Monday, August 1, 2016

If It Ain't Fried

I think it's time for a new genre, something like "Literary Mining" where a songwriter will find the lyrics of a song in a novel and put some music to it. The author of the novel probably had a specific melody and arrangement in mind when he wrote it, but the charm of the genre is that the listener gets a vicarious version of the song. Ideally, the novel would come with a link to a recording BY the author so you could hear both versions, but of course it would be wrong for the songwriter (me) to listen to the author's version before doing his own.

The genre, while not named, has been around for a while. The first one was "The Doper's Dream" which was taken from Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. Next was "Maybe It's the Wind" from Jim Thompson's South of Heaven, followed by "Tommy's Trains", also from Rainbow. Now the genre is embiggened by the latest: "If It Ain't Fried" from Donald E. Westlake's Branson Missouri murder mystery, Baby Would I Lie? 

As far as I know, neither Pynchon, Thompson nor Westlake has made their versions of the songs, if there is one, available.

As for the lyrics to "If It Ain't Fried" they sounded perfect for Elvis to sing, so I used the most obvious rockabilly melody I could think of. I even let the Snidenaires (my Jordanaires-like backup group) echo every line in case you missed it. Then Gavin O'Keefe added some viola chops.  All that was left to do was to fry up some delicious bacon and start singing.