What an interesting journey to POPPY’S TUNES! It all happened so fast. And it took so long.
Just the other day, February, 2013, I was piddling with my guitar and thinking about my new granddaughters, Riann and Caroline. What would I sing to them? Roly Poly, of course. That was the first song I sang to their daddies when they were babies and I knew it would be the first thing I sang to them. Then I started strumming through my usual three chord progression and came up with a little ditty. That’s when my muse kicked in and LOLLIPOP AND RAINBOW found it’s way to paper. I’d never written a song before and thought, “That was easy.”
The muse wouldn’t let up. LOLA AND BEAR and POPPY’S LULLABY soon followed. One afternoon I was sitting outside and heard a woodpecker pecking on a tree – “Rat-a-tat-tat.” I thought, “Man, his head has got to hurt.” That was the seed for ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE HILL. It took a little longer to write, but it may be my favorite.
Then came the grandchildren’s songs.
CAROLINE came first. I was writing all of these on a legal pad in bits and pieces. I had that first line when she was three months old – “You think it’s funny when you pout and your lips turn inside out, Caroline.” Her personality came through early on. She’s a marvel!
GRIFFIN’S GONNA GETCHA was easy. If you know Griff you’ll understand. Talk about imagination and creativity. I’m still not sure what he thinks about the song. The last comment I heard was he didn’t think it was fair that I was going to be famous and he was just going to be “sorta'” famous. Recording the sound effects on this was loads of fun.
When it came to Riann, I had a harder time. How could I capture all of that energy in a three minute song? At first, I had the lyrics and tune and I was playing it in 2-4 time and it was kind of blah. Then the muse suggested a Latin rhythm and RIANN’S CHA-CHA was born. Riann loves to dance to it with her Annie. Perfecto with sax!
Sometime in 2014 the crazies overtook me and I got the bright idea that I should record my songs for posterity. Getting serious about it, I started looking at studios. Somewhere in there, GOIN’ TO THE MAILBOX came along. Don’t ask me where it came from. Ask the muse. It’s always interesting to me how the simplest idea can turn into a fun song.
To make a long story short (I know it’s too late), I formed Big Mouth Frog Records and found MudRock Studios here in Midland and got on their schedule for late March. I was really impressed with their setup and their engineer, Anthony Nieto.
I just needed four more songs. Twelve seemed like the right number for a CD.
ROLY POLY was a given. Then SALLY AND YUM-YUM came along. As a writer, I couldn’t resist the story of two-year-old best friends Sally (Caroline) and Yum-Yum (William Bird) trying to say each other’s names. They go everywhere together. I finished it about the time we went to the studio, maybe a little after.
I’d wanted to do a couple of old SESAME STREET songs – RUBBER DUCKIE and BEIN’ GREEN. I did get a license for RUBBER DUCKIE, but the orchestration was getting too complicated. The license for BEIN’ GREEN never came through. That was just as well. Now, you get to hear Chase Peeler’s Sax on JESUS LOVES ME (and CAROLINE and RIANN’S CHA-CHA) and Vivian Moss play piano on TURN AROUND (and POPPY’S LULLABY). Things just turn out better for some reason.
The entire studio experience was awesome. Anthony and the studio musicians took my songs and ran with them. All they had to work with was a recording of me playing my guitar and singing my songs. After listening and having me explain what I was looking for it took them about fifteen minutes to come up with the rest. Incredible! I think we recorded five songs the first day.
Most of the rest was a hoot. Like the day Chase showed up to lay his sax on top of the tracks. He blew Anthony away.
The last touch was when Vivian came back from Hawaii and we recorded TURN AROUND and POPPY’S LULLABY. Just the two of us. She worked so hard on them to get them right. She even made me rehearse! Anthony was really impressed.
The problem is I learned how addictive the studio can be. I became fluent in the language. Terms like “punch in” and “bounce” and “click.” As goofy as it may sound, it’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. I just want to do it again. Samantha and Reese have songs in the works. I’ve finished lyrics about our lab – LUCY’S LICKER. It just needs a tune. And there are those SESAME STREET songs. Who knows what’s next?
All of this was just to say that songwriting isn’t a bad second or third career. I never know where the muse will lead me. She can be fickle. Each song comes about in it’s own mysterious, unexplainable way. All I know is I’m having a ball.
POPPY’S TUNES IS NOW AVAILABLE AT http://cdbaby.com/cd/marksparker.