138. If Wishes Were Fishes (Lara Anderson)

DAY ONE-HUNDRED AND THIRTY-EIGHT

Here is your wicker frog!

These words were worked on a few weeks ago with String Theorist Lara Anderson when I was touring in Philadelphia.  She is a dear friend of mine from back home now living in the City of Brotherly Love doing a post doc.  I stayed with her whilst visiting and we gathered these lyrics together.  We had eaten lunch at a Thai restaurant, and the table we sat at had a wicker frog next to it.  This wicker frog had its mouth wide open, and inside its belly contained dozens of little strips of paper, each having scribblings of a strangers wish written upon it.  I inquired about it to the waiter who told me there was no precedent set by any formal tradition, but that people just started placing wishes one day randomly inside this frog’s mouth for a good time.  Lara and I used this frog as a subject for our song together.

Writing: I struggled with this melody having done a totally different melody on cello while we were writing it.  I wasn’t quite happy enough with it and have been waiting to use they lyrics until something else came along.  Here it is, weeks later, and I find that Aly of Lady Lamb The Beekeeper has an autoharp sitting at her house with which I quickly found a different melody.  (Pearl and the Beard stayed with her for our Portland show last night… we are off to Biddeford, Maine tonight).

Recording: What a bother it is sometimes.  I thought I had brought all of my equipment to record, but I left an essential piece home, so I have to improvise a bit.  I recorded the harpsichord part of this song with my headphones, plugging them into my line-in on my computer.  I had been told a few years ago that you can us your headphones as a stereo mic but I never tried it.  Well, here it is.  I found the vocals to be much more troublesome using the headphone method, so I just used the external mic on the computer (which I hate) and treated it until it was only slightly less annoying to me.

Someone made a comment that I use a lot of descending lines in my work… so here, I used… DESCENDING LINES!  Yay!  But threw in some ascending, too.  As far as vocals go, I’ve been slowly working on increasing the use of range and movement… one song at a time.

Both takes of harp and vocal are the first takes… Now, off to Hog Farm!

Autoharp singer/songwriter that you MUST know about: Elizabeth Devlin, a dear friend of mine with an unbelievable voice.  Unbelievable.

If Wishes Were Fishes


If wishes were fishes the frog would have fewer
Than you or of I or the lazy wrongdoer
A coaster of wicker with well-hopes that flicker
We welcome a paper of folded desire
If wishes were fishes to give to the suitor
A feasting of flies he’d be ten times the richer
To spend it on testing the waist-coated decor
Made from a corduroy cloth to keep warmer
If wishes were fishes this frog would be fatter
A poly and roly cooked up for the frier
To douse him with lust: or to quench or to hunger
We’ll prod and will poke while he prays to his maker
If wishes were fishes, the frog could have mine…

5 thoughts on “138. If Wishes Were Fishes (Lara Anderson)

  1. someone? SOMEONE?! i just thought ascending might make a nice exercise. & i was thinking ascending opening statements, really.

    also i miss you.

    also i love this. come to madison and play myyyyy autoharp!!

    • That is a complete compliment. She was an inspiration… it’s seems when I hear an autoharp I can’t help but think of her voice… though I don’t think I come close to her amazing pipes…

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