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London Calls

Posted By: Deej56

London Calls - 12/10/19 06:58 AM

Hi, all:

I posted the lyrics to this song some time ago on the L3 forum. Many thanks to those who chimed in, particularly regarding the first verse . . . you see, living in San Francisco and never having been to London, I had no idea that references to a "Wharf" and "Lombard Street" were equally applicable to both locations, which lead me to the dilemma of how to better situate the singer in SF rather than London in that first verse, particularly given the limited real estate the melody afforded. Not sure my solution of inserting a reference to Alcatraz (both as the name of the dog and more generally poetic) works, but it was the best I could come up with. And, though not originally intended, that the singer is walking through places commonly named as he pines for his lost love seems fitting.

Anyway, here's the tune . . . again, thanks to those who helped vet the lyrics. Your input was much appreciated.

Oh, and with apologies to my UK and more cultured friends, I know I need to recut the vocal a tad . . . my pronunciation of both "Thames" and "Hampstead" are a bit off. Something I'll correct at some point.

Here's the song:

LONDON CALLS

Here are the lyrics:

We make our way from the Wharf towards Lombard Street.
Alcatraz casting shadows at my feet.
Trolley cars as they clatter by
The fog horns sound through a smoke gray sky
The city hums still it feels so incomplete

He leads me panting to your door . . .
‘cause he don’t know that
you don’t live there anymore.

So this is how we spend our days,
pining both for yesterday,
while every passing second seems to crawl . . .
London calls.

I’ve read the streets are pretty in Mayfair.
Have you ever walked the gardens in St. James Square?
I bet you laugh at the London rain;
go Sundays punting out along the Thames,
the western wind blowing back your auburn hair.

London bridge is falling down . . .
Just in my dreams—
is it too late to save us now?

So let these thoughts like autumn leaves,
blow all the way to Hampstead Heath,
and whisper to you softly as they fall . . .
London calls.

She’s just five thousand miles away . . .
and there’s no reason left
for me to even stay.

So who cares what tomorrow brings
when everyday’s the same old thing . . .
Home is where love leads you after all . . .
London calls.

(c)2019 DJ Lekich
Posted By: Gavin Sinclair

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 02:52 PM

I like it. One observation, which may or may not matter. I don't think you can punt on the Thames in London. It's too deep for one thing. On the other hand, you can punt on the Thames in Oxford, so she could have made a day trip up river. On the third hand, I don't think there's actually anything wrong with the singer having an imperfect knowledge of London and associating with it all the things he thinks of as quintessentially English. It adds to the charm.

I like the trumpet at the end, but wonder if you could make it a little more melodic?

My favorite lines:
So let these thoughts like autumn leaves,
blow all the way to Hampstead Heath

and

Home is where love leads you after all

Nothing at all wrong with your pronunciation of Hampstead. Thames should be more Tems than Tames, but it sounds OK.

This song has something, Deej. It draws the listener in and holds their attention all the way through. Very pleasant melody and overall sound too.
Posted By: Vicarn

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 03:26 PM

Hi Deej.
"Hampstead Heath" sounds ok to me.
Melody great. Very nice song overall. Maybe a tad loud on the backing for my taste though but that of course is my taste.

Vic
Posted By: Dave Rice

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 04:04 PM

I wondered if you were going to "surface" again, Deej:

This one is a treasure, too! Having been there on business and for what we over here call "vacation"... I thought you got it descriptively well. Gavin's right about "Punting" on the Thames. (They say "Tims" when I hear it expressed in human tongues... but, as an avid Anglophile... they are a learning experience 24/7 to me!)

"London Calls" is not perfect in it's present form... and you've had some great pointers already... from guys who know London... and most things music-wise... so I won't "pile-on" with more comments. What you should take away from all this blather... it is 95% spot on, has more potential than anything I'll ever write... and I enjoyed being transported to a place I'd rather visit than just about anywhere.

Then there is the vocal. Good grief, Charley Brown... what I'd give for a voice like yours!

Thanks for sharing. You have my e-mail if you have questions. Best of luck with "LONDON CALLS!"

----West Mayberry Dave
Posted By: Deej56

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 04:23 PM

Thanks, Gavin, Vic and Dave:

Yes, punting along the Thames was one I couldn’t quite verify from my reading. Gavin, I’ve tried to rationalize my mispronunciation off “Thames” in a similar way. Given the singer, like me, has never been to London, those mistakes are attributable, also like me, to his ignorance, LOL!

Adds to the charm perhaps, but I’ll fix it regardless. As for punting, perhaps simply singing “Sunday’s punting UP along the Thames” might better reference the idea of a day trip up river. Dunno.

Vic, I played with this mix more than any other. The BIAB horns are tough to bring together, reconcile and balance in the mix. Still may be opportunities to soften them in spots, so you’re likely right (as usual).

Gavin, not sure I can make the trumpet more melodic. Beyond my skill set right now.

Dave, 95% spot on is well above my threshold of success, LOL. I’ll take that stamp of approval any day.

My best to you each,

Deej
Posted By: Gavin Sinclair

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 04:25 PM

Deej, for what it's worth, there's a fine tradition of mispronouncing "Thames." Listen to Christy Moore massacre it in this version of Ewan McColl's song "Sweet Thames Flow Softly." You're practically a cockney in comparison smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgJwJa7Wk14
Posted By: Gary E. Andrews

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 05:07 PM

In the classic plot, boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl, a 'conflict' element that makes the story interesting. In the end, boy MUST get girl back, otherwise why do we live?
It's not clear to me your Singer-Character gets his Love-Interest Character back in the end.


LONDON CALLS (c) 2019 by DJ Lekich
('We' in Verse I, Line 1 suggests another presence but doesn't flesh it out until five Lines later, and then only vaguely on the printed page, and perhaps obscurely when heard as sung. The introduction of the Love-Interest Character by telling that she doesn't live there any more sets the mystery of why very well. But I think you got too distracted with landmarks and strayed away from the focus of the Singer-Character on the Love-Interest Character.)
We make our way from the Wharf towards Lombard Street. ('We')
Alcatraz casting shadows at my feet.
Trolley cars as they clatter by
The fog horns sound through a smoke gray sky
The city hums still it feels so incomplete

('He' and 'panting' I got as the Singer-Character's dog. I wonder if listeners, without benefit of the written page, will get it when they hear it. An option might be to make it her dog, "Your dog leads me panting...")
He leads me panting to your door . . .
‘cause he don’t know that (I'd delete 'cause' and say 'doesn't'. 'don't' is used in the next Line. That IS how people talk but it's not necessarily a good idea in a Lyric.)
you don’t live there anymore. ('you' is a direct, First-Person address of the Singer-Char. to the Love-Int.-Char.)

So this is how we spend our days, ('we')
pining both for yesterday,
while every passing second seems to crawl . . .
London calls.

I’ve read the streets are pretty in Mayfair.
Have you ever walked the gardens in St. James Square? ('you')
I bet you laugh at the London rain; ('you')
go Sundays punting out along the Thames, (Perhaps just 'walking along the Thames...")
the western wind blowing back your auburn hair. ('your', First-Person, direct communication. We, the listeners, are simply evesdropping on their conversation. These Lines give a picture of the Love-Interest Character. Be sure you enunciate 'auburn' clearly.)

London bridge is falling down . . .
Just in my dreams—
is it too late to save us now?

So let these thoughts like autumn leaves,
blow all the way to Hampstead Heath,
and whisper to you softly as they fall . . .
London calls.

(Here the Singer-Character speaks of 'she' as if he's no longer talking to 'you', and instead telling the listeners about her, a Third Person form of address. Could you sing "You're just five...", maintaining the First-Person form?)
She’s just five thousand miles away . . .
and there’s no reason left
for me to even stay.

So who cares what tomorrow brings
when everyday’s the same old thing . . .
Home is where love leads you after all . . .
London calls.

(And here at the end I don't get a strong sense that he's going to London. He has to go to London, else what's love for? He can't desire her so intensely and do nothing about it. I'm imagining her, answering the phone, hearing his voice say, "We're at Heathrow. Can you pick us up?" Her face, in the video, brightens and she grins broadly, grabs her keys as she continues to talk on the phone going out the door)
Posted By: David_Pulizzi

Re: London Calls - 12/10/19 05:10 PM

This is a lovely song. It's well-written and really evokes a mood of longing and loving. The instrumental arrangement is stellar, and I think the trumpet-sound interludes following the choruses are especially effective. I've listened to several of your songs on SoundClick--"Rising From the Dead," "Just a Dream," "My Friday Song"--and they all sound good and strong to my ear. You write quality songs, and you sing and play them well. It's a real pleasure listening to your work. ... David
Posted By: JAPOV

Re: London Calls - 12/11/19 07:43 AM

Your voice gets me every time! smile
Posted By: Fdemetrio

Re: London Calls - 12/11/19 10:10 PM

Hey man, like the melody, vocals, lyrics solid. Emotional tune.

Not crazy about how the acoustic sounds, software right? It sounds kind of cloudy and mechanical. Good enough for demo purposes, your vocal takes it to a better level.

BTW, this sounds alot like Matchbox 20's if you're gone
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NPNtHX8iFlw
Posted By: John W Selleck

Re: London Calls - 12/12/19 01:27 AM

Hi Deej,
This is very good, and the Brit's are kind of used to us massacring their words a bit but I'm sure it's an easy fix. Good luck with it.
Posted By: lane1777

Re: London Calls - 12/12/19 04:15 AM

It is always a pleasure to stop and listen to your songs Deej
I don`t think I caught the first post. But this is coming from the heart,
I always have been a fan. super song Deej Lane
Posted By: Deej56

Re: London Calls - 12/12/19 05:09 AM

Gavin,

Gee, I don't know . . . Seems he's a bit closer to the mark than I. But he's certainly trying harder than I, LOL! So maybe there's something in that. Thanks for having may back, friend!

Cheers,

Deej
Posted By: Deej56

Re: London Calls - 12/12/19 05:19 AM

Gary,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback on the lyrics. A lot of good stuff for me to think about. Some of the lyric is driven by the melody; and other parts driven by the way the words sound to me, how the prosody flows as I sing it. Not sure that makes sense . . .it's just a compromise of sorts--a trade off on the better lyric vs. the better sound and fit. And ultimately an artistic choice. You suggest a great alternative to the "punting" dilemma . . . yes, I can go with "walking" and it would work just fine. My attempt at weaving in a "punting" reference was to make it more UK specific . . but as noted, my attempt has it's problems. I think I might ultimately go with what you suggest.

As for the last verse, the shift from second person to third (form "you" to "she") is intentional. At that point, he's no longer singing to her, but rather singing to himself, motivating, convincing himself that he should go.

And as for the happy ending, personally I prefer a little mystery and I think this song requires it. What I think is clear is that the singer has made up his mind by the end that he will leave to go to London--"home is where love leads you".

Thanks again for going through this so closely. Definitely makes me think.

Regards,

Deej
Posted By: Deej56

Re: London Calls - 12/12/19 05:25 AM

David,

Thank you so much . . . it means all the more given that I've listened to a few of your songs posted here on JPF and admired each one. I'm thrilled you've "joined the club" so to speak, and I look forward to hearing a lot more from you. Appreciate your given some of my other songs a listen, though as for "Just a Dream", I'd be remiss not noting that it's just a cover of a Dave Rice song (or should I refer to him as "Dave the Elder"). Anyway, all the admiration on that one should be sent his way.

Give us another to listen to, David. I'm all ears.

My best to you,

Deej
Posted By: Deej56

Re: London Calls - 12/12/19 05:27 AM

JAPOV, Fdemetrio, John and Lane,

Thanks to all you guys for the listen and feedback. Definitely some tweaking I can do . . . I'll give it some time and then circle back for a re-do with your comments in mind. Thanks so much.

My best to each of you,

Deej
Posted By: E Swartz

Re: London Calls - 12/19/19 12:33 AM

DJ,

Got here a bit late. I read most of the above comments, many good ones for sure. I really like your lyrics and what a great song title! You also have a great melody to carry these lyrics. Vocals very good as well. I do like the idea of making it clear that there is a dog in the 1st verse--it establishes it is a dog and also adds to his acute melancholy.

The ending trumpet is really cool, but a couple notes feel flat at about 3:41, so its just a matter of getting those notes placed--not sure how you are making that track--but play around and experiment with it, as it really adds a great arrangement piece to your canvas! I would also pan that trumpet in the song a bit wider keeping it further away from your lead vox for better balance and less competition for space. One other sug for just experimentation, you might keep the trumpet within the main song panned L 50%, then pan the ending trumpet outro 60-70% R and adding more reverb and slightly less volume which will give the outro a sound sitting back and more individual outro significance. JMO-Food for thought/experiment--use or lose.

DJ, I love this song! Well done!

steady-eddie
Posted By: Travis david

Re: London Calls - 12/19/19 06:40 AM

Hi Dave
A story now a song I know so well and enjoyed from your initial write.
Best Regards
John
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