Monday, March 05, 2012


Here's how my mind works:

Recently, I read a biography of Carly Simon. Those of you too young to recall her, she was a singer/songwriter who hit it big in the early 1970's with "You're So Vain," and who had a slew of hit singles and albums thereafter.

For a time, she was married to another well-known singer/songwriter of that era, James Taylor. The union was doomed–Taylor was depressed in a major way and elected to self-medicate with heroin; Simon was neurotic, and had stage fright so bad she avoided singing in public as much as she could. They had two children and the marriage ended badly.

They sang on each other records and together–Carly was braver when they did duets onstage–and their arrangement and delivery of "Mockingbird," when they were both big, gawky kids, was killer:

Um. Anyway, Simon later got into other endeavors, she wrote children's books and did movie scores. One of these movies was 1989's Working Girl, starring Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, and Sigourney Weaver. It was a Cinderella story, and a chick-flick–but I confess that I liked it. Go look at it now, it's entertaining for the hairstyles alone.

One of the songs Simon wrote for the flick was a gospel-like rocker called "Let the River Run." There's a kid's choir that opens it, much like The Rolling Stones did with "You Can't Always Get What You Want." (And it has long been thought that Mick Jagger and Carly Simon had an affair back in the day when both were married to other people, though both deny it. Rock stars who slept around? My, can you believe that?)

I really liked the song, but at the time my guitar was parked next to the file cabinet gathering dust and cobwebs, my small skills much lesser then even than now, so I never did anything with it.

But when I came across the section in the Simon bio that talks about the movie and how the song came to be, and now having access to a plethora's plethora of information via the internet, I poked around, found the lyrics, and started noodling with the chords. It's an interesting song, starts in the key of A, then switches to C in the middle. There's a section I can't quite figure out the chord changes, plus it's right at the limit of my vocal range after that shift up two steps, but what the hell, you can't get more limber unless you stretch, so I'm gonna see what I can go with it. Worst comes to worst, I'll just buy the sheet music, I don't mind paying for it. 

Here's how it sounds when Carly does it:

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