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Author Topic: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry  (Read 1218 times)

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nimrod

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Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« on: May 18, 2014, 11:15:24 PM »

Cry baby cry
 Make your mother sigh
 She's old enough to know better.

 The king of Marigold was in the kitchen
 Cooking breakfast for the queen
 The queen was in the parlour
 Playing piano for the children of the king.

 Cry baby cry
 Make your mother sigh
 She's old enough to know better
 So cry baby cry.

 The king was in the garden
 Picking flowers for a friend who came to play
 The queen was in the playroom
 Painting pictures for the childrens holiday.

 Cry baby cry
 Make your mother sigh
 She's old enough to know better
 So cry baby cry.

 The duchess of Kircaldy always smiling
 And arriving late for tea
 The duke was having problems
 With a message at the local bird and bee.

 Cry baby cry
 Make your mother sigh
 She's old enough to know better
 So cry baby cry.

 At twelve o'clock a meeting round the table
 For a seance in the dark
 With voices out of nowhere
 Put on specially by the children for a lark.

 Cry baby cry
 Make your mother sigh
 She's old enough to know better
 So cry baby cry cry cry cry baby
 Make your mother sigh.

 She's old enough to know better
 Cry baby cry
 cry cry cry
 Make your mother sigh
 She's old enough to know better
 So cry baby cry.


A wonderfully wistful, image laden song by John, Ive always loved it...

Demos of the song indicate that Lennon wrote the song in late 1967. The original lyrics were "Cry baby cry, make your mother buy." Lennon described to biographer Hunter Davies how he got the words from an advertisement. Some of the lyrics of the song are loosely based on the nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence".

Personnel

John Lennon – lead vocal and harmony vocal, acoustic guitar, piano, organ
Paul McCartney – bass guitar
George Harrison – lead guitar
Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine
George Martin – harmonium
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Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2014, 11:55:45 PM »

Seems to be an incomplete song, but I've always liked that moment of the white album.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 12:04:30 AM by Hombre_de_ningun_lugar »
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2014, 12:25:47 AM »

John's slightly creepy nursery rhyme is undoubtedly one of the highlights of The White Album for me.

A shivery, fragile but perfectly controlled vocal which softly threads its way down corridors and in and out of rooms each hosting their own at times slightly unnerving little vignettes... a tune haunted by sadness and with a deep undercurrent of melancholy and regret. Ringo's shuffling, zombie-like drums lend an air of pursuing menace. This track also serves to remind us of John's often understated versatility as a musician, more than capably handling piano, guitar and organ.

By the way: do we or don't we regard Paul's "Can You Take Me Back..." snippet as a coda to "Cry Baby Cry" or should it be regarded as a separate, uncredited standalone?
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tkitna

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2014, 12:36:02 AM »

By the way: do we or don't we regard Paul's "Can You Take Me Back..." snippet as a coda to "Cry Baby Cry" or should it be regarded as a separate, uncredited standalone?

It will always be the coda for me.

I love 'Cry Baby Cry', but it seems like the song doesn't get a great deal of love throughout the Beatle circle when I talk to others. I seriously would rank this song in my top 20 Beatle tunes ever. This one, 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun', and 'Dear Prudence' are my big three from the White Album. Absolutely love Johns voice, piano playing and Ringo's playing. Great song.

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2014, 01:10:20 AM »

"Cry Baby Cry" is a song that had to grow on me but now I enjoy it. It's one that you have to really pay attention to if you want to learn the words. The "Sing a Song of Sixpence" connection was pretty obvious to me but I didn't know that there was an advertisement influence involved in this one too.
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Kelley

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Moogmodule

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2014, 01:30:59 AM »

This one has always been a favourite. The vocal, instrumentation, haunting melody all come together beautifully. It's the type of song that justifies to me the White Album approach. Having a large canvas to work on allowed lower key gems like this to be used. It might not have happened on a tighter Revolver style single album.
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nimrod

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2014, 01:37:48 AM »

John's slightly creepy nursery rhyme is undoubtedly one of the highlights of The White Album for me.

A shivery, fragile but perfectly controlled vocal which softly threads its way down corridors and in and out of rooms each hosting their own at times slightly unnerving little vignettes... a tune haunted by sadness and with a deep undercurrent of melancholy and regret. Ringo's shuffling, zombie-like drums lend an air of pursuing menace. This track also serves to remind us of John's often understated versatility as a musician, more than capably handling piano, guitar and organ.

By the way: do we or don't we regard Paul's "Can You Take Me Back..." snippet as a coda to "Cry Baby Cry" or should it be regarded as a separate, uncredited standalone?

I always regard it as an un-named hidden track, apparently left over fron the 'I Will' sessions
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Ollier

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2014, 02:04:23 AM »

It's a grower. Just heard the Mono for the first time and it kicks.
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Klang

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2014, 09:23:02 AM »


Yea, a definite White Album highlight for me. What's to say? Great instrumental arrangement and performance, lyrics that actually have some meaning (thank you, John), and - again - something really unique compared to everything else on the scene at the time. Brilliance.

 :)

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oldbrownshoe

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2014, 04:07:39 PM »

In my Beatles Top 20, make that Top 10, probably even my favourite John song (Beatle or solo).
Incredible to think they released 30 songs on the same day and a song this special was one of the over-looked ones!
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Dcazz

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2014, 04:33:21 PM »

I really like this song. It's a bit of the 67 pshycadelic dream weaver fit into 1968 cloths. And as mentioned it was written in late 67 it makes sense. John uses his imagination to create a rather complicated word picture that has a lot of different things going on at the same time within his Day In The Life type story. Instruments are solid and the whole thing sounds good to me!
I used to like to use the Can You Take Me Back part as a intro to Get back when I used to make 8 tracks and cassettes to cruise around with. I would always leave #9 and Goodnight off and cruise right through into 1969
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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2014, 07:33:59 PM »



It is indeed a beautiful, and beautifully crafted, song (oh, to have such talent!), but I personally do not care for it because of its melancholic, almost unsettling nature.
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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2014, 09:41:02 PM »


It is indeed a beautiful, and beautifully crafted, song (oh, to have such talent!), but I personally do not care for it because of its melancholic, almost unsettling nature.

I agree.  The song alternates between the keys of G major and E minor which sets that mood.  And for a lullaby, we would hardly expect a refrain encouraging a child to cry.
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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 01:22:24 AM »

John's demo...


The Beatles - Cry Baby Cry (Demo)





Take 1...


The Beatles - Cry Baby Cry (Take 1)
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Dcazz

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 11:07:38 AM »

According to Lewisohn it was during the 2nd day of recording this song that Geoff Emerick stopped working with The Beatles because they were arguing, swearing at each other etc...
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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 05:20:00 PM »

According to Lewisohn it was during the 2nd day of recording this song that Geoff Emerick stopped working with The Beatles because they were arguing, swearing at each other etc...

I remember reading about that in Emerick's book but I had forgotten what song it was.
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Kelley

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nimrod

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2014, 11:01:48 PM »


It is indeed a beautiful, and beautifully crafted, song (oh, to have such talent!), but I personally do not care for it because of its melancholic, almost unsettling nature.

Kathy, I think you have hit upon the essence of this song.
Its an eerie song based on a nursery rhyme which themselves can be thought of as having macabre origins, for example, in 1665, the bubonic plague struck London hard, killing 20 percent of the population within a year. "Ring o' Roses" is said to indicate a rosy rash that spread across the victims' bodies, while "a pocket full of posies" was used to ward off the smell of disease. Obviously, the "ashes, ashes" that come falling down are the remnants of cremated dead bodies.
Other versions replace "ashes, ashes" with sneezing ("A-tishoo! A-tishoo!), another symptom of the plague.As early as the nineteenth century, authors like Samuel Taylor and Sarah Trimmer tried to alter nursery rhymes to make them more suitable to young ears, worried the macabre nature of some songs might inspire sadistic tendencies and create a race of children akin to The Omen. But these authors didn't anticipate the internet, or public libraries for that matter. 
I think John was playing on this, his song based on "Sing a Song of Sixpence" is sung in a creepy low volume, almost menacing timbre, its almost  Alfred Hitchcockian   :o
He could have used the horrible bit of the rhyme....

The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes;
When down came a blackbird
And pecked off her nose.

For once I think John could've done more in this song, I notice Ringo's drumming builds intensity towards the final verse, becoming almost military, I think John could've done something with the lyrics that evoked more terror and began to sing in a more forceful voice (as he did on Warm Gun &  Im So Tired) building up intensity more than he did.

Upon saying this its possible Kathy (and many others) wouldve cared even less for it  ;D
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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2014, 11:33:09 PM »

By the way: do we or don't we regard Paul's "Can You Take Me Back..." snippet as a coda to "Cry Baby Cry" or should it be regarded as a separate, uncredited standalone?

It will always be the coda for me.

It will always be a "clue" for me.   ;)
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Mr Mustard

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2014, 12:15:41 AM »

Great post there nim. I disagree with you about John's vocal option though: I'm glad he resisted any urge to intensify it. For me, his maintaining that egg shell thin, almost child-like spidery vocal simply adds to the creepiness, especially as the surrounding music escalates and further turns the screw. I find the whole ambience of "Cry Baby Cry" mesmerising yet disturbing in equal measure and such was John's genius that I'm sure that was the deliberate intention.

Yet another example of the yin/yang brilliance of Lennon & McCartney. In last week's song Paul managed to turn a psychopathic serial killer's deeds into a jaunty singalong. This week's has John providing us with a superficially childish nursery rhyme laced with menace in the style of Stephen King.

I realise it doesn't need saying on here, but my God they were brilliant.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 12:18:12 AM by Mr Mustard »
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nimrod

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Re: Song Of The Week - Cry Baby Cry
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2014, 12:23:57 AM »

Great post there nim. I disagree with you about John's vocal option though: I'm glad he resisted any urge to intensify it. For me, his maintaining that egg shell thin, almost child-like spidery vocal simply adds to the creepiness, especially as the surrounding music escalates and further turns the screw. I find the whole ambience of "Cry Baby Cry" mesmerising yet disturbing in equal measure and such was John's genius that I'm sure that was the deliberate intention.



Yes I can see your point Mr M ....I just feel the song needs a resolution, it doesnt seem to have a finality, I think he couldve done more with the lyrics in a last verse

btw love the "egg shell thin, almost child-like spidery vocal " comment  ;)
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