An itch you just gotta scratch

Sometimes an earworm wont stay in my head. It goes round and round, then starts to leak out through vocal chords and, occasionally, fingers.

Singing in the shower or while making breakfast is one thing, but there are occasions when the tune demands more.

Take ‘Millworker’, a hauntingly beautiful and sad song penned by James Taylor in the 1970s for a play. I have known this song for years, since a friend lent me the album ‘Flag’ on cassette (remember those?).

Every now and then over the years I have hummed snatches and remembered how good the song is. But just recently, it arrived in my head as a serious earworm.

Round and round it went. Round and round. I had to do it.

I found a guitar arrangement I could work with. One that I liked. I had to do it.

I looked up the words. Now the earworm had actual words. I had to do it.

This all coincided with the arrival of the beautiful sound of a Larrivee guitar. One that ‘sang’ even more wondrously in the tuning for this song. I had to do it.

Even if it wasn’t quite ready.

So I did it.

I sang it at the local folk club singaround. I was asked to close out a blackboard concert the following evening, and out it popped again (by request).

Each time a little less ragged. Almost the complete item.

I couldn’t quite rest. The earworm was still there.

There was just time, I thought one afternoon, to bash it into Garageband. One take. Then make it into a video by fiddling with some old library stills, including a gripping image of a young lady dwarfed by the machinery she minded all those years ago.

So here it is – all raggedy and rough-hewn, which is slightly appropriate.

While that is definitely one for the repertoire, the world moves on and so has my earworm. To be replaced by another (for now);

‘Her hair it was as black as night, in ringlets hanging down……’

About Nigel Parry Music

Described by a radio presenter as; 'one of the finest traditional folk artists in NZ', Nigel Parry's unique mix of singer / songwriter, traditional and early folk music relies heavily on his vocal arrangements. Hailing from the UK, he was originally a rock singer and turned to folk music through friends, historical events and real ale. Nigel now lives near Wellington and in the last 4 years has performed at folk events and music venues around New Zealand, festivals and live on radio and in the UK, France and Canada.
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5 Responses to An itch you just gotta scratch

  1. Like this one Nige. Feels a bit Country too, probably because of the subject matter.


  2. nigelmusicnz says:

    Thanks ! I think of it as a bit more folky – especially with the deliberate lack of banjos 😉


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