Drums and Trumpets

I bring you a double shot for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. In 1985 the Waterboys released their third studio album “This Is the Sea” marking the end of what was known as ‘the big music’ era in the band’s history. The first two tracks “Don’t Bang the Drum” and “The Whole of the Moon” both make mention of musical instruments in their lyrics. The first one is obvious as it appears in the title and the second mentions trumpets later in the song.

The Whole of the Moon” is the most recognizable and commercially successful of the band’s songs. The lyrics contrast the songwriter’s limited perspective with the full experience the song’s subject is capable of seeing. The writer summarizes the difference in the lines “I saw the crescent / You saw the whole of the moon.” which repeats throughout the track.

The opening track “Don’t Bang the Drum” is a classic LP opening track with a long intro and a lush trumpet instrumental that builds as the needle drags through the groove at 33 and a third RPMs. A fine example of ‘the big music‘ sound the band was known for in their early recordings.

Unfortunately, the consumption of music and the way artists are compensated has relegated songs like these to history. Today’s artists only see royalties if a song is streamed for a minimum of 30 seconds while the average listener forms an opinion and decides to play or skip a track within the first ten seconds. Before streaming, the listener laid out hard-earned cash to physically own a piece of their favorite artist. The amount of music a person could afford was limited. Purchasing music meant making a commitment, listeners formed relationships with their favorite artists and the sounds they produced. Today every song that was ever written is available with a click, on-demand and on repeat with thousands of new tracks uploaded weekly. Unlike songs that were written and played as part of a collection, music in today’s single-driven model is written to grab the listener’s attention immediately, using sappy hooks and choruses upfront. It is the only way for an artist to survive when music is consumed as a disposable commodity.

This Is the Sea” resonated with me as a youth. The lyrical genius of Mike Scott forever burned into my mind as it spun repeatedly on my turntable and then later on CD. It is a recording that has stood the test of time and one that I come back to again and again.    

The consumption of music in the streaming era has lost some of the lustre that captivated me during my formative years. I’m not saying there isn’t quality music available today, only that the connections we made with bands like the Waterboys and the music they produced has changed and with that something special has been lost.

The Whole of the Moon

I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw then plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

You were there in the turnstiles
With the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars
And you know how it feels to reach
Too HIGH, too FAR, too SOON
You saw the whole of the moon

I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumb-founded by truths
You cut through lies
I saw the rain, dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed, and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
...but you SWOONED
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

With a torch in your pocket
And the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder
And you know how it feels to get
Too HIGH, too FAR, too SOON
You saw the whole of the moon

The whole of the moon
Unicorns and cannonballs
Palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers, and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags, ferry boats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars
You climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail
Too HIGH, too FAR, too SOON
You saw the whole of the moon
Songwriters: Mike Scott

Don’t Bang the Drum

Well here we are in a special place
What are you gonna do here?
Now we stand in a special place
What will you do here?
What show of soul
are we gonna get from you?
It could be deliverance
or history
Under these skies so blue
But if I know you you'll
Bang the drum like monkeys do

Here we are in a fabulous place
What are you gonna dream here?
We are standing in this fabulous place
What are you gonna play here?
I know you love the high life
you love to leap around
You love to beat your chest
and make your sound
But not here man
- this is sacred ground
With a power flowing through
And if I know you you'll
Bang the drum like monkeys do

Here we stand on a rocky shore
Your father stood here before you
I can see his ghost explore you
I can feel the sea implore you
Not to pass on by
Not to walk on by and not to try
- Just to let it come
Don't bang the drum
Just let it come
Don't bang the drum
Just let it come
Don't bang the drum
Do you know how to let it come now?
Don't bang the drum
Just let it
come now
Don't bang the drum now
Don't bang the drum
Songwriters: Karl Wallinger, Mike Scott

Contains prompt from
Jim Adam’s Sunday Song Lyric.
Date: 2022-03-12 | Theme: Musical Instruments

Copyright 2022 Greg Glazebrook, All Rights Reserved.

7 thoughts on “Drums and Trumpets

  1. Fandango

    I’d never hear of this band and had never heard either of these songs before. The eighties and nineties for me were pretty much lost decades for me, music-wise, which probably explains that. But thank you. I actually enjoyed both songs.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Gr8BigFun Post author

    Glad you enjoyed them. That’s what I’m enjoying about your prompt. I’ve heard some music I’d forgotten about and some other great stuff I missed completely when it was originally released.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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