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#1036351 - 01/18/14 01:50 AM 38 Nooses  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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MI
38 Nooses

©Dan Sullivan 2014

38 Nooses swinging in the wind
The hangman checks his watch again
A few clouds drifting across the sky
And 38 Dakotas waiting to die

Soldiers torn by lead and steel
Ghosts departing the battlefield
Into the smoke they disappear
Just as if they were never here

Husbands, wives, sons and daughters
Some were spared and some were slaughtered
The news spread like a prarie fire
Riding east on the telegraph wire

The thunder dies and all is still
Except for the creaking of the wheels
As ambulance wagons carry away
Ten thousand dead Blue and Grey

Justice mixed in the blood of revenge
Weighed on the scale against the dead
The prarieland is vast and cold
No one knows the secrets it holds

Can you feel that December wind
Itís grey as shame and cold as sin
From the Land of 10,000 Lakes it blows
All the way to White Oak Road

38 Nooses swinging in the wind
The hangman checks his watch again
In the distance a coyote calls
And suddenly the trap doors fall


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036353 - 01/18/14 02:47 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Hey Dan,
This is really a departure for you musically. Good stuff. Reminds me of the style Dylan has been going through his last few albums. So what's the story behind the hangings?

Stevie

#1036358 - 01/18/14 03:13 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Little_stevie_b]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Stevie, I like to occasionally use the piano to compose. It gives me a different feel and keeps me from getting stale, opens up other vistas. The story behind the song comes from the book "38 Nooses," which is such a great title it begged for a song. The book details an Indian uprising set against the backdrop of the Civil War. It's a great book. Berg is a helluva historian.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036359 - 01/18/14 03:16 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Little_stevie_b]  
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i really like this haunting song Dan.I'm too wondering where the Dakotas merge with the civil war.Great sound!Mike

#1036415 - 01/18/14 12:49 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Michael LeBlanc]  
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Bill Osofsky Offline
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A nice look at history. Well done

Bill


#1036478 - 01/18/14 07:40 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Bill Osofsky]  
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Dan,
I love those historical stories.
This is a good lyric.
Musically, it's similar all the way through and maybe could benefit from a couple of choruses for melody change.
But then, that may not be the style you want.
Vic


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.

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#1036484 - 01/18/14 08:28 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Vicarn]  
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An interesting story and well written lyrics to convey it. The haunting presentation of the production nails it. I'm also a big time history nut and have done several Civil War songs. This period of American history is certainly rich with imagery and you did a fine job of bringing it to life. Enjoyed it!


Check out our album Janice Merritt "All Over The Map"
on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and others.
#1036485 - 01/18/14 08:34 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Janice_and_Bud]  
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Calvin Offline
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Hi Dan,

When I saw the title I had to listen, now I'm glad I did,
it was beautifully sad.

Calvin


http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/calvinstewart

#1036493 - 01/18/14 10:50 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Calvin]  
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TamsNumber4 Offline
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Dan,

A really good write on this, love

Ghosts departing the battlefield
Into the smoke they disappear
Just as if they were never here

I agree the music doesn't change up much, there is more to emote
for the music, but that lyric is great.

Tammy


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Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it...
Professor Albus Dumbledore




#1036514 - 01/19/14 12:42 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: TamsNumber4]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Mike, Thanks for the comment. The Dakota uprising in Minnesota occurred in late Summer of '61 as the war between the North and South was getting cranked up. Berg's book tells the tale of the uprising set against the backdrop of the Civil War.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036516 - 01/19/14 12:49 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Bill, Thanks for listening.

Vic, You make a good point about the musical monotony. I wanted a cinematic effect to the lyrics. And the simple musical background seemed to fit, keeping the focus on the lyrics. I like going outside the standard verse-chorus or verse - chorus -bridge structure on occasion. Especially when I writing a story song . Thanks for you kind comments.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036517 - 01/19/14 12:52 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Janice and Bud, Thanks for the comments. You do a lot of bluegrass work and that's a genre that has great respect for the past and historical time pieces. A lot of music has come out of the Civil War. Thanks again.



Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036518 - 01/19/14 12:53 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Calvin, Thanks for the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed the song. I like a sad song once in awhile myself.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036519 - 01/19/14 12:55 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Tammy, I'm glad you liked that line about the ghosts. I was going for a cinematic effect with that one. I could see the ghosts leaving the bodies of the dead soldiers in my mind. I knew I had to capture that image for this song. Thanks for you kind comments.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036541 - 01/19/14 05:44 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Dan - a good write - and a very effective presentation - really like your vocal on this. - floyd

#1036564 - 01/19/14 09:36 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: floyd jane]  
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Hunter Valley NSW Australia
Hi Dan

I really enjoyed listening to this, sad story, spooky,Eek shocked well done Dan. I would love to hear a bit of a lift musically and vocally, but other than that, I loved it.

Great work on the Piano and vocals. smile

Hugs Michele

Last edited by Michele Howlett; 01/19/14 09:37 AM.
#1036591 - 01/19/14 12:54 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Michele Howlett]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dan Sullivan  Offline
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Michelle and Floyd, Glad you both liked this one. That phrase "38 Nooses" had been percolating in my mind ever since I read Scott Berg's book last year. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in that period.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036629 - 01/19/14 07:32 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Doug Healey Offline
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Anaheim calif. Mickey Mouse
Hey Dan, very poignant and well written story. Liked the piano and strings together. Nice work.


Learn all the musical rules inside and out- Then break 'em...
Grace..Peace...Love

#1036670 - 01/20/14 04:12 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Doug Healey]  
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Doug, Thanks for your comment. A lot of the credit for the song goes to Scott W. Berg who wrote the book I drew the song from.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1036867 - 01/22/14 04:00 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Hey Dan,

I take the opposite view on putting a change up musically in this song. The Simple haunting piano and song structure I think fit like a glove with the style of this song, All that being said, the lyrics carry it to a great place. Quite a way with words. Great work. It is a song that evokes a specific mood and this is a very haunting one. Stirring the emotions is what it is all about and it is done quite well here. Congrats.

Dave

#1036901 - 01/22/14 12:27 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: GocartMoz]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Dave, Thanks for the comments, especially on the song structure. I usually let the song dictate the form rather than try to shoehorn it into one of the common or commercial structures. The songs aren't for the radio or commercial market anyway. So there's no point in trying to squeeze the song into some artificial and arbitrary constraints.

Thanks again. I appreciate your remarks.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1037181 - 01/25/14 04:27 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Hi Dan,

What a somber mood you've constructed for a somber subject...perfect match! Great spooky, haunting feel...wow -great job!

Also, you've compelled me to read the book -- I got a copy of it today! (I belong to a monthly book club at my local library. If the book is as good as your song, I'll recommend it to them for for the 2015 reading list!)

Lisa

#1037348 - 01/27/14 11:43 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Lisa Gundling]  
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MFB III Online content
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Hey Dan, this one is a classic, macabre and sad, showing the end results of a cruel war. I enjoyed it very much, is it based on history? My Historical recollections are not what they used to be.
Superb work for sure on this one~~Matt

#1037349 - 01/27/14 11:44 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: MFB III]  
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Ooops, never mind I read the comments and saw the reference to Scott berg, I will have to check out the book.~~Matt

#1037430 - 01/27/14 07:36 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: MFB III]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Matt & Lisa, Thanks for giving the song a spin and giving it a good reception.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1037455 - 01/28/14 03:05 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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"The songs aren't for the radio or commercial market anyway. So there's no point in trying to squeeze the song into some artificial and arbitrary constraints."

God I love that quote from you. I struggle with this all the time and it is so refreshing to hear someone offer up this point of view.

As for the merit of the song, this is definitely another extremely powerful and expertly written ballad from you. The pictures take the song to an even deeper level and of all the artists that present their material with pictures on this site no one does it better.

I personally like the stark quality of the arrangement and believe that it provides the lyric with just the right atmosphere. The lyric itself is incredible and I don't think think you've ever been better. It's amazing structure and insightful and unique phrasings make it powerful with or without music. I loved the title as it conveys it's point immediately and emphatically.

Too many good lines to mention them all. I loved the second verse and it's sensational image of ghosts leaving the battlefield but I believe my personal favorite lines are:

Justice mixed in the blood of revenge
Weighed on the scale against the dead
The prarieland is vast and cold
No one knows the secrets it holds

You are an amazing writer Dan and I love the way that you perpetually use your talents to illuminate a cause that you are passionate about. Not much wasted content in your material. I have a lot of respect for what you do and this song is a shining example of what makes you special. Very nicely done.

#1037458 - 01/28/14 04:33 AM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Bobby Wayne]  
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Hi Dan,

I'm really impressed with these lyrics, they kept me riveted and absolutely you capture the essence of this tragic part of our American History. "Manifest Destiny" was a two sided sword--one side adventure, the other death. However, it shaped our great country's geography, but at the expense of our Native Americans and their vision of their destiny........Nice song Dan, I enjoyed your music as well--I think Bobbie pretty much said it all and I agree with his sentiments.

steady-eddie.

#1037553 - 01/28/14 08:47 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: E Swartz]  
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Dan Sullivan Offline
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Bobby, Thatís as nice a thing anyoneís ever said about a song of mine and I really appreciate it. Especially coming from you.

Eddie, Thank you, too. Scott W. Berg did the hard work researching and writing the story of the Dakota uprising of 1861. I just piggy-backed a song on his story. Youíre right about what we call the progress of human history. It doesnít often come without blood and violence.


Write from your heart, not what you think others want to hear.

https://dansullivan2.bandcamp.com

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/dansullivan2
#1049085 - 05/30/14 01:25 PM Re: 38 Nooses [Re: Dan Sullivan]  
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Hi Dan,

I finally finished reading the book you based this on, "38 Nooses!" Wow -- what an incredible job the author does of putting that piece of history in perspective! I loved the book...it revealed so many things I was unaware of! Amazing how blind we can be about something... until we're not anymore!

I listened again to your beautiful retelling of it here, and the only other thing I'd suggest is that it would be somehow fitting to add Chaska's name in here somewhere, as a remembrance of his, and Sarah Wakefield's, tragedy! I'm going to find a copy of Sarah's book now and read that too!

Lisa






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