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Bob Elliott
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IAC Prime Member


Bob Elliott

5/14/2009 1:43:28 AM

Do My Hands Look Like Fish?
So this is an attempt to flow without restraint and with speed. I was working off two lines in my notebook I got from my five year old:

Do my hands look like fish?
Do my feet look like seagulls?

I don't know if this will be the final recording or the stuff I build on or just an early attempt. This is hot off the press of imagination, trying to get in under the door before my censor shows up (CRAZY SONG).


I know, typical cliche pop song words. Done a million times:

Do My Hands Look Like Fish?

Do my hands look like fish
Silver like a nickel
On the moonlit sill
Dusty as the swallow follows
Swiftly on your thoughts’
Electric current flows
Color to the flowers’
Seeds you dropped

Like broken shells the waves
Hadn’t yet reformed
From crimes they hadn’t yet committed
To the cross but to the crossroads
Where we find ourselves here standing

Standing in the waves
Don’t our feet look just like seagulls?
Rising high to read
The high and windy future
Out where the sun must surely
The sun must surely, surely be coming

Small from down below
Spiraling to heaven
And we fall in love like stones
Grab you with my talons

To the earth belong my fish hands
From the earth comes the nickel
And the moon can pull the shells
Through inter-tidal crossroads
Policed by sailing seagulls

Let the seaweed stroke the sand
And breathe a truly holy land

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Tom O'Brien

5/14/2009 2:09:36 AM

Bob, you should keep your five year old away from hallucinogens.

But I like the ways your thoughts pour out one into the other. It reminds me of how some Michael Stipe songs don't seem to make sense on the surface, but somehow all the words fit together. Sometimes I like straight talk, but poetry is not prose. I think imagery in songs is in short supply. It makes for a more colorful world.

These lyrics are nice poetry even without the music, and that can be the core of a killer song.

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The Man With No Band

5/14/2009 4:19:00 AM

Really enjoyable tune ...

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jingo (what remains)

5/14/2009 4:34:15 AM

Bob- very nice. I like it as is, if you change it / improve it (?) I will feel that I was lucky to hear this version - "fresh".

Also - "First Contact" has been really haunting me. It seems to tap into some subconcious place to me all on its own - but there was something else going on that I couldn't quite get a handle on.

Eventually something bubbled up. I think you had that song posted up on the old MP3.com site, and I had it in regular rotation on my station page there, and that I was haunted by it then as I am now. Is that the case?

You came down from the sky
said you meant no harm
with your eyes upon my woman
and your feet upon my farm
and you brought the finest gun
that ever was made to kill
so we shot you in the back
put your bones upon the hill...

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5/14/2009 5:31:17 AM

I don't get it. I don't even want to listen to a song with that title.

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Bob Elliott

5/14/2009 5:47:29 AM

Not even just a little?

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The Last Unicorn

5/14/2009 1:16:48 PM

ah, a title for those who use your songs to fish.. as fishers minds pray upon the waiting of dawn's light, seagulls rise in new vantage, some bellies full while others fly higher still.

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Hop On Pop

5/14/2009 1:54:35 PM

The thread title reminds me of the Violent Femmes.
If you look at the inside cover of their album, The Blind Leading the Naked, there is a picture of the three guys sitting around, with large fish on their hands.


But I wish I could find that picture!

I'll check out the song today, Bob. Thanks for the heads-up.

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Richard Scotti

5/14/2009 3:01:00 PM

Yes, your hand looks like a star fish. Time to get a better picture! (LOL)

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Hop On Pop

5/14/2009 3:04:35 PM

Cool song, Bob, no matter what you think of it.
(fanboy that I am.)

And, I've been wondering what kind of acoustic guitar you play. And how do you record it? You have a very distinctive acoustic sound.. very midrange-y, yet full.

How do you get it?

Sounds like heavier strings, and a heavy pick, too.

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Sly Witt

5/14/2009 4:29:17 PM

..what HOP said...

very, very nice

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Bob Elliott

5/14/2009 7:58:45 PM

Hey, ya'll.

I play a Gibson J-100. It's a jumbo, so its sound is pretty thick. I've been recording with a fairly inexpensive ($250) large diaghram condensor by audio technica. It's the 3530 I think. or 3035.

I've been trying to do the vocal and guitar at the same time in the same mic because if you get your distances right it has a pretty sturdy sound with no phase cancelation or other tricky issues between the mics. But then I'm left with no way to adjust the voice and acoustic from each other. Sitting on the floor and putting it about 14 inches away. Best I've been able to come up with, but I know there must be better ways.

Jingo, if you shoot me your address, I'll send you a copy of the cd that "First Contact" comes from. It's called "Simple Machines."

For that matter, I'm pretty easy to get free cd's from for any of you all. I have four. The Lion and the Fox, The Tao Tones (with Tom O'Brien), Late Afternoon Sun, and the last one (which has First Contact)SImple Machines. Shoot me an address. But ya gotta promise to make copies and spread them to friends.

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Bob Elliott

5/14/2009 9:39:33 PM

"Yes, your hand looks like a star fish."

That's my five year old's hand.

But then it's his line, too.

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Bob Elliott

5/14/2009 10:54:47 PM ---- Updated 5/14/2009 10:55:34 PM

And I was gonna answer about the strings and pick thing. I don't use a pick on the acoustic anymore (hardly ever). That's fingernails. I use pick on electrics though.

I wanted to use heavier strings because I bet they sound better, but when I try they just don't have that fantastically rubbery feeling you get from the lights, so I use lights.

I use a capo often, yet my guitar is also tuned down a full step all the time so I can go down there, too.

This song would be capoed on the 2nd fret on a normal guitar, and the low E would be down a whole step.

What kind of acoustic do you all use?

And by the way, you're bringin' me down, Bluto.

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Kevin White

5/15/2009 12:21:00 AM ---- Updated 5/15/2009 2:18:55 AM

I suppose one's hand can look like a fish, but if your feet smell like fish, then that would be problematic.

Cats would follow you to the ends of the earth, though.

Good tune, Bob.


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jingo (what remains)

5/15/2009 3:07:18 PM

Bob - I really appreciate your kind offer. I went to your page to search for a contact link and found the cdbaby link there, I purchased a copy last night.

I am still convinced that I have heard First Contact before, a few years ago, but if that is not the case then that song had a more powerful effect on me than it seems it should. As a result I will NOT be listening to Simple Machines while driving or operating heavy machinery.

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Bob Elliott

5/15/2009 4:01:07 PM

That's funny, Jingo.

"First Contact" just came out about New Years 08. I never had music at mp3.com.

It's just a trippy tune

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Bob Elliott

5/15/2009 4:01:08 PM

That's funny, Jingo.

"First Contact" just came out about New Years 08. I never had music at mp3.com.

It's just a trippy tune

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the pity whores

5/15/2009 4:33:21 PM

Yes Bob, your hands do look like fish . . . probably why you're so good at scales . . .


But seriously folks,

I have Bob's first two CDs and I can highly recommend them. He's a player and a guy who really thinks creatively about music.

I'm gonna have to get the other two CDs now.


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jingo (what remains)

5/15/2009 4:35:28 PM

Thanks, Bob. It is strange, one part of my brain demands that the other part explain this (Loosy, you got some splainin to do). Neither part can understand why this particular song is like a memory. Poor Loosy could only fabricate the explanation that "you heard it before, jingo, you heard it before, remember?" I suppose. Maybe the subject matter touches some stored away dream and makes it vibrate a little bit.

Or - maybe you are just an incredible poet that can transfer very vivid imagery from your mind to those of others?

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The Man With No Band

5/15/2009 8:49:57 PM ---- Updated 5/15/2009 8:50:34 PM

Your guitar always sounds sweet Bob ... and I am interested in your recording technic ...
I have been playing for quite awhile now ... and just learning about recording these last few years ...
One thing that hurts my recordings is that I have big time trouble singing without playing my guitar, and I play much better guitar when I am singing ... Someday I hope to get a mic that I can record like that ...
My songs are all one thing and when I try to separate them by recording individual tracks I lose a lot of that spontaneous feeling ...

As far as Acoustic guitars, my main acoustic is a Washburn D-31s ... Sometimes it seems that I am the only one on the planet that plays this guitar ... and I'm not sure why I never see or hear of anyone using this guitar ...
It is just sweeeet .... When I went to buy it, I narrowed my choice between it and a Martin ... this guitar played better, sounded better and felt better than the Martin, it's even more beautiful and was a couple hundred dollars cheaper ....

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Bob Elliott

5/15/2009 9:54:44 PM

Well, these days I do most stuff playing and singing at the same time because, like you say, both the singing and playing tend to come out better.

I used to try to use two mics, but the sound can get kind of complicated, phase cancelling stuff, so I try using just the one mic.

I played someone's Washburn and it was so great it was the first guitar made me want a new guitar. I had been using a Yamaha fg 335 for 25 years. That's the only one I used until I got the Gibson a few years ago.

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Kevin White

5/15/2009 10:25:51 PM

That's interesting Bob ...

My project w/ my son Bryan is being done live w/ a three mic array, and it had been a bitch to control phase.

Check out "Even in the Darkest Sunlight" sunsetting down the board. The bass was dubbed later, but the guitar and vocal were done live.

My cousin clued me into the key to avoid phase: Get everything right up nice and close.


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