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                Music by Duncan    

After decades spent playing guitar and writing songs
about life, through college, countries, and multiple
career paths, my original songs at last resemble
what demo music should sound like. The one
constant through every twist and turn of my life
has been a fondness for making music. Unfortunately,
I squandered most of those years not investing
in and learning how to correctly record music. That gets
a failing grade! The song(s) below have not been
mastered, and therefore should not be called finished
products. But as I get feedback and continue learning
the craft of audio production, their quality improves.

I play nearly all the instruments on my songs.
The only exception are the drum tracks, which
are either produced from a Roland TR-505 drum
machine or feature Greg Morrow, by permission
from Discrete Drums. The reason: I don't have
a drum kit — yet. Otherwise, all guitars, bass,
keyboards, vocals, percussion (tambourine and
maraccas) were recorded here in the studio by me.
I have attempted to make my recordings as live as
possible since I believe firmly that musicians play
instruments. Cut and paste artists, to me, are arrangers.
No shame there, just not what I'm about. I've been
playing instruments since my brothers and I learned
to play drum rolls on coffee cans with knives and spoons
at about three or four. We figured out the concept of multiple
bounce (at least) without instruction. Then being taught piano
by my parents at five. As I mix my wav files to mp3s, I will
post them here.

Check back for updates and new material.

    Quick links to featured songs.
Lyrics and comments for each song
            can be found below.

CAFFEINE FREE

CLEMENTINA - A Whisper in Sign

I, BUTTERFLY         BEATRICE DALLE       

TAKING THE FREEWAY       FALLING


All songs written and produced by Duncan J. Purcell.

 

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CAFFEINE FREE
© 2006 Duncan J Purcell
All rights reserved

Most of my songs lean toward timeless themes like unrequited love,
fondness for alcohol, and women on TV. I thought I'd take a stab at
something more relevant than timeless for a change. I've been
meaning to write a song called Caffeine Free for 25 years — ever
since Tim Walker from Muskogee, Oklahoma, said it would make
a good song title. I don't think this is quite what he had in mind.

Three girls in the window
With cups of cappuccino
The dense aroma of French roast beans
And paper cups for the coffee queens
Art students and poetry
Lemon bars and philosophy
So many houses are under the sea
So many bombing their way —
to infamy

You could swear
The world wasn’t there
Except the magazines
This suicidal war over pride
And news about New Orleans
And the prices of gasoline
And what does inhale mean —
Anyway?

The girls are all laughing
And caffeine free
And presidents don’t inhale
A tsunami
Another double espresso
Miss, if you’d mercifully please
The girls are caffeine free
Just what they want to be
The girls are caffeine free

A guy comes in the doorway
Looking for his latté
Flashes smiles to a flirting girl
Recycled cups for a hurting world
Some talk of insomnia
Or lip gloss and the cinnamon buns
Too many people expressing rage
Too many wars they’re determined —
to engage

You could swear
The world wasn’t there
Except the magazines
This suicidal war over pride
And news about New Orleans
And the prices of gasoline
And what does inhale mean —
Anyway?

The girls are all laughing
And caffeine free
Why doesn’t Bush try inhaling
Diplomacy
Another double espresso,
Miss, if you’d mercifully please
The girls are caffeine free
Right where they want to be
The girls are caffeine free

The girls in the window
Have had their cappuccino
The dense aroma still remains
With chewed cups and the coffee stains
Black and white photography
Housewives and astrology
So many homes washing out to sea
So many bombing their way —
to infamy

You could swear
The world wasn’t there
Except the magazines
This suicidal war over pride
And news about New Orleans
And the prices of gasoline
And what does inhale mean —
Anyway?

The girls are all laughing
And caffeine free
And better men than Bush
Have inhaled some green
Another double espresso
Miss, if you’d mercifully please
The girls are caffeine free
Just what they want to be
And the girls are laughing
They’re caffeine free

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CLEMENTINA - A Whisper in Sign
© 2006 Duncan J Purcell
All rights reserved

This is my first song of 2006. Like Beatrice Dalle below, I seem to find
inspiration in French movies and French actresses who catch my eye.
This one came to me after watching Emmanuelle Devos in Read My Lips,
although some of the lyrics are taken from other bits and pieces I've
written before.

Put down your number
And maybe I’ll call you
But don’t hold your breath
‘til the end of this song
I’ve seen you round
Since the moment I arrived
Too many smiles
to believe you for long

Tell you why —

City savoire faire
I went crazy there
With too much wine
And way too much time
Clementina meets
Me in dirty sheets
And never too discrete
God, what a find

We met in Paris discos
She drank a lot of wine
When she said she’d love me
forever —
I thought she was just flyin’

City savoire faire
We got married there
Clementina
She’s my sunshine
Ceiling water stains
Chinese food and
Window pane
Love implies insane
When it’s blind

Clementina shine
Put your lips on mine
Not this choking,
Overgrowing vine
Sleep judiciously
I'm like a floating breeze
I'm slipping out to sea
Like the tide

It's time to fly —

City savoire faire
When I left her there
Icarus ahead
I’m right behind
A lover you annoy
Who treats you like a toy
Rice with too much soy
Whispers in sign

We met in Paris discos
She drank a glass of wine
When she said she’d love me
Forever —
I knew she was just lyin’

Break the vino out
Everybody shout
The Vampires come out
And party
Ride the Zipper boy
Don’t go playin’ coy
Everyone enjoys
A party
Someone in the States
Doesn’t break her plates
And only plays charades
At a party

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I, BUTTERFLY
© 2005 Duncan J Purcell
All rights reserved

Originally called Leaf and a Flower, I like the groove in this one
and the two time signatures. It also has some nice chord
changes and harmonies. This is one of the few love songs
about my wife, Janet, that I've been able to write without
becoming overly sentimental or maudlin. I was also writing
about my dear cat of 16 years, Koshka, who passed away in
November 2005. We just cried and cried for weeks. Months.
The lyrics need a little work yet, but it's a start.

Aye, aye, butterfly
Utterly shy
You hardly try
It’s a godsend
I, I butterfly
On leaves alight
I don’t ask why
I just see ‘em

A little leaf on a tree
Shading a flower
Out there together
In the sun
Enjoying the breeze
Loving each other
Bringing a smile
To everyone

Out there together
In the sun
Petals and wings
In the sun

Safe on a hillside
In the sun
Hour on hour
In the sun
Sing songs to mother
creation
Out there all alone
In the fun

And here comes the rain
Here comes the wind
Here comes the sunshine

Aye, aye, butterfly
Flutter by
Flower to flower
Until you die
I, I butterfly
I better fly
Sunshine and shower
But not too high

A million leaves on a tree
This one by a flower
Shading each other
In the sun
Enjoying the breeze
Mother nature allows her
Waiting for autumn
Everyone

Out there together
In the sun
Life tastes like honey
In the sun

Tom cats and lizards
In the sun
Hours and hours
Having fun

And here comes the rain
Here comes the wind
Here comes the sunshine
and nobody minds


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BEATRICE DALLE

© 2004 Duncan J Purcell
All rights reserved

Beatrice Dalle only took me 20 minutes to write
after I'd spent four hours struggling to compose
a song around a bluesy riff I'd invented. Finally I
became completely disgusted and said to myself,
"This just isn't what I want to write. This is what
I want to write." And out flowed every chord of
this tune exactly as it is. The lyrics took the other
19½ minutes to write, although I've done a little
rewriting here and there. Not much. Sometimes
the songwriting process is like that. Immediate.
But mostly, songwriting is a tedious enterprise,
albeit a rewarding one. For a glimpse of the real
(and gorgeous) Beatrice Dalle, see Lyrics.


Been standing here awhile
You could prob’ly guess it from my face
Impossible to smile
Until I’m back in her embrace
I really can’t complain
Although I didn’t dress for rain
It’s a busy avenue —
Where has that bus gone to?

Been waiting all my life
For a woman just like this
Like slipping on the ice
I'm falling into her abyss
Those fire opal eyes
entrance me, dance me like a waltz
I recognize I’m hypnotized
But that’s what this involves

She looks like Beatrice Dalle
She ought to be a movie star
A world-wide sensation
On the covers of Elle and Bazaar
Even better than Beatrice Dalle
She ought to be a movie star
A world-wide sensation
Then maybe I could drive her car

Been standing here for hours
And I’m singing every song I know
The rain is really coming down
Man, the bus is really running slow
I guess I can’t complain
Although I didn’t dress for rain
But there aren’t any eaves
Between the clouds and me

Been waiting all my life
to kiss this perfect woman's lips
I'm enchanted as she guides
Her Chanel hem below her hips
Intoxicating smiles
Have mesmerized me before
Mr. Driver, please, before I
Have to swim ashore

She looks like Beatrice Dalle
She ought to be a movie star
A world-wide sensation
On the covers of Elle and Bazaar
Even better than Beatrice Dalle
She ought to be a movie star
A world-wide sensation
Then maybe I could drive her car


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TAKING THE FREEWAY   

© 2004 Duncan J Purcell
All rights reserved

Taking The Freeway is a pop/rock tune that I
wrote and recorded in one day, although the
double-tracking on the vocals came later.
La Salle says it has a sixties sound to it. A few
of the lyrics could be improved for cohesion,
but overall, I'm pretty happy with the song.


Why do artists always feel pain inside their hearts
While writers hide inside their visions in the dark
Wooden actors swimming through my dreams
Are making for a shoreline way upstream
Well he’s got a better face than I
And she’s got a letter that’s making her cry
And sometimes dogs drown in swimming pools
Life's beautiful but God knows it's cruel

I'm gonna be stoned
whenever it snows
And take the freeway
wherever it goes
Don’t need to be shown
which way the wind blows
I'm taking the freeway
Wherever it goes

An empty bottle decorates the out-of-tune piano
That sits here silently as Grandpa’s antique radio
The calendar of Marilyn Monroe
Was hung there almost thirty years ago
Well, she’s got a better life than I
And his wife caught him with some other guy
And I’m drifting down that lifelong river
People, oceans, towns
and I've got news to give her



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FALLING
© 1998 Duncan J Purcell
All rights reserved

I wrote the heavily Kate Bush-influenced "Falling" back in the
late 1990's, and I've recorded it many times with drums,
lead guitar parts, and synths, but I've never really captured
the energy that I feel when playing it live. It's a performance
piece, and therein lies the trouble. So I tried it again without
all the production and instruments. Just my guitar and a pair
of mics (Røde NT1000 and a Shure SM58). Also, I didn't use
a metronome. Every time I have, the song either plods or just
feels awkward. This mix still sounds raw, and the performance
of it has a few flaws, but it feels more honest than it did in
earlier incarnations. I eventually decided to overdub a bass line,
just to fill out the bottom end a little. And I may add some
bongos to it sometime. All of that said, the heart and soul
of this song is the lyric — among my favorites.


Like rain falling down
from the clouds to the ground
I'm falling
falling for you
A glance we exchange
charades we arrange
unbelievable
I'm falling for you
All the way down
from the bridge to the ground
I'm falling
Falling for you

Wine is my friend
and I'm drinking again
It's helping me
carry this through
Jokes that you made
in bed, I'm afraid
amused me
I knew they were true

I'd like to fly
but I'm only some guy
As I sit here and cry
I don't even know why
But I didn't lie
when I said I would die
if you leave me —
Good-bye.

All the way down
from the bridge
to the ground
I'm falling
Falling for you

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