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It’s not exactly Lennon and McCartney, it might not even be Arthur and Martha or Lenin and McArthur, but, somehow, making music as a collaboration brings out something new, something my mate Ben Semmens, below, and I discovered when a very off-the-cuff jam in a recording studio resulted in this song called Pretty Girl.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lih6HMxxE3I

Ben’s written some really beautiful songs, I’ve written a handful for a very eclectic group of artists- Denmark’s Michael Learns To Rock and Hong Kong’s Jacky Cheung being the weirdest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAhG3yk-KQo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYJwLzBUiZ8

We both think that nothing is as good as this- only a demo the boyo from Wales recorded on GarageBand and bunged a video together using iMovie. The wonders of technology.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lih6HMxxE3I

The “origins” of the song happened while recording a new theme song for the Hong Kong Jockey Club, something we had written long-distance and where Wales communicated with Hong Kong and went Giddy Up, babies.

Ray, DC and Pedro were laying down the backing track, there was a guitar lying around, I picked it up- the first time in years- played the chords C to Cmaj7 and sang the words, “Pretty girl, you’re not so pretty, you’re not as pretty as you think you are.”

It wasn’t exactly Shakespeare, but Ben heard something in it.

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He finished up the melody, I finished up the story- probably based on someone I knew or still know- and with the La La chorus coming from a piss take of Bobby Dylan.

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Bob Dylan – Piss Take

What will happen to this song? Possibly nothing, possibly something, but the key is that it means everything to Ben and myself.

For him, it means me “educating” him about storytelling, songs like George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass- a simply beautifully song with a soaring slide guitar- and an incredible documentary about the ex-Beatle called Living In The Material World.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vW867TrVHA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEo7TYt8ay4

For myself, it means helping someone with one of the purest voices I know, -discover a generation of artists and “new music” that has been around for decades but never really marketed in an effective way to the “new ears” of new musicians who have been given no direction of home.

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Some of us are so damn fortunate to have grown up at a time when Pop music was at its creative peak- the Beatles, Dylan, James Taylor, Carole King and Tapestry, Joni Mitchell, Pet Sounds, Procol Harum, Elusive Butterfly, Ray Davies and Waterloo Sunset etc- while inheriting music knowledge from our folks about all those great writers living down Tin Pan Alley.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trosB4pa3vg

Have we been good musical mentors and passionate ambassadors of all this great music which will never happen again as we lament about “the good old days” like boring old farts or are we, perhaps, selfishly, holding on to what’s come before without sharing what have become soundtracks to our lives?

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For someone like Ben Semmens, everything old is new again- a sudden appreciation of songs being stories and not beats and gibberish and more than The Mole aka Enrique Iglesias screaming through auto tune that he likes it.

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Perhaps I’m being a cock-eyed optimist or, perhaps, it’s just something needed to do and where old school and new school learn from each other and combine to form new creative teams that marry melodies and story telling with new technology and social media to give music a new lease of life.

Many of us are guilty of letting music  plod along with vapid -and fixed- television talent shows churned out by people like that boring old pooh bah named Simon Cowell.

Surely, it’s time, WE created things with that REAL X Factor and not leave it up to panels of faked out and over-the-hill celebrity judges, rigged votes and “winners” one will never ever hear from again?

As Lennon sang, “It’s all showbiz, it’s all showbiz”.

Let’s kill off all that crap at the pass and not let it pass Go and collect $200 and never EVER allow ourselves to get fooled again.

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