Original Song: The Splinter

the splinterWell, The Splinter is another magazine article based song that’s snuck in on the last day of the month to extend my song-a-month streak to 29. There’s something in this one but I’ve simply run out of time to work out what it is and how to get the best out of it! The longer I go on this run the more I appreciate the challenges of getting an album full of songs that are actually worthy – no wonder some artists prefer the current age of the single…

The lyrics are about a baseballer by the name of Ted Williams (aka The Splinter) – a very driven man who achieved great things in both his sport but also just about everything he did (he was a brilliant fisherman and tennis player as well). Of course that kind of single-mindedness can leave lots of people cold. In June 1986 Esquire magazine ran an article by Richard Ben Cramer called What Do You Think Of Ted Williams Now? It justifiably appears on lists of the best magazine articles ever written – and is well worth checking out. After reading it I felt it provided a great foundation for a song.

Musically I struggled a bit with what to do on this one. I originally just played it on an acoustic guitar with nothing else, but that was just too thin. I ended up adding some fretless bass lines and some synth padding, and finally a bit of flute action! Still, the streak is alive and live to write and record another day…

The Splinter
© 2014 Chuck Smeeton

He didn’t do mucha anything
That he didn’t want to do
But few men try for best ever
And then will carry through

His instinct called for exertion
A simple show of force
He only meant to dominate
It was his only course

What do you think of him now
Were there things he couldn’t do?
How can you judge The Splinter
And all the things he knew

Perfection comes but at a price
Exposes many flaws
Personality contradicts
And can only lead to pause

To be the best means sacrifice
Relations can’t sustain
The whole is not a simple skill
The cost is endless pain

Always first and always ready
“Well, do you wanna play?”
The court, the diamond or the stream
He only knew one way

If adulation’s tainted
Then was it worth the fight
Maybe it is time to go
Time to say goodnight

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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