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#1096918 - 12/11/15 05:23 AM The Sideshow Is Dying  
Joined: Jul 2006
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
Hi all,

https://soundcloud.com/michael-zaneski/the-sideshow-is-dying-mix-2

I wrote an albums worth of circus oriented songs over a decade or so and am just getting around to finishing some of the demos.

This one was fun--especially recording Henry the slide trombone player. It turns out he was a marching band trombonist, and could only sound good..um..by marching while he played. So I indulged him and set up a stereo pair of mics and let him roam about my living room while he played. Except for a broken Japanese Satsuma vase, the recording session went very well.

Anyway this is an odd little novelty tune. A reggae tune sandwiched in between a folk tune. I hope you enjoy the listen and have a laugh or two. smile

Oh yeah, the right channel chorus is commenting on the main singer (an idea I got from listening to IggyIggy), so I have put the right channel chorus in parenthesis, in the lyric below:

The Sideshow Is Dying

Mums the Mime held up a sign
In front of the circus crowd
It said the sideshow's gone to Mexico
An honor we're all proud

Now when the circus comes to town
I'm always rarin' to go
I'm just a big little kid
Some fifty-four years in a row

Now they're all down south
All the freaks I love so well
Oh, the Human Cannonball
The Smoldering Man (came) Straight From Hell

So I catch a cab to go
On down to Barnum's Bar
There's a drunk born ev'ry minute here
I'm on my fourth Lone Star

Then Mums the Mime sits down next to me
And well...he starts cryin'
Says it's a great big ol' lie, my friend
Really the sideshow is dyin'

Then he goes on to tell me

There'll be no more fryin' eggs on Steve (Uh uh no eggs on Steve)
You can still cook pancakes on his chest, I believe (pancakes okay)
But it takes almost an hour, now
And everyone'll leave (that's way too long)
And no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is

And Stilts, the Midget On High's still takin' Hollywood (Peter Dinklage watch out)
Got a bit part in Gulliver's Travels
For a remake it's pretty good (Rex Reed, four stars)
And Giant Limbo Jane still sleeps with
Stilt's..wood (wah wah wah wah)
And no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is

Yeah no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is
What his purpose or his plan is
He just said I've got to get away
Oh and look he's gone and I think he's gone to stay

And Frogboy Bob McNut is the butt of ev'ry joke (poor Frogboy)
He lays there in a stupor ever since the stroke (poor Frogboy)
He used to leap tall buildings
Now he won't even croak (rivet)
And no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is

And Hard Hank he's grown soft
He's grown soft and made his bed (and Soft Hank don't sound right)
He can still crack balsa wood on his pate but that's best left unsaid (pate but pate but)
Now he's reading War and Peace instead of breakin' in on his head (Tolstoy had it goin' on)
And no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is

Yeah no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is
What his purpose or his plan is
He just said I've got to get away
Oh and look he's gone and I think he's gone to stay

So Mums the Mime he quit his job and went
Back to play by play
For the local baseball team
I think they're Triple A

And me, I don't think I'll ever see
Another lady with a beard
You know the sideshow was so close to me
like family, just less weird

***********************************
Words and Music by Michael Zaneski
(C) 1995 and 2015 All Rights Reserved

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/11/15 06:49 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1096920 - 12/11/15 07:21 AM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Calvin Offline
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Calvin  Offline
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Hi Mike,

Ha ha, now, that's entertainment.
LOTS going on in this one, and so nicely put together.
cool ending too.

Calvin


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

THE SEWER vi[color:#000000]deo[/color] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tutSapdgdoA&feature=youtu.be

#1096927 - 12/11/15 12:12 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Calvin]  
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Jimmy Fleming Offline
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Very cool and nicely done ... great job Michael!!!

#1096935 - 12/11/15 12:52 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Jimmy Fleming]  
Joined: Jan 2005
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Michael LeBlanc Offline
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Michael LeBlanc  Offline
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Louisiana
a really fun one here!It starts off really abrupt but i caught up with it.I like the disappearing Dan lines scattered throughout.Mike

#1096937 - 12/11/15 03:19 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael LeBlanc]  
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iggyiggy Offline
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iggyiggy  Offline
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Hi Michael,

It's a story.....It's an Experience......It's a lesson.....It's a mystery.....Step right up!!!!
This is great....I love all the stories and chaotic melange that you've managed to put together....Trombone....Reggae....Paul Simon lyrical sensibilities and vocal....A real gem....!!
Oh, and I think I saw Dan the other day....

iggyiggy

#1096938 - 12/11/15 03:35 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: iggyiggy]  
Joined: Dec 2008
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John Lawrence Schick Offline
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PA
So cool Mike! A lot to absorb. In the beginning I thought it was going to be a Vaudeville rap song.

Best, John smile


#1096951 - 12/11/15 08:49 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: John Lawrence Schick]  
Joined: Feb 2005
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Dave Rice (D) Offline
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Dave Rice (D)  Offline
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Texas
I listened earlier today, Mike but had to respond to "the Boss" and her "honey-do List" immediately. Wow... that is one incredible lyric and performance. It's entertaining to say the least and you have an incredible imagination to go with your massive talent. Thanks for sharing. ----Dave

#1097016 - 12/12/15 08:09 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
Thanks so much Calvin, Jimmy, Michael, IggyIggy, John and Dave, for listening and it makes me happy knowing you enjoyed it.

Calvin, I was hoping you'd like this one; you've written a song or two involving the fringes of society.

Thanks Jimmy. I still have to fix a glitch in the audio, but it's for the most part done.

Thanks, Michael. Yeah, I pretty much drop the listener into the middle of the opening scene, without warning. I think I did that cuz I couldn't really figure out what style or how to present the opening stuff with Mums, and I didn't want to linger there.

Iggy Iggy, "Chaotic Melange" is my middle name. But seriouisly thanks for the inspiration and thanks for listening and the nice comments that made me smile. smile

Hi John. Haha! A vaudeville rap tune! I worked at Tower Records for twenty years, so part of my brain still tries to compulsorily find a category for everything, cuz it's fun, if nothing else. Can you believe there's a subgenre of Alternative Rock called Shoegazer? Anyway, thanks so much for the kind words.

Thanks, Dave. This was one of my faster writes, if I'm remembering correctly--but took several years to get the right arrangement, and I still need to tweak a few things.

Thanks everyone!!

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/12/15 08:10 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097032 - 12/13/15 01:53 AM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Jun 2010
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Nelson Offline
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Nelson  Offline
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Baltimore, MD
Felt like walking through a busy carnival with the sounds all around and so much going on.

Getting it all in is indeed impressive.

It does have that Paul Simon vibe and the cast of characters reminds me of one of those busy Neil Simon type screenplays.

Now that's ENTERTAINMENT.

#1097061 - 12/13/15 02:13 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Nelson]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,226
Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Atlanta, GA USA
I had listened to this the other day when I got an alert from Soundcloud that you had a new track posted. Of course, the title got my attention right off the bat..as I'm always one who tunes into these type of phenomena.

I was wondering if you had heard the John Irving interview on NPR about his latest novel, Avenue of the Mysteries, which is about children in a Mexican circus.

He said that his friend Mary Ellen Mark had taken a series of photos of children and circus performers in India and Mexico. Those images inspired the novel.

Also, they recently banned animals in the Mexican circus. Which I think means that type of circus will die.

Anyway, I thought perhaps these were all influential.

Here is a link to one of her photos.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/76/6d/3e/766d3ef35dcd106d369a918234511543.jpg

Re: the production, it seems to start kind of abruptly and I feel like some of the backing stuff getting a little lost? Maybe it's the brass.

I know your very meticulous in your approach and that could have been purposeful but I wondered if they could be slightly more forward in the mix?

I thought these lines were both brilliant and funny!

"You know the sideshow was so close to me
like family, just less weird"

So True!

Last edited by Wendy D; 12/13/15 02:24 PM.

http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#1097087 - 12/13/15 06:38 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Ricki E. Bellos Offline
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This is so creative lyrically. I would love to see a video of the trombone player marching through your living room! smile The vocal had a little Lou Reed quality to it (maybe that was just in my head). Over all, I found it very entertaining, with the exception of the very beginning. You could ease into that a little more smoothly.

I think the world would be a better place if there were more circus songs.

Ricki

#1097091 - 12/13/15 06:56 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Ricki E. Bellos]  
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Jim Colyer Offline
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Jim Colyer  Offline
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Lots of cool characters in this one, Michael. Circuses are always fun.

#1097093 - 12/13/15 07:02 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Nelson]  
Joined: Jul 2006
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Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
Originally Posted by Nelson
Felt like walking through a busy carnival with the sounds all around and so much going on.

Getting it all in is indeed impressive.

It does have that Paul Simon vibe and the cast of characters reminds me of one of those busy Neil Simon type screenplays.

Now that's ENTERTAINMENT.


Hi Nelson,

I had certainly seen lots of Neil Simon stuff over the years, but I'm not sure what inspired this, other than feeling a bit like a freak, myself, over the years, haha.

I do remember the writing came easy. I sometimes play a (writing) game of only creating names that can get an instant inner rhyme that would propel the story line further--that much I remember.

Thanks Nelson!

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/13/15 07:03 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097095 - 12/13/15 07:23 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Posts: 5,108
California
Hi Wendy,

I had not heard any recent John Irving news--the last thing I read by him was "The Hotel New Hampshire" back in the seventies, and remember being impressed by the book-within-a-book ("The Pension Grillparzer?)--but I will youtube the NPR interview and possibly even short list the book for reading.

I am indeed fascinated by anything circus related, and Mexican circuses are the best. I wrote another song about a priest in a Mexican circus called "Fray Tormenta" --a true story about a priest who wrestled as a masked character in order to raise money to feed kids (the chorus starts "stomp on them Father/so the children can eat/do unto them until they are dead meat.."), and like you, I do some research on story related songs, so got introduced into this world some twenty or so years ago.

Something led me to the inspiration of wondering what happened to freak show performers, once they were too old to do their thing, but I honestly don't remember. I do remember how hard it was to plot everything--there was too much material. And so that's why the song-within-a-song.

When you say backing stuff, I don't quite get what exactly you are talking about? Backing vocals? Left channel, right, or both?

If something is getting lost in the mix, it's not intentional, just a case of me not registering that I am not hearing something I should be--for some reason. If you could clarify for me what you mean, I would indeed look into that. Only the rambunctious kind of feel--the carnival feel--is intentional.

You and Ricki and Michael L don't like being dropped into the scene like that, so that's something to reconsider. Maybe I will just add a few seconds of circus ambience, and then maybe I'll tip my hat to Whooly Bully, and count off the song in Spanish! Ha! I like it..thanks for the inspiration!

Yeah--sideshow freaks have all their weirdness on display. A less scary kind of weird than family weird, for sure.

Thanks for the very thoughtful post. smile

EDIT: Speaking of children in the Mexican circus, have you seen the movie Santa Sangre by the great but cult status director Alejandro Jodorwosky? It's very good and a bit disturbing, in a Lynch-y kind of way:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VR6NeM3-wOE

It's one of my favorite movies, along with Wings of Desire and Cinema Paradiso.

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/13/15 09:07 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097172 - 12/15/15 11:09 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Ricki E. Bellos]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
Originally Posted by Ricki E. Bellos
This is so creative lyrically. I would love to see a video of the trombone player marching through your living room! smile The vocal had a little Lou Reed quality to it (maybe that was just in my head). Over all, I found it very entertaining, with the exception of the very beginning. You could ease into that a little more smoothly.

I think the world would be a better place if there were more circus songs.

Ricki


Hi Ricki,

I agree with you--the world would indeed be a better place.

I will redo the beginning. I had no idea a cold start would be unpopular.

I wasn't channeling anyone in particular in the reggae part, except the high left channel one I wanted to sound like Sting, and in the folk part I was thinking Townes Van Zandt,, who does some talking blues songs like that.

Thanks again, Ricki!

Mike


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097176 - 12/16/15 12:33 AM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Jim Colyer]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
Originally Posted by Jim Colyer
Lots of cool characters in this one, Michael. Circuses are always fun.


Thanks, Jim!


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097223 - 12/17/15 12:50 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,226
Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Atlanta, GA USA
So I have some thoughts.

For the intro, what about some audio of a carnival barker (is that what they are called?) trying to lure customers into the show?

Also, the reggae section where you do a key change (not sure I am hearing that right) maybe you want to put something in there to break it up a bit more? I was hearing a crazy "gong" sound. I am partial to gongs, so don't let me stifle your creative instincts. cool I just feel it needs something to break it up.

Last, it would be cool if the invisible man were actually the narrator at the beginning and end. I suppose you would have to redo some of the rap but it would really tie it all together if you could figure a way to do it. Like one of those M Night Shyamalan movie endings...

Alright. I shall get to work now.

Of course, disregard all if you ain't feelin' it.

And I could not hear anything in the mix being buried..on subsequent listens..forgot to mention that.

Going now.. grin

Last edited by Wendy D; 12/17/15 12:51 PM.

http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#1097239 - 12/17/15 06:05 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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California
HI Wendy,

All great ideas--except a gong, to me, wants mystical music to follow. At first I thought working the reveal of Dan being the narrator as being impossible to do(since he sings "and no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is" many times--it makes those lines seem disingenuous, in hindsight--him singing about himself in the third person), but I was just groggy--there's many ways to work it.

It would seem revealing that last would work best, but then what to do with "like family, just less weird" ..? Okay..The Dan reveal will come right before..(The Dan Reveal..the name of my new shoegazer band laugh )

Yes, the transition part gets chaotic, and I rush "then he goes on to tell me" and it feels a little off, so yes..

Thanks for the help on this, these changes won't be hard to implement and will really make the song much better. smile

Mike


Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/17/15 06:32 PM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097256 - 12/17/15 11:17 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
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Wendy D Offline
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Wendy D  Offline
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Posts: 2,226
Atlanta, GA USA
I was kinda kidding about the gong.

Kinda..

I thought that Mum's the Mime was singing the reggae part to the narrator. I guess I heard the two parts as two distinctive voices? That's why I thought making the narrator the disappearing man would work with a few slight mods.

If it were a movie scene, Mum's is sitting down with Dan..telling him how the side show is dying, etc. Then the scene moves to closing time at the bar and Dan sheds his attire and disappears? Not sure I'm explaining this in a way that makes sense..

Anyway, I was happy that you thought some of my ideas had merit. If it makes your already great song better, then hey..I am glad I helped.


http://www.reverbnation.com/wendydumond

https://soundcloud.com/#mamby-p

http://www.reverbnation.com/donsechelski

Link for Blackfoot Daisy band


You think I'm just another jive folk singer but I'm a master in the art of criminology..Tom Russell
#1097263 - 12/17/15 11:51 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Wendy D]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
California
Well, that's how groggy I was, haha..yes, it's Mums singing the reggae part.

But Dan can be the one singing the outer sandwich and can reveal that right before the end.

There is no disingenuousness on Dan's part, just a little on Mums' --since he knows he's talking to Dan (while telling Dan "and no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is)..but it's still not such a big problem..if that's Dan's stage name, then Mums is saying it with a wink, that we don't see..so yeah, that should work well.

Thanks again, Wendy smile

Mike

Last edited by Michael Zaneski; 12/18/15 12:06 AM.

Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097335 - 12/19/15 06:39 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,072
Scott Campbell Offline
Scott Campbell  Offline

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Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,072
Lakeland, FL, USA
This is fabulous, Mike!

Love the lyric - many of the lines had me laughing out loud. And, musically, it's a real adventure!

I hope you get around to producing the whole CD. I love songs with a circus/carny theme and you definitely catch the vibe on this. Outstanding!

Scott


#1097452 - 12/22/15 07:58 PM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Scott Campbell]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
Michael Zaneski Offline
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Michael Zaneski  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 5,108
California
Originally Posted by Scott Campbell
This is fabulous, Mike!

Love the lyric - many of the lines had me laughing out loud. And, musically, it's a real adventure!

I hope you get around to producing the whole CD. I love songs with a circus/carny theme and you definitely catch the vibe on this. Outstanding!

Scott



Hi Scott,

Making you laugh makes me happy! The Peter Dinklage line still gets me.

I am revisiting, for lack of a better title, "The Circus Album" and may move forward with it, along with a dozen other things..

Thanks again,

Mike


Fate doesn't hang on a wrong or right choice
Fortune depends on the tone of your voice

-The Divine Comedy (Neil Hannon)
from the song "Songs of Love"
from the album "Casanova" (1996)
#1097456 - 12/23/15 12:20 AM Re: The Sideshow Is Dying [Re: Michael Zaneski]  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 5,788
Lynn Orloff Offline
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Lynn Orloff  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 5,788
PA of the great USA
You might say this song is a JPF little side show since it's quite different than the usual fare that's served here. I remember Wendy doing a circus song awhile back as well. Seuss made quite a hit w/his "If I Ran The Circus" albeit in book fashion, but one never knows.

Only thing I heard that threw me off (and it could be since I'm a bit conservative) but the prosody within the song changes quite a bit but then perhaps that was the goal. Especially liked this verse

Yeah no one knows where Dan the Disappearing Man is
What his purpose or his plan is
He just said I've got to get away
Oh and look he's gone and I think he's gone to stay

Another zaney from Zaneski...

Best,
Lynn


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http://www.soundclick.com/bands/page_music.cfm?bandID=788266

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