163 – Rocky Raccoon – James Armata

Original Version recorded August 15 1968
Ukulele version recorded January 12 2012
James Armata: Vocals and guitar
David Barratt Ukulele
Produced by David Barratt at The Abattoir of Good Taste
Written by Paul McCartney
Credited to Lennon & McCartney
“Rocky Raccoon is quirky, very me. I like talking blues so I started off like that, then I did my tongue-in-cheek parody of a western and threw in some amusing lines. I just tried to keep it amusing, really; it’s me writing a play, a little one-act play giving them most of the dialogue. Rocky Raccoon is the main character, then there’s the girl whose real name was Magill, who called herself Lil, but she was known as Nancy.

There are some names I use to amuse, Vera, Chuck and Dave or Nancy and Lil, and there are some I mean to be serious, like Eleanor Rigby, which are a little harder because they have to not be joke names. In this case Rocky Raccoon is some bloke in a raccoon hat, like Davy Crockett. The bit I liked about it was him finding Gideon’s Bible and thinking, Some guy called Gideon must have left it for the next guy. I like the idea of Gideon being a character. You get the meaning and at the same time get in a poke at it. All in good fun. And then of course the doctor is drunk.”
Paul McCartney
How to be precious without being precious? 
What’s the point of strict stylist, pop, rock, jazz, verse chorus, verse chorus end song, how many hooks, if it doesn’t enable the singer to sing the song? It’s not the song, it’s how you sing the song. 
Your talents, your song writing and most importantly your voice must not be limited, stuffed, crammed and ill-fitted into traditional rock-pop structures. Some do it fantastically, others succumb to it. 


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