Uncle Tom

By Jim

01/03/2007

This is the first song I've ever written. Actually, I had some help. I have this software which will randomly generate a melody and chords, so I gave it a try. After hearing what it created, I went to work. First I cut, copied, and pasted sections of the song into the order that I wanted them. Then I changed the melody a little by editing the Midi file. Next, I added drums. Then I copied the entire melody on to a new track and shifted it down 4 notes (transposition) to approximate a harmony. Then I edited this harmony track note by note until it sounded the way I thought it should. It's not great, but it's a decent tune - a little difficult to sing.

While I was doing this, I was giving some thought to the lyrics. What should I write about? She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah was already taken. It turns out that we went to a cousin's birthday party on Saturday, and my Uncle Tom was there. He's 92 years old and going strong. He danced a little and sang some Irish songs with the Karaoke mike. He also gave a few gifts that he made; he carves up walnuts into tiny little objects, like Easter baskets (complete with flowers). So I decided to write about him; as good a subject as any. He's almost 40 years older than I am, and he's still very sharp and has a good memory. Some of the lyrics might be a little obscure...

Update: Saturday, 1/6/07 - I removed the harmony from the first and last verse; it sounds a little clearer.

Uncle Tom, it's just amazing to see the things you do
singing, dancing, making crafts at 92

Life isn't always easy, the work you did was rough
Walsh's Oil, repairing burners, taking people's guff

Still your family is your pride
your life has served them as a guide
your kids have families, too
they're proud, they trace it all to you

Your house beside the railroad has long since been gone
memories of those Christmas breakfasts continue to live on

So fun, your sense of humor, "The Golden Years, my ass"
you shower friends with crafted walnuts, and do it with such class

Uncle Tom, you taught the lesson that life's an uphill climb
I hope that I'll have half your spirit in 40 years of time

Voices: Guitar, Piano, Drums, Bass, Echo Drops

Click here to listen:

www.jhalpin.com