Wednesday, April 1, 2015

When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano

When The Swallows Come Back to Capistrano
Written by: Leon Rene
Key F Major

I left the lyrics alone for this one because it's got a melody in the Pat Boone range that I don't want to destroy. The melody is enough to get the idea of the song. A girl left a guy and the guy is comparing her to the birds.
I first picked this out because it was WWII era tune that I want to compare to modern music that will be listened to when people want to talk about WWIII era music. I should point out that this specific piece of sheet music is from around 1940. It is not a reissue when Pat Boone made it famous 17 years later, but I can't isolate the exact year Russ Morgan and his Orchestra "The Morgan Manner" recorded or performed this. Morgan was popular along with Guy Lombardo at this time but he didn't score a notable hit with this song. Many artists recorded it and all the sheet music used the same blue background with the cave swallow on the front. Only the inset was changed which makes me wonder if the arrangement inside was different. This arrangement involves this upper register melancholy piano introduction. Do all the arrangements look like this? I wonder if other sheet music had different arrangements of if they all had identical music but the picture changed. That would be an interesting research project. I can count about 8 different reissues of this song with different artists and I know they didn't all record it in 1940. So Russ Morgan, Dinah Shore, The Ink Spots, Bobby Byrne, Shep Fields, Gray Gordon, Frankie Masters...I don't think they all performed this song in a single year. No. So, this song was released as sheet music every time someone else recorded it. They aren't going to change the copyright because that can stay the same but one artist might record it in 1941 and another in 1942 and they simply put a different picture on the cover. I would be surprised if there was a different arrangement too. Very surprised but I can't find a recording or a date for any of the artists. I know Glenn Miller recorded this in 1940 but he's not featured on any of the sheet music samples. And all these other artists don't have a recording, which makes sense because only Glenn Miller had the dough to record a big band. I don't know. It must be in the general area of WWII but I don't know exactly when this sheet music was printed.

Great melody here with easy on the fingers chords. F Bb, Eb, C7. And there's one little passage in A major so the flavor changes. I messed that part up the first time so I had to sweeten the tempo get another chance at it, but it really belongs in the 'lonesome me' tempo range. This song and Once in A While are all I need to know. I can fake the shit out of these songs.

I knew this song reminded me of another song and when I was searching for the 1957 Pat Boone recording of this version (Glenn Miller recorded the original 1940 hit) I found a song by The Bee Gees called, "When the Swallows Fly"...but that's a different song and different swallows. But the fact that The Bee Gees recorded it reminded me of the song that I do recognize "Massachusetts" By The Bee Gees. The exact opening of this song is "Feel, I'm going back to Massachusetts" is "When the swallows come back to Capistrano." Massachusetts and Capistrano have the same 4 syllables and the exact same melody and concern something coming back. ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT WAS AN ACCIDENT?

No, "Massachusetts", by The Bee Gees is a complete rip off of "When The Swallows". I wonder if Leon Rene's family get paid from Bee Gee royalties?*

An interesting note on this song, Leon Rene's grandson Chris Rene was born in Santa Cruz, the setting of my epic novel of destitution and emotional abuse that has me gnawing on my ankles in despair. Well, Chris Rene was barely a teenager during the time period that I write about, although the universal connections should be apparent...but reading that chilling name "Santa Cruz" brought back many memories and this time it was not of dark stone bridge and rain down the back of my neck, tears, dogs whining, junkies dying. No, the bright spot in that era was a guitarist I would meet on the street at night and we would discuss music and he would show me a few things but mostly we would share a bench and a few songs until the fog came in. He was the person that played "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits and I thought he had written the song and I was really impressed. But he told me who wrote it and I tracked it down and did finally learn it though lately I'm not into those pop songs because I prefer honky tonk and western swing. Anyway, that man, who I knew at the time to be employed by a local luthier is now the owner of his own custom guitar shop, has been for over a decade. He played an archtop guitar but he seems to only make solid body guitars. Maybe the area is saturates with acoustic guitar makers or maybe he's developing the skills for acoustic. But I was happy for a moment in the eye of the hurricane known as Santa Cruz that is otherwise a dark cloud that haunts me. The luthier wasn't a junkie or even homeless like the rest of my companions. He was a sovereign citizen who was successful. He was a cool cat and is actually a character in the book. When I read that Chris Rene was getting out of rehab as he went on a talent tv show I thought, "Yep, he's from Santa Cruz."
I messed up that last graph. This one is correct.

*I should also mention that the swallows aren't coming back to Capistrano.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.