The Clash began “Know Your Rights,” a cut off the “Combat Rock” album, with the words: “This is a public service announcement…with guitar…”
In homage, some of our old blog posts have new life…with guitar…
Last March Blog on the Half Shell dedicated one of its weekly musings to Rhode Island’s characteristic standing as “The Knowaguy State.” The piece prompted West Kingston singer-songwriter Billy Mitchell to e-mail me, requesting permission to pursue the theme in song form. The result, “I Know a Guy,” is a witty, upbeat ditty describing the foibles of Rhody culture and cronyism with a catchy melody and infectious chorus. The song is the sixth track on Mitchell’s latest CD, “Detour,” to be released in October. (It’s one of two Rhody-centric songs on the disc. The other, “Meet Me Under The Shepard’s Clock,” pays homage to a Providence tradition in a simpler, more enchanting time.)
During the recent Wakefield Arts and Entertainment Festival, South County singer-songwriter and artist Jon Campbell mentioned casually (if half-jokingly) that he’d be interested in tweaking a recent column of mine (“The Ballad of Yellow Lobster”) in song form. The column basically re-capped the one-year anniversary of the death of Tyler, a yellow lobster pulled from Narragansett Bay that made headlines around the world before it expired in a research facility at the University of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Campus – and after providing enough material for all or part of four columns and two blog posts. It’s cruel sport, but that’s the way we lobsterazzi roll.
Still, it got me thinking that if this media thing doesn’t work out, maybe I have a future in pitching song ideas to crooners.
Some possibilities (with apologies to parodied artists in parenthesis):
“Buddy Was His Name-O” (anonymous English songwriter)
“Snail Salad in Paradise” (Jimmy Buffett)
“Termite in a Blue Dress” (Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels)
“Mr. Clam Man” (The Chordettes)
“My Kind of Town (Pawtucket Is)” (Frank Sinatra)
“50 Ways to Lop a Lobster” (Paul Simon)
“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa George” (Tommie Connor, Jimmy Boyd)
“(Here’s to You) Mr. Potato Head” (Simon & Garfunkel)
“Ode to G.I. Joe” (B.B. King)
“That’s About the Size of Rhode Island” (Sesame Street)
If you were to write a song about Rhode Island, what would it be called?