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#1128398 - 06/12/17 11:01 AM Sergeant Cole  
Joined: Nov 2008
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KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
Hi JPFers...
A few of you may remember this lyric from a few years back.
I wrote this after reading a local news paper article and seeing a newscast about this homeless vet who passed away in Greensboro. He used to polish the graves of the vets and fly flags. This is where he was found. I was so touched by the story I had to write a song. Fast forward to last year, a local singer/songwriter Ed Davis was open to writing music to this song, and he has performed it locally with good response.
Now Ed is about to go into the studio to perhaps put on his 2nd CD. This is a home demo, sound is not the best, but I am considering making a few lyrical changes. I put the ideas for changes beside the lyric with an * . I hope that is not too confusing. I would like input on this lyrically. If it flows with music, if it is written well enough, etc, before he goes into the studio. I want to try to make this the best song possible, for pitch to tv, commercials. I do not believe he is open to changing it musically, but he said he is open to lyrical tweaks. Thank you for any advice you can offer.

Sergeant Cole
** are the lyrical changes I am considering
V1
I saw him every day
Walking Elm and Eugene Street
Lived alone eight years come May
slept beneath a tarp tied between trees
** slept under a tarp, between trees
V2
I rarely spoke to him
tossed him my spare change
I never went out on a limb
too many to save anyway

**Sometimes I'd talk with/to him
give him my spare change
but I never went out on a limb
couldn't save him anyway


Pre-chorus
brown eyes, full of sadness,
weathered face, marked with kindness
**with/had brown full of sadness, weathered face marked with kindness
Chorus
I heard he was found today
In Union Cemetery by the veterans’ graves
A forgotten man’s story that should be told
Goodbye
Semper Fi
Sergeant Cole

V3
He told very few his tale
Served in ‘Nam at nineteen
Six kids and marriages failed
The smell of death haunted his dreams
**six kids, marriages failed, the smell of death HAUNTS his dreams
V4
To find peace he left his home
Hitching down south for sunshine
He polished the vet’s headstones
Making sure the Stars and Stripes were flying

**to find peace, he left his home
hitched down south for sunshine
now polishes the vet's headstones
makes sure the stars and stripes are flying

repeat pre-chorus and chorus
Bridge
to some he was a nuisance
for others he served a purpose
Surely credit is deserved
For his honorable service
**to some he was a nuisance
a lost soul without a purpose
BUT surely credit is deserved
for his honorable service

repeat pre-chorus and chorus
Tag:
Goodbye,
Semper Fi
Sergeant Cole
© Kimberly Kime/Ed Davis All Rights Reserved BMI 2013-2017

Last edited by KimberlyinNC; 06/12/17 11:03 AM.

*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128423 - 06/12/17 07:42 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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E Swartz Online content
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E Swartz  Online Content
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Ohio
Hi Kim!

Accommodating your request.

1st.
Lyrically reacting to your options--definitely slept "beneath" (beneath is just a cool word and has more word power than under)

2nd.
I like: "Couldn't save him anyway"--keeping the story focused on HIM, (especially this early in the song's story to combine him in a larger similar homeless group)

3rd.
Six kids, three wives, etc--might say or allow one to think that having losing a wife or two to death was hard to rebound from--more sadness than just failed marriages--it also supports the following "death" phrase better. I think having one syllable there with "wives" may also help the prosody and allows the following verbiage better space as well--I think.....try it.

4th. "to find peace" lines--keep past tense--"he polished & were flying."

5th. I like "lost soul" but "with" a purpose (not without, but "with a purpose" -- he did serve a purpose, especially in God's eyes) If that doesn't work, leave as "for other's he served a purpose."


Beautiful song and great concept!

steady-eddie.



#1128426 - 06/12/17 10:57 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: E Swartz]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,210
KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
Originally Posted by E Swartz
Hi Kim!

Accommodating your request. Thanks Ed!!!

1st.
Lyrically reacting to your options--definitely slept "beneath" (beneath is just a cool word and has more word power than under) do u feel it fit musically good enough?

2nd.
I like: "Couldn't save him anyway"--keeping the story focused on HIM, (especially this early in the song's story to combine him in a larger similar homeless group) thanks

3rd.
Six kids, three wives, etc--might say or allow one to think that having losing a wife or two to death was hard to rebound from--more sadness than just failed marriages--it also supports the following "death" phrase better. I think having one syllable there with "wives" may also help the prosody and allows the following verbiage better space as well--I think.....try it.
I like the idea fine, the only thing is I need to rhyme with tale...also I hope it is clear the smell of death is from his war days, PTSD, not from his marriages...

4th. "to find peace" lines--keep past tense--"he polished & were flying." yes I noticed that afterwards...thanks!

5th. I like "lost soul" but "with" a purpose (not without, but "with a purpose" -- he did serve a purpose, especially in God's eyes) If that doesn't work, leave as "for other's he served a purpose." NICE idea...
what about
**to some he was a nuisance
to others a lost soul with a purpose
and surely credit is deserved
for his honorable service



Beautiful song and great concept! thank you very much Ed! I can always count on you to give an in depth and helpful critique, which is why I am here.

steady-eddie.




Last edited by KimberlyinNC; 06/12/17 11:00 PM.

*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128432 - 06/13/17 01:29 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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E Swartz Online content
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E Swartz  Online Content
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Ohio
Kim,

Yes, I think musically the line works on the tarp line.

I came back after your response and am taking a closer look at the lyrics in vs. 3. I wasn't looking at the rhyme initially, but more prosody there, but I do see what you mean now about keeping the rhyme!

V3 may be fine as is perhaps, but I think it could be better. My thoughts on V3. In looking back this second time, I actually like your 2nd line of that verse for starting the verse--as it is more direct and a powerful "topical sentence." I'm not crazy about using "tale," as a "tale" "usually, insinuates an "imaginary" story--this is anything but that! Starting out with "He told very few his tale," reminds me of an Arlo Gutherie type story line in "Alice's Restaurant." Make that opening line factual, not a "once upon a time" feeling. If you instead begin V3 with: "Served in Nam at nineteen," you would IMO have a better and more powerful topic sentence. You may then have to adjust the other verse lines for rhyme, but may come up with a better overall verse--or maybe instead of "nineteen," something like this: (He Served in Nam in 65') (just a quick idea--you could change to a whole different rhyme scheme with 68' or 69'. I just used 65' for example. I wasn't crazy about the "smell of death line" FOLLOWING" the six kids/marriage line, as it modifies the previous Nam line and felt late or out of place. I think you were thinking rhyme there rather than story flow? You could still use marriages, but the three syllables are a little much there. (wives is an option and rhymes with 65) For me, the 3rd verse (as is) is a little disconnected within itself. Using a year date there creates a nice "time reference" as well as "great" rhyming & lyric options. Think on that.....

(One idea/example--you may have a better one)

Served in Nam in 65'
He never spoke much of what he saw (this line kind of more broadly covers the Nam tradegy--but you could insert the "smell of death" line here then look for a rhyme with death two lines later)
Six kids later and three X-wives
His best friend became alcohol

I like your tweak about "to others a lost soul with a purpose," as long as it fits.

Hope this helps,

steady-eddie.


#1128433 - 06/13/17 07:21 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
Joined: Apr 2002
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Calvin Online content
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Calvin  Online Content
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Okeechobee, Florida U.S.A.
Hi Kimberly,


I don't have anything to add except I feel like the final production is gonna be pleasing to the ear.


Calvin


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

#1128436 - 06/13/17 08:33 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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Barry David Butler Online content
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Barry David Butler  Online Content
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Posts: 3,235
Sebring, Florida USA
Hi Kimberly......I like the Story and your words.....Don't over think it as your story shines with the original words. I like the melody Ed came up with especially the short tight chorus.....Let us hear it when He's Done...Where are you located and where does Ed Play? Good Luck....it's a little like MY SONG "My Walk Through Arlington"

#1128437 - 06/13/17 09:07 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
Joined: Feb 2005
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Dave Rice Online content
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Dave Rice  Online Content
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Posts: 6,707
Texas
Morning, Kim:

As a young man I had completed my service as "Nam" began to fester into a full-scale war. I remember all the protests and riots (people pandering to the Communists) and I always thanked my Maker that I was not treated the way the Vietnam Vets were received when they returned home. This was the only war our country ever "lost" and that was only because our politicians did not have the courage to fight this war as we had done in WWII. We should have learned our lesson in Korea (a Stalemate) because we drew a line we would not cross and gave the enemy "safe haven." If crushing the enemy is not the objective... wars should not be fought!

Forgive my "rant" but your words touched me, as did the rough-cut song. Twice each week I play chess downtown with a couple of "Nam" Vets and can attest to their patriotism and human nobility. I hope this singer includes your song in his album. Tweak it if you feel it is necessary... I am guilty of changing my lyrics and re-cutting a song at the drop of a hat... so I completely understand. It deserves more orchestration and I did not break out the stop-watch to time it, always cognizant of the five minute barrier... LOL!

This is a well-told story, Kim... and I salute you for giving Sgt. Cole the dignity he so richly deserved. Best of luck in this... and all your songwriting endeavors.

All my best, ----Dave

#1128445 - 06/13/17 12:58 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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Vicarn Offline
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UK
Don't mess too much with it. It's a good story.

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.
http://www.soundclick.com/vicarnold

http://soundcloud.com/vic-arnold
#1128448 - 06/13/17 03:37 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: E Swartz]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,210
KimberlyinNC Offline
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North Carolina
Hi Ed
Here are some altered ideas to take a gander at. I wish Ed, the performer, was more open to collaborating lyrically on this, and he may be once we are in the studio..here are some ideas..thoughts? Thanks again, Kim
Sergeant Cole
This is the altered lyric I am considering..
V1
I saw him every day
Walking South Elm and Eugene Street
Lived alone eight years come May
slept beneath a tarp tied between trees

V2
Sometimes I'd talk with him
give him my spare change
but I never went out on a limb
couldn't save him anyway

Pre-chorus
he had brown eyes, full of sadness
a weathered face, marked with kindness

Chorus
I heard that they found him today or **I heard he was found today?
In Union Cemetery by the veterans’ graves
A forgotten man’s story that should be told
Goodbye
Semper Fi
Sergeant Cole

V3
do the kids, marriages need to be there, though true...is it better to stick to his PTSD and reasons for his homelessness?
He left for 'Nam in 65
saw things no man should see
a broken man trying to survive
while/but the smell of death haunted his dreams
V4
Searching for peace, he left home
hitched down south for sunshine
He found it polishing vet's headstones
and keeping the stars and stripes flying

repeat pre-chorus and chorus

Bridge
to some he was a nuisance
a lost soul needing a purpose
I believe credit is deserved
for his honorable service/for his time spent in our service

repeat pre-chorus and chorus
I heard that they found him today
In Union Cemetery by the veterans’ graves
A forgotten man’s story that **WILL be told
Goodbye
Semper Fi
Sergeant Cole
Tag:
Goodbye,
Semper Fi
Sergeant Cole
© Kimberly Kime All Rights Reserved BMI 2013

Last edited by KimberlyinNC; 06/13/17 03:37 PM.

*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128449 - 06/13/17 03:38 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: Calvin]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,210
KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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Posts: 5,210
North Carolina
Thank you so much for taking time to listen and comment Calvin. I hope you are right.
smile I just wanna try to stick to the true events of Sergeant Cole, while also honoring him and the plight of many homeless vets
Kim


*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128450 - 06/13/17 03:43 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: Dave Rice]  
Joined: Nov 2008
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KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
Originally Posted by Dave Rice
Morning, Kim:

As a young man I had completed my service as "Nam" began to fester into a full-scale war. I remember all the protests and riots (people pandering to the Communists) and I always thanked my Maker that I was not treated the way the Vietnam Vets were received when they returned home. This was the only war our country ever "lost" and that was only because our politicians did not have the courage to fight this war as we had done in WWII. We should have learned our lesson in Korea (a Stalemate) because we drew a line we would not cross and gave the enemy "safe haven." If crushing the enemy is not the objective... wars should not be fought!
I appreciate your service Dave!!!

Forgive my "rant" but your words touched me, as did the rough-cut song. Twice each week I play chess downtown with a couple of "Nam" Vets and can attest to their patriotism and human nobility. I hope this singer includes your song in his album. Tweak it if you feel it is necessary... I am guilty of changing my lyrics and re-cutting a song at the drop of a hat... so I completely understand. It deserves more orchestration and I did not break out the stop-watch to time it, always cognizant of the five minute barrier... LOL! This was only 2 mins 53 sec. smile

This is a well-told story, Kim... and I salute you for giving Sgt. Cole the dignity he so richly deserved. Best of luck in this... and all your songwriting endeavors.
Thank you so much. I wish there was some way this song could become something to help other vets..maybe one day. I have since given Ed Swartz on this page an alternate lyric, love your input too...its in a separate post to Ed...
All my best, ----Dave


*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128451 - 06/13/17 03:53 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: Barry David Butler]  
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 5,210
KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
HI
Thanks for your sweet comments. Ed Davis, is in here in North Carolina. You can friend on facebook. His music page with another collaborator, George is here
https://www.facebook.com/Ed-George-665804673466137/
Ed's Personal page is https://www.facebook.com/ed.davis.984349
Tell him you heard him through me, the Sergeant Cole song...:) Ed has some fabulous music, and picking skills. So does his singing partner George Stewart.
Kim


*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128452 - 06/13/17 03:54 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: Vicarn]  
Joined: Nov 2008
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KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
Thanks for taking time to listen and comment Vic. I will try to only make it better, hopefully
Kim


*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
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#1128457 - 06/13/17 08:13 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
Joined: Nov 2011
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E Swartz Online content
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E Swartz  Online Content
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Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 3,121
Ohio
Kim,

I like how you have vs. three a lot! Improved my idea. "Left for Nam in 65'" just has a universal appeal in phonetics and perfect period description of his younger days. Other changes are fine as well--there is no "one" way for sure, so go with what works best prosody-wise when two feel equal.

Good luck with it!

steady-eddie.

#1128462 - 06/14/17 09:13 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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GocartMoz Offline
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GocartMoz  Offline
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Florida
I like it as done. Obviously, the recording could be better, but you already know that. Lyrically though, I like it as is. Heartfelt, touching and well told. Excellent job. I like the storytelling nature of the vocal, as well. Meshes well with the lyric. Perfect fit.

Dave

#1128504 - 06/16/17 12:02 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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Deej56 Offline
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Deej56  Offline
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Kimberly,

I like the use of narrative and singing in the vocals; adds a nice folk feel to the song. Chorus is killer, both lyrically and musically.

Without having read the other responses above, and to give my humble (and likely meaningless) response to your questions, some thoughts: In V1, “beneath” is better than “under” and “tied between trees” is more visual. I’d keep as is. In V2, “sometimes” I’d take over “rarely,” as it paints the narrator in a better light, and because “toss” seems rather cold. That said, I prefer “too many to save anyway.” I’d go with the pre-chorus as written.

In V3, I’d go with “haunts” over “haunted” to keep it active and present. My biggest nit is in the third line—“marriages failed” just doesn’t seem a natural way of speaking, and departs from the easy spirit of the rest of your lines. I like your alternative to V4, but would strike a happy medium on the last two lines: “polished . . . and made sure . . . “

As for the bridge, I’d put it back to you: To whom did he serve a purpose? Being clear on that question may help you figure where to go on the first part of the second line.

All of the above are just my random thoughts. I have no idea if they are helpful—though I hope they are in at least someway—but you should feel absolutely free to reject on and all. This is a well done piece with great heart and a compelling story. Good luck with it!

Best,

Deej

#1128528 - 06/16/17 11:16 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: GocartMoz]  
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KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
Originally Posted by GocartMoz
I like it as done. Obviously, the recording could be better, but you already know that. Lyrically though, I like it as is. Heartfelt, touching and well told. Excellent job. I like the storytelling nature of the vocal, as well. Meshes well with the lyric. Perfect fit.

Dave

Hi Dave
Thanks for taking time to listen. I am glad you like it as it is. I am still mulling over changes, and I am hopeful Ed, when in studio, will offer his opinion as both a lyricist and musician. I want it to fit in the pocket and also to tell the story the best I can, for Sergeant Cole.
Kim


*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128529 - 06/16/17 11:32 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: Deej56]  
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KimberlyinNC Offline
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KimberlyinNC  Offline
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North Carolina
Originally Posted by Deej56
Kimberly,

I like the use of narrative and singing in the vocals; adds a nice folk feel to the song. Chorus is killer, both lyrically and musically. Thank you!

Without having read the other responses above, and to give my humble (and likely meaningless) response to your questions, some thoughts: In V1, “beneath” is better than “under” and “tied between trees” is more visual. I’d keep as is. In V2, “sometimes” I’d take over “rarely,” as it paints the narrator in a better light, and because “toss” seems rather cold. That said, I prefer “too many to save anyway.” I’d go with the pre-chorus as written. First of all, never think of your opinion as meaningless, no opinion on my songs is ever meaningless to me. All hold value to me. Even if I don't use an opinion, it acts as a learning tool for me, to see different views on how one reacts to my work. Secondly, I appreciate your opinion on the beneath and under, as well as the tied between trees. I agree on the use of sometimes making the narrator sound more caring, and toss, yes, originally it was meant to sound cold but then I thought I don't want the singer to sound callous, I want him to sound like though he could not help the man, he did care. I am not sure on the too many to save anyway, because the more I thought on it, I thought, I wonder if people will understand the line, too many what? so the couldn't save him anyways to me makes it more personal and clearer. smile

In V3, I’d go with “haunts” over “haunted” to keep it active and present. My biggest nit is in the third line—“marriages failed” just doesn’t seem a natural way of speaking, and departs from the easy spirit of the rest of your lines. I like your alternative to V4, but would strike a happy medium on the last two lines: “polished . . . and made sure . . . “The reason I said haunted is because this guy has already passed away, so I felt that haunted was correct tense...but I could be wrong. This is why I also changed to polished and made sure, as it was a past thing. I hope that make sense. smile

As for the bridge, I’d put it back to you: To whom did he serve a purpose? Being clear on that question may help you figure where to go on the first part of the second line. I felt the purpose was he was caring for the gravestones, which is true, he was actually found by the graves of the vets, where he would keep the stone polished, the weeds up, the flag he would rise each morning and place small flags on the stones. To think of him spending money he needed to eat on those flags to me shows he had a purpose, he felt he was honoring those vets, his friends in battle though he never met them, and that was what kept him going. smile Though some saw him as a nuisance because he was homeless, maybe asked for change..:) I hope that explains it

All of the above are just my random thoughts. I have no idea if they are helpful—though I hope they are in at least someway—but you should feel absolutely free to reject on and all. This is a well done piece with great heart and a compelling story. Good luck with it! thank you so very much


Best,

Deej


*Always open to collaborations on my lyrics.. with singers and musicians, but PLEASE contact me before putting work into one--in case someone else has it..thanks!!**
BMI Member All Rights Reserved
http://www.littleikepublishing.com
Email for Song Business Only
littleikeproductions@hotmail.com
#1128690 - 06/26/17 02:37 AM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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Drifter Offline
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Hey, Kimberly! Having read the lyrics and listened to the song, I feel the music fit the lyrics very nicely in bringing home the ballad of another American war hero's life gone wrong. What's particularly sad about the situation is in how many ex soldiers there are actually going through like or similar tragedies. The lyrics are well written, succinct and effective in making the points to be made. Well done!


"No one is free, even the birds are chained to the sky." - Bob Dylan

"A song is anything that can walk by itself." - Bob Dylan

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#1128730 - 06/27/17 08:33 PM Re: Sergeant Cole [Re: KimberlyinNC]  
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Ricki E. Bellos Offline
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Ricki E. Bellos  Offline
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Wisconsin
Kim, what an awesome story, heart wrenching though it may be. As for the lyric changes, go with your gut and remember, less is more. smile

Be sure to post when it's finished.

Ricki


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