February 16th, 2010

“Help Mr. Wizard!” That’s what Tooter Turtle used to cry when he was tired of time travelling into the past in Mr. Wizard’s “Wayback Machine”. Like Tooter, I’m tired of the 80′s for the moment, and so we come back to the future with a song that Gene Reynolds and I wrote called “Better Man In Me”.

Gene brought this song to me as a finished demo, but I knew it could be better. It was “almost” a great song, but almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and if you’re going do anything in life you should always give it every shred of talent you’ve got.

This adage is especially true in the crazy, wonderful world of songwriting and the entertainment business in general. If you are obsessed with pushing yourself to the limit, you’ve got at least a snowballs chance in hell of having some success. You might even hit something big every now and then. Otherwise, you might as well get off the bus now and start that day job before it’s too late! :)

Anyway, the music was basically fine the way it was. The lyrics were the problem. So we set about tearing them apart and putting them back together again, adding new stuff, screwing down old stuff, and after about two months of obsessing and almost giving up two or three times along the way, we finally arrived at a version we were satisfied with.

Now, if you’re just here to listen, you can skip this part and go straight to the mp3. But, if you’re a songwriter, I thought you might be interested in seeing how the lyric progressed from the original version to the final. Keep in mind that the seven sets of lyrics on the links directly below are by no means everything we wrote, but they do represent the most significant steps along the way.

1. BMIM (original lyric – June 6th)

2. BMIM (June 22)    3. BMIM (July 3)

4, BMIM (July 6)    5. BMIM (July 10)

6. BMIM (July 12)    7. BMIM (July 17)

And here’s the final lyric and demo…

BETTER MAN IN ME

Words and Music by: Gene Reynolds and Skip Adams

(V1)
I’m trying hard to do you right
But I’m a fool come Friday night
I like my whiskey and my friends
You’d like all that to end

My shirt is checkered like my past
Folks say we’ll never last
Your mama said, “I told you so”
There’s something she don’t know

(Pre-Chorus)
There’s a better man inside me
Just a’waitin’ to be unleashed

(Chorus)
Come and set ‘em free
The better man inside of me
Needs a bit a pushin’ and a whole lot of lovin’
Like a country mule, he’s so dang stubborn
But you can bring him out
Girl don’t ever doubt
I need you and I love you and I really wanna be
The better man in me
The better man in me

(V2)
Sunday you drag me off to church
Preacher says, “don’t drink or curse”
Then ‘til Thursday I’m a saint
The weekend comes and then I ain’t

Saturday I say I’m done
Head is pounding like a drum
Don’t throw my clothes out on the lawn
Cuz girl you’ve known it all along

(Pre-Chorus)
(Chorus)
(Solo)
(Pre Chorus)
(Chorus)

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