Songs About Books About Writers

by Bryan Thomas

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SONGS ABOUT BOOKS ABOUT WRITERS

A tiny album by Bryan Thomas and the Buggy Jive.

"Simon" borrows from Lord of the Flies by William Golding, the New Testament, the wisdom of Simon Weisenthal and a beat by Simon Phillips (courtesy The Loop Loft).

"Writer" was inspired by my own failures, Robert Frost, and the short story "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Ernest Hemingway. With Ava Gardner as Cynthia Green and Benny Carter as the African with no piety from the film of the same name. Beats courtesy The Loop Loft.

"Orlando" was inspired by Orlando by Virginia Woolf. Beats sampled from Questlove's "Ludwiggy."

"Agency" was inspired by Toni Morrison and Harper Lee. Beats courtesy The Loop Loft.

credits

released January 1, 2017

The Buggy Jive is:

BT: Vox, Acoustic Guitar, Rising Action
Jennifer: Lead Guitars, Backing Vox, Climax
Cleopatra Jones: Bass, Backing Vox, Falling Action
DJ Lady Mac: Beats, Samples, Synths, Backing Vox, Denouement

All songs by BT.

Special guest appearances by Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison and Harper Lee.

Recorded in a warm hole full of light somewhere in Delmar, NY.

Produced by Dewitt Joe Damseph for WT3 Records.

SONGS ABOUT BOOKS ABOUT WRITERS. Copyright 2017 Radical Plastical Music and WT3 Records. All rights reserved.

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about

Bryan Thomas Albany

Nippertown’s Greg Haymes says Albany soul rocker BRYAN THOMAS's "writes smart, and he writes from the heart, balancing intellect, passion and politics.”

The Times Union named him“Best Male Singer-Songwriter” shortly after he released his acoustic hip-hop debut Radio Plastic Jennifer in 1999. The follow-up soul rock epic Ones and Zeros was Metroland Magazine’s “Album of the Year” in 2002.
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Track Name: Simon
Simon says: "Pig head on a stick.
Maybe it's only you and me."
And a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations
Moves toward the open sea.

I've read the book so many times.
Simon always dies.

Simon says: "I shall not disown him."
Jesus says: "Yeah, right.
Before the cock commence to crowin'
You will say - 'I do not know him' - thrice."

I've read the book so many times.
Simon always denies.

Jesus says: “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it. And I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven."

"But do you love me more than you love these?"

Simon says: "The history of man
Is the history of crime
And history repeats."

He's seen it go down so many times
Simon is never surprised
Track Name: Writer
CYNTHIA GREEN: (Sighs.) Hasn't that African got any piety at all?

I'm writing another book about a writer.
I barely started it.
It's in my head.
It's always changing.
Cut and paste.
Undo.
Redo.
Undo.

Yet another book about a writer.
There are too many.
The devil said so.
Her name is Brooke.
She wrote a book.
About a stripper.
Who was writer.
It's the same thing.
If you're doing it right.
It's the same thing.
If you're doing it right.

Should I let my writer save the world?
Should I let him get the girl then write it all down?
Quill and ink or vintage Smith Corona - whatever's cooler.
He gets it all down.
Better than I could.

Time for breaking bread loaf with the writers.
Real writers.
As suggested.
By the powers that be.
This is my sigh.
Ages hence.
I retreated.
I wasn't ready.
I hadn't lived yet.
I'm still waiting.
But in the meantime (These are the snows)
But in the meantime (of Kilimanjaro)...

I've written another song about a book about a writer.
Track Name: Orlando
VIRGINIA: "Words do not live in dictionaries, they live in the mind."

Orlando is tired
300 years of living life forward
She wanna get back.
She's lost all desire
Humanity can be such a horror
Wanna get back.

She is my allusion.
Wrapped in my conceit.
Novel or novella?
It don't matter I'm just happy to be writing again.

My Orlando is livid
So my Orlando will fix this.
She gonna get back.
Joni got us back to the garden but
My Orlando say that ain't far enough
She wanna turn back the clock so she can stop the original carbon

From my imagination
To this appropriation
Literary reparations
I'm just happy to be writing again.

So just to refresh
You return to the text
And Virginia jokingly say: "There can be no doubt of his sex."
Ha ha ha.
But - no joke - so much to doubt in all of the rest.
Page One:
Young Orlando swings his sword again and again and again
At the severed head of a dead African
That daddy put to death for defending his land.
Daddy brought the head back from deepest Africa
To hang on the wall with the other prize animals.

And this is not the story that I wanted to be writing.

Orlando had a great variety of selves to call upon
Far more than Virginia could accommodate.
Whereas a person may well have as many as a thousand selves.
A biography need only account for six or seven or eight.

So who is Orlando?

Is Orlando: the boy who sat on the hill; the boy who saw the poet;
the boy who handed the Queen the bowl of rose water;
is he the Courtier; the Ambassador; the Soldier.
or the young man who fell in love with Sasha;
Or is he the boy who cut the nigger’s head down and strung it up again?
Is he the boy who cut the nigger’s head down and strung it up again?
Far too many selves for Virginia to accommodate.
But a boy swinging at a severed nigger head is the one she went with right out the gate.

My time travel hero to end our sufferin'
Could have been Benjamin Button
My time travel hero to save the childrens
Could have been Billy Pilgrim
My time travel hero to turn back the clock
It could have been Marty and Doc
But it had to be Orlando.
But it had to be Orlando.
But it had to be Orlando.
But it had to be Orlando.

VIRGINIA: "Royal words mate with commoners. English words marry French words, German words, Indian words, Negro words, if they have a fancy."
Track Name: Agency
1.
Toni reads the New York Times with a
pencil in hand and a poet's eye
She picks through the language upon the pages
Patiently.
She kills some words quickly; some, she lets suffer.
She be laughing as she slashes [through] others
But the laughter is not fun.
It is agency.

2.
She be laughing on the regular
At them that try to edit her.
All of their so-called improvements just be
Deleterious.
They change her titles, even changed her name
They make it worse; she takes the blame.
So her laughter is not silly.
It is serious.

3.
She finds yet another editor's crime.
So Toni begins to fantasize
About the reprimand.
She say: "Y'all got some nerve to capitalize
The final word in Paradise
What part of my Nobel Prize
do you not understand?"
But Toni's too cool to say it.
But don't confuse cool with complacency.
Listen for her laughter.
It is agency.

4.
Harper had an editor, too.
Wanted to edit her Daddy.
Wanted to edit the messenger too.
Wanted to end it happy.
Editor be like: "This is not fully conceived.
Don't make him who he was
Make him who we need him to be."
Harper say: "He was both of these men at once."
For thus the Lord said unto Harper Lee
"Go, set a watchman to declare what he see.
Go, set a trap for 2015."
Harper laughs and waits so patiently
Because laughter is an agency.