Original Song: Pearls Before Breakfast

Joshua BellMonth 41 has come together nice and quickly! I’ve gone back to an old favourite technique for this one, basing the song of a magazine article. In 2007 the Washington Post ran an experiment where they placed Joshua Bell, one of the world’s greatest violin players, in a station to busk for the morning commuters. Would they appreciate the skill before them or just treat him as another punter? As listening to the song reveals, not too many cottoned on to what was happening. I’ve kept the track pretty simple and not added any solos or tricky bits, but I think the lyrics are the key to this one so I just let it be.

Pearls Before Breakfast
© 2015 Chuck Smeeton

Intro: Am G F E

Am                                            G
Emerged from the metro at L’enfant plaza station
C                                                         E
Looked around, found a spot that suited his vocation
Am                                                      G
The young man in a t-shirt took a violin in his hand
C                                                E
Seed money in the case and began to play unplanned

F                           G
It was 7.51 in the middle of rush hour
C                                        E
Commuters hussled by, faces bowed and dour
F                                          G
Do you stop and listen, an intrusion in your time
C                                              E
Acknowledge or ignore, or simply toss a dime


F                      G
Pearls before breakfast
C                                     E
As the masses shuffled past
F                              G
What is this life if, full of care
C                                  E
We have no time to stand and stare


Am                                                           G
Only seven people paused, just twenty seven paid to hear
F                                                        E
An incredible performance even to an untrained ear
Am                                       G
32 and change was all that lay upon the floor
F                                                                E
When he packed his strad away and headed for the door


His tunes were not familiar but masterpieces that have endured
His instrument a priceless classic, his playing most assured
For the man was Joshua Bell, a virtuoso of his space
But the thousand who passed couldn’t recognise his face

Why do we lack the skill to see beauty in disguise
So focused on the menial, miss the magic in our eyes
A life that’s out of balance, no time to take things in
A lesson that we all must learn to not would be a sin


About the original songs
In January 2012 I commenced a goal of trying to write and record at least one song from scratch each month – sometimes it comes easily, sometimes it’s a real challenge, but I love the discipline it creates. I managed to complete the year, but it was so much fun that I’ve decided to keep it rolling for as long as I can.

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