Dear Beauty is Imperfection reader, I have hit a milestone of sorts in music making. I was once a math guy, believe it or not, and I still have an obsessive thing about round numbers. It means nothing to you or to mathematician Kurt Godel or to the number 30 itself, but I now have 30 songs up on my home page. These are all original compositions.
The last two I posted are "The Passion of the Elvis" and "The Merc of Cameroon." These round out a 12-song album I've completed, which will even have a cover and everything when I've finished mastering. The album will comprise, in order, the first 12 songs on my home page. More important is that I've finally got these two songs out of my system after carrying them in my head for more than a decade and a half. That's right, I wrote these songs when I still lived in Austin, Texas. I used to drum out the parts on a steering wheel of a car I haven't owned since 1996. I didn't dare try recording them, however. They had a lot of parts. I wasn't sure how to make the sounds I heard in my head (at least not until recently). And the lyrics were never right. They've changed hundreds of times (OK, maybe dozens). The Elvis song was about a completely different subject and I had to change it when something weirdly Elvisy emerged in the recording process.
"The Merc" is a song about geopolitical turmoil, greed and revenge. Musically, it finds me trying to wed both my love of John Fahey harmonics, the drums of my marching band days, long Sonic Youth suites and, most foreign to me, a bluesier guitar solo than I've ever, ever dared try. The results are ... well, I'll let you decide.
"The Merc of Cameroon" By Salon de la Guerre
Down in the hole where it’s always dark at noon Stuck in a cell with the merc of Cameroon He’s advertised his services In Angola and Equatorial Guinea And now he’s digging tunnels with a spoon
We escaped in a daring daylight raid And by the time we thought we had it made He was cut down to ribbons By a Cuban guard with a hundred medals And I never ever thought I’d get away
So I went off and I looked for his wife And she had his blood diamonds and his knife She and I fell into embrace And we took his car and we took his money But the Merc of Cameroon he was alive
He and his thugs were trying to start a coup Just one thing that your blood money can do So now I’m stuck in a Holiday Inn on the Ivory Coast With my dignitary When I heard the merc come slide across my hotel room A-haw hoo hoo
Time for engineering time for contemplating lies About how those blood diamonds blind my eyes They’ve been here for a million years And they’ll be here when I’m dead and buried But the Merc of Cameroon has me tonight A-haw hoo hoo!
And he’s got me down And I hit the ground And he made one sound A shot in the chest Penetrate the evening
Sometimes politicians have to fall While puny men like me hide in the wall They’ve been here for a thousand years And they’ll be here when I’m dead and buried They leave and track your blood out in the hall A-haw hoo hoo
copyright 2011, Eric R. Rasmussen