Winners and their blues

Winners of this blog’s first Blues Lyric Contest are suitably troubled — and all get Wynton Marsalis and Willie Nelson Play the Music of Ray Charles DVDS to ease their weary minds. All have expressed regrets they can’t get to  Jazz at Lincoln Center concerts of Wynton and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra celebrating for Mary Lou Williams’ centennial or  alto saxist Maceo Parker, so sadly those tix go wanting. But that’s the blues for ya. . . 

First prize to Vikram Devasthali, LA-based trombonist who blogs at twentydollars.wordpress.com — he wrote: 


Death
in the morning, lying next to me in bed

her
eyes are stormy, and her lips an angry red

she
says she loves me, and my heart forgets my head.

 
Death
in the daytime, up and leaves me by myself

heard
through the grapevine, she belongs to someone else

she’s
a deceiver, but she does it awful well.

 
Death
in the evening, when my senses come undone

she
don’t believe me, when I tell her she’s the one

she
makes me swear it, at each dying of the sun.

 
Death
in my nightmares, wraps her left hand round my neck

and
with the right one, thrusts a knife into my chest

my life’s a card game, and my
woman stacked the deck.



Second prize to singer-songwriter Andrea Wolper for this ditty:


Mandel
don’t love me

He
treats me awful mean

Mandel
don’t love me

He
treats me awful mean

Asks
me to write ’bout

Chi-town
and New Orleans
 
Says
he want songs ’bout

Gath’rings
in Congo Square

Asks
us for songs ’bout

Gath’rings
in Congo Square

Problem
for me is,

Baby,
I wasn’t there

 
Wants
to see songs ’bout

Ragtime
‘n blues ‘n swing

Wants
to see verses ’bout

Bolden,
Bechet, ‘n “King”

Scratchin’
my head ’cause

Can’t
think of anything

 
Mandel
said, “post about

‘merican
roots of jazz:

Villanelles,
haikus, ‘n blues

’bout
the roots of jazz”

Must
be too hard, though

‘Cause
look here:

Nobody
has.





(Ms. Wolper has also written and sings “Grey, Not Blue” which begins: 

 

Storm clouds over head
Tears upon my pillow
No one home to tell my
troubles to

Lyin’ on my bed,
Cryin’ like a willow,
Tryin’ to hold on to
all the things that I once thought I knew

Shadows creep and steal
my sleep

And that is why I’m
Gray, Not Blue . . .


 . . . and continues through a bluesy chorus of duetting guitarist Ron Affif & bassist Ken Filiano; nice, al, thanks, it’s a treat.

 

3rd prize to Jennifer Lemming — I think she discovered the contest via Twitter who writes:

I found about it  because I subscribe to The Arts Journal . . .My influences are – my mother who sang in the community w/her 2 sisters. My family is from the south, so music was very, very important. PBS which introduced me to a very wide variety of music. I also lived in Elkhart, In – Selmer and Conn band instrument companies, Baldwin piano. I studied the violin all through high school. Our orchestra teacher actually arranged Chuck Mangone’s  “El Gato Triste” for full orchestra for us to play. * I’ve got a list of poems published, won an award and actually have a song on an independent CD.  So this contest was a great outlet for me.

— for “I Can’t Sleep Baby Blues,” in which the povs of both parties may be thought to come alive — 

Story
time is over, we’ve come to the end of the book.

Story
time is over and we’ve come to the end of the book.

My
mommy’s hoping that’s all it took.

 
I’m
lying on my cot and it is time for nap

the
light are low and it’s time for nap.

mommy’s  beside me, giving my back a pat.

 

I
got the I can’t sleep Baby Blues.

 
The
stuffing is coming out of my bear,

she
leans done to whisper “hush, hush”

while
I play with a strand of her hair.

 
I
got the I can’t sleep Baby Blues.

 
My
legs are achin’, they are achin’ from running that playground

My
leg are achin’ from runnin that play ground

My
eyes are closed but I’m still chasin’ that ball around.

 

Shadows
dance on the wall,

shadows
dance over on that wall.

There’s
one in the corner about ten feet tall.

 
I’m
so sick of hearing about those stars a-twinkling in the sky.

I
just rub my eyes, kick my feet and cry.

 
I
got the I can’t sleep baby blues

You
know I got the I can’t sleep baby blues

First runner-up is Mike Borowski, a guitarist in the jazz performance program at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh who has a tango group which he says “plays a lot of Astor Piazzolla and John Zorn” — check out their website. His lyric was inspired by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.’s God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.  

I’ve
gone and sold my riches baby, things will never be the same

I’ve
gone and sold my riches baby, things will never be the same

I
moved on down country, no more will I live in shame

 
Gone
on down to Rosewater, gonna help the sick and lame

Gone
on down to Rosewater, gonna help the sick and lame

Gonna
tell em to keep on livin’, while I drink my life away

 
God
bless that Mr. Rosewater, hes the only one that knows

God
bless that Mr. Rosewater, hes the only one that knows

There flows a money river, but
only a few know where it goes


The next Jazz Beyond Jazz Blues Lyric Contest will specifically include Blues Rap. Stay tuned . . .

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