Saturday, October 27, 2007

Daddy Scruff

From Big Notebook for Easy Piano

I am typing this entry behind considerable shielding as I am preparing for slings and arrows to be launched in my general direction for what I’m about to say.

“Daddy Scruff” should have been left off of Big Notebook for Easy Piano. As a stand-alone song, perhaps released on Soaking in the Center of the Universe, I might have liked it better. But as it stands, we get just under six plodding minutes of vague lyrics near the middle of the record that nearly ruin everything that comes before it and after it in the track listing. “Shamrock” and “Tricky Fingers” launch the record and set its tone: fun-sounding songs about darker subject matter. “Birdbrained” cools things off a bit as we have a more intense number that is decidedly less upbeat as the previous two songs, and then we get an even more downbeat number with “Liquorish Vampires.” The momentum of the record and the tone established in the first two songs is teetering as we’ve just had two numbers in a row that have deviated from what they’ve done. Then comes “Daddy Scruff,” sticking out like a sore thumb from the rest. When “Record Stack” begins five minutes and forty-six seconds later, it seems off kilter as it returns to the original sound and tone set by the first two songs on the record and allows us to finally start listening to a cohesive record. I put lots of thought into how the tracks could be readjusted to not kill the momentum of the record, but in the end, the removal of “Daddy Scruff” is all I can come up with to give Big Notebook a chance to compete with In the New-Old Fashioned Way and Instant Nostalgia as my favorite Fluid Ounces record.

8 comments:

J said...

the song comes from a fairly dark place. that's about all i can say.
-j

tha b said...

way back.... back when Juan was still a twinkle in his father's pants, that song 'Daddy Scruff' was a hit with the people...

sure, now it sounds slow and morose, but it had it's heyday.

Killing momentum is a trademark move of Fluid Ounces. remember dat!

Soymilk Revolution said...

i appreciate your opinions on the sequencing and flow of all the fl. oz. records, mr. peach, but i almost always disagree with them.

the first time i heard this record, "daddy scruff" was undoubtedly the crown jewel. still is probably the brightest star on the record...everything is exactly in its right place. your "vague lyrics" make an awful lot of sense to me at certain times, and when it doesn't, it's at least conveying a very vivid, haunting imagery that is matched and amplified by the gorgeous open landscape of the music. and then that gentle quiet before the storm at the very end, when everything gets all violent and heavy and climactic. this is another charter in the top 100 for me, to be honest...another one of the very best songs i've ever heard.

as for the flow of the record that is BNFEP, i'll admit they probably could've done a little bit better in spacing out that midtempo stetch from tracks 3 to 5. to be honest though, i wouldn't say it doesn't work.

also funny about instant nostalgia being in contention as your favorite fl. oz. record now -- i remember shortly after you got it you told me you needed "more time with it." seems like that had the desired effect! not that i disagree...that one definitely is the best outing since ITNOFW, and i think flows the best of any record (while we're on the subject). even though i would've loved to hear a full-band "ambition to love" replacing "millionaire meets millionaire" as the lead track...

Juan Horsetown said...

To clarify, I don't think it's a bad song, and I know it has its following. I just don't like it where it fell on the record.

And I know my opinions differ from a lot of Fluid Ounces fans, but hey, it's my blog, so I can write about them howevre I want to. :0)~

"Vague" wasn't the right word to describe its lyrics, but I'll talk more on that when I post Liquorish Vampires sometime soon.

I knew I would come around to it: the strength of the songs was too great. I never liked any of the last three records on first listen.

Kevin Dolenz said...

I listened to Big Note... again today and I'm gunna have to disagree. In fact, I think "Daddy Scruff" had to be on this record. It was really the point for me that I realized Fluid Ounces was going to be much more than a bouncy piano band. It showed that this is a band with depth and that was important for me. I don't really have a problem with its position on the record, but for me "Liquorish Vampires" kind of gets in the way of it truly making an impact. It would have been much better following something like "Record Stack" I think. "Scruff" is a much stronger and more emotional song than "Vampires" but ironically that songs sucks some of the impact out by preceding it.

Soymilk Revolution said...

that's an interesting call. i think placing "vampires" on the other end of "scruff" might just do the trick.

Juan Horsetown said...

I almost missed your comment, but welcome! Keep 'em coming.

I agree that there needed to be something in there to keep them from being a bouncy piano band (personally, I find more depth in some of the bouncy songs than in the "Daddy Scruff"s and "Vampire"s). But I just feel like this song isn't the one to do it, but hey, it's cool to disagree.

Kerriffic said...

its also cool to pee your pants.....

Purchase Fluid Ounces mp3s Directly from the Band!