Let's be honest... I'm not going to tell you how to write a gang song but let's dig deep into the ballad format of the folk tradition. We all knew Bonnie and Clyde were going to get it, and so this thinking slips in occassionally when I get a chance to write. This song came to me while playing the chord progression from "All along the Watchtower" Yes the guitar players will hear the same chords in the "Across" verses; but pacing is such never really to be stolen but more borrowed... hey just ask Bob... he's done the same thing.
Now back to the story and progression. Across the river was the first words that came to me, and I'll always recommend the same discipline that goes into novel... write a story that makes sense with all the writing gadgets they use in 300 pages, but you have just a mere few verses. Foreshadowing is always fun. Finding local landmarks to solidify reality gives the song texture. Tying lyrics together with themes or patterns make the song writing interesting... if it's better who knows but it's definitely gotcha if you read them later after you love them.
Now the inspiration... just my imagination of what it must have been like 100 years ago on the St James River... with guys who don't have any morals, but locals who do.
Across the river to the house of ill repute
Marked the ghostly traveled evil trade route.
They were legends they were men
Their blood would flow from that gambling den.
When the midnight fell across Pace isle
Curses melted this frail woman child.
Laughter and smoke filled the air so vile
Rot in hell you damn pedophile.
Across the river came boat sleek and dark
Filled with men from the local city Clark.
Dressed in black and dressed to kill
In just moments, their wishes were filled.
As the door opened and they walked in
The was no shattering this crowd’s din
Their way was clear to the backdoor
And seconds to settling the score.
Across the river the shots cried out
The law handed to this pathetic lout
The dark angels showed no mercy around
The blood flowed on this evil ground.
When the midnight passed across Pace isle
Solemn embraced this frail woman child
Silence and smoke fill the air so vile.
Rot in hell those damn pedophiles.
Dave Schipper © 2009 Rose Riversongs