sexy in the Rain".

I'm still mulling over the instrumentation for the Bandcamp version.

Riker said...

For what it's worth, I think this song bears as much resemblance to TLC's "Waterfalls" as it does to WDStF inasmuch as they're topical songs, referential to actual events or social issues... but there are lots of those out there. This one conveys its story in a novel fashion and it's really not treading on any of the other works already out there. No more than they do upon each other. I think the lyrical device here is really clever, and really cool. Russ had a great idea above, strengthening the references to Harvey in a chorus. I'm super interested in how his will all turn out :)

Oh, and I didn't get anything hokey or parody-xical about the vocal style. I think it's fitting. But, singing a chorus will definitely resolve any issues you may perceive to be there.

peterholthoffman said...

There are some of us talking about Harvey Ray on Facebook in the "You know you grew up in Dentsville when....." group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/56953284046/

We found your page and are interested in hearing the song but it's marked "private". In case that's an oversight, I thought I would mention it.

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