Track 44 West of Baghdad (Remixing History)

syrian-refugee-crisis

Recording and Mixing Dates: October 29 and November 1, 2016. Mixed November 1, 2016.

 

Genesis: I wrote the lyrics on February 28, 2008. It was the last song I wrote for the FAWM (February Album Writing Month). The chorus is strangely prescient of the European refugee crisis of the past two years generated by the wars and atrocities in the Middle East.

I wanted to write an apocalyptic song, filled with the thoughts and lines I had been collecting for many years. I dispensed with narrative and let these random associations carry the day. The idea of “remixing history” is an update on how the victors get to rewrite history.   The key line for me is “Of the old world learn to say goodbye. “

I tried to assemble multiple music, percussion, and sound effect loops for the musical bed, hoping I could wed the idea of remixing in the lyrics with the musical accompaniment. I got close (I still have the track and it is oddly compelling) but I eventually abandoned the song.

I gave the lyrics to Jan Hauenstein, in hopes he could come up with a tune. He did and he did a great job. Jan composed the music in 2014 and released it that same year on his Dreams and Nightmares CD. For my version, I made several minor tweaks in the arrangement and changed a couple of words.

 Production: Bass Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitars, Piano, and Drums.

 Lyrics

WEST of BAGHDAD (REMIXING HISTORY)

Northwest Passage melting through

Empty heaven residue

Shadow bands across the morning sky

Dark shops selling damaged goods

Snipers nests out in the woods

Network failure we ask you to stand by

 

Kill the clock we’re quitting time

Behind each fortune stands a crime

Reason sleeps up in the old hotel

The price of culture is a lie

Sovereign tears shed for Versailles

The best revenge in life is living well

 

CHORUS:

West of Baghdad, East of Rome

All God’s children are heading home

Past the point of no return they come

Remix history and change the sound

Turn things up and bring things down

Shift the weight of what’s been said and done

 

Countries of the shallow grave

Scorching earth and tidal wave

Elder statesman cross a strange terrain

Lost patrols without command

Unmarked cars in shakedown land

Pharaoh’s army rides the circus train

 

The house of cards has been foreclosed

The books were cooked and then exposed

Bite down hard on that poison pill

Yes I want it do you have some pull

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full

The coup de grace came in a coupe de Ville

CHORUS

 

Sacred precincts under guard

Admission with an ID card

Start looking for the Old Man in the Sky

Disregard what’s wrong or right

Download Babylon tonight

Of the old world learn to say goodbye

 

So I sit here mind ajar

Strumming on my moon guitar

Getting squeezed by the hands of time

All my life’s a shakedown cruise

What I found out I rarely use

I learned as much from a nursery rhyme

CHORUS

Copyright 2016 Fred Grittner and Jan Hauenstein All Rights Reserved

 

Track 44 West of Baghdad (Remixing History)

4 thoughts on “Track 44 West of Baghdad (Remixing History)

  1. Fred, another great song! I agree that the line you mentioned is a key one, but this song contains so many key lines, it is difficult to pick one above another. The song is oddly prescient of the many issues and the dilemma we find ourselves and our country in right now.

    Like

    1. Fred Grittner says:

      Thanks, Henry! Prescient is the word I wanted to use but it sounded arrogant. I left out a verse that foreshadowed the presidential campaign this year…

      Like

  2. Excellent arrangement, Fred. The snaky strat is just right. That´s a song I like a lot.
    Having listened to both versions yesterday night, I was mighty pleased to see (or hear) that this one song, but two quite distinct versions. The small changes you made all work well.
    Listening again as I write, grinning from ear to ear. You did our song proud.

    Like

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