Bit of StringYou can download a PDF of the guitar tab or musical score.
You can download a recent version of the song in mp3 here.
Bit of String was a long time in the writing. It first appeared under the working title "Bogart" in three 4-track "sketch" tapes I made sometime between 1986 and 1988 (take 1, take 2, take 3). I never had words for the song, but a few figures within it suggested a melody in the nightclub style popular between the 30s and 50s.
Bogart was one of my favorite undeveloped song ideas. After 19 or 20 years on a shelf, I dusted it off with a particular muse named Moe (pronounced as Moway) in mind to try to make this ditty say something to her.
A rough demo from January 8, 2007 and a completed demo from 3 days later plucked most of their musical ideas from the old sketches, combining them with some Cole Porter-esque lyrics that miraculously wound up saying exactly what I wanted them to say. Early lyric versions started out "When I wander, I'm inclined to ponder what I ought to do," and it took some discipline to resist the temptation to rhyme "foreign" with "warren" (she really liked bunnies). The first was just mealy-mouthed and the latter mere limerick fare. It's an unusual song in that it has no chorus, its three verses have strong imagery but are totally distinct from each other, and each ends in a different little musical curlicue that become progressively elaborate. Nonetheless, the message is consistent.
It took me a considerable time to write the 3 verses just as I wanted
them, and none of my recordings so far have
them in their final form. At some point, I will have a nice
recording made, but for now I hope I can rely on the unvarnished
qualities of the common sparrow who appears in the third verse;
small bird who is plain, busy, and incapable of
guile. A crouton basically makes his entire day, and if
offers you a bit of string and a song, you have to know he's not
holding anything back.
On January 20th, 2007, I placed a piece of twine into a wooden box, packed up my Seagull S-6 and went over to sing for Moe.
Out at Fenway,
there are 9 or 10 ways to elicit boos
that I counted,
as I took the mound to try to pitch some woo.
And the loudest seem to rise from the bullpen.
My heart's roaring,
pacing out the floor inside a tiny cage.
She's a keeper,
casually ignoring his impassioned rage.
Sits upon a taming stool at the bars,
running through his repertoire for his guard.
Like a sparrow,
cloven by an arrow shot from Cupid's bow,
I am bleeding,
perched here loudly tweeting so that she will know:
I have found a bit of string fit for nesting,
would she like to see?
It's yea inches long,
and it's hers for a song
if she'd just sing for me.