Thursday, February 29, 2024

Minimalist Lyrics, With Frank Perry

Okay, a few things before we get to today's feature. 

First, I heard from a correspondent named Jay, who has found the most phenomenal picture. Please research (here and elsewhere) W.L. Horning if you are unfamiliar with this man's work. With that said, I share with you now a picture of W.:L. Horning that Jay managed to discover. 

The picture had a caption which read: 

Wesley Horning, Denver Composer He learned to compose by picking out tunes on guitar.

If you have heard any of his "compositions" you will doubtless find that statement extremely hard to believe. Anyway, here he is: 

The other thing I want to share is that Sammy Reed has posted an entire song-poem album, one of the countless editions of "Music of America" collections which appeared on Hollywood Artists. There are some doozies on that album, which is posted here.

And now:  


I get a kick out of today's 95 second feature, because it features what must be among the shortest bits of song-poetry ever committed to a song-poem record. When I saw that Frank Perry would be singing "You're Messing With the Wrong Guy", I assumed that Frank's performance would be a first person warning to someone that he himself (Frank or the song-poet) had had quite enough of... something and was offering a warning to stop messing with him

But nope, that's not it. In fact, the lyrics couldn't be less specific. Or less wordy. I hope you'll forgive me for ruining the surprise, but over some super peppy Chamberlin backing, the following four lines are all there is to the lyric here. Anything else is repetition or slight variance: 

Baby, you're messing with the wrong guy

Don't you know that guy will get you down. 

You're fooling with the wrong type of people

Don't you know they're trying to make a fool of you. 

And that's it. I also enjoy the hard stop at the end. 

Download: Frank Perry and the "Swinging Strings" - You're Messing With the Wrong Guy


The flip side, "Going to Memphis" threatens (on the label) to be almost four minutes long, but it's actually just under three minutes. And this song honestly doesn't have many more words than "Messing", despite having an extra 75 seconds to say it. Perhaps you won't be surprised to see that the same song-poet wrote both of these masterworks. I find this side a whole lot less interesting than its flip side. It plods along, doesn't it? 

Download: Frank Perry and the "Swinging Strings" - Going to Memphis


1 comment:

Sammy Reed said...

Thanks for the plug there! I just posted another record last night, already! (Ain't that a miracle.)