Monday, August 11, 2014

Shadow: The God of All Small Boys

For SpinTunes 9, Round 3. The challenge:
SCORE! - Finally! Your favorite book is being made into a decent movie! The producers need a title song to promote the film and hopefully win an Academy Award. You're hired. The song must have the same title as the book. (2 minute minimum length) 
Uniquely, this song was actually written concurrently with the book. The book is "The God of All Small Boys" by none other than SpinTuner and Master of Song Fu Joe 'Covenant' Lamb. The book reached completion at about the same time as we were writing our songs. Joe provided me with an advance draft, which I read and for which I wrote this song specifically.

It's a tale about a group of pre-teen boys; a coming of age story set in Dundee, Scotland during the Great War (WWI). The lyrics were based on a description of a "den" constructed by the boys, and depicts a single scene, on a grassy hillside into which the den is dug. Joe was then kind enough to write the song back into the book, thus it is quite literally a scene from the book. The book is being submitted to a writing competition, and will be released shortly after that. Now all that's needed is a movie producer. Having read it, I can tell you that it is a movie I'd like to see. I highly recommend it.

This arrangement of the song itself was written for SpinTunes, but there's a "Covenant" version that's intended for radio play. Based on feedback, that's what I'm submitting. I like both, so here they both are. The first is my original arrangement. The heavy toms are intended to remind us of the guns of the distant War, but you can read Joe's comment below. ;)



This second version is sung by Joe Lamb himself... and just to make this as self-referential as possible, the scene about which the song was written that was subsequently written back into the scene is now written into the song. That is, dialogue from the scene fills out the bridge of the song.

The God of All Small Boys

A dreary Autumn's day 
Just west of the sea 
Beside the Law and Tay 
You will find me 

A shelter from the storm 
Some corrugated iron 
A bit of chimney pipe 
A paint pot filled with fire 
Will keep me warm... 
Will keep me warm... 

And The God of All Small Boys 
is looking down 
is looking down 
The God Of All Small Boys 
is looking down 
is looking down 
On me... 

Listen, you can hear 
Echoes of a war 
Our fathers shed their blood 
There is nothing more 
That we hold dear... 
That we hold dear... 

And The God of All Small Boys 
is looking down 
is looking down 
The God Of All Small Boys 
is looking down 
is looking down 
On me... 
On me... 

The God of All Small Boys 
is looking down 
is looking down 
The God Of All Small Boys 
is looking down 
is looking down 
On me... 
On me... 
On me... 
On me...


Other Notes

As the challenge was to write this as a song for the movie, I had to take that into account while writing it. I've always envisioned it as being used as either an opening credits number, or during the end credits (or perhaps both, now that there are multiple versions). For the opening credits I envisioned a long helicopter shot over Scotland from the South, crossing the River Tay and circling the Law before closing in on the Gunning house. Pre-credits, I imagine the director establishing the historical context. In the end credits it's somewhat the reverse, with James dreaming about playing at the Den with his mates, the sun shining through the breeze, and the camera pulls back and back with a fade to white through the clouds.

2 comments:

JoeCovenantLamb said...

Love this song... wish we'd had access to a real drummer! I like the 'full band' version, but find the kick drum just too much... there is (of course) a third mix of my own... I might throw it online somewhere at some point - ;' )

Dave Leigh said...

I want to hear it! ;)

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