For years I have had the idea of combining music and poetry. The simplest way of doing that is by writing a song. And I have written songs, or parts of songs, for my musical “Paris – A Musical of the 1920s”. However, I have something of a hybrid type of thinking, and have come across a way to combine verse, music and sound effects. I don’t have a name for this amalgam. It’s alternative something.

On July 16th of this year I entered Innovative Music Studios, in the garment district of New York, with some verses in my bag: “Bad Ass Man,” which might stand alone as a poem, but was written specifically to be sung, or spoken, with music and sound effects dubbed in.

Owner/engineer Joe Hernandez and his keyboard artist Terrell Harris and I went at it for three-and-a-half hours and came up with a CD single 3:50 long. It was quite a ride. I recorded the vocals twice, the second time with a mike suited more for speech. Then the three of us went to work in the Pro Tools program and associated sound library. The sound library is where we lingered longest. It contained menus, sub-menus and more sub-menus, of practically every sound imaginable, and you will hear a fair sample in “Bad Ass Man.”

Joe was super. I said this or that, pointed at the multi-track screen, and instantly he made it so, moving tracks around; shortening, lengthening, repeating sound segments, as we all got cooking. I asked how long it took him to learn to do all this, and he said, “years.” Terrell, a kid from Florida, had a keen sense of what kind of sound would represent a particular mood in the song, and quickly came up with notes and chords that would serve as the brick and mortar, musically, of B.A M.

Bad Ass Man, the character, is a folk character. He’s not exactly a hero, except in a narrow military sense when he is sent to Afghanistan and defeats the Taliban. He does superhuman things—and he’s bad allright—but there is humor in the piece. It begins:

Lock your doors and windows,
and bring your dog inside.
It doesn’t matter if he’s mean,
I’m gonna skin his hide.

It doesn’t matter what you got,
It’s mine if I decide.
If your car is up on blocks,
I’ll take it for a ride.

I eat snakes for breakfast,
And alligator toast.
If you cross me when I’m cross,
You’re gonna see your ghost.

‘Cause I’m a bad ass man.
Bad ass man
.

When all is said and done, I guess this is an alternative folk ballad. I uploaded it to Tunecore and its assortment of online music stores. So far, I have found it in the iTunes music store. Search under my name, Hudson Owen, or the title. Or follow the link on the right. For .99 cents, I have to say, it’s a bargain. You haven’t heard anything quite like it. Spread the news. There’s a new kid in town. And he’s a bad ass man.

By Hudson Owen.

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