Goodbye to Woolworths

In my previous post I said about my plan to write and record a new folk song in a day. Here’s what happened.

I wrote the song in about an hour and a half, then set up my camera and filmed it (with the lyrics written up on large pieces of card either side of the camera – no time to learn them!) I put a capo on the 3rd fret so that the song is in G but I’m playing the chords of E and A7. This allowed me to get a better sound with the sustained 4th notes with my little finger. Two takes and I had it recorded. I then went to Cowley Centre in Oxford, my nearest Woolies and got some establishing footage. If only I’d thought of this idea sooner I would have got some sale footage as this this chap.

I stripped the audio track from my video using Quicktime Pro and used Logic audio software to multitrack other instruments: electric bass, 12 string Rickenbacker, electric guitar (my Epiphone Casino through a Laney value amp) and a shaker. Because I hadn’t thought to record my vocal and acoustic guitar on separate tracks (they were just picked up my the camera’s mic) I re-recorded the vocal on top so you could have a chance of hearing the words. Then I added a harmony. No song is complete without a harmony in my opinion.

Then I mixed that all down and imported it into Final Cut video software and tried to match the audio to the video. If you’ve ever seen a film clapper-board then you can work out how that’s done in cinema. You have the sound of the ‘clap’ and the sight of the board closing so you an sync them up. I had a sharp downstroke on the guitar (edited out of the final video) to do the same job and it worked better than I thought. Then I edited in the Woolworths footage and uploaded the finished film to YouTube.

In one day it achieved 183 hits – my quickest growth rate yet with a video (thanks to those of you who helped with telling people about it).

With more time I may have done a better mix. Same day recording and mixing is always tricky. And I’d have got the original vocal on a separate track from the start. But it proved to myself that it can be done.

I’m now thinking of my next topic to write a song about. If you have any ideas let me know!

Here are the lyrics:

Well it’s goodbye to Woolworths. The credit crunch has taken its due
The sales are no more and you’ve closed down the door
And the town won’t be the same without you

It’s goodbye to Woolie. We had a feeling it couldn’t last
You hung on for years and you were run by old dears
And now you’re consigned to the past

I suppose I never really shopped there and I don’t know anyone who did
I remember rummaging for LPs and singles
In bargain bins when I was a kid

So there’s a lesson here for us all that businesses often ignore
If you don’t want customers to walk out the door
You better have what they’re looking for

Because we all tend to do everything, be all things to all man
But the jack of all trades is master of none
And your business will go down the pan

So it’s goodbye to Woolworths. The credit crunch knocked you for six
But when you’ve said your last goodnight and turned out the light
Where are we going to get our pick ‘n’ mix?

The song goes out to all those affected by job losses in these changing times. Keep thinking positively and you’ll find a new path.

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One comment on “Goodbye to Woolworths

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