Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trick or Treat: Hobo Supper

A submission from Susan of Optimistic Voices

John William Davis: Hobo Supper


This song is *not* about candy… but when the alternate theme of trickery was announced, it’s the first that popped into my head – upon initial listening (and realizing where the storyline was headed), I shook my head in wonderment and glee (and now enjoy watching others as the A-ha! Moment occurs)…

I discovered the music of John William Davis when I was a preliminary judge for the 2005 South Florida Folk Festival – I was first attracted to his Linda Lou with a Yellow Brick Road mention (and bluebirds too?... and bluebirds too...) but my payoff was more than one line in one tune. He's highly entertaining (lyrically and melodically, playing *wicked* slide and blues guitar), extremely literate (winkin', blinkin' and noddin') and very Southern (that's a good thing, Martha!) - it's disconcerting to hear 'sword of Damocles' and ‘hegemony’ sung in that so-thick-you-can-cut-it-with-a-knife exaggerated drawl…

A former Kerrville winner, and said by one reviewer to be ”Randy Newman meets Shel Silverstein”, he’s a former college professor of language and literature from St. Marys, Georgia who recently moved to Colorado – I tease John that he must have a psychic connection with his fans because there is no calendar displayed on his web page. Should you ever find out he’s playing in your area (whether by word of mouth or mental telepathy), I highly recommend – in my opinion, his best tunes are as yet unrecorded!

In John’s own words about his song Hobo Supper:

They say that every Southern fairy tale begins, "Y'all ain't gonna believe this sh_t." Well, probably the same holds true here. Paul McCartney inspired this song. I was listening to an interview he did with Terry Gross in which he related the creation of "Yesterday". According to McCartney, he dreamed the melody. Hard for me to imagine since I usually dream about such profound matters as being chased out of my house by cat burgling Jehovah's Witnesses and suddenly finding myself in a busy mall only to discover that somehow I forgot to put on my pants. At any rate, McCartney has this great melody he's literally dreamed up and then sticks in a scratch vocal based on English food groups. Something like, "Scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs and English peas." It sounded like a great technique, so I went home, went to sleep, woke up, and since no nocturnal muse bothered to visit, had to get my melody the old-fashioned way - slogging away on my guitar. After which I threw in my own scratch lyric based on Southern food groups, "You can have some catfish, you can have some Cole slaw…" I waited patiently for the muse to hand over, as it apparently had to McCartney, the lyric for a classic pop tune. After some time, I gave up and began trying to write a story around my "meal".

Submitted by Susan

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