I came across a cache of old half-written songs over the weekend, which brought back lots of memories – it’s amazing how many of the tunes (most of which are still unrecorded) came back to me. I guess that’s a sign of a good melody. Pity the same can’t be said of the lyrics. Most of the songs I found have about 6 decent lines each, about another 10 which are weak and several more which make me cringe, wince or grind my teeth.
Having said that, there are some little gems in there which I’m going to revisit shortly. Which leads me on to the subject in hand… Dunoon
I don’t recall consciously writing so many songs about Dunoon, but it clearly made a significant impact on my psyche. A quick bit of highly condensed history; the town of Dunoon was a traditional seaside resort in the West of Scotland, which has a unique character compared to others as it is more accessible by boat than train or bus, and is still regularly visited by the steamer Waverley. After seaside resorts lost their charm, Dunoon benefitted (or suffered, depending on your point of view) from the nearby US naval installation at the Holy Loch, and had an economic boost from the many servicemen who stayed in the town.
Lee and I both have spent time in Dunoon, as our families had many ties to the area, with many fond memories. However, as youths we were quite disparaging about the town, mainly because it had passed its glory days, and seemed to be trying to hold on to the past too hard, as well as the fact that it had little to offer the younger generation.
In all I found four songs related to the town in some way. Kirn Beach is an instrumental inspired by the walk from Dunoon to Kirn and beyond, whilst Jim Crow is an upbeat look at the things that have passed around Kirn’s local landmark (a large glacial erratic painted with a black face). The Man in the Boat is a sad tale about the figure on the road to Dunoon who sits in a boat in the middle of a field, and … And the Rest is short song about the trek up the Rest and Be Thankful (a saddle between two glens marking the top of a long steep climb for travellers).
Add these to the already recorded Rage in Dunoon, and there’s nearly half an album’s worth of material. Jeez – a concept album about Dunoon, what next?