I wrote my first song when I was eighteen and have completed hundreds since. I'm without question the worst person in the world to judge whether they're any good or not, but here are a few I like.
NB: Two tracks featured here, Leave My Bones Alone and King St., feature Paul Harvey, the composer, musician, architect and instrument maker with whom I shared a flat - sometimes known as Shabby Road Studios - for a while. Paul was generous enough to contribute to a number of my songs and in some cases - like the two here - wrote and played parts that pretty much formed the bulk of the arrangements.
The verses are the present and the choruses the past in King St., a kind of defence of remembering. As an experiment, I tried to see if using particularly strong personal recollections would somehow make the song more evocative. Therefore the verses are based musically on the earliest song I remember knowing, Van Morrison's And It Stoned Me, and the chorus describes a real sequence of events. Did it work?
In Leave My Bones Alone, I tell the tale of a murder victim whose family are being hounded by the press. Marvel at Paul's marimba playing here, which makes the song. Confession: I based this song on a real murder case, but changed an important factual detail to suit my argument. I wouldn't do that now.
Party On My Own asks the disturbing question: What if you're at a party of one and that one party is an asshole? But it does so in a remarkably danceable way, even if I do say so myself.
O Mistress Mine is a musical setting of a song from William Shakespeare's The Tempest. I heard Dusty Springfield's voice in the lyric and so went that way with the music.
Stupid Americans is a blunt, unsubtle swipe at lazy anti-Americanism of the kind I've heard all my life. I sang it at an open mic in London once and a guy said: "My wife is American, so I quite enjoyed that." He got it!
All songs written by Raymond Butler and performed by John Dog except where indicated